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

The Users: A comment.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 19, 2010 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

Judging by the emails I’ve received, I seem to have struck a nerve with this post here. I’m not familiar with all the personalities that some of you had suggested the post was based on, and it was a composite of at least two people that I’ve met in Irish politics. But I will say that at least two of you each hit on one of the people.  


Labour: Same policy on property tax as “right wing” PDs.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 19, 2010 in Irish Politics

Oh, how the worm handbrake turns. From today’s Irish Times:

“Labour leader Eamon Gilmore today said he opposed the idea as many people had already paid a property tax in the form of stamp duty. People who are struggling to pay their mortgage cannot be asked to pay a property tax on top of that, he said. “It would be perverse to ask people to pay a property tax on a property on which they are paying a mortgage and the size of the mortgage is now in many cases more than what the value of what the property is worth,” he added.”

All of which is true, and all of which the PDs used to say last time Labour brought in the Residential Property Tax. This is the thing about Labour, and where right wing PDs were always wrong about Labour. Labour talks left, but when it comes to the point of actually taxing people for the common good, Labour is now as wedded to low taxes as the late lamented Progressive Democrats. They’ll support taxes on the fictionally taxable  super rich, but when it comes to Swedish style taxes on all to fund services for all, Labour is much more Ayn Rand than Willi Brandt.

The PDs are dead. Long live the PDs.


Cavemen bitterly divided over whether creationists will exist.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 17, 2010 in Not quite serious.

Furious debate has broken out in caveman society over whether creationists will exist in the future. Uggh, of the cave near the water told us: ” Uggh say Yes. Have no doubt. Look at banana. God put handle on it for convenience. Obviously never tried to peel a mango or eat ripe pear, but maybe God not want us to eat mango or pear. Creationists have answer to these questions. God obviously not fruit salad fan. It in holy book. When book invented, obviously.”

Other cavemen disagree. Clunk, of the cave near the water but not as near as Uggh’s, disagreed profoundly: “I not share Uggh’s hypothesis. Evolution make sense, especially when looking at hairy bastard like Uggh. Him proof of monkey lineage. Not surprised that he say no. He worship anything. Clunk see him worship dead weasel. Before that, he worship rock. He be Church of Ireland next. He a joiner.”


What is it like to lose ALL of the time?

Posted by Jason O on Jul 17, 2010 in Irish Politics

A former Progressive Democrat knows what it is like to lose. A lot. But it’s also fair to say that PDs can point to a lot of thngs that they (if not their opponents) regard as achievements, in that they are at least goals they sought to achieve in government. I mention  this because I recently read a couple of posts on Politics.ie where various things (The British queen’s visit, EU scrutiny of budgets) were savaged by the usual suspects. It got me thinking, as it has in the past, as to what is it like to go through one’s political life being so pure and uncompromising as to be always on the losing side? Always. The queen will visit. The budget scrutiny will happen. Irishman and women will join the British army. Immigrants will come to Ireland. How does somebody implacably opposed to any of these things, to the degree that they claim they are, get by? Or do they manage to find some special place in their minds where they can retreat to, convincing themselves that one day…  


The EU goes too far?

Posted by Jason O on Jul 16, 2010 in European Union

It’s important that those of us who support the EU don’t unquestioningly accept everything just because it has a blue flag on it. The Daily Telegraph, admittedly not a friend of European Unity, has raised an interesting point here about the European Investigation Order.

Here’s my concern: The investigations are ordered by a prosecutor in one country, but carried out elsewhere, so his national authorities probably won’t care. Yet his actions carried out in that other state are not accountable to anyone in that state. This is a civil liberties Bermuda Triangle, and I’m not sure I like it. I know the arguments about fighting cross border crime, and they’re valid, but is this heading in the direction of people being deprived of rights with no one seemingly being held to account? Having said that, I’m not a particular fan of the EU arrest warrant either, because the reality is that we do not have a uniform EU human rights standard across the union. 


If we absolutely, positively HAVE to have a property tax…

Posted by Jason O on Jul 16, 2010 in Irish Politics

It's all about tax.

It's all about tax.

Then let’s extend Capital Gains Tax to family homes. It addresses the key issues:

1. Valuation: The market decides how much a house is worth.

2. Deals with the negative equity question: People who lose money selling their house will be exempt because don’t make a capital gain.

3. Ability to pay: It resolves the €200 a week granny in a €750k house issue. Selling the house releases the equity to pay the tax. No sale, no tax.

To be fair, we’d probably have to let people who paid stamp duty deduct it from the tax. It won’t bring in much money as long as the property market is deflated, but neither will a property tax that pays any attention to ability to pay. But at least it would be fair and not involve the public having to scrape money together to pay an arbitrary tax which would almost certainly tear the country apart.

