Category Archives: politics

Lack of confidence in no-confidence

A friend directed me to a recent article by David McWilliams about the silliness of flogging all state assets in a firesale to cover a bank induced collapse in the Irish economy. It occurred to me that since the recession started (bear in mind property peaked in 2006) we’ve seen a huge number of useful and positive suggestions from commentators like McWilliams but very few of these have been taken up. Some have. In particular the idea of a national recovery bond is an excellent one and was suggested on many blogs including this one many months ago.

The Irish Times poll results are largely anti-government. I’ve been looking at them every day and, apart from wanting public sector employees to have pay cuts instead of larger tax cuts for EVERYBODY, there’s almost no area of government economic policy that people seem to agree with. The average IT poll is negative on the government, short term economic recovery, economic policies such as the bank-bailout, NAMA, carbon taxation, health sector cuts etc. Continue reading

Rabbite-ing on

Harry McGee crafts a reasonable article in today’s Irish Times about G.Lee’s double resignation from Irish politics this week. It’s pretty easy to imagine that Lee was shut out in a petty squabble with Bruton over who was the economics top dog. Stupid and embarrassing if you consider the state of the country’s finances. However, if there’s one quote from the article that really got my goat it was this from Pat Rabbitte.

“The calling of intelligently interpreting economic data and relaying it successfully to the average citizen is a different one from writing a prescription for where we are going wrong and what we are doing about it,”

Pass me a sick bag. What a load of patronising toss to suggest Lee wasn’t up to the job but, amazingly, seasoned politicians like himself are. If Rabbitte actually believes that he, his Labour party, or anyone else in the Dail is engaged in writing “a prescription for where we are going wrong and what we are doing about it” then he’s delusional.

Someone should buy him a copy of Anthony Sweeney’s Banana Republic for christmas.

Banana Republic
Banana Republic

Unfortunately, at least one generation of Irish children will understand how delusional he is and how they are being failed, not just by the government, but by the Dail itself. Lee seemed to be the only person in the Dail vocally suggesting that cuts would only worsen the economic situation without stimulus. This didn’t fit entirely with FG orthodoxy so they didn’t take the policy on board. What a burden it is to have 2 economists in the one party when in the midst of an economic crisis. What a sorry lot FG are. The hardest thing about Irish politics seems to be the back-stabbing, character assassinations, petty jealousies, side-deals and keeping track of all of the above. Little time left to serve the people.

Still, George Lee _was_ a bit naive. He could have prepared for political life by referring to the online Merriam Websters dictionary.

Main Entry: pol·i·tics
Pronunciation: \?pä-l?-?tiks\
Function: noun plural but singular or plural in construction
Etymology: Greek politika, from neuter plural of politikos political
Date: circa 1529
1 a : the art or science of government b : the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy c : the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government
2 : political actions, practices, or policies
3 a : political affairs or business; especially : competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government) b : political life especially as a principal activity or profession c : political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices
4 : the political opinions or sympathies of a person
5 a : the total complex of relations between people living in society b : relations or conduct in a particular area of experience especially as seen or dealt with from a political point of view <office politics> &lt:ethnic politics>

He may have noticed 3b and realised what he was in for…


Is what we’ve been served up for the past few days. It’s been a regrettable few days for the opposition. Funnily enough the FG faithful don’t want us to forget about them as they fall over themselves to publicly condemn Lee for his naivety, lack of creativity, childishness, immaturity. If I hear the phrase “threw his toys out of the pram” once more I’ll actually consider voting for Fianna Fail. Only kidding!

While I still don’t agree that George Lee should have resigned his seat, it’s disgusting how FG are attacking him now that he’s left. This is a party that in the worst economic crisis in the history of the state (perhaps) and on the back of 2 tribunals still can’t land a killer punch against the FF government. They were happy to wheel Lee out to support policies in some cases he clearly didn’t agree with. Yet there’s been no letup of party brown-nosers on the telly-box and the radio insisting Lee was useless, Enda “will lead FG to the next election” and how they’re all united under Enda. Lucky them. It’s like aphids being united under a weed.

They need a healthy dose of reality. It’s very clear that the people of Ireland don’t believe Enda is a credible alternative as Taoiseach whatever he may feel. All this talk of unity is flim-flam. When George says he had only 1 meeting with Richard Bruton in his 8 months in FG and that he was having no influence on their economic policy, you believe him. When Brian Hayes suggests George left due to money you don’t believe him. It feels like a tawdry cheap shot. Lee himself was happy to categorically state he was doing very well between his TD salary and expenses and won’t earn that amount in RTE. I believe him, why would he lie? Anyone can find out his RTE salary as it’s public record.

I understand why most people are annoyed that Lee didn’t stay in the Dail as an independent. I’m disappointed. Mostly I’m disappointed that we’ve lost a potential challenger to the hegemony of inherited seats and parish pumpers. It reinforces the notion (perhaps empirically correct) that Irish politics is the sole preserve of the so-called “political class”. What FG seem to miss is that the only people who are surprised Lee left FG are staunch supporters. There’s probably not a single vote to be won by lynch mobbing Lee. It only confirms an impression of disarray and ineptitude.

Someone once succinctly explained to me that “disappointment is when reality and expectations diverge”. Whatever disappointment I have about George Lee is eclipsed by the disappointment I feel about Fianna Gael.