Time For Complete Change in Irish Politics

Is it any surprise that both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been knocked back in the latest opinion poll?

At last, it seems to me, the Irish public is beginning to realise that there is no fundamental difference between these two 90-year-old relics of the Civil War.  Finally, people are starting to understand that FF and FG are two wings on the same vulture, with the same worn-out policies and the same tired, old-man, baggy-suited, beer-bellied lack of imagination.

It’s time to let them go, and not with a fanfare.  These two dinosaur parties have not served the country well as they vied with each other to gain wealth and power for their insiders, at the expense of the vulnerable, the weak and the poor.

FF and FG are not mirror images of each other.  They’re not even identical twins.  They’re the two red-nosed old cousins at the end of the bar — the ones you avoid as you arrive in on a freezing winter’s night.  Two flat-capped old bores with BO and bad teeth.

Unfortunately, the alternative isn’t exactly sparkling.  Our Labour party is bedraggled, more a centre-right party than left wing, but maybe that’s not a bad thing either.

Maybe at long last we’re beginning to realise that politics in Ireland is broken, that it doesn’t work, and that all the cynics need to be thrown out on the side of the road.  For now, Labour is the only alternative available, and although I can see much to find fault with, it seems to me the only hope if we are ever going to reconstruct Irish politics.


Because Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are both utterly irrelevant.  Fianna Fáil, as anyone can see, is responsible for the massive corruption that has destroyed our country’s economy, while Fine Gael is so moribund that it is unable to provide an alternative.  I know personalities shouldn’t come into it, but unfortunately they do, and Enda Kenny is arguably the most uninspiring politician in history. Fine Gael would do better in the polls if it was led by a bar of soap.

These two outdated, irrelevant parties, which have no distinguishing features, need to be dismantled, and amalgamated.  For that to happen, there needs to be a third party in government, and that party can only be Labour.

When the two Civil War parties have been wound up once and for all, and replaced with a proper right-wing organisation, Labour can move to the Left and Irish politics can finally grow up and start to be something done by adults, instead of the cavorting buffoons we’ve had to endure up to now.

94 replies on “Time For Complete Change in Irish Politics”

I would not trust Labour as far as I could throw them.Two faced to an amazing degree.Their handbrake turn on the ward union issue proved that.Regardless of anyones views or lack of on hunting,fact isthey promised one thing and done the opposite.So screw them as well.

Bock I am afraid thats just about it…vote for ahm..tweddle di?..tweddle do? tweddle da?we are spoiled for choice.

I will take you up on the challenge “Enda Kenny is arguably the most uninspiring politician in history”. I for one believe he still has more flair and charisma than dear old Biffo.

@Bock. Agree 100% with your analysis. Labour must not give lifeline to FG or FF for that matter. They must lead a left wing coalition.
@William. I was also disappointed with Labour on ward union issue. It was morally wrong stance to take and a bad mistake. The same goes for Pat Rabbitte’s support for overpaid ESB workers.
But Labour didn’t destroy the country. FF did. And Humpty Dumpty is now well and truly broken. As for FG, first thing on Leo Varadkar’s mind a few weeks ago was expenses. He wants to get expenses for parking if he goes to town to do an interview on a Sunday morning!!!. I hope the interviews are better than Kenny’s.

I realised some years ago that if FF put a goat with whiskers up for election, the FF faithful would vote for him. I decided that the only way to counter this was if Labour put a donkey up for election on the same ballot paper, I would vote for the donkey.
I am rooting for the donkey. The goat has shit all over the country.

Bock, voters elect the governments and policians that they deserve, so we need to be careful here. I agree that FF + FG should be bottled, corked + put in the darkest corner of the wine cellar, but giving Labour a free reign might not be the best way forward, at thsi time. As far as the Shinners and the Greens are concerned — they should be composted, immediately.

I’d suggest that the Irish voters need to be educated…maybe VECs could give free adult education courses like Politics 101. If that dosen’t make a difference maybe we’ll have to resort to smart pills for voters or something…maybe alarm clocks, because we really need to wake up here.

I can’t believe that 22% of people polled voted for FF. FF could do just about anything and these core party followers would still vote for them, why? These people should be culled.

Irate Chemist – Sorry. Missed your comment.

Being a chemist, you’ll know that there’s always a residue. Nothing can be purified 100%. But still, 22% mental deficiency is deeply worrying. What does it take for these people to realise they’ve been boned up the arse?

@Irate Chemist. Agree. The FF 22% is the most disappointing think about Ireland today. What does it take for people to realise that they have fucked the country? Do they need a Beckam visual to get the picture.?
@gaga. Maybe that idea might work. The only difficulty is that most of the VEC’s are full of FF’s. They would have to be re-educated first.

True, Bock. Either these people don’t see the big picture or they do and don’t care. Which is more worrying? I know a guy who openly said that he is a FF supporter and always will be. When asked why he replied that his family have always voted FF. I was genuinely surprised that some people don’t vote on policy, but tradition. What a waste of both brain and opportunity.

The same guy unfortunately thinks that Bertie Ahern was our greatest leader. I also had a long argument with him after he watched a programme on the BBC about the universe and was telling a group of friends that the planets orbit the sun in a perfect circular fashion. I tried to explain Kepler’s laws of planetary motion but he was having none of it, the BBC programme said they were perfect circular orbits. You would be correct in noticing a pattern here.

As someone who is very accustomed to ” Rock and Hard Place ” choices, I will definitly vote Labour.
Because that is preferable to dithering or not voting.
Labour, Who will probably pander to the Unions are the choice of now, And it might be unfortunate but now is all we have.
I believe it is a sign of the wretchedness of Politics that people who are experts in their field are not appointed Ministers, For example ,The Ministry of Finance should be an Economist, Minister of Science a Scientist and so on, But these people are not attracted to Politics unfortunately.
At the very least a Labour Government will signal change, Thats a whole lot better than what we have.

