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Is this the best the Guardian can come up with? November 30, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in media.

Yet words of verse are no consolation for young professionals apprehensive of the future and the burgeoning middle classes that now dominate the dole queues and emigration lines.


1. EWI - November 30, 2010

I’d expected much better of Elaine Byrne, I have to say.


2. sonofstan - November 30, 2010

If they’re all ending up on the scratcher, the middle-class is surely, definitively, non-burgeoning? And they’re not anyway: the dole queues are still replete with oiks, but they’re not newsworthy because they were born for insecurity, not having ‘transferable’ skills, such as, oh, ‘networking’ and ‘brainstorming’ and ‘team building’ and the like.


Tim Johnston - November 30, 2010

burgeoning is a media-word, I don’t think journos know what it means. Like draconian and inundated. Oh, and ‘swingeing’.

But, yes, it’s a class-ist assumption that it’s bad news when middle-class people are on the dole – people who have a) possibly a better support network and b) better chance of being able to emigrate, than poorer people.
A case of the Guardian’s ‘caring’ mask slipping?


De Northside Socialist - November 30, 2010

“Yet words of verse are no consolation for young professionals apprehensive of the future and the burgeoning middle classes that now dominate the dole queues and emigration lines.”

Yes, things must really be serious, when some of the “Bright Young Things” from Trinners have to suffer the ignominy of social welfare and emigration …

As for the Granuaid, with a few honourable exceptions, most of the journalists are no different from the person who wrote the original article.


3. Niall - November 30, 2010

Never heard the term “oik” before. What’s the origin?


sonofstan - November 30, 2010

Public school slang for those beyond the privileged pale was my understanding….



Niall - November 30, 2010



ejh - November 30, 2010

It’s generally used ironically now, I think. I believe that Fat Little Fuck was called “oik” by his friends in the Bullingdon Club because he went to St Paul’s rather than Eton, the joke being that this made him the underprivleged kid. of course in this instance its ironical nature was perhaps more shallow that the proponents intended.


4. COMIDAS - November 30, 2010

I don’t know who she is, but she shouldn’t be writing if she doesn’t know the difference between “being” and “been”.

“Sovereign default is not been considered by government as a policy option.”


5. L. Aughable - November 30, 2010

The article is pretty poor, as others have pointed out, but there some good comments, like this one from PhilipD about what a default might look like:



WorldbyStorm - November 30, 2010

Good link L.Aughable.


6. Jonathan - November 30, 2010

“As the poet Theo Dorgan told RTÉ radio last week: “We have lost the words to describe what is occurring.” ”
What kind of horseshit is this? No we haven’t, Theo! Words like “rage”; words like “iniquitous”; words like “despicable”; words like “deprivation”; words like “criminal”; and many others. It’s very easy to find words to describe what’s happening to Ireland now. (And just out of curiosity, does anyone know if Aosdana has made any statements about our current crisis?)


WorldbyStorm - November 30, 2010

🙂 Too true. It’s nonsense of course.

That’s a very interesting question re Aosdana (who seem to have gone very quiet in general in recent years).


7. Jim Monaghan - November 30, 2010

I sort of like Dorgan. Rage seems a bit weak for what I feel. I now dream of teh knitters and the guillotine.
Who was the writer who leapt to the defence of Fingleton. He prpbably did not know Fingleton gave preferential treatment to people of influence.
I see Belgium is in the loop now.


sonofstan - November 30, 2010

I see Belgium is in the loop now.

The Euro meets its Waterloo?



Jim Monaghan - November 30, 2010

Why be sorry. We need a bit of humour


EamonnCork - November 30, 2010

Colm Toibin was the writer, he did it on the grounds that Fingleton had given him a mortgage when no-one else would. This was obnoxious on three grounds (A)Clientelism; It’s the same as ‘say what you want about Denis Foley but he got me a house one time.’ (B) Cronyism: Stick in with these boys and be part of the gang and they’ll see you right. (C) Arrogance: I seemed to detect in Toibin’s argument the notion that the nation should be grateful that the mortgage was awarded so that CT could then write his masterpieces. What’s disappointing about this is that Toibin is not an eejit, he’s a terrific commentator on anything other than Irish politics and a good novelist. Yet his recent piece in the Guardian, where he said nothing at great length and didn’t mention the bankers at all before concluding that it might be good if the Germans took over our economic policy because he’d been to Hamburg and it was a very nice place, was so stupid you’d wonder why he just didn’t turn down the gig. Ditto with Anne Enright’s piece in the LRB which took the ‘we’re all in this together’ line. Toibin has huge influence in Irish writing and I do think that his defence of Fingleton set the tone. Everybody else kicks to touch when they write on the subject. What you get is a lot of airy fairy Mary McAleese stuff about ‘image’ and ‘bridges’ and so on. Then again some of the writers involved are wealthy people, there’s no reason at all to expect them to take a left wing view on these things. They just don’t do politics, with the possible exception of Joe O’Connor’s brave attack on British Policy during the Famine. And the idea that poetry has a big impact on everyday life in this country is up there with the pig in the parlour and the horse in the lift as a cliche beloved of English newspapers.


sonofstan - November 30, 2010

They just don’t do politics

In one.


Mark P - November 30, 2010

That’s a very astute comment Eamonn.

The only bit I’d disagree with is the comment that “they don’t do politics”. They do. They just do smug, self-regarding, rather unpleasant politics.

Toibin has a post-colonial cringe so pronounced that it’s basically a permanent stoop. And he’s certainly not the only one.

The subject of the EU will always bring it to the surface. It’s a cargo cult for Irish liberalism. Toibin’s recent Guardian piece was an almost perfect encapsulation of it. Why can’t we be more like Hamburg? Or Madrid? Somewhere where they have nice cafes anyway. You can also see it in that dire Irish Times editorial about the patriot dead – which was in large part concerned to make sure that no angry peasants blame the EU for anything.


Pope Epopt - November 30, 2010

I’ve gone off Toibin – and I never did much like the writing but thought I ought to read some – since this incident.

William Wall has written some sizzling stuff on this issue.


Jim Monaghan - November 30, 2010

A friend an ex minion in Irish Times told me that if you were a reporter/columninst you got a good deal, but clerical did not count.
Remember the old Aer Lingus line, Canvassing will disqualify. With clientilism it is nly the wrong sort that disqualifies.


8. Terry McDemott - November 30, 2010

Dorgan is one of these pseudo-radical neo-nationalists, who sound great when they are criticising revisionism but are at sea when talking about class. I would put the Smurfit Professor of History at Notre Dame in that catogery too.


9. Donagh - November 30, 2010

I’d expected much better of Elaine Byrne, I have to say.Isn’t Elaine Byrne a dyed in the wool Fine Gaeler?


Michael Carley - November 30, 2010

She also seems not to know her own job title: Trinity lists her as an `adjunct’ lecturer; she describes herself as an `adjutant’.


dmfod - November 30, 2010

She also used to work for the World Bank so it’s not suprising she’s reluctant to criticise our international ‘partners’. Must be a lot of cognitive dissonance going around for those who have previously participated in oppressing poor countries to watch the same institutions do it to us.


10. Pope Epopt - November 30, 2010

<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/ireland-business-blog-with-lisa-ocarroll/2010/nov/29/ireland"Lisa Carroll's blog is a big improvement in the Guardian’s coverage though IMO.


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