Thursday, April 14, 2011

Be Specific and Tell Us More, Howlin

The reported statement yesterday of Labour's minister without portfolio, Brendan Howlin, that many parts of the public service are "not fit for purpose" would have done the master of black propaganda, Dr. Joseph Goebells, credit. Like his Fianna Fail predecessor in Finance, Brian Lenihan, Howlin attacks public sector workers and uses non-specific (what does "leaner, more efficient, better integrated and responsive public service" actually mean?), sweeping statements to blacken the good work and reputations of public servants all over Ireland. Then Fine Gael's Minister of State, Brian Hayes, added to the propaganda with more claptrap today.

The softening up process has already begun and it is now clear that there is an agenda for further cuts in public sector pay being worked through by the new Fine Gael/Labour coalition, no matter what sacrifices have already been made, what wage cuts taken, what redundancies already achieved and what efficiencies already delivered. And, just as in Goebbels' time, the Government will find willing allies among the media; serving and retired (particularly) academics; commentators; political hacks, and the capitalists that destroyed our country, all of whom are happy to jump on the propaganda bandwagon for their own gain.

Kristallnacht for the public sector cannot be far away.

And, recalling their dismal failures of the past, I have little faith in organised labour to come to the defence of workers when the assault begins.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Business and Politics

I am sick to my back teeth of the constant calls from so many people for politicians to come from a "business" background. We heard it endlessly throughout the general election and I have just heard it again on RTE Radio, in relation to the Presidency, from some guy called Johnny Fallon. Apart from the fact that business people, in the main, wrecked the country, we need people in politics who have broad vision and can understand and represent all aspects of Irish society, not merely the economic and financial ones.

Politics is not simply about management and administration of a country (that's what the Civil and Public Service do, under political direction); it is about setting policy direction, based on political vision and values, and putting in place laws, policies, strategies and plans to achieve them. Politicians should be from the people and of the people; that means they should be farmers, dentists, plumbers, auctioneers, lawyers, academics, housewives, unemployed, journalists, economists, drunks, gays and - yes - teachers. In other words, they should be just like the rest of us. I don't want an elite running the country, I want politicians who come from the people and serve at their will. The last election, more than any in recent years, gave us such a group of men and women.

Ireland is at a crossroads now and the choices we make  - and not just the economic choices -  will determine how the country prospers over the next decade or more. These choices must be based on our values as a society of people - what we believe in; what we stand for; how we express and assert ourselves in the world; how we interact in international affairs; how we value and protect the weak and vulnerable in our society. It was our loss of direction, vision and values - driven largely by our brief love affair with money, shares and property (the "business" stuff) - that landed us where we are now. We don't need more "business" people, who so recently and so catastrophically failed our country - to run our affairs. I prefer the man or woman from my own community - not from a "business" elite - to do the job.

And how, exactly, do you really define a "business" person in Ireland? There is hardly a business that has not got a grant, a subsidy, a tax break or some other type of handout from the state - corporate welfare, as Joe Higgins might call it.

So get real, folks, and appreciate what our democracy is and just how fragile it can be. Fight to protect it whenever you hear calls for an elite to take over our affairs. For there lies the path to the destruction of our country and of our society and the end of a future for our children in the country of their birth.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

RTE's Ageist Coverage of 31st Dail is Shameful

I have followed the coverage of today's affairs in relation to the 31st Dail by RTE and I am utterly disgusted at the ageist theme running through all of it - from Morning Ireland to Pat Kenny and Drivetime. It is an utter disgrace and RTE should be ashamed of its editorial line. On Drivetime, a contributor to the programme said - with absolutely no evidence to back up the assertion - that the new Cabinet appeared "male and stale". Whatever about "male", how could she possibly call a Cabinet that has not even met "stale"? This is desperately poor production based on cliched thinking.

Having done such a great job on the coverage of the election counts, RTE have really let themselves down with their ageist coverage of today's events. Shame on them.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Cowen's Latest Act of Contempt for the Electorate

I am utterly disgusted at Brian Cowen's appointment of Darragh O'Brien to Seanad Eireann. Cowen, who did not have the nerve to present himself to the people for election and is Prime Minister merely by dint of a constitutional quirk, has the gall to appoint someone whom the electorate of Dublin North so recently rejected and who represents a party that failed the nation so badly and that was destroyed in the recent election. He has a cheek, but can I really be surprised at anything that party and its leaders would stoop to?

It is remarkable how quickly Cowen filled the Seanad vacancy in contrast to his leaving the Dail without three representatives for months. Democracy and the constitution counted for little then and it took Sinn Fein and the High Court to remind Cowen of his duty to the people. He has clearly forgotten it again.

