A little something I wrote for the good people at E!Sharp magazine here.
E!Sharp: The magazine for people who don't think that a rapporteur is a French version of Eminem.
Posted by Jason O on Aug 14, 2009 in Irish Politics
, Lisbon Treaty
The Spoofer's Guide: Place on tongue and let dissolve slowly. Or read it. Your call.
Last year I wrote a thumbnail guide to the Lisbon treaty. Here’s the new version. With extra guarantees and Evel Knievel added for extra roughage, essential oils and minerals, and now with Omega 3*
Enjoy here, and feel free to link or distribute.
*Promise of essential oils, minerals and omega 3 applies only if guide is consumed with multivitamins.
Posted by Jason O on Aug 13, 2009 in Not quite serious.
A poster for a German Christian Democrat candidate. The slogan reads: ” We have more to offer.” Oh blimey.
Tip o’cap to conservativehome.com
Posted by Jason O on Aug 13, 2009 in Irish Politics
A national institution. So is the social welfare budget.
Colm Toibin has said that An Bord Snip knows “the price of everything and the value of nothing.” I love the way the arts lobby always pretend that other people’s concern about money is slightly vulgar and beneath them and yet fight like rats with PMT in a bag for the same cold hard cash as the rest of us.
The fact is, their snout is in the same national trough as the other 4.2 million of us. They’re as entitled to fight their corner as anyone else, but please, less of the attitude. We are all taking cuts and we are all hurting, and the arts lobby have to take their fiscal cod liver oil too.
Posted by Jason O on Aug 12, 2009 in Irish Politics
I was saddened to hear of the passing of former FG TD and Lord Mayor of Dublin Joe Doyle. I ran against Joe in the local elections of 1999, when he was mayor, and found him to be a thoughtful man who showed me great kindness at the count.
I also remembered him not being afraid to stand up publicly against racism when anti-immigrant feeling was voiced by some during his mayoralty.
A decent man.
Posted by Jason O on Aug 12, 2009 in Books
The War Against Reality.
There are around 125,000 Church of Ireland adherents in the country. Supposing they were the only people allowed vote, and made up the vast majority of members of the Gardai, the army, the judiciary and the civil service, and owned 50% of the land by law, including all the land in Dublin and Cork county.
That was Rhodesia. In Peter Godwin and Ian Hancock’s book, “Rhodesians never die” the story of the quixotic struggle of Rhodesia’s 278,000 whites to maintain control over a nation of five million is told in fascinating detail. In particular, the authors tend to put paid to many of the myths perpetuated by apologists of the Smith regime about the non-racial aspects of the nation. Indeed the general image the regime liked to portray was of a country of hardy white settlers who had “built” Rhodesia when in fact only 40% of white Rhodesians were actually born there. If anything it was the unwillingness of the white population to adapt to a sacrificing concept of total war and ongoing conscription (And not fleeing the country.) that contributed to the eventual collapse of white rule. What is particularly striking was that Ian Smith recognised relatively early after UDI (Where Rhodesia broke away illegally from Britain because Britain demanded one man, one vote. Imagine the shinners trying to dance around that particular pinhead, although it must be stressed that the British were not applying the same fastidiousness in the North of Ireland at the time.) in 1965 that majority rule was inevitable, but was slow to prepare his own (white) people. One of the great ironies, of course, was that Rhodesia probably could have held out longer if it had not been abandoned by the then racist government of South Africa, which attempted to sacrifice it to black Africa in return for detente.
Curiously, when I was reading it I was reminded not of Africa but of a lot of the dream scenarios of the Irish far left, where they espouse the confiscation of the productive elements of the economy, as Mugabe has done in his 29 year reign. In 1979 there were 278,000 whites in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. Today there are less than 50,000. Is Zimbabwe a better place without them? Would Ireland be a better place without the businessmen and entrepeneurs that the far left despise? Perhaps Robert Mugabe, the wealthiest man in Zimbabwe, would, like the self avowed socialist that he is, agree. After all, the average Zimbabwean is better off now than he was in 1980, right? If there was one thing the Mugabe regime did well, it was to teach the ANC in South Africa how not to do it.
