Martin Cullen Resigns

On a personal level, I sympathise with Martin Cullen.  Ten or twelve years ago, I experienced a problem with my back that was so severe I could barely walk, and so I can understand how badly he must be affected by his injuries.  Nobody who hasn’t been there can understand the feeling of trepidation that you might end up in a wheelchair if things don’t work out.

I was there for a brief period and that’s why, as a man, I feel sympathy for him.

On the other hand, as a politician, he’s a knobhead, and the country is all the richer for his resignation.  One less fool in a government of fools.

Cullen’s entire career has been characterised by petulance and immaturity.

Last January, he compared press reports alleging he had an affair to being raped, but this insult to genuine rape victims was far from his only act of stupidity.  At the end of 2008, he told a stunned reporter that he would support the idea of an Irish soccer club playing in the English Premier League.

But of course, for sheer density, Cullen’s defense of the patently unworkable e-voting machines takes some beating.  His leather neck, combined with a total failure to understand the issues, allowed him to come on national radio and defend a flawed, anti-democratic computer system even after an investigation had shown to the whole world that these machines would never again be used by anyone, except perhaps as weights for fishing nets.

Now, admittedly, his thuggish cabinet colleague, Noel Dempsey, was the man responsible for the fiasco, and his cretinous leader, Bertie Ahern, was the fool responsible for lecturing us about modernity,  but Cullen’s stupidity was such that he failed to grasp one fundamental point: the whole thing was a load of shit.

Some people would call it loyalty.  Others would suggest it bordered on the moronic.

Cullen’s record is not inspiring, but I know before you say it what’s on your mind.  You’re wondering why I’d single him out from a cabinet of cretins, and in truth, perhaps you’re right.  After all, if there was ever a gallery of the bland, the mediocre and the incompetent, it’s this current government and its former leader.  From the mumbling platitudes of Batt O Keeffe to the arrogant bluster of Mary Coughlan, they truly are a sad bunch, and perhaps it’s unfair to select Martin Cullen above this pantheon of dullness.

In many ways, I suppose, Cullen’s greatest achievement is to look stupid in such company as Éamonn Ryan, Éamonn Ó Cuiv and Mary Hanafin., but it’s a nice thought that his  resignation will prompt a cabinet reshuffle.

What could be more appropriate from a bunch of shuffling zombies?


Professor Bertie Ahern

NUI Maynooth has appointed Bertie Ahern  as a visiting professor.

Think about that now for a minute.

Pic: Caricatures Ireland

Professor Bertie Ahern.

I remember a time when professors were widely-read people with interests and knowledge extending far beyond their area of specialisation.  Erudite, inquisitive people with a restless curiosity and a desire to understand all that came their way.


Now, Ireland is not short of oxymorons and never was.  We have the Irish Management Institute.  We have Garda Intelligence.  We have the Financial Regulator.  We have the Christian Brothers.

But to my mind, the most outlandish oxymoron yet has to be the violent yoking together of the title “Professor” and the name “Bertie Ahern”.

Wanted.  Visiting professor.

Qualifications:  Must be illiterate, anti-intellectual, dishonest gobshite with no ethical standards.

Forget the Large Hadron Collider.  Scrap it.  We don’t need it.

Pic: Green Ink

Putting Professor in front of Bertie Ahern’s name will cause an event — not just a singularity, not merely a tear in the space-time continuum, not a folding of space and not only the collapse of the galaxy — but the universe’s greatest wormhole for the universe’s greatest worm

This will cause a new phenomenon previously unknown to science: the Cosmic Absurdity, and the ripples from it will echo all the way back to the Big Bang.

Remind me if I’m wrong about something here, but wasn’t Ahern the man who crashed our economy into a cliff, accepted bags of money from dodgy builders, treated the subsequent inquiry with contempt, sneered at those who expressed misgivings about his ill-conceived e-voting system, gave over a billion euros of public money to bail out the child-abusing clergy, handed over our gas resources for nothing to the multinationals and lied barefaced to the nation on the main evening news?

