December 20, 2010

Talking about a revolution

Posted in Ireland · 241 comments ·
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What is it? What is the difference between Donegal and Tyrone? And I don’t just mean in Gaelic football.

Last Friday morning, I was trying to put my finger – or, more accurately, my foot – on it.

Yes, it is something tangible. Crossing the bridge between Lifford and Strabane, I felt it underfoot – or, rather, underwheel. Tyrone is harder.

Donegal is chilled out; Tyrone is decisive. Donegal is relaxed; Tyrone means business. Whereas at 11am last Friday, Donegal was an open-air ice rink, Tyrone was gritted.

The difference between the North and the south is grit – granular, abrasive grit.

In Donegal, the sensation under the wheels of my car was of soft, flaky, unpredictable snow. As I slid down the hill in Letterkenny and skated down the road towards Raphoe, my car and those around me transformed themselves into treacherous, mechanical versions of Torvill and Deane, pirouetting, slithering and sashaying chaotically down the N14.

Driving in the snow was a huge game of chance.

At the roundabout outside Letterkenny, as my wheels tried to grip the road, I was overtaken by a happy-looking fella on a horse. ‘‘Fuck you Mitsubishi, I’ve a horse outside,” as the Rubberbandits might say.

Once over the bridge at Lifford spanning the river Finn into Strabane, however, just past Caldwell’s Motors, the unnerving driving lottery gave way to easy predictability.

Cruising through SionMills, Newtownstewart and Omagh, the experience was almost pleasant. There was no shortage of grit in Tyrone; nor was there a salt shortage because it had to be imported from Spain.

The snow fell, the roads were treated: job done ,move on. It can’t be too hard.

But that basic function seems to be beyond us in the south.

Why do we tolerate this down here?

Why do we tolerate a council that can’t grit properly, or a National Roads Authority with no evident authority?

Why do we put up with a banking system that gambled our money – and other people’s – and destroyed the economy in the process; state boards being stuffed with acolytes just weeks before the government falls; or our children being given the bill for the reckless borrowing of Irish banks and the concomitant reckless lending of the German banks?

Why do we tolerate emigration as a solution?

Why do we go along with the economic drivel spouted by those with obvious vested interests who argue that more debt is the solution to an economic problem which we all know was caused by too much debt in the first place? How long will this go on? Not for long, is the short answer. We are on the cusp of what could be huge political change, if the last few weeks are anything to go by.

Last Thursday night in the wonderful Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny, I finished a three-week nationwide tour of Outsiders, the show I have been doing around the country. With emigration on the rise again, it seemed appropriate to finish a national economics tour in Donegal – a county that has seen more than its fair share of emigration. An Grianán was packed and, when we opened the house for a questions and answers session, the appetite for political change was palpable.

Up and down the country, from Cork, Ennis and Waterford to Longford, Tralee and Galway, the same pattern had played itself out. The same question came up again and again. It went something like this: ‘‘I know Fianna Fáil has ruined the place, but I am not seeing a real alternative.”

Last Tuesday in a packed Draíocht Theatre in Blanchardstown, Dublin, the unanimous verdict of the audience was that they didn’t want to vote for Fine Gael or Labour either.

The dissatisfaction with the alternative was as obvious as the disdain for Fianna Fáil.

Maybe this is a little unfair on the opposition parties, b ecause there are obvious policy differences between them and the government, but Fianna Fáil has succeeded in destroying the credibility of the whole lot of them. Some achievement!

Thousands of people from all walks of life, from rural Ennis to suburban west Dublin, from Galway and Waterford city to Cork, Letterkenny and the commuter belt around Newbridge, all expressed the same frustration. They want an alternative – not just to the government, but to the whole system.

They feel let down by the entire political establishment. Here is an electorate suffering the biggest economic crisis in a generation, and it has no faith in the opposition’s ability to drag us out of the crisis.

From what I have seen, I just do not believe the opinion polls – or at least I know that people are ticking boxes out of a sense of resignation, rather than enthusiasm.

They realise that the IMF/EU deal means we are borrowing from tomorrow to pay for yesterday and, in so doing, forgetting about today. They know the state boards are stuffed with mates and hangers on, and they know that they are going to have to pay the salaries of these quangos.

They know that, thus far, the opposition has not been radical enough. They fear it has become institutionalised, when the institutions themselves are at the core of the problem.

This means that the election is wide open. It is difficult to explain why the main opposition parties have failed so manifestly to galvanise the people, but clearly there is a vacuum. There are plenty of good people on the opposition benches, but they haven’t managed to convince many voters of their merit.

Nature dictates that the vacuum will be filled Рby someone or some movement. Sinn F̩in is gaining ground at the moment because it is radical.

Change is coming: if those in our mainstream political class don’t control it, the change will control them.

People feel it is time, not for tinkering with the old system, but for totally rebuilding it. This is an exhilarating and slightly frightening proposition.

Last Thursday, driving to Letterkenny via Sligo, deep in Yeats country, I passed under mighty Ben Bulben and thought of how apt at that moment was the opening line of his poem, The Second Coming, penned in 1920.

‘‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”


  1. Malcolm McClure

    David: Thank you for including Donegal on your itinerary. This county is usually regarded as an inaccessible offshore island, except for that week in August when the D4 lot besport themselves at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties.

    • Deco

      Yes, and even then they manage to construct an enclave and close out anybody with a contrary opinion. They were nearly all gone home by the time Colm McCarthy got up to speak about waste of public money. About the same time Minister Dempsey was in the air in the government jet. He was not waiting around for a lecture on waste obviously….

      • Gege Le Beau

        I think Donegal is instructive, possibly the most scenically attractive region in the country, with some of the most genuine people and yet suffers from political neglect (see by-election), high unemployment and flight from the land. The place is a potential Western oasis and yet few if any have been supported in transforming the place, it is crying out to be done, but comes across as a lone outpost akin to Dances with Wolves or something.

  2. ict

    It pains me to say this, but the reality is that the 1916 rising and all that followed was a mistake.

    The initial response of the populace of Dublin to the insurgents, of throwing rotten fruit and eggs (or whatever) at them, was, in hind sight correct. This going it alone, nationalistic, nonsense has brought this island nothing but grief. The dramatic difference in winter road conditions across the border being a glaring (if not slightly trivial) example.

    We talk about civil war politics, but all that nonsense about English oppression is in effect “famine politics”. It really is time for us to move on. We’ve all been brainwashed by nationalistic education system, such that this may seem like sacrilege.
    A few months ago I would have thought as much myself, but not now

    • mully

      ict- so your happy enough with how things are in the country? Countries need leaders and good leaders often emerge in times of duress. Not everybody is happy to sit back and accept the staus quo.
      Slan go foill a chara.

      • ict

        Of course we need leaders, and of course the established order needs to challenged. But in retrospect, 1916 hasn’t worked out for the best.

        With the benefit of hindsight, what happened is that the true idealists (ie James Connolly et al) got sidelined by the Tribalists (Pearse et al). The tribalists continue to dominate Irish politics to this day (FF,FG and SF) and will probably continue to do so after the forthcoming election.

        Sin mar atá sé, agus de réir mo thuairim is mór an trua é.

        • Cicero

          David and ict are both getting close to some important truths here. To think that the current dire situation is something unusual, or solely the fault of the venal incompetents who have been running the country, is to ignore Ireland’s post-independence narrative.
          From a global perspective, for a country that was more or less at continual peace, with a temperate climate, and producing a food surplus every year, Ireland’s failure to grow its population (until the 1990′s) is just about unique. Apart from the successful economic expansion from 1990 to 2002 (driven by a happy coincidence of never to be repeated conditions)most of the story of GDP growth is similarly disappointing.
          The reasons for all this must lie in the deeper characteristics of Ireland’s geography, culture and people – not the faults and limitations of one group of politicians: you get the politicians you deserve! We can be fairly sure that the next gang that forms a government will be no more inspiring or successful. Fine Gael seems intent on taking its instructions from the ECB and the EU Commission – Labour will take its instructions from ICTU. What odds on a Fianna Fail/ Sinn Fein coalition in power within five years?

          Ireland needs a new constitution and new political structures – and of course the bank debts have to be un-socialized and handed back to those who gambled their money.
          But there needs to be serious cultural change as well: admiration of the cute hoor, and of stroke-pulling self interest are still embedded in a post-colonial national psyche. And boasting of our national ability to have and enjoy “the Craic” is not going to stop the emigration of another generation. Everyone needs to look into their own hearts – perhaps we have to become a bit more German.

    • malone

      God save our gracious Queen
      Long live our noble Queen
      God save the Queen
      Send her victorious
      Happy and glorious
      Long to reign over us
      God save the Queen

      • Julia

        Or you might say – What did the Romans ever do for us?

      • Maire

        There is but one Queen, Queen of Heaven and Earth, our most Beautiful Virgin Mary Mother of God She is Immaculate, She is everything that is good, She is Loving and Giving. . . .The urchin that malone describes is neither gracious or noble. She has descended from Murderers and has ordered the Murder of innocent people all over the world. She has more in common with Lucifer than God.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Well said Marie,

          You could add to that a rather dim disconneted individual with absolute power. Not my idea of a “leader”.

    • Interesting comment, remember Larkin’s less extreme strategy failed when the people went back to work in 1913. It was for no Brit either but a Murphy. I expect more of the same, the people will not be brave enough for real change next election and we will get ripped by the Bruton brothers selling off the countries assets. More riots and shit when all we have to do is elect people with morals that will work for the Irish people.

      I think I will run in the next election and then do a Larkin and bail when the people of south Kerry pick a Healy Rae and some other full of shit crony. However I will give them the opportunity.

    • I agree, it pains me also, I would have felt that 1916 was justified, probably like the public at the time I have reacted to the manner in which the 7 were dealt with, but in deference to the Political class, I believe it is all right to change one’s mind.

      1916, The Treaty, The non acceptance of that treaty, the favour based system of Got, Our Roman Church have all conspired to do us a great dis-service.

      1916 probably had to happen, a row was festering for centuries, certainly since 1800, certainly since the famine. I liken it to two brothers one older and bigger, for years bossing the younger and as the younger shows any sign of development or gaining a position from which to challenge he is put down.

      This can go on until the younger seizes a moment of weakness and challenges, upsetting the status quo tilting the balance of power rendering the relationship broken. Usually 1 of 2 things can happen here, the row festers and worsens or later at an appropriate time delay a peace is made resulting in a far stronger relationship going forward.
      We were the younger brother we needed to say stop to the way we were treated (from what I now know this treatment was no worse than that which the regular Scot, Welsh or English person suffered) the Elite did what they did to all with equal disdain.

      Unfortunately the War of Independence followed by the horrors of the Civil War rendered that process impossible, at least until sufficient time passed, we may now be approaching that time, 2016 is almost upon us and we need to assess how we remember what happened 100 years before, not with euphoria I hope.

      In making my youthful political choices and decisions I have had to rely on what information I had attainable and what I was told first hand, no different to anyone else really. I have made the best decisions possible based on what I knew, I believed I had made the correct decisions but what was I deciding.
      Fianna Fail or Fine Gael, that was it plain and simple. I have never supported FF, an easy decision for me as CJH was unsupportable in my view.
      Does that mean that going the FG route was correct? In short, No, but what else could a young man do if he wanted to have a say, register his opinion.
      In the upcoming new-year election I will again vote FG not because I believe they have the answers but they are certainly not the problem and if we do not vote FG a void will be created and filled by parties who feel justified by their vote, a vote that would really be a protest vote could and would be used to prove a mandate for their policies.

      I believe we need a new party and a new system however in the short-term we need a stable responsible government. I would like to see a party form with a single policy, reform of the system and empowering the people not the political class.

      Our Country needs a system of Presidential Government (along the lines of US but independent of influence)
      A handpicked Secretariat by the President (best person for a job employed)
      50 TD’s (10 from NI appointed by the NIA)
      Build bridges repair damage to our relationships with NI
      Build bridges repair damage to our relationships with UK
      Reduce the influence/power of the Civil Service
      Adopts best practice regardless of vested interests (Dutch Health system for example)

      This may seem simplistic but do you know simple may be the answer, if a President served the people, the whole of the people we would create a great state, one to be copied not ridiculed.

      David McWilliams and others are correct; the country is being run for the good of the few (Elite) not the general population. We do need Revolution, but not warfare, not blood in the streets, we need Democratic Revolution.

      • cmsaint

        again join us in the IDP we are singing of the same sheet. Policies still being refined but similar to your suggestions above.

        • adamabyss

          It might help if you explained what the abbreviation means (is it Irish Democratic Party?) and also what you all stand for.

      • Eireannach

        Before we can have a revolution we need a general awakening.

        “Young fogey” Ryan Tubridy represents that demographic that would rather put their heads down, muddle through and make do with whatever scraps we’ll have with which to stick a life together.

        His demographic is very large – until now, considerably larger than DMcW’s demographic. That may change. I’m not entirely sure it will, but by the end of 2011 the Tubridy types and the DMcW types whould be represented 50%-50%.

