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

We have been here before.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 13, 2015 in European Union, Events

Repost: wrote this in response to Charlie Hebdo. It still stands.

Amidst the debate over recent events in France, there’s been, particularly online, a sub-text. In short, it’s summarised as “Yes, we know all Muslims aren’t terrorists, but…” The Irish have an insight into the thinking, having experienced it directed towards us when we were in the UK during the highpoints of Provisional IRA  terrorism. Plenty of British people looked suspiciously at the Irish and struggled to separate the murderers of Enniskillen or Hyde Park from the millions of Irish who didn’t support the IRA. Statistically, as with Muslims now, there was a higher probability that a terrorist would come from an Irish Catholic background.

There was no shortage of talk that the Irish as a people “weren’t doing enough” to condemn and oppose terrorism. Yet, what would a crack down on the Irish population in the mainland UK have done for reducing terrorism? As much as the hardline did in Northern Ireland for IRA recruitment?

The awkward reality is that Europe is faced with a choice. We can single out and target our Muslim citizens, or we can accept and treat them as we treat everybody else and fight the terrorists as simple criminals.

Speaking for myself, I don’t want to live in a Europe where the targeting of one religion is regarded as a solution to our problems, even dressed up as something like fighting terrorism. We have been here before, the only difference being that our great grandparents in the 1930s had never experienced the outcome. We have. We’ve seen the footage and we’ve stood in the places that result when you single out one religion. It starts small, with registration. Then certain jobs are restricted. Then they are made live in certain controlled zones. There are those, when faced with this argument, who say that The Jews weren’t carrying our terrorist attacks. Either are The Muslims. Nor were The Irish. Some Muslims are, and the moment we start pointing at a group as a single monolithic bloc, well, we know where it leads.

Europe is the freest place on Earth, where you can sit on a beach and on one side see Muslim girls wearing hijabs and on the other women sunbathing topless. Where a Muslim, a black and a white police officer be honoured for defending our and their way of life. The threats to that freedom come from extremists on many sides, and we must be vigilant.

But the biggest single threat to that freedom is not a savage attack on a magazine. We can face that down. We are stronger than those bastards. The biggest single threat is the temptation to destroy our freedom by forgetting the lessons of our European past, by listening to those who point to one group of Europeans and say that they are the problem and we must find a “solution” to them.

We have been here before.


An Occasional Guide to Irish Life: The man who chooses drink over women.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 12, 2015 in Not quite serious.
Mmmmm. Beer. You'll never leave me, will you?

Mmmmm. Beer. You’ll never leave me, will you?

It’s not that he isn’t  attractive to women. He’s single, in good shape, a nice guy, not bad looking. Women like him. Yet put him in a social occasion, and he’ll follow a pattern. He’ll see a woman across the room that catches his eye. He’ll ask his mates who she is. They’ll tell him, and confirm that she’s not there with anyone. Grand, he thinks.

Then he hits the bar like the Allies hitting Omaha beach.

An hour and a half later, he’s ready, magically transformed from a nervous but not unappealing guy into a fella full of soup who’s ready to rock this one’s world. That’s his point of view anyway.

She gets the sloppy drunken grin, the waft of booze and sweat, and his personality which is either wonderfully relaxed (his view) or incapable of self-editting (hers). He may still succeed in charming her. There are some women who will be just as drunk as him, or feel that that an Irishman being drunk before attempting to chat one up is standard procedure. On the other hand, she could have different standards, and expect that a man who expresses a romantic interest in her might at least attempt to remain fully conscious during the initial encounter.

He continues drinking during the event, even when she decides to call it quits and heads to get a taxi, which he volunteers to assist her with. Outside, alcohol pumping through his bloodstream, in the foggy recesses of the judgement centres of his mind, an idea suddenly ignites: He’ll play his trump card. As she struggles to wave down a taxi, he unbuckles his trousers, pulls down his flies, and extracts his flaccid penis, asking her as to whether she’d like “a bit of that”?

She’s out of there fast. The following morning, as he nurses his hangover, he remains oblivious to most of the details of the previous night, save for his conviction that Dublin has an awful lot of lesbians.

Author’s note: ‘lest I be accused of exaggeration, all events in the above post have been witnessed by the author.


The contradictions of Euroscepticism.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 9, 2015 in British Politics, European Union, Irish Politics

Jason CorbynI was recently at a Halloween party (dressed, incidentally, as that figure of terror to all right-thinking middle classes, Jeremy Corbyn) when a very robust debate broke out over the future of the EU. My gracious host and others not uncomfortable on the libertarian right (he was dressed as Dracula, by the way. Insert left-wing metaphor as appropriate) raised a very valid point about the rise of euroscepticism. In short, they claimed that the obvious and very visible rise of euroscepticism across the EU is pretty much a rejection of what we refer to as The European Project.

It’s a fair point, and one made by eurosceptics across Europe. It’s also fair to say that it is not broadly incorrect. If there is one thing that unites eurosceptics, it is that the finger points squarely at Brussels and at those of us elsewhere who continue to advocate European integration.

My host then laid down a challenge at the feet of pro-integrationists. Call a referendum across the union and ask the ordinary peoples of Europe do they want a United States of Europe? He predicted, correctly, I suspect, that such a proposition would be rejected by the great majority of European voters. In short, he said, there is no mandate for further integration.

It’s a powerful argument, and led to heated but good natured exchanges, and I left with plenty to think about.

As with so much to do with Europe, it’s the details that do you in. Is euroscepticism on the rise across Europe. Undoubtedly. But is it the same euroscepticism across the continent? Do eurosceptics want the same thing? Does the word even mean the same thing?

