Posted by Jason O on Dec 30, 2009 in Not quite serious.
It’s 1943, and Eamonn De Valera is dead in a car crash. Young new Taoiseach Sean Lemass is faced with a choice which could change the destiny of the nation.
Posted by Jason O on Dec 30, 2009 in Irish Politics
The race for City Hall. Or somewhere like it, anyway.
It looks like June 2010 will be the next big bunfight between the parties, when the people of Dublin, if John Gormley is to be believed, will be electing a mayor for Dublin. So, who are to be the contenders?
Labour’s Dermot Lacey, former lord mayor and current sitting councillor for the Pembroke ward, must at least have a serious call on his party’s nomination, for the fact that he is one of the few councillors who has ever expressed a desire (or even a passion?) to stay in local politics for its own end, and for being a gutsy lord mayor of Dublin. His public profile might be a problem, which would suggest that big hitters like Ruairi Quinn and Pat Rabbitte might be worth pondering. There’s also the fact that Proinsias De Rossa has both name status, north/south appeal and the fact that if he were elected, Labour wouldn’t lose his european parliament seat.
Gay Mitchell must be the big name for FG (And the favourite to win if he runs.), what with the same appeal as De Rossa and also the means to save his euro seat.
The shinners will be tempted to run Mary Lou again, but there is such a thing as collateral damage. You can only lose so many elections before people start thinking there’s something wrong with you, and it’s pretty unlikely that SF can actually win. Perhaps a blooding for the impressive cllr. Killian Forde or the articulate Eoin O’Broin, two of their coming stars in Dublin? Forde’s support for the scrapping of bin waivers could be sold as a man getting ready to make decisions as opposed to call for stuff, and O’Broin more than held his own in debates during Lisbon.
The Greens will have their work cut out, and would probably be better suited finding someone from outside the party, but with an name for urban thinking. Duncan Stewart? Frank McDonald?
The left: Joe Higgins will probably take a run, on the nothing to lose ticket, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Richard Boyd Barrett of the Socialist Workers Party People Before Profit No To War Save Dun Laoghaire Pier And The Baths While You’re at It Alliance doesn’t have a go as well.
And Finally, there’s Fianna Fail: FF will be tempted to run yer man from Drumcondra, but I reckon he’s beginning to get the finger pointed at for the state of the economy, and he may end up having the same effect on their vote in Dublin as CJH did, getting as many people to the polls who don’t like him as who do. I wouldn’t be surprised if FF choose someone completely unknown from their own ranks, who can at least claim to be fresh (And ideally young and female.) or else a celebrity candidate.
As to whether we will have an election, minister Gormley has been pretty vague about what powers the mayor will have. If the mayor can’t directly instruct the county and city managers, and hire and fire people, like the head of Dublin Bus, the question will be asked: What’s the point? Can we really afford to elect a highly paid figurehead? The reply will be that the mayor can “bring people together”. But can’t we just appoint a minister of state for Dublin to do that, and save the few quid? The minister needs to tread carefully here. This election has the danger of turning into a Why? election instead of a Who?
Posted by Jason O on Dec 29, 2009 in Irish Politics
When the people at Anglo Irish looked out the window, they suddenly realised that everything had changed.
Let’s be honest. As a nation, we don’t trust one another. We constantly believe that some “click” or golden circle somewhere is always getting the better over us. On the flip side, we are always trying to get into the self same circles, whether it is the group who “really” run the local GAA or merely trying to get a builder to do something for us without the VAT that everyone else pays.
It permeates our society, to the extent that whilst we are happy to remove honest politicians from office (Dick Spring, Michael McDowell, Joe Higgins) you’d struggle to name any dishonest politicians that we voted out for being dishonest. At the last local elections, we re-elected two councillors, one who had been jailed for corruption, the other named in the tribunals. It’s our culture.
It raises the question as to whether we are actually capable of running a straight country, given the culture. We know that we have to run the country honestly, we’re just not willing to do it ourselves. Maybe it’s to do with the fact that we get very comfortable with each other, and loyalty is the trait, above every thing else, that is respected the most in Ireland. It is also one of our greatest obstacles to progress as a nation.
Imagine if An Bord Plenala was made up of Finnish, Danish and Swedish planners. Imagine if we handed Anglo-Irish over to a team of FBI agents and US Attorneys.
Even if they couldn’t get a prosecution, we’d feel better about it.
Posted by Jason O on Dec 28, 2009 in Movies/TV/DVDs
Blaze: One of those movies that should be better known than it is.
“Blaze” tells the (Highly-fictionalised) story of Earl Long (Played by a brilliantly on-form Paul Newman.), Governor of Louisiana in the 1940s, and his affair with a notorious stripper named Blaze Starr. It’s a funny, touching film about a flawed but genuinely compassionate politician who was one of the first southern politicians to stand up for black rights. Keep an eye out for his brilliantly simple response to being put into a mental asylum by his political enemies whilst still governor.
Posted by Jason O on Dec 25, 2009 in Irish Politics
Just a quick question: Frank Dunlop, who I see has been let out for Christmas, was convicted of bribing a fella. If he has been found guilty of bribing, how come we have not convicted the guy he bribed?
