Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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Tara De Buitlear: Human Graffitti Shield!

Posted by Jason O on Apr 10, 2009 in Irish Politics

I recently noticed this photo of FF candidate Tara De Buitlear on Facebook under the caption “Fighting Graffitti on Charles O’Toole Bridge” and was fascinated by it. Fighting graffitti? How? By actually just standing in front of the wall, which, to give her credit, is a novel approach, in that it’s pretty damn rare to hear of candidates for municipal office being spraypainted.

By the way, is that FG TD Brian Hayes in the middle of the photo? You wouldn’t dare spray graffitti on him. In the same ways swans can break people’s arms (Never met anyone who has had an arm broken by any form of waterfowl. I think it’s all spin by the waterfowl lobby to make themselves look hard, the same way the rodent lobby say rats can chew through steel. Sure if rat teeth were that hard we’d build space shuttles and deepsea submarines out of them, surely. But I digress.) Brian Hayes could give you a nasty bite and leave you covered in indignant statistics. Is that Charlie O’Connor there too? No surprises there. Charlie’d give the Holy Ghost a run for his money in terms of being everywhere in Tallaght at once. He’ll be appearing in the stations of the cross next.

Tara’s website link seems to be down, so here is her Facebook link. Well, if I’m going to take the piss I might as well give her a bit of publicity. Only polite, really.   

 
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Good books you should read: Spin and Win.

Posted by Jason O on Apr 10, 2009 in Books, Irish Politics

Spin and Win: How Politicians get Elected

 

 

Seriously, don't judge this by its cover!

Anton Savage’s “Spin and Win” has an awful cover which does the book itself a terrible disservice. The well-known communications consultant has written a concise and very readable book about how Irish politicians get elected, and it is well worth a read.

What I found interesting about the book was the key points that rang true for me as a former political activist. Often, people who write books about Irish politics tend to take a cynical, theoretical view as opposed to a realistic one based on actual experience.

 

 In particular, Savage points out that:

  •  ·     Parachute candidates, particularly from a        business background, always feel that they are exploiting the simpleton party members. It is more often the other way around.

  •  ·        Don’t be afraid to always ask for a specific numbered vote. 

  •  ·        Don’t ever go into politics expecting voters to be grateful.

  •  ·        Focus groups are a waste of time, and why.

 

It has its weaknesses. He is very eager to reference every book he has read on the subject, but most of them, in fairness, are worth mentioning.  

When I go to buy a book, I always skim through it in the shop, trying to see if I can imagine myself actually enjoying reading it. I flicked open at this paragraph, and this set, very much, the tone of the book for me, where he sums up the unique selling points of Irish political parties as people really see them:

 

            Fianna Fail:  We’ll do whatever will keep you happiest.

            Fine Gael:   We’re dull but we mean well.

            Labour:          We wish it was the 1970s.

            Sinn Fein:   We don’t shoot people anymore.

 

Finally, just buy it for the story as to why Garrett Fitzgerald had a disco ball hanging from the ceiling of his study. The answer is simplicity itself.

 

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