Posted by Jason O on Nov 30, 2009 in Irish Politics
, Not quite serious.
Our elite legal system swings into action!
Given the moral failings of the Irish as a race, it is hardly surprising that there is a clear and tested timeline to every scandal which besets Irish society, whether it is moral, political, social or financial. The timeline is as such:
1. Issue emerges. Country particularly mortified at how the British media cover it.
2. Public gasps at details. Sunday papers revel in particularly gory details. Fintan O’Toole writes a pithy piece which explains the cogent details very succinctly, and then drizzles it in extra-virgin head shaking like a nice salad.
3. Opposition call for unspecified action (“Something must be done! We need action!”) or specific action outside the power of the government. (“Bishops must resign! The effect on water of gravity must be reversed!”)
4. Government shakes heads, and promises that said event (Clerical child abuse/flooding/banking corruption/asteroid crashing into the Earth) must never be permitted to happen again, and calls for commission to investigate report of commission which investigated incident.
5. Media, political establishment, voters, realising that they actually play golf/went to school/are second cousin of individuals named in report, start calling for “due process” to be observed, and instead focus on details of events as if they were some abstract natural disaster.
6. The lawyers get involved. People’s right to “their good name”, passing of time, death of witnesses, gums up process of pursuit of actual criminals, drags investigations, trials, etc, in and out of high court for years.
7. Government takes money off people who did not commit these crimes (Taxes), and gives it to victims. The perpetrators contribution is eaten up in legal fees.
8. Some public officials take early retirement, on full pension. Which is pretty much the equivalent of a modest win in the National Lottery. Nobody goes to jail, except maybe a journalist who reveals how this thing is panning out, and is done for contempt of court.
9. In general election, Irish people vote for same people who allowed scandal to occur, on basis that although he/she failed to act to prevent sexual assault of children/building houses underwater, etc, he/she was always “very good for the area.”
10. In 10 years, another commission reports on poor handling of this scandal. Reset to step 1.
Posted by Jason O on Nov 26, 2009 in Irish Politics
Leader of a state hostile to this republic?
Apparently, the Vatican has refused to cooperate with the commission into child abuse. In other words, the Vatican, a sovereign state, has refused to cooperate with the investigation into a criminal conspiracy against children in this country.
Fair enough. Let’s make our anger heard. Expel the Papal Nuncio, and withdraw our ambassador from the Vatican. It’s only symbolic, I accept, but if we are willing to not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, a free democracy, then we can certainly break off diplomatic relations with a state that, at its worst, actually shields pedophiles.
Contact your government TDs here and let them know your feelings. And remember, email your local TDs individually, and put your home address on the email. If they get a round robin they’ll ignore it. But they will pay it far more attention if they think it will affect your preference towards them personally at the next election.
Posted by Jason O on Nov 25, 2009 in Irish Politics
, Not quite serious.
The scene of the crime.
Europol announced that they would join in the international hunt for 859,000 people who partook in a criminal conspiracy to defraud Ireland of billions in state revenues. The gang, known as Fianna Fail Voters, engaged in a plot to steal billions from the state coffers by putting in place a collection of confederates who removed the money and dispersed it around the gang.
Gang members who have been apprehended by the authorities have all claimed that they had no idea they were involved, and that the money was “magic money” that they had “come into”. They also stated that although the conspiracy was nothing to do with them they were bitter that there was no more money, and that they should surely be compensated for not getting money from a conspiracy which had nothing to to do with them.
Posted by Jason O on Nov 25, 2009 in Not quite serious.
An iceberg yesterday.
Posted by Jason O on Nov 24, 2009 in Irish Politics
An Tanaiste Jack O'Connor TD?
Consider this: An organisation with branches in every county and industry in the country, well organised and funded by its members, and with a clear ideological agenda. That’s ICTU. Imagine the effect of them deciding to take the final step. Screw your marches and your days of action, we’re taking over! Could they do it?
There are very good reasons against. At the moment, ICTU has good but strained relations with FF, and has the Labour Party like one of those kids from a 1950s American movie who runs behind his big brother absolutely adoring him: “That’s swell, Jimmy! Want gum, Jimmy? Will we go to the ball park Jimmy? Whadd’ll we do now Jimmy?” . That would all change if ICTU went into direct electoral competition with them. Then the gloves would come off.
But would they win any seats? It’s not unreasonable to think that they could win 10-15% of the vote, and maybe 15-20 seats, which could give them some power. But the effect on other parties would be the interesting factor. FF would struggle to win back those votes and run the country at the same time, and would almost certainly become paralysed with indecision. Fine Gael would probably just get stuck in, with IBEC, ISME and the SFA flocking to them as the “antidote” party, and Labour would look like a shattered wife who’s just seen her husband run off with the aupair, although the effect on the party, losing its public sector wing, may finally force it to confront merger with FG into a US-style Democratic Party.
But this is all just political erotica anyway, because there’s a good reason why ICTU will never do this: Because even if they did extraordinarily well, and won, say, 35% of the vote, it would confirm that they speak for a minority of Irish workers. Far better to keep up the pretence than ever actually test it.
Posted by Jason O on Nov 23, 2009 in Irish Politics
Val Falvey TD: Sure, you knew the father well.
I enjoyed Arthur Matthews’ and Paul Woodful’s new comedy show based on the panicky midlands TD of the title. I don’t know if you could call it great satire, but its portrayal of the mediocrity and ridulousness of Irish political life is pretty accurate, and it had a few genuinely funny lines (“Most people think the Nazis invented marketing. They did a good job, but they didn’t invent it. Padraig Pearse did.”), especially when he met his constituents in the clinic. Anyone ever involved in politics will attest to how accurate the scene is. The theme song made me laugh out loud, and Ardal O’Hanlon and Owen Roe also play nicely together. I’ll be watching more.