Michael Martin has a long road ahead if he wants to renew Fianna Fail because sharp practice, abuse of position and contempt for the people is in the party's DNA.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Congratulations To Dublin North's Newly Elected TDs

It's all over in Dublin North and nearly all over in the rest of the country, with just a few recounts taking place. As was widely predicted, Fianna Fail and the Green Party were decimated and the electorate finally got their revenge. I am very pleased that Dublin North has no Fianna Fail or Green Party deputies and that, in the whole of Dublin, Fianna Fail only have one seat - Brian Lenihan's - and the Greens have been completely wiped out.

It is very clear from the election result that the electorate have utterly rejected Fianna Fail, so the calls from some that Fine Gael and Fianna Fail should go into government together must be rejected. For this to happen would be an outrage and an insult to the electorate. Fianna Fail must not see power for at least a generation, until the poison of corruption is truly removed from the party. I would actually prefer if the party disapeared altogether, but this is probably not a realistic hope.

The electorate clearly voted for a coalition of Fine Gael and Labour, since neither party got sufficient votes to form a government on their own, but both did historically well in the election.  I hope that the two parties can agree a programme for government over the next few days and that the Labour Party conference will support their going into government; I have a feeling they will.

Dublin North has three new TDs: Clare Daly (Socialist Party), Brenda Ryan (Labour Party) and Alan Farrell (Fine Gael) and one returning TD, James Reilly (Fine Gael). I congratulate them and wish them all well. I hope that they will do some service nationally and also represent their constituency well. I'll be keeping an eye on them!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hit Me Now With The Baby In My Arms

Fianna Fail's Darragh O'Brien (Dublin North) appears to be getting desperate in his election campaign. On RTE radio today, he stressed that he is a young married man with children and a big mortgage, with no business connections. As a constituent of O'Brien's (though hopefully not for much longer), I got a letter from him along the same lines this morning. So what he is saying, in other words, is that he is just like the rest of us and, on this basis, he argues that he understands the issues facing the electorate.

Clearly seeing that his days on the Dail Eireann gravy train are coming to an end, O'Brien is appealing to the compassion of the electorate. Would you throw a young married man with young children and a big mortgage out of a job? Would you hit me now with the baby in my arms?

Fianna Fail is the most corrupt party in the history of the Irish state; the party of bribery, bailouts, handouts, dig outs, cronyism and nepotism. The bankers' party; the Anglo party; the NAMA party; the DDDA party; the developers' party; the landowners' party; the rezoners' party; the Galway tent party. The party of the greatest crook of them all, Charles Haughey, and his bribers, friends and proteges.

Darragh, your fate now lies with the fate of that poisonous tribe that threw hundreds of thousands of people on the slag heap of unemployment. You may join them soon (along with a lot of your colleagues, I hope) when the people of Dublin North and the people of Ireland have their say.

Your party is the party that filled boats and planes as they carried another generation of our young people away from Ireland and scattered them to the four corners of the globe on the emigrant trail again. The party that abandoned tens of thousands of apprentices to the Limbo of no job, no qualifications, no prospects and no future. The party of ghost estates; open sewers; health hazards; unbridled development; ruined towns and villages, and destruction of country life. The party that demonised and vilified public servants; set worker against worker; young against old; labour against capital; public against private; town against country. The party that destroyed Ireland.

I despise your party for what it has done to me, to my children, to my friends, to my colleagues, to our society, to social solidarity, to the economy and to the country. So tomorrow, I look forward to voting and leaving a big blank space beside Kennedy and O'Brien. You are both finished. And good riddance.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Lenihan's Rationalisation of His Payoff Does Not Add Up

It is remarkable that Brian Lenihan can rationalise his and Michael Martin's availing of a huge payoff when they are thrown out of office in a few weeks time because it was a "settled arrangement." I'm a public servant too and I had a "settled arrangement" in respect of my salary (which was subject to a contract between my employer and me), my pension arrangements and my terms and conditions of employment.

Lenihan had no trouble tearing up that "settled arrangement" when he chose, with his Fianna Fail and Green Party co-conspirators, to demonise, malign and victimise public servants so that he could alienate them in the eyes of the public and then make savage cuts in their remuneration arrangements.

So, if he can do it to me, there is no reason why he can't tear up this disgraceful arrangement for paying off Ministers who failed so spectacularly in their duty to the country.
And, of course, Lenihan has no problem referring to the value of his payoff after all deductions, while he prefers to refer to the gross salaries of public servants, just to make the situation look worse and to heap further opprobrium on decent hard working public servants.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Labour's Broadband Rating System Is Crazy

As if the Green lunacy of a Building Energy Rating system was not bad enough, Labour has now come up with the utterly ridiculous idea of a Broadband Rating System for properties being sold or rented. Once again, the dead hand of Government and the burden of oppressive regulation falls on householders and businesses. This policy is utter lunacy and interferes, once again, with the property rights of individuals. And, no doubt, there will be an industry of "Broadband Raters" developed with consequent added cost to the renter or seller.

