Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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What has the EU ever done for us?

Posted by Jason O on Jun 30, 2009 in Lisbon Treaty

The EU: Sometimes the little stuff matters.

The EU: Sometimes the little stuff matters.

Well, this for a start. From Adrian Weckler.  Yes, it is a small thing, but one of those small things which can really screw you up, so be grateful.

 
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Great TV Shows you should see: 30 Rock.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 30, 2009 in Movies/TV/DVDs

30 Rock: Get it whilst you can.
30 Rock: Get it whilst you can.

30 Rock is like one of those tiny, cheap little neighbourhood restuarants you accidentally stumble across that turn out to be magnificent, and leaves you wondering why everybody isn’t raving about it. It’s an NBC comedy show, in its second season (Both now available on DVD.) about the comings and goings on a Saturday Night Live style comedy show filmed in the NBC New York studio at 30 Rockefeller Centre ( Geddit?).

The show recently got a much deserved boost thanks to its writer, creator and star Tina Fey’s very funny performance as Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign, but the fact is, the show can stand on its own.

Watch out for Alec  Baldwin’s superb performance as the slightly mad Jack Donaghey, head of NBC. It’s up there with William Shatner in Boston Legal. Get it before the bastards decide to cancel it and put on America’s Next Top Psychotic School Gunman instead. 

 

 
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It is 2010. Sinn Fein and Co. have won the General Election. Part 2.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 26, 2009 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

Minister for Finance, Joe Higgins TD
Minister for Finance, Joe Higgins TD

September 2011.

Joe Higgins announces proposals to nationalise 50 largest Irish companies. AIB, CRH pledge to fight proposals in the courts.

Record increase in company failures as inability to reduce overheads through redundancy drives companies into collapse. Leaks of heated fights in cabinet between SF ministers and SP ministers over use of state money to bail out small companies. SF TDs reportedly under huge pressure from small business supporters in constituencies for aid, SP ministers propose nationalisation regardless of size.

Coir/Youth Defence call for scrapping of civil partnership and existing welfare benefits for gays at ard fheis. Joe Higgins condemns comments.

Unemployment reaches 26.5%. EU Commission blocks payment of structural fund over breach of borrowing rules. Richard Boyd Barrett calls for mass public demonstrations against EU.

Hospital waiting lists leaps as now abolished private insurance patients join list.

700,000 private health insurance policy holders march in Dublin. Richard Boyd Barret calls for mass public demonstration against mass public demonstration.

Government support drops to 41%.

Energy minister Cillian Forde announces that all oil and gas fields off the coast are to be nationalised in the name of the people. Major oil companies vow that they will not assist in the exploitation of the natural resources. A government spokesperson declares that it is better that the gas remain in the ground than become profits for the exploitative ruling classes and their agenda to crush the international working peoples and their all………the statement goes on for some time.

 

October 2011.

Joe Higgins announces difficulty in borrowing additional funds for massive rises in public spending. Suggests pact with Venezuela.

US multinationals announce plans to scale back on operations, refusing to pay workers. Government announces plans to prosecute companies.

Drug trial collapses due to jury intimidation. Senior Gardai blame lack of Special Criminal Court. Aengus O’Snodaigh threatens senior Gardai with dismissal. Gardai respond with “Blue Flu” work to rule. DUP First Minister offers to deploy PSNI officers in south, but is rebuffed. DUP condemn “partitionist” approach to policing on the island by Sinn Fein. 

Bus, train drivers demand anti-inflation pay rise. Government agrees.  

US Government warns of visa restrictions against Irish citizens. Richard Boyd Barrett calls for mass public demonstrations against US.

Emigration, particularly of heavily taxed graduates, rises sharply.

Unemployment reaches 28%.

Joe Higgins proposes withdrawal from Euro to permit government to print money.

A sharp rise in inflation to 11% triggers public sector unions to demand emergency additional pay increases.

Government support falls to 32%.

 

November 2011.

Government announces suspension of Euro membership, and immediate issue of An Punt Nua. ECB suspends Irish membership of Eurozone. Government announces strict exchange controls, bans on buying or selling of foreign currency. Prices of imports soar, causing inflation to leap to 18%.

Government begins printing of New Punts, agrees to public sector demands.

Exports collapse in chaos of currency confusion. Companies collapsing soar. Unemployment leaps to 31%.

Government announces massive public sector hiring programme to reduce unemployment.