Mr Chemist: this is not an uncommon phenomenon. The core FG/FF vote is entirely based on “tradition”, i.e. who Daddy voted for. It is a damning indictment of this country that we have so many intransigent voters. The commonly voiced opinion from some quarters that we have an “intelligent electorate” could not be further from the truth.

Like you Bock I am not sure that the Labour party is anyway close to a perfect answer; but given the alternatives it seems to be the best available (if not the only) solution to us at this time.

If the calamitous collpse of our economy does rid us of the twin dinosaurs of civil war politics, then at least it will have given us something. Admittedly at an extraordinarily high price … but it might be the one gain we get from this unadulterated mess??? Here’s hoping …

Skott — It might be the catharsis needed to cleanse our broken political system. I don’t mind who people vote for as long as they do so out of conviction, but this nonsense of supporting a party because their family always voted that way is simply pathetic.

Bock, I sincerely hope you are right … but I will believe it only when I see it …

Also 100% agree that if FF (or anyone) managed to win an election with an informed and intelligent electorate then I would concede they should be the people in power. But they have not done so recently (or possibly ever) … all they have had to do is turn up and rely on some ridiculous 90 year old allegiance.

You are right: it is pathetic … and just as pathetic is the black/white view these “traditional” voters have. I may have made this point on this site before: whenever I get involved in a policitical discussion and I criticize FF I am usually labelled a “blueshirt”, as if there are only two possible alternatives in irish politics, and one’s disdain for one major party assumes an allegiance to the other!!

@Bock. 21. I don’t think the current crisis is cathartic enough to get rid of the existing FF & FG. I hope it is. But doubt it. Remember most of the FF people and supporters are in pretty secure jobs and sinecures. That was why FF always craved power so much. Jobs for their own.


don’t worry about the 22% for FF, even if they don’t all vote for FF the dead will. Sure isn’t that why there have been no real attempts to fix the voting register? If FF weren’t getting the majority of those votes then there’d be a law tomorrow (well not on saturday but deffo Tuesday) fixing the register.

I’d be interested to see stats of how many voted for FF in a few constituencies, you can buy the information to find out who presented themselves to vote on polling day per box in the voting centre and extrapolate that against the final results. I’d love to see that correlated against death notices for say the previous 2 election periods. This could be one reason why FF’s election vote tends to be more than pre-election polls? That wouldbe a major concern if true, wouldn’t you agree?

@Bock. RTE is on the payroll too. The FF payroll that is. Willie gets his second party political broadcast on RTE in a few weeks. He was on the Marion Finucane show this morning and the Late Late show a few weeks ago.
On both occasions he was whinging about “losing” his job. But why are RTE giving Willie a free run? I thought RTE was supposed to be independent and balanced.

FF are so deeply embedded in positions of influence that they will be impossible to dislodge without a revolution.

The Official backlash against Labour coming to power has well and truly started. Expect the Sunday Indo to attempt a hatchet job on Labour, particularly Gilmore.

Your starting point in this argument is flawed! You are assuming that the people of Ireland vote for a National government which is clearly not the case. We vote for these back slapping, Funeral attending, pint buying clowns for what they can do for ME not US. Therefore change in this country must be in our mentality and I am afraid Labour is not the answer! A pseudo Socialist Party bereft of policies content to sit on the fence and watch as two dogs fight over the bone hoping that they will tire themselves out so that they can skulk away with the bone just doesn’t do it for me! Unless you think that no policies are better than bad ones?
P.S I don’t have the answer either.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We only need 10 ministers to run this country. One of those should the minister for Shut The Fuck Up! He has absolute veto. If some bleeding heart liberal comes along crowing about the rights of scumbags in prison, our new minister should be able to tell them to Shut The Fuck Up!. If our minister for finance starts defending indefensible ecconomic policy, he should be told to Shut The Fuck Up. I personally propose you for the job, Bock. Great post. 100% in agreement with you.

I can`t remember the publication just now. But! in an interview, one Tony O`Reilly. Yes! That Tony O`Reilly. He stated that if Fianna Fail and Fine Geal lost their hold on people to such an extent that Labour became a threat to both parties he would be very very concerned. He proposed that in that event, both F/F & FG should ditch their sham differences and join together to hold a majority over the wishes of the people ie., keep Labour out no matter what the cost. We need to think, are we headed that way anytime soon?

In my opinion, the only thing that inspires any kind of confidence in our political system at present are the Dail Committees, which are made up of members of ALL political parties. Why? Because they go about things without grandstanding or scoring points against their political opponents. In other words, they behave like adults, not children and get on with the job they are meant to do, usually within a realistic timeframe. Why can all Dail business not be conducted like this? In other words have a National Government. By all means let the different parties put up candidates in a general election but once it’s over, select the best talent from all parties to form a government.

If Fine Gael scrapped Kenny, they might be electable. It’s incredible that he survived the leadership battle a while back, surely it’s obvious that the man has almost no credibility outside of FG circles?

I can’t see a Labour-led government doing much better than either of the civil war dinosaurs. They’d bugger up the country in a different manner. But as you say, what are the alternatives? A completely new party perhaps, one that understands modern media and gets it’s message across rapidly?

Dumb, dumber and dumbest. But we get the politicians we deserve. If we continue to respect this ragtag collection of underachievers at election time, and ignore those who tell the hard truths, then we absolutely deserve what we get. It’s not magic – vote for idiots, get national bankrupcy. Why do we think there might be some magic that turns a failed county councillor into a world statesman? Wake up, people.
We need a clearer idea of what Ireland is for and about, and then we need to elect people who believe the same thing. They may succeed in taming wild fortune in our favour, or they may fail as usual, but we need to elect those who understand reality and tell it like it is. Otherwise, we’ll just be stupid for ever.