        You’re then close to revolutionary change – end 2011 would be my timeline.

      • CitizenWhy

        My parents left Ireland because they thought Ireland would become thoroughly corrupt, including the Church. Ny father lover learning about George Washington and james Madison and other US Founding fathers who had real values and a vision for the country, remarking that Ireland lacked any such figures. He was ambivalent about Jefferson because of slavery.

      • TheFullRed

        Super, well said. I have infringed your copyright by copying the paragraph beginning “Our Country needs a syste, of Presidential Government…” and posting it on my Facebook page. Getting a good response. Must get in touch with these IDP chaps…

    • TheFullRed

      To ICT: In all the debate over the last 2 years, I have not heard a view so devoid of merit or intellectual rigour. Would you ever catch yourself on you clown.

      • ict

        Methinks I’ve upset a sacred cow or two.

        Ok, all interpretations of history are of course subjective and the “what would have happened if” game is fraught with difficulties,

        But could I ask you to consider the following with an open mind;

        Yes, the British empire, along with its European contempories was an odious project and resisting it was indeed a noble cause. I’m not disputing that, but the way they went about it. Contrary to the impression which one might get, Irish national identity was not born on Easter Monday 1916. The alternative Home Rule movement may have been flawed, but probably much less so than the alternative armed rebellion approach subsequently proved to be.

        The rising has had several downsides;

        Firstly and most obviously are the political consequences of having gone down the road of what can be thought of as an acrimonious divorce from the union. As with any divorce, this constituted doing it the hard way and was best avoided.

        Secondly, the hijacking of the socialist idealists by the nationalistic tribalists, for use as a fig leaf to disguise the later’s insular sectarianism, ultimately led to the emasculisation of the Irish left.

        Thirdly, the RC church, in a shameful episode in the history of Irish Christianity, took advantage of the situation and decided to have a bit of “that which belongs to Caesar”, creating a Theocracy which Said Qutb would have felt comfortable with.

        Finally, a paradoxical and unintended consequence (and I accept a very debateable one) is that the rising did little to help the Irish language, but rather, by focussing minds on politics, actually served to impede the then tentative revival which had predated the rising, while at the same time weakened Gaelic culture by exacerbating divisions between Irish and Scottish Gaels.

        All in all, the establishment line of 1916 being the most glorious moment in the history of our people doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny.

        • TheFullRed

          Sophistry lends nothing to this debate. And pretense of reasonable discussion does not grant your opinion any worth.
          I will stop before I descend into pejorative, as I realise one should never argue with fools…

    • CitizenWhy

      The commandant in 1916 who controlled Tipperary & Clare thought the Dublin uprising was military nonsense, a waste of time and resources.

      Remember, Collins wanted to prove that Ireland was not a nation of clowns. Then his successor executes all those rebels, a truly clownish political move.

      When I first visited Ireland in 1969 my aunt and uncle ran a completely modernized and very prosperous dairy farm. They were the only Irish family among the many in the area running such farms. All the others were owned by foreigners. These relatives voted Labour or Fine Gael. They were Collins people, not deValera people.

      • TheFullRed

        The Tipperary Commandant was right in terms of tactical deployment. However, as a matter of Strategy, the Rising was a stroke of genius, and absolutely necessary at the time. The danger was that a complacency would set in among Middle Ireland, and Ireland would drift limply towards Dominion Status, finally to be dismissed by the Ruling Britain as one would dismiss a servant that is no longer required. The Rising served to reignite Ireland’s valour, and caused our Nation to remember itself. All of this moralising about the Rising is so tiresome, no one can say what Ireland would be like if it had not occured. At the time it was a noble event, where men and women of great character, rallied to Ireland’s honour. Nuff said. Ó Coilleáin go deo>

    • madman

      Sorry ict, I disagree, I think you have this arse about face, I am absolutely delighted 1916 happened, in fact it’s the only thing that leaves me with any sort of pride about this country and at least some of it’s people who at least then had enough backbone to stand up and fight! This country is a bastardized country, even then some saw fit to throwfruit and eggs as you say(gobshites in my opinion who succumbed to a long policy of anglo policy. Half the population wiped out, the national language wiped out and a population divided to this day, Until new leaders of 1916 calibre stand up with a vision for ireland, that gives the people a sense of identity, culture and unity rather than the inferiority complex and self serving politics that recently has outed itself in the Property bubble and banking crisis, there is no hope! Real single minded nationalism will get us out of this mess! It is nearly 100 years since 1916, hopefully real strong visionary leaders will have stood up by then! The author of the above article could be one, a few more like him would help too!
      So ict grow a pair of fkn.. balls and stop crying about 19fkn…16!

  3. SLICKMICK

    Had a look @ the ww.rsf.ie site and they haven’t got a word to say about Ireland’s bankruptcy! The last 2 winners of the Irish Apprentice are both English .Great education system Ireland has !Lol.
    http://www.uti.is , an Icelandic view of Ireland.

    • thx for that link, Sigrún is great, here’s what she wrote on Dec 9:

      Are we talkin about fiction or talkin about fact?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f6R7QQraDk

      Our craven government of ECB/IMF collaborators are now trying to acquire for themselves further fascist financial powers to enable them further disenfrancise taxpayers and they want to hide these powers behind the official secrets act.

      They belong to the world of fantasy and fiction as they beat the drum of ‘confidence’, ‘turning the corner’ catch-all cry for all lemmings.

      Fact, from Sigrún above:

      “Early next year, Iceland has to pay ISK25bn, interests for 2009-2010. The Icelandic deposit guarantee fund already has ISK20bn. Iceland will start to pay its Icesave bill in six years, in June 2016, quite some time to prepare. If the government at that time will have to pay less than ISK45bn, £246.7m it will pay the whole amount and that ends the matter. Bucheit seems to think this is likely since the Landsbanki assets will cover majority of the payments. This unavoidably means that other creditors than Icesave depositors won’t get much.

      If the amount due for the Icelandic government will be more than ISK45bn the payments will be stretched out, at most to 2046(!) — Icesave will hardly cause Iceland to default as some Icelanders have feared.

      The interest rates are of great interest: 3,3% to the UK, 3% to the Dutch government, reflecting the different cost of borrowing for the two countries. The Icesave-negotiation team underlined that the outstanding money to be paid isn’t a proper loan. It’s a distressed situation, not a loan. It’s acknowledged that all countries bear some responsibility and this agreement, i.e. the interest rates, can’t be compared to the bail-out loans to Greece and Ireland. Famously, Greece is paying 5,3% on its bail-out package and the average interest rates for Ireland is 5,8%.”

      So, the IMF were not dealing with a ‘distressed’ situation in Ireland, that’s why we didn’t get 3.3% with possible payments extended to 2046!

      That’s why we have McAleese on tv expressing the view we should be encouraging ‘confidence’ among the youth.

      Maybe she should occupy a booth at Dublin airport to give this message to the one’s forced to leave. Same mantra from our treasonous Biffo The Clown or Lenny Wrong.

      Hope DmcW and all contributors here have a great Xmas. Pay extra attention to young people under stress whoever they may be.

      If you’re short of Xmas reading, add to your rss reader:

      http://www.cbweb.net/economicsResourcesLinks.rss

      Re DmcW above, if ECB are hell bent on suffocating Ireland, perhaps we’d be better off stepping out of
      EU, do an Iceland above, and work towards closer union with our trading partners/diaspora in the UK.

      Back hopefully with more annoying comments in 2011

      • Deco

        McUseless is well….useless…
        Enough of the patronising preaching. She needs to take a big pay cut. Waste of public expenditure. The next president should be selected by a tendering process and the job given to the cheapest bidder.

      • Gege Le Beau

        Would love to know who put the ‘X’ in Christmas. You may like myself have trouble believing he was the son of God, but he was some social revolutionary who some would like to see X’ed out of history.

        • TheFullRed

          The Christ / Divine myth is a composite of many features that are replicated through many traditions, in which a central figure is announced as the Son of God.
          He probably existed, and was very powerful spiritually, and thus was a fitting frame from which to hang the divine attributes. And thus, he may well have transubstantiated from human to Divine in his life. Who knows. Ritual and Ceremony is important by its enactment, the details are unimportant.

  4. D Costelloe

    As long as I can remember, we in the South have been messier and less caring than our cousins in the North, about the state of our surroundings. Your anecdote regarding the condition of the roads on both sides of the border was very descriptive. Add to this the growing gap in value for money evident during our bubble years. When linked, as you have done, with the very indifferent quality of our public administration, it begs the question, what does all this say about us? We elected these leaders, counsellors and TD’s. I agree that we need a very fundamental change. I do not have any faith in any of the three main political parties that collectively have the majority share of the vote. Their track record speaks for itself. How do we bring about a thorough and urgent root and branch self examination, and then get the changes implemented, in face of the self-serving ‘system’ now so deeply embedded in our society?

    • Eireannach

      @D Costelloe

      Only one question remains – like the alcoholic considering attending an AA meeting, or the promiscuous rake after unwittingly destroying another relationship, or the young man after crashing his Dad’s car yet again, we have to ask ourselves ‘just how bad will things have to get before we change’?

      But the good news is – like the alcoholic, we DO now want to change. But old habits die hard, and we have some very, very deeply entrenched sloppy habits indeed.

  5. Gege Le Beau

    //Change is coming: if those in our mainstream political class don’t control it, the change will control them.//

    Are these the same people who either directly got us into the mess we are in, or sat silent in opposition?

    The centre has not fallen, it has just been exposed, as bonuses to banks (including Anglo) continue, as people are tossed out of their houses, as my 80 year old aunt eats appalling food (she has actually refused to eat the stuff so we bring her sandwichs and ice cream to keep her going) in the public ward of our city’s biggest hospital, it is business as usual. The system is designed to prevent change, three business parties masquerading as a government and an opposition. Sinn Fein’s time may have come and why not, we’ve tried everything else and it has led us to the IMF, bankruptcy and a President who talks about today, tomorrow and next year (only took 2 years) but of course the prospect of Sinn Fein in the Dail makes the chattering classes, who talk about all kinds of things, nervous because they have the most to lose from a changing of the status quo.

    There is a giant slab of medicocrity which rests down on the entire country (senior politicians, professional classes, business elite, corrupt church hierarchy), preventing expression and the bursting forth of young and older talent, I hope this slab is broken-up into little pieces, ground down and used as grit for future cold spells. If it takes Sinn Fein to accomplish this, then so be it. Change happens in the political arena not on the stage.

    • Harper66

      Well said.Good to see you posting again Gege.

    • TheFullRed

      Well said George. I am absolutely appalled at Mary McAleese’s complete abdication of her responsibilities in this crisis. Her gift to history is that she presided over the most corrupt, craven and shameful period in Ireland since Diarmaid MacMurrough sailed to Wales in 1169. Her anodyne pep-talks over the last 2 years are worse than useless; they are damned offensive. Rather than bringing a real authority to a situation which desperately required some, she chose to side-step the thorny matter in the name of protocol.
      As for the likes of Johnny Ronan and Brendan McNamara, who are receiving 10s of millions in rental from the state while they owe billions, the Bankers who dismiss with impunity the moral outrage of the Nation, and the likes of Bertie Ahern who are lining themselves up to gorge themselves on state assets (Bertie is head of the International Forestry Fund which has lined up 1 million acres of Coillte Forestry in its sights), these people are more than parasites: they are subversives. They and their organisations must be taken apart with, as they say, extreme prejudice. These people must be made to feel hunted, haunted and very afraid of the retribution to come in the Four Courts. The last two years have been an exercise in protecting a very elevated circle at the expense of the greater Nation, and have actually made a dire situation into a disaster. I hope that Sinn Féin and other organisations can effect, not just a recovery, but a real retribution against those who have brought us down.

      • Gege Le Beau

        As for the ‘President’, well I have commented enough on that to last a life-time, the sooner the post is done away with the better. The money saved should be ploughed directly into regeneration projects in the inner cities and the Aras and its ground thrown open to children from disadvantaged backgrounds, similar to Paul Newmans (RIP) ‘hole in the wall gang’ charity.
        http://www.holeinthewallgang.org/Page.aspx?pid=471

        I am personally ready for Sinn Fein to come in to run the show but they have got to get depth in terms of candidate selection because they have a credibility issue, Pearse Doherty has come into his own and people are ready for that message, while ‘video messages’ from the President might as well be coming from Mars for all the good and relevance, personally, I find the whole spectacle rather patronising and insulting, the sooner they go on a permanent ski holiday the better.

