Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Bill Clinton for Taoiseach.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 28, 2009 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.
Bill Clinton TD: Why don't you call 'round to my clinic sometime, honey?

Bill Clinton TD: Why don't you call 'round to my clinic sometime, honey?

 Here’s the thing: We’ve a byelection coming up soon in Dublin South, and we’re not exactly overwhelmed with the calibre of candidates we have to lead the country, never mind run in the byelection. Why not get some country’s second-hand leader? Still be better then almost everything on offer here. Take Bill, for example. We’d be paying him more then he got as president, he’s smart, middle of the road, and as for the intern thing, let’s be honest: There’d probably be a queue.

We’ve no problem bringing in foriegn surgeons. We even brought in a former Boston Police Commissioner to run the Garda Inspectorate. Why not bring in someone really talented to run the country?


The Granddaddy of Political Ads.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 27, 2009 in Just stuff

Don't y'all be electing no crazy folk now, y'hear?

In 1964, the US Republicans nominated for President Barry Goldwater, a right wing senator who wanted, amongst other things,to have the authority to utilise tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield.

Not surprisingly, this unnerved quite a few people. This was how the Democrats responded. The ad only ran once, but encapsulated the election. The Democrats won by 61%, and this has become the gold standard as to effective political advertising.

Have a look here.


Shock as politician insists on actually explaining position.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 27, 2009 in Just stuff

Senator Gillibrand: Substantial, and let's be honest: Has the yummy mummy vote all locked up.

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY) who has replaced Hillary Clinton.

From the New York Times.


Great movies you should see: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 25, 2009 in Movies/TV/DVDs
On Her Majesty's Secret Service [DVD] [1969]

The Much Maligned Mr. Lazenby

George Lazenby played 007 only once, and for a while it became fashionable amongst bond afficionados to dismiss OHMSS as a kind of embarrassing uncle of the series, best not spoken about.

Yet the movie, and Lazenby, are both entertaining, and I feel both are  contenders for inclusion at least in the top two Bonds and Movies, especially when one considers the direction the movies took with Roger Moore.

Lazenby is particularly solid in the fight scenes, dare I say it even more rugged than Connery, and yet portrays a certain rare (Rare for James Bond, anyway) vulnerability, in that you feel he actually loves Tracey, played by Diana Rigg.

In short, Lazenby portrayed Bond as someone you would actually like as a person.

Keep an eye out for a young Joanna Lumley.



Send for the Finns!

Posted by Jason O on Feb 25, 2009 in Irish Politics

According to Transparency International, Finland is the least corrupt country in the World. We should use this. Let’s request the Finnish government send a unit here to investigate the whole Anglo Irish thing, as we seem to lack a mixture of ability and will to actually clearly figure out what’s going on.

Our political and regulatory system seems to be contaminated not as much by open corruption as by an unwillingness to actually fight it. We’re all related to each other, and as a result everything is personal.

Let’s bring in someone who doesn’t have an axe to grind. Get me Helsinki!


An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Trades Union Spokesperson.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 24, 2009 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

Some pesto, comrade?

There was once a time when Irish trades union officials were fire and brimstone men, ready to take to the pickets at the drop of  a differential payment. Then along came Social Partnership, and they went from being fellas standing outside a factory huddling around a burning steel drum to sauntering up the steps of Merrion Square like ex-officio members of the cabinet. Today’s trades union official is a paragon of reasonableness, the 1970s wrapped up in 21st century empathy and the need to “engage.”

His, (Yes, they’re still primarily men. The comrades are all for women’s rights as long as they don’t have to elect them. ) langauge has changed too. Occasionally, there’s still the odd poseur whio throws in a “comrade” or two and talks about “working class solidarity”, but mostly it’s language that wouldn’t sound out of place in a meeting of The Guardian’s editorial board. Social solidarity, the need to “upskill” and the endless “call for more resources” are now the phrases du jour. They don’t even attack capitalism anymore, the smarter one’s knowing that battle is well lost, even in these dark times. Instead, “neo liberalism” is the new enemy, a broad, vague and slightly fashionable phrase that menances even when uttered by those young “Che” wannabes as they listen to the iPods that neo-liberalism spawned.

The key is to be reasonable. Don’t defend public sector pensions, attack the lack of them in the private sector, even though it is private sector taxes that fund the public sector ones in the first place. And the golden rule: Do not, for the love of God, let the private and public sectors be seperated in the mind of the public. That’s the emperor’s new clothes right there. Instead, talk about social solidaity pacts and “dividing” ordinary working people. Remember: The private sector may generate economic capital, but the public sector generates social capital! True, public sector workers won’t accept their pensions in anything but economic capital, but that’s not the point!

Despite the rhetoric, the truth is that the closest today’s union leaders get to Marx is Marks. And his good friend Spencer, which is kind of complimentary, in that whilst his private sector members can’t afford to do their shopping there, they can at least stack the shelves for him when he does.   


What will Paddy Power give on the odds of someone going to jail over Anglo Irish?

Posted by Jason O on Feb 24, 2009 in Irish Politics

The closest they may get to jail?

Seriously, how do we think this thing will pan out? Here’s a couple of little scenarios:

1. The Director of Corporate Enforcement (DCE) does his best, but finds that these guys managed to outsmart our legislation and therefore have not committed any crime. No one goes to jail.

2. The DCE does manage to put the case together, but the case collapses over some technicality, again caused by gammy legislation. No one goes to jail.

3. The case goes ahead, but is halted on the basis that due to media interest (The Haughey defence.) it is not possible for a fair trial to be held. No one goes to jail.

