Beware Irish Politicians Bearing Advice to Greeks
Plus: Chancers Stephen Donnelly and James Charity
Originally written for the Chicago ‘Irish American News’ in mid-July (before I went into shock at hearing about Irish white-collar criminals going to jail) and appearing in the August issue
As I sit down to start this I hear that Enda Kenny has just been revealing the advice he gave to the Greeks. As if they don’t have enough problems…
God knows I have often been ashamed of this government. The craven manner in which they abase themselves every time one of the Big Boys deigns to include them in the conversation makes me break out in a rash every time.
One of these unelected Eurocrats need only look in the direction of our toadies and they fall over themselves in a bid to see who can be the most openly sycophantic.
But I have never – and I mean bloody NEVER — been as ashamed of them as I was in the week running up to the Greek referendum.
At a time when Greece was on its knees – something that Ireland knows about and should have had a bit of compassion for—our two beauties, Kenny and his toy wind-up Finance Minister Michael Noonan, were putting the boot in. As hard as they could.
Well, why wouldn’t they? The Greeks had what we were never given: a chance to cast a vote as to whether they accepted what was being done to them in the form of the non-elected, Clockwork Orange bully-boys and Eurocratic thugs who were closing down their banks because democracy looked as if it might just be in danger of breaking out.
We didn’t have the choice. Our deal was done under cover of darkness while the bought-and-paid-for were swilling down the booze during the especially extended opening hours of the Dail Bar.
Jesus wept! And then they slag off Greece, who got about 10% of the money from the ‘great bailout’ that everyone kept throwing back in their faces. As if our chancers have a right to open their mouths about ANYTHING to do with showing some guts.
I saw a photograph last week of Noonan that I couldn’t get out of my head: there he was, perched on the edge of a table, with his little hobbit-legs not even touching the ground; and he looks so damned happy because Christine Lagarde of the IMF is towering over him, for all the world like someone who is about to rub his shiny bald pate and tell him what a good wee boy he is. This is the same condescending woman who complained that there weren’t enough ‘adults in the room’ to have proper negotiations. I haven’t cringed so much since the last time I saw a photo of Dame Edna Kenny himself in front of his boss, Angela Merkel.
With what mixed feelings must they have watched what was unfolding: on the one hand, the Greek people were turning on each other, which is the ‘divide-and-conquer’ strategy that our lads have attempted with the Irish Water charges. On the other, if Greece had ended up with a better deal, out would have come the kind of questions that should have been asked all along. And that would have been very embarrassing for our Euro-whipped government.
So as I write it looks as if, after all they’ve gone through, the Greek people have been betrayed by their own government. (And doesn’t that sound familiar?)
They knew that they would have to take some pain, no matter what; but NOW it is being made clear to them that they also must be utterly humiliated for having had the temerity to stand up for themselves. And Ireland – which knows a bit about pain – is represented by some puffed-up wasters who are assisting in making it hurt as much as they can. And representing us whilst they’re at it.
The whole mess got me thinking back to my conversation with Ken Smollen last month. He is the chairman of the fledgling, very interesting Irish Democratic Party, who base their thinking on something called ‘participatory democracy’. At first I had a vague notion that this was the system of ‘participatory politics’ put forward by Professor Stephen Shalom in William Paterson University, New Jersey.
In fact, the IDP takes its inspiration from the great George Orwell’s book ‘Homage to Catalonia’ where Orwell wrote about seeing participatory democracy in action whilst in Spain. He declared it the fairest form of democracy anywhere.
Reasons of space don’t allow me to give a complete rundown on it – and I must emphasise once more that I’m not a member of ANY party nor likely to ever be one. Yet two aspects that appeal to me here are the lack of a Whip system and the idea of being able to ‘Recall’ politicians who have been voted in and then simply refuse to implement the policies that they had promised.
That would have saved us some time when it became obvious that Fine Gael and Labour had no intention of implementing anything that they had lied about; nor would we have had to listen to Pat Rabbitte telling us openly that this is exactly what politicians do before an election and that we were a bunch of cretins for even EXPECTING integrity from them.
I asked Ken how their system would have worked for Greece in the last weeks:
“I suppose the fact that there was a referendum held in the country means that it was actually used and the result is being rejected by the powers-that-be in Europe.
“The argument could be made that the situation in Greece is very different to that in Ireland as there was extensive tax evasion in Greece by individuals and businesses alike for years which has led them to the situation they’re in today.
“However, it can be argued that the wording in the referendum was very confusing for the Greek people and one would have to ask why this was the case. Was it to allow the Seriza Government the opportunity to re-enter talks with the Troika while saying that they’re not really going against their own electorate’s wishes?
“Anyway, if Participatory Democracy was in use in Greece there would certainly be enough justification to ‘Recall’ Mr. Tsipras for failing to adhere to those wishes!”
I wish the Irish Democratic Party well; with our current model of politics outdated and simply not working, we could seriously do with a REAL change — and I don’t mean more of the same such as the Renua Party.
And I’ll be damned if I hadn’t just written those words when I heard that three politicians have formed yet another party, the Social Democrats. With Catherine Murphy joining Roisin Shortall this should have been another cause for best wishes.
Like most people, I have a lot of time for Murphy after the way she has fearlessly put herself out there over the past months.
To my astonishment, however, the third member is none other than Stephen Donnelly, who sides with the Bill that agrees with evictions. What on earth is she thinking?
He may have his reasons for that one, but here’s the kicker: he ALSO agrees with Irish Water charges. Fair enough, says you; but wait! Just to really confuse things he says that the SocDems will be against the water charges…but that he more than likely will personally be paying them!
That has to be some sort of a record: not even in existence for a whole 24 hours and already speaking out of both sides of their mouths!
NB: And what about formerly independent Galway Councillor James Charity? I’ve commented on that turncoat in the past, namely when he joined the ghastly Renua Party, thus making eejits out of anyone who had voted for him last year.
Well, just to confuse the issue, he has now LEFT Renua! Apparently he didn’t know that they were in favour of water charges. Honest to God, Your Honour, he hadn’t a clue.
So now he’s an ‘independent’ again – and note that I use that term very loosely when it comes to this chancer. Poor fella doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going.
But he’ll still be looking for your vote at a booth near you very soon. Keep his confusion in mind when he does because you wouldn’t know which way he’s likely to go at this stage!