What did they make him professor of?

Mediation and conflict intervention.

In other words, he’s there to teach the students how a slippery, two-faced liar can pull the wool over people’s eyes by believing two different things at the same time.  When you swallow your own lies, everyone thinks you’re the straightest man in the world.

There you go.  This self-centred, ruthless, deceitful corner-boy, who headed the criminal conspiracy called Fianna Fáil that bankrupted the country, is honoured with a professorship in a college of the national university.

Well, I suppose if anyone asks him how he earned this academic post without being able to read and write, he can always say he won it on a horse.


More on Bertie Ahern


Fianna Fáil Backbenchers Revolt

At last, the Fianna Fáil parliamentary pary has developed a backbone and told the government enough is enough.  Some principles are just too vital to abandon.

Yes, they swallowed NAMA.The FFers have finally had enough

And they agreed to  treble the national debt.

They accepted cuts in old-age pensions.

They gave billions to  the crooked bankers.

They’ll support reductions in social welfare.

They don’t mind cuts in public services.

They didn’t complain about the e-voting fiasco.

They paid the Catholic church’s abuse bill of  over a billion.

They didn’t mind giving away our gas for nothing.

They let Bertie away with his horse-racing money.

They’ll vote for higher taxes.

But last night, they finally reached breaking point and confronted senior government ministers as well as their leader about the one thing they won’t put up with.

It’s a bridge too far.

No, by Jesus.  They won’t stand for lowering the drivers’  blood-alcohol limit.  This is the point of fundamental principle that could provoke a general election.

Aren’t Fianna Fáil great?


e-Voting Fiasco – Some Questions

The electronic voting machines are being scrapped because they don’t work.

They don’t do their job.

The results can’t be verified, the machines are vulnerable to hacking and the system doesn’t adequately reflect the single transferable vote system operated in this country.

Therefore the machines and software are not fit for purpose.

They don’t work.

So here’s my question.  Did NEDAP fulfil its design brief or did it not?

It’s a very simple question.

If NEDAP did everything set out in the brief, yet produced a voting system that didn’t do what it was supposed to do, then the brief was fatally defective.  Who drew up this brief, how was it checked and who signed off on it?

Conversely, if NEDAP did not meet the criteria set out in the design brief, why was it paid?  Once the commission of investigation discovered that NEDAP’s system was a crock of shit, why didn’t the government immediately institute legal proceedings to recover the money that had been obtained by NEDAP fraudulently?

The implications of this question are very worrying.

Knowing that NEDAP had failed to deliver on its contract, and had produced a system that would inevitably be scrapped, did this government take a conscious decision not to issue proceedings?

Did this government decide instead to write off €50 million so as to avoid the embarrassment of admitting it had made a mistake?


Previously on Bock:

Electronic Voting To Be Scrapped



I was studying an ATM, trying to figure out how to type a message.

Fuck you Brian Goggin! Fuck you Seán Fitzpatrick! Fuck you, Eugene Sheehy! Fuck you, Fingers Fingleton!

I thought it might work. It would be very handy for people to vent their rage against this bunch of complete bastards who run the banks.

And then I had another idea.

Remember those disastrous e-voting machines that turned out to be completely unreliable? The ones that caused Bertie-the-Thick to denounce us as Luddites when we expressed doubts about them? They’re all in storage at the moment, costing a fortune to keep, even though the dogs in the street know they’ll never again be used in an election, because they can’t be trusted.

So I started thinking, Wait a minute!! Why not put them in shops, the same as ATMs? Start asking the people what they think of this ball of shit created by our crooked bankers and politicians.

We could have real democracy. Put up questions of the day. Things like, Well? Will we give the fuckers another seven billion? Yes or No.

How about that?

Or maybe, What do you think of Yehudi Lenihan’s fiddling?

We could have quiz games on the machines, like Trivial Pursuits for politics. Name the ten crooked cronies who borrowed €300 million from Anglo. Prize for correct answer: a midnight visit from ski-masked policemen.

