Saturday, February 19, 2011

Poster vandalism is a denial of democracy

It kills me to say this, but I agree with Dick Roche. Not about everything, but about one thing: those who are defacing his posters don't have a firm grasp of what a democracy means.

The poster was vandalized, a new one attached and that too was vandalized.
This happened during the Lisbon Treaty too. Roche's posters are being targeted by those who have some vendetta against him.

And it really is only Roche. This poster is not isolated, but in an area full of posters, including big ones like this from Labour & Fine Gael. Only Roche's poster has been damaged.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Does Minister Ó Cuív understand the bank guarantee?

Éamon Ó Cuív has a really interesting letter to the editor of the Galway Advertiser. Ó Cuív's letter is in response to one published two weeks ago in which the letter writer describes Ó Cuív as "a high ranking member of the FF/Green government which has made the ordinary taxpayer suffer as a result of a banking crisis caused by individuals with greedy gambling habits."

Ó Cuív 's response to that was to defend the bank guarantee.
I would agree with Mr. Walsh's characterisation of some bankers. However, I cannot agree with his idea that we should have allowed, depositors (including depositors in Credit Unions, etc.), people with pension contributions and insurance policies of all types lose their money. To allow this to happen would have caused untold hardship to people over and above the present difficulties.
Or is Ó Cuív just spoofing or does just he have no idea what he's talking about? Bank deposits (including credit union deposits, I believe) were already guaranteed to €100,000 before the bank guarantee. If that was too low, why didn't the government just up the level to €500K or even €1m?

Ó Cuív's reference to pensions and insurance is even more baffling. Did we need to guarantee all those bank liabilities because some of the pension and insurance funds were invested in bank bonds? Surely pension funds and insurance companies are just as likely to be invested in Ryanair or CRH. Or even Diageo. Are we now going to guarantee every possible investment opportunity?

This is a cabinet minister. This is why we're in such trouble now and why Fianna Fáil needs to spend a long time in opposition weeding out all this dead weight.

Micheál Martin was impressive last night

I don't like Micheál Martin, although today I can't remember exactly what it is that caused me to dislike him. I know I was really fed up with his reaction during the Gaza flotilla, his righteousness, his anti-Israel bias, but I didn't like him long before he became Minister for Foreign Affairs. I didn't like him when he was Minister for Education or when he was Minister for Health either. Just don't like him.

However, I was impressed with him on Vincent Browne's program last night. I thought he gave a commanding performance and even when he gave answers I wasn't all that happy with at no time did I think he showed himself to be out of his depth discussing the budgetary and banking failures, which I've often felt with Brian Lenihan. Compared with what we had with Brian Cowen he was cool under pressure and a more than able communicator. (Although I really wish Browne had asked Martin if it was a mistake to join the euro and how in the euro will we prevent the rapid influx and outflow of capital that gave us the boom/bust we have.}

If I had any quibbles I think Martin should have answered Browne's question as to why should anyone vote Fianna Fáil in this election by telling Browne, 'Fianna Fáil is going into opposition, but the incoming Fine Gael government will need to be watched by a strong, capable opposition and that is what Fianna Fáil will provide.' Would have been an honest answer and one that anyone watching might have accepted a Martin-led Fianna Fáil in opposition would be.

I'm still not going to vote for them.

Monday, February 07, 2011

TV3 & Vincent Browne should not have injected themselves into the campaign

Enda Kenny looks more foolish every day as he trots out a new excuse for skipping tomorrow night's TV3 debate. First he wants all 5 party leaders; next it's that he doesn't like Vincent Browne because Browne said something mean about him last year; next it's that he's just too busy, can't work it into his schedule. Sheesh.

Ridiculous. Still, there's no doubt that Vincent Browne & TV3 entered the political arena when they fixed on their 3-way debate for tomorrow night.

Kenny was onto the right answer when he insisted that all 5 party leaders should be in the debate. If he agrees to a 3-way debate that has a number of positive effects for Labour & Fianna Fáil and negative impact on Fine Gael.

Labour has put up "Gilmore for Taoiseach" posters, trying to implant that radical idea in the minds of the voters. Having Eamonn Gilmore appear along side Micheál Martin and Enda Kenny serves to promote that idea. Why would Kenny go along with that? Makes no sense politically.

