Posts Tagged ‘Fianna Fail

10
Feb
10

Lee and Kenny, an affair to forget

There’s a meme that lately has been infesting several message and image boards across the interwebs. It’s called trollface, and for those unfamiliar it’s an image used to signify a commenter who deliberately posts something erroneous and off-message to provoke a reaction.

There is a reason why I bring this up. I was reading about the resignation of Boy George yesterday, and I happened upon a picture in the IT of George and Enda in happier times.

via The Irish Times

I can’t be the only one who sees a resemblance. There seems to be a general perception that Lee was impatient. He was new to a career in politics. Did he really expect a frontbench position immediately? While there is a certain amount of validity to this argument, I can’t help but feel some sympathy for Lee. He may have been a beginner, but that’s not how Fine Gael sold him. He was an expert in finances who was going to further cement the party’s ability to fix the economy that Fianna Fáil broke. Lee is obviously a very intelligent man, and must have been very disheartening to realise he was just hired as a pretty face.

However, while this might have been a fair reason to leave Fine Gael, it doesn’t excuse his resignation from the Dáil. For better or worse, he was elected to the seat, and it’s downright rude of him to turn his back on those who voted for him just because he wasn’t getting his way. Seriously, what did he except?

In other news, Halifax is closing their Irish retail operations with the lost of 750 jobs, and retail sales are still dropping. I suspect Fianna Fáil are grateful to Lee for his timing.

02
Sep
09

Lisbon and nutjobs

It seems Fianna Fáil’s Lisbon II campaign has begun in earnest. This I can tell as the FF press office has been cramming my inbox with spam since 7:00 yesterday evening. I suppose I should find this annoying, but in all honesty it’s kinda flattering that they apparently give a fuck about me. I even got an invite to this morning’s press conference launch with Cowen. I didn’t go. It wasn’t worth the trip, but it was nice to be asked.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this John Burke lad. He’s the cattleman (sounds like a rejected concept for a west Irish superhero) who’s suing the Taoiseach and the state as he claims a second referendum is unconstitutional. I can understand why Mr Burke might feel peeved, having (presumably) voted no only to be told he must have another go. Nonetheless, it’s ridiculous that this has reached the High Court. None of the articles I’ve read on this said if Burke has hired a solicitor or if he’s presenting the case himself, but he must have gotten some legal advice. Surely somebody in the know must have said this is a bad idea.

Now I’m no lawyer and my reading of the constitution has been brief at best, but surely there nothing in it that states a rejected constitutional reform cannot be tested again at a later date. The Constitution aside, precedent allows for a second vote.

There are hundreds of gobshites like John Burke out there infuriated by some perceived injustice. Aren’t there some mechanisms in place to prevent these guys from wasting the state’s resources?

18
May
09

Vote for me, I’m not Fahey

I got a tremendous shock upon a trip to Galway on the weekend. As I stared out the rain-soaked bus window I noticed a campaign poster that seemed to be for Frank Fahey. “What the hey!” I though. “He’s a TD. Why is he campaigning now?” This shock was made much worse when I saw the same poster a few yards later and noticed it had the Fina Gael logo on it. I’ve had a few dealings with Fahey in the past, and I’m sure anyone who knows him will agree he’s possibly the purest example of a Fianna Fáil true believer. Even when he lost his job as Junior Minister in the Justice Department, he could be found repeating the party lines and pontificating on the brilliance of Bertie.

As it turns out, the Frank in question was not the Frank. Rather, he’s Frank Fahy, a true-blue Fine Gael man who’s running in the Galway local elections. He just happens to have a similar name and comes from the same area as the FF scourge of Irish fishermen. Of course the physical similarities between the two men are marginal, and I can only explain my confusion as the product of impaired vision caused by the shitty weather over the weekend.

The incident got me wondering about the condition of our current government. Are they that unpopular that it’s at least plausible that the likes of Fahey might have jumped ship? It could hardly be surprising. I mean, as well as refusing to admit that their laissez-faire policies and over-reliance on doomed markets have exacerbated this recession, we lately have Conor Lenihan et al suggesting that the dramatic drop in support for the government is a result of the tough decisions they’re having to face. They’re effectively saying their unpopularity is our problem because we can’t stomach their bravery. In my opinion, it’s this siege mentality that’s infuriating people, and the reason they’re likely going to be slaughtered in the upcoming elections.

