Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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Why does the Government hate (Insert NGO name here) so much?

Posted by Jason O on Jun 17, 2009 in Irish Politics

FF needs a nasty frontman.

FF needs a nasty frontman.

One of the key examples of why Fianna Fail are perceived as being stale is the fact that the let NGOs kick the shit out of them so much, without putting up the reasonable defence, that is, the truth. This is how it works: A given NGO gives an angst ridden picture of its deserving clients. It then highlights the relatively small amount of money that the government has cut, and how it is both penny pinching and mean, and how the government are basically uncaring pricks. The government then takes the abuse.

But that’s not the whole picture. If it were a question of a few million here or there there’d be no problem, but it isn’t. A few million here and there adds up to billions we don’t have, yet the government doesn’t explain that.

The government needs a public spokesperson who will take the crap, be hated, and say the things that FF ministers don’t want to say (in public) because it will make them personally look like pricks. It needs someone who will stand in front of a powerpoint and point out the cash demands of every single NGO, and the sum total which is billions,  and point out that whilst each is individually worthy, none is more worthy that the other, and conceding to them all is not possible. To paraphrase Josh Lyman: ” The government doen’t need to be nasty. That’s why it has me.” FF need to get themselves a Josh Lyman to take, and dole out, the flak.

 

 
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Great books you should read: Reasons to be Cheerful.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 17, 2009 in Books

Mark Steel: Manages to be both left wing and funny.
Mark Steel: Manages to be both left wing and funny.

Mark Steel is a stand up comedian and was a member of the Socialist Workers Party in the UK. His book, “Reasons to be Cheerful” is a very funny insight into what it means to be on the hard left without losing your sense of humour. To be honest, I agreed with very little of his political analysis, primarily because it assumes, quite nobly, that the vast majority of people are honourable and selfless, something which has not been my experience of my fellow man. But then, maybe I’m just a magnet for pricks. Or one myself, maybe. After all, does one know if one is a prick?

For anyone who has had any experience of dealing with the hard left, he’s hit the nail on the head, especially in dealing with the massive proclivity towards self delusion and expectations of betrayal. Let’s be honest, socialists tend to spend far more time fighting each other than they ever do fighting the right. And no, before people get upset, I know the right has its own idiosyncracies. I was in the Progressive Democrats, for f**k’s sake. There is one very funny story in particular about a furious battle within a tiny Trotskyite group to prevent a hand cranked printer being used for counter-revolutionary purposes, and the group’s surreal response. Or another about his opposition to fascist lucky dip stalls.

One of those books you’ll find yourself rereading for the sheer pleasure of it.  

 
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Dave the Penguin was adamant that no whale was having the last Polo mint.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 16, 2009 in Just stuff

 
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Put a member of Ogra FF into the Seanad. Or a dead camel.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 16, 2009 in Irish Politics

A meeting of the Kevin Barry Cummann yesterday.

A meeting of the KBC yesterday.

I see that some members of Ogra FF have started a campaign here on Facebook to get one of their own elected/appointed to one of the Seanad vanancies. It is an interesting idea, or at least, would be, if Ogra was full of vigourous new voices speaking out for their vision  of Irish politics and Fianna Fail.

But that isn’t the case, indeed, the people I’ve met in Ogra, whilst being intelligent (The ones that aren’t wearing their communion suit, smelling of wee, and breathing through their mouths like Gary Glitter at Disney on Ice, at least), are almost hardwired against saying anything in public or in front of each other about any political issue. When they do speak, it’s that treacle nonsense (“We need the country to come together in these difficult times to support the government as it makes the tough but necessary decisions whilst protecting the weak and improving competitiveness”……bleagh!) that pours out of young FFers.

The fact is, Ogra is like a crowd of camels. Sloping around looking suspiciously at each other with a big store of guff to last them through the political wasteland that is FF. When they aren’t trying to f**k each other, either over or literally.

Note: By the way, if any member of Ogra would like to offer a spirited defence, get in touch. I won’t hold my breath. I know how FFers don’t like, you know, writing things down. But the offer stands.      

 
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Great TV you should be watching: The Shield.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 16, 2009 in Movies/TV/DVDs

The Shield: Not quite the good guys.

The Shield: Not quite the good guys.

“The Shield” is proof that we are actually living in television’s golden age, if only because so many of you haven’t heard of it. The fact is, there is now so much good US TV around that we can’t possibly see it all,    and as a result shows like “The Shield” are pushed to late night slots on TV3 where they are never seen except by the drunk and the stoned and the drunk having sex with a slice of still warm pizza stuck to their bum.

The show centres around a special anti-gang “strike team” operating in a poor Los Angeles neighbourhood, led by possibly the greatest TV anti-hero of all, (At least until Dr. Gregory House came along.), Vic Mackey. Mackey is played by a brooding, thuggish Michael Chiklis, who will stun anyone who remembers him from the gentle family comedy drama “The Commish”. Indeed, the whole ensemble cast is superb, in particular Jay Karnes’s socially inept but dogged detective Holland “Dutch” Waggenbach.

