Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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The Updated Guide to Irish Politics: The Heave

Posted by Jason O on Sep 20, 2010 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

A slash of blood in the water and that's it.

A slash of blood in the water and that's it.

There was a time when a good heave was all the rage, particularly in Fianna Fail. Half the parliamentary party hated the party leader’s guts, and every now and again, a motion of no-confidence would be put down, followed by a swordfight (I’m not joking. Alright, there was only ever one sword used. But still. A sword!) and good old fashioned punch up in the Dail carpark.

Fine Gael heaves were just not of the same category, being far more genteel affairs where eyebrows were raised because someone put their teacup too loudly onto their saucer and a word would be had in the ear, leading, for example, to Alan Dukes being turfed out for “only” winning 55 seats. Back in the day when that was regarded as a bad result for FG. Fine Gael heaves were more like schoolyard fights, involving headlocks, knuckles to the scalp, the odd wedgie and people’s jerseys being pulled out of shape so that one arm was three feet longer than the other, but no one really got hurt. Even the last Kenny/Bruton scrap had a hint of monocles and Queensbury rules about it.

Meanwhile, however, in Fianna Fail they were kicking each other in the kidneys. Are FF up for a rumble now? Depends. This particular generation of FF TDs, lacking Haugheys and Colleys and McCreevys and O’Malleys has been, up until now anyway, too much of the wet-their-own-knickers variety to actually instigate it. But don’t rule it out. If some mischievous newspaper puts out a poll showing that some marginal FF TDs may keep their seats under Michael Martin or the saintly Lenihan, then it might just be game on. If a handful of rats go for Biffo, the rest of the nest won’t be too far behind. More than any other party, FF is the party of the pack.

 
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The Perils of Self Publishing.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 20, 2010 in Books

It’s hard to get published. Out there somewhere are twelve people who were offered and turned down Harry Potter, a decision which must occasionally come to them in the night. But it also means that there are many prospective authors out there with good books that will never see print.

Then there’s the self published. There’s an undeserved air of desperation about self publishing which isn’t attached to those bands who pay to record their own tracks, or artists who paint pieces that will never sell. When one reads a self published work, one is extra critical because one can’t help thinking that this has probably been rejected by professional agents or publishers. Yet, as mentioned above, even they make mistakes.

Having said all that, they’re not wrong all the time. I’ve just abandoned reading a political thriller I bought which had been, from the look of it, self published. It’s professionally bound and printed, and I’m not going to name it, or its author, as I don’t want to belittle something that a lot of work was obviously put into. But it highlights the danger of self publication. The basic premise of the book was sound enough for me to warrant buying it. But as I read it, two things became apparent: The author has a (declared) fascination with both the occurrence of coincidence and the card game Bridge, and these fascinations are shoehorned into the story with such frequency as to cause the plot to move at a snail’s pace when not being completely sidelined. It is here that a professional agent would have said, I assume, that fascinating as they were, they’ve got to come out. Want to write a novel about coincidence? Fine. Want to write about Bridge? Again, no problem. But wanting to write about an Alien invasion of Earth and then trying to cram in intricate observations about one’s early Victorian doll collection every ten pages just isn’t going to happen. 

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