But here’s a really radical thought. Supposing we told local authorities that in five years time, they would set the CGT rate in their area for family homes, and that the income from the tax would provide the lion’s share of their budgets, allowing central government to cut the direct funding of local authorities. All of a sudden, being a county councillor setting the rate becomes interesting. It also introduces tax competition. Could a well run local authority afford to set a low rate, boosting property prices in the area, and making their county more attractive to live in? 


All gives a new meaning to the phrase Up Dev?

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

This surprised me, but some gay readers recently suggested to me that in their experience, Ogra Fianna Fail “was where it was happening”. I’d always thought that the Young Greens and Labour Youth would have been the more logical home for young gay political activists, but both these guys say that although Ogra is not somewhere where gays openly flaunt their sexuality, both of them (they’re both out) had been surprised with the amount of non-out gays they were meeting in Ogra. One referred to it as “lonely farmer’s sons syndrome” where they, as open gays, could be discreetly approached by young Ogra guys wanting to discuss their sexuality with a sympathetic person. To its credit, Ogra FF has been very up front of late in its public support of gay rights.

Funnily enough, there’s an added bonus to being gay in Ogra. When I was in the Young PDs we used to go to a lot of Lib Dem Youth and Students events in the UK, and you could not move for gay guys there. Or straight women, for that matter. Actually, at one conference, a scandal erupted when a gay candidate for chair of the youth party turned out to be a closet heterosexual only pretending to be gay to win the gay vote! Don’t be surprised if Ogra attendance at their new sister party’s events starts to shoot up. By the way, the Young PD record on gays was pretty mixed. Dublin was pretty liberal, and had openly gay members, but Cork had a reputation for being a little bit too fond of the stiff right arm, and not being too fond of “the gays”. Ironically, some of the Cork members came to regard Jorg Haider as a figure worth admiring. Oooh the irony!


Ryanair to make customers fight giant lizard, jump through ring of fire, to board plane.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 14, 2010 in Not quite serious.

The Lizards are also expected to boost lottery sales onboard as well.

The Lizards are also expected to boost lottery sales onboard as well.

Budget airline Ryanair have announced new procedures for passengers from today, which will involve passengers wrestling with a six foot lizard, leaping through a ring of fire, and disarming an explosive device by cutting the correctly coloured wire. The company denied that this was part of a cost cutting exercise. “No, this is a morale thing. Whilst our staff are still amused by watching people play the Squeeze-the-bag-in-the-metal-frame-get-in-ya-little-bo**ix-Maura-what-the-hell-did-you-pack-in-this-effin-thing-anyway-mother-of-Jesus-we’re-only-staying-with-your-sister-for-the-one-night game, they were getting bored, so we decided to up the ante a bit.”

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary pointed out that passengers “were getting their f**king tickets for next to nothing anyway, so where’s the harm? Sure a lot of them could do with the exercise, and as well as that, we’re providing employment for lizards who’d only end up as some fat one’s handbag anyway.”   


The ugliness of “The Frontline”.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 13, 2010 in Irish Politics

Igor, release the audience!

Igor, release the audience!

It’s amazing the number of people involved in politics who can’t stand “The Frontline.” Ha ha! You cry. They can’t stand the truth, being confronted with the genuine anger of  The People! (that’s the Irish people, by the way, not the Dublin regional newspaper)

The funny thing is, it’s not that. All of us who have been involved in politics have had to have the political row with someone, and to be honest, most of us have enjoyed it. But that’s not the problem wth “The Frontline”. These aren’t political rows. This is how it happens:

Pat introduces the issue, frames it, consults the panel, and gets what is a pretty high standard of debate going. He’s pretty forensic, and cuts through to key points. Last night, FF TD Darragh O’Brien, FG’s Leo! and Fintan O’Toole all gave a solid account of themselves, although Pat caught O’Brien out with the zinger that the banks could not actually be forced to lend. But it was good, informative stuff, and FOT was on particularly good form.

Then the bit that every political activist hates. “Let’s ask the audience.” The moment the show judders to a bitter, irrational halt. Don’t get me wrong: People’s individual stories are important, and can illuminate a wrong that needs to be righted, but this is more than that. The sheer cynicism of the audience, the “government are doing absolutely nothing to help me!” tone which is just not true. One gentlemen demanded that all TDs go without pay for a year? Imagine asking any other sector of society to do that, yet this gets applause?

“The Frontline” is an improvement on “Questions and Answers”, and Pat Kenny has finally found his footing, but the reality is that most political people watching it find themselves flicking over to “Two and a half men” when the audience starts up. They have to. Their blood pressure will have it no other way. 


Yet another “Other People’s Money” Party?

Posted by Jason O on Jul 12, 2010 in Irish Politics

Disgruntled Greens are apparently forming a new party, according to the Irish Times here. Another party based on the principle that all our problems can be solved by increasing taxes on other people, preferably those who actually create things like jobs. To go along with Labour, Sinn Fein, the Greens, the Socialist Party and People Before Profit.

Glad we’re getting increased choice, so. 

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