The hard truth is that nobody can predict the future, so it’s hard to run a country well. But there are a million ways to run it badly. Some people wing it and get lucky, some people fail despite doing a credible job. And some just fuck it up beyond all recognition because they never understood or gave a shit. We seem to elect the latter category a lot, because they promise to unblock our drain or bribe us with a new bypass. We need to take more responsibility and accept that our choices matter. If this crisis does not make this clear to the people or Ireland, then they are thicker then an old Irish joke and the country deserves §to fail.

The point of this post is that Ireland needs to create an entirely new poitical structure. I draw hope from the fact that both of the dead parties are rejected by the electorate.

Here’s a quote from a piece about Gilmore from the Irish Times:

The Labour Party signed up to this objective, agreed by the Government with the European Commission, we will go with that and if in Government we will proceed with that,” he said.

He called for consistency in dealing with the public finances and said that no more than €3 billion in savings should be sought in this year’s budget.

“That kind of chopping and changing and uncertainty that is giving rise to the lack of confidence internationally that is reflected in the higher interest rates the country is now being charged on the international markets.”

So they have aligned themselves with slashers and burners that have caused effective demand in this country’s domestic economy to drop by €10 billion in the last 18months. Aligning themselves with the ‘serious people’ in the EC and the financial markets against the citizens that are getting shafted. No longer they keep quiet about specifics of their policies an rely on being not-FF/FG/Greens.

Yes, it would be nice to get rid of the Civil War parties but don’t be deluded that you are getting anything more than a centre-right party with Labour.

We need a new political system, but it’s more along the lines of constitutional reform and the introduction of direct democracy into all aspects of public life, including the economy. What is achievable by electoral politics of the existing system seems simply incommensurable with the scale of the problems we face.

all the parties in dail eireann could merge and form the NGP National Gombeen Party cos thats really all there is.There is no energy and diversity in politics here.It is not like the vast array of ideas that you see in other countries.Everthing from the extreme left to the extreme right and the majority centrist or liberal usually in between but never totally secure and always on edge.None of that here and the parties here that claim that they have different ideas by giving themseles names like “labour” or “democratic left” or “progressive democrats” are just relabeled bullshitters.And why is that? well its all down to the Irish electorate who have no concept of big political pictures or any issues outside their own little parish.The average irish voter thinks himself his family his parish and his needs are addressed by the local gombeen man who talks the talk buys a couple of pints in the local pub and attends the local funerals.A great man for the potholes the local water scheme the new GAA pitch etc.But has not got a clue how a country is run and does not know left centre and right political concepts from a bucket of shit and the people who vote for him are the same and probably would have fuck all to do with him if he started coming out with high faluting ideas.So you say a new era in irish politics ok fine…but the real question is how can anyone change the average irish Parishoner into seeing the larger picture and start voting for the nation only then might we begin to see really smart people consider running for election.

True, Bock – people do seem to use apathy or irony as a defence mechanism.

OK, allowing for the fact that ‘nothing can change and it’ll always be the same’, let’s pretend otherwise, and imagine that change can occur. First, we have to be realistic, and kill some people, namely:

* Anyone who uses the phrase “going forward”.
* Anyone who uses the phrase “Ireland, Inc”.
* Anyone who uses the phrase “wearewhereweare”.
* Anyone who uses the phrase “nobody could have known”.
* Anyone who uses the phrase “it was Lehmans fault”.

Bitches, I saw it coming from several years away, bought gold @ $400 an ounce. Now it’s $1300. But you had McCreevy, Cowen, and Lenny as Finance Ministers. Ah, well, nobody could have…

So, to the new state:

1. 166 TDs down to 100 max. 50% elected by constituency, 50% by list system (to discourage coffin-surfers). If you argue with me about this, you will be killed.
2. Scrap Senate, or make it a real upper house. Right now it’s as useful as tits on the Pope. Fancy arguments about this requiring a constitutional amendment will be met with INSTANT DEATH.
3. Abolish Presidency (replace with the Presidential council) OR, reduce the role to that of the Gov. General of Canada.
4. RTE’s cosy relationship with FF (or any other party) is a cancer. Not sure if privatising would fix this (look at the INDO, ffs). As long as the Donnybrook Whore sets the tone of public discourse, the cute hoors are well served.
5. Ray Burke & his fellow travelers who have sold off the national gas reserves must be tried for treason, with the DEATH PENALTY if (!) found guilty.
6. Capital city moved to Athlone. Why? To piss off the clever people in D4.
7. The following people to be put on trial: Eoghan Harris, Ian O Doherty, Brendan O Connor – ah feck, anyone who writes for the INDO. The charge: Chronic Gobshitery, and auto-fellatio.

That’ll do for starters. I’d settle for #1, #2 and #3.

Bock what I was saying in last post is that its the bulk of the voting population that has to change their attitude to effect real change.And while that might come across as just another complaint well and good.And how to do it..I dont have a fucking clue.Indeed the only solution you offer is vote Labour.Labour was in power many times before and if I remember correctly they never did anything much either.So the only conclusion I see from this thread is.. vote labour they wont solve anything but at least they are not Fianna Fail…oh great now got to put my shades on as the future looks so bright.

I’m not offering any solutions. Just trying to get a constructive discussion going. It’s all very well to talk about pitchforks and lamp-posts but once we get that off our chest, we need some realistic suggestions. The Labour thing only arose because of recent polls. I’m not suggesting they’re the solution.

Maybe its time to accept a hard reality.For 90% of its history Republic of Ireland has been a debt ridden basket case.Then we had a fake boom and now its back to normal ie a debt ridden basket case.Well they claimed to be a Tiger economy for ten years.Here is a fact about real Tiger economies…they are all Chinese or areas with very large Chinese population.So if Ireland wants to be a real and genuine Tiger economy like Singapore or Hong Kong or Taiwan etc.Here is the way to do it…import millions of Chinese!!.Yeah of course everyone will say a loony crackpot idea.True but its the only way Ireland will ever be a tiger.So there is my solution….now I run for cover.

