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

Eurosceptics will regret getting what they wished for.

Posted by Jason O on May 18, 2010 in European Union

Germany: The one country that the EU needs more than it needs the EU.

Germany: The one country that the EU needs more than it needs the EU.

Eurosceptics in Ireland and the UK seem to be delighting in the fact that Germany (as mentioned in the WSJ here) may be rapidly losing patience with the Euro and the EU generally. There is talk of a return to the Deutschmark, and if the Euro goes, surely the EU as a project will find itself beached.

But what fascinates me is this: Eurosceptics have always alluded to the idea of a united Europe dominated by France and Germnay and an EU elite. So, supposing that the European project does fail, and the EU disintegrates. Supposing Germany decides to cast off the shackles of the EU and stand as a free, totally independent nation once again. Should we be afraid? Not in a Dad’s Army type way. Modern Germany is a solid democratic nation which does not have imperial designs. But it is also the economic superpower of the region, and so a Chancellor in Berlin is the effective boss of Europe in the same way that the President of the United States is the de facto leader of the Americas. A German chancellor, free from the constraints of the EU consultation process, can just make decisions which, by sheer economic heft, most other European countries will have to accept. If Germany, the biggest market in Europe, decides that all widgets are to be 28mm, then we are all in the 28mm widget business whether we like it or not. At least in the EU we get asked. Is that what we really want? We can have a European Germany which consults, or else live in a German Europe. That’s the choice.         


The boredom of Irish Politics.

Posted by Jason O on May 18, 2010 in Irish Politics

I have had three conversations with people recently, all former political activists (with three different Irish parties) and the sort of high calibre people we purport to want to see in public life. What struck me about all of them was how they have completely lost interest in Irish politics. They just don’t care anymore. They accept that politics affects their lives, they just don’t believe that whomever wins or loses at the next general election (discounting Richard Boyd Barrett or the Shinners) will actually have any major effect one way or the other. The funny thing is that they are still interested in politics in a broad sense, and all followed the British election. They just see Irish politics being about people wanting to be elected without even knowing why they want to hold those elected offices.

I understand exactly where they are coming from. Can you imagine FF or FG negotiating a coalition with David Cameron? Aside from delivering loot (yes, loot!) to their constituencies, and cabinet jobs and pensions for themselves, would there really be any other issues with which they would have problems? I’ve been writing a lot about UK politics in recent weeks, and I have to say: It is far more interesting than our own Politics-Lite, because British politicians actually have political opinions that revolve around issues. Most Irish politicians take pride in either speaking in a vague general sense “I believe in a world class heath service” or else not having any opinions at all. I got a leaflet from Barry Andrews recently, which listed out the copious amounts of taxpayers money his party is spending in the constituency. It could easily have come from the Communist Abortion Party such was its blandness. 

I once spoke to a young political activist from one of our two main parties, who confided in me that he wanted to be Taoiseach. I asked him why? What would he like to do as Taoiseach? This stumped him, for a bit, then he answered. He said that he thought that the government should help people make their houses look nicer.

He’ll go far, and no, I’m not being sarcastic. I mean it.  


On The Frontline.

Posted by Jason O on May 18, 2010 in Irish Politics

pat-kenny-frontlineWas asked by the lovely people of RTE to do “The Frontline” as one of the audience “pundits” last night. Don’t know why I do it, as I always feel when I have to be very short that I end up looking and sounding like a rabbit caught in headlights saying trite things: ” Eh. The EU. It’s good, like, eh.” I could see the RTE researcher looking at me and probably thinking “Jesus, we give him a chance and this is the best he could do? We might as well have  got someone to read the back off a box of cornflakes.”

Still, my good pal Andrea Pappin (she of the red shoes) did very well, and showed that she really has the television thing down. I predict big things for her.

As I’ve said before, I was never a fan of Pat Kenny on The Late Late, but he continues to impress in this format, and has realised that cutting through the political guff to specifics is good television, and something he does well. 

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