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Monday, February 28, 2011

Filthy to the very last

Fianna Fail - they just can't help themselves.

If there was another reason required for Enda Kenny to stop playing footsie and thrash out a deal with Labour immediately, it's that while they don't do so, the existing Fianna Fail ministers - mostly just de-selected by the people - will continue to get as much corruption achieved as possible before being removed from ministerial office forever.

Check this latest horror story -

Corrib permission granted subject to conditions

Mr. Pat Carey, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, has announced that in response to applications received on 31 May 2010 from Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL), acting on behalf of the Corrib Gas Partners, that permission has been granted, subject to conditions:

  • for consent to construct a gas pipeline from the Corrib gas field subsea facilities to the Corrib gas terminal at Bellanaboy, Co. Mayo; and
  • for approval of an addendum to the Plan of Development for the Corrib gas field development.

Copies of the consent letters and supporting documentation are available on the Department’s website at this link http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/Natural/Petroleum+Affairs+Division/Corrib+Gas+Field+Development/.

Talk about taking your revenge out on the people. This is akin to Ben Ali absconding from Tunisia with the country's gold wealth. Carey, out of spite, has just endorsed the giveaway of our entire gas resources as a last act of evil. He shouldn't be permitted to do this. He just got voted out of office. All decisions made by such lame duck, unmandated ministers must be undone immediately by the incoming government.

Friday, February 25, 2011

JC Skinner's guide to PR-STV tactical voting

Sorry, should have got this up earlier. Hopefully it'll still reach a few people before the voting closes.

1. As John Waters says, vote all the way down the list of candidates to potentially maximise the use of your vote.

2. In practice, you actually do the opposite. This means counting the number of candidates on the ballot and then voting all the way up from that number to 1. If there are 12 candidates, you find the one you hate the most and least wish to see elected and put the number 12 next to their name. Then you find the next most loathed, and they get number 11. And so on, till you get to number 1.

Do this carefully, and if you get it wrong, ask for an eraser or a new ballot paper from those in the polling station, telling them you made a mistake. Don't put a messed up ballot or an ambiguous one in the box or it will be discounted. Check over your vote to make sure all numbers are accounted for and each one only once. Don't miss out preference number 3 and have two number 4s for example.

3. If you want to vote tactically, do your homework. Check out bookie odds, like Paddy Power, or constituency profiles such as are in local papers, the Irish Times, etc, to see who is most favoured to be returned.

Let's say you want to punish Fianna Fail and they're running two candidates in your constituency. Obviously, you want to put them last and second last on your ballot. But in which order? In the order so that the least likely of the two candidates is higher placed. So do your homework to establish, within parties, which candidates have the best chance of election.

But what if one of them is likely to get a seat and the other has little hope? Then you reverse the order. Only do this if you're sure that one of them is getting in, though. In cases (FF in Dun Laoghaire is one) where there is going to be one candidate elected from a party but it's unclear which, vote according to your own preferences.

4. This works positively too. Let's say you're a Labour voter. If they're running two candidates in your area, you want to put them 1 and 2. But in which order? Put the least likely candidate higher, since the preference will keep them in the game longer. If he does drop out, your vote will then drop down to bolster the other Labour candidate.

5. Consider saving the deposits of brave independents who have no chance of winning a seat. They've done what you and I didn't have the stones to do - put their money and neck on the line, and tried to take on the big boys in a David and Goliath struggle that they cannot win, just to make their point. If there are two or three of these in your constituency, they'll be the first ones to be eliminated.

But if they get sufficient preferences, they'll at least get their deposit back. Once they are eliminated, your vote can then drop down to the candidates you actually want to see elected. So consider giving your number one to the brave independent with no chance of election. It costs you nothing, voting wise, as your vote will remain in play. But it could save them their money.