        I am somewhat encouraged by the United Left Alliance, but then that is me, but I would urg caution on the corporate tax rate, I think there are other things that can be done, the idealism should be tempered. First, create indigenous industry, wean the economy off multinational dependance and the false high from the property market, get back to producing things, build up the internal market, more tourism, green industry, IT and bio sectors, R&D, assist start-ups (more holistic approach), cottage industries……..and whatever we do, for God sake, reel in the so called financial services industry and the ludicrous pay levels for bankers, senior civil and public service members including first and foremost politicians.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi Gege,

          Welcome back. Did you ever consider running yourself? I mean the question sincerely because I can assure you I would vote for you if you did. I would NEVER vote for Sinn Fein. Your commentary is much more focused, a lot more balanced and whilst I don’t always agreed with you is certainly original, very well informed, lucid, articulate, concise and the type of refreshing left wing alternative sorely missing and unavailable to the electorate at the moment.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Thanks for your comments Michael. In a democracy you are free to make your own call, one of the beauties of the system (when there is real choice it is even better). Like a lot of people, I considered running but it is a non-starter, the enemies of the people would take great satisfaction in crushing me, I found another way to be effective, it suits me at the moment, if the country continues to change, continues to seek a new direction, then in 5 years or so who knows, but a lot needs to happen, at least we are somewhat on the path whereas before you couldn’t even have this debate as the FF men would start shouting about how well they are managing the economy, the peace process, words like unprecedented growth, world class, cutting edge, going forward, Ireland Inc etc

    • Julia

      Welcome back Gege. Just watched the Frontline. And Primetime. The rich are definitely getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Pearse Doherty was excellent as usual. Maybe it is Sinn Féin’s time. We need a Hugo Chavez here.

      Economic engineering is social engineering and I don’t like the engineering that went on here in the last 10 to fifteen years. It’s time we had proper change.

      One of my enduring memories of this year will be the IMF man walking past the homeless man in Dublin. It’s the wealthy in this country that are holding out their cups to the ECB/IMF. The wealthy are being given the big loans as usual. And it’s us poor suckers who will pay the money back through our taxes.
      Every citizen will pay. Employed and unemployed. Through lower pay, higher taxes, poorer services. In three years time we’ll be paying 23% VAT on purchases. We’ll have fewer teachers, fewer doctors, fewer nurses, fewer gardaí, fewer fire fighters, fewer home care assistants, fewer services. All because of a group of people with perverted ideals, selfish people who are always out for the main chance. Gamblers. They are still winning. Transfering property and investments to their wives. They are still playing the game while idiots in the Government and NAMA “hope” they will do the right thing, still depend on “good will”. When the FF and the Greens lose their seats in March they’ll have nice pensions. Fine Gael will come in and basically ensure that an unfair system is continued while tinkering with “the optics” to convince us that that things are better.
      There won’t be fewer TDs.

      Still, we can’t give in.

      Happy Christmas to all the posters and readers of this site. Happy Christmas to David. His mother taught me in St Patrick’s N.S. in Bray many years ago. She was our Mammy away from home. It was her kindness and skill that made me think I could be a good teacher myself. I hope she has a good Christmas too.

      Slán tamaill.

      • Gege Le Beau

        Yes, I watched the programme (still uncomfortable about filming people secretly, I believe one car number plate was fully available, think there should be a line on that stuff, tackle their business decisions etc, but gifting such information to a nation I am not so sure).

        In any case, it would seem a lot of these guys are on both sides of the deal, like the bottle sight, you get the money because of your close relationship with leading bankers, you build a building, and probably get all sorts of exemptions and assistance and then you get the government as in some cases, to lease the place out for 20 plus years, win-win if ever there was one, no wonder the Galway tent was so popular, and when things go belly-up you get the ‘government’ to step in with citiens money to bailout the whole cabal, while the leading banking, regulatory and political figures get golden handshakes to walk away – I think this is possibly the ‘cosy capitalism AT ITS WORST’ which the Financial Times (hardly a left leaning publication) pointed out in no uncertain times. It could not possibly be a government for in these instances it did not govern in the interests of the people. 2

        • TheFullRed

          I think these cheats should have their entire property portfolio published, including their private homes, and all of their stable of cars. It is an outrage that these charlatans should so cynically abuse the law of this land to in effect misappropriate properties from the state, which they have most egregiously damaged for personal gain.
          I have met plenty of landlords like these people over the years, and many of them I would describe as sub-intellectual who just happened to position themselves well at the trough.
          Dont get me wrong, I am an avowed capitalist, through and through, and believe in the right to gain wealth. But I also believe in the law, the letter and the spirit of same, and I think shysters like these should be publicly pilloried and be stripped of all assets. This would ensure a more prudent approach in the future by putative captains of industry.

          • Gege Le Beau

            The law, if properly drafted and enforced would put most capitalists out of business as the model is based on maximising profits regardless, get something made in china for a cent and sell to an unsuspecting citizen for 10 euro.

          • TheFullRed

            You misunderstand George. You may sell whatever you want for whatever price will be supported by the marketplace, but in terms of shimmying things around to prevent the State from recovering losses created by you, this should not be tolerated, and should be regarded with the same opprobrium as Tax Evasion. The shysters shown on TV last night should be hung out to dry and spend the rest of their lives trying to make ends meet like the rest of us.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Don’t think so theFullRed, the market is a rigged game, as we saw that with property, government rigged policy to suit private industry, consumers were at the mercy of the ‘only game in town’, get on the ladder or else brigade, surely we have learned that much.

            No such thing as the Free Market.

    • The day that “change” arrives in Ireland, will be the eve of the Resurrection, as only a last minute fright will make the current dwellers in Ireland see “the truth”

  6. adamabyss

    Well I’m glad you mentioned Sinn Fein. I don’t know that much about them but I know they are radical and I’m voting for them.

    Something has to change. I’ll be reading up on their policies a bit more before the election and interrogating their candidate when he knocks on our door. The other parties will be getting it slammed in their faces.

    Any change from the status quo is a good one at this stage as far as I’m concerned. Even if Sinn Fein are not capable of governing themselves (which I honestly don’t know if they are, at the moment – no one knows), at least the system would get a kick up the arse if they got more power and then someone else could step in to run the country properly.

    That’s my theory anyway and in the absence of any other options (an armed revolt won’t work), that’s all I can do.

    I won’t be here five years hence unless I see REAL change so this is my one shot (vote) for Irish glory.

    • Zaphod

      Complete agreement with your post.

      • adamabyss

        That makes a change Zaphod – up to now we have disagreed! Or to be more precise – you have disagreed with me haha. Anyway, that’s my opinion and let’s see what happens…

    • I can sympathise with this point of view. But utterly disagree. Voting out tweedledum and voting in tweedledumber is probably what we will get, unfortunately.

      I can’t vote for the shinners. Pragmatically, they have no policies, and philosophically they are an anachronism.

      I don’t know what to do.

      We’ve been talking about this for three years. Nearly every serious worst case scenario discussed here has come to pass. I am continually astonished as how much people either accept the status quo or simply can;t understand that there is in fact a problem. I’ve had my fair share of friendly discussions on the topic and the mindset is still a mystery to me. I figure the only way to approach this is to at least take charge of where my vote goes as well as I can, so I’m doing this:

      http://writetothemnow.wordpress.com/

      I can’t think of anything else.

  7. Rory

    Sorry David but I cannot agree that “it is difficult to explain why the main opposition parties have failed so manifestly to galvanise the people.” It is patently obvious, they are not offering a real opposition. They have already begun to tell us that there is no alternative to the IMF/EU shock doctrine. When a mainstream party tells us that they will not load the gambling debts of an elite on the people of this country then we will have a real alternative. Until then I am voting Sinn Fein.

    • irishminx

      Rory,

      The reason I could not vote for the opposition (and I have always voted Fine Geal / Labour), is One they voted in the budget, which makes the poor poorer and they ARE getting rid of Supplementary Welfare Allowance, I don’t agree with this, as it is the Scheme of Last Resort. 2. They voted in the IMF and ECB bailout. In my opinion, they have betrayed me.

      I could not vote for anyone who colluded with Finna Fail.

      They are aptly named, they have FAILED Irish citizens and sold us out.

      I will be voting for Direct Democracy Ireland. They bring power back to the people, which is the way, I believe, every country needs to be run.

      Minx

      • adamabyss

        How many candidates will they be running Minx?

        • irishminx

          I really don’t know Adam, as they are trying to get enough signatures together to get registered as a party. Once they are registered they will go public about who their candidates are.

          I will let you know as soon as I know.

          BTW, I missed seeing you at Kilkeconomics, as I was hoping to catch up with you, maybe another time.

          • adamabyss

            I did see you at Kilkenomics!

          • irishminx

            Ouch……..sorry Adam, you did. My humble apologies.

          • adamabyss

            Don’t worry, you were too busy gazing into Wills eyes and reading his palms.

          • irishminx

            LOL I don’t know how I forgot I met you Adam, as you were so kind texting me. I momentarily forgot we had met. Again my apologies.

            I’m still smiling here at your last comment.

            If I recall wills and I had a fascinating conversation!
            But that was all.
            Oh you are bold ………..lol

  8. petera

    brilliant as ever,can you please hold a virtual election fast whereby you form together a party of decent concerned individuals say 20 citizens with the expertise knowledge of law,finance,,health,education,business.interview 40 more normal candidates and have an online/twitter poll/election, because their counting on us to do nothing but a load of talking about it, the ones jumping ship now ,are coming with the private funds to take over the state esb,water,council etc.etc…..if not you then gather ex politial figureheads who has worldwide respect to lead the charge….why not

    • adamabyss

      You have to do something David. The time for talking is over, despite all your great articles.

      We will give you Christmas off but we are expecting big things from you in January in the run up to the election – whatever your exact plans might be (only you know).

      So take the time during the holiday to recharge your indefatigable batteries.

      This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something real, positive and productive for our country (and more importantly – for it’s people) and I’m sure that you are going to step up to the plate.

      We have faith in you.

      • healthadvisor

        David needs support to do this, and leaders in different areas need to step out of the crowd. Jesus did have 12 disciples, so i htink we should give david a few more!
        It will be a messianic arrival, he is god he is god. Unfortunatley we need him desperately, to take us away from the Pharisees in their counting houses. The bible was not as out dated as i thought….
        So stand up and be counted and as one here who has been awaiting leadership, i have decided its time i put my nursing on hold and say ok “hands up, i will do what ever it takes because i have honesty and integrity and i have common sense and brains”.
        Who is with me as a disciple?

        • Gege Le Beau

          I warn against the cult of the leader stuff, a human is a human is a human, if anything is to be achieved is has to be done with large numbers of people otherwise you can forget it. Horizontal style democratic system as opposed to the top down, vertical system we currently slave under. People champion personalities, individuals, I don’t think that is an appropriate way forward. I would encourage people to reflect.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi,

            This idea is fine but the trouble is in trying to get people to take responsibility in such a system. If you look at the kibbutz system in Israel they veered away from the horizontal system to defined leadership.

          • Gege Le Beau

            They did, it is one of the reasons why Chomsky left it, he could see the totalitarian elements emerging. But it is possible to have a horizontal style system, there have been flirtations with it in the past, and they were not altogether unsuccessful, I am thinking in particular of Civil War Spain and post-war Greece, both crushed by Western forces and the Soviets with regard to the former.

            I don’t think it is beyond humans to organise effectively, but the powerful always few such developments as a threat, which they are, hence the consistent and immediate assault on ideas.

  9. wills

    David.

    I think it is possible that Ireland Rep can make its own way in the real world.

    Some citizenry think it cant be done and so interface with the global central banking system as a servant to its usury debt system. And its casino gulag mudslide continues.

    I say sovereign money is possible and doable but it will mean self reliance and hard graft.

  10. fram7rip

    Rakst á þetta lag – kveðja frá Íslandi:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzlWozb21Lk&feature=player_embedded

  11. Allens of Caldwell :

    My family arrived from England to the Golden Vale during the famine however almost two hundred years before that my relatives in England then arrived in Caldwell with Cromwell .They have a prominent business there now.

  12. patrick74

    Agreed -It is both an exhilarating and frightening proposition- I have been checking out SF policies and checking out their core following. The overriding policy seems to be two fingers to everyone but themselves. You are either with them or against them- and the aggression on some of the forums shown for people who question them, sometimes seems to outweigh the tantalizing prospect of Gerry Adams and McGuinness squaring up to the IMF/EU at the negotiating table.

  13. The vacuum that David mentions can only be filled where there is the best available ‘Political Structure’ that we can trust and maybe that is Sinn Fein .

    What is the alternative?

    • adamabyss

      We seem to be coming to some sort of a consensus here.

      It’s not perfect but it’s all we have right now. I have never even read a Sinn Fein manifesto or been on their website (I will get to it when the time comes closer).

      All I know is they challenged the government’s scam of not holding by-elections and their new TD gave some impressive and heartfelt (if simplistic – and possibly dumbed down deliberately (?)) speeches in the Dail.

      Please, nobody give me any crap about them being murderers – Bertie Ahern has more blood on his hands than anyone else in the whole country.

      Waiting to see what David will do in the New Year…

    • adamabyss

      There is none John.

      • We need to examine what was the first ‘structure’ we can truely believe was the beginning and who received it.I believe it was Moses and the ‘Ten Commandments’.
        This was the beginning as we are told.How do we replicate that today?

        ( actually Dun Aengus on Inis Mor predated it and we lost the bloody chapters when the circle disintegrated into the sea .The circle was built by man and the remaining semi circle is made by both man and nature ie merrion square – what a shower ).

