Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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Great TV: Sherlock Season Two now out!

Posted by Jason O on Jan 21, 2012 in Movies/TV/DVDs

Sherlock: The BBC at its best.

Sherlock: The BBC at its best.

The BBC have shown great savvy by releasing season two of “Sherlock” on DVD literally one week after the season’s dramatic final episode and its “How did he do it?” ending. This is currently my favourite show on TV, not just because of the superb performances by all the cast (Martin Freeman in particular, playing that difficult straightman Ernie Wise role to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Ernie in a touching yet exasperated manner. Andrew Scott’s Jim Moriarty is also great fun too). Not only because of the genuinely “Oh, that’s cool!” moments in the plot, or the humour (Sherlock’s rant about the deerstalker cap is very funny) but because it is very obvious that Moffatt and Gatiss who created the show, are true blue fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation and have managed to recraft without molestation.

Go on, treat yourselves. 

 

 
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What we want Vs. what we need.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 20, 2012 in Irish Politics

But what actually matters?

But what actually matters?

One of the more curious aspects of our current austerity programme is how slapdash it is. You could easily form the impression that the government is approaching the cutbacks with a hand down the back of the couch approach, looking for money wherever it can find it (a broadcasting charge? Really?). Watching all this, I can’t help wondering as to whether it would make more sense to divide public spending into two categories: what we need, and what we like.
See, we need roads, police, hospitals, water treatment plants. We don’t need the Arts Council or Irish language funding or even overseas development aid.
I’ll pause here now to let the anger build amongst some of my readers. I can hear the ranting already, and I suggest you go back to what I wrote, not what you think I wrote. I did not say that any of those things were not good things to spend public money on, I just said that they were not vital expenditure for this country. In other words, if we didn’t fund the Irish language lobby or the Abbey the world would not end. We’d miss them, alright, and there’s even an argument that we would be a lesser nation (I’m not convinced though. Irish culture did exist before state funding, you know) but what is worth more to us: the Abbey or redirecting that money to special needs assistants in our schools? We still haven’t switched into the mindset of realising that we have to prioritise needs. What do we need to spend more on? Reducing suffering, or Juno and the Paycock?

 
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Ah, here!

Posted by Jason O on Jan 20, 2012 in Just stuff

 
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Hubert Horatio Humphrey, forgotten giant.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 19, 2012 in US Politics

HHH: The coming man who never arrived.
HHH: The coming man who never arrived.

I’m always intrigued about how major political leaders or celebrities, people who were major figures in their day, are almost completely forgotten within a few decades. From a US political point of view, Hubert Humphrey tops the list of forgotten giants. From the late 1950s until the mid 1970s, it was almost impossible to draw up a list of possible presidental contenders without having Humphrey’s name near the top of the list, and not in a Herman Cain five minutes of fame kind of way, either.

From his entry into national politics as the barnstorming liberal pro-civil rights Mayor of Minneapolis, HHH became the standard bearer for the liberal wing of the party. He lectured the 1948 Democratic convention on civil rights for blacks, at a time when the Democratic party still had large numbers of members with pictures of Jefferson Davis on the walls.

As a US senator, he emerged as a leader of the party, losing to JFK for the party nomination in 1960, and eventually serving as Vice President to Lyndon Johnson and then amazingly getting re-elected to the Senate after losing to Nixon in 1968.

Nicknamed “The Happy Warrior”, Humphrey combined liberal beliefs with solid political nous (he was very popular with the unions, when unions actually mattered in US politics) and came close to beating Nixon in 1968, losing by a mere 1% point despite being Vice President of one of the most hated US administrations ever. Even in the 1970s, he was a serious contender for president, until he discovered that he had terminal cancer. He handled that with class too, and spent his last months calling all his old allies and opponents (including now disgraced Nixon) to say goodbye and invite them to his funeral. 

 
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The Conservatives: A Irish band worth paying attention to.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 17, 2012 in Jason's Diary

Check them out here.

 
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Ireland finally has to confront what it really wants.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 17, 2012 in European Union, Irish Politics

We'd be down the back stealing quills and wig powder to sell down the mart later.

We'd be down the back stealing quills and wig powder to sell down the mart later.

One of the more curious aspects of the debate about Europe and the euro in Ireland is how it doesn’t happen. The Sunday Business Post’s Pat Leahy once remarked as to how short term Irish politicians are in their thinking, and you find no better example of that than in our approach to foreign policy.

In recent weeks, options from rejoining Sterling to forming a federal Europe have been discussed in the media, and not just in Ireland. What’s surprising is that the Irish political system seems not as much incapable of discussing these issues seriously as completely unwilling. In short, there seems to be no Irish plan, no idea as to what it is Ireland actually wants. The government will say that it wants to defend the status quo and the euro, but the argument goes far beyond that, and we seem to have no opinion. Are we for or against a federal Europe? Irish politicans will claim that they are, but only in such a way as to ensure that if that is the least unsavoury option, we’ll sign up. Where is the Irish vision?

The scary thing is that our leaders are only reflecting our stance as a people. Are we committed to Europe? Probably not that much. It has worked well for us, but we’d almost certainly sell out, Bird O’Donnell like, for the next best offer. We’re more comfortable with the Brits than we let on, and if there was a few quid in it…even when we joke about joining the US (with that weird Irish assumption that they’d be delighted to have us, something I do not believe) we know that at the first sign of trouble (legalised abortion, the IRS actually enforcing the tax code on pensioners and conscription to fight in the US-Iranian War) we’d have the blade out and into Uncle Sam’s back quicker than you could say “Benedict Arnold”. Even if the Chinese offered us €5 billion to endorse an invasion of Taiwan, we’d consider it. We’re not big on beliefs or honour. If one of our politicians had been sent to negotiate the US Declaration of Independence, he’d probably never set foot in the hall, trying instead to steal a horse when “all dem udder fellas is distracted with all dat writin’ an’ dat!” After all, we complain about the Paris-Berlin axis. Has anyone ever written the Dublin Plan?  

