Archive for September, 2009


A season for strange telly ads

Is anyone else bothered by those ads for the Referendum Commission? They pride themselves on being independent and interested only in informing us on the Lisbon treaty, but I find myself wondering if this is entirely true. The points they chose to exemplify in the ads seem to specifically counter claims made by the No side.

I suppose it could be argued that they are obliged to make particular reference to the No side’s claims, as they have been the chief instigators of mistruths in this debate. I’ve certainly been making similar claims here. However, I don’t this a reasonable explanation for these ads. The purpose of the commission is to serve as a resource for people seeking accurate information. If they’re taking it upon themselves chase down perceived untruths, then in naturally follows they have an agenda.

There’s also the downright strange role played by the commission last year. I recall some higher-up claiming they were free to take a side should one camp start taking the piss. In once sense this might be reasonable, but it hardly speaks well of their claim to be independent. I was told too of a press conference they held where one journalist asked a particularly challenging question, and they didn’t have a clue. They spent a good ten minute desperately leafing through books and leaflets. “It was a joy to behold,” was how the journalist who told me about it described it.

I’m not accusing anyone of being biased here. I’m just saying it all seems a bit odd to me. This aside, you know what other ad is bothering me? That Cadbury’s one with the giant anthropomorphised cocoa bean, with its distinctly Africanised features. Now perhaps I’m being over-sensitive, but it seems to me that they’ve gotten a bunch of dancing, slack-jawed black people and stuck them on my telly, seemingly with the expectation that I’d be ok with laughing at them.


The “buy Mary a cinema ticket to fix the government” plan

Have you ever encountered such incompetence that you wonder if they’re doing it on purpose? This was my reaction to Rody Molloy’s golden handshake, and the excuses that followed. It’s as if these guys are going out of their way to give the impression they’re bad at being the government, so we’ll happily welcome a European super-state. Or maybe they’re acting like court jesters so that it’ll distract from the shitty economy and help restore consumer confidence. This may sound ridiculous, but is it any more ridiculous than accepting they’re actually that stupid.

It seems Dermot was on the radio yesterday claiming they signed off on the pension as it benefited the taxpayer. And Dubya bombed Iraq for peace. What little faith they have in their own strength that they couldn’t risk a legal battle with Molloy. Brian was today desperately trying to put an end to the story by saying it was all simply in accordance with legislation. The threat of legal action by Molloy is certainly an interesting angle, but more so in my opinion was Cowen’s earlier claim that the payout was within public sector norms. This in the same week he was complaining that public service wages are too high.

No amount of spin will change the popular belief that this was yet another entry to the long list of Coughlin blunders that have embarrassed Cowen’s government. It hasn’t been a good week for Mary, though at this stage it’s impossible to imagine what “good” week for Mary might entail. Still, at least it wasn’t as embarrassing as last week, when she regaled the IDA with the story of how Einstein wrote the Theory of Evolution, truly a comment worthy of the now missed Bushisms. Well, rather than simply whine on the internet, I actually going to help. Conveniently, a Charles Darwin biopic is playing in the cinemas. A ticket is currently making its way to Mary’s office, courtesy of the Unemployed Blog. If it makes this government that bit less incompetent then I’m happy to do it.


Bertie’s conscience

I have recently developed a recurring nightmare. I’m sitting in Fagen’s having a chat with Aer Thaoiseach. For some reason I’m trying to elicit from him some personal or scandalous info on Celia, but he suddenly cuts me off, informing me how his conscience is %100 clear regarding the recession and how stoney broke he is these days.

My patience breaks and I cry, “Conscience? Broke? This is madness!

To this Bertie calmly responds, “Madness?” before exploding, “THIS IS DRUMCONDRA!”

He then kicks me in the chest, and I fall backwards into that little snug near the small bar, or something.

This is what I’m on about. Via Simon at Irish Election.


Thank heavens for Joe Higgins

As arguments for a No vote go, this is surely the feeblest. There are placards dotted around Cork stating the EU will impose carbon taxes us. “On your business. On your farms. On your families,” is the claim. The thing is, we have to pay taxes anyway, on our businesses, farms and even (if indirectly) our families. And if the Greens are to have any effectiveness in government, we’re all going to be paying carbon taxes soon, regardless of anything that happens in the EU. To many, if not most, paying carbon tax is a good thing.

