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What Choices has Mr Cowen - Which way will he steer the political ship- Straboard ( Right )my guess

category galway | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Sunday February 14, 2010 20:53author by donkylemore Report this post to the editors

Lets face it . The GP is now little more than the bordello of Irish politics. You pay - the harlot performs. She does so at the whim of the punter.And repeats it just so long as he pays.
The manner of their Machiavellian march into Dail Eireann under Gormley rather than Sergeant amply demonstrated their lust for the whiff of power- principals were for losers.

Lets face it . The GP is now little more than the bordello of Irish politics. You pay - the harlot performs. She does so at the whim of the punter.And repeats it just so long as he pays.
The manner of their Machiavellian march into Dail Eireann under Gormley rather than Sergeant amply demonstrated their lust for the whiff of power- principals were for losers.
The manner of the rigged up questioneer which the party delegates had to complete , at their Programe for Government debate spoke volumes about whatever scintila of ethical value system which they might hitherto have laid claim to.They had none . They were bereft of any real coherent political purpose.

The Greens have not just lost their moral compass; they have willfully and conscientiously buried it with their once laudable core beliefs.
Brian Cowen has now two choices to make in filling ; a/ the Senate seat , and b/ Mr Lee's seat . Will he try to appease the GP or will he resort to his default position ''if in doubt '' leave out , if in doubt '' Remember that clever little diktat . ?

If he appoints a FF devotee to an Seanad , he will have appeased the baying wrathful e consensus of his FF backbench disaffected - disparagingly referred to as ''the mumblers .''
( Mr Kenny has gone for a personality make-over to stop his salivating demons to emasculate his ’’ mumblers ‘’in FG .

If he appoints a Green , it will mean that he too is procrastinating beyond reasonable doubt. The figures are still a little unwieldy for him to abandon the GP.
But Mr Cowen Maybe he'll do what Solomon refrained from doing - maybe he'll cut the baby in two- gruesome , yes , but Mr Cowen desperately needs a good ruse for his own political survival.
My guess is that he will appoint a FF' er. To an Seanad and hold off on the bye elections until this political ice age has passed.
Why will he appoint a FF‘er to an Seanad ? For the very worst of all possible reasons ;Because he can- to paraphrase Bill Clinton after Lewinski .
‘’- I did it..for the worst of reasons.. - because I could. '''

Sure .The Greens will throw another tantrum; and maybe another rattler out of the pram , but they have now precious little to throw.
So they will just roll over and take it again , and again and...

One way or another I will miss Ms de Burca's pleasant demeanor ,her personable elegance and her soft spoken eloquence.
Regrettably I confess I will not miss in the departure of Mr Lee with quite the same sense of loss .

author by Mike Novackpublication date Mon Feb 15, 2010 21:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The manner of their Machiavellian march into Dail Eireann under Gormley rather than Sergeant amply demonstrated their lust for the whiff of power- principals were for losers"

Well yes, joining a governing coalition always requires a certain amount of compromise, sometimes even of principles.

So you really do need to add something here. You need to add your reasons why we should think that the amount of compromise would be LESS the other way around (Sergeant rather than Gormley).

PLEASE -- I am not saying that you can't give good reasons to suppose that, just that to make your case, reasons need to be given. And in doing that need to take into account that the Greens themselves are a coalition of "red" and "green". In other words, your reasons can't be "there would less compromise of their principles overall" if by that you meant one sided, either the "red" or the "green" would escape compromise but the other sacrificed. In other words, for the Green Party to make compromises, those must be reasonably balanced between their "red" and 'green" interests.

author by donkylemorepublication date Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mike
I would have thought this really readily understood.Perhaps I have been overly verbose.I Mean that the greens have done the bidding of FF ;

This could be no more profoundly expressed as their support by vote in an Dail last night , Wed , for a slanderer by , a minister , a lawyer - Mr O Dea