@William. Here is an alternative. Export the political and elite classes to China. It may not give us a tiger economy but it would rid us of the people who made the basket case!

Tumbrel Cart….also a good alternative.But then I think how long would the poor things last in a Chinese Quarry…ohh sorry now I get it.Thats the idea right!.

@Bock. A few suggestions.
1. Dail terms 4 years.
2. Maximum 8 years in Dail for any TD.
3. Maximum 2 consecutive terms in Government for any political party.
4. 50% List system. 50% direct election.
5. Reduce Dail to 100 TD’s.
6. Abolish Seanad.
6A. Appointment to Quangos to be based on qualified List System-No more “my friends” a la Bertie.
6B. Quango pay to be cut by 80% with immediate effect.
7. Maximum public service pay (incl Dail & Senate) to be set at 3 times average industrial wage.
7A. Pay cuts above to apply to retired public servants and politicians as well. eg Rody Molloy, Neary etc
8. No travel expenses to get to place of work for anybody.
9. No allowances for anybody. Salary or wage only. Strict vouched expenses regime.
10. Dail & Senate and public service redundancy to have same rules as Redundancy Act for normal people.
11. Implement Kenny report on building land purchase. (1972 ? report )
12. Ban rezoning by councils. Use appeals body only for contentious issues.
13. Dept of Finance and other depts to publish all representations made by anybody in respect of tax, or anything affecting public money or where private advantage is sought.
14. Create anti-corruption police unit reporting to Comptroller and Auditor General.
15. Introduce mandatory 10 year jail for corruption.
16. Eliminate all tax reliefs with immediate effect. Especially property, royalty, pension.
17. Sequester assets of all public and private sector delinquents who destroyed the country.
18. Introduce non-domicile tax with immediate effect. €100,000 pa per tax exile.
19. Tell all banks to run their business without recourse to the taxpayer. ie. Burn whoever you fucking like, but you are not getting one red cent more from Paddy.
20. Banish FF to Hell, cage them in and turn the heat up.

1: TD salary = the average industrial wage. This can only increase when the average increases. No exceptions.

2: No TD can hold a ministerial position, period. If you have a degree in the field or 4 years management experience in the field, you can apply for ministerial positions similar to applying for a job – but you cannot be a TD and a Minister at the same time. A separate body (a new Seanad with an actual purpose, perhaps?) will choose the ministers to run each section of the civil service according to broad guidelines mandated by the current government. Ministers will have a salary equal to the average for a private administrator of their level and experience. The Dáil and the other sections of the civil service will be considered absolutely separate – TDs may only influence Minister decisions through the general mandate, Ministers may only change the general mandate by applying to the TDs. TDs are elected by the will of the people, but let’s be honest here – the people don’t have the expertise to run the healthcare system, for example. Let the professionals do it as a fulltime job, not the politicians.

3: One aggregated expense fund for TDs, where expenses can only be claimed if there is an accompanying receipt. An online database makes all expense information available to the public, broken down by TD. No receipt means the TD will not be reimbursed, if the expense was paid out of pocket, otherwise it will be deducted from their salary. If a TD is found to have claimed expenses to which they were not entitled, double the amount will be deducted from their salary. If that exceeds their total yearly salary, they will be immediately be arrested for fraud.

4: Any TD convicted of fraud will be immediately dismissed from their office or post, and must make a full disclosure on national television IN DETAIL on what they did, how they did it, what reparations they are making, and the exact amount to which the nation was defrauded. A by-election will be called within a month to elect a new TD in which the former incumbent will not be allowed to run.

5: Immediate abolition of all political parties. No exceptions. The state will not recognise any native political party as a distinct entity. All TDs are free to form whatever informal alliances they wish according to their own policies, but the state will not view them as anything but independents and they will be treated as such. All donations to TDs must be made through a single system (similar to Paypal?) and be traceable. TDs found to have accepted substantial financial rewards outside the system for political favours will be immediately dismissed (by-election called in which they cannot run, etc etc) and arrested for fraud.

My policies usually revolve around the idea that those in power get one real reward – being in power, and dictating the course of the nation. Everything else is a perk at best, and you’d better be willing to put up with a huge amount of scrutiny.

God help Ireland if I ever get into high office…

Fellow called Mao Tse-tung and another called Joe Stalin have already beaten you there Claire. Same type of policies as well. Good luck with them.

Claire wrote quite a detailed comment and you have just dismissed it with a single throw-away line like you were looking for a cheap laugh in the pub. It’s easy to come out with empty-headed one-liners but another altogether to come up with ideas.

How about being specific and saying precisely which of Claire’s opinions are the same as Stalin’s and Mao’s?

@Claire. I particularly liked no 2-No TD can hold ministerial post. It would make the Dail do its job to hold Ministers accountable instead of TDs acting as mudguards for ministers.
I also thought no 5 -abolition of political parties is a good suggestion in the context of Ireland, with its massive clientelism and corruption. In practice, being Ireland, it wouldn’t work. A variation might be the complete abolition of the party whip-i.e. making it illegal.
Your suggestion on salary and expenses are exactly what is needed if the country is to survive. It would get rid of the Carpetbaggers, Callelys and Crooks.

No need for “God help Ireland…” As far as I can see you would do a lot better than what is there. You could not do worse.

After them it is “God save Ireland….” . And it is difficult to see it being saved.

Claire: good suggestions. In your number 2, you say a degree in the field or 4 years management experience. Not enough by far. I think that as a government minister you should be an expert in the field. I would raise your requirements to:

4 year degree plus 10 years experience
No degree plus 16 years experience.

It’s not that much. I just realised that since graduating, I have 18 years experience in my particular field – 8 of those in a managment position. My age: 39.