  14. Tim / furrylugs – I remember you said words to the effect that it is better to reform a party from within now at this juncture which party do you prefer that to happen?

  15. ex_pat_northerner

    Well David, you should have mentioned what happened when you left Tyrone .. did you cross into Fermanagh ? There was no grit here over the weekend.., and yet there was in Co Leitrim. And if its public service then look at the English public service and private ventures, and the carnage the length and breadth of England at the moment. We haven’t started to pay for our banking debt yet. The quiet revolution has hit us with devolved government eg.. 9K tuition fees in England – It will be interesting to see what the SF minister for Education proposes in Northern Ireland. On the subject of SF, be very careful.. at least with FF and FG/Labour one knows who the hangers on are. I think there’s too much nationalism and not enough patriotism in this Island of ours. SF may be proposing radical change, but look at those they glorify and those who they (have) protect(ed).

    • adamabyss

      Fair enough pat. There are two sides to every story. I will check out what you said. They can stuff nationalism up their arse – I’m interested in people, families and jobs – not martyrs, flags, harps on passports and the green jersey. I don’t care who runs this country as long as they do it right. I am voting Sinn Fein for change, if their policies are not up to it then someone else can take over subsequently. We just have to do something to get the present gangsters out and I’m not prepared to storm the ramparts – not just yet anyway.

      As far as who they are protecting though – it’s a moot point. Bertie Ahern should be in Mountjoy for the rest of his life, in solitary confinement – give him his daughters’ books to read along with stale bread and hard cheese

    • Deco

      There was a massive difference down here last year between the shambolic performance of South Dublin County Council and all of it’s neighbours.

      The M50 from the Liffey southward towards the Dundrum exit was a mess. And yet, in Kildare, a county with a lot of national routes, and rural routes, the motorway was completely clear. There was a rumour going around that a contingent of the responsible personnell from SuDubCo were in the Algarve on the piss….any truth in that ?

      I think we are dealing with lousy management cultures here in the South – though I do not know enough about the North to make a judgement call about what goes on up there. But one thing is clear – paying our local authority workers 40% above the wages received in the North does absolutely nothing to ensure the roads are better maintained. In fact, it makes it almost certain that they will be playing golf in the Algarve when you want them !!!

      • I am reliably informed taht if we Benchmarked our Social Welfare and Public Service to the UK we would save €23 billion per annum. End of problem.

        • Colin

          This is dynamite! What a bomb-shell! Its really worthy of looking into in more detail. Well done mac63, a very short post but its a very thought provoking one.

          I’m on the dole at the moment, but I’d gladly take a UK level of dole for a few weeks if I had confidence of finding work due to the improvement of the economy due to the implementation of these savings.

          Can anyone do the math to confirm €23bn? Anyone got a link to this? Is this kind of analysis being suppressed?

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Colin,

            I think the UK have unemployment trouble even with low social welfare payments. Our more generous system is something all of us with a social concience should be proud of. I am very sorry you are on the dole. The ICBE are running a begin again programme which may help you so best of luck.

            http://www.beginagain.ie/begin-again-programme.html

          • Colin

            Thanks Michael, I’ll check it out.

            UK unemployment is not high at all compared to ours. They don’t have their own people emigrating from the UK, in fact, the traffic is going the other way in there.

            Having a low unemployment rate is far more important than having a high dole payment. We should have a work-sharing policy introduced. Overtime should be banned in both public and private sectors when there is a huge surplus of labour available.

          • TheFullRed

            There is no way you can reach these figures without compounding our economic woes. The Social Welfare Budget is indeed 20 billion, but this includes the costs of running the Department as well as payments given to the unemployed etc.
            By taking huge swathes out of these budgets, you actually depress the economy even further, creating long-term, even permanent unemployment. Your thinking is based on Personal Finance lines, not macro-economic lines.

            Further An Irish single unemployed claimant receives the third smallest amount in benefits in the EU15.
            EU member states are spending an average of 26.9% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on social
            protection. Of the EU 27, Ireland comes twentieth with an 18.2% spend. Ireland’s spending was the
            lowest in EU15.

            So will people please stop being deflected from the real problem by the sneak attack on the unemployed, who did not create our current disaster. Blaming the Social Welfare net is plain stupid, and the solution to the problem does not lie here. Dont be misled by right-wing ideologues who know want the poor to pay for their mistakes. Their rhetoric is becoming even more sinister in recent times with that twit William Hague declaring unemployment to be a sin recently. In the middle of a recession!

          • Colin

            FullRed,

            As someone who is unemployed, I would like to re-iterate the fact that it is far more worthy to reduce the unemployment rate than to maintain the €196 per week payment. I’d prefer to get working, sick of receiving negative responses from job applications. I want a stimulus package to make a huge reduction in the unemployment rate. I demand a fair wage to work, at a pay scale equal to 2001 salaries for my skills.

            I do not agree with the reduction in the minimum wage. I want low paid workers protected. But the sh1t has hit the fan, and there are plenty of people who have not suffered any real meaningful pain. Croke Park Agreement needs to be burned. Large reductions in public service pay are necessary. Public Service Salaries are a huge burden we simply cannot afford to pay now, and this is wonderful legacy of Bertie Ahern.

        • TheFullRed

          That is I would hazard inaccurate. The total PS wage bill is around 19 billion, and the total dole bill is around 4 billion, so if we scrap the PS and the Dole, we’ll solve the problem of the economy. By killing it.

          • Colin

            What if you add in large cuts to the state pensions and children’s allowances? What if you cut Public sector salaries by 40%, positions by 20% and remove public sector pension funding, let them fend for themselves like the Private sector employees have to? How much would be saved then?

  16. MrADC

    To every registered voter south of the border:

    I will refrain from listing off the 1000s of reasons why SF in government in Ireland is a bad idea. All I will say is that there is a precedent for this and I am using it here not for effect but as an observation only….

    There was once a successful European country, industrialised, educated and cultured. They suffered a huge financial calamity, a financial collapse that led to widespread misery and seemingly no way out. But lo and behold a new, radical political force emerged; sure they had a dodgy past of beer hall brawls and violence but they offered something new, they offered to destroy the lazy political elite, to fight for the people to fight for the country…Sure they had an ugly underlying ideology but that was played down in favour of highlighting the corruption, the financial disaster and how the country would rise again.

    The leader of this radical party was appointed to lead the national coalition on 30th January…the year was 1933 and the country was Germany.

    Be careful how much you will over look in a bid to punish your “elites”

      • MrADC

        Well aware of Godwin’s law and the casual deployement of the Nazi analogy. However the parallels are striking nonetheless. By all means experiment and prove me wrong. I don’t have to live there!

        • It would require a major swing away from the overriding philosophy of negative freedom. Parallels there may be but the fundamental character of both nations are quite decidedly different. Glad to hear Godwin’s law is well known!

          • adamabyss

            Please explain Godwin’s law. Or I’ll just go look it up. Thanks.

          • adamabyss

            Just did, interesting and plausible phenomenon.

          • MrADC

            It only requires people to look the other way, to morally equivocate and to not speak up when threatened. I’ll not drag the Weimer analogy back in but Ireland seemed to slip very quickly into a particularly ugly form of lassiez faire capitalism pretty damn fast…slipped into national bankruptcy pretty damn fast…capitulated to the IMF pretty damn fast. I would question where you confidence of fundamental character is springing from??

    • adamabyss

      I appreciate your concern MrADC but the Nazi Party 2011 just isn’t going to happen – no one in Ireland wants that. You are being a tad melodramatic if you don’t mind me saying so.

      • MrADC

        Melodramatic maybe, but we are talking about a party led by people who have absolutely no qualms whatsoever at deploying violence (sometimes of a particularly depraved nature) to assert itself. For all of some contributors comparing Gerry Adams to Bertie Ahern, Bertie didn’t drag a mother of ten away from her home, shoot her in the head then deny doing it an lie about her whereabouts for 35 years. That is just one random example of a very dark litany of deeds perpetrated by current SF politicians.

        Ask yourself this question. Would you shout and harangue a FF politician in a town meeting in D4? Would you do the same at a Sinn Fein Ard Feis? If not, then why not? If you would — I welcome you to try it…

        Its all very well singing songs about “the boys” in a pub in Kilkenny because the North seems a little far away. Having to deal with a SF majority government that has no truck whatsoever with due process and dissent will be another thing entirely.

        Good luck!

        • adamabyss

          Can’t see them getting an overall majority.

          If they get a few more seats perhaps they will have to become more transparent. They may intimidate, but when was the last time someone got killed at one of their Ard Feis’s (I don’t even know what that means, nor do I care).

          I would never demean anyone who was murdered by Sinn Fein / IRA or whoever, but 35 years is a long time. If we keep looking back we’ll never get anywhere. If 35, then why not 45, if 45, then why not 55…

          It’s a Civil War mentality. I don’t want anyone getting elected who was involved in that sort of stuff. All candidates including Sinn Fein’s should be vetting for suitability for office.

          I wouldn’t be seen dead singing any songs about any ‘boys’ in any pubs.

          No Bertie, didn’t blatantly drag out anyone and shoot them – his polices were far more insidious – hence people topping themselves due to unemployment, kids going hungry and not getting educated, youngsters emigrating and never coming back, families torn apart, drugs and crime on the up and up.

          Far better to create situations to let people do it to themselves than get caught with your hands in the cookie jar and stutter and claim you won it on the horses.

          Bertie is a C**T and the root cause of a lot of the problems in the recent past in this country.

          We just need a change MrADC, any change is better than none as far as I’m concerned, notwithstanding the impossible ascent of a new Irish Nazi Party.

          Merry Christmas.

          • MrADC

            Ach sure what’s the harm in giving your brother a job on the council, ach sure what’s the harm in zoning a few more acres, ach sure what’s the harm in paying in cash, ach sure what’s the harm in a few politicians with a shady past…. Irish moral equivalence at its best and the reason that you all are where you are.

            As for the ascent of the new Irish Nazi party – maybe you’re missing the point (and the obvious but unintentional Nationalist/Socialist wordplay) but reading these posts the ascent of the new Irish fascist party is upon you all.

            And if my history into the dark and distant past serves me correctly I think you’ll find that 2006 is the last date of some SF politically motivated murder. Denis Donaldson may have been an informer to the Crown – but due process would not have chased him to a remote cottage in Donegal and dispatched him from this earth with some shotgun justice.

            Endearing naivety sir…

            Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year….

          • adamabyss

            Well I stand corrected on the 2006 incident – I wasn’t in the country, nor do I follow individual cases that closely. All I know is Bertie (and his ilk) have ruined the lives of hundreds of thousands and will continue to do so until something gives. I’d shoot him in an instant, in any cottage, in any county – in fact I’d rather tear him apart with my bare hands. He’s symbolic of all that’s wrong in this country. He’s not the only one though.

          • adamabyss

            I think if you knew me you’d realise that I’m not at all naive. No offence taken nor intended. All the best for the season to everyone on the board.

          • Julia

            MrADC

            The Civil War saw a lot of murder on both sides. As soon as it ended a government was established. The Govt. immediately took out and executed 13 anti Treaty prisoners. It was completely unecessary. When is murder not murder? When it’s execution. My grandfather was pro Treaty and he married a woman who was anti Treaty. He went on discussing and arguing about the Civil War for the rest of his life but he still voted. We have to move on. We need change. Maybe now is the time.

            I’ll be voting Labour as well as Sinn Féin but I don’t think they have the botttle for much change.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Fianna Fail may not be pulling the trigger directly but I heard about a case of a woman diagnosed with cancer, she was a socialist and refused to go private, she died for her principles, her husband is standing as a socialist candidate with the United Left Alliance and she is not the only case, there is a silent destruction of the poor going on as I write, visit any public hospital and listen to the stories, to the struggles as senior ministers walk away with 200k payoffs and crazy pensions.

            There is also a book called ‘Social Murder’ which explores how policies (neoliberal/right wing) have in fact ‘killed people off’, you can do it with the pen just like you can do it with the trigger.

            “The authors take inspiration from Engels’s 1845 account of the social murder committed by British capitalists to assess the contemporary impact of conservative economic policy, which they define as policies designed to maximize the accumulation of profit while socializing the associated risks and costs. Conservative economists argue that if their policy prescription is followed, it will produce broad-based economic benefits including more rapid growth, higher incomes, less illness, and, even, more democracy. The authors contrast the myth of conservative economic policy with the reality. What conservative economic policy has actually accomplished is a redistribution of wealth and power away from the vast majority of the population to firms and their owners. The effects of these policies on citizens and workers have been socially determined economic instability, unemployment, poverty, inequality, dangerous products, and infectious and chronic disease.”
            http://www.britannica.com/bps/additionalcontent/18/36296531/Social-Murder-The-LongTerm-Effects-of-Conservative-Economic-Policy

          • adamabyss

            Exactly Gege, as I already said before, Bertie Ahern and his like are responsible for far more misery and deaths in Ireland than could ever be attributed to Sinn Fein et al.