See article in Limerick Journal re transcript of tapes.In fact the offended SF candidate from Limerick may be on V.browne tv3 tonight Thurs
I welcome contributions and dialogue, but it pains me when something simple is intellectualized to the point of Jesuitical ennui .
If it simplifies things further let me put it thus ;
'' The Green Party ( Greens) are the harlots to that other shade of Green which purports to represent Irish Nationalism- or Fianna Fail.
not to be confused with all the other shades of green which represent Republicanism -like Sf . Provisional SF . INLA etc ''
My schematic colour codes have always been unreliable , or so my wife tells me .

author by Mike Novackpublication date Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I would have thought this really readily understood.Perhaps I have been overly verbose.I Mean that the greens have done the bidding of FF"

Yes -- of course, junior partners in a coalition. Will be forced to go along with a lot of garbage. But you are missing my point, not understanding what you need to add to make a GOOD case. Since they are going to be SOMEBODY'S "junior partner", please give us the reasons why we should believe that allied with the alternative side they would have to compromise less. With this compromising distributed between their red and green interests more or less evenly.

I am NOT saying that you can't produce these arguments. But I am saying "why are they allied with our enemies instead of us?" requires you to indicate that your side would offer them a better deal in exchange for their cooperating with you. With that "better" bein ginterpreted according to THEIR interests and reason for being as a party.

That last is important. Let's say that they have five "red" planks and five "green" planks they would want to dicker for. Suppose the FF deal gives them just two of each. You say that your side would give them all five of their "red" demands but none of their "green". You CAN'T say that's a better deal for them, getting five of the things that they want instead of just four. Not better because they consider BOTH "red" and "green" interests important; why they are the Green party instead of just another Red party.

author by Hopefulpublication date Thu Feb 18, 2010 13:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My hope is that Prime Minister Brian Cowen TD (and Minister John Gormley TD) -- and all their colleagues and supporters in Fianna Fail and The Green Party -- will presently be having their "political ship" gently and peacefully sunk from under them: just as soon as it is good for the people of the Republic of Ireland to do so, and not a moment later ideally.

That way Fianna Fail and The Green Party won't have any "political ship" to steer anymore; and (in my view), they don't deserve to have one now: not on account of the long and growing string of socially destructive and disastrous choices they have been making "in the best interests" (supposedly???) of the people of the Republic of Ireland, since these two political parties joined forces some two and a half years or so ago.

This viewpoint -- which I suspect a great many other Republic of Ireland voters share -- is particularly important (I believe) in connection with the much publicised (and apparently ongoing) "giveaway plans" for our now DESPERATELY needed oil and gas reserves.

Related link: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/aug2007/iris-a14.shtml

author by Mike Novackpublication date Thu Feb 18, 2010 15:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Understood, you oppose FF and the Green party (for what to you are perfectly good reasons)

But not what the article about. The article was castigating the Greens for being allied with FF in a governing coalition. Saying that this was a wrong choice for the Greens based on what THEIR party was supposed to be about. Suggesting that they should instead be allied with an alternative "red" coalition, that this would be a better deal for them.

Well? Make the case. Explain. Maybe the Greens are total idiots and turned down a better alternative coalition offer. Tell us about it.

Trouble is, I have too long experience in left politics as well as green politics to be all that sure this was the case. I have a nasty feeling that the "offer" was along the lines of "we'll go along with your red planks -- just throw out all that green garbage because it's irrelevant". In other words, the argument not really that the Greens made a bad choice except for being green in the first place. In other words, although I don't know Irish politics that well suspect it's like why the Greens and the NDP in Canada can't work together.

author by Hopefulpublication date Thu Feb 18, 2010 20:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A misunderstanding has arisen between us.