Government satisfaction collapses to 15%.

New Punt plummets in value as Central Bank prevented from massive interest rate rises needed to protect it. Effectively inconvertible with foreign currencies, thus preventing Irish from travelling abroad. Strikes, collapse in hospitality industry following tax rises keep foreign tourists from visiting Ireland.

Large public demonstrations against New Punt, price rises and unemployment increase. Sinn Fein, Socialist TDs assaulted by mob outside Dail, rescued by Garda riot squad.

Joe Higgins calls for nationalisation bill to be moved. Bill fails as Coir/Youth Defence, Labour and independents vote against.

Richard Boyd Barrett calls for mass public demonstration against Coir/Youth Defence and Labour.

 

December 2011.

Government announces that possession of foreign currencies to be made illegal in attempt to strengthen New Punt as blackmarket use of Euronotes found to be widespread. Draconian sentences proposed for those found in possession of foreign currency. Garda commissioner warns of practical inability to enforce such a law. Minister O’Snodaigh threatens to dismiss Garda commissioner, and replace Garda with a “People’s Community Militia.”

Enterprise Ireland warn of massive emigration by skilled graduates. Joe Higgins proposes Graduate Exit Tax. 

French President offers financial aid if Ireland returns to Maastricht criteria. Richard Boyd Barrett calls for massive public demonstrations against  France.

Unemployment reaches 37%, inflation 30%. Reports of fistfights within Sinn Fein parliamentary party. Daily demonstrations against government. Cuba offers to send troops to assist maintain public order. US warns it will not permit Cuban troops to land in Ireland.

Government support falls to 7%. Public sector unions demand pay increases in Euro to tackle inflation, refusing New Punts. EU warns that illegal printing of Euro notes will be regarded as an act of economic war against EU. German Chancellor warns that national mint will be “decommissoned by whatever means necessary” if government attempts to print Euronotes illegally. French fighters from the aircraft carrier Richlieu, sitting in Dublin Bay, overfly the mint in Sandyford to make a point. Government orders army to shoot down planes but army unable to due to refusal of govt to invest in “militarist equipment”. PANA stages an Anti Aircraft mime show to attempt to ward off French military aircraft with positive “Peace Energy”. French aircraft seem impervious.

Rioting by teachers, nurses as government unable to meet Euro demand. Martin Ferris deploys army to surround Leinster House. Government deputies have to be evacuated by helicopter. Shocking scenes on television as panicked government deputies engage in punch up on roof of Leinster House for last seats on army helicopters. Image of a Sinn fein deputy rabbitpunching Richard Boyd Barrett in the throat graces front of The Economist, London Times, New York Times, etc. President Obama offers to deploy Massachuesetts, Illinois National Guard to Ireland. Government refuses.

Reports of graduates sneaking across border into Northern Ireland, avoiding paying GET. Martin Ferris orders army to seal border. DUP/SF government in North in chaos as British government refuses to seal border with PSNI/Army.

  

January 2012.

ICTU calls general strike over government failure to tackle inflation, unemployment. Public transport, buses, supermarkets, hospitals all closed.

Public sector unions slate government over inflation, demanding restoration of the Euro.

Government taken to court by IBEC/ICTU over unilateral withdrawal from Eurozone as a breach of the Maastricht treaty. 

Aengus O’Snodaigh calls for strikes to be made illegal.

Government TDs complain of suffering violent assault on streets by members of public. All are issued with Garda bodyguards.

Govt parties now at 8% in opinion poll.

Supreme Court rules that withdrawal from Masstricht treaty requires referendum.

After nineteen hour cabinet meeting government agrees to put EU withdrawal to a referendum. Taoiseach McDonald insists that all government members be free to call Yes or No vote to continued EU membership.

Date for referendum set. Government rocked as McDonald calls for No vote against leaving EU. Richard Boyd Barrett calls for mass demonstrations against the Taoiseach.

Fianna Fail/Fine Gael/Labour/Green NO campaign sits quietly by as government parties tear each other part during referendum. Coir/Youth Defence announce that the government is in the grip of a secret homosexual Satanist conspiracy. Joe Higgins denounces Sinn Fein as members of the nationalist bourgeois establishment.

On a turnout of 65%, Ireland votes No to EU withdrawal by 81%.

Government loses motion of no confidence moved by its own members. General election called. Richard Boyd Barrett calls for mass public demonstrations against the president, the government, EU, US, Worldbank, multinationals, The Economist, fatty foods, etc.