In all these scenarios, the case would fail because our legislators have been either too negligent or too stupid to put in place laws and structures to deal with these levels of crime. Whose fault is that? We do, after all, elect them? And please, don’t tell me that this was all unforeseen. US jails are full of people who engaged in this carry on.

Maybe it’s time to stop electing “a good man for the area” and instead elect, you know, legislators, to the legislature?


The €4.7 Billion Mob.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 23, 2009 in Irish Politics

Someone else should do something!

Someone else should do something!

Let’s be honest. We’re all part of some vested interest or another, and the 100,000 people demonstrating on Saturday were no different.

Given an average annual cost of 47k per public sector worker, that was effectively €4.7 billion of an annual tax bill walking right there. It’s true, of course, that public sector workers pay tax just like the rest of us, and so pay for a good chunk of their own costs, but not all.

Someone has to pick up the tab, and if not them, then the rest of us.

The great majority of those marching were public sector workers. Not all, and it has to be noted that the Waterford Crystal workers in particular have a serious grievence, but the idea that these were all just “Ordinary” workers is just not accurate.

Public sector workers are not ordinary workers.

The public sector makes up 20% of the workforce. Do we really believe that they will make up 20% of the redundancies?   

In the private sector, people pay 10-15% of their income for a pension that in recent times has all but evaporated. The public sector people are being asked to pay, in many cases less,  for a guaranteed pension.

There are some who are saying that this is all about trying to divide public and private sector workers, but the truth is, they are already divided. Public sector workers are the upper class of the Irish workforce, and that’s the reality.  

ICTU make a fair point about the obscenity of bailing our banks whilst letting working people go under, but it’s a false prospectus to tell people that we can get out of this crisis without any pain to them. Ain’t going to happen. We are all going to suffer, and the private sector worker is already suffering.  

The public sector  have a right to stand up for themselves. They most certainly don’t have a right to be morally superior about it.


What Sinn Fein, Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd Barrett don’t tell you about Lisbon.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 21, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

One of the more curious aspects of the No to Lisbon side in Ireland is that they are most visible on the Left. It’s not that there are not campaigners on the far-right, because there are, but they tend to disguise themselves as goups of “concerned citizens” whereas in reality they tend to be of the ultra catholic anti-abortion “no problem with protestants as long as they know their place” variety. And don’t get them started on “Foriegners”. To them, Jesus Christ in the flesh would be a suspicious looking darkie.  

But the left are more vocal. What’s most strange about this is that across the rest of Europe, opposition to the treaty comes most vocally from the right.

The following is some material, unedited, from the Bruges Group, an anti-EU Margaret Thatcher loving group. They actually have some valid points, but the fact is this: They are against the treaty for almost the entirely oppoite reasons of Joe Higgins, Richard Boyd Barrett and Mary Lou.

Who is telling the truth on the No side?





The EU plans to step-up its legislative agenda for a more ‘social’ Europe.
The European Commission is increasingly pushing for the agenda which it describes as ‘European values’ (as opposed to Anglo-Saxon values) as powerful evidence of the EU’s commitment to the ‘social dimension.’
These policy proposals will make the economy of the EU even more uncompetitive in the global economy; and gives the lie to the claim that Europe is coming our way. 

Commission Communication: Renewed social agenda: opportunities, access and solidarity in 21st century Europe COM(08) 412


Trade union power to be expanded.
The establishment of European Works Councils will enhance the power of trade unions and will mean employers shall be further hamstrung by EU law. This will make the EU less attractive to investors and drive jobs out of Britain to more adaptable labour markets, particularly those in Asia.
This policy proposal comes on top Article 138 of the EC Treaty which lays down that the EU must consult with ‘social partners’ (trade unions) when making social law.

Draft Directive on the establishment of a European Works Council COM(08) 419



Here the European Commission reaffirms its commitment to make social policy issues the cornerstone and aim of all EU law making; leaving the elected British government with not very much to do in that important area.
Commission Communication: A renewed commitment to social Europe COM(08) 418 


EU proposals will see it force upon the UK its approach to tackling poverty.
In the UK the issue on how best to tackle poverty and social exclusion has become an important debate; with different approaches and strategies emerging from the two main political parties. However, this debate in the UK will become less relevant as the EU plans to expand its power into this field.
The European Commission is proposing that:

  • it can begin dictating strategies for tacking poverty
  • that member states must create a National Implementation Body to apply the EU’s plans; alongside that body should be National Advisory Group



Draft Decision on the European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion (2010) COM(07) 797

EU plans changes to social security and leave from work.
The European Union is intending to produce more laws to enforce its views on the work life balance. The proposed rules will see maternity leave, for both spouses and ‘life-partners’ increased. The spouses and ‘life-partners’ will also be able to gain more access to social security.
These measures will add more costs onto businesses and the taxpayer at a crucial time when they simply cannot be afforded.
Commission Communication: A better work-life balance COM(08) 635 


EU to further tie Britain’s hands in the area of social policy.
The EU via Articles 136, 137, 140 and 144 of the EC Treaty has the power to force the UK to implement social measures. The EU wishes to expand its power here and produce more costly policies in the fields of social services, social security, housing and health care.

 By the way, note how they added inverted commas to life partners. It’s not in the original Commission document. I wonder why they did that? Considering what many Tories seem to spend a lot of time doing to each other, you think they’d be a bit more broad minded.


Leading No to Lisbon campaigner calls Golden Circle “Heroes”

Posted by Jason O on Feb 20, 2009 in Irish Politics, Lisbon Treaty

Takes all sorts, I suppose. Ulick McEvaddy, a leading No campaigner and Libertas supporter during the treaty referendum, came out with this today.

Speaks for itself.

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