I feel that since the two parties (FF and Greens) entered into coalition with each other, the people in question -- regardless of which party they now belong to, or have earlier belonged to -- have collectively made a lot of bad choices: i.e. choices that are not in the public interest, and which in some extremely important areas of policy (such as the prudent use of our National "oil and gas reserves" and National "heritage protection" for example), they have actually gone so far as to bully and hoodwink the public into accepting these policies through the "Courts of Justice" (so called), and done so with the wholly inappropriate help of their colleagues in the Judicial and Legislative branches of our overall Government, many of whose members are NOT elected by the voting members of the public, but who nonetheless have a profound duty to keep Government wrongding in check.

They -- the group of "elected representatives" (so called) which form the present Executive branch of the Republic of Ireland Government -- have had some two and a half years to remedy the growing set of difficulties in question, and I can see no sign that they are doing so, or have any intention of doing so.

Consequently, I feel they need to have their "political ship" sunk by the voters of the Republic of Ireland: as soon as the time is right.

Correctly or otherwise, I don't (for example) believe that having a general election tomorrow would do the people of the Republic of Ireland any good at all: because it would just result in our Nation "jumping from the frying-pan into the fire".

Better (I believe) to let the present incumbents "stew in their own juice" for a while longer: so that the voters have enough time to have a right good look at the almighty mess our present overall Government (Executive, Legislative, Judicial) have got the whole lot of us, as a Nation, into -- left, right, and centre -- green, red, white, and whatever -- and themselves included (by whatever labels and names they use to describe themselves and/or their political parties).

"A rose by any other name is still a rose."

Make no mistake, the financial mess we are now in as a Nation is not just bad, it's VERY bad (in my view); and, the present plans (as I understand them) of our current Government for borrowing yet more billions of Euros, and even trillions more of them maybe, to bail out the bankers who caused the worst of our financial problems in the first place, appear (to me) like a plan to put out a fire by pouring large amounts of petrol all over it.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Thu Feb 18, 2010 21:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

".......choices that are not in the public interest...."

That at the heart of it? I would expect FF to make choices according to the interests of the people who vote FF (as those people see their interests to be). I would expect the Green party to make choices according to the interests of the people who vote Green, again as how they see those interests to be. If that makes up a majority, if that's what they want, then that's what's supposed to be.

What democracy is all about, no? Especially the parliamentary form of it. If a majority coalituon can be put together then they get to make all decisions based upon THEIR understanding (however flawed) of their interests. Don't have to consider the interests of the minority who just get to bitch and moan about it.

They aren't SUPPOSED to be taking your interests into consideration. THEY get to decide what's in the public interest (from their point of view)

LOOK -- I am not saying that their understanding of what should be done is right and yours is wrong. But that isn't what this was all about. Not that the Greens were wrong to be greens (to want the things that we expect greens to want) but that they could have gotten more of those things allied with your preferred parties than with FF. You aren't giving us any reason to believe that would be the case.

author by Hopefulpublication date Fri Feb 19, 2010 13:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What democracy is all about (for me) is: "government of the people, by the people, for the people" -- as described by former US President Abraham Lincoln, and in many slightly different ways by several others at various times during the past 5,000 years or so.

Government of "the Fianna Fail Party (or any other party), by the Fianna Fail Party, for the Fianna Fail Party" is something entirely different (as I see things) -- but, which is how (I think?) you see democracy perhaps? If so, we will simply have to "agree to differ" on this subject, as I do not wish to enter into debate regarding the two separate viewpoints.

If interested, a further very important part of Abraham Lincoln's overall formula for democracy is included the following statement of his:

"A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or despotism." (You may also find it useful to know that Abraham Lincoln, who was also a top-class lawyer, very publicly made this statement during his First Inaugural Address on March 4th 1861.)

A major problem (as I see things) in the Republic of Ireland -- during the past 15 years or so -- is that ALL of our political parties, and far more importantly the non-elected Judicial branch of our overall Government as well (which of course heads our entire legal profession), appear to have abandoned many of the more important "checks and limitations" contained in our written Constitution (Bunreacht na hEireann): with the predicted result that we have all ended up with "despotism", and of course all the various forms of tyranny (i.e. government bullying) and abuses, including orgies of political, legal and corporate corruption which go hand-in-hand with despotism.