    • BrianC

      Pure nonsense. It is as bad as what Eamon Keane penned in the Sunday Independent yesterday regards Sinn Fein. I should add I am not a Sinn Fein supporter but I am sick to the back teeth listening to crap like that which you penned. So do you really think we are best to stick with what we have.

      Jesus do me a favour would you ever look up history and get a grip on reality.

      • adamabyss

        I have no clue which post you are replying to BrianC due to the dodgy interface on this forum. Please clarify, thanks.

        • BrianC

          Hi adamabyss

          I am referring to MRADC ‘To every registered voter south of the border…………….

          • Gege Le Beau

            I agree, we cannot become prisoners of history, and if we are to apply the same historical standards then one would have to examine FG’s blueshirt (fascist) connections and FF’s early gunmen (entering the Dail with revolvers in their pockets) connection while the Left has its own ghosts, I understand people’s reluctance, fear etc but if the DUP can put it behind them and enter government with Sinn Fein then surely the parties in the Republic are capable of doing the same, they were sure able to preach to their Northern counterparts, well, can they practice what they preach?

            Enough FF people are fear mongering about the prospects of a Sinn Fein government all I say to them is I-M-F!

          • adamabyss

            Spot on Gege.

    • TheFullRed

      Why is the fact that the IRA fought against Britain so abhorrent??? War was a necessity in the early 70s, and to a large extent, the war was pursued with clarity of purpose and discipline. I should think opposition to the human catastrophe and moral cancer that was the 6 county statelet and British Imperial domination is a prime reason to vote SF.
      Comparisons to Hitler & Co are specious sophistry and deserve contempt.

      • This guy reminds me of Sean the fish from Think Zoo. specious sophistry, statelet, imperial domination, indeed. Same old shite again is it lads? It didn’t work out too well the last time around, as I recall.

        • TheFullRed

          Apologies Liam, I crafted an argument perhaps beyond your level. The above was a reply to an off-subject point where Sinn Féin are to be excluded by the high-minded because of the perceived outrage of the Troubles. I pointed out that the Troubles erupted not because of the PIRA, but because of the egregiousness of the Social Order in the Six Counties. No matter what you may think, it is impossible that it would have went any other way, and the fact that eg the Hunger Strikers had hundreds of thousands attend their funerals indicated a massive groundlevel support from ordinary people. Given this imprimatur, Sinn Féin cannot be viewed as outside the box, as in naturally subversive because of the Troubles.
          Rate them on policy ay or nay,I wont be voting for them, but dont expect to have outright dismissal of them as acceptable. Hope the language I have used here is acceptable to you. Wouldnt want to have you confused at Christmas…

    • Deco

      Mr ADC – you have a very valid point.

      We can do better than trust a political party with their own private army in reserve. We do not need a political party who paint blood red insults (traitor spelled incorrectly) or who smash the windows of those that are in their way. And besides there is a precendent for this sort of behaviour in the last century. And you have correctly identified it. We even have somebody born outside the state, but entitled to citizenship, and from the same ethnic pile coming in to “save” us. This also has a precendent. And he had his own war to fight in the past.

      We must preserve our democratic traditions, even if that means electing politicians who stink. Again there is a precedent for this – we seen the French voting for Chirac with clothes pegs on their noses so as to keep Le Pen out.

      Then there is party financing. Follow the money. Because the money will tell you what is really going on.

      SF are not beholden to either IBEC or ICTU – but to a different form of political financing. They have a cash pile hidden in Bulgaria from “business”. Voting for SF is the equivalent of Italians asking the mafia to take over the state. The one set of pretenders who will never clean up Ireland are SF. They are too fond of breaking laws, and pocketting money themselves. Everything is a veneer with SF. They are doing well, because their veneer is the finest.

      This brings me to the one lesson that we need to learn. We need to think beneath the veneer and think about the real substantive and practical implications of what we are doing. When we act out of extreme emotion, and driven by a need to salvage national pride, (or indeed any form of pride) we will make things worse.

      The solution is the one thing we continually seek to ignore. Humility. We need to find hunility and stop the pride driven nonsense. It amazes me how many people are driven mad with the need to prevent this happening.

      • adamabyss

        Who do you suggest voting for then Deco? – serious question. My mind is not totally made up.

      • Harper66

        “We must preserve our democratic traditions, even if that means electing politicians who stink.”

        Bloody hell. Do you really think this is good advice.Vote in politicians that stink? I despair.

        I am not affilated to any party but i can tell you violence is not just physical. The majority of Irish people have been subjected to a level of economic and political violence never seen before on this island.The results are just as damaging.

        I work with men and women who have been cast aside by this government and it is heart breaking.

        I am not just looking for change I demmand it.Deco You are posting from the perspective of someone who has not seen or felt first hand the carnage that FF and greens has dealt out to huge sections of irish society.

        FG’s Dr. O Rielly negotiated the outlandish consultants contracts.This is an insight into their priorities. Garret Fitzgearld had 20,000 pounds written off by AIB while he was leader after AIB were bailed out.

        I do not see one memember of FF FG or Labour looking for real meaning reform I posted a link above where a SF the south east looked to have to mayors allowance and councillors allowances (basically NEDS as you so often write about ) for sitting on committees cut and it was voted down by FF FG and Labour.

        voting for politicians that stink? That is an insult to every person that was forced to emmigrate, every person who today is sitting in freezing cold houses unable to afford heating because they lost their jobs and their benefits have been cut to pay for seanie fingers and lenihans corruption/stupidity.

        Knowing voting in politicians who stink?Hang your head in shame.

        @ Adam
        you are asking for advice on who to vote for. If I may here is my suggestion.Sit down and research which party is offering to uphold the principles you feel strongly about and also ask your self what party is looking to fight your corner. Make up your own mind and be confident and proud of the decision to you come to. What ever party you vote for.

        However, I would strongly advise not voting for any politician whom you know to stink.

        • Harper66

          Correction.

          “I do not see one memember of FF FG or Labour looking for real meaning reform. I posted a link above where a SF county councillor in the south east looked to have mayors salary and councillors allowances for sitting on committees cut (basically NEDS as you so often write about ) and it was voted down by FF FG and Labour.”

        • adamabyss

          Yes, I would argue – ‘what democratic traditions?’.

          As I’ve said repeatedly, there is more than one way to take someone’s life.

          Unemployment, lack of education, malnutrition, crime, drugs, etc. etc. are slow and sadistic as opposed to a bullet in the head. Give me the bullet any day. Not that I am ever worried about being out a job, but not everyone has the same opportunities.

          Thanks Harper, I certainly won’t be voting for any charlatan. I will abstain if no one fits the bill.

          • Harper66

            Agreed Adam however I would suggest if ever there was a time a to vote it is in the upcoming election.

            Lobby,make your voice heard, set out what it is you want to see achieved and demand it from every canvasser that calls to your door and from every politician running for election.Vote for whatever party will bring the policies you want.

            Regardless of what others think of Sinn Fein, the rise in support for them has the established parties in a panic.The irrational and emotive posts on this site alone serves to illustrate this point.

            This election should be run on the economy – the rest of the dross including the majority of posts on this page are nothing other than a ball of smoke.

  17. BrianC

    I suppose you could say that we in the Republic have a soft nature, the type that others like to walk all over. The snow in a way reflects Nature and may appear soft but it is a fierce element capable of being merciless and very brutal.

    So the Irish Government likes to take the soft like approach as seen when negotiating with the IMF/ECB. But the Irish Government is truly brutal and without mercy when it comes to its own nation especially when dealing with certain levels of Irish Wealth Pyramid. They have absolutely no regard for the Irish working person that makes up the majority of Irish society.

    As more force is applied to the snow it becomes harder forming ice and can become impenetrable permafrost. This is how the Irish Government has treated the Irish people. It has frozen them out in a permafrost manner with the freezing mentality of fend for yourself where those in the majority are in the off road areas receive no assistance while they the few are on the main roads receive all the beneficial gritting giving them the required traction to maintain their cozy cushy protected non slip-able lives.

    The only way to handle hardened compacted ice-snow on your pavement is with a shovel to chip scrap and dig it up and get rid of it. So the Irish need to use the shovel of the ballot box to get rid of all the existing Snow Flake TDs in the Dail save Sinn Fein as they seem to be the only ground offering some grip to the Irish Citizen sliding down this hole of misery.

    David could you kindly please do me a great favour and show me the Snow Flakes in the Dail who are the good ones because I am having a hell of a hard time trying to see them, save SF, as they all look the same to me in their useless blizzard Dail debates founded on preordained snow whipped snowmen decisions.

    We Irish have one serious slippery mental flaw preventing us scale the ice-snow slopes of self respect and self determination and that is our habitual obedience and deference that permits useless Snow Flake politicians cloak us in useless snow arguments frozen of any reality to provide the grip as to what people on the ground want and need to scale the heights pin the flag on the hill.

    Whilst the North seems to get on with things and appear to make things happen despite the severe state of their financial affairs we in the Free Downslide State are enslaved in a Frozen State of ineptitude in the absence of any True Grit real independent factual decision making to give us the traction we need to get out of the slippery abyss of penury. And most of us are destined to remain in penury except the Dail Snowmen and higher echelon useless snowball civil servants unless we show True Grit and shovel these useless icicles out off our road and appoint new sentient navigators to chart the route that benefits Ireland and not third party IMF/ECB sleighs.

    Finally for Minister Dempsey a useless twat on no significance or consequence with 30 years service of nothingness and the sickening fact he will get a pension. He could do all a favour and emigrate to the Antarctica as the Artic would be too near and he could prove himself of some service and bring arthritic Ahern with him.

  18. DB4545

    David another interesting article but the time has come for deeds not words.Our utter civic inertia has allowed these thieves to rob us blind for generations.Sinn Fein?..Fianna Fail and FG are Sinn Fein evolved over 60 years. We’ve been there and sadly done that.East Germany had a one party State.We have a one political class State. The East Germans despite having an oppressive security apparatus grew a pair of balls and removed their elite. Peacefully.A Model for the future? Switzerland. Who’s the President or Prime Minister? I don’t know and don’t care. We don’t need strong national leaders. We need a system with a strong regional democracy directly accountable to citizens. They have a Canton system and direct democracy system which would dovetail nicely with our counties.The good citizens of Zug and Vaud wouldn’t entertain a Jackie Healy Rea/Michael Lowry/Beverly Cooper Flynn promising taxes from other Cantons/Counties for Hospitals/Roads/Casinos in sparsely populated areas.The Cantons would laugh at the very idea and tell them to go f..k themselves. We’ve just been hit with reality.We have a great country with a well educated workforce. We’re a hard working,adaptable people and small enough to be flexible and fast.We don’t need revolution. We need democracy.We pay the bills.Time to grow up. Let’s dump these gangsters fast,strip them of their unearned salaries and pensions and move on.

    • Deco

      I actually think that the Irish state until the 1960s was not as ineffective as people are making out. There were very little mad political movements like seen on the continent. But since the 1960s the system has become completely rotten.

      Enter the man who changed everything, who destroyed any sense of civic responsibility, and who made gombeenism the state religion…..Charles J Haughey. Haughey has a legacy that stinks. He was the master who trained the apprentice, Bertie Ahern. He gave us the planning corruption in Dublin Corpo. He gave us the arms trial. He gave us a crooked framework of Company Law which is a gangsters charter. He gave us the partnership process which produces a consensus that effectively covers up everything. He gave us lifestyle aspirations and told us they were more important than basic human virtues and human dignity.

      We must cleanse Ireland of the legacy of Haughey. We must clean up Ireland.

      • DB4545

        Deco as I said above it’s way past time time to grow up. Switzerland works.It’s been tried and trusted and has worked for several hundred years.It’s not perfect but it is pragmatic. A bit boring but wealthy stable and healthy. Switzerland has armed neutrality. Not the spineless supine nonsense we talk about. On a bad day our nearest neighbour could bomb us into the stone age by taking out two of our biggest power stations. And that’s just in the first ten minutes.We have a standing army that’s not fit for purpose and at what cost? An insane waste of resources excluding the individual good work they do as an aid to the civil power in times of need. Abortion? We don’t legislate and send the problem over to our neighbours. Unemployment? Again let our neighbours deal with it. Corporate responsibility? The Semi-State Aer Lingus was run for the benefit of a minority. Ryanair simply highlighted the obscene waste of resources in the Semi-State Sector and the benefits to the Citizen of a low cost model. Get Michael O Leary to sort out the HSE. Michael O Leary at least pays his taxes in this State. We have half a million Citizens who would sign up to the Swiss model of Government in the morning. We are presently governed by inept gombeen morons. We elected them. We have responsibility as Citizens for this mess.We need to remove this elite and fast. We need to remove their salaries, perks and pensions. Peacefully. Revolution will deliver nothing to us. Watch the Corporate and Capital flight out of the country. VOTE for anyone you like but please just VOTE.

      • coldblow

        Hi Deco

        I don’t agree with you about this one. I am with you on CJH but Ireland was a failed state from the start as it was a property owner’s state in a skewed kind of way: if you didn’t own property, or have a state sinecure or political patronage then you either emigrated or starved. While in recent decades we have have been swimming in BS and corruption (because we have) it doesn’t necessarily follow that the earlier years of the state were a success, and that also goes for “1916 And All That” as far as I can tell. I’ve said it before, but have a look at J.J. Lee’s history.

