Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
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Kevin Myers shows poor judgement in returning to his folly
arts and media |
Friday April 20, 2007 00:17 by MJ Costello - Erin Foods (deceased)
Irish Independent SOB re-focusses attention on Irish Times MOB article
In a recent Irish Independent article Kevin Myers blamed RTE for "hate mail, death threats, and abusive graffiti on my car, concluding with my home having to be given round-the-clock Garda protection"
Kevin says this resulted from Joe Duffy’s Liveline whipping up the “mob” "after (as I admitted within a day and repeat now) was [sic] a very poor article of mine".
Major Myarse, as Kev is known affectionately, does not reveal why he was persona non-grata with the “mob”.
Was it opposition to poor syntax, bad grammar, or irritation at Kev not letting facts get in the way of his opinions (or of his apology, which took two days to appear, not one)? Not the latter, we can be sure. Otherwise the mob would be scribbling its criticism on Kev's car every day of the week and Kev, like Salman Rushdie, would require permanent ”round-the-clock Garda protection”.
"Is the boss a bastard?"
No, it was because in the infamously "poor" column on February 8 2005 in the Irish Times, Kev referred to unmarried mothers as “mothers of bastards”, or “MoBs”. Not once, but a lot of times. The misogynist and reactionary Myers attacked the so-called "heresy underlying welfarism".
The nation (minus K Myers, who is not a member) rose up as one in revolt.
RTE's 'Liveline' merely reflected the indignation of the populace.
Kev forgets the negative opinions expressed on radio by his Irish Times colleagues.
On radio Irish Times columnist John Waters, criticised Irish Times editors and “weasel words” in a subsequent “regretful”, but self-congratulatory, editorial. Waters is the (unmarried) father of a child with Sinead O'Connor, who was the only named ‘MoB’ in Kev’s column.
Fintan O'Toole told RTE he was disgusted and said Irish tabloids would have rejected it. The ICTU’s David Begg, a member of the Irish Times Trust, also objected. Political reporter Mark Hennessy said on radio: "There is nobody in the Irish Times arguing that it is anything other than a mistake and a bad one."
IT reporter Kitty Holland, daughter of the late and unmarried Irish Times columnist Mary Holland, spoke of her terror as a child that she would be regarded as a "bastard" by school mates. A radio caller noted that the Irish Times “regretful” editorial devoted 47 lines to praising itself and just one to expressing regret. Times columnist Vincent Browne referred to the opening two sentences as containing "astounding self-regard".
Myers says sorry, sort-of
Kev’s 'apology' to the mob for his references to the ‘MoB’ was wrenched out of him on February 10, 2005. Sorry for the words he used, not for the thoughts they expressed.
Some time after the indignity of having to apologise to the great unwashed, and having forced Madam Editor into uttering her ‘regret’ for publishing the piece, Kev decamped from the Irish Times and went to work for 'bean baron' Tony ('Sir Anthony') O'Reilly in the Irish Independent.
Kev may imagine that Tone of the Indo is more tolerant of his brand of bigotry.
And how right (for once) Kev is, since the 'bean-knighted' boss of the Indo is a son of an ‘MoB’. His parents were not married. O’Reilly was born to Aileen O'Conner and James O'Reilly (already married to Judith Clarke O’Reilly with four children) on May 7th 1936 in the National Maternity Hospital. As in so much else O’Reilly, who literally sold out the Irish food industry to Heinz in the 1960s, while employed by the publicly owned Erin Foods, was ahead of the pack. Afterwards O’Reilly got his big job with the US multinational and started making his millions at Irish workers’ expense. The workers were made redundant from the companies O’Reilly bought during the late 1960s, early 1970s. Thousands lost their jobs and O’Reilly also managed, almost single-handedly, to wipe out the flagship companies of the old Protestant business class, for example Dockrells and Goulding Fertilizers. The golden boy slashed his way through and destroyed the assets of Irish capitalism and the workers it employed.
You have to hand it to him, what a bastard!
Myers hero worships O’Reilly’s achievements in his one Irish success story, Independent Newspapers. He ignores the failings.
Currently, O’Reilly intends to outsource production and turn Independent Newspapers into “the Ryanair of the newspaper sector”, as in super-profitable, rather than cheap to buy (according to Martin Fitzpatrick in April’s Village magazine – www.villagemagazine.ie). Good move in an election year. What anxious publicity-seeking politician is going to criticise the axe-wielding boss of the biggest newspaper group in such circumstances.
But Has Kev has ever ventured a thought about his boss's dear departed mother, or has Tone himself ever ventured a thought on Kev's thoughts on the matter. If so, we are none the wiser.
And so it should be, as the whole thing is in very poor taste. If ever they pass in the corridor, on the stairs or are stuck in the lift together, or if ever Kev is lucky enough to receive an invitation to Castlemartin (where Aileen O’Connor’s corpse is entombed) Kev could greet the boss, his benefactor, with "Hello Tony old bean, you clever bastard". Then again, maybe not. Otherwise Kev might end up as redundant as the old Gouldings Fertiliser workers. After all, there are limits to freedom of speech.
-----------Kev’s attack on RTE radio-----------
Irish Independent April 11 2007
Kev charges Joe Duffy with metaphorical murder
Radio One… has mercilessly driven down the quality of debate in Ireland. One of its apparent goals is to generate regular bouts of metaphorically murderous anger, which one day might well prove to be more literal than figurative. It is one thing for independent radio stations to whip up base popular emotions - quite another for a State broadcaster to be doing so.