As is normal in such cases, unconstitutional legislation (i.e. illegal law!!) is invariably a consequence of the brand of despotism in question, and should you wish to learn more relating the Republic of Ireland situation in this regard, I would suggest you experiment with feeding word combinations such as -- "unconstitutional legislation, Republic of Ireland" -- into one or more of the many Internet search engines (e.g. Alta Vista, Google, Yahoo, and so on), and noting the results which they list.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Sat Feb 20, 2010 20:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I too prefer the form of democracy we have over here (not that it couldn't use some reforms). But it's a system that is less "democratic". Instead of being focused on rule by the majority and who is responsible for decisions more about how the minority interests, because they have a significant ability to obstruct, can negotiate for some of what they want. Here it takes a larger social consensus to get anything done. and how public opinion/desires is distributed matters greatly (we don't really have NATIONAL decision making).

HOWEVER -- again not what the article was about. It would be silly to castigate the Greens (even silly to castigate FF) for functioning according to the system that you DO have which is the parliamentary democracy form. Not reasponable to expect them to behave as if they were operating under some entirely different political system. If you want to criticize the Irish SYSTEM, by all means do that and suggest whatever replacement you prefer. But don't criticize the players within the existing system for behaving as the existing form demands.

I'll ask again. DID the alternative coalition offer the Greens as much as FF did? If not, then the original article makes little sense.

author by Maggiopublication date Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mike, I really don't get your train of thought. There was no alternative 'red' (or even pink) coalition available after the last election. A hypothetical 'red' option would have given the Greens all of their 'red' planks and likely most or all of their 'green' ones too. I can't imagine Labour having argued against sensible environmental initiatives. The point is that the Greens sold out for half a 'green' plank, jettisoning many of their so called principles in the process. They have since participated largely uncritically in a singularly corrupt and incompetent administration.
I see very little of either 'green' or 'red' in the current Green party. Remember Tara? The Shannon stopover? How popular is Eamon Ryan in Rossport do you think? What meaningful environmental legislation have we seen under this administration? What 'red' or 'green' policies have the Greens got enacted? Are you really painting FF as being closer to erstwhile Green values than those on the opposition benches?

author by Mike Novackpublication date Sun Feb 21, 2010 13:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"There was no alternative 'red' (or even pink) coalition available after the last election."
In which case saying that they SHOULD have allied with the left alternative utter nonsense. I don't follow Irish politics that closely to have known the seat count of the parties and I was assuming that the original post wasn't by an idiot. I guess I was wrong.

"A hypothetical 'red' option would have given the Greens all of their 'red' planks and likely most or all of their 'green' ones too. I can't imagine Labour having argued against sensible environmental initiatives."
I totally disagree with that assessment. They would have gotten all of their "red" planks and NONE of their "green" planks. I don't know why you are under the impression that the traditional left which believes the environmental crisis is just an artifact of capitalism is any greener than the capitalists. They wouold have SAID they were giving on "green" planks and they would have actually beleived that they were. But those would have been "environmental justice" issues which are just "social justice" issues, red, not green. Look, I am for more social justice myself, but I don't delude myself into thinking that Nature gives a damn whether we treat each other fairly.
And of course it is in the interests of the "red" parties to destabilize the Green -- to try to absorb the people into "let's deal withy capitalism first and THEN we'll worry about the environment". Like I said, this is NOT dishonest as the typical traditional "red" doesn't believe the environmantal crisis is real.

"The point is that the Greens sold out for half a 'green' plank, jettisoning many of their so called principles in the process."
You need to argue the case against "half a loaf better than none" as applied to the specific bits of bread in this instance. And needs to be done without regard to the overall intests of the "red" parties UNLESS you manage to make the case that these will be better coalition partners whne/if the time comes. Politics is "hardball". Evaluate from the point of view of the Green Party and those that support it, having BOTH "red" and "green" interests, not considering their "red" interests more important than their "green" ones.

