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Look what came through my door this week… January 29, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I was a bit surprised by this.

When it arrived I took one look at the cover and the thought came to mind that this might be Evangelical Christian.

But no. Turning it around…check out the small print…

Ah… I see.

The centre right/right of centre realignment… it’s on… Sort of. January 28, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
61 comments

This is a fascinating statement from Micheál Martin.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin this evening said he would be prepared to support a Fine Gael minority government after the general election.

Asked in a radio interview if he would be willing to support a minority government led by Enda Kenny he said, “Yes I would. I think that’s in the interests of the people and of the country. The country and the people come first, and if the right policies are being pursued, I will support them.”

“Irrespective of whether I am in government or out of government, I will support the basic policies that will get us through this crisis, and those are the kind of policies that are within the parameters of the four-year plan.”

Whether it amounts to much more than beating ones breast and shouting ‘mea culpa, mea culpa!’ is another matter entirely, but intriguing that he’d even make it.

Or to be entirely cynical is the strategy simply to throw out a statement a day, or so, that has some eye catching content in the hope that it will keep his public profile high for the duration of the campaign.

Seems to me that he and FF might run out of things to say sharpish.

But the logic is impeccable, and it has one further virtue, it points up the fact that both Fine Gael and the Labour Party have also signed up for the essentials of the ‘four-year plan’. And the corollary of that is… or at least he might hope… that those who have been tempted by the other two parties, will come home because really, why shouldn’t they if everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet? Not to mention that he’s ‘refreshing’ FF.

Though the other thought strikes that for those hardy souls who demur from the ‘four year plan’ who once constituted FF voters and have now swung to SF or the Independents may not be quite as easy to drag back.

As to an actual right of centre realignment between FF and FG. I’ll believe it when I see it.

An Phoblacht – January/February edition now out… January 28, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Sinn Féin, The Left.
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A very readable issue out now from the usual outlets… here’s the contents…

The General Election and the Process of Change – Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald

Finance and Famine – Why Ireland is ‘hungry’ for change

Sleeping with the Enemy – Secret policeman Mark Kennedy in Mayo and Dublin

The Fall of Fianna Fáil – Sinn Féin emerges strong from winter of turmoil

IMF Intervention | Privatising Public Assets > An Bord Snip’s ‘Shock Doctrine’

Celtic FC – Threats to Neill Lennon and sectarian attacks that don’t make national headlines

Unite trade union says Left government can be formed with Sinn Féin

Executive Budget aims to counter blow from Tory-led British Government

Poll Crazy – Media Republic’s Robbie Smyth on what’s behind those poll figures

The winter water crisis in the North – Conor Murphy interviewed

1980 Hunger Striker Mary Doyle on the prison struggle

‘Uniting Ireland’ rally – Irish unity makes sense

Remembering the Past – Frank Stagg

The late Paddy Wright of Kildare – A true Sinn Féiner

Meanwhile back at the Seanad… January 28, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
3 comments

A short one this week… It’s end times down the Seanad. And the shadow of dissolution and the possibility that the next term may be its last hangs overhead.

But don’t be sad for them. They’re having a ball. It’s business as usual, as we shall see…

So let us start with some unexpectedly harsh words for the Green Party…

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen Zoom on Ronan Mullen Like many people, I watched in disbelief at the succession of events in recent days. Nothing pained me more then watching international news programmes and seeing the turmoil of our political events being featured in the manner they were. The only conclusion I can draw is that all the political parties put selfish, short-term political objectives ahead of the needs and interests of the people. The people were entitled to an orderly transfer of power but did not get that. When the Taoiseach announced that an election would be held on 11 March, there was the possibility that all parties, including the Green Party, could agree there was a programme of work to be got through and that this should happen first and foremost. Instead, one saw the weakness of the Green Party. While I have no issues with its members personally as people, their immaturity as a political entity has caused unnecessary chaos in recent weeks.

Moreover, I refer to the cynicism and opportunism of the Opposition parties which tabled a motion of no confidence, only to withdraw it in favour of a concertinaed Finance Bill, so to speak. The rushing through in a matter of a few days of a Bill of that importance sends out a message of what politicians, when the chips are down, really think about the processes of Oireachtas, which is very little.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan Zoom on Pat Moylan Questions now to the Leader, rather than a political speech.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen Zoom on Ronan Mullen How can Members ask the people to respect the institutions of State at a time of crisis when the people in charge of our political parties constantly belittle them and bring them into disrepute? We have no reason to be optimistic about the calibre of leadership entering Government if this is the manner in which they intend to treat the people and the institutions of this State by putting their interests second after short-term party political goals and advantage. These last few days have been days of shame, not just for the Green Party or Fianna Fáil leadership that perhaps precipitated a crisis but also for the Opposition leaders who did not put the people first.


