Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Other people’s money.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 15, 2010 in Irish Politics

” When the people find that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury, that will be the end of the republic.” Benjamin Franklin.

If you wanted to identify a statement that summed up the problem at the heart of Irish society, there it is, right there. I once had a row with someone (Yes, I do have a lot of rows with people, don’t I?) when I suggested that social welfare payments are essentially society being charitable. I was told that it was their right to get the money. Their right? If they had paid a similar amount in PRSI, then fair enough, but other than that their right to that money involves me being deprived of my right to keep my money, which I created through work. Yet in Ireland, the right of working people to keep their money is regarded as a lesser right than the right of those to get that money. Why’s that? And where’s the party that challenges that?

This isn’t right wing “tax is theft” nonsense, this is about simple fairness. Every euro given by the government to someone involves the government taking it off someone else. As a society, we have all consented to that. But let us be honest about it, not pretend that money from the state is some conjured-from-the-air “right”. 


Cameron: My butler is committed to using the NHS.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 15, 2010 in British Politics, Not quite serious.

Cameron: Not just for his butler, but indeed ALL his domestic staff. You can't get more committment than that!

Cameron: Not just for his butler, but indeed ALL his domestic staff. You can't get more committment than that!

Conservative Party leader David Cameron MP has stressed the Tory party committment to the NHS by stressing that his butler would use nothing else. ” Whether Jennings has his hand severed operating a spinning jenny, or loses a eye reloading a blunderbus to disperse a pack of savage street urchins, let me be clear: Under a Tory government, the NHS will always be good enough for the likes of him.”


One day, someone will take a picture of an owl who doesn’t look pissed off.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 13, 2010 in Not quite serious.
I'm son angry with you, twit twoo!

I'm so angry with you, twit twoo! (Pic by Pixdaus.)


America needs a Centre Party.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 13, 2010 in US Politics

us-flagPeople are complicated. You can be in favour of low taxes, gun ownership, and a balanced budget, which defines you, in American eyes,  as a conservative. Yet what if you also support same sex marriage, are secular, and oppose the death penalty, classic liberal positions? Who on Earth do you vote for?

US politics is banjaxed by the fact that the primary systems force candidates to pander to extremes, and then a two party electoral system ( With fixed districts) which pits the products of this malfunctioning system against each other, if redistricting hasn’t actually rigged the election before a single vote is cast. Where does the middle of the road voter go?

America needs a centre party, which is essentially libertarian in outlook, and tells the left to keep their hands off people’s wallets, and the right to keep their religious beliefs to themselves. And it  needs the single transferable vote, to allow for moderate voters, who represent a majority of American voters, to vote for such an option without splitting the vote of right or left and letting the other guy squeak through.

Well, that’s what I think, anyhow. Any of my American readers (And I know I have them) like to reply?


The two Sinn Feins.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 11, 2010 in Irish Politics

Sinn Fein are demanding that Cllr. Killian Forde, who has joined Labour, resign his seat, as it is a “Sinn Fein seat”. Hmm. Curiously, they didn’t do the same thing here. Yet again, SF saying one thing  on one side of the border, and another thing on the other side. Shockin’ partitionism, just shockin’.   


Leave Noel Dempsey alone!

Posted by Jason O on Jan 11, 2010 in Irish Politics

Noel Dempsey: Some people seem to expect him to be shovelling snow himself.

Noel Dempsey: Some people seem to expect him to be shovelling snow himself.

The hysteria over Noel Dempsey’s holidays says far more about the state of the Irish media than it does about the transport minister. I mean, seriously, where exactly is the damage in him not being here? Which decisions are not being made? The fact is, this is classic lazy journalism, playing the man (any man will do) as opposed to actually covering a proper story. It’s like saying that no crimes get investigated when the Garda commissioner is on his holidays. The coverage of John Gormley is no better, where one paper tried to paint him as a snarling ogre. Large chunks of our media are not serving us well.  


