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

A Political Pet Peeve.

Posted by Jason O on Apr 6, 2011 in Irish Politics

I was recently invited to a political event that was on a weekday mid-morning. Fair enough, says you. Not really, says me. See, this event was to launch a group which wanted to help ordinary citizens get involved in the political process. You know, the sort of people who cannot take time off work to go into town and attend political meetings in the middle of the working day. See the problem? It’s something that has always infuriated me, where paid or wealthy activists seem to miss the point that most working people (myself included) cannot take time out of our working day to attend events. We’re too busy doing our jobs.

Curiously, I don’t blame these organisations. I genuinely think that many of them believe that NGO/Public Sector/Law Library-style flexibility is standard fare  with everyone else. I’m constantly being asked by people to “meet them for lunch” and seeing them embarrassed when they realise that a) not everybody works in the city centre, and b) not everybody can disappear from their job for an hour. I remember attending a meeting in the PDs of a policy committee one evening, and a very well-known deputy arriving at the meeting, demanding to know why this meeting could not be held during the day.

“Because we have to go to work” one of the activists said, very coldly (there was little FF style-forelock tugging by PD members towards the PP). The deputy went bright red. The issue was not raised again.


Odds and Ends.

Posted by Jason O on Apr 6, 2011 in Irish Politics

Looking at coverage of the first (public) gay civil partnership (here) I’m struck not by the fact that it is happening (for which we have the Green party to thank) but by the fact that vocal opposition to it, where it has been voiced, has been rapidly dismissed as just plain odd. The sort of people who used to rant about “men being obsessed with other men’s back passages” (an old Questions and Answers favourite of mine) and were regarded as occupying a certain mainstream position are just cranky old nutters now. Not even bigots. Just nutters. Larry Grayson has a lot to be thanked for. Isn’t it nice that in these dark times the government has the power to spread a little happiness by extending rights to people?

I see that the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fianna Fail coalition are promising the most measly tinkering of political reforms when it comes to corporate donations. Will ALL donations, regardless of size, be declared publicly? Not that it makes that much of a difference. If a €1000 donation from some randomer shows up on a list, what does that prove, if some tycoon gave it to him/her to pass on under their own name? How about requiring donors to sign a declaration, under threat of jail, that it is their money to donate, and then applying the CAB rules, in that if they can not prove where the money came from we can jail them? By the way, does anyone not believe that Fine Gael will not be grabbing cash left, right and centre before the new legislation comes in? Don’t know why, but the more I watch Fine Gael in government the more this comes to mind. Fianna Fail legs bad, Fine Gael legs good!    

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