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

Election 2011: Review of the Week.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 18, 2011 in Election 2011, Irish Politics

The state of the parties as we head into the last week:

Fianna Fail: The Martin strategy, depending on who you talk to, either hasn’t worked or it has staunched the bleeding and kept the patient just breathing. FF people are now hoping that their soft voters are just too ashamed to even admit to pollsters that they will vote FF, but will do the business on the day.

Fine Gael: The Invisible Man strategy has worked, if the polls are to be believed. The prospect of a single party FG government has thrown a new factor into the campaign, and one which may not just effect FG. Enda’s low expectations entry into the debate worked a treat.

Labour: Labour will gain seats, but will have to confront the reality that a critical mass of Irish people just don’t subscribe to the values that Labour attributes to itself. However, Labour’s very possible ascent to the position of official opposition is a glimmer of light in the dark.

Sinn Fein: Gerry Adams’s strong performance in the debate hit just the right note for his target audience. SF on target to deliver solidly for themselves.

The Greens: John Gormley’s strong, frank performance in the debate will, the party must hope, help bring back that crucial 5-7% of the electorate who might vote Green. But will it be enough, or is iy just too late? The FG landslide presents the Greens with a last throw of the dice and a clear message: Given the last week of Labour and FG beating the crap out of each other, we are a more likely coalition partner to hold FG in check. But will they throw the dice?

The ULA: The noise from the target seats is good. Joe, Clare Daly, Thomas Healy and Mick Barry all apparently looking serious, despite the lack of national coverage. Or maybe because of it?

Finally: TG4 are right to be proud of the debate. But given the Irish language and west of Ireland slant, it resembled, to me, something similar to watching the US Israeli Lobby question US candidates as to their agenda.



An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Useless Revolutionary.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 18, 2011 in Election 2011, Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

Revolution by Tuesday lunchtime at the latest!

Revolution by Tuesday lunchtime at the latest!

You see him outside the GPO, denouncing the right-wing government and their paycuts and tax increases and their betrayal of the people. “Tell the banks to f**k off!” “Back the Greeks!” “Take to the streets now!” and other dramatic slogans are his stock-in-trade. He wants revolution, “the people” to march on the Dail and take control of the country and…and what? He’s not sure, because his level of political thought never got past that of a 14 year old.

“Tax the Rich!” is a favourite, of course, except that he can’t explain why the rich would stay in a country that wants to actually punish them. Confiscate their assets! What, their homes? What’ll the government do with a couple of hundred big houses? Sell them? To whom? It’s not like we have a shortage of houses now, is it? Confiscate their businesses? What? The ones that are all losing money? Fair enough. Nationalise all business, and give pay increases. Ok. Now that the state owns all the business and all the rich are gone who pays for all the pay increases (and the reversed cuts too, presumably)? Eh? Print more money! You can do that for a day, until the Luftwaffe take out the Mint in Sandyford to prevent the debasement of the Euro. Now what? The public are marching aginst the new revolutionary government, because their wages aren’t being paid. Then? The revolutionary Taoiseach goes on the telly and says “We can’t borrow, because the international bankers don’t believe we’ll pay them back. We can’t tax the rich because there aren’t any. We don’t have enough money to pay all the wages of, well, everyone who now works for the state, nor the welfare, and our businesses have stopped functioning because we can’t import raw materials because we refused to honour our debts, so we can’t tax them, nor can they pay their workers. So tonight I’d like to talk to you about paycuts and tax increases.”

Cue bloke standing outside the GPO denouncing the right-wing government and their paycuts and tax increases and their betrayal of the people.

His whole life has been waiting and talking about the revolution, and whilst his peers compromised and made gradual progress on poverty reduction and women’s rights and third world debt relief, he never sold out. He remained pure to the cause, and when he lies on his death bed, he can sneer at their “progress” and incrementalism and point to the great achievements of his life, like…well, no one has ever used an exclamation mark as effectively as he.     

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