Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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The (Revised) Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Inoffensive Dynasty TD.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 9, 2009 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

inoffensiveHandsome in a bland kind of way, he resembles a male model wearing drip dry shirts in a safety wear catalogue. He was never interested in politics, but everyone knew the old man and it was just assumed, and sure enough, when the father moved on, the party moved in. It was the wife who made the decision, and runs the campaign, and, let’s be honest, has the political brain, and should really be the candidate, but she didn’t have the pedigree, and in this party, pedigree is everything.He was comfortably elected first time out, and the wife and his father’s old secretary keep the constituency ticking and a life in his father’s shadow allows his brain to pump out trite, harmless nonsense at the drop of a microphone. He has earnestly declared that he passionately believes in a “world class health service” and “protecting the weakest in our society.” as well as, one assumes, gravity, the North Atlantic, and the fact that the Earth revolves around the sun.
He was asked once as to whether he was ideologically more disposed towards higher taxation or alternatively, spending cuts, and he’d had to lie down in a dark room for a week.
Given his absolute blandness, one wonders as to whether there actually is any real passion behind those dull eyes. It is, of course, quite possible that he pays to be dressed up in tights, suspenders and a bra, tied to a rocking horse and spanked by a woman dressed as an SS Gauleiter, but it’s very unlikely. He’d need an imagination to do that. In recent times he’s got all sorts of people roaring at him about cutbacks and the like, and he doesn’t know why they’re all shouting at him? He’s just trying to run a small family business. But he’s sure of one thing: There should be some sort of elected body to run the country and represent people and make rational decisions about this stuff. He might even write a letter to the papers about it.

 
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A TV series I’m enjoying: Deadwood.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 9, 2009 in Movies/TV/DVDs

The Trebor Mints of language on television: It's extra strong.

The Trebor Mints of language on television: It's extra strong.

I am, I admit, part of a tiny minority that has no interest whatsoever in The X Factor or The Apprentice or indeed any reality TV. There is a reason for it, in that I am blessed with friends and family and indeed work colleagues who are more interesting than the reality TV rabble. As a result, I tend to like my TV to be full of stories and characters I wouldn’t normally encounter in my life, whereas reality TV is full of people I’d try to avoid in a queue in Spar.

Deadwood, set in 1876 South Dakota, hits it on the button. It stars Ex-Lovejoy Ian McShane (When did he turn into such a good actor? Probably in Sexy Beast, where he played the menacing  homosexual gangland boss Teddy Bass, a character for which forever will ensure the movie was known in teenaged boy circles as “That film where Lovejoy gets it up the arse.” But I digress.) as the appropriately named foul-mouthed saloon and brothel owner Al Swearengen, big shot in the rapidly developing gold rush camp/town of Deadwood. True to usual HBO form, the language is incredibly strong, but it’s a fascinating story, and much is based on true events, with real people such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, as well as Swearengen himself, all featuring. An old favourite, Powers Boothe (You’ll know him when you see him.) also features.

Good, solid television, and crammed with all the usual character actors, Deadwood is worth putting on the Christmas stocking list. Just don’t let those of a gentle persuasion watch it. 

 
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The Nail on the proverbial Head.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 9, 2009 in Irish Politics

Well done to the excellent Dan O’Brien of The Economist Intelligence Unit who pinpointed in Saturday’s Irish Times, with laser precision, what the hell is wrong with this country and why our political system is so incapable of making things work properly.

The truth is, genuine patriots in government have to be willing to be unpopular, and confront an age old Irish myth, that is, that an unpopular government cannot possibly be doing the right thing. We pay our elected leaders a lot of money, and for that, they should be willing to be unpopular if it means doing the right long-term thing. Yes, people can argue over what the “right thing” actually is, but in  the Irish context, there tends to be a refusal to even begin that debate. Take nuclear power: We actually buy electricity generated by nuclear power whilst complaining about the reactors that generate the electricity we buy. It’s like someone lecturing a drug dealer about the evils of drugs as he buys drugs off him. Do we honestly think we’re being clever?   

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