Obviously, they might have to be modified so that people could add comments, like Fuck you, Fianna Fáil crook bastards!


I think this could take off.


Also on Bock:

Bertie’s Parallel Universe


Voting Day

Right. It’s done. I cast my vote, and fun it was too, I can tell you.

Here’s how I dispensed my Single Transferable Vote in order of preference:

1.   The Mother Teresa Wasn’t a Thieving Old Con-Artist Party.

2.   The Christian Liver-Transplant Party.

3.   The Wombles.

4.   Satan

5.   Arthur Daley

6.   Some Man

7.   A Burst Eyeball

8.   The United Haemorrhoid Front

9.   The Brazilian Wax Party

10. Jimmy Hoffa

11. John Donne

12. The Completely Dishonest But Not As Dishonest As This Crowd of Crooks Party.

That should do it.

Tomorrow we have the count, and isn’t it great? Just like the Eurovision, the count is the best bit, and you know what? I feel sorry for people in countries with the first-past-the-post system. I mean, they just have one count, some boodie stands up and says Right! You, you and you, fuck off. Now you! Yes you. You’re elected. Now everybody fuck off home.

Not here in Ireland though. Jesus no. Here we have PR. The most fun system of election in the world. Here we go through count after count, distributing surpluses and watching these miserable stiffs as they sweat through the night, not knowing if they’ve been kicked out of office. Maybe, if we’re lucky, the count might go on into the next day which is even better because the fuckers suffer twice as long. Great.

And to think that this government tried to take all this pleasure away from us. To think they tried to bring in an e-voting system that was not only flawed and full of software bugs, but more importantly, did all this redistributing in the time it takes to say crooked politician bastard.

Anyway, for now, fuck ’em. The Sopranos are back.


General Election

I’m glad this is nearly over. I’m so glad, I’ve even stopped kicking my dog and making disparaging remarks about tinkers Travellers.

This stupid election has turned me into a different person, and indeed, a person I’m not at all sure I like.

Sarcastic. Aggressive. Loud. Excitable. Overbearing. Pessimistic. Angry.

Oh, wait. It had no effect at all on me. Sorry.

Two PD canvassers had the bad luck to be standing at my door during the week when I pulled up in the old Bockwagon with three bags of cheap Aldi dogfood and a dozen bottles of wine for later. I also got something for the dogs.

What? I screamed reasonably.

Oh, we were hoping to get your Number One vote for our candidate, Tim —

Vote? I roared amicably. Listen here. Answer me this. Wasn’t it an ex-PD minister, Cullen, who called me a stupid fuckwit because I didn’t like the anti-democratic flaws in his badly-designed e-voting machines that are now stored in some disused airship hangar at great cost and will never be sold except to Robert Mugabe or Vladimir Putin for tying around the necks of his political enemies for dropping them into the Volga when he runs out of Polonium 210 or teabags or both?

Eh —

And wasn’t it your Justice Minister who has 200 policemen in Rossport to beat the local schoolteacher, lifeboat skipper and farmers off the road so that Shell Oil can force their gas pipeline through the community? While the rest of us are crying out for police on our streets to fight real criminals?

Eh —

And didn’t your government give away, free and at no benefit to me, all our gas reserves to the same Shell Oil company? And wasn’t the minister who did that a convicted crook who did time in jail for being a crook?

And didn’t your government give one thousand two hundred million euros of my money to bail out the child-abusing catholic clergy?

Eh —

And didn’t your government’s leader give the National Children’s Hospital to the Mercy nuns in a completely unsuitable location because he used to work for them and they have some hold over him?

Eh —

And didn’t the same man get a pile of money from somebody connected with a big company. And the same year, didn’t he change the law to give a tax break to that company alone?

Eh —

And didn’t your government sell off our national telecommunications company to an asset stripper with the result that there has been almost no investment in economically vital broadband?