@Tumbrel cart – I can dream, though. I think washing away the entire concept of political parties would go a long way to fixing the cronyism that’s rampant in Irish politics. It might give individual TDs the courage to make a stand for what they believe in, instead of selling out to stay on the good side of whoever is in charge of their party.

@AM in Brussels – My idea is that the absolute minimum is a degree or so many years experience. In practice, I’d expect that because prospective ministers must apply to the job like they would any other high level position, the actual standard would be far above that and closer to what you say.

Well Bock, you being the expert on empty headed one liners leaves me in the tuppenny hapenny place. I bow to your expertese. The final line in Claire`s post 43, ( God help Ireland if i ever get into high office ) would seal the deal for me and my empty headed one liner from the pub. There was no help for the Russians under Joe Stalin nor indeed any help for the Chinese under Mao Tse-tung.

Having just read Claire`s response to AM in Brussels would more than confirm my first response at post 46. The setting up of an old boys club ( an absolute minimum of a degree etc.,) is another form of dictatorship, no matter what else you would like to call it.

What’s wrong with requiring proven expertise? Apart from Irish government, I know of no other multi-billion business where the top men and women are selected from a pool of 80 or 90 unqualified people.


I think you’re not familiar with the nature of the dictatorships you’re comparing my comments to. Stalin and Mao constructed their regimes around the ‘cult of the personality’, and a heightened sense of patriotism – see the ‘Mother Russia’ ideal, for example, that Stalin was focused on. Dictatorships tend to last as long as the dictator is in power, and they are not elected nor removed by the vote of the people.

I’m not sure how it follows that requiring expertise, abolishing the parties, and harsh penalties for corruption equals establishment of an ‘old boys club’ and a dictatorship. Could you elaborate please?

The reform agendas above are most impressive if none too feasible. Most wouldn’t survive a minute if trotted out in Hackballs Cross Circuit Court and tested against the Constitution. Call Paul Pot!

Bock, a very famous writer called Samuel Leghorn Clemens once said, ” never mistake education for intelligence “. A very telling oneliner. Who defines ” Qualified ” for that matter where in this dishonest climate can anything be ” Proven “.
I am not trying to be dismissive, in fact there is a lot of good here in Ireland. Harnessing that good for the better development of all is the hard part. We are an optimistic nation, we have to be when we look at what passes for representitives of the people in Ireland.
Whatever changes, and great changes are needed, will only come about through honest, clear and compassionate leadership. One person will be unable to deliver that. More than one person will not always agree with the way to follow that line, such is our makeup, we are all different. We can make that difference work for us in a very positive way.
Finding the people who would have our confidence is the next step, weather or not they have minimum university degrees or not. Defining such people by their education levels does little for the intelligence required to lead.

@Poll Dorcha. What is sacrosanct about the constitution? This is the constitution that won’t allow judges to take a pay cut that is quite good enough for everybody else.
What article of the constitution specifies that TDs get a gold plated redundancy package whereas ordinary workers get two weeks per year of service?
What does the constitution say about denying the holding of three by elections?

My point is simply that the constitution is doing nothing to engender equality of citizenship before the law. Its only value would appear to in enriching lawyers and protecting the wealthy elite.

It is the first document that should be torn up.

Sodacake…the use of 1Q and aptitude tests should be mandatory for any jobs involving great responsibility and competence.Too much store is placed on educational qualifications which at their core are little more than a memory test which does not tell the true ability of the individual.

What article of the constitution specifies that TDs get a gold plated redundancy package whereas ordinary workers get two weeks per year of service?

The principle of reasonable expectation, I think it is called and it is rooted in common law to the best of my limited knowledge. In other words if it has been practice up to now and is part of the assumptions made in taking up the position, it can be held up in court. Sacking 30,000 public servants as a Mr Slattery advocated the other day might be populist but it wouldn’t survive a minute in any court.

As for the constitution, let’s get on with amending it then, because life is short. It is not sacred. However you’ll remember the torturous amendments of the 80s and 90s. What was that like?

@Poll Dorcha. Yes, I remember the 80s. Every hill is harder to climb now. Still we need a complete new start in this country. A blank page. Or a green field. Maybe Vizes field.

Would you put your life in the hands of an untrained surgeon? Would you hire an electrician to prepare your tax returns? Would you ask a bricklayer to represent you in court? Would you ask a barrister to build a wall for you?

This is about getting away from amateurism and dilettantism. It’s about appointing people who know how to run a professional operation, instead of the gobshites we have to rely on at the moment.

No but this is about politics national managment and there is no education that I know of that is essential for that job other than inteligence competence ability and honesty and you dont get those in a classroom.

best to remember that politics is not just about TDs and councillors it extends to the the civil servants who take care of the day to day running of the state and who also advise the goverment.

William at 58,62,63. Thank you. Bless you Bock,egoists like us are hard to please.

Claire, there is a fine line between a Dictatorship ( telling people what you want them to do, or else ) and Facism ( making people do what you want them to do, or else ). The alternative is a Democratic approach ( liberty, equality, fraternity ) respect, trust, honesty being the guides. Knowing the difference from right and wrong and applying common sense or compromise where needed.
No one is perfect, no society is perfect, our mistakes become our experience, this is how we learn and move along.

“The alternative is a Democratic approach ( liberty, equality, fraternity ) respect, trust, honesty being the guides. Knowing the difference from right and wrong”.. and look how well that’s worked out so far.
Even a democracy needs policies and laws. I don’t see anything fascist in Claire’s suggestions.

There is a fine line between answering the question that was asked : ” I’m still not following as to where all this connects to dictatorships and fascism” And waffling off the difference between dictatorships/fascism and democracy. A fine line between comprehension and not understanding even?

I got this off facebook…. Its all the emails senators, tds and ministers including the taoiseach! Express your dismay to them…. I did!;;; minister’;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

I think Claire has come closest to what I believe is the minimum necessary to address what’s fundamentally wrong with this totally corrupt unjust “society” of ours.