Breakaway faction in PBP at National Convention cause chaos as delegates denounce each other for being “Careerist Kerenskyists” and condemn government as “bourgeois sellouts.” Calls made for working classes to rise up and form a workers collective.

They don’t.

They do however elect FF/FG TDs in massive numbers.

Every member of the cabinet loses seat. Caoimhin O’Caoilain sole remaining LCA TD, by nine votes on the 17th count.

 
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It is 2010. Sinn Fein and Co. have won the General Election.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 25, 2009 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

An Taoiseach, Mary Lou McDonald TD

An Taoiseach, Mary Lou McDonald TD

June 2010.

The perfect political storm occurs. Unemployment is at 18% in the run up to polling day. A hurricane hits the west coast on polling day, depressing turnout. Yet another scandal about strange payments to Fianna Fail politicians erupts, and in a pre-election debate Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny is actually made cry by an embattled Taoiseach Cowan, which causes many FG voters to stay at home, or vote for independent candidates.

The stunning performance of Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald in a following debate galvanises left wing support, and cements her position as leader of the Sinn Fein/Socialist Party/People Before Profit/Independent Socialist Left Change Alliance (LCA).

With turnout at a record low of 48% concentrated primarily in the East, the count lasts over nine days, with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael narrowly losing scores of seats by tiny margins.

 

Fianna Fail             48

Sinn Fein               39

Fine Gael               28

Labour                  15

Socialist Party         10

People Before Profit     6

Green Party              3

Coir/Youth Defence       3

Independents            14

 

When the Dail meets to elect a new government, Mary Lou McDonald is nominated by Sinn Fein, Socialist, PBP and independent deputies brought on board by generous spending commitments to their constituencies, including a €850 million new university in North Leitrim, a €1.4 billion Roscommon International Airport and a €1.2billion light rail system for Wexford town, the Wexford Area Rapid Transit.

The Labour party, in bitter chaos following its surprising reversal, refuses to vote against the first left wing and female Taoiseach nominee with a real chance of being elected, and promises to vote on issues as they arise. Following the defeat of outgoing Taoiseach Cowan, and no candidate winning a majority, the Ceann Comhairle, a recently elected former FG TD elected as an independent, suspends the house for a day to allow for negotiations between the parties.

The following day, Mary Lou McDonald announces a minority LCA government elected with by Labour abstentions and support from Labour rebels, the three Coir/Youth Defence deputies, and a number of independent deputies, giving nominee McDonald a majority. A row proceeds to break out when Labour discover that McDonald has promised Coir/Youth Defence a cabinet position.

  

An Taoiseach            Mary Lou McDonald TD SF

Tanaiste, Finance       Joe Higgins TD SP

Foriegn Affairs         Richard Boyd Barrett TD PBP

Justice                 Aengus O’Snodaigh TD SF

Health                  Sean Crowe TD SF

Defence                 Martin Ferris TD SF

Enterprise              Mick Murphy TD SP

Social and Family       Martin O’Hallorhan TD CYD

Agriculture & Food      Patricia McKenna TD Ind

Education               Claire Daly TD SP

Environment, Energy

and Marine              Cillian Forde TD SF

Chief Whip              Pearse Doherty TD SF

 

July 2010.

Taoiseach McDonald announces that the Dail will remain in session for six months solid to push through the government programme “Building a Socialist Ireland”. Government immediately announces that it will meet INO demands for a pay increase and cut to a 35 hour week.

Government introduces emergency budget, increasing public sector pay, and large increases in public spending in all areas, with particularly large increases in welfare, health and education. NGOs and pressure groups express delight as their “shopping lists” are all met. Large Increases in capital gains tax and corporate taxation are announced. Government abandons Maastricht borrowing criteria.

Minimum wage increased from €8.65 per hour to €12.00. Government satisfaction rises to 57% in polls.

Massive protests from business.

Clare Daly calls for bill to permit “Councils of Working Class people” to start taking decision making powers off  state bodies, businesses. Commission to define “working class” set up.

Justice minister O’Snodaigh announces that Ireland shall offer political asylum to any individual who requests it, and shall not deport any asylum seeker.

 

August 2010.

Government introduces Neutrality Act, banning all businesses from selling any product to any country on a proscribed list. Food exports to middle eastern countries are banned.

