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

Time for a Fairness League Table?

Posted by Jason O on Dec 31, 2010 in Irish Politics

“Fairness” is bandied about in every debate about our current predicament. The problem with that is that we don’t have an actual means of measuring what is fair. Perhaps it’s time we did.

How would we go about such a thing? Hmm. Supposing we could construct a point system, allocating each citizen points based on their current situation, and use that to determine who is at the very bottom, and then shield the bottom 15-20% from the worst of the cuts, passing the additional burden onto the top 80%.

What would you get points for?

Having a job. The security of that job. Having a defined benefit pension. Having a pension above a certain value. Not having children. Not having a disability. Not having a mortgage. Owing less than 20% on your mortgage. Having the option to retire before 67. Having an income above the average industrial wage.

We could then allocate minus points based on the number of children one has, and additional points for having special needs children, or indeed have special needs onself.

Would be an interesting exercise, no? 

Of course, we would end up with the usual Irish rules-are-great-until-they-apply-to-me scenario, where people just over the 20% would demand “flexibility” be shown, and TDs would lobby to adjust it upwards, until 97% of the country would be deemed vulnerable.

Still, would be fun.   


An old classic: One Foot in the Grave.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 31, 2010 in Movies/TV/DVDs

It will come as no surprise to many that I am a huge Victor Meldrew fan, and to be honest, I regard One Foot in the Grave as being one of the greatest sitcoms ever written. Having seen a repeat of it over Christmas, I was reminded that I had the complete series on DVD, and so watched most of it over the holidays. The writing is excellent, and the ensemble cast are just plain brilliant, in particular Doreen Mantle as their loopy friend Mrs Warboys. Most importantly, the plots are engagingly surreal.

It’s not to everybody’s taste. Most people see it as just a show about a moany old man, which misses the point entirely  and  misses the subtlty of creator David Renwick’s writing. What other sitcom has so many murders and suicides, or makes use of ominous and creepy settings, a tone that Renwick returned to in the equally brilliant Jonathan Creek? What sitcom ends by violently killing its main star?

I remember the first time I saw it, when it was first broadcast twenty years ago, and thought it was just a Terry and June knockoff until Victor discovered a cat frozen to death in the freezer. That was the moment I realised that this was something special.

The brilliance of Victor Meldrew was that he wasn’t just a grumpy old bastard. He was a contrary old curmudgeon (Well, he voted SDP, didn’t he?) but with a deep sense of compassion, risking his life to save a neighbour he hated from being killed, righting a shocking injustice in an old folks home by extreme measures, and sneaking food out to a vagrant living in his garden shed. We could do with more Victor Meldrews.

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