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

The people have spoken.

Posted by Jason O on May 6, 2011 in AV Referendum May 5 2011, British Politics

And they’ve said No to AV, as is their right. It’s a dark day for electoral reform, because although many on the Yes side will say that they voted against AV and not in favour of FPTP, a result is a result. In a national referendum, they voted to keep the status quo.

What now for the Lib Dems, for whom electoral reform is the golden calf? It’s a tough one, with the anti-reform Tories now surely emboldened to try to block reform where they can, by, say, dragging their feet on House of Lords reform.

I do hope that some academics do a study as to why people voted No. I’d love to know, for example, what proportion of both Yes and No voters actually understood AV. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not playing the old “the voters are stupid” card, because I’m not. But I do find it hard, coming from a PR background, to understand how people can vote for a voting system that can have such huge discrepancies between how people vote and the result. Does the average Brit know that, or maybe it just does not matter to them? Today’s result shows that the blunt instrument of FPTP is a system that a very substantial number of Brits are happy enough with, or at least, not bothered enough to change.

Yet, consider this future news broadcast: 

“…and if you’re just joining us here on Election 2015, the news is that despite winning over half the votes of the British people between them, the first government to do that since 1931, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition has been ousted by Ed Miliband’s Labour party, despite Labour having received less votes than the coalition.”

I’d be outraged at such an outcome, but seemingly the average Brit wouldn’t be.

The one sliver of hope is that FPTP has within it the seeds of it’s own destruction, that with the growth of the SNP and UKIP and the Greens that eventually it will throw up a result so divorced from how the public voted that  it’ll force electoral reform back on the agenda.

And to my friends in the Yes campaigns, be strong. I remember the night of the Nice Treaty, when I realised that the majority of the people in the country I live in voted against the values I hold most dear. For the first time in my life, I was in a marked minority. I know what you’re feeling now, that aching vacuum of all that work and passion and hope. It hurts. But it will pass, I assure you. The morning does come. We have seen dark days of terrible despair. We’ve seen people told not to sit on lunch counters or sit at the front of the bus. Then we saw the son of a Kenyan immigrant elected President of the United States. Things change.    

When we lost Nice, we cried and despaired too. We licked our wounds, and learnt our lessons, and organised, and came back.

And we won the next time. 


Guest Post: White House: Obama did not personally kill Osama

Posted by Jason O on May 6, 2011 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

By our correspondent, Colin Murphy.

The White House has backed away from early suggestions the President Barack Obama personally adminstered the “tap tap” of fatal shots to Osama Bin Laden in his billion-dollar booby-trapped mansion in Pakistan.   Early reports, based on conversations with senior officials, suggested that Obama had been instantly transported to the scene of the Navy Seal raid from the White House situation room, via an invisible mini-transporter which the President wears around his head.   Obama at first sat watching via live video link as the Navy Seals deployed the latest in sophisticated weaponry to breach the near-impenetrable, high-walled compound. However, when a Seal cut his thumb on some barbed wire while attempting to scale an eight foot wall, the President decided to personally intervene, reports said.   Obama fought off attack from Bin Laden’s hareem, who were armed with long nails and, in some cases, scratchy jewellery, it was claimed. Identifing Bin Laden by his long beard and low-resolution face, Obama pursued him through the compound, avoiding fire from Bin Laden’s shoulder-held rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Catching up with Bin Laden as he was about to activate a large booby trap which would have seen the Navy Seals all fall through trapdoors into the basement, Obama let off two clean shots. At the last moment, one of Bin Laden’s underage wives through herself in front of him, being killed in the process.   Further reports suggested that the President had then hoisted his fellow Muslim’s body onto his shoulders and carried it to a helicopter. Later, on board a US Navy vessel, he personally prepared the body according to Islamic rites and recited the appropriate prayers, before overseeing its burial at sea.  

However, as contradictions emerged in recent days between accounts of the episode, apparently sourced from high-level security briefings, and from others with at least a passing knowledge of where Pakistan is, the White House has moved to clarify the narrative of the event.   It confirmed today that President Obama was not transported to the site, and was not even watching a live video link, which kept stalling because of poor bandwidth. Instead, he received updates via Facebook Chat from the operation’s director, Leon Panetta. Panetta finally confirmed Bin Laden’s death with a coded ‘Poke’ on Facebook, a spokesman said. There were no women at the site, no weaponry, and the walls were not actually very high, he confirmed. Bin Laden had given a Navy Seal “the finger”, and the Seal had responded with a burst of automatic fire which had decimated him, the spokesman said.   “No pictures can be released because there wasn’t much left to photo,” he said.    Bin Laden was given the full burial rites appropriate to “a murdering terrorist bastard”, be said.


An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Anti-American Lickspittle.

Posted by Jason O on May 6, 2011 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

Down with America! Oh Ambassador! USA! USA!

Down with America! Oh Ambassador! USA! USA!

She’s a great one for sneering at the yanks. Now, she’s not one of the political Richard Boyd Barrett types, if anything her politics is strictly of the “what’s in it for me?” variety. But she likes the cache of being anti-American in a country that is subtly more pro-American than anywhere else. It makes one look cosmopolitan and Guardian-reading. She criticises US actions around the world for not being perfect, never once suggesting that Ireland should contribute one cent to the effort.

Then she gets an invite from the US embassy to a party hosted by the ambassador. Instantly, the anti-Americanism goes out the door. She stops posting comments online, and ever so slightly starts moving into the pro-American camp. She starts turning up at American Chamber of Commerce dinners, and at the ambassador’s soiree she practically offers herself to the ambassador, hoping for an invite to one of those Young Leaders type junkets to Washington DC.

Her photogenic features start appearing in promtional bumf talking about “the importance of the Irish-American relationship”.

Two years later she’s named in Wikileaks as a CIA source. 


Some fella mouthing off about Europe on an American website.

Posted by Jason O on May 6, 2011 in European Union

You can enjoy it here.

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