We are nowhere near being a democracy in anything but name. The fundamental principle of democracy is equality, as in equality before the law, one person one vote etc.

However, as long as people are paid different rates for the time they spend working, they are being treated unequally and unfairly at a most basic level.

For example, why should the CEO of an organisation who sits in an air-conditioned office being served one-page memos by subordinates be paid an astronomical salary while the toilet cleaner is paid a small fraction of that salary – often not enough to sustain a decent living. (As detailed, for example, in Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed.)

The concept of democracy implies that everyone is of equal value. If that’s the case, why pay them at different rates for their time at work?

Everyone should get the same rate of pay.

That would be a good start.

Sarcastic non sequiturs are a poor substitute for rational response.

It is unfortunate that the perfectly logical, albeit radical, proposition I put forward always seems to elicit such “straw man” responses.

Nevertheless, I will show more respect for your contribution than you showed for mine by making the following observations:

1. Many people acquire skills and knowledge because they are interested in these things – even when they don’t get paid for them at all.

2. Cuba has been oversupplied with medical doctors for decades even though doctors get paid no more – or less – than anyone else there.

If you respond to this post I would request that you address the substance of my original post.

You still have not addressed in a logical fashion the substance of my original post.

Saying something is nonsense doesn’t make it so.

Your defence of straw man arguments further illustrates the irrationality of your position.

Presumably, you are aware that straw man arguments are by definition illogical. Moreover, straw man arguments usually indicate the validity of the proposition they are purportedly responding to.

The complete lack of logicality in your comments regarding my posts seems sadly symptomatic of the kind of mis-education most Irish people are subjected to.

One of the benefits the Catholic Church derives from its virtual control of the Irish education system is that people are trained in Jesuitical type sophistry rather than logic. Hence they can’t see through the authoritarian pronouncements of the priests, politicians and gombeen businessmen.

Heaven forfend that workers would be treated fairly and equally and be paid the same. Sure begorrah if that happened wouldn’t the sky fall down on top of us.

Listen — I have no interest in your hobby-horse, though I think it’s nonsense. You’ve had a chance to air it, but nobody is obliged to address your opinions.

Well Spailpin, you do seem to miss the point somewhat. Logic does not come into it here on Bock The Robber. Being offensive is the be all and end all of this site, the more you are offended the better, in fact it states quite clearly that this site is now 20% more offensive. Eat your heart out.

Logic doesn’t come into it huh Sodacake13? No, it’s just not your strong point it seems.
E.G. See comment 65 (66).

“Bock, a very famous writer called Samuel Leghorn Clemens once said, ” never mistake education for intelligence “. A very telling oneliner.”
I’d also add, never mistake lack of education for intelligence.
I think you meant Samuel Langhorne Clemens – aka Mark Twain.

@Spalpín Fánach

My proposal was that we remove the monetary reward of becoming a TD, which largely leaves the reward of power. There is a point to that – people need a reward for their hard labour.

Your theory that all workers should be paid the same really doesn’t make sense. There must be equal reward for equal work, not equal reward for all jobs regardless of the work done. Your analogy of the cleaner vs. the CEO is flawed in that the job of the cleaner is vastly simpler and carries far less responsibility than the CEO’s job; one cannot swap them and expect them to perform in a similar capacity.

I think you believe that all CEOs do not do hard work. This is not the case. Leading a large company is an enormously stressful and difficult job, one that carries a high level of responsibility and requires experience and qualifications – or at least it should. It’s possible that CEOs do slack off or mismanage their companies, just as cleaners can slack off and do a shoddy job, but we must be fair and compare like with like. Looking at a good cleaner vs. a good CEO, it becomes clear that there is at least a reason for the disparity in wages.

Democracy does not state that all are equal. Democracy is a system of government where, ideally, all have a say in how they are to be governed through voting, with all having a vote of equal measure. Your suggestion that everyone be paid the same would inevitably result in a level of chaos where unsavoury but vital jobs would be impossible to fill, because there would be no incentive to apply to them.

As regards to Cuba – the low wages mean that many professionals take menial jobs in the tourist industry rather than work in their field, because they will earn more from tips. Cubans who work in the tourist industry enjoy a higher standard of living than those outside it, to the point where it’s becoming a dual economy divided by currency (US dollar and Cuban peso).

Some workers are treated badly, and some CEOs are overpaid. No one can dispute this. But your solution is simply unrealistic.

Regarding the Mao/Stalin jibe: it’s become a constant that people whose opinions one dislikes can be accused of being HitlerStalinMaoPolPot etc., it’s a great way for the brain dead (who couldn’t give a standard definition of Socialism/Fascism/Communism/Capitalism) to shut down the thread.

Pretty fucking pathetic. If I ran a forum, that’d be an instant banning offence. It’s the only way to keep the IQ average of the thread at a reasonable level. Oops, I guess that makes me a Hitler, or a Gormley. Or isn’t Gormley Pol Pot? I can’t keep up.

Anyway, nice ideas from Claire.

Anyhow – in the US system, the President can pick anyone he likes for his cabinet – hence, you can have Nobel Laureates in cabinet. Imagine instead of the Prez had to pick from the boobs in the House of Representatives – they’re the US equivalent of the glorified county councillors in the Dail.

Removing the career path from TD to Minister would dissuade a lot of these mediocre time-servers from climbing the greasy pole.

Anything that discourages the dynastic element in Irish politics – like term limits – should also be encouraged. You’ll never completely do away with that, as there seems to be an infinite supply of Lenihans and Haugheys – but capping them at a fixed number of terms or years might be incentive for the fuckers to get a real job.

And if they don’t work, then we can start shooting people.


Oh yeah, almost forgot: Seig Heil.