        Partnership seems to have been the arrangement reached in recent times for divvying up the spoils among the insiders. If there are more insiders than outsiders then that’s democracy, but how do you keep the show on the road when the scales begin to shift the other way?

    • TJM

      Hi DB4545 I think your right we need to get away from our elected dictaorship. We get democracey for one day every five years and then hand over power to a dictatorship. Not even the elected oposition get to see what is going on in Governement. I urge every one to this blog to view the Direct Democracey Ireland web site http://www.directdemocracyireland.org/. Listining to Mr Raynond Whitehead he talks a lot of sence he seems to be a cool head with a single objective of getting articls 47 48 and 50 from the original freestate constitution back onto our constitution. I think I am going to go along to one of the meetings.

  19. acoustamajive

    I just one of you stood up and started instigating some change, then it would happen. Instead you seem to be waiting for someone else. No courage. During my 7 years in Ireland I found a remarkable lack of any real “boat rocking”. Even now this continues just as the boat is headed for the ocean floor. The Irish have no problem confronting ficticious enemies abroad, but simply do not have the courage to confront the deadly ones at home. Very sad.

    • Deco

      Roy Keane did a lot of boat-rocking circa 2002. He has been earning his living in England ever since.

      Eddie Hobbs (another Corkonian) did a lot of boat-rocking in 2003. So much that Seanie Fitz wanted to keep him off the airwaves permanently. And Hobbs has been silenced a good deal.

      You rock the boat in Ireland and you pay the price. Therefore if you want change – support the boat rockers….

    • BrianC

      Not just sad but also pure pathetic.

      We remain habitual obedient spineless servile servants who only understand deference.

    • ahimsa

      Touché, acoustamajive.

      “Be the change you wish to see in the world”
      -Mahatma Ghandi

      There is alot of great analysis & commentary on this blog by many intelligent irish people.

      So when are we going to translate this growing collective political awareness into action?

    • uchrisn

      acoustamjive, nice to get an outside opinion. There are ‘boatrockers’ in Ireland. They usually emigrate as they are well educated and can find work, Irelands secondary education was ranked 3rd in the world recently. They have been known to be quite successfull in foreign lands.

  20. Yes there is a little appetite for change. However even if the alternative was available to the people, are they brave enough for the change? And we aren’t talking extremes. Going by the UK elections where the people wanted change and had a very different party with the UKIP. UKIP took no seat. The people choose Lib Dems who are like our Labour (A right of centre and less authoritarian than the others).That took the safe change which is no change.

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/ukparties2010 http://www.politicalcompass.org/ireland

    Excellent observation regards polls. I have zero trust in them. A year before any election and the media is already presenting us with the outcome, Fine Gael and Labour.

    While a minority are awake, those reading your column and making off your show I fear the majority are still afraid of losing what little they have left. They will stick with the crony who answers their phone calls and will attend every cock fight and funeral. Of course they will claim expenses, but that’s part of the job.

    David I think you are getting ahead of the public talking about a revolution.

    http://irishsovereignty.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/irish-sovereignty-party/

    • Harper66

      “David I think you are getting ahead of the public talking about a revolution”

      I disagree. The anger is there. The desire for change is there.It is however unfocused and fractured.

      • We will see. i agree plenty anger and plenty protest but its set up for a labour FG gov. I would put money on Richard Bruton being next Ruler.
        the opportunity for real change will be missed at next GE. Things are not bad enought yet. I suggest It will be kind of a replay of the 1910s but time will tell.

  21. Why is so much cute hoordom, incompetence and nepotism tolerated? Hard to say but here is a theory: Post Revolutionary Ireland very quickly drifted into conservatism and all radical restructuring of society abandoned. The post boxes got painted green yet the superstructure remained the same. The weirdest part was that a post-colonial society was governed in a way that quickly came to resemble colonial government. Growing up in 70’s Dublin I was always struck by how few Guards were from Dublin when it comprised one third of they country’s population. It was garrison policing – men who neither knew, understood or liked the city sent to police it as they would police suspect foreigners. Same can be said of the clergy. The dissociation between governed and governors was smoothed over by cute hoor “where-were-you-in-1916” clientalism where county councilors and TD’s would “pull a few strings” to get a pension or a children’s allowance that constituents were entitled to by right as if they were inveigling some alien government into granting something special to their constituents. We were schooled to expect no better with politicians themselves, for their own Wizard of Oz self-aggrandisement, perpetuating in the myth that the apparatus government was not to be trusted but they themselves would “fix” things. And so here we are.

    • Deco

      I am sceptical to blame a conservative approach by the Irish people for this mess, because the Irish people are no longer a conservative oriented people.

      We are living with the results of modern liberal secular Ireland going off the tracks, to an extent that would have scared the old conservative Ireland. Conservatives do not generally build up lifestyle debts, they tend to play it safe and sit on their money. I am making this point because I think that the standard official methodology of finding the blame is getting us nowhere. And if it gets us nowhere, then it will keep the current establishment in power.

      • @Deco,
        The lifestyle debts are individual choices. I was proposing that the structure of government and people’s ambivalent and untrusting relationship to government (often cultivated and reinforced by the governing) left a vacuum where the ruling classes mimicked a colonial style of government while playing polulist politics for the purposes of hustings. This dissociation would seem to make for little understanding of the role of government as a protector of the people and the common wealth. Any real change will need to take these factors into account.

        • coldblow

          El Quebin, if I understand you correctly I think you are right. As in other ex-colonies the state defends privilege and is the enemy of the people (cf Crotty). The ‘revolution’ was very limited in its goals, primarily to legitimize native property rights. Although this was largely in place by 1916, the prospect of conscription to fight in Flanders didn’t appeal, nor did the costs associated with the Liberals’ embryonic welfare state. This was so blatant and so tawdry in many ways that a green mythology was spun for the sake of appearances

          • coldblow

            I’ve found a good Lee quote which I’ll put in a new comment below (the narrow text width here would make it too long).

  22. David,

    ‘The Mighty’… very true

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4914840/themighty.jpg

    Could not make to LK as much as I wanted, but being 45 minutes drive further north, and the roads even more so dangerous, a drive to LK would not only have put the car at risk.

    Best
    Georg

  23. @MrADC try crossing the road before the lights say it is OK in Germany.

  24. Adelaide

    Acoustamajive. I completely agree with you! Where was ‘anybody’ at the recent two Dail protests against the Budget vote and the IMF vote? A few hundred people, that’s how many! At last week’s IMF protest I counted 100 protestors! On my home I noticed that there was a bigger crowd queueing outside HMV on Grafton St. I made my own banner for God’s sake. The IMF vote! And nobody! Zero! What in God’s name is wrong with people! So if I hear another mention of ‘Ireland’s well educated workforce’ I shall scream.

    I was embarassed, not for myself and the other protestors, but for my fellow Irish citizens. My only hope is that the ‘shoppers’ will vote for change and ignore the three main parties in the new year election. But deep down I’m dreading how the vote will turn out. If the vote remains status quo, then I will, well, that is too too too too depressing to contemplate.

  25. GerryW

    I have been following the coments now for some time and I find that they add greatley to the articles. I have noticed lately an increasing urgency for people to come forward and lead us in the change that is coming. I would gladly support David and a few others that comment here. I have no idea how the change will happen but I intend to try and keep informed by reading the articles and all comments .

  26. dwalsh

    The lack of credible political leadership is palpable. We all know our politicians owe their positions to the crony system that controls the social, economic and political order in Ireland. We all know they are not permitted to think outside the narrow vested interests of the crony system. They cannot be rational and they wont. They are creatures of the crony system through and through.
    There is no one a rational person could vote for. The best of a bad lot would be labour. Only because they will at least try to preserve some minimal level of social care and responsibility. There will be some minimal awareness of Ireland as a society composed of human beings; and not merely as a business enterprise composed of units of production and consumption.
    FG will accelerate the dismantling and privatisation of the Irish state. They will accelerate the sell-off and sell-out of the Irish state and the Irish people to the cronies of global capitalism. They would be even worse that FF because they are driven by ideology; or is it idiot-ology?

    We undoubtedly need new social and political structures. And not just here in Ireland, but globally. Capitalism has failed. Thank God. It was a toss-up for a while whether it would kill the planet as well as itself; but the kamikaze financial sector has delivered the coup de gras and terminally poisoned the global economy; which to my mind is infinitely preferable to the industrial sector terminally poisoning the biosphere (which it has been hell-bent on doing).
    We need completely new systems of production and distribution that are sustainably integrated into the biosphere if we are to establish a viable global civilisation and a rational and humane future for our species. What we have at the moment is not at all viable. It is irrational, rapacious, and inhumane.

    This crisis is exactly what we needed; humans will not do what is necessary unless they are forced to. Sad to say, as a species we are not yet fully capable of managing ourselves in a rational or humane manner either nationally or globally. We had better grow-up quickly or we are in deep trouble.
    The only way this can happen is if new leadership emerges that is not beholden to the crony systems that control the economic and political order in Ireland and globally.

    Did you know that 1% of the American population controls 42% of the financial wealth of America; and the bottom 40% control a mere 0.3%?
    That’s the reality of the American dream. As George Carlin said “you have to be asleep to believe it”.

    http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

    Obama is working to reduce the net wealth of the poorest in America by his current looting of the social security and health care systems; and to increase the net wealth of the richest by extending Bush’s immoral tax cuts and exemptions for the wealthy. This is the man whom everyone believed would make a real difference for the ordinary people. What a shame he turned out to be a Wall St shill.

    • adamabyss

      Well said dwalsh.

    • ….and by the end of this century Europeans will make for a maximum of 5% of global population.

    • irishminx

      Very clearly structured and communicated eloquently, thank you dwalsh

    • Deco

      Personally I don’t give a toss who owns what in America. It really is of no significance to me.

      It does concern me concerning the ownership of Ireland though. We have the “Tax Diaspora” (O’Brien, “JP”, Hewson, Sir Anthony etc.. who regard taxation as “optional”). We have the NAMA set. We have the K-Club Clique. We have the professions (legal, medical) who have been listed on the Joint IMF/Government memorandum for special treatment concerning the rates they charge). We have the state, which is a very generous benefactor (for FAS directors and the like).

      And then we have the rest of us who pay for all of this. And we don’t need an equation to know that we are being sucked dry.

    • uchrisn

      “The term “financial system” refers to the collective mechanisms through which financial institutions intermediate funds between depositors and investors and provide payment and settlement services, such as funds transfers between accounts. The financial system constitutes a fundamental social infrastructure that supports our daily lives, as is the provision of electric power, water, and gas.” – The Bank of Japan

      The American and many other western developed countries financial systems have taken large hits recently including Irelands, mainly due to failure by central banks to recognise and control an asset price bubble and basically poor business models and failure of financial insitutions.

      These countries have generally added large amounts to their national debt/interest repayments to bail out large financial institutions. Their argument being that the financial system would fail if they didn’t. Anyway consequently their economies are in danger of deflation. Deflation would mean lower prices which is good but lower wages and higher unemployment which is bad. To combat deflation by putting more cash into circulation central banks have been buying up the national debt/securities from private investors. The theory goes that as the private investor now holds cash he will invest it elsewhere in the nations economy.
      In the States however many private investors are sending their dollars to emerging economies.
      In Irelands case these private investors are not even in the country and I don’t think they are investing here.
      Cue deflation in western economies and inflation in emerging economies.

      In the event of another financial crash, this cycle would be repeated. This is because the “financial system” is going to be protected. The automatic response of independent central banks everywhere to deflation is currently to buy up government securities from private investors.

      Who are the winers and losers in this situation?
      Clear Losers
      - the nations. They build up husge debts and pay higher interest rates to fund their debts. They lose current account spending money and have to cut back on spending or increase taxes.
      Japan has been stuck in stagflation since their asset bubble burst in the 90′s and has a massive 200% debt to GDP ratio. Its interest rate is basically 0.

      Clear Winners
      - the central banks build up huge monetarty assets by basically printing money and then are the beneficaries of the interest payments on the debt from money they just printed.
      - The private investors and finacial institues that buy a nations debt/securities and sell them at a profit to the central banks.

      Usually central banks give their profits back to the government after expenses and a yearly dividend to their member banks based on the amount invested, US 6%.

      The central banks in European countries who are the ‘shareholders’ of the ECB get the profits there. This may be unfair to Ireland. In the states they pay large interest e.g. 52 billion last year to the Fed and get back over 90% of that. However if Ireland pays large interest to the ECB all the Euro countries central banks benefit from the ECB profits and 90% of that will not come back to us.