It is this level of argumentation that I think is giving the Yes camp the edge in the polls. People are sick of the irrelevance and downright deceitfulness of the No side’s arguments. I am aware this is happening on both sides of the fence, but it seems to me the Nos have been dominant in this regard. It is for this reason that I’m genuinely delighted by the presence of Joe Higgins. It is only because of Joe that we’re having a proper debate at all. I’ve remarked before how Joe Higgins has usurped Declan Ganley as the No side’s mascot in this referendum, and this has proven to be a good thing. Unlike Ganley, there’s no ambiguity about why he wants us to vote no. There’s no questioning his motives. He’s a socialist in comment and deed, and regardless of how you rate his opinions there’s no denying he’s stands up for what he believes in. Bertie once described Higgins as a failed politician (actually, what he said was failed person, but let us suppose that was said in the heat of the moment and what he meant was failed politician). Well, at least Joe’s failures didn’t take the rest of us down with him.

As boring is this campaign has been, at least we’re having a debate. Last year we were preoccupied with microchipped babies, enforced abortions and super-army conscriptions. Many on the No side have made much of the fact that we’re voting again on the same treaty, cheerily ignoring that the second referendum is largely their fault. If we had rejected the treaty on its own merits last year, rather than get distracted by Cóir’s bullshit and Ganley’s questionable vested interests, then the EU wouldn’t have been able to pass it off with legal guarantees. This time it’s the affect Lisbon will have on workers that’s the focus of debate, and for that we have Joe Higgins to thank.

I’ve spoken here previously about Higgins in a manner that was perhaps more sarcastic and mocking that was warranted, but I for one am glad he’s campaigning. I’m not convinced by his argument. I’m still voting yes, but I’m grateful there’s someone of Joe’s integrity asking me to consider voting no. I’ve been reading Nick McGinley’s 100 Reason to Vote Yes to Lisbon II, an reasonable yet hardly definitive call for a yes vote. Reason 97 is “Joe Higgins will have to engage constructively with the EU institutions”. I’m sure he finds it repulsive that he has been personally tagged as a reason to vote yes, but I’m sure we can agree that we’re better off having an MEP like Joe working on the inside for us.


Irish Election Literature

I received an email from AJ of Irish Election Literature asking me to promote the blog. I’m happy to do it as it’s an incredible resource. There’s something here for casual and hardcore political anoraks alike.


You lie!!!

Have you guys seen this? I missed it when it happened (been concentrating on the Lisbon stuff). I just found it now while surfing the Huffington Post. Basically a Republican congressman yelled “you lie” during an Obama speech on healthcare reform to Congress.

More details are here. Also, I got a kick out of Craig Ferguson’s views on the subject.


Sorry, just kidding. LOL

Do you remember as a kid when an uncle or some non-authoritative adult figure might be giving you a spin someplace? You’d approach the car only for him to pull away suddenly. You’d whine for a bit and he’d promise not to do it again. He probably meant it, but when you’d reach the car again temptation would prove too much, and the foot would fall on the accelerator once more. Hilarious stuff.

The interview I mentioned at the end of this post went quite well. I wasn’t getting my hopes up, but I figured I had a chance. At around 8:00 this morning I got a call from the rep who had arranged the interview telling me I am to be offered the job. Big news! I immediately began contemplating everything this would entail. It requires a move. Indeed, a move to another country, but this was the primary reason I was interested in the position. I wondered too about this blog, and how I’d continued now that I’m working proper. That seems quite pathetic now, but what can I say?

About an hour later I decided to check my email, and found I’d received a message from the girl whom I’m to replace (one of the interviewers). She’s returning home and I was to discuss with her the contract and visa details and so forth. However, the content of the message was not what I’d been lead to expect.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do the interview I really appreciate it. I’m really sorry but unfortunatley we won’t be able to offer you the position.

As you can understand, I’m quite pissed about this. To be told my interview wasn’t successful would have been disappointing but nothing I’m not used to. To be told, however, that I am getting the job – only for that to be taken back – is downright infuriating. I’ve sent many emails this morning trying to find out where I stand, but so far nobody has gotten back to me.

Perhaps my judgement is clouded as I’m still quite angry, but right now I’m certain this is the worst thing that anyone has ever done to me.