Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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A Fianna Failer Replies.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 31, 2009 in Irish Politics

THE FIANNA FAIL VIEW.
THE FIANNA FAIL VIEW.

I recently issued a challenge to Fianna Fail readers to issue a defence of their party.

Declan Harmon, a Fianna Fail activist in Dublin, responded to the challenge.

I’m proud to be a member of Fianna Fáil. I don’t think members of our organisation say that often enough. I don’t subscribe to the sneering view put about by many commentators that all Fianna Fáilers are afflicted with some sort of original sin that we need to be purged of.

Fianna Fáil has much to be proud of. We are the most successful political party in Europe – which is something which we are expected by some to apologise for. We have a great national organisation in every corner of this land. Fianna Fáil representatives from the Taoiseach to TDs to councillors to ordinary party members have a well deserved reputation for hard work and commitment to their communities.

Of course, electoral success is not an end in itself but simply a means to achieving the goals that we, as a party, have set for ourselves and for the country. Yet many people outside the party don’t seem to understand what Fianna Fáil stands for and what motivates more people to join us than any other party. To shed some light on that, I would like to offer a personal perspective on why I joined Fianna Fáil and what it means to me.

I don’t come from a political family. No one in my family has ever stood for election and, while we would all be politically interested, no one was ever politically active – save for an aunt of mine who once upon a time joined a strange, pseudo-political cult called the Progressive Democrats – luckily she grew out of it. So I have no great family attachment to politics or affiliation to one political party.

I could have joined any political party. I could have joined Fine Gael – but I’m neither a large farmer from the Golden Vale, the grandson of a Blueshirt or a pathological loser so that ruled them out. I could have joined the Labour Party – but I’m not middle class enough for them. I could have joined the Greens – but could you really be bothered. And I could have joined Sinn Féin – but I didn’t want to be part of the Alcopop Party – appearing sweet and harmless but if it doesn’t agree with you it will blow your head off.

Now from reading that you might get the impression that I only joined Fianna Fáil because it was the least worst option, which of course isn’t the case. I didn’t join Fianna Fáil because I just disliked all the rest, although that was a happy coincidence.

I joined Fianna Fáil because I’m a Republican. Some people look at me a bit funny when I say that, and I suppose in certain circles it does sound a bit twee. But I genuinely believe in Republicanism, not only in terms of our national sovereignty but also in how we order our affairs as a nation. I believe that Fianna Fáil people share Republican values – we want to see Ireland united as a republic in the fullest sense, we want to see it reach its full potential and we want to see true equality of opportunity in this country so that all are given the chance to succeed in their lives.

How, one might ask, did I know that Fianna Fáil had these values when I signed up to be a member. Well, I knew the history of Fianna Fáil from the history of our country and the great historical figures who not only built up the party but who the country called upon to build up the independent Irish state. I knew the names like De Valera and Aiken who had fought to give Ireland the chance to determine its own destiny. I knew the names like Lemass and Lynch who strove to ensure that that chance wasn’t taken away from us or frittered away by us.

Aside from history, I could also see what was going on around me, the transformation of Ireland that was taking place in my time, before my eyes. I admire good leadership, which comes in many forms, and it was plain that good leadership was playing a huge role in the economic and social development of our country and in the peace process. That successful leadership was coming from Fianna Fáil, could only be provided by Fianna Fáil and I wanted to play a part, however small, in seeing that Fianna Fáil be given the chance to continue that work.

We were given that chance by the people of Ireland in May 2007 and the work goes on. Given the economic situation globally, it falls to Fianna Fáil in government to respond and steer our country through these difficult times. That will require tough decisions. We will see plenty of tough decisions in the forthcoming budget – many of which I’m sure won’t make us the flavour of the political month.

