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

Interesting idea from Mary Harney.

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

MH’s new proposals about the medical card here.  Will be savaged by the usual “everything should be free” crowd, but the tiered approach makes sense. I pay €60 to see a GP, and with a prescription you could be struggling to see change out of a €100. Good to see she’s recognising that PAYE workers should pay, as we do now, but get a bit of a dig out.  I know it sounds Victorian, but giving stuff away for free, in my opinion, actually lessens people’s value of it. I’d rather people pay a nominal €5 for a GP visit than nothing. My own experience as a student president in IT Tallaght confirmed that view. Of course the chronically ill will have to be treated differently, but as a broad social rule it’s sound.  


An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Users.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 9, 2010 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

Is this a dagger I see before me?

Is this a dagger I see before me?

In fairness, they’re not unique to Irish politics, but they’re there, nevertheless. The first time you meet them, they’re charming and open with you, whilst subtly seeing if you can be of any use to them. If you are, they’ll be quick to help you out and do you a favour, sometimes even doing it for you pro-actively because they’ll want something from you later.

They realised early in life that compliments are free, and are quick to want to bring you into their personal circle, or at least make you feel that way.  Subtlety is the key: Work you have done somehow gets attributed to them, although if there is any chance they’ll get caught they turn it on its ear, lavishing you publicly with praise (and showing what a generous person they are, in public, of course). Awkward emails or texts get ignored. They’ll “get back to you” on this or “have something in the pipeline” on that. When you have outlived your usefulness to them, they quietly step away, and onto the next target, unless you suddenly surprise them by doing something new and potentially useful once again, and they’re back with a “we haven’t hung out in ages!”

Eventually, they read something like this, and in a Carly Simon moment, ponder: Is he talking about me?


A Great DVD: The Thick of it.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 9, 2010 in Movies/TV/DVDs

Tucker's Law.
Tucker’s Law.

It is now standard practice to proclaim that “The Thick Of It” is the Yes, Minister of the noughties, and that’s a fair assessment, but it’s more than that.

For a start, the exceptionally strong language in it has to be mentioned as a a) warning to fans of the more genteel humour of Yes, Minister, but also b) because its use is so creative that it has become a defnitive creative comedy feature in its own right.

The basis is that it is set in the minister’s office at the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DoSAC) and follows the attempts by two emotionally shattered nervous wreck New Labour ministers and their staff to craft and communicate “initatives” under the watchful eye and vicious tongue of Downing Street enforcer, Malcolm Tucker, who becomes the de facto star of the show with his vitriol, menace and extraordinary turn of phrase (“Working hard? I’m working so hard I’m sweating spinal fluid here!”)

Aside from Peter Capaldi’s masterclass as Tucker, the tone of the show is fascinating to political anoraks as an all-too-real parody of New Labour’s obsession with message control, whereby the minister and his/her staff are literally making policies up on the hoof to react to the whims of newspaper editors. It’s very funny, and not a little too close for comfort.

Copyright © 2019 Jason O Mahony All rights reserved. Email: Jason@JasonOMahony.ie.