Secondly, both Labour and Fianna Fáil have something to fear from Sinn Féin. They definitely gain a lot by sidelining Gerry Adams, regardless of how he might perform. Fine Gael has nothing to fear from Sinn Féin as they're not competing for the same voters. Based on poll numbers, SF has more right to stand along-side Labour & FF in a debate than either of those two have to stand alongside FG.

I don't know exactly why Browne was so determined to have a 3-way debate, but there's no way he innocently stumbled into this. He must have known this was playing politics. Maybe he didn't care and just figured a 3-way debate would be better television, which it probably will be. Still, he shouldn't have joined the anti-Enda campaign (not that Kenny doesn't deserve almost all of what he's getting today).

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Phony Euromania has bitten the dust

If there is one big casualty in the financial mess / bailout it's Ireland's love affair with Europe, the EU. That's over. People have had the wool removed from their eyes.

Even the nation's most committed Europhiles no longer refer to 'our partners in Europe'. Partners! That was the word used by everyone in the main parties for the past two decades or more. Partners.

Partners don't do to a partner what's being done to Ireland, unless they're going through an acrimonious split. That's what this feels like only we're not splitting but being forced to eat dirt and say "Please sir may I have some more" after each whack of the stick across our national back.

We have no "partners" in Europe. Quite clearly we're on our own. On our own to pay off the debts incurred in Ireland by private banks across the EU. We're being punished for not regulating what the ECB also spectacularly failed to regulate. This is not how partners behave.

We have no partners. We had competitors, but they're gradually morphing into enemies. Every politician who calls to my door will have the same question put to him/her: Do we have partners in Europe? Anyone who says yes, will NOT get my vote.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Attention candidates - spelling & punctuation count

Despite the fact that I'm skeptical that independents will have anything like the effect that some of my fellow tweeters might hope, I'm still more than open to casting my vote for one. So I would have been open to voting for independent Thomas Clarke.

Note that "would have been." The other night I got a one page (A4) election leaflet. I don't mind the low budget aspect. In fact, in many ways it appealed to me. Unfortunately, as I read the leaflet I realized that either (a) he never bothered to proof-read his page or (b) he did, but didn't notice how badly written it was.

I'm going to discount the latter because I'm sure he never re-read what he'd produced. There are just way too many unreadable sentences. It's just a mess.

I could have lived with a few minor errors - such as his use of thrust for trust and policy's where he intended policies - but there are some gross errors. I'm sure there are some people who might not pay any attention to these errors, but I think these mistakes are telling.

Yes, I'm sure Clarke is pressed for time, but he really should have had someone read his letter before he distributed it to the voters. It gives an impression of someone who hasn't got time for details.

It's a shame too because I think policy-wise Clarke is someone I could have supported. Maybe somehow I'll find a reason to overlook this mess of a leaflet, but I doubt it.

No more teacher TD's

There's all sorts of talk about reforming the political system. The independent candidates seem particularly in favor. Great. I'm in favor too.

Here's a suggestion: ban TD's from holding open other positions in the public service. That is, if you get elected to the Dáil you have to give up your teaching job.

There are too many teachers in the Dáil and this distorts our democracy and our education system. {There are too many lawyers too, but they're more difficult to restrict.) Teachers bring to the Dáil a certain mindset, one forged in the state run and operated schools. They can't conceive of what it means to work in the private sector.

Don't get me wrong, if teachers want to serve in the Dáil that's great. However, they should take the same risks as any other working stiff who stands: the chance that voters will tell them they have to go looking for a job again.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Where is Jihad Jane story on RTE news?

On Friday night I read on CNN's web site that Jihad Jane, Colleen LaRose, was going to change her plea to guilty to all the charges against her arising from a terrorist plot broken up last year by the Gardaí in cooperation with the FBI. The charges are: providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements and attempted identity theft.

I'll forgive you if you don't recall the Irish media focusing on this Islamist plot based in Waterford over the weekend. I didn't see/hear/read one mention of it. And, yes, LaRose is American, but some/most of her co-conspirators were based here. Living here. 

Today LaRose formally changed her plea in a Pennsylvania court. It's all over the American media. It's on the BBC's web site, but it got no mention at all on RTE tonight. How can this be? How can a an international conspiracy based in Ireland intending to carry out a murder in Sweden of a cartoonist whose offense was drawing cartoons not be of interest to the people of Ireland? I'm really at a loss.  

Maybe it will make the Irish newspapers in the morning? We'll have to wait and see.