Frank Fahy (the FG one) clearly recognises this. Check out this piece from the Galway Advertiser, basically declaring: “I’m not Fahey. Don’t fuck me over by confusing me with FF.” These elections are going to be so disastrous for Fianna Fáil that there’s a fear they’ll also be bad for people who vaguely resemble Fianna Fáillers

01
Mar
09

Da speech

There were a couple of things I noticed while watching Brian Cowan’s Ardfheis speech yesterday, and chief among these was the crowd. These were the party faithful, who I always thought of as ‘true believers’, and so as expected the clapped and cheered when the were supposed to clap and cheer. Yet there was a sense that they didn’t want to be there. They all, every one of them, looked miserable. The closest thing to a smile was on Dick Roche’s face when the second Lisbon treaty referendum was referred to, and even this was soured by Cowan’s typically patronising manner. With talk of having the “courage to take our place at the heart of this larger, more vibrant Europe”, it was as if he was saying We’ve gotten you a second chance at this thing. Don’t fuck it up again.

Of course a level of dejection was to be expected, especially from the counsellors who had been invited on stage. They’ll most likely find themselves out of work after the local elections in the summer. The morning’s opinion poll must have been a depressing read for any Fianna Fáiller. Still, the most that can be said about the Indo’s poll was that it confirmed what everyone already knew. There was in my opinion little reason for them to be as shocked as they appeared to be. I mean, Coughlan looked like something out of a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, all dolled up and fabulously dressed yet positively dead on the inside.

I have my own theory on this. What’s upsetting the true believers is not that they’re unpopular, but that there’s a general recognition that the broke their promise to us. During the last general election opinion polls were again unfavourable to Fianna Fáil. Of course the intense coverage of Bertie’s finances probably the greatest influencing factor on this, but there also was a general feeling that under the party public service were failing us. The health service was a shambles and justice system merely a school for criminality. The FF response to this was enforced frankness. Yes, services are bad, but if we are to have a hope of fixing these we need a strong economy to build on. Cowan himself said as much on a Questions & Answers appearance. The implication clearly was that only Fianna Fáil could be trusted with the economy.

It worked. They were returned to power. And only now to we realise that not only were they about to let the good times end, but that the whole that thing was based on unsustainable markets and false wealth to begin with. There were in the speech several timid references to the global recession, just to remind us that we should place our problems in this context. Yet there was no attempt, ala Gordon Brown, to directly blame our recession on an international economic downturn. They know we created this recession on our own, and that happened on their watch.

Even the strengths of the speech mocked them for their failures. The only thing that might be considered ‘meat’ to the speech was a promise to renew the regulation of banks.

I will create a new Central Banking Commission. This will incorporate both the responsibilities of the Central Bank and the supervision and regulatory functions of the Financial Regulator. This will build on best international practice similar to the Canadian model.

I can just imagine him writing that, face scruched up as the thought Must hammer in a reference to the Canadian model. Doesn’t matter where, just as long as it’s in the same paragraph to banking reform. The problem here is that, with the arguable exception of a promise to cap the salaries of Bank Chief Executives receiving government aid (which received the only applause of the night that could be described as rapturous), he said nothing that shouldn’t have been already in place. The Central Bank doesn’t need more structures in order to do its job, it just needs to do it. And avoid, say, repeating the from Anglo lawyers that Seanie Fitz acted improperly and immorally but not illegally (Come to think of it, that was probably what was eating Coughlan. If proof was needed that she’s out of her depth, then stating on national television that the Government was at most “disappointed” over the Anglo Irish Bank affair while repeating the not illegal mantra was surely it).

Anyway, prior to the speech there was much talk on what Brian needed to say to restore confidence in his party. I realise it’s far too late now, but I’d like to chime in on this. If he wanted someone like me, one of the non-mere statistics without a job, to get behind him, he should have put his hand up. He needed to say this:

Yes, we fucked up. We wasted public money in the good times and squandered the opportunity to fix service that weren’t working. We allowed a culture of blind faith in the banking industry to develop because we were distracted, as were you all, by how rich this made us feel. We now know what these mistakes were, and we know how to fix them.

Of course we were never going to hear this. It would have taken true strength and bravery and nobody in Dáil Éireann, including the opposition benches, has ever been able to convey this sense of leadership.