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

Perhaps I’m wrong (It wouldn’t be the first time) but…

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

Are some public sector unions now refusing a deal which may restore money that they have already been paid for reforms to work practices which they never actually changed?

In other words, they are complaining that they have had pay which they received for work they didn’t do taken off them? Wasn’t that what benchmarking was for? Increased pay in return for reform? And now they are objecting to that pay being linked to doing the thing they were paid the money for in the first place?

Of course, the biggest cop out is the straw man put up by some in the unions, that they are being punished for a crisis that they did not create. This is only partially true. They didn’t create the banking crisis, of course. But they did negotiate benchmarking, which sent public sector pay to a level we can no longer physically afford. So they are at least partially responsible for us having a wages bill we can no longer afford, surely? 


Interesting article about immigration and the welfare state.

Posted by Jason O on Apr 9, 2010 in British Politics

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, has turned into quite an interesting figure, in that he has found his niche as a social justice campaigner. This article, by The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson, raises some interesting points about the modern welfare state. What really caught my eye was the fact that Duncan Smith has evolved beyond the typical Tory “Everyone on welfare is a scrounger” call to a position which confronts some ugly truths about a state sponsored underclass. And it’s not just a Tory thing: Labour MP Chris Mullin, in his excellent “A View from the Foothills” points out the same thing. There is a generation of liberals who still believe (rightly) that the measure of a civilised society is how you care for people at the bottom of the pile, but are beginning to feel that paying them off to remain in their ghettos is not the answer. The fact that I cannot think of a serious Irish politician who would start a debate on an issue like this makes me realise why I’m becoming more interested in politics outside of Ireland these days.    


Hero of the Revolution: Matthew Elderfield

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

He is "The Regulator"“If only,” Irish people wail, looking over the burnt out wreckage of the banking system, ” we had people involved in public life who just enforced the law, and weren’t twisting and turning according to who’s well-politically-connected millionaire mates. If only we had people who just did their job.” Yet as soon as one man steps up to the plate, and does so, we’re outraged. But what’s extraordinary is the Irish way that one well organised vested interest (Quinn workers) are permitted to completely override the interests of another group (Quinn customers). Of course Quinn workers have a right to defend their jobs. But the regulator has an obligation to protect customers. That’s the law, and if all those FF, FG and Sinn Fein politicians don’t want the regulator to protect the interests of insurance policy holders, then let them say so, rather than try to undermine the office that they voted to create.  

I for one am glad that we have someone like Matthew Elderfield willing to do no more or no less then what the law requires him to do. If  we had had more people like him in the past regulating the banking sector, we would not be in quite the mess we are now. The fact that a Bermudian banking official actually doing his job is now regarded as revolutionary just underlines how bizarre Irish morality has become.

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