A man who presumably won’t be returning to the Seanad in the near future speaks…on the nationally important issue of who he intends to vote for at the next election.
A nation holds its breath in anticipation of that animate political weathervane, comrade Senator Eoghan Harris:

Senator Eoghan Harris: Information on Eoghan Harris Zoom on Eoghan Harris Of necessity, any question I ask the Leader has to be rhetorical since his ability to do anything about any question I ask is limited. Is he happy with the way we are doing business on the Finance Bill? I think I know the answer.

I am of an age and I am around long enough not to care about anything much except authority. Confucius said the things that mattered in a state were an army, food for the population and authority. He was asked if one could give up any of these and he said one could give up the army, one could give up food but one could not give up a sense of authority. I intend to vote for authority because I see an abyss opening. In mythology there is a guardian of the gate. For 70 years or more Fianna Fáil has acted as a guardian against an armed doctrine — the armed doctrine of extremists in the IRA. It was a buffer. If it is about to disappear it is not a good thing for Irish politics and a certain duty devolves upon the other great parties of authority. I personally am going to vote for Fine Gael. I am going to vote for authority, but I deplore the incontinent manner in which Fine Gael and Labour have behaved in recent days in rushing through this Bill. I see from the sensitivity of the Labour Party’s interjections that its members feel guilty about it. Why would they not? One of the few great things achieved by the Seanad is the civil partnership Bill. It is one of our monuments that will outlast all the rubbish and codology of the current time. There is no panic out there. I detect none of the feeling that was detected by Senator Bacik. People want an election soon but what does a day or two or a week or two matter? What is the incontinent, extreme rush about? It is like the January sales; a mob of people outside the door screaming to get in saying “We must have an election.” Inside the staff are making up their pension plans and going out the back door. Up in the boardroom they are all divvying up the divvies. That is the way we are. It is a squalid spectacle.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris Zoom on David P.B. Norris Hear, hear.

Senator Eoghan Harris: Information on Eoghan Harris Zoom on Eoghan Harris It is significant that all of us on the Independent side, ranging from the left to the centre to the right, are agreed that it is a squalid spectacle. The Bill should have gone through properly.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris Zoom on David P.B. Norris Hear, hear.

Senator Eoghan Harris: Information on Eoghan Harris Zoom on Eoghan Harris It should have gone through properly for the sake of the people. I warn the incoming Government to calm down those who are dizzy with success because it is in a state of semi-hysteria. We are going to have some kind of rainbow Government. What is their panic if the panic produces the kind of political meltdown that allows the armed doctrine to dominate the Opposition in the coming Dáil. That is not a good place for the Irish people to be.


And what of this interjection?

Senator Mark Daly: Will the Leader ask the Minister when he comes into the House to deal with the issues discussed yesterday how those in opposition who voted against the budge could have had the budget thrown out? They could have caused an election yesterday. They could have had all those issues which they said were an abomination and with which they disagreed dealt with. That could have happened yesterday, but they did not do it. That is why politics in Ireland, including those in government and opposition, is looked upon with such disdain by the public. Last week the Opposition parties wanted an election. They could have had it yesterday, but they did not pull the trigger. Why? They did not have the courage to do so.
Senator Geraldine Feeney: Hear, hear.
Senator Mark Daly: Politicians are supposed to have courage.
Senator Maurice Cummins: Politicians on this side of the House are not used to pulling the trigger.
Senator Mark Daly: They could have introduced their own budget.
An Cathaoirleach: Questions to the Leader, please.
Senator Mark Daly: They could have caused an election yesterday.
Senator Paul Coghlan: The Senator is distancing himself from the Government.
Senator Mark Daly: They could have caused the budget to fall——
Senator Donie Cassidy: This is the young Senator from County Kerry.
Senator Mark Daly: ——but they choose not to do that either.
Senator Geraldine Feeney:    Hear, hear.
Senator Mark Daly: They are the Government-in-waiting.
Senator Dominic Hannigan: That is a wilful misinterpretation. What did they do?
Senator Geraldine Feeney: The people will see through Senator Hannigan.
Senator Mark Daly: If I was not being interrupted——
Senator Geraldine Feeney: The poor people will have their say.
An Cathaoirleach: Questions to the Leader, please. Senator Daly’s time is just up.
Senator Mark Daly: We all have an interest in ensuring the civil partnership provisions are put in place. However, the Opposition parties demanded that the legislation be guillotined. If we had asked for it to be guillotined, they would have lambasted us. However, they now insist that it be guillotined.
An Cathaoirleach: The Senator has made his point.
(Interruptions).
Senator Mark Daly: They are also ensuring——
Senator Dominic Hannigan: The Senator will have to face up to it: the people want the Government to be replaced as soon as possible.
Senator Mark Daly: ——that the bankers’ bonuses issue will not be addressed.
An Cathaoirleach: The Senator’s time is up. I call Senator Prendergast.
Senator Mark Daly: How could they do this?