Admittedly, I have particular feelings about this after the frenzy of hatred which convulsed the national airwaves for the best part of a week two years ago, after (as I admitted within a day and repeat now) was a very poor article of mine. But hold on: unlike those IRA leaders who are given such a cushy time on RTE, I didn't kill anyone. Nonetheless, RTE One's systematic vilification of me, day in and day out, resulted in hate mail, death threats, and abusive graffiti on my car, concluding with my home having to be given round-the-clock Garda protection.
Montrose does not compensate for these vile indulgences by providing public service radio broadcasting as provided by BBC Radio Three and BBC Four. The latter, in particular, is one of the great triumphs of British civilisation: the reverse is true for RTE Radio One. BBC Radio Four dissects and analyses: RTE One generates the mob and then follows it from the front.
-----------That "poor" article in full-----------
The Irish Times February 8 2005
An Irishman's Diary by Kevin Myers
How did Edward Walsh feel as he found himself sitting outside the warm tepee of political correctness, and in the howling blizzard of reality, after his remarks about unmarried mothers? Kevin Myers writes.
Not very comfortable, probably. Never mind, Ed, I'm used to the vitriolic epistolary hiss in the column inches that besiege me in my little corner here. We can sit together here in the snow and perish together - or maybe think the unthinkable.
Such as that our system of benefits to unmarried mothers is creating a long-term time-bomb. Even as things stand, we are bribing the unmotivated, the confused, the backward, the lazy into making the worst career decision of their young lives, and becoming professional unmarried mothers, living off the State until the grave takes over. Our welfare system is creating benefits-addicted, fatherless families who will be raised in a culture of personal and economic apathy - and from such warped timber, true masts are seldom hewn.
The response of Anne Bowen, policy officer of the One Parent organisation was - naturally - that Ed's remarks were "offensive" and "hurtful". God knows why she didn't say "unhelpful", "unsavoury" or "distasteful", which form part of the usual verbal repertoire of the politically correct. This assesses any political observation not on its factual merits but on the lachrymosity of the audience.
So she naturally declared that it would be extremely "hurtful" to suggest that women would choose single parenthood for financial pain, or that "they would be put themselves before their children". No doubt it is hurtful. But is it true? And how many girls - and we're largely talking about teenagers here - consciously embark upon a career of mothering bastards because it seems a good way of getting money and accommodation from the State? Ah. You didn't like the term bastard? No, I didn't think you would. In the welfare-land of Euphemesia, what is the correct term for the offspring of unmarried mothers? One-parent offspring? But when we use that deceitful term, one-parent, we actually mean fatherless, in the social meaning of the word, though not of course in the genetic sense. The lads who (in Sinead O'Connor's immortal word) are the donors are probably off elsewhere, donating away wherever and whenever they can, and usually without having to pay a penny of child support for the results of their generous donations.
Ed had suggested that mothers of bastards could earn up to EUR 20,000 a year from benefits. Through her gushing tears, Anne inconsolably declared that a lone parent (i.e., a MoB) gets only EUR 148.80 a week, plus EUR 19.30 per child. And indeed, this would be impossible to live on if it were all that the State forked out; but it is not. In addition, the State pays for the MoBs' rented accommodation - worth over EUR 13,000 or more a year. So the MoB's real income could come to nearly EUR 23,000. If you're working, you have to have pre-tax earnings in the region of EUR 38,000 to match that income.
All of which is a long-winded way of describing insanity - because we all agree it is mad to bribe impressionable young women into a life of MoBbery, which is crushingly limiting, with little sense of achievement or personal ambition, and no career to speak of, other - that is - from cash-crop whelping.
And how do MoBs cope when their male bastards (in a literal sense) become metaphorical bastards in adolescence? How does a woman assert her will over a sour, aggressive, uncommunicative teenage boy? Well, she usually doesn't - as a study of the parental backgrounds of gang members in London and New York - where they are ahead of us in such matters - will tell you. Mob members usually have stressed-out MoBs for mothers, and absent FoBs for dads.
The central heresy underlying welfarism is that benefits don't influence general conduct and that all the State is doing is simply helping individuals. Social groups - the argument goes - do not emerge in direct response to welfare payments. That's what liberals in the US said, so they formulated policies that were kind and good, and certainly not ones that were designed to corrupt and deprave. But corrupt and deprave they did. Welfare lines and teenage moms by the hundred thousand emerged as a direct result of the apparently but illusorily attractive State incentive not to work.
Well, even that compulsive sharer of pain, Bill Clinton, knew something tough had to be done: at the instigation of a Republican-dominated Congress, he began a concerted drive against MoBbery, cutting welfare and introducing strong tax incentives for working MoBs. The results were amazing. After 30 years of unbroken increase, the rise in MoBbery was swiftly halted. Welfare handouts plummeted; and 10 years on, two out of three MoBs are now in work.
We just know that's not going to happen in Ireland while debate remains mired in the schoolgirl swamp of what is "hurtful" and "offensive": why, thith howwid talk makes one want to cwy. Even our super-sized MEP, Big Mac, tearfully denounced Ed for his heartless remarks. Well, naturally. After all, Sinn Fein/IRA have strong proprietorial feelings about single-parent families, having made hundreds and hundreds of them out of what had originally been two-parent families: why, God love them, they've even dabbled in making a good few no-parent families.
We have 80,000 MoBs, and the numbers are rising; time to ring the alarm bells. But of course, in Dail Eireann, we'll get some weepy, sanctimonious bilge over what is "offensive", while the rest reach for the ear-plugs.
Tony O'Reilly: "I don't believe in illegitimate comment."
The mother of AJF 'Tony' O'Reilly - you won't read it in his paper