Broadband is now capable of being delivered in many ways - telephone landline, cable, satellite and mobile devices. Increasingly, it will become a mobile service and not a fixed service at the property. Users will carry their broadband around with them, not have it fixed at a property.

Broadband facilities should suit the needs of the user, not the perceived need of a regulator, so the idea of a rating system is utterly ridiculous.This is another example of Government and political parties interfering too much in our lives and trying to dictate how we live, down to the minutest detail.

So if you are a property owner - whether a householder, landlord or business property owner - oppose this Labour Party folly and withhold your vote.

Labour Keep Giving Me Reasons Not To Vote For Them

Now the Labour Party want to negotiate a three year pay freeze in the public and private sectors. I can't understand how they keep introducing such anti-worker policies. Will they also bring in a tax increase freeze? a petrol price rise freeze? a rent increase freeze? a local authority charges freeze?

I am bitterly disappointed in what I am hearing from Labour and simply can't vote for them. What a shame.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Martin's Apology Not Acceptable

Michael Martin's apology for the destruction that his corrupt party, Fianna Fail, wrought on the country is not acceptable. He was there through all the profligacy, waste, mismanagement, gombeenism, croneyism and nepotism that went on. So I hope the Irish people will cop on to themselves over the next few weeks and that the opposition parties will expose him for the part he played in the disaster that they caused. It is utterly ridiculous that his satisfaction rating is so high and it makes me despair for Ireland.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Election At Last

Cowen has finally dissolved the Dail and given us the election that this country so badly needs. Good riddance to him and his disastrous government of Fianna Fail and the Greens. They did untold damage to Ireland; not just to the economy, but also to society and to our political institutions and public life. They threatened the constitutional basis for our democracy and discredited politics and the Oireachtas.

I am looking forward to challenging candidates on the hustings but, sadly, very few call to my door and I do not expect to see much of the cretins from Fianna Fail or the Green Party. If I do, sparks will fly!

Michael Martin cannot escape blame for his part in the disastrous outcome for Ireland of the economic and political actions of Fianna Fail and the Greens. He sat at the cabinet with a Taoiseach (Prime Minister) who did not have a bank account; with a Minister for Finance whose actions brought the country to the brink of ruin; with a Minister for Health who decimated our health service and handed over public hospital property for private gain; with another Minister for Finance who socialised the losses of a rogue private bank and bankrupted the country for the next two generations; with a ragbag of Green loose cannons and with such other luminaries as O'Dea, Coughlan, Carey and the rest. I will never forgive them for the ruin they have visited on the country and hope they are destroyed in the election.

Unfortunately there will be some stupid died-in-the-wool gobshites who, no matter how much devastation Fianna Fail and the Greens visited on the state, will still vote for them again. I can't understand it but hope that anyone who wants to reclaim our country for the people will vote for other parties. I do not agree with many policies of the other parties and already will have difficulty voting for what would normally be my natural choice, the Labour Party. I'm afraid their plans to visit even more misery on the families of higher earners is completely unacceptable to me. So I won't be voting for Brendan Ryan, for whom I have much regard. It is a pity, but that's the way it has to be.

I hope that the election campaign does not comprise a load of cliches and rubbish, as previous ones have been. Already, the ridiculous palaver over the Leaders' Debate is a joke and I blame the Media for that one - and Michael Martin, who started it.

I look forward to a fresh start for Ireland after this election and hope that both Fianna Fail and the Greens will spend a very long time in the wilderness.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Supporting the Kilmacow Marchers

I joined the Kilmacow marchers on the final leg of their walk to Dail Eireann today. A few hundred people turned up to meet them and they were welcomed enthusiastically by all (even the Gardai, I think!). They marched with dignity and conviction and I think it was their quiet determination that impressed me most. I was glad I was there.

The march was covered by Joe Duffy on RTE Radio's Liveline and some of the guys spoke to Joe on the air. Sean McGuinness from the Dublin City Ramblers sang "The Flight of the Earl", which captured the moment very well.

Caoimhin O Caolain, the Sinn Fein TD, spoke at length to several media reporters and also greeted the marchers. He expressed his support and admiration for them and it was good to see at least one politician (I think he was the only one, in fact), giving his support.

After the march, the lads were going to head off for a few well-earned pints, which I hope they enjoyed. Well done, lads!