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Oh dear, Bryan Dobson on Six-One News interviews PJ Stone of the Garda Representative Association… February 25, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economics, Economy, Irish Politics.

Here’s something to view…regarding the protest by Gardai at Leinster House…

Bryan Dobson starts off by accusing PJ Stone of ‘inflaming the passions of his members’… then continues by suggesting when Stone retorts that there is ‘anger and disillusion’ on the part of members of the force in part because they are denied access to the Labour Court and the LRC, that ‘when you talk and point at Leinster House and specifically this Government and say we will remember this, we will not forget this…what that sounds like…is…the GRA getting involved in something you’re expressly forbidden to be involved in…and that’s party politics’.

And then with mounting emotion…

‘You talked about the government and their ideological objection to tax increases…’

It gets worse.

‘What are people to make…when they read on your website comments put up by your members saying there has been a concerted campaign against the public service and saying the following [puts on his glasses] and I quote…

…talking about an unrelenting campaign driven by radio presenters, journalists, politicians, economists, names we’ve grew to hate, names that we’ll never forget and names that provoke a seething anger…now do you stand over those remarks?’

Scraping the bottom of the barrel there Bryan methinks.

Not least when Stone notes that there is freedom of expression in Ireland Dobson responds that ‘that sails close to incitement to hatred… names we grew to hate… names that provoke a seething anger…’

Stone makes the entirely reasonable point that they haven’t named anyone in the statement…

Dobson continues relentlessly…

This at a time when people across the private sector are losing their jobs, 100s of jobs gone today, and your members where their jobs are guaranteed where their pensions are guaranteed

Stone responds entirely reasonably…

But wait now, we shouldn’t have a divide between public and private sector workers. Some of the people on that march today have family members who lost their jobs. And its very dangerous to create this position between public and private sectors, we’re all workers in this state and what we’re trying to do is ensure that the burden is carried by everyone…

But here’s the thing. The essential irrationality of a highly paid television newscaster on a state television service berating a trade unionist, which is of course what Stone is, and making some sort of vacuous point equating job losses with terms of employment, which is what he is doing is almost breath-taking. What does Dobson expect Stone, or indeed any other public employee to do (and let me stress again, I’m not a public employee and I derive none of the benefits, such as pension rights, from public employment)? Fall on their sword as the figures come in? Does that make economic sense by killing demand and consumption? Is there some formula Dobson can point to that demonstrates how one can equalise ‘pain’?

Naturally there isn’t. That’s not the way economies work. This unbelievable beggar my neighbour trope that’s abroad is absurd and illogical.That we should see it on our national broadcaster expressed in these terms tells us far too much about just how pervasive it has become.


1. ejh - February 25, 2009

Where, by the way, does this idea come from that public sector jobs are “guaranteed”?


2. smiffy - February 25, 2009

This “at a time when …” argument seems to me to be a kind of “children starving in Africa” point, pulled out as a ace in the hole to trump any kind of reasoned discussion over the point at hand.

A child won’t eat his turnips? Tell him there are children starving in Africa who’d be glad of them. Public sector workers attempt to defend their conditions of employment? How dare they “at a time when workers in the private sector are losing their jobs”!

In both cases, they’re complete non sequiturs and are employed not to discuss the issue, but to shut down discussion entirely.


3. WorldbyStorm - February 26, 2009

Here’s the interesting thing ejh. Our media is awash with stories about how ‘measures’ unspecified must be taken on the public sector, the implication being that there are no jobs for life. Incidentally another point is that by instituting a unilateral levy the government has breached the terms and conditions of employment of public sector workers – terms they established, which implicitly suggests that no ‘guarantees’ exist any longer. Which links right into your point.

Yep, that’s the long and short of it smiffy. This evening it was a sight to behold.


4. EWI - February 26, 2009

“How much do you earn, Dobbo? (answer: €193,610). Given that you’re such an excessively well-paid and probably permanent semi-state employee[1], how do you stand over those remarks?”

[1] in spite of that little coaching incident of a few years ago, which I seem to remember produced a spectacularly grovelling Dobson apology…


5. barry - February 26, 2009

Good on ye, repeated exactly what I roared at the tele while it was on.

Who the hell allows Dobbo to put out that guff? He is so blowing hot and cold, he savages some while letting others rattle on. In that he represents a lot of RTE coverage, no consistency. I would accept if they backed their political masters all the time, I’d just not watch!!

I say lets have George Lee on all the time.


6. Libero - February 26, 2009

Smiffy said: This “at a time when …” argument seems to me to be a kind of “children starving in Africa” point, pulled out as a ace in the hole to trump any kind of reasoned discussion over the point at hand.

In fairness, that was precisely the sort of rhetoric used when public sector unions were arguing that increased prosperity in the private sector should be reflected in public sector pay levels.

That noted, it is depressing that so many bashers of public servants don’t seem to listen to their targets: the striking workers are not intent on resisting any pay reductions (or so they say) – they are insisting that they not be the first port of call for a government in trouble and that others should be targeted first and foremost, namely those who can better afford it and those who bear more responsibility for the state we’re in.

Sweden was able to recover from its 1990s fiscal crisis largely because the sacrifices imposed by government were part of a clearly articulated plan for recovery that struck many citizens, public and private, as reasonably fair. Then again, Sweden’s government was not visibly in the pockets of selected parts of the private sector, so that job was easier.


7. barry - February 27, 2009

Yes, the Dobbo stuff, the ‘bashing’, the public v private (entirely artificial) arguments, etc., are the manifestations of lashing out at anything in the absence of a framework/plan. The ICTU claim their plan is based on the Swedish model, maybe it is, but Sweden has had a proper socio-democratic political model since forever, high taxes, high quality services. We have the theory, but not the practise, we have the low tax Thatcherite model and no services, but a high level of public service employment, partly due to historic factors. France has had that recently, post Sarko, and is now desperately trying to get the rest of the EU (read Merkel) to bail them out into a different socio-domocratic model.


8. Issac Gregory's - February 27, 2009

PJ Stone’s a great name though isn’t it? Sounds like a funk musician: PJ Stone and the Five-O or something.


9. tosser - February 27, 2009

I concur with the preceding comment, and suggest that this post should have been called “Entertaining Garda Stone”.


10. John Murphy - February 6, 2013

Does RTE not have any other person to ask the most stupid questions, pose the most ridiculous scenarios, interrupt the most cogent argument with inanities, just for the sake of hearing his own voice?
I am sick of listening to Sun/Mail arguments on RTE News programmes. If I want my intelligence insulted I can just read either of them. Remember when RTE’s news service was Fit For Purpose.


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