 
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10 things that annoy the most about current Irish politics.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 16, 2012 in Irish Politics

1. As the foreign policy analyst Michael McLoughlin  pointed out, it’s mostly theatre now, and not even good theatre. Most political issues are about how “X is bad, and really hurts Y. Look at Y’s little face!” as opposed to “X is bad. How about we cut Z instead?”

2. We now have a two party system. FF, FG and Labour are different wings of the same party, and the Shinners and the United Left the other party, with the Shinners itching to defect.

3. Self Regulation is possibly the dirtiest phrase in Irish life. From letting politicians set their own salaries to letting the professions run themselves, it never works.

4. The more other countries like France and Germany treat the EU the way we treat it, the more eurosceptic we become.

5. The most likely alternative to our right-left FG/Labour Govt at the next election is a right-left FF/SF coalition. You say tomato, I say tomato.

6. The Irish obsession with personalities of politicians and local geographical loyalties over political values is what has us where we are today.

7. The great hoo-ha about political reform during the election is now nearly completely gone, with the public only slightly more interested than politicians.

8. There is almost no good reason to bother voting in an Irish European, presidential or local election, as none will have any real effect on your life. Even if the UL won control of a majority of seats on a council, it would be more entertainment value than substantial, as the county manager would just ignore them. Sorry, let me correct that: there is still entertainment value in voting.

9. Short of the United Left or the Shinners looking like they might win an overall majority, there is little point even voting in a general election. Is this what non-sectarian voters in Northern Ireland used to feel like?

10. There are party hacks who will read this list, be outraged, and post comments about The Men and Women of 1916, etc, and believe what they are writing.

 
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A shameless promotion for my eNovel The Ministry of Love.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 15, 2012 in Books

And now a shameless plug for my satirical thriller eNovel available on Amazon. Hey, I’ve got to pay for the blog somehow! All those typos and ill thought out political ideas cost money, you know.

Here’s the blurb on “The Ministry of Love”:

Love. Everyone wants it. 

Prime Minister Alexander Fairfax reckons he might just get a second term if he can provide the people with it. Dr. Julian Tredestrian, the most brilliant mind of his generation, reckons he has a plan how to do it. International assassin The Stoat (The Jackal was already taken) has been tasked by powerful interests to stop it. 

In the middle of all this, Chief Inspector Switzerland has got to catch a serial killer who keeps killing really irritating celebrities.

Love. It always gets a bit messy.

You can purchase the eBook here on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com (If you’re in Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. Amazon brutally recognising the fact that we are American colonies), or Amazon.de, and you would be doing me a great favour if you would leave a review on the website you purchase it from. Don’t be afraid to be honest. They like that at Amazon, so they do.

If you have not got an eReader, you can download (for free) a Kindle reader for your iPad, PC, iPhone or tablet here. It’s easy to download. After all, I did it, and you know what I’m like with technology. The CIA have me on standby just to stand beside Iranian reactors, which will almost certainly cause them to crash.

 
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An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Gutless Anonymous Blogger.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 15, 2012 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious.

It’s not the same as having a pen-name, or being a whistle-blower for whom invisibility is a necessity. There are people who post under a pseudonym for various reasons, and whose identities are clearly known. They make no effort to hide their identity, and openly acknowledge their identity when asked.

Then there’s the anonymous blogger. Opinions? He’s got plenty of them, and they are all staunch. Whether it is calling for Ireland to immediately rejoin the UK, or expressing delight in the deaths of British soldiers, there is no holding him back. No fence sitter he. He’s the king of the finger jab, and is quick to dimiss thousands as easily labelled “West Brits” or “Thatcherite Scumbags” or “Immigrant scroungers”. He’s a hard man.

Safely behind his keyboard, waiting for his mam to make him his tea, that is. But when he’s in work, he’s the guy that woman ignore and that other men make jokes about. Forthright? In work, he wouldn’t say boo to a goose. And God forbid he ever met an actual British squaddie. He’d destroy his trousers before he’d evern publicly vent the vitriol he posts nightly on the political boards.

Yet, it’s hard to hate him. Those anonymous tracts are all he is. He has nothing else, his youthful hopes and dreams dissipated as his peers achieved around him and he grew into the grey, middle-aged forgettable entity that he is. One day he’ll die, and five months later, someone on a board will ask “Whatever happened to TruePatriot147? He normally has something to say on this kind of thing” then they’ll move onto something else, not even aware that they have actually written a man’s epitaph.    

 
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Imagine if the Dail was made up of parties that really reflected what we believe.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 15, 2012 in Irish Politics

The Tax Everyone But Me Party. 90 seats
The Tax Everyone But Me But Say It Is For Social Justice Or Something Don’t Forget My NGO For The Few Bob Party. 30 seats
The Tax Everyone But Me Aren’t the English Bastards Because Of Stuff That Happened Ages Go Party. 20 seats
The Don’t Tax Anyone But Those Rich Bastards Party. 10 seats
The F**k Everyone Else But The People Who Live in My Bit of The County Party. 16 seats

Copyright © 2018 Jason O Mahony All rights reserved. Email: Jason@JasonOMahony.ie.