And isn’t it the same government who have just handed a huge pile of our money to the same robbers who have a bridge in the middle of a vital motorway, which our money built in the first place, to deliver customers straight to their cash-desk?

Eh —



Fuck off.

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Bertie’s Parallel Universe


And they laughed at me for being such a big fan of Stargate! Ha! I bet they’re sniggering on the other side of their faces now that scientists have discovered an earth-like planet only 50 million light-years away, orbiting the Sol-like star, Mu Arae.

See? See??


I suspect this discovery is more significant than the scientists realise. I suspect, in fact, that they have discovered the home-world of our esteemed and beloved Prime Citizen, Bertie Ahern.

Jaysus, dat was some ride.


Why do I think this? Well, it seems to be our nearest Earth-like neighbour, its gravity is such that its inhabitants are likely to be short, thick-boned and squat. Furthermore, to judge by what our Prime Citizen said yesterday, he can’t possibly be from Planet Earth, but must come from a parallel reality just slightly skaw-ways of our own. The Bertieverse.

Did you hear the shit he was talking about the electronic voting machines? I’m sure everybody remembers the e-voting debacle presided over by Bertie’s moronic minister for some-crap-or-other Martin Cullen. No? Oh, really?

Well, it was like this. They bought a big pile of computers from this Dutch company called NEDAP. They were special computers you see, and all you had to do was push buttons to select whoever you wanted to see elected. This was great for Bertie, cos, see, it meant Ireland was all modern, see, not like in the dark old days when we made a mark on an old-fashioned piece of paper with an old-fashioned pencil. Oh, and an old-fashioned pile of votes in a box that you could count again if you thought somebody was attempting electoral fraud, but that would never happen in our modern democracy, would it? Not according to Bertie, anyway.

OK. So here we had these special computers which were really just PCs with no keyboards, and they were programmed with this special Dutch software, but the special Dutch programmers wouldn’t let our people see the special Dutch source code, even though we were paying for it, and our civil servants said No bother, Boss. That’s fine!!

The fucking fools.

What? You call that a voting machine???

So they used it in a couple of elections. Oh, did I mention PR? No? Silly me. Unlike, say, in Britain, we don’t have a first-past-the-post electoral system. No. We have the single transferable vote: proportional representation. Which means that the NEDAP software has to do all sorts of things it isn’t used to, like tranferring surpluses, and lots more besides, and it’s very important to be sure it’s doing it right. But of course, as we couldn’t look at the code, we couldn’t really tell.

Now, people started to object to this. They started to say, well how the fuck do I know my vote was counted at all? Where’s the paper trail? they started to say. And where’s the verification of the software, they asked.

That was when Bertie called us Luddites.


Bertie Ahern: Soldier, Statesman, Poet and now Software Expert, found himself confident in dismissing all the IT professionals who spoke out and questioned the new Dutch voting system. All the people who were concerned to protect our democracy, Bertie found himself able to dismiss as Luddites. Not to mention people like myself, who aren’t IT professionals but aren’t stupid either.

Minister Martin Cullen explains his plans for the system

What do you think happened? There was such a public clamour, the government had to set up a commission of investigation. And what do you think the commission found? Yup. The whole thing is a crock of shit – that’s what it found.

So the special Dutch machines went into storage, where they remain, and so far the whole ridiculous saga has cost €62 million. How about that? But I’m not finished. After the commission reported, a Dutch team used the data it produced to hack the very same machines in Holland, proving that the system was far from secure and could easily be subverted by any unscrupulous person with sufficient access to it.

NEDAP’s chief software engineer arrives from Holland

Now. Fast forward to yesterday, when Bertie told the world that Ireland was the laughing stock of Europe for using paper and pencil to hold elections. He was embarrassed because the French had used e-voting in their presidential elections, and we were still stuck in the distant past.

What Bertie either neglected to say, or didn’t know, was this.

The French used mostly paper and pencil, except for a pilot test on 1.5 million voters.

They used three different suppliers of machines on trial, including NEDAP.