Posted by Jason O on Dec 25, 2009 in Irish Politics
Book 'em, Danno.
There is talk of an “inquiry” into the banking crisis. Why? What will be the benefit, other than to spend another quarter of a billion, which we haven’t got, on a report? Will it help jail anyone? Did the Beef Tribunal?
Would it not be cheaper to stick Shane Ross, Matt Cooper and Fintan O’Toole in a room, bung ‘em 20k a piece for their trouble, and ask them to give us a 60 page synopsis of their combined books?
Most Irish people don’t want another tribunal. They want people to go to jail. Let’s start seeing some fellas been led out in handcuffs. In fact, they’d be happy if one particular banker, and you all know who I’m talking about, went to jail for misleading shareholders.
If we have to have an inquiry, let the Oireachtas do it DIRT style, on the cheap and with no lawyers. Only this time, the voters have to promise to actually reward the poor bastards for doing the business, instead of sacking them, as the disgraced voters of Dublin Central did to Jim Mitchell for doing all that high falutin’ parliamentary stuff.
Posted by Jason O on Dec 23, 2009 in Irish Politics
, Not quite serious.
Ogra: Politics for people not interested in politics.
It’s the twitchiness you notice first. The same sort of shiftiness you see with a guy meeting Tony Sporano, and wearing an FBI wire. Put him in a room with a half a dozen other Ogra FFers, and watch the glint of fear in his eyes, as they all circle, looking for that chink of weakness that will allow him to drive the dagger into the ribs of his “party colleague”.
Why did he join FF? What does he believe in? He can’t help but blurt out a pre-cooked answer but it means nothing. Ask him what he wants to do in politics, and it’ll be to hold a political job, and “work for his local community/parish”. They’re not bad goals, they’re just not anything worth remembering. And yes, he will be elected a councillor, and then a senator, and then a TD, and then a junior minister and maybe into the cabinet, and serve for 25 years and then retire and die, and his obituary will say that he worked for his local community/parish. But he won’t be a Noel Browne or a Des O’Malley or even a De Valera. He’ll never have an ism named after him. Politically, it’ll be like he never existed, which is grand if you’re appearing in front of a tribunal but not worth much if legacy matters anything to you.
When politicians from other countries meet him, with his glass of tepid water views, they will wonder what is the point of voting for him. He’ll sneer at those people in Sinn Fein and Labour and the Greens who “believe” in things, the eejits, with their “policies” and books, and he avoid’ll ever putting a view to paper for fear it’ll be the wrong heartfelt view to hold by Tuesday lunchtime.
But one thing is certain: In 1916, when people who actually believed in things were shooting out the windows of the GPO, he’d would have been up at Dublin Castle putting in the tender for the contract to replace them. For someone who peppers his speeches with references to “the men of 1916″, the reality is that if it had been left to Ogra, we’d still have a union jack flying over Dublin Castle.
Posted by Jason O on Dec 22, 2009 in Not quite serious.
Of course I'm taking the piss. It's Roger Moore, for God's sake!
Posted by Jason O on Dec 21, 2009 in Just stuff
I was reminded recently that I have now been blogging for over a year, and was asked for advice and observations on it. The biggest observation is my surprise that people read it, as my analytics, comments and emails seem to show. I have enough people reading it to know that it is not just my mates, which is nice, but Dutch grandmothers, British eurosceptics and a cluster in Brussels, funnily enough. What surprises me is that the surreal mix of things I’m interested in, politics and elements of our pop culture, is something that some people get. Although, the fact that I was able to hold forth on the condition of Burt Ward’s (Who played Robin in the 1960s Batman series) mickey was something that even surprised me. Yes, I will blog on that later, for those interested.
Secondly, I do enjoy it. As someone who has written commercially, and for my own pleasure, I follow the Larry David rule of always carrying a notebook and pen, because you never know when something will occur to blog about. As a result I have pages of stuff I want to blog on, which means that I am either a) quite creative, or b) in serious need of therapy. As I pre-write many of my blogs, it means that even after I die I will still be able to keep blogging for a bit longer. Which is both creepy and interesting. Actually, how do I know that by the time you read this I won’t already be dead? Woooooo….
As for advice for would-be bloggers: One piece of advice I was given which has rung true. Either commit to regular blogging, or don’t do it at all. There is nothing worse than reading a blog that hasn’t had a posting for weeks. On the other hand, there is such a thing as over-blogging. A pal of mine pointed out that I was posting stuff faster than he could read it, that is, he doesn’t read it everyday. So I started posting stuff only every second or third day, and bizarrely, my readership went up.
Finally, another pal of mine once met a guy who told him that he had been on holiday. When he asked him where, the guy said (To his face) that he could read all about it on his blog. Don’t become that guy.
Don’t forget: It’s only blogging, and whereas a handful of bloggers may change the world, most of us will just get the opportunity to bitch about the obscene DVD prices in Tower Records. Find happiness in that, and you’ll do ok.
Posted by Jason O on Dec 21, 2009 in European Union
Got a receipt for that, then?
The always excellent Jon Worth makes a very valid point here about the old eurosceptic chestnut of the EU’s unsigned accounts.