  27. joxer

    Why does evryone keep trying to blacken Sinn Fein, I think they are just scared of their increasing political mandate.
    Don’t forget where fianna fail, and the blueshirts originate,are we to go back to the civil war and drag up all the attrocities committed by both sides, and to you westbrit clowns longing to be ruled by the brits don’t forget the genocide and oppression perpatrated by that shower of c**nts in Ireland.
    I hope Sinn Fein get a great vote and one thing is for sure they will shake up the cosy dail and this country of golden circles and Galway tents.
    And why doesn’t david or declan ganley form a party and offer an alternative,they shouted down ganley and tried to smear him two when he was correct about Lisbon, we need a total reform of politics in this bull island.

  28. Deco

    We need three new political parties. One to replace each of the current three controlling parties, and thereby provide the voters with a real alternative. And there should be an emphasis on competence.

  29. Harper66

    I read davids article in the SB Post yesterday and was delighted to see a genuine call for action. I must admit I am bitterly disapointed to see the majority of posts to the article are concerned only with bashing sinn fein or bemaoning the fact 1916 ever happened.

    I have never voted Sinn fein but if you read the following link you will see why Sinn fein are gathering support –

    http://www.politics.ie/waterford/146199-sinn-fein-amendment-council-budget-defeated.html

    I found this story on Politics.ie – it is not covered in any national news and I have been unable to google any reference to it in the south east media either….

    The majority of people who are bemoaning civil war politics are the very ones propagating it here.Sinn Fein are gathering support because they are proactive and thinking outside the box ie. Doherty taking the government to court to get the by election.

    The time for political action is now – but really calling for closer ties to Britian is lunacy. Calling for us to beholden to any country is lunacy.

  30. John Q. Public

    You would think Ruairi Quinn and Richard Bruton (both finance ministers in their time) would be formulating policies and preparing their manifestos etc. or trying to articulate some plan of action. I am no fan of either but they are the best qualified on the opposition to deal with matters financial. Do we know if either can or are willing to work with each other?
    Jean-Claude Trichet would send a garrison over here to steer our mob through this if he could. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/1220/breaking6.html

  31. ladygee2

    Ruarhi Quinn was Minister for Finance when the Rainbow Coalition was toppled back in 1997 by the majority of the Irish Electorate.The economy was in the process of taking off, but as usual the Irish Electorate thought that FF and the PD’s would do a far better job. Now what is that saying? Oh yes, ‘You reap what you sow.’ We’ve only got ourselves to blame for the last 13 years of boom and bust under the different FF led coalitions and now we’re paying for it. I didn’t vote for any of those governments and neither did thousands of others. I feel sorry for those thousands of voters who weren’t at fault for all of this happening, but now we along with the idiots who did vote for them have to live with the repercussions!!!

    • Deco

      Ruairi Quinn also appointed Phil Flynn, a trade union boss to run the ICC in preparation for takeover by Bank of Scotland. Bank of Scotland’s subsidiary which had Flynn as a Chairman then hired Mark Duffy, a former executive of Anglo who had fallen out with Seanie Fitz. Duffy and Flynn together went into overdrive offering 0% deposit down loans – and eventually providing 120% loans. In Anglo was on steroids then BoSI was on drugs. BoSI were shoving themselves into the media with a loose lending regime and a highly moralistic tone about how they were liberalized the market with their offerings. In the end they were the cutting edge of the excess. Putting Flynn in charge was a disaster.

      And then later Phil Flynn was found with his pants down in the background of the Northern Bank robbery. This proves that Quinn appointed a muppet to run a bank, and did not understand anything.

      Quinn was also a key negotiator concerning the Euro. When the negotiations were finalized John Bruton proclaimed the advantages of being able to access such a large volume of credit. Well, we all know how those two actions worked out. (In fairness no other politician knew better).

      My point being that Quinn is being selective about the bits that he would wish for us to remember about him…

  32. Mother of Three

    How about closing all the golf clubs for a start?

  33. paulmcd

    PROSECUTE THE BANKERS???

    Story of SHIPWRECK

    Good ship “Titanic UNLIMITED” is being steered by Petty Helmsman, Paddy, while Master Helmsman is asleep at wheel.

    Alas, Paddy the Navigator (Pass, second class) is a risk-taker extraordinaire, unafraid of steering the most hazardous waters until one day North-Atlantic drift causes Big Berg to collide and rupture vessel with gushing black hole.

    Only ONE THING to do — MAN THE LIFEBOATS!! Captain COWEN and First Officer LENIHAN announce to all that no-one need be afraid of ensuing RESCUE DRILL where ONLY Officers and First-Class passengers are going to take up places available on lifeboats.

    The drill will last only 5 minutes . . . sorry, 10 minutes . . . sorry, 15 minutes . . . sorry, 20 minutes . . . sorry, . . . .

    Meanwhile Officer Honohan repeatedly calls out messages of reassurance from Lifeboat 1 for the masses of ordinary men, women and children (second class) huddled on board. “You are where you are!”, he tells them. The situation, he declares, is “MANAGEABLE”; it continues to be manageable for 5 minutes . . . for 10 minutes . . . for 15 minutes . . . for 20 minutes . . . for . . . glug, glug, glug! . . .

    Titanic Unlimited sinks taking all passengers (second class). It is their fault, and now . . . they are where they are.

    They should have known better.

    Who shall we put on trial: Paddy the Navigator or Captain COWEN with Officers LENIHAN & Co, organisers of RESCUE?!

  34. adamabyss

    Doherty for Prime Minister.

  35. I agree Mac63: “David McWilliams and others are correct; the country is being run for the good of the few (Elite) not the general population. We do need Revolution, but not warfare, not blood in the streets, we need Democratic Revolution.”

    Learn and understand the term “rent-seeker” if you want to know this elite. The tax system is designed by rent-seeking parasites here in the land of Oz, too. No, nt the try-hards who TRY to make it in real estate, but the few who have clawed back many times more than they’ve ever paid in taxation through the uplift in their property values.

    • irishminx

      I agree no blood needs to be shed, this revolution needs to be compassionately kind and loving to all. Even those who have brought Ireland to her knees. However, they need to be responsible and accountable to and for their own actions.

      If we do it this way, then it shows we are a mature race and have come of age.

      This is my wish for all who love and live in our beautiful country.

      It will show the world the way to maturity. Though growing pains are not easy, however, the world needs a mature society right now.

  36. … and didn’t you abolish your residentail property tax in 1997, at the (cooincidental?) break-out of your property bubble?

  37. paulmcd

    Tonight’s Prime Time programme leaves me feeling so frustrated that, unless the main opposition parties start clamouring for 6-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE TAXES ON BONUSES and RETROSPECTIVE LEGISLATION to tackle developers’ attempts at avoidance and evasion of responsibilities, then even a pacifist like me will have to contemplate voting for SINN FÉIN/IRA.

    • paulmcd

      Minister of Finance, whoever you may be, Please ensure that The PRIME TIME team receive the bonuses or other supplements/benefits in kind which are earmarked for NAMA executives who are so wishy-washy and slipshod in the execution of their duties.

    • paulmcd

      Edit: 6-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE 90% TAX ON BONUSES

  38. Philip

    No significant protests will happen until the cuts bite.
    Not many care about the IMF or the ECB or the errant bankers until the consequences start to impact their daily lives. The “Realisation” will be the event of 2011 and from that will come the real anger.

    Up to now, Ireland has been populated by a contented majority who learned to keep the peace for fear of fuss or a row. The rot of the elites thrived in this environment. When the cuts come, the thirst for change will be huge and subjective and emotional thinking will dominate. Not good.

    I have to say that there is not a scintilla of any alternative I would vote for tomorrow. My wish is for an accountable government with a list system, a strong parliament, elimination of whips, strong local government and a seanad composed of people from ALL walks of society. we need this structure in place and in the meantime, I am not interested in who is going to cut what or tax what or do what to the IMF, Banks, Bond Holders until our Government Organisation is sorted out.

    As for the elites, if they have any sense (and I suspect many do), a cohort of them will need to take affirmative action and fast or it is curtains for them and their families and friends. I believe they hold the keys to a group and a set of skills for getting the country back on its feet by means of an interim government. These are whether we like it or not the source of the brains of this country.

    If anyone has a manifesto which offers to change our givenrment structures by getting an interim group in place while the re-org is being done (re-org to include the top layers of quangos and civil service as well), they have my vote.

    This is way too serious for bullshit emotive retribution. Let’s fix the root cause and the rest will follow quickly.

  39. Tull McAdoo

    “Talking about a revolution” now Tracey Chapman had a song about that.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rZbvi6Tj6E

  40. ahimsa

    David McWilliams has sounded a clarion call.

    REVOLUTION

    As I have already stated there is plenty of great commentary and analysis at this forum.

    In the spirit of David’s latest article I invite all to consider the following and apply their analysis and commentary to ourselves:

    “…that willingness to take personal responsibility for making things happen is one of the things we need most right now.” – John Michael Greer

    What will your new year’s resolution be?

  41. Tull McAdoo

    It seems like such a long time ago that I started posting on this blog. Lot of ground covered since then. Most of it “sadly” came true.I am sure David that even yourself, in your most pessimistic mood, you did not think that things would be as bad as this.
    You were using your gut instinct and your ear to the ground in Ireland, while I was modelling on the computers down here in Perth and getting feedback from Frankfurt and friends.
    Jasus man these fools in FF and the DOF etc. were never going to fool anybody. They have embarrased themselves and the country. What the hell would gobshites like them know about finance.
    Spending taxpayers money is the height of their expertise. It would’nt be to bad if they at least gave the impression that they were trying to distribute the tax take in some sort of equitable manner.
    A friend e-mailed me down that prime-time show from last night about developers.Greedy little fuckers with no vision. All these phallic symbols scattered around Dublin and elsewhere.
    How about the fact that all they had to transfer into their spouses names were “property”. Jasus you would think the dumb fuckers would have converted their gains into something more liquid than property. Goes to show the mentality all the same. Real wealth to them was “bricks and mortar”.
    Also interesting how they generated income streams from rentals of commercial property to FF approved quangos and other Govt. Departments.There must be a trail of browne envelopes from here to Ballyhaunis….
    My advice for what its worth,
    clear out FF/Greens.

    clear out banks and other financial institutions.
    clear out all Government Dept. like Finance, HSE etc.
    Stop taking advice from so call experts who work for both sides, accounting, auditing, legal, etc.
    Tell German and French that loans that cannot be repaid will not be repaid.Tell them to go and fuck off or ye will collapse the whole euro debacle.Tell them it is doom or that they negotiate a proper deal to repay only what is owed by the general public in terms of what accrues on the fiscal deficit side and no more.

    Tell Trichet et al that they can book their losses how ever they choose, and in future they should pay more attention to their broad monetary policy instead of pandering to the Germans and their vested
    interests. If the Germans want to loan Irish banks money to buy german exports etc. then they can insure their own risks as Paddy is nobodys fool from here on out. Vorsprung durch tecknick that ” me auld flower”.

    Its a brave man David McWilliams who is prepared to follow his beliefs and build up the support of others . So with that in mind I’ll leave the last word to Johnny Duhan. This song is a tribute to your courage and that of your family……take it away Johnny……

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNzgYorPYPg&feature=related

  42. The Insider

    Why REVOLUTION won’t happen……

    Cheap housing is a good thing because you can pay workers less, the Irish working population is about to be conditioned to accept vastly lower wages thru cuts and 4 years of austerity taxation.

    Ireland owes Germany so much money there will be political pressure on German multinationals to offshore work to Ireland to make sure we can repay the loans.

    Irish mortgage slaves may be unable to afford their 2007 mortgage payments, but it is in “Germany’s” interest to have people working in Ireland and living in the housing stock Germany now effectively owns.

    Sure many people from Ireland will emigrate but other people will arrive from other parts of the world. Hard working people willing to work in Ireland’s new low wage economy and fill up the ‘ghost estates’. Educated immigrants from India, China and Kenya will arrive in Ireland with hope of a new life in a European IT or BioPharm company.

    I makes sense for multinationals to make our highly educated workforce to stay in Ireland where we can be the sweatshop for the knowedge economy of Europe.

    Ireland will be a concentration camp of low paid intellectuals weaving some nouveu economic service industry for a pittance to line the pockets of the mill owner in Berlin.

    Revolution?

    The school teacher politicans have lost control of the class again, they have been neutered under a mountain of national debt.

    Entrepreneurs and creative thinkers, the balls of the indiginous economy have been cast away. We are dependant now on a testosterone patch of multinational investment, eunuchs in the EU’s court.

    Will Ireland get it’s balls back? The Irish thought property developers were their balls but those nuts are gone.

    If the testosterone patch is removed, will Ireland grow breasts?

    The Maid of Erin sounds a nice place to live..think of all the milk we could produce…but they won’t remove the testosterone patches till we’ve paid our debt.

    Ireland with balls and a testosterone patch……too difficult for Europe to control, the EU will surely make some regulations to prevent an indiginous Irish industry.

    No, Ireland will serve their EU masters as a skilled highly educated court eunuch.

    Another chapter in the book of Irish Fatalism…for drunken poets and paupers to ponder while supping Diageo’s Black porter.

  43. TonyB

    Funny how David got to Donegal and still thought he was in the south of the country. When did Republic become a dirty word?