They weren’t operating a proportional representation system like ours, but a straight first-past-the-post system.

There’s great concern in France about electronic voting due to the same worries as we have here in Ireland.

I dunno. Push a button, see what happens!

Now. Did Bertie acknowledge any of this? No.

When asked by the Opposition politicians about the waste of money on a useless system, did he hold his hands up and say Sorry, lads. We made a shit of it?


Well then, did he blame his idiot minister, Cullen the fool, for wasting €62 million of taxpayers’ money?

Eh, that would be a No.

Who do you think Bertie blamed for wasting all that money?

That’s right. In spite of the fact that an independent government-appointed commission reported that it’s a big pile of crap, he blamed the Opposition politicians for objecting to the system. He didn’t blame the people who bought it without knowing what the hell they were doing. Oh no. By speaking out against a flawed, anti-democratic system that was riddled with weaknesses and open to electoral fraud, the Opposition were somehow responsible for wasting all that money. They were supposed to let Bertie implement this big pile of wombat-droppings so he could strut around in front of his urbane European colleagues and feel a little less like the thick lumpenprole he is. And the rest of us were supposed to lie down and shut the fuck up. Bertie knew best.

Were the cretin Cullen or his civil servants responsible at all? Ah God no.

This my friends, is a terminal case of hubris. This is a man who has forgotten that he is only a man and not the Sun King. Now, unfortunately, we have as an Opposition a crowd of complete muppets, so I don’t know what to advise you. I suggest you vote everybody out.

Eh, let’s see. Just hit B for Bertie, right?

This ludicrous outburst by the Prime Citizen reminds me of something else. Did you know that you can walk into a bookie’s office now and you can watch a computer-generated horse race, with little cartoon horses and jockeys running around a make-believe track, all coming out of a computer chip? I swear to you, it’s true. Maybe that’s how Bertie would like to see our elections.

Our new President: Vlad the Impaler.

This is the planet Bertie inhabits.

This is Bertual Reality.


See also

The Power of Belief


Politics Technology

Bertie Ahern – Scientist, Accountant and Statesman

I see that Bertie is still adamant we won’t ever use nuclear power. Ever.

That’s because Bertie is a nuclear scientist and he knows all the ins and outs of nuclear power. The same as he used his deep knowledge of computer security to call us all Luddites when we questioned the e-voting machines.

Bertie went to the London School of Economics, as he reminded us on his CV, and he’s also an accountant, as he reminds us every chance he gets. Or was it ? – wait a minute, I remember now. Bertie once went to the LSE but it was to collect a secondhand bike from his mate, and he’s actually a book-keeper who once worked for the Mercy nuns at the Mater but never as an actual accountant anywhere, ever. At all. Ever. Because he’s not qualified to be an accountant and it would be illegal to practise as one. Anyway, what sort of accountant would sign dozens of blank cheques and hand them to the crookedest politician this country has ever known?

That would be pretty much the same level of qualifications he has to hold an opinion on the safety of the data in the electronic voting machines: none. It didn’t stop the arrogant git from lecturing and belittling and denouncing anyone with the temerity to question the decision by that fool Cullen to install the ridiculous things at enormous cost.

And now, here we have Bertie, Renaissance man, suddenly displaying an unsuspected knowledge of physics and nuclear engineering to declare from within his heart, like Dev, that we’ll never use nuclear power. It reminds me of old Todd Andrews who decided that our rail system should never be used again, by his own or any future generation and therefore destroyed the network for good, lest a politician fifty years hence might have the gall to question his infinite wisdom.

Bertie has said this before, and we were all stunned at his immovable certainty, but at least we thought someone would draw him aside and advise him.

Bertie, somebody would tell him, that’s not the way of science. Bertie, never say never. Only mad old priests are as absolute as that.

No. It seems not.

It won’t stop us importing electricity from those wicked old Brits though, and them with their rotten old nuclear power stations and everything. Now what does that remind you of?


Bertie Ahern 2
The Friends of Bertie