There are plenty of people out there playing the blame game. Many of the opposition politicians now claiming that the economic policies implemented by Fianna Fáil got us into these current difficulties, were copying those very same policies before the last general election and offering them to the electorate as their own. But right now the blame game isn’t important. The top priority has to be to protect the prosperity we have worked for so long to build up and ensure that this period of international economic turmoil doesn’t permanently damage the success Ireland has enjoyed.

I’m not going to pretend that I like every decision Fianna Fáil has made in government. Nor am I going to pretend that I am satisfied with the performance of Brian Cowen and his ministers. I agree with Jason’s assessment that the Brian Cowen we have both seen in private is the Brian Cowen the country needs, not the Brian Cowen that has been coming out with polysyllabic jargon. I remain convinced that the public would forgive him his gruffness if they felt confident that he was doing the right thing and taking the right decisions.

In order to gain that public confidence he will need to communicate more effectively than he has done in the job so far. He appears to have a very traditional, old-fashioned view of the role of the media as it relates to his job and he will need to change his attitude if he is to survive. I hope he does get his act together in that regard because I fear that his chance is slipping away from him. It would be a shame to see a man of his talents waste his opportunity due to his barely veiled contempt for the media.

When he throws away the civil service script Brian Cowen can be nigh-on evangelical. Back in October last, the Taoiseach said in an electric speech delivered in Trinity College that this is a defining moment in our nation’s history. I believe he was absolutely right. The decisions of today and the period ahead will shape our country far beyond an electoral cycle. They will determine the type of Ireland that my generation will live, work and raise a family in. That is both exciting and somewhat daunting. It is a political challenge that I think Fianna Fáil is best placed to handle, as it has handled many of the other defining moments in our history. We are best placed to handle it because of the pragmatic nature with which we approach problems.

Some people say that Fianna Fáil’s pragmatism is a weakness – that we stand for nothing. They are wrong. Fianna Fáil’s pragmatism is our greatest strength because we are free to do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons without concern for any left wing / right wing ideological baggage that is no longer relevant. That does not mean that we stand for nothing. It means that we can never move too far out of touch with the people who entrusted us with power in the first place. Fianna Fáil can not take electoral support for granted anymore. If we are to convince the public that we are in fact the best party for the job we will have to do it the traditional way – door to door, person to person. We will have to fight for and earn every vote. That’s the way it should be.

 

 

 

 

 
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Another crap poll for Fine Gael.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 30, 2009 in Irish Politics

Fine Gael need to deal with the issue.

Fine Gael need to deal with the issue.

The Sunday Business Post Red C Poll yesterday showed Fine Gael 3% ahead of Fianna Fail. In other words, within the margin of error. Speaking to FG people, they regard the fact that the party is leading FF as being the most important part of the story, but it isn’t. The fact is, in the current crisis with FF on its knees, surely FG should be light years ahead, not level pegging with FF?

We all know why this is. We all know why FG is not clearly ahead. I’m not going to even say it, just point out that FG’s failure to deal with the single issue which is holding them back raises questions about their fitness to lead a government.  

 
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Sesame Street explains the Bernie Madoff Scandal.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 29, 2009 in Just stuff

Cookie Monster says "Yumyumyum" to corporate fraud!

From The Jimmy Kimmel Show. Here.

 
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Fine Gael’s new logo. A sphincter?

Posted by Jason O on Mar 27, 2009 in Irish Politics

From the always readable Maman Poulet.  

 
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Hunny Monster dies, nation mourns.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 27, 2009 in Not quite serious.

There's another angel in heaven tonight.

The Hunny Monster, beloved corporate spokesperson for Sugar Puffs has died today after a long illness.
Speaking from his home, long time friend and partner The Monkey From The Coco Pops Ad said “ He had as big a heart as he was, well, big. When things were wild in the eighties, when my smack problem was wiping me out, he was there for me. I remember once being out of my head, and he forced me to go to a counsellor. I was so negative, but he didn’t give up on me. He turned my milk brown.”
The Prime Minister has sent his condolences, outlining the huge contribution the Hunny Monster made to modern British culture.
Tony the Tiger said that the news was “Trrrrragic!”