Small Firms Association announces large numbers of layoffs caused by increases in costs to business caused by minimum wage and business taxation increases.

Socialist Party Enterprise minister Mick Murphy TD rushes through emergency legislation to prevent businesses from dismissing employees.

Teachers, public sector unions issue demands for pay increases in line with those received by nurses. Government parties agree to all demands as per previous public commitments.

Unemployment reaches 22%. ECB, European Commission warn government on huge increases in borrowing.

Richard Boyd Barrett bans US forces from Shannon. Protests from local businesses, unions. 

Aengus O’Snodaigh scraps Special Criminal Court, Offences against the state act, disbands Special Branch.

Coir/Youth Defence minister Martin O’Hallorhan introduces generous Stay At Home Allowance for mothers. A row breaks out over regulations which say that the payment will only be made to married women whose children were born within wedlock. Joe Higgins attacks the minister in public. Verbally, that is. 

Sean Crowe announces immediate closure of all public-private hospitals, scrapping of National Treatment Purchase Fund as “un-socialist”, and prepares for abolition of private health insurance as per Sinn Fein’s manifesto.

Government support reaches 59%.

“Working Class Commission” resigns in failure to agree definition of working class for purpose of working class councils. Members argue publicly as to whether working class is a product of birth or economic status. Commission does rule, however, that a public sector employee earning over €75,000 per annum is working class, whereas a self-employed shopkeeper earning €30,000 is a member of the upper class ruling elite.  

To be continued.

 

 

 
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Enda Kenny attacks Mary Harney for carrying out FG policy.

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

Speaking in the Dail yesterday, Mary Harney said that “I find it strange that when we ask hospitals to make efficiency savings, some hospitals decide that the most sensitive area is the area that should be cut first.” She may be right.

Enda Kenny has demanded she resign for saying that.

Mary Harney is one of the most courageous politicians of her generation, in that she took on willingly the Kryptonite of government departments, whilst others, including the Taoiseach,  ran from it as soon as they could. But in making that  statement, she needs now to give an example of a hospital where a less sensitive cut could have been made.

By doing so, she will have proven her point, and then put the question to Enda Kenny: Is he really up to the job of reforming the public sector? Because if he believes that there are no savings to be made at all within our hospitals then he is not fit to be Taoiseach.

Additional note: Just looked at FG’s health proposals. This is what they say:

2. EFFICIENCY is not an optional extra
The Government seems to believe that efficiency is somehow an optional extra. It is no surprise, therefore, to find Ireland ranked 24th in Europe for value for money. FairCare, by making the system much more efficient and transparent, will allow more patients to be treated, and help ensure that taxpayers’ money is not wasted.”

You can see the complete FG plan here: http://www.faircare.ie/plan.html

So, in other words, Fine Gael policy is that savings in hospitals can be made without cutting the more sensitive services. Which is what Mary Harney is saying. Hmm.  I wonder, should someone tell Enda what FG policy is?
   

 
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Chapters Bookshop: The Painted Jezebel of Bookshops.

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

More Books! Aggh!

More Books! Aggh!

So there I was, minding my own business, strolling back from the Hugh Lane gallery with She-Who-Chooses-To-Grace-My-Life-With-Her-Presence when we stumble upon Chapters bookshop. It was at that moment that I foolishly suggested we stick our head around the door.

With some men, it’s drink. Others drugs. With me, it’s books. I buy the damn things like they’re going out of fashion, far faster than I could ever read them. There I was, mooching about, and I see “Borrowed Time”, a history of Britain during the inter-war years by former Labour MP Roy Hattersley. As you do. Only, it IS as I do. Had I not been looking at the very same book, in paperback, in Gatwick Airport only a week previously, for £12.95 Sterling? And yet here it was is Chapters for €4.99 in hardback. Sure, it would be a crime not to buy it!

And that’s how it starts. You see, Chapters is particularly evil, because as well as having the usual up to date titles, it flogs all the remaindered books. All those ones that you looked at a year ago and thought ” That looks good, But I’m not paying €30 for it. I’ll wait for it in paperback.” Well, this is where they go to live, at good prices too, the bastards.

I left the store €30 lighter, shaking my fist at the door.

 
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We need to introduce Proportional Representation (No, we haven’t already got it, and yes, we can get it without a referendum too.)

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

PR by the back door?

PR by the back door?