Posted by Jason O on Aug 11, 2009 in Lisbon Treaty
In 1992 the Maastricht Treaty gave all citizens of
- EU Citizenship: membership has its privleges.
EU member states parallel citizenship of the European Union. Most eurosceptics went ballistic, denouncing it as an infringement of their sovereign right to be British or Danish. Indeed, many even renounced it, although only symbolically, as it isn’t possible to do so legally.
Why not? Why not let eurosceptics legally renounce their EU citizenship and instead receive a non-EU national passport or identity card? After all, this is a free union, and why should someone have EU citizenship forced upon them against their will?
Of course, in renouncing their EU citizenship, they would also be renouncing the rights that come with it. The right to travel and live and work and study in the EU, and indeed the relative ease of travel throughout the EU. And of course their right under the EHIC to emergency health care when in another EU state. And their right to work without work permits.
Let us give them the right to queue in airports with Bangladeshis and Cameroonians as opposed to using the EU passport channel.
Eurosceptics are very quick to say that this European project has no legitimacy with the people of Europe. Let’s see. Yes, maybe hundreds of thousands will renounce those rights and send back their burgundy passports. Maybe even a few million.
But I suspect that millions more, given the chance, will decide to keep their passports with European Union on the front, and the rights that come with it, and that means something.
Posted by Jason O on Aug 10, 2009 in Just stuff
If this is true, then the woman is actually shockingly deceitful, or if she actually believes this, then crackers.
Posted by Jason O on Aug 10, 2009 in Irish Politics
An Bord Snip? Now, if only we had a National Make Decisions Board.
I see that we are dealing with the McCarthy Report in the same way we deal with everything involving public money in this country: By dancing around the decision.
Stage 1: A call for the “vulnerable” to be protected. The definition of “vulnerable” is so broad as to be pretty much anyone in the country who isn’t either a banker or a serial killer, and I suspect a delegation of serial killers are probably beating a path to their local Fianna Fail TD’s office as I write, and probably not, sadly, on the clock. It might have been easier just to call for cuts on the invulnerable, and tax the bejesus out of Superman.
Stage 2: The public sector unions call any pointing out of their generous salaries, perks and obscene pension entitlements “dividing ordinary workers.” Somewhat akin to Marie Antoinette, in between mouthfuls of gateux, condemning the revolutionaries for “dividing ordinary French people.”
Stage 3: Quivering Fianna Fail TDs, waiting for a spine to shiver up (A great Paul Keatingism if there ever was one.) start to agitate for special treatment for, well, everyone.
Stage 4: Quivering Fianna Fail senators leap to defend their rotton borough electorate (County Councillors) from an “attack on democracy.”
Stage 5: The Opposition call for savings through greater “public sector productivity” whatever that is. How does stamping forms faster save us any money? Even if they worked 100% harder, it’s not like we’d then sack the 50% we no longer need. We’d probably just pay them more for getting Repetitive Strain Injury, or put them on sick leave, and then hire even more of them in the place of the ones on sick leave.
Stage 6: Public take to the airwaves to blame politicians, the EU, the banks, evil tree stumps, etc. At no stage does public’s choices at election time get raised.
Stage 7: Waste €400 million a week whilst debating how serious the situation is, and how we must make a decision soon. Go back to stage 1, rinse and repeat.
Posted by Jason O on Aug 7, 2009 in Just stuff
- Alan Dale: Working actor. Vice Presidents and tycoons a speciality.
F**k me, but hasn’t Jim Robinson done well for himself! New Zealand actor Alan Dale (Yes, he is a kiwi.) is one of those actors who suddenly starts appearing everywhere, from The West Wing to 24 to Law and Order to Ugly Betty to The OC, and all because, bless, of typecasting.
Having played Robinson from 1985-1993 in Neighbours he couldn’t find work in Australia, and so headed off to America, took acting lessons, and created a niche for himself as “powerful bloke main characters have to interact with.”