He found one of those apps that tells you how much time you spend doing things, and it gave him a fright. Apparently he spends two-thirds of his day on Twitter trying to pick fights with people back home. What’s worse is that they’ve got the measure of him now, and just ignore him. He doesn’t get mentioned on the news, or in papers. He’s just gone. Like he’s dead.
He was going to show this crowd out here in Brussels, boy was he! But of course they’re well used to him and others like him coming out and shouting. Even Paisley tried it back in the day. Know what happened? Nothing. They ignored him. Anti-Christ this and Anti-Christ that and they just ignored him and went for lunch, and this guy ain’t no Big Ian.
He finds that he’s getting up later in the day, and watching a lot of boxsets in his apartment. The other MEPs from his country, the men and women from the parties he was going to make a holy show of when he got out, now just treat him like one of those fellas you buy a Club Orange and a pack of Tayto for down the pub on a Sunday afternoon. They don’t even argue with him now, just give him that “ah, bless, the poor creature” look. The women ask him is he OK? One even offered to sew a button that had fallen off his good jacket back on. He spent a whole day walking around not knowing that he was trailing a long piece of toilet paper on his shoe and nobody’d said anything. One of the Dutch MEPs thought he’d been trying to make some sort of avant-garde protest about waste.
He’s afraid to spend too long on the phone back home because he knows some bastard will FOI it, and he can’t even go home because it’ll effect his voting record, the one thing the public (or at least the media) seem to get stroppy about at election time.
What on Earth was he thinking coming out here?
Towns and cities across Ireland were brought to a halt yesterday as spontaneous crowds blocked roads cheering the release of the Working Group on Seanad Reform’s report. One woman, openly sobbing, told our cameras: “This is truly a great nation, and I’m so proud to be Irish. You can keep your Nobel prizes and your Olympic gold medals: who else in the world can generate so many reports on legislative upper house reform? Who? This is what the men and women of 1916 died for!”
Tee-shirt manufacturers reported a sharp increase in tee-shirts bearing Seanad reform slogans. “Indirect election by local authority members! That’s the big one! I can’t keep them on the shelves. That and Reserved Seats for Parliamentary Nominated Candidates! Jaysus they’re flying off the shelves! Flyin’!”
The 1916 Commemoration Committee has confirmed that as part of the celebration next year Galway based arts group Macnas have been commissioned to create giant papier mache versions of each of the 15 Seanad reports for the parade. The committee has also confirmed that toy and card versions of the reports will be available, so that schoolchildren can collect their favourites or play swapsies. “I can’t wait to get my hands on the O’Rourke report!” one excited ten year old said.
The Taoiseach was cheered as he took his morning stroll to Government Buildings on Merrion Square. Speaking to the media at the entrance, he said: “I’m very proud to be contributing to the long tradition in this country of endlessly guffing on about reforming things and then doing nothing. And can I just say this: I believe in the Irish people, and Irish democracy, and I believe that by working together, through a process of endless presentations and our old friend “consultation”, I am confident that we may see a 16th report on Seanad reform yet!”
Because of her political history, where she was once very active with one particular party, she wrongly gets called biased. It’s not true. If anything, it’s worse than that. She’s no longer loyal to the party she was once a member of, but is, in fact, now a member of The Establishment Party, and a fiercely protective member of it.
She’ll happily speak in defence of any member of the establishment parties. TD salaries? Hours worked? Expenses? She’ll happily go on Prime Time and The Right Hook and Morning Ireland to defend TDs when they’re terrified of their shite to do so themselves. She never has to put her hand in her handbag when she’s in the Dail bar.
She’ll oppose any real political reform which is unpopular with the parties, although will always be careful to publicly support the concept of reform once “consensus” can be found. She’s popular across all establishment parties because she defends “politics”, that is, the status quo where they get paid for doing stuff, going on RTE panels to defend politics as a noble pursuit to the solemn nod of actual officeholders. Summer schools? Sure it’s practically the law that she either chairs or speaks on every panel.
What really irritates her are the outsiders. If you’re not a newspaper columnist with a national newspaper, a pol corr, an elected official or a party officer you’ve no real right speaking about her political system? Blogger? Twitter? Who are these people?
The dream used to be a seat in cabinet, but she knows that’s no longer on the agenda. But a seat on the RTE Authority? Or the Council of State? Or maybe the holy grail of a Taoiseach’s nominee to the Seanad. She’s a big fan of senators keeping the title after they leave office. Especially on their passports for holidays in the US later.
That’s all still to play for, and the main party leaders know whose side she’s on.
Posted by Jason O on Apr 1, 2015 in Irish Politics
Academics in Gonville & Gaius College, Cambridge, have uncovered evidence in the personal papers of former MI5 Director General Martin Furnival Jones that former Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey was an agent of the British security service.
Professor John Rilfololap of the school of contemporary history believes that Haughey had been recruited when he was a young backbencher in the early 1960s. Furnival Jones, as a young MI5 attache to the Dublin embassy, quickly identified the then Dublin North East TD (and son-in-law of then Taoiseach Sean Lemass) as a rising star but also someone open to inducements. A steady series of cash payments followed by the setting up of an account in Switzerland sealed Haughey’s recruitment, and goes some way to explain his unusually conspicuous wealth in the 1960s.