The show is rough and hugely politically incorrect, but what really defines it is its moral greyness. Mackey and his team, indeed most of the characters, are either corrupt or at least compromised, and yet when you see what they have to face on a daily basis one can’t help rooting for them. Viewers find themselves hoping that Mackey prevails as he steals drug money from the dealers. One scene in particular, when Mackey faces off against a paedophile who has kidnapped a young girl will turn even the staunchest liberal into a right wing lynchmobber.  

As I said, this is adult drama, and as I’ve said before: Go on, treat yourself.  

 

 

 
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What Irish political parties stand for in 99 words.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 16, 2009 in Irish Politics

Fianna Fail: Remaining in power. Willing to fiddle around the edges of status quo as long as  major stuff isn’t touched.

Fine Gael: Not being  Fianna Fail. Willing to fiddle around the edges slightly more because of Labour but not really willing to touch major stuff.

Labour: Ethical, genuine about social reform. Unwilling to recognise fact that  wealth that funds  public sector is primarily generated by private sector.

Greens: Ethical, genuine about environment. Stunned by responsibility and blame of being in government, and only beginning to realise that the Irish people don’t equate policy achievement with keeping political promises.

Sinn Fein: Struggling to distance itself from more “unconventional” approaches to politics. Slowly moving away from anglophobia, but still unwilling to have an economic policy which balances proposed spending with non-magical taxation.

 
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Silly, I know, but it made me laugh.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 15, 2009 in Just stuff
Den-den-den!

Den-den-den!

 
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Sinn Fein: Afraid to discuss a United Ireland?

Posted by Jason O on Jun 15, 2009 in Irish Politics

Never mind the hugs, let's hear the details.

Never mind the hugs, let's hear the details.

Sinn Fein have announced that they are launching an Irish Unity Task Force (An unfortunate phrase, I thought, but there you go.) headed up by Pearse Doherty and Conor Murphy here.  I think that this should be welcomed, but I have serious doubts as to whether SF will really want to discuss the actual mechanics of a United Ireland as opposed to the romantic reasons for it. Off the top of my head, a number of questions SF should answer:

1. The role of the DUP in the south. Will unionists have guaranteed seats in the cabinet?

2. The role of the British Monarch. Will this be recognised in a post-unity constitution?

3. Will the northern assembly have a guaranteed share of the republic’s tax revenue regardless of its tax contribution?

4. Will the Garda and PSNI be merged, and if so will PSNI forces be allowed operate in the south?

5. Will the British honours system be recognised?

6. Will there be a new flag?

7. Will the British Army be able to maintain recruiting offices in the north?

8. Will the new parliament be run along power sharing lines as in the north?     

9. Will Ulster-Scots be given equal status with Irish?

10. Will the Royal Irish Regiment be merged with the PDF?

11. Will the re-united state be a member of the Commonwealth?

12. Will Northern Ireland’s EU payments and quotas be deducted from our national entitlements?

In fairness to Sinn Fein, if they are willing to get into a detailed debate, warts and all, then that is to be applauded. I remain cynical, but then that’s just me.   

 
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Revenge of the PDs!

Posted by Jason O on Jun 12, 2009 in Irish Politics

The PDs strike back!

The PDs strike back!

Congratulations to Victor Boyhan, Barry Saul, Cait Keane, Bridget Teefy, Terry O’Flaherty, Declan McDonnell, Thomas Welby, Walter Lacey and Paul McAuliffe, all former Progressive Democrats, who got handsomely elected or reelected in the local elections. Some of them struggled to get elected as PDs, which just goes to show that even with good candidates the PD label was often more of a liability.

Except when I ran, of course. I was just a shite candidate. I could have been running for the George Lee/Barack Obama Free €50 Notes For All Party and I still wouldn’t have gotten in.  

 
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Call the FG/Labour bluff: The Greens should demand publication of draft budget.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 12, 2009 in Irish Politics

The Dail? Debating the budget? What nonsense is this?

The Dail? Debating the budget? What nonsense is this?

The Green Party has suffered primarily because it has born the brunt of unpopular cutbacks and tax rises. Yet at the same time, Fine Gael and Labour have managed to benefit from that public anger whilst deftly sidestepping the bleeding obvious question as to what cutbacks would they reverse, and how would they pay for them?

Fianna Fail seem to be paralysed and out of ideas, incapable of thinking outside the box, so it is up to the Greens to do voters a service by asking these obvious questions. But how? One idea would be for the government to offer to publish the next budget in draft form before it is enacted, and then offer to genuinely debate and consider amendments. The government could provide Department of Finance assistance to the opposition to cost any proposed changes to it.

This is not a radical idea in other countries: The US Congress debates the budget for months before enactment, and they’re a proper country. Sure, the opposition may refuse to participate, but then how can they complain about cutbacks when they refuse to amend them when given the opportunity?  Imagine the theatre of Brian Lenihan asking for amendments, and then the Govt benches sitting quietly as the opposition rant and rave to avoid giving any. It will at least force FG and Labour to confront the issue.

Copyright © 2018 Jason O Mahony All rights reserved. Email: Jason@JasonOMahony.ie.