Posted by Jason O on Nov 23, 2009 in US Politics
A Redistricted (Fiddled) Constituency.
A wonderful bit of political nerd playdough here. I’m warning political junkies now: This thing can eat up time messing with it!
In the US, gerrymandering, or redistricting, as it’s called, is in the hands if the state legislatures and is done with such precision as to make the vast majority of seats (Because of individual voter party registration: A bizarre concept to Europeans!) either solidly Republican or solidly Democratic. It’s shockingly corrupt to an Orwellian degree, and means that general elections don’t matter in huge tracts of the US, as far as legislative seats are concerned. On top of that, it means that the real election is decided in the primaries, which means that the winners tend to be either extreme liberals or extreme conservatives, and you end up with a polarised political system where centrist voters are almost completely excluded.
The funny thing is, the Irish electoral system, which causes problems of its own in Ireland, would be ideal for resolving most of these problems.
Posted by Jason O on Nov 18, 2009 in European Union
, Irish Politics
From today’s Irish Times:
” Fine Gael spokeswoman on European Affairs Lucinda Creighton congratulated the new commissioner but said her relationship with Declan Ganley would have to be clarified. “The Taoiseach needs to come out immediately and clarify whether Máire Geoghegan-Quinn as a former minister for communications sat on the board of one or more of Declan Ganley’s companies, and if so, which companies, for how long and in what capacity.”
It’s this kind of “Aha! we got her!” political point scoring which FG seems to value so highly which irritates me so much. Surely the government has enough real flaws without sly insinuations like this? So what if she worked for Ganley? Lucinda Creighton, and Fine Gael, is better than this.
Posted by Jason O on Nov 18, 2009 in European Union
, Irish Politics
MGQ: Commissioner for cleaning up the accounts?
MGQ would not have been my first choice for commissioner, but I can understand the logic of appointing her, especially given the gender issue in the commission. She was a courageous justice minister too. What’s interesting though is the speculation that she may get the budget job in the commission, because she was mentioned in UKIP MEP (And former EU chief accountant) Marta Andreasen’s book “Brussels Laid Bare” on the issue of the commision’s dodgy accounts. This is what it said:
P56: ” He (Director General of the budget directorate) added that as the Court of Auditors had always declared the accounts “reliable” if they were no better or worse, he was sure the court would not be able to change that opinion. Clearly riled, Miss Geoghegan-Quinn pointed out that the court was not going to be inhibited from giving a very negative opinion, or even withhold an opinion, by that kind of argument.”
P71:” A few days later I got a call from Maire Geoghegan-Quinn’s…cabinet head to let me know that copies of my letters to President Prodi and Vice President Kinnock had come into their hands. “Did you mean to send them to us?” I said that had not been my intention. He said he would tell Fabra Valles, President of the Court, that I would write to them that that had not been my intention and that I was “..not requesting help from them.” I could only respond that , while I had not specifically intended that the letters come their way, I had no reason to write refusing their help. I was puzzled by all this. In the past, the Auditors had so often shown themselves to be on my side. Several times, they had explicitedly expressed the hope that I would fix the problems with the EU budget.”
Miss Andreasen’s name is poison amongst pro-Europeans, and unfairly. I don’t agree with all her conclusions in the book, but the reality is that those of us who believe in european unity and the European Union should not be afraid to challenge its flaws and repair them, rather than lash out at those who point out those flaws. I hope MGQ will be of the same opinion.
Posted by Jason O on Nov 18, 2009 in Irish Politics
Do as we say, not as we do.
They keep turning up, those little statements of “conventional wisdom” by which we are supposed to run our society. You hear them everywhere, in pubs, on the telly, and most of all, from the mouths of people wanting to protect whatever vested interest they happen to be a part of.
1. Wealth is a natural occurring phenomenon. It occurs regardless of anyone actually working or taking entrepeneurial risk. Unlike in other coutries, where wealth is created by people thinking up things that other people may wish to pay for, in Ireland wealth is just “there.”
2. Because wealth is just “there”, it is only fair that it should be shared out. The fact that many of the people who did not “gain” from the Celtic Tiger did nothing to help create it is not the point. They should get their “fair” share.
3. People should always be put before money. Always. Except where this involves anyone who receives money from other taxpayers or taxpayers being asked to contribute to the funds that allow additional expenditure on people instead of cuts. That money should be put before people, who can go to hell, the bastards.
4. The vested interests run the country. They are ruining the country for ordinary publicans, public sector workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, ESB workers, Dublin Bus drivers, Gardai, farmers, the arts community, the legal profession, taxi drivers, etc.
5. If only the ordinary people could be listened to. If only those two million voters who sneak into the country on polling day and vote to elect awful politicians and then sneak out again would stop doing that, and just let the ordinary people vote.
6. Sure doesn’t the rest of the World love us? Why wouldn’t they? Telling Estonians that they’re morally inferior because they joined NATO to stop their wives and daughters being raped by Russian soldiers. Or lecturing the British for generating the nuclear powered electricity that we buy off them. Or making sure that our daughters can get abortions whilst wagging the finger at those abortionists in the EU. Or kicking out illegals whilst demanding that our own illegals in the US be given special treatment. Or opposing the arms trade whilst flogging products to every scumbag dictatorship in the world. Or condemning the war in Iraq whilst selling bodhrans to US troops going through Shannon. Sure, why wouldn’t they love us?
7. We are, as a nation, cleverer than other nations. Managing to be as two-faced as we are (See point 6.) just shows how cute and cunning we are. The fact that “honour” is not a word heard much in Irish society says reams about us. That more serious nations just tolerate us whilst shaking their heads quietly to themselves is a fact lost to us, because we are so cute.