Take a look at Canada? Why can't the NDP and the Greens work together (why doesn't the NDP simply absorb the Greens by adopting "green" planks --- you seem to think that "reds" would be oh so willing to do that in Ireland. I have been following some of your campaigns. How about the fight against "pay as you throw"? (that it was against the CONCEPT rather than against the mechanics of out of whose pocket -- and the last easily remedied IF that was what was wanted).

AGAIN -- I cannot repeat too much. I am NOT acusing the "pure reds" of dishonesty. They are true believers that ALL ills are the result of capitalism and will vanish like the morning dew once we win that fight. Sort of a secular "religion".

author by Maggiopublication date Sun Feb 21, 2010 17:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"You need to argue the case against "half a loaf better than none" as applied to the specific bits of bread in this instance. And needs to be done without regard to the overall intests of the "red" parties UNLESS you manage to make the case that these will be better coalition partners whne/if the time comes. Politics is "hardball". Evaluate from the point of view of the Green Party and those that support it, having BOTH "red" and "green" interests, not considering their "red" interests more important than their "green" ones."

No problem. From a purely pragmatic 'hardball' perspective going into government was suicidal. The Greens got effectively eliminated from Irish politics at the last local and European elections. This at a time when across Europe Green parties were in the ascendancy and pink ones suffered (look at the relative performance of the Greens and Socialists at the European elections in France last summer for a good case in point). Had they not gone into government last time the Greens would probably be looking at 15-20 seats in the next general election here, probably holding the balance of power. As it stands they'll be lucky to return a deputy.

Secondly, there are a number of critical environmental campaigns here that were in full flow at the time of the last general election. Foremost amongst them were the campaign to prevent the new motorway by the Hill of Tara and the ongoing fight against Shell in Rossport. These are both 'green' issues, not classically 'red' ones. Green party members were vocal and active in these campaigns before the party then went into government with FF without obtaining any concessions on these issues, important as they still are for many of their grassroots members. The concessions they did get on going into government were trifles, many promised and not delivered.

You make an interesting point about the problems of a putative red-green coalition in terms of possible differing priorities. However, if you accept manmade climate change how can you possibly deny that modern industrial capitalism is at the root of it? This is not to conflate the two issues but just to recognise how interconnected are capitalism and environmental issues. I agree that many on the left are lukewarm environmentalists at best but i still see the left as being a more natural home for green issues. Many on the right are climate change deniers. You won't hear that attitude anywhere near so often on the left. In those areas where red and green collide, such as on the waste issue, it is not generally the environmental principle that the left opposes but rather the privatisation of solutions and the expectation that working people rather than big polluters should be called to account.

I can't say I'm particularly au fait with the Canadian situation but it doesn't surprise me that the left and the greens don't merge or even cooperate fully. Nor would I necessarily consider it desirable. I'd like to see a strong meaningful ecological movement in Ireland. Sadly the craven capitulation of the Green Party in going into government with a shower of shrewd opportunistic chancers has put that possibility back a generation in this country.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Mon Feb 22, 2010 00:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"However, if you accept manmade climate change how can you possibly deny that modern industrial capitalism is at the root of it"

SIMPLE -- the root cause is modern industrial civilization. That it is capitalist only part of the problem. A modern industrial solcialist civilization will not be less destructive JUST because it is socialist. I believe that there might directions we could go with a socialist society that would be in balance with the environment and that this would be much easier than for a capitalist society (if that's possible* at all). BUT, and this is a very big but, nothing automatic about that. Not intrinsic in socialism.

Remember, of old the watchword was "conquer Nature for the benefit of all humankind" instead of "for the benefit of the capitalists".

BTW -- the situation here in the States is even more hopeless than in Canada. Since we lack "red" alternatives any attempt to organize a Green Party here results in it being taken over by (well meaning) "reds" in search of a vehicle. At least Canada has the NDP as a straight "red" alternative.