Furnival Jones’s own star in MI5 was seen to rise rapidly as Haughey became justice minister, managing to secure his own reputation as a solid nationalist by blocking extradition (Haughey told his handler that it wasn’t going to happen anyway) whilst introducing hardline courts against the IRA, which the British really wanted.
Ironically, it was only after he’d left justice and later become finance minister that Irish security services became suspicious of Haughey, eventually tracking him to a meet with his MI5 handler. With evidence, senior Gardai approached a shocked Jack Lynch, who had faced down Haughey for the leadership of Fianna Fail and Taoiseach after Lemass. Lynch, who believed that the existence of a British agent in the upper ranks of Fianna Fail would destroy the party, proceeded to devise a scheme where Haughey would be framed for importing weapons. The whole affair became known as the Arms Trial, and resulted in Haughey’s removal from cabinet.
Papers reveal that Haughey convinced MI5 that this was a manageable setback. The British security service, reeling from the rumours that Furnival Jones’s predecessor, Sir Roger Hollis, had actually been a Soviet spy, decided to play the long game with Haughey if only because the service was so bereft of victories.
Furnival Jones retired in 1972. It’s not known if Haughey continued to work for MI5 when he returned to power in 1979. But historians have noted that most of Haughey’s anti-British grandstanding, which built him so much support with the hardline wing of Fianna Fail, was on issues like the Falklands War over which Ireland had little influence. On the issues that he could influence, such as extradition and the Anglo-Irish Agreement, both of which Haughey opposed in opposition, he u-turned and implemented a pro-British line when he returned to power a second time in 1987.
Posted by Jason O on Mar 29, 2015 in British Politics
, Irish Politics
A long post: you might want a cup of tea with this one.
When the Taoiseach was told the news by the British Prime Minister, they say that his heart actually tightened and he was short of breath. He could have been forgiven if it had been true. England, the PM announced, was pulling out of the United Kingdom. After Scotland’s withdrawal the previous year a wave of introspection had swept south of the border, and suddenly English taxpayers were asking why they were paying billions to a bunch of ungrateful paddies. Enough was enough.
The truth, the PM said, is that we would have pulled out decades ago if it hadn’t been for the IRA. There’s nothing in Ulster for us, but we just couldn’t be seen to give in to the Provos. You know, spirit of the Blitz and all that. But now most English people don’t give a toss. It’ll be like Hong Kong: flag lowered, soldiers in big hats saluting, and that’ll be that. You’ll be the man who united Ireland, the PM said. You can thank me later.
The Taoiseach actually vomited when he was alone. His first reaction had been to beg the Brits not to leave. Where the hell was he going to find €10 billion a year extra to fund the north? Increase USC by two and a half times? But he couldn’t beg, because he knew that both MI5 and the dark shades brigade in Harcourt Street were both recording the conversation, and a leak of the prime minister of Ireland begging the Brits not to leave would get him killed. In Boston, quite literally.
Posted by Jason O on Mar 18, 2015 in Irish Politics
I was talking to someone recently about what short message each party will be pushing in next year’s election, going on what we know as of today. This is what we came up with.
Fine Gael: Stability, business, cut taxes, keep the Shinners out. Political reform is the exact same system FF had but with us in it.
Labour: We have absolutely no idea why you people aren’t cheering us from the rafters. As I said to Jennings, my under-butler, yesterday…
Fianna Fail: We’re much nicer than we used to be. Look, we have gays and Averil Power and everything. We’re not Fine Gael. We’ll give you money! Please! (sob!) We’ll do anything. (Unbuckles belt). For Jesus sake I’ve a mortgage!
Sinn Fein: We’ll take money off people you don’t know and give it to you. Brits Out? Lock up your daughters, eh! (tone turns menacing, glint in eye freezes over)
Greens: Polar bears?
Renua: So far, words like enterprise and dignity. And abortion hangs about in the background.
Alphabet Left: Slogan! Anger! Fury! Slogan! Indignation, etc.
Independents: Amazingly, I realised the party system was corrupt on the exact same night I lost a selection convention for FF/FG. What were the chances?
Posted by Jason O on Feb 18, 2015 in European Union
, Irish Politics
Repost: Some years ago, a number of Irish politicians knowingly sentenced some their constituents to death. A report by experts pointed out that small local hospitals did not have the experience, capacity and technology to provide specialist care in the case of heart attacks. In effect, the report said that a person who had a heart attack on the steps of the local hospital stood a better chance of survival if they were flown by air ambulance to a regional hospital with a dedicated experienced unit who dealt with heart attacks every day.
A rational analysis of the report would have led to a debate about how to ensure that such an efficient air ambulance unit could be provided. Instead, in Ireland, the local deputies argued that every small local hospital should have such a cardiac unit, a proposal that was not only impractical but if attempted to be implemented would suck resources from other parts of the health service, thus resulting in unnecessary deaths from non-cardiac related illness.