If there was one value…

Posted by Jason O on Jan 11, 2010 in Irish Politics

irish-flagIf there was one value that would define your politics, what would it be? Sure, it’s easy to say something like “Look after the weak” but that’s a vague cop-out, and most people who say that don’t believe it really. If they did, they’d let homeless people sleep in their houses. No, I’m talking about a value which you do actually believe and follow, and informs how you live your life and how you vote. I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, and I think I have it, for me, anyway. It is, quite simply:

” Leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone.”

It sums up my attitude to taxes, social issues, and foriegn affairs. It’s the ultimate human right. It says that if you wish to wear a burka, that’s your business, but if you try to force it on someone against their will, you are wrong. It says that equal respect should be given to the person who pays tax as much as the person who receives it, and that I will decide where my money goes, including to help those less well off than me, not you. It also says that your pollution is my business if it effects me, whereas if you want to sit at home and smoke 100 cigerettes a day, that’s not my concern. It says that if you want to marry a gay, that’s your thing, and if you are opposed to gay marriage, then don’t get married to one.

Is that value really so unique, so unusual? Is it too much to expect a party, a party of freedom, to espouse that? Is it too much to think that 5-10% of Irish voters might even vote for it? 


The Seafarer.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 11, 2010 in Just stuff

the-seafarerWould recommend with enthusiasm Conor McPherson’s “The Seafarer” currently on in The Abbey.

Was dramatic, funny, and set in a recognizable Ireland as opposed to the “Suffrin'” Ireland so beloved by  writers. Very strong cast, with Don Wycherley (of Bachelors Walk fame, although he probably hates that) showing a real talent for slapstick physical comedy.

This is good stuff, don’t miss it.


The Great Party Machine?

Posted by Jason O on Jan 10, 2010 in Irish Politics

” In this ‘Republic’ candidates who stand on a particular party ticket are also happy to use the dedicated membership, the party’s media machine, the party’s finances and support network to get elected with an acute understanding of the party’s policies and ideology. To suggest that the party brand plays no role in the eyes of the electorate when choosing a candidate is absurd, I suggest my good friend that you continue poking politics with a stick as you seem to know little else about it.”

The above was posted on this blog in response to a remark about Killian Forde keeping his seat. Aside from the remark at the end, which is the writer’s opinion, and he’s entitled to it, I was particularly interested in the remarks about dedicated membership, party finances, and best of all, acute understanding of the party’s ideology.

Having known quite a few local election candidates in my time, I was just wondering as to whether they found that remark as  funny as I did, or did they have access to substantial media machines, party finances, and dedicated membership whilst carefully adhering to “party ideology”? Perhaps I’m wrong, but in my experience candidates have tended to rely on their own friends and family rather than a party machine, have received f**k all if anything in terms of cash from the party, and the fabled media machine does little for them personally, and party ideology goes out the window on the doorstep. But I admit, my experience could be radically different.  

Of course party label plays a role, but I still feel that in this republic, most voters still vote personality over party, and that Kilian Forde was elected because he was, primarily, a good candidate. Am I wrong?


Sinn Fein’s Killian Forde to join Labour?

Posted by Jason O on Jan 9, 2010 in Irish Politics

Cllr. Killian Forde

Cllr. Killian Forde

One of SF’s rising stars, Cllr Killian Forde, has quit SF over the Dublin City budget (He voted in favour) and may be about to join Labour, according to David Cochrane over at Politics.ie

I’ve seen Killian speak once, in Trinity, and he was very impressive, and it makes one wonder what is going on in SF? Given the tensions over Lisbon, and Cllrs quitting, one would wonder is there a bit of a Worker’s Party/Democratic Left scrap going on in SF about what way the party should go? It certainly can’t be helped by the serious possibility, especially in Dublin, that FG are not performing as well as they should, and Labour could hoover up protest votes in the nation’s capital, a la Spring Tide II.

By the way, there are some in Sinn Fein who demand that he resign, in that the seat is the property of the party. I’m sorry? Maybe that happens in other countries Sinn Fein are involved in, but in this republic the people elect candidates to office, not the party politburo.

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