* It wouldn't be possible at the same number of humans but I've not seen a good argument ruling out the possibility at a lower population density than could be sustainably supported by an "environmental-socialist" society.

NOTE -- what are called the "right wing" greens (aka "deep greens") here aren't really. They don't SUPPORT caitalism except that it's all to common for us on the left to consider anybody not with us is against us and allied with our enemies. They just don't think standard socialism would do any better as far as the environment is concerned. More a "plague on both your houses" attitude.

author by Rational Ecologistpublication date Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The vast majority of those who voted, did so for FF, FG and Labour. These three parties are Right, very Right and Centre. This is what the Irish electorate voted for, pure and simple! I don't like it, in fact I find it embarrassing as an Irish person that so many people vote for FF.
I have asked this question elsewhere and I think it deserves serious consideration: What does our choices of who we vote for say about us as a people??
Don't forget that the Greens got six seats, most of which were marginal. The Irish people obviously identify with the outlook of FF, FG and Labour.
I am NOT trying to defend the Greens, however, we have to look at where the REAL responsibility lies ie, the Irish people, most of whom were very content on the Cocaine of the Celtic Tiger but now, like the Unions, decide to throw out their rattle.
If we do not look at this unpleasant fact the we are condemned to repeat it.
Irish voters are not innocent bystanders.
Time for this wee nation to grow up and really take responsibility!

author by Hopefulpublication date Wed Feb 24, 2010 15:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'd say the main thing it says about us as a people is that we don't seem to yet understand the difference between "tribalism", with its endless destructive competition, corruption, impunity, and fighting of all sorts (which can involve genocide in extreme cases), and "genuine democracy".

In fact, and in practice (though few would admit it perhaps), with regard to the supporting of political parties many of us seem to think (and act) as though "tribalism" and "democracy" are one and the same thing.

As stated at Fri Feb 19, 2010 13:08, I believe "genuine democracy" can be defined as: "government of the people, by the people, for the people". What I stopped short of saying then, but say now, is that government of "the Fianna Fail Party (or any other party), by the Fianna Fail Party, for the Fianna Fail Party" is a sly (and hidden) form of tribalism really.

The sooner we can get away from tribalism, and all its different "parties" (and destructive, time-wasting, and energy-wasting social conflicts), and onto the socially benign kind of thinking which wholeheartedly promotes "government of the people, by the people, for the people", the healthier our society will be: assuming of course that such a shift in thinking can ever take place -- having due regard for the fact that tribalism appears to be so deeply ingrained into the minds of so many of our voters.

author by Wishingpublication date Wed Feb 24, 2010 17:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I believe we really do have a problem with tribalism regarding the way we vote here, but, no more, or at least not all that much more, than other nations have at the present time.

Also, there is reason to believe that things may be starting to really change in some places regarding this issue: thanks largely to the present global banking crisis it seems.

"It's an evil wind indeed that does not blow some good."

For example, I've just read a recent article about the way a lot of people in certain parts of the United States seem to be abandoning political parties, or at least putting their differences to one side to a very large extent, in the search for innovative, real, and lasting solutions to the banking crisis (and all of the closely associated and disastrous social problems connected with it) -- and happily finding that there may well be major benefits for local communities and society as a whole by so doing.

Basically, it seems that a growing number of political candidates (and their supporters) -- belonging to different parties -- are proposing that states generate their own credit by setting up their own banks.

How I wish a that movement of that kind might soon start up here in the Republic of Ireland.

If such a "movement" were to arrive here in the Republic of Ireland on a hare's back, it wouldn't be half soon enough for me: particularly if the same "movement" applied itself, at the same time, to stopping the "Great Giveaway" of our much needed oil and gas reserves: which, AMAZINGLY to me, and for reasons best known to themselves (which I suspect might not be of the best kind), all of our main political parties appear to be hell-bent on doing.

The text of the article in question (which relates to the United States only unfortunately at the present time) can be viewed at:
http://www.truthout.org/more-candidates-favoring-state-...57106

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