 
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George Clooney: Terry-Thomas for the 21st Century.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 26, 2009 in Just stuff

I say!

I say!

I’m a big George Clooney fan, primarily because he’s grasped the comedy genius of Cary Grant and Terry-Thomas, and is not afraid to play an idiot.

If anything, playing the idiot is Clooney at his best.

Have a look here

 
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As many rights as we can afford.

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

Paying taxes and getting stuff? There's a connection?

 

There is a pattern to how Irish people react to cutbacks. It goes something like this.

 

1.      Of course, we all must make sacrifices in the current difficult economic climate.

2.      However, we must protect the vulnerable, especially the Old/ Young/  Urban dwellers/ Rural communities/Professional Unicycle Performers/ Didgeredoo enthusiasists/ The Unemployed/People with disabilities/ Non-Irish Nationals/ Minorities/ Roller-skating Giraffes/ Public sector workers/The Low paid/Arts and heritage activists/ and above all, “Community activists”

3.      Aside from those groups, who make up nine and a half out of ten Irish people, everyone else should be prepared to make sacrifices.

4.      However, we must remember to “put people before money” and that rights are more important than money.

5.      Unless it involves money going to any of the people involved above. Then money is very important. Sorry, did we say money? We meant “resources.” Which means money, only it doesn’t sound as, well, grabby.

6.      We will also oppose any means of raising that money by taxing any of the above people. The “well off” should pay for the extra “resources.”

7.      The definition of “well off” is basically people who wear top hats/ monocles/ having twirly well-waxed moustaches/ Employ people called “Bidlington” or “Jennings” to iron their spectacle chamois/ or swim around in Scrooge McDuck moneybins.          

      Or anyone earning over, say,  €30k who does not  work in the public or NGO sector. If they do work in the public/NGO sector, then about €100k a year is tolerable for additional taxation, as long as they are not expected to pay any of this pension levy nonsense. 

     

       Well, that’ll work, because the world is just full of countries which provide the level of public services we want, only tax the wealthy (Who happily stay in the country to pay those taxes.), and don’t tax anyone else too much, right? For example, there’s…eh…….and then there’s……um?

 

 
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Apocalypse Meow.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 24, 2009 in Just stuff

 

Force Kitten from Navarone

A Japanese anime cartoon series, originally based on the Viet Nam War. Absolutely extraordinary. Here.

 
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China calls for new global currency.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 24, 2009 in Just stuff

From today’s Wall Street Journal here.

The Eartho?

The Eartho?

 
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Great movies you should see: The Day of The Jackal.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 24, 2009 in Movies/TV/DVDs

Day of the Jackal

The definitive thriller.

The Day of the Jackal is probably my all-time favourite movie, and is the prototype of the long-plot thriller.

As a movie, it shouldn’t work. For a start, the viewer knows that the central aim of the plot, an attempt to assasinate President De Gaulle, will fail, and so that should make any attempt to make it dramatic superflous. No such thing. The plot is so good, so workmanlike in its attention to detail as to how one would go about planning to assasinate a major world figure as to be almost voyeuristic.

Edward Fox is excellent as the ice cool hitman, and Michel Lonsdale (Who would later find fame as Hugo Drax in Moonraker) is superb as the unkempt but intellectually razor sharp Commissioner Label, the police officer tasked with finding the Jackal in time.

The film is crammed with stalwarts of British television, including our own Cyril Cusack doing his usual “umming and ahhhing”.

Aside from the plot, early 1970s France looks fabulous in it, and one of the great ironies of the movie is that despite starring Edward Fox and based on the novel written by Frederick Forsyth, two ardent eurosceptics, it is a textbook case for why Europe needs greater integration of its police forces!

It’s also well worth reading Forsyth’s original novel as well, again if only for the attention to detail.     

Copyright © 2014 Jason O Mahony All rights reserved. Email: Jason@JasonOMahony.ie.