Re Bock @ 73

“I have no interest in your hobby horse”. As you don’t know me I don’t know how you could characterise the proposition I aired in post # 68 as a “hobby horse” of mine. If you have no interest in it why did you bother responding to it at all?

I never claimed that anybody was obliged to address my opinions. That is another straw man response.

Judging by your comments regarding my posts, you are either unable or unwilling to engage in rational debate. Your dismissing of my post as nonsense is therefore a bit, er, Irish.

What are you at anyway, Bock? You began a thread with the title, “Time for a complete change in Irish Politics”. My post was one of the few constructive attempts to address that topic and you respond (a) by saying you have no interest it and (b) by attacking it with offensive non sequiturs.

Re Sodacake @ 74

I’m afraid you’re right regarding the offensiveness and illogicality of this site.

Eat my heart out? I don’t think so. I’m well used to the ignorance that prevails in Irish “society” at this stage. (Is it any wonder it’s in the state it’s in?) I’d be surprised to find any venue, forum or website in this country where ethics and rationality prevails.

Re Claire @ 76

I suppose I should be grateful that at least you made some kind of constructive attempt to engage with my contribution.

You say: “There must be equal reward for equal work, not equal reward for all jobs regardless of the work done.”

Who made this law? The manner in which you present a statement justifying the arbitrary discrimination between some workers and others as if it’s divinely ordained indicates the pro-employer authoritarian bias of your post generally.

The claim that the work of a CEO is difficult and hard is just that – a claim. What were all the highly paid and supposedly highly trained expert hard-working higher executives in the banks, financial regulation system, civil service, government and public service etc doing while the Irish economy was being destroyed on their watch? The notion that high remuneration guarantees high quality work has been blown completely out of the water at this stage. Such a notion is merely self serving propaganda disseminated by bosses to justify their own exorbitant salaries. How anybody could believe such twaddle at this stage beggars belief.

On the other hand everybody knows how unpleasant and important the work of a toilet cleaner is. It is safe to say that an organization could continue to function quite well in the absence of the CEO a lot longer than in the absence of the toilet cleaner.

Contrary to what you imply, equality is a fundamental principle – if not the fundamental principle – of democracy.

You claim that paying everyone the same “would inevitably result in a level of chaos where unsavoury but vital jobs would be impossible to fill, because there would be no incentive to apply to them.” This is illogical. If people take on unpleasant jobs such as toilet cleaning even when getting paid less than a decent living wage, there is no reason why they wouldn’t take them on if their wages were increased to an equitable level.

Your point regarding Cuba supports rather than contradicts my proposition.

Spailpín — As far as I can see, your desire to reform employment law has little to do with the reform of Irish politics, which is the subject of this post. Or at least, it was until we started arguing about everyone being paid the same no matter how much or how little they contribute.

You’re at it again Bock – the old straw man tactic, ie attacking a misrepresentation of what I said rather than what I actually said.

Firstly, what I have said has very little if anything to do with reforming employment law. It has to do with a fundamental principle of democracy, the principle of equality.

Likewise, your suggestion that I have claimed everyone should be paid the same “no matter how much or little they contribute” is a misrepresentation of what I have said.

Let me elaborate and elucidate further some of the points I have made in previous posts as follows:

In relation to Irish “mis-education”, mentioned by me in post # 72 above, it is worth reading an article by Professor Michael Cronin published in The Irish Times on 24th February 2010, “Educating free minds only route to true ethics”. It is reproduced on his website:

In another article by Cronin which I can’t find at present he points out an important difference between the French education system, at least at primary level, and the Irish system. In France the village schoolmaster was typically an atheist or humanist who challenged and served as an intellectual counterweight to the local clergy. In Ireland most primary school teachers are effectively appointed by the local clergy and are therefore controlled by them. Thus the Irish primary school system is simply an indoctrination tool of the Catholic Church.

I have heard that in the case of one County Limerick primary school recently there were 200 applicants for a teaching position. One can only imagine how many people were buttkissing (and worse?) the local clergy for the sake of just that one teaching position.

In Ireland most middle class second level “education” is also controlled by the Church. Thus the vast majority of the “movers and shakers” in Irish society have been effectively brainwashed by the Catholic Church during some of their most formative years between the ages of 4 and 17. This, I believe, has seriously impaired their ability to think objectively and rationally. And I believe this is one of the reasons they have made such a mess of running the country. As I have said already, Bock, your own inability to engage in rational debate shows all the signs of this kind of mis-education.

In relation to the unequal treatment of workers, I have clearly shown how this is a violation of a fundamental principle of democracy. There is no functional relationship between a person’s remuneration and that person’s ability to perform the intellectual tasks normally associated with “brain workers” rather than say manual workers. And paying a person more is not going to improve that ability. As there is therefore no good reason to pay these people more, it is unfair to do so and it is in breach of the principle of equality upon which democracy is based.

Insofar as the principle of equality is fundamental to democracy, it cannot be confined to those relatively innocuous elements of civic engagement as decided by powerful elites, as suggested by Claire (post # 76). If it isn’t given effect in the single most important element of people’s lives, viz., their material wellbeing which is sustained by what they earn through their work, it is largely meaningless.

Another way of putting it is as follows: Insofar as democracy claims to value the lives of all citizens equally, the value placed on one citizen’s time at work should be equal to that of any other citizen. The only authentic measure of that value is the money paid in respect of that time. To pay some citizens more than others for the same time at work is to place a different value on their lives, which is in violation of the principle of equality.

There is therefore no legitimate reason for paying some citizens less than others. The only reason for this kind of discrimination is the greed of powerful elites, who enforce this iniquity simply because they can. Naturally, in order to obfuscate their naked greed, they propagate all kinds of myths, such as that of “the undeserving poor”.