  44. macroscian

    Despite the disaster of FF govt and the inept opposition the Sunday Independent sees fit to have about five articles attacking the Shinners last Sunday. What did they do to deserve this?

  45. Deco

    I watched Frontline last night – I did not get to see Prime Time Investigates.

    Doherty was able to attack. But I heard no clear idea of what exactly he is proposing. Basically, SF have copied the Gilmore tactic of being saying that everything that is going on is unacceptable, the angry act, being worked up in a fury, and pressing the national pride button.

    Basically Doherty is the new Gilmore, except he is better at pursuing the Gilmore strategy than Gilmore. And unlike Gilmore, Doherty does not have a wife who sold a site to the department where she works for half a million when the original valuation was 100K. Basically Doherty is pushing himself forward as being cleaner than Gilmore. As a result the ILP vote is down and the SF vote is up. Gilmore is not in a position to strike back given his own student politics career. This teaches us a lot about the political savvy about SF. In addition SF are at a massive advantage in being the only political party that have any credibility over Europe in a context of 50% of the population having realised that behind al the nice rhethoric that Brussels is just another Empire building project. If we compare the efforts of Gilmore to get worked up about national sovereignty in the context of his own statements concerning the Lisbon Treaty, we realise that SF have left themselves far more room to maneovre. Gilmore cannot really complain about Europe being in control, when he made himself available to ensure that Europe got more control fifteen months ago.

    • Gege Le Beau

      I get the distinct impression they do not slavishly pursue money like our elite, they know the struggles of people. Doherty strikes me as a man of principle.

      • Deco

        Doherty is an act. Everything he has done so far in the Dail is pantomine. If it is too good to be true then it is probably so. And in this case they are not true, but a collection of fakes.

        They do not need to chase money. They are sitting on the Northern Bank pile, and are wealthy enough. A political party that has a mafia operation operating in the background, should not be in need for money.

        • Gege Le Beau

          His court case to get the by-election was an act of substance which yielded good results for himself and the electorate. Bringing the IRA along with the peace process in the North while dealing with British and Irish governments no small achievement (considerable risks for peace). The Northern Bank raid (whoever carried it out) is one small property development in Dublin compared to what that cabal featured on Prime Time last night have got away with. As I said, I have my reservations, but the North hasn’t imploded from their time in office.

          • adamabyss

            Good point Gege on the comparison between property developments and that bank raid. Banks and developers have been raping and pillaging in this country for years.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ adamabyss – I still find it amazing that FF TDs like the guy in our parts, tries to drum up the fear of Sinn Fein in office, when FF have sunk the Republic entirely with IMF entry and tied us to private banking debt (€400 billion, easily the worst decision in the history of this young State), it is all quite Orwellian. These are very dangerous people indeed, pulling the trigger but just before saying this is a tough but necessary decision. FF should be banned from ever holding public office.

          • adamabyss

            Yeah, they should indeed.

  46. SLICKMICK

    http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk
    Compare rock bottom UK prices with Ireland !

  47. coldblow

    Quote (repeated from an earlier thread) from JJ Lee in response to posts from Deco and El Quebrin above:

    “Emigration was not unique to Ireland. But the type of emigration, the scale of emigration, and the impact of emigration were. In no other European country was emigration so essential a prerequisite for the preservation of the nature of the society. The interests of the possessing classes came to pivot crucially around emigration. But as the spread of emigration during the nineteenth century chanced to coincide with the growth of national political consciousness, with emphasis on the family as the source of social virtue in society, and with the decline of population, it came to be felt as a shaming indictment. But indictment of what? British malevolence, or landlord tyranny, could be conveniently, and to some extent correctly, blamed for the dispersion of families in the immediate aftermath of the famine. But that explanation began to lose force after 1880 once the land legislation put the axe to the root of landlordism. And it became wholly untenable after independence. Not even the eager hibernian imagination was prepared to adopt so robustly simple an interpretation as that of the TD who felt able to assert “without fear of contradiction” that “The main cause of that emigration, of all the poverty, and of anything else that is wrong politically, nationally and economically with the country is due to the partition of Ireland”. No other society found itself obliged to rationalise so remorselessly the subversion of the national and family ideals inherent in the emigration “solution” to the problem of social structure.

    “The psychic impact of emigration on those who stayed, the price paid by the society for the subterfuge to which it had to resort to preserve its self-respect while scattering its children has only begun to be explored… It would be unnatural for any society enduring the traumas of nineteenth-century Ireland, including not only colonisation, but famine, depopulation, language loss and religious revival, not to have developed protective layers of ambiguity. Yet paradoxically this was simultaneously a society that had apparently come close to social and equilibrium by 1900, however precariously poised that equilibrium might be. The complacent bourgeoisie – haute, moyenne, petit or lumpen according to social and semantic taste — that emerged as the ultimate beneficiary of the post-famine settlement, had no urge to linger unduly on the implications of emigration. It naturally turned to the manufacture of ideologies of communal solidarity that shifted the onus of responsibility from itself to somebody — anybody — else. When the British government and the landlords had largely served their purpose in this regard, preachers, publicans and journalists began purporting to find the anxiety of emigrants, and especially of girls, to leave Ireland, increasingly incomprehensible. By the early twentieth-century they had all but completed their communal self-portrait of a simple, natural, warm, homogenous society, a veritable miracle of human and Christian harmony.”

    “…The mandarins, the bankers and the gombeen men may as well have lived in a different country from their victims. However blandly they might rationalise the experience that relieved the pressure on themselves to improve their performance, however opportunistically they might blame the victim for their plight, however frequently the emigrants might return as travel conditions improved, indeed however individually liberating emigration may in fact have proven (in itself, a sad reflection on the “imponderable values and liberties of our traditional society”), the emigration figures for the forties and fifties stand as a permanent commentary on the collective calibre of the possessing classes. In one respect only did they display true talent. So effectively did they master the techniques of indoctrination that many of the victims would continue to cherish the values responsible for their own plight.”

    Also had this one handy:

    “The self-image of “traditional” Ireland was, it may be suggested, characterised less by hypocrisy than by self-deception on a heroic scale. It was this that gave it such enormous emotional power, and could achieve such resonance even among those who might be objectively regarded as the victims… The self-portrait of traditional Ireland was a work of art, a triumph of imagination, will power and technique over refractory raw material… Traditional Ireland worshipped its authorised self-portrait with an idolatrous fervour. All peoples need their public myths. But all public myths are not equally mythical. Not all feel the same need to disguise so much of the truth as had the traditional Irish one.” (If you have the book there is more with this last quote in a similarly tragi-comic vein.)

    This is a respected mainstream history I would venture to say.

    • Deco

      Why was there so much emigration ? Because opportunities were so frequently sewn up. There were clubs and cliques involved in the art of sel-preservation. Those cliques, which were based on based on business rather than on anything else were the problem. And every theory that has been postulated to explain the emigration thing has been a diversion devised for the explicit purpose of ensuring that the real cause is never found.

      Just look at the management elite of the ISEQ listed companies. I mean, do you hnoestly think that the same level of double-jobbing goes on in Taiwan or Denmark or Israel for example ? Do you see a level of meritocracy at the top in Ireland that would be comparable with California (which is what we aspire to becomming) or South Korea ? You must be joking. We still have the situation with regards to the banking sector that candidates are filtered on the basis of attending certain (boarding) schools. This is euphemistically called testing on “the basis of good character”. We see the evidence. The banks are run by crooks and wasters.

      IBEC and ICTU are in control. And they will stay in control. We need a separation of business and state. And we need to discuss this and stop wasting time chasing bullshit runs that perpetuate the nonsense.

    • Cooldblow, thanks for posting that. Excellent quotes. While it is mainstream history in an academic sense, I wonder if it is really a part of the story the nation tells itself or if it is on the margins? We seem to be much more confortable when there is a Jackie’s Army or some Riverdancified Tiger notion of ourselves to adhere to.

      • coldblow

        Let me think about that one…

        It’s on the margins and the myths hold centre stage, as they do everywhere I suppose, but not always to the extent that they do here. The ‘revisionist’ view, if I can borrow that label, is represented by articulate educated people who are presumably from the comfortable classes. I’m having to be circumspect here because I don’t know. And maybe I should call that ‘a’ revisionist view rather than ‘the’ revisionist view.

        The ‘fight for freedom’ idea is one of the main strands in this. And you can look at different events: the Maamtrasna murders, look at the letters on display at the Famine Museum at Strokestown (is that still going?), the plantations. Then on the other hand you can look at Kevin Myers’ excellent book “Watching the Door” where he arrives in the North as an idealistic supporter of the Nationalist protest and comes up close with the sordid realities, the booze (oceans of booze), the mayhem.

        I read Foster’s revisionist history of Ireland a good few years ago and remember disliking it intensely. I think there was (what at least felt like) a whole chapter on Georgian Dublin and its architecture. My own instinct is (still I’m afraid) to tolerate the ‘big houses’ that litter the landscape only in the form of burnt out shells (!), which was ironic as I later worked for some years in the heritage area.

        An English historian, David Thompson I think, wrote an excellent comprehensive modern history of Europe (Europe Since Napoleon). He made the point that the Curragh Mutiny in about 1913 or 1914 was a very serious threat to constitutional government in Britain – I didn’t recall seeing this given any prominence in other general works, and I mention it just to illustrate how “fluid” this all is. As anothe example, Robert Kee did a tv series on Irish history (like Foster’s book I heard it praised by the teachers in the school I subbing in over here) which I think argued that Ireland never had a unified form as a nation – I took this to be a denial of Irish identity and in some way an excuse for imprerial aggression.

        I’m rambling a bit here. Then you have the popular views. To use your two excellent examples, you have the Boys in Green aping chants coined by inner city teenage delinquents on the terraces of the Football League in the 70s, or the ersatz traditional Irish Dancing of Riverdance (“here’s a revolutionary idea: we’ll get the girls to wear short dresses”) where I understand people were taking the train up to Dublin from west Clare to see the show who wouldn’t bother with the real thing down the local.

        The advocates of this point of view are suspicious of the progressive views on the part of their bienpensant betters, and I think they have a point. When push comes to shove (nuair an thaganns an crú ar an tairne) they generally revert to type (I assume) and “do a Liberal” (ie Clegg and Co.) where the fine words are shown to be mere hot air. If I were to articulate some of my ‘revisionist’ views to my aged parents you would feel this gulf opening out between you, and maybe that’s the start of the rot.

        So it’s kinda complicated in my mind, and this is where it’s at for me in my current thinking. But I think it is relevant to the present economic debate. Over on irisheconomy there are persuasive and reasoned arguments as to why we should sit and wait and make no waves as Europe will get round to addressing the debt and growth problem on a joint basis in due course and striking out alone would make our situation much worse. I’m very guarded when I read this sort of thing. It’s like a dance around a maypole where positions are matched by equal positions in the opposite direction and where there isn’t any convergence, or as Fennell put it, you have Nice People and Rednecks.

        • Malcolm McClure

          coldblow said: “I understand people were taking the train up to Dublin from west Clare to see the show who wouldn’t bother with the real thing down the local.”

          Just when you think they’re all insane,
          The taoiseach sings you this refrain:

          Are ye right, there coldblow are ye right?
          Do ye think that they’ll be home before the night?
          While the tootsies keep a tappin’,
          Nothin’ bad is goin’ to happen,
          But it might, now coldblow, so it might.

          Merry Christmas everyone.

    • Colin

      Great Post Coldblow.

      Walking into any cafe on the Holloway Road in North London, and you’ll see the sadness on the faces of men who were told they were surplus to requirements in the 50s and 60s. They use more colourful language to describe their views on the elites in Ireland.

      They, as one barman in Camden Town, from Co Clare told me before, are the best of the Irish. I agree. Would have loved to have heard that Cowen and Lenihan were on the building sites in London in the 70s, but I get the impression they did not need to go, not even for the summer holidays, because to borrow a phrase from L’Oreal, because they’re worth it.

      • adamabyss

        There’s a book that was published last year called ‘Wasted – A Sober Journey Through Drunken Ireland’ by Brian O’Connell.

        A very poignant chapter inside called ‘The Forgotten Irish’ documents the alcoholic plights of one or two of those very same men Colin.

        I’m sure it’s been documented elsewhere a thousand times too but this one is worth a read.

        • adamabyss

          One of them lived in such dereliction in a grotty bedsit in Cricklewood that he remarked:

          ‘Even the mouse pulled out. There was a mouse here one time but he pulled out. He got fed up’.

          Tragic.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Excellent post as usual coldblow, the voice of conscience.

      • coldblow

        Thanks Gege. Voice of conscience? Ha ha! I am as allergic to scruples as the next man. Look, to my amazement I saw 5 bags of salt in Tesco’s the other day so I bought 3 of them. I was tempted to take the lot, but you know, a little voice… But it doesn’t really extend any further than that.

  48. SLICKMICK

    THE PEAK PERIOD FOR NET EMIGRATION FROM THE UK WAS FROM 1980-1982 WHEN A CUMULATIVE 100,000 PEOPLE LEFT.PUTS IRISH FIGURES INTO CONTEXT!

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