6. Don't think locally - think nationally. These are Dail elections, not a popularity X-factor vote on which gombeen is most likely to fix the road. Currently, this means your choice is between three options - Fine Gael, Fine Gael and Labour, or Fine Gael minority with Independent support. (Fine Gael and Green or Fine Gael and Sinn Fein are both extremely unlikely, and anything involving Fianna Fail is a non-runner.)

So, if you want to see a Fine Gael government without Labour, Labour candidates should go below Fianna Fail ones and everyone else on your ballot. Equally, if you want to see Labour in government and do not wish to see a Blueshirt only government, you want to put Labour candidates as high up as possible, and the Fine Gael ones below Fianna Fail, Christian Solidarity and everyone else.

7. Punish incompetence, corruption and criminality. If one of your local candidates was part of the last corrupt government that sold out the nation to benefit bankers, punish them for it. If your local TD is a known Independent gombeen man who propped the government up in order to play the big shot locally, punish them for it.

Only if we punish these people, not only by de-selecting them but also by giving them the smallest number of votes possible, will they begin to understand that such venality is no longer to be tolerated by the Irish electorate.

8. Don't be too concerned about giving higher preferences to distasteful parties. If you follow the tips above, you may disconcertingly find people like Christian Solidarity or Sinn Fein unusually high on your ballot. Don't worry too much about this. They're not getting elected (caveat for those dozen or so constituencies where there is a Shinner in the mix) and it's actually more important to make your vote work for you hard in the manner described above than to be overly worried about giving a looney your number 6 preference.

After all, mad as a brush and potentially dangerous they may well be, but they aren't getting elected and even if they did they could not do as much damage to this state as was just done by the last government.

9. As we say in the North, vote early and vote often! Exercise your democratic right today, because if you don't you've no right to complain later. Make sure others do too. Give people a lift to the polling station if you can. Help old people out to vote (unless they're FF tribalists, in which case, feel free to barricade them in for the day!)

Most of the planet don't have the democracy we do. They're on the streets risking their lives for it all over North Africa right now. So don't let the incompetence and corruption of our politicians jaundice you and make you apathetic about the system. It's a good system but you have to use it and you have to make it work for you. Hopefully this post will help you do just that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The curious case of the empty plane in the night sky

A gombeen stares right into my front room, like a drooling idiot grinning slackjawed at technology never before encountered. His empty-headed moonface is there morning, noon and evening. The police won't permit me to move him along. Apparently it would be a crime for me to do so.

This gombeen's name is Micheal Martin. He is the leader of Fianna Fail and tomorrow he hopes against hope that the Irish people will be so remedially stupid as to forget the economic treachery he played such a prominent role in so recently and elect him as Taoiseach.

You have 450,000 reasons not to do so - all of those people languishing on the unemployment register.

You have 80 billion reasons not to do so, in fact - all of those euro that he and his pals stole from your pocket to pay off the bankers' bad gambling debts.

But permit me to add one other reason, freshly minted. Consider it the latest turd floating on the tidal wave of detritus and sewage that Fianna Fail have made of this country. Consider it Micheal Martin's most recent demonstration of his brazen inability, his brass-necked incompetence.

The Irish air force flew a plane to Libya, where there is massive civil unrest, to evacuate our citizens from the country. Let's park for the moment the question of why the Irish state, with such precarious finances, should pay to evacuate those who pay no taxes to this country. They can be asked to pay later. Right now, they need to get out. The money's not important just now.

Last night that plane departed Tripoli with no passengers. Let me spell that one out. Due to a quirk of election times, we still have a government and ministers, of which the current foreign minister is Brian Cowen, due to Micheal Martin resigning his post after challenging Cowen for the Fianna Fail leadership last month.

So Cowen is immediately to blame for this abject failure to retrieve our citizens. But in a more meaningful way, the blame falls on Martin, under whom all the protocols for such evacuations would have been developed.

It's not a case that people could not be evacuated. In fact, at least two Irish citizens and likely more were evacuated by the British government earlier today. They've been on BBC Radio Five Live explaining their gratitude to the British authorities for doing so, and their gratitude to the British taxpayer for underwriting the