And in the constant attempt to bamboozle the poor in this regard, the rich have always been ably assisted by the Church. For example, the Church proclaims, “The poor we shall always have with us”, as if the gap between the rich and poor were divinely ordained rather than a political imposition. (And by the way, note how the “us” and “them” division implied in that saying aligns the Church with the rich.)

But, of course, all of the above is old hat – ancient hat indeed. The fact that the truths articulated by me above are constantly assaulted by the spurious arguments of the likes of yourself and Claire illustrates the stubbornness of the rich and powerful in protecting their privileged position and the endless supply of more or less gullible apologists to spread their propaganda for them.

However, as Winston Churchill said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

Have you noticed thatossing little insults at the people who provide you with the platform?

Do me a favour. Say whatever you want about your theories. Say what you like about my opinions and Claire’s. But drop the personal shit. Show a bit of respect.

Bock, I’m grateful for the platform but as far as I’m concerned there’s no “personal shit” or insults in my posts. In relation to yourself and Claire I’m responding to the stance you’re adopting in your posts.

Perhaps a more lengthy response on my part is warranted here but unfortunately I have to go offline now and I will be away from home for a couple of days.

Spailpin, Marks and Engels would have been proud of you there.

There was a very eminent surgeon from Moscow who was asked one time, why he did not earn more that a bus driver, given the skill required to save lives each day in the hospital. He responded that he did not have as many lives in his hands each day as a bus driver.

If Seanie Fitz is ever promoted to driving a bus, I do hope he will be paid less than the rest of the bus drivers. And that he gets Fingers as his helper on half bus drivers pay+tips of course.

If Seanie Fitz ever gets to driving a bus expect to see a total wreck somewhere on the dual carriageway with lots of “collateral” damage thrown in

Spailpin has argued above that “one of the benefits the Catholic Church derives from its virtual control of the Irish education system is that people are trained in Jesuitical type sophistry rather than logic. Hence they can’t see through the authoritarian pronouncements of the priests, politicians and gombeen businessmen.” Oh were this still true. My experience as a parent is that this is not the case. What passes for religious education is even more pernicious that this Spailpin. Sentimentalism, soft-centred and feel- good, mawkish spiritualism has overtaken the old Thomistic approach and sent it to the dust bin of theology,. More damaging in its own way, because now even the virtual logic of of yore is superceded by a pervasive and nauseating, but almost irremomovable lack of analysis of any form. And what is left is nothing more than a thoroughly irrational sense of blind affiliation.

@Poll Dorcha. Is poor education really to blame for the lack of logical thought? Resulting in your perceptive comment that ” what is left is nothing more than a thoroughly irrational sense of blind affiliation ”
There are other factors such as media.
In Ireland we have a almost blind allegiance or affiliation to tribe that is possibly going back many hundreds of years. Why are/were the Irish unable to ditch this blind affiliation and replace it with something a bit more logical?
It cannot all be down to education, can it?
Whatever the reason it is thoroughly depressing and has brought Ireland to ruin again.

It depends what you mean by education. People of my parents’ generation received little schooling, and yet were well read and educated.

I am grateful for the responses of William, Sodacake et al who have acknowledged the logic of my contributions. I was beginning to feel like the prisoner in Plato’s cave who was cursed for having seen the light.

Poll Dorcha, I wouldn’t disagree with you there. While I do not have first hand knowledge of what is taught in religious lessons in schools nowadays, I can see how your description of it is very much in keeping with the contemporary dumbed-down, psychobabble-saturated zeitgeist. The lingo you describe is a kind of verbal Soma, to borrow a term from Huxley’s Brave New World.

For a brilliant and very entertaining account of this kind of codology in all its contemporary manifestations, I would highly recommend Francis Wheen’s book How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World, A Short History of Modern Delusions.

Sure he’s nearly as good as Bock the Robber at the iconoclastic, irreverent, savage indignation stuff.

And by the way, Bock, I have to come back to your disparaging reference to the thesis I have presented above as “your theories”. What I have been discussing is not my theories. I have been discussing the theory (singular) of democracy, which is not my theory but the theory upon which the political structures of this State are founded. More specifically, I have been discussing how democracy has been corrupted by the denial of equality, the principle of which is fundamental to democracy.

It is this very corruption that is the root cause, in my view, of the horrendous catastrophe that has been inflicted upon this country by a greedy elite. It is the denial of the principle of equality that gave them the licence to ransack the country for their own benefit.

As for your notion, Bock, that the Labour Party might provide a remedy for the current catastrophe, I don’t believe there is any objective basis for that notion. It seems to me that Eamon Gilmore is being groomed as the great white hope by the media and the forces controlling the media. However, the price he is paying for that and the chance of getting into power is his avoidance of any suggestion that he might change the status quo.

The Irish Labour Party is obviously trying to emulate New Labour in Britain, which did nothing to remedy the structural social injustice and inequality in Britain during its 13 years in government. In fact the gap between rich and poor increased during its time in government.

There is no legitimate reason to reward people at different rates of pay for their work. Distributive injustice is injustice. It’s not rocket science. It’s basic ethics.

Spailpín — Two small points. First, you’re not a prisoner here. You’re free to come and go as you please. Second, while you’re welcome to post your views here, nobody is obliged to take them seriously, or even reply to them if they don’t want to.

You refer to your points as “small”, Bock. They are indeed petty in relation to the important subject matter of my posts.

I will respond to them nevertheless.

Regarding your first point, my use of the term “prisoner” was of course metaphorical – as indeed, I’m sure you are aware, was Plato’s use of it in his cave allegory, when he was referring to the scapegoating of Socrates.

Your second point is essentially a repetition of a similar point you made earlier in the discussion, which I answered to the effect that I never said anyone was obliged to take my views seriously.

I think it’s fair to say, however, that it would be unrealistic of you to expect people to continue taking the time and effort to make worthwhile contributions to your forum when you are constantly responding to them with petty put-downs and nitpicking instead of addressing the substantive issues being discussed.

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