Why did they do it? Why did these elected representatives knowingly campaign for a policy they knew would actually kill some of their constituents? Primarily, one would suggest, because their constituents demanded it, and in a democracy, the voter is always right. Even when he or she doesn’t read the report or just plain refuses to accept its findings because he or she simply don’t like them. The voter rules.
When the voter is then standing over the grave of his or her wife or husband who died on an operating table from a heart attack, in the local hospital, it’s not their fault. It’s the health service’s fault for not providing a world class cardiac unit in a tiny town. The local deputy will attend the funeral and agree that the wife or husband has been let down, despite having known this would happen from the expert report. And so on it goes.
In a democracy, the pointed finger beats rational fact every time.
Francois Hollande ran for the Presidency of France promising to reverse Sarkozy’s very modest pension reforms. How could any intelligent rational man looking at the demographic and life expectancy statistics conclude that people should be permitted to retire earlier? Pensions and increasing care for the elderly cost money, and so more people must work longer and pay taxes to fund those services. Is Hollande a fool, in the real sense? Probably not. But he knew that the voters didn’t care about the statistics. They stamped their foot in the Free Stuff From The Government aisle and had a tantrum, and would only leave with him if he promised them a young pension. Even though he must have known that it was the wrong thing for France’s long-term viability as a self sustaining nation.
It’s an issue we don’t want to confront: modern life, with modern expectations, is incredibly complicated. If you want to build a world class cardiac capacity, it takes years of planning, to bring and train the right people together, in the right place, with the right equipment. It takes long term planning. But democratic politics is becoming less and less tolerant of long term planning. It’s attracting candidates who are thinking more and more short term, sometimes just to Friday afternoon or the following days newspapers, candidates who aren’t interested in anything that they can’t wave at their voters before the next election.
That’s not to say we should scrap democracy, of course. China does long term planning very well, but it also uses tanks against its own people. Democracy is still the most effective bulwark against tyranny and for that alone must be maintained. But as a guarantee of good, rational government it is becoming less and less effective.
Posted by Jason O on Feb 12, 2015 in Irish Politics
, Not quite serious.
The Irish Department of Finance has confirmed that in the event of a No vote in May’s Marriage Equality referendum legislation will be brought forward to give a special LGBT tax free allowance. A spokesperson said: “Our lawyers have been looking at this. Turns out that it may be unconstitutional to be denying people equal rights but expecting them to pay the same level of taxation for less services. So we reckon a 10% tax cut should level it out.”
When asked as to how the Revenue Commissioners would work out who is actually LGBT, the spokesperson was unclear: “Yeah, that’s an issue alright. You know what the Irish are like. If there’s money involved, half the country will come out. We’re putting together a formula to create a threshold, you know, how many Pet Shop Boys tracks do you listen to on Spotify, how you pronounce the name “Liza”, and whether you think Kim Catrall is marvellous or not. That sort of thing.”
The anti-Marriage Equality campaign, “They’re Coming! They’re Coming!” has called for a tax credit for heterosexual men. “Real men,” their spokesman announced, “not a bunch of fairies. You know, the sort of guys who work out in the gym every day, letting the sweat run down their manly hairy chests as they pull their tight tee shirts over rippling…” the spokesperson then asked to be excused.
Posted by Jason O on Feb 9, 2015 in Irish Politics
, Not quite serious.
Socialist Party Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy has lashed out at the Garda Siochana for treating him courteously and respecting his civil rights following an arrest earlier today.
Addressing a group of working class supporters who didn’t seem to have to go to work, Murphy said: “This is typical of the right-wing oppressive forces at work in the Garda Siochana. If this had been Chile under Pinochet I’d be beaten to a pulp, speaking to you now in a shirt covered in my own blood.
Or possibly even dead and on an iconic teeshirt!
But no! This regime is so opposed to socialism that they refuse to cooperate, and instead gave me a cup of tea and as many chocolate digestives as I could eat, all paid for by your taxes if you please! The fact that the oppressive police of this state refused to oppress me, that they actually allow us to speak here without shooting us even with plastic bullets, shows how devious and oppressive they really are! If they truly supported the working class they’d be baton charging the working class to remind the working class that they were being oppressed by being baton charged!”
Deputy Murphy continued in this vein for a a good twenty minutes until Jennings, his butler, collected him and drove him home.
Posted by Jason O on Feb 7, 2015 in Irish Politics
, Not quite serious.
RESPECT YOUR BETTERS!
Sinn Fein/The British Conservative and Union Party (delete as appropriate) have defended the rights of people descended from famous ancestors to be given special treatment above that of ordinary citizens not sharing a famous bloodline.
A spokesperson for the party said: “We are calling on people from these good families, who are entitled to this special treatment due to the superior blood in their veins, to be consulted on things like commemoration of national historical events/national legislation (delete as appropriate). It is only right that people whose key achievement in this regard is to have been born be sought out and asked their opinions with regard to these national matters. They should be given reserved seats on committees/in the House of Lords (delete as appropriate). I mean, it’s not like we want to copy those filthy republican practices of say, France, where all citizens are regarded as equal. This is a country where people must learn to respect their blood betters and know their place.”