That’s where the wheels come off, because unlike centre-right, centrist or centre-left pro-Europeans, who can compromise, the problem with eurosceptics is that they are often diametrically opposed to what defines euroscepticism.

Poland, for example, has recently elected a Law and Justice party nominally eurosceptic government. Cue cheers in Tory gentlemen’s clubs across London and much despatching of Mr.Carsons to break out the good brandy. “Three cheers for the Poles who will now support us in, eh, banning Poles working in the UK, or, eh, getting welfare even if they live and pay taxes in Britain, or, um, getting rid of the Common Agricultural Policy…”

See the problem? Think all Irish eurosceptics agree with Tory free-marketeers that the CAP is too generous and needs to be cut back, if not abolished? Think French eurosceptics agree with the same Tories that the EU gives too many rights to workers? Think those Tories agree with French eurosceptics on CAP or that the single market is too open to cross-border competition? Think Greek or Italian eurosceptics think that dealing with the Mediterranean refugee crisis is purely an internal national sovereignty matter and not any other countries’ problems?

The truth is, there is as much unity on the hard detail between eurosceptics as there is amongst the Irish Alphabet Left. This is People’s Front of Judea stuff.

Even the wording of the issue gets you into trouble. Take the aforementioned United States of Europe referendum. What would be the wording? “Do you want a United States of Europe?” Grand. So if we don’t call it the USofE we can carry on? Or “Do you want any more European integration?” Fine. So does further co-operation on, say, child trafficking count as further integration? Is it now illegal? How about “Should federalism be banned in Europe?” Again, a lovely day out. How do you define federalism? The centralising of all power to a non-directly elected body with weak to non-existent lower authorities? Great. You’ve just abolished Ireland. This thing could run and run.

Oh, it’s true that the EU is now the irritating political itch of the day, the piñata to be waved about and clobbered by every politician desperately trying to distract attention from their over-promising and under-delivery.

May be it might even work. Maybe a common consensus might be arrived at that a majority of Europeans can’t agree on why they hate the EU but just do, and if that’s the case, it’s farewell EU.

But it still remains a false solution, because the problems will still be there, and the interdependence that a globalised society and economy creates will still be there the day after the “For Rent” sign is put up in the window of the Berlaymont. Products manufactured in Poland will still have to meet Portuguese and Finnish standards. Irish paedophiles who assault a Greek child and then flee to Slovakia will still have to be tracked, arrested and tried. China will still have to be negotiated with. Syrians will still wash up in Italy and try to get to Calais or Stockholm.

And then the victorious eurosceptics, sitting in their national ministries, will order their officials to solve X. And their officials will tell them that they’ll need the cooperation of countries Z and Y to do that. But countries Z and Y are looking for something else, and so negotiations on some form of European cooperation will probably be needed…

Still, you can’t beat watching JR Ewing, Jeremy Corbyn, Dracula and a Roman Centurion debate the future of Europe. That’s a sitcom right there, surely?


Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to make “sweet beautiful love” to every woman in Canada.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 5, 2015 in Canadian politics, Not quite serious.

Trudeau-blue-steel-Jan-22-620x330Newly elected dreamboat Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau (Liberal) has pledged that he will sexually satisfy any Canadian woman who requests it. The well known feminist politician, fresh from appointing a cabinet made up of 50% men and women, announced that whilst it was hard for politicians to deliver on every promise, this was one he was certain he could deliver.

Addressing parliament in Ottawa, Trudeau said that he was looking forward to “making sweet, beautiful, gentle yet vigorous love to every Canadian woman who chooses to exercise her right to be pleasured by the prime minister. Not only do I pledge to take you to the very pinnacle of ecstasy, but I’m going to kiss and caress every stretch mark and other part of your body you don’t like and try to hide, I’m going to tell you not to hide yourself, not to be ashamed of who you are, and that to me, every bit of you is all just beautiful woman.”

He then repeated the promise in flawless French, as Barry White played in the background. Officials say the PM had a very busy afternoon.

When asked would he make the same offer to gay Canadians, the progressive leader pointed out that he was prime minister and servant of all the people of Canada.


Will Brexit lead to the “Finlandisation” of the UK?

Posted by Jason O on Nov 2, 2015 in European Union

Winter_war (1)The phrase “Finlandisation” is both controversial and offensive to many Finns. For those unfamiliar with the phrase, it is generally taken to be a reference to an arrangement Finland had under its long-serving President Urho Kekkonen in the 1970s where the Finns made pragmatic concessions to the Soviet Union in return for keeping their independence.

Some have sneered at it as a form of “puppet statery” which is both inaccurate and wrong. It was, in short, the response of a small nation to having a) a belligerent superpower on its border, and b) not having help coming from anyone equally powerful. This from a country which proved during the Winter War of 1939 that it didn’t lack courage when it came to defending itself from a Russian invasion.

So, what’s the connection with Brexit? The reality of Finlandisation was that Finland, although nominally independent, had many of its external and some internal policies not set directly by Moscow but certainly were set in Helsinki with an eye to Moscow. The Finnish media quietly avoided making too much noise about the Soviets, and Kekkonen himself pretty much ran on an “Only I can deal with Moscow” ticket.

Britain outside a 450m citizen European Union would find itself in a situation with parallels. Not from a military point of view, obviously, but certainly from the fact that the sheer economic heft and gravity of the EU will force a non-EU Britain to be influenced by it. British managers will still keep an eye on EU product regulations, as will British bureaucrats. Britain will be a nominally independent non-EU country that finds, for sheer pragmatic reasons, that it is easier to comply with regulations and rules set in Brussels, as it does now, only without any say in their initial drafting.

Still, at least there won’t be any blue flags around the place. That’s something, I suppose.

Copyright © 2021 Jason O Mahony All rights reserved. Email: Jason@JasonOMahony.ie.