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Making a meal of it… December 12, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Reading Stephen Collins piece in the IT on Michael D. Higgins words on the death of Fidel Castro I do have to wonder is this not all a bit exaggerated? I’m far from Higgin’s biggest fan. Indeed I’m not sure I’m a fan at all. Nor would I be the person to deliver an uncritical appraisal of Castro. But there’s an odd sort of dislocation between the supposed problem and its actuality. It is almost Pharisaic, this demand that Higgins must articulate position x or y or otherwise be discredited. Moreover it’s almost a demand for perfection, which in a world of Trump and Farage and so on seems odd, to put it mildly.

And then there’s his assessments of other Presidents, not least this:

When Mary McAleese ran for the presidency in 1997, there were again fears that if elected she would pursue a narrow agenda focused on her concerns as a Northern nationalist which had clearly motivated her political career.

Good to know that that was a ‘narrow’ agenda. By the way, is he correct in the following about her ‘most spectacular public success’?

Her most spectacular public success was the role she played in paving the way for the historic visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland, but she also worked behind the scenes to promote peace in Northern Ireland and to bring people from the two communities together.

And then there’s this in relation to Higgins.

Like his predecessors President Higgins is popular with voters. He has carried out his public duties with a bit of style and his natural likability has won people over.
However, if the Castro episode is repeated he will have to be called to account for the way he is using his office regardless of the damaging political fallout.

What fallout is that precisely? Who is damaged? What is damaged? Have I missed something?

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Comments»

1. sonofstan - December 12, 2016

I’m sure people were talking of little else over the past few weeks at home. The phrase ‘thundering disgrace’ no doubt re-entered popular parlance.

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2. Ed - December 12, 2016

No record of Collins or anyone else objecting when the flags were flown at half-mast to mourn King Abdullah. I can understand why the British government did the same thing – they have mutually lucrative relationship with the Saudis, plenty of juicy oil contracts – but Kenny’s government seemed to do it for the sheer pleasure of grovelling.

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LeftAtTheCross - December 12, 2016

More to do with changes a few years ago to Irish law to facilitate Islamic finance, a lucrative new market for the IFSC:

http://www.ifsc.ie/article.aspx?idnews=299168

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3. dublinstreams - December 12, 2016

Higgins statement on Castro was very very far from perfect, the government aren’t going to make a thing of it, thats the approach they’ve taken whatever Higgins says, that doen’t mean Higgins wasn’t wrong, the criticism he received for that statement was mostly right.

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4. botheredbarney - December 12, 2016

A lot of journalism, especially among staff writers, is filling up space to a deadline. There is just so much they can write about Brexit, Santa Claus and Gerry’s special connections. The President’s utterances, often thoughtful, provide material for dashing off another 750 words of commentary. Coming up to the end of 2016 they’ll dash off space-filling predictions for 2017.

My two predictions:-
a. Trump will put his foot in it, and remind people of crazy mouth Idi Amin of Uganda in the 1970s.
b. There will be growth in the spring – snowdrops, daffodils and wild primroses will cheer some people up.

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5. CMK - December 12, 2016

The ‘fallout’ from Higgins speech is confined entirely to a few selected watering holes on or around Baggot Street and the RTE canteen. ‘Fake news’, Irish style.

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dublinstreams - December 12, 2016

it was more then a few columnists who were disappointed by his statement

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JC - December 12, 2016

WBS: I’m curious to know more about what your general views of Higgins are.

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WorldbyStorm - December 12, 2016

Conflicted. He seems sincere and pleasant, i like a fair bit of what he says but I can’t quite square that with his remaining with the LP over the years and particularly during the last coalition.

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ivorthorne - December 12, 2016

I think that as a signal for cautionl, we should send copies of Hannah Arendt’s writings to people who remain prominently members of formerly progressive organisations who remain members after the organisation has taken a turn for the worse.

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6. botheredbarney - December 12, 2016

Michael D Higgins to me seems to be asserting that the presidency is a third house of the Oireachtas, and not a passive symbolical entity. Higgins makes well-crafted speeches aimed at being ‘keynote’ i.e. enunciating themes he wishes politicians in Ireland and internationally to give their attention to. Thirdly he wishes in Ireland, where the political, clerical and banking classes have been ‘found out’, to stress the need for a national discussion about ethics. His ‘values’ lean to left of centre, but tend to be expressed in quasi-neutral academic phraseology. He attends football and other sporting events as a way of showing that he is of the people, but I think many of ‘the people’ regard him as a bit of a distant professor type, although not absent-minded. He is emphatically internationalist. He differs a lot from the style of Robinson and McAleese

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sonofstan - December 12, 2016

“. He attends football and other sporting events as a way of showing that he is of the people”

He’s been going to League of Ireland games since Galway entered the league. No one would put themselves through so much suffering just to prove a point. In that, at least, he’s genuine.

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7. roddy - December 12, 2016

McAleese was the most”down to earth” president of all.Also Higgins did’nt say anything wrong at all with regard to Castroand I applaud him on this occasion.

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8. Simon weisvicetal - December 12, 2016

McAleese’s husband is a protector of peadophiles and Catholic slave drivers, Robinson was a nodding dog dogooder liberal, Higgins a great little gay guy who is at least trying to make a difference.

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9. Pasionario - December 12, 2016

I recall a lot of tut-tutting by people like Collins when Robinson shook Gerry Adams’s.

Now that’s conveniently forgotten for the sake of a tendentious argument.

McAleese can tell us to “tiptoe back to the churches”, which are still stuffed full of paedophiles and their enablers yet that’s clearly not a “political” intervention by the president, who, after all, couldn’t possibly be a “political” figure given that the office has usually been occupied by career politicians, endorsed by one or more of the major parties, and elected by the people!

It’s all boringly predictable. I recently read somewhere that Castro declared a week of mourning upon the death of Franco. Somehow I prefer the weirdness of that gesture to Collins’s boilerplate.

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dublinstreams - December 12, 2016
Pasionario - December 12, 2016

I appear to have “made a meal of it”. I could try and save face by noting that the Ombudsman is also supposedly “apolitical” or that McAleese’s public interventions in religious disputes had great political significance, but I think I’ll just call it a day before I come out with any more half-remembered cobblers.

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Pasionario - December 12, 2016

Gerry Adams’s hand — that should read.

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