How could they indeed… let us back away. They’re sitting at the weekend, or so I believe. No doubt there’ll be more thoughts for us to…er… digest next week.

This ‘new’ politics… Looks to me an awful lot like the old politics January 28, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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What a brilliant indication that all the super-heated rhetoric of the last two years about the be necessity for reform and renewal of our political system is just that…super-heated rhetoric.

That both FF and the LP are agreeing to three way debates, while Fine Gael -with no small dollop of self-interest itself – wants five way debates is surely evidence enough were any required that nothing, nothing fundamental, has changed in the way the political environment operates.

Here it is every man and woman for themselves jockeying for party advantage – which would be fine were it not for the fact we’ve been treated to gravitas saturated speeches that ‘we’ must change the way we do politics, and not merely change the way, but now we have general agreement on the foot of almost no debate that the Seanad must be stripped away and the number of TDs reduced. All these have the ‘virtue’ of being parked after an election, may indeed never come to pass.

But when it comes to the real meat, a change in the way parties interact in campaigns, something that might, though I’d be dubious about overstating their effect, alter some aspects of that campaign, well look what happens.

Cynical and expedient. Same old same old.

This Week At The Irish Election Literature Blog January 28, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Election Literature Blog.
22 comments

With the Election stuff starting to come in (and more always welcome) I’m starting this weeks round up with something from the US.
The fact that these were available to buy in an airport was what really got me.

On then to the real business ….
Paul Sommerville “Hes No George Lee!” and wants you to spoil your vote.

A leaflet for Ted Tynan of the Workers Party running Cork North Central.

Why are they making the Unemployed Suffer? asks Gino Kenny of PBP (ULA) in Dublin Mid West.

Finally…

He’s Honest and True

and finally finally a sign you may wish to use.

and finally finally finally some Traditional Fianna Fail Colours

Micheál Martin’s speech… January 27, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, Irish Politics.
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Some intriguing thoughts to be gleaned from Micheál Martin’s speech yesterday on winning the leadership of Fianna Fáil (makes you wonder if it were a competition what the second and third prizes would be – no?).

I was not born into party politics. My family’s values were those of republican nationalism and
community involvement. My father worked as a bus driver, helped found their union and was
active in many local groups. Growing up what I saw from politics was how political leadership
could be a driver of social progress.

With my brothers and sisters, I was part of the first generation to have a chance to complete
second-level education and go on to university. Our city of Cork experienced many tough times,
but it was helped to rebound with sustained economic and social progress which is visible in all
areas. The direct link between this progress and decisions by a succession of people such as
Seán Lemass, Patrick Hillery and Donogh O’Malley is absolutely clear.

That’s an interesting array of reference points, is it not? ‘Republican nationalism’, ‘community’, ‘union’, ‘local groups’. The reference to the ‘first generation to complete second-level education’. ‘Economic and social progress’. And no mention of business. Presumably no more tents at race courses – though who would fill them now with the economy bust and the party a shadow – one presumes, of its former self.

And a mention of politics and ideology, but in a very Fianna Fáil sort of a way – i.e. eschewing both… [or let’s call a spade a spade – pretending that it transcends them].

At its most creative and effective we have always been committed to a middle-way which
believes that a commitment to both economic growth and social progress can and must go
hand-in-hand. The empty slogans of the ideologues of left and right have never and will never
deliver for the people of this modern democracy.

So, a sort of repositioning of FF. Though not exactly clear how that would mark much change with the past.

There may be trouble ahead, he thinks…

There is no credible route forward for our country without tackling the fiscal deficit. The National
Recovery Plan is detailed and open on exactly what we propose. This will be central to our
programme.
However, even at a time of crisis like this there is a lot that can be done on other areas.

Like what precisely?

We will set out policies on job creation which show how we propose to help individuals access
training and education and also how we propose to help businesses.

As recent major jobs announcements have confirmed, support for competitive enterprise is the
most effective foundation for delivering well-paid and sustainable jobs. We will address this in
detail, including how to ensure that all regions benefit.

Education as a vehicle of social opportunity remains a core value for me and we will set out our
approach on this.

This is crucial. Look at how narrow, how insubstantial, all that is. The IMF/ECB bailout has severely curtailed the room for movement by any party that enters government next month.

An hint of an apology…

Most importantly, I am determined that we will set before the people policies which show that we understand the lessons of what has gone wrong in recent years. People seeking partisan gain, or offering superficial commentary, promote the idea that there are simple explanations. The truth is that the biggest failings have been systemic failing which go to the heart of our political and governing system.

Another hint…though roping everyone else in politics in…

One of the ways in which politics has failed is that our elections have been dominated by
soundbites, personality and political tactics. Our country needs and election which is as serious as the issues we must tackle. This can only happen if the leaders of the parties show a real commitment to moving away from political business as usual.

A cleverish gambit in terms of framing the shape of the campaign…

Central to this must be real debate between us about what our parties are proposing and what
we can deliver in government. The traditional model of elections debates is seriously flawed and
must change. I have therefore already written to Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore asking them
to join with me in agreeing to the most extensive and detailed series of debates yet seen in an
Irish election.
Specifically, I have asked them to agree to hold two debates between us three, one at the start
of the campaign and one at the end. In addition there would be a series of one-on-one debates
between us and a separate debate in the Irish language.
In the past they have both called for such a series of debates so I hope that agreement can
quickly be reached.

Cleverish because while one E. Gilmore was quite welcoming, already Enda Kenny sniffing some sort of a trap has pushed it back calling for a five way debate. Very egalitarian is our Enda.

Reading this it strikes me that of all the candidates only Martin could plausibly stand head to head against Kenny and Gilmore in a debate. Lenihan? Too bluff, too old FF. Hanifin, too low a profile. Ó Cuiv, too old old FF.

Whether though Martin can pull it off is something we’ll know soon enough. But you can see how this might work for him, at least in shoring up some of the FF vote.

And here’s more than a hint as to an FF line of attack over the next few weeks…

Some people appear to want a coronation rather than an election. Some suggest that it is all
over before it has started. I can assure you that my party intends campaigning with energy and
with fresh ideas. We intend to talk about the future of this country – about how the economy can
be restored, jobs created and our system of politics and government fundamentally reformed.

I see the logic, but… truth is it isn’t exactly a conoration. There’s hardly any great enthusiasm about Enda Kenny (no great dislike either though). And Gilmore’s hopes about being Taoiseach seem unwarranted on current polling figures, which makes the notion that this is a ‘coronation’ a little hard to take. There might be an inevitability about the outcome, but it’s doesn’t have the triumphant or dare I say vainglorious aspects to it that ‘coronation’ suggests.

Anyhow, there we have it. The vision, unrefined as it may be, of the new leader of FF.

One thing missing is that there’s no sense of nation as distinct from this particular polity. Indeed the word country is used throughout undefined. It might be instructive to compare and contrast with previous leaders statements.

If things go well for him at the election, and by that I mean he manages to hold 40 odd seats then he can be satisfied. If they go poorly well, he has the consolation of knowing that had FF chosen him at the first leadership vote last week there’s more than a chance that in the absence of the fiasco that was the last days of Cowen he could have done much better.

Either way come the day after the day after Election day he’ll still be king of all he surveys on the opposition benches – except for Sinn Féin and various ‘rag-tag’ Independents.

He seems reasonably happy with that prospect.

Meanwhile, North of the Border January 27, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.
30 comments

Very briefly on another issue…the Irish Times reports that Éirígí are contesting local elections in May in Northern Ireland. This is on foot of their Ard Fheis which was held in Belfast at the weekend and the information is contained in their press release in which Brian Leeson said:

(more…)

Kilmacow to Kilmainham to Kildare Street …. January 27, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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EIGHT MEN are walking 150km (93 miles) from Kilmacow in Co Kilkenny to Leinster House, Dublin, to seek an apology from the Government for its behaviour..

They will be setting off on the final leg of their journey from Kilmainham Jail at 12 today (Thursday 27th Jan).

dfallon of Come Here To Me was on Liveline talking about the march and writes about it here

A Brief report of the march here also.

Ógra Shinn Féin National Congress January 27, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Sinn Féin, The Left.
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Events at the Ógra Shinn Féin National Congress which is happening this weekend (28th-30th January) in the Gasyard Centre in Derry. All open to the public.

The Gasyard, Derry.
saturday 29th

11.30 -1pm – Public talk 1 – The road from Bloody Sunday to Ballymurphy – Search for the truth (Ballymurphy families, Bloody Sunday Families, Relatives for Justice)

2pm Address le Martin McGuinness MP MLA

2.30pm – Public talk 2 – The crisis, cutbacks and communities under attack – The case for a new politics in Ireland (Pol O Callaghan MLA SDLP, Mitchell McLaughlin MLA, Roy Garland, Irish News, Michael Gallagher, ILEX regeneration, Naomi Long MP, and Eamonn McCann, People before Profit

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