Pause…….I know what you’re going to say: “But we have PR!” Well, actually, we don’t. What we have is an electoral system which admittedly is fair in that, unlike the UK, it actually counts all the votes. However, it isn’t proportional, because it sets a very high quota (Between 15%-25%) to win a seat, and as a result, voters cannot elect “pure candidates”. Small parties with small first preferences and poor transfers struggle to get elected.

What it means is that most candidates who get elected are basically middle of the road, politics free, and transfer friendly. It means that we end up with politicians who have almost no political ideals. Just look at the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael parliamentary parties. Most of their members are interchangeable. Even Labour and the PDs had people in their PPs who were local grafters with a party label as opposed to been ideals driven.

Is this a good thing? We end up with a centrist political system, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it makes change very very slow. Where are the groups of TDs who are elected with a hope of changing specific things as opposed to just being TDs whatever it takes? Why do we not have a strong socialist party, for example? Sure, people point to Joe Higgins in the EP elections, but even Joe will admit that a lot of people who transferred to him would actually be opposed to socialist policies, yet without them, he would not be elected. Why should socialist voters have to rely on non-socialist votes in order to be represented?  

A list system would change this, in that it would allow for parties which are ideas driven to be elected in their own right. People say that they don’t want list systems, because they restrict choice of candidate, but we don’t need to do that. What we could do is do what Australia does. Whilst still using STV, we could create much larger constituencies (Perhaps a 24 seat South Dublin constituency, or a single national constituency of 50 seats running alonside the county based constituencies?) which would lower the quota. How would we count it? What about how long the ballot paper would be? The Australians have solved this with their Senate, and a change in the ballot paper which allows voters to vote for individual candidates or else vote for a party’s pre-approved order of preferences, as 92% of Australians do. You can see the ballot paper here. We can do this, and it is constitutional, in that the maximum size of constituencies, and how STV is actually counted, is dealt with by law, not the constitution.

Our political system is exceptionally resistant to new ideas, and indeed to candidates with new ideas. Why is it that neutrality or abortion have never been settled here? Because we have candidates who want transfer votes, and so do not want to deal with “controversial” issues. Just look at the sort of political leaflets you got during the last elections. I’ll bet 90% of them said nothing that most other candidates couldn’t agree with. That’s not the way the system should work. We should have parties solely dedicated to public sector workers interests and business interests and rural interests. Would it be more divisive? Yes. That’s what elections are actually for.   

            

 
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President Obama kills dragon with roundhouse kick.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 22, 2009 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

The Dragon: Rumoured to be considering seeking the Republican nomination in 2012.

The Dragon: Rumoured to be considering seeking the Republican nomination in 2012.

Following on “Fly-Swat-Gate” President Obama stunned the White House press corps yesterday by downing a giant fire breathing dragon with a series of karate blows to its chest followed up by a roundhouse kick to the face. He then continued explaining his universal health care proposals.

The president later quipped that the incident “Took him back to the primaries with Hillary”.

Fox News has condemned the attack on their employee as “Socialist”, pointing out that a roundhouse kick is “Kinda Asiany, which means that the president is in the pay of Kim Jung Il as we have always suggested.”  

 
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Let’s have a referendum on judges pay. Assuming FF aren’t frightened by men in wigs.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 22, 2009 in Irish Politics

Some public sector employees wearing wigs yesterday.

Some public sector employees wearing wigs yesterday.

We’re voting in October on the Lisbon Treaty. Why don’t we have a referendum on permitting the Oireachtas to cut judges pay? If there isn’t a barrister in this country capable of drafting such a bill, I’m sure we can find one in the UK. Or at least give us all the right to opt out of the government’s new taxes and levies.

Of course, the fact that Fianna Fail won’t do this just goes to show how knackered, stale and just plain wimpish the party is. Every time an FF minister is confronted with a issue, they shrug a highly paid shoulder and basically ask what it has got to do with them? Isn’t it extraordinary that FF, when handed a populist issue like this, just bottle out? I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. The Taoiseach is even afraid of ordering his own TDs to vote to scrap the pre-retirement ministerial pension in case they tell him to f**k off.

I’ve never been a fan of Dev, but I’d bet he wouldn’t have been as big a pussy as this crowd. And he wouldn’t have been afraid of a load of men in wigs either.

 
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There are moments when John Gormley thinks to himself: “How the hell did I end up in this situation?”

Posted by Jason O on Jun 20, 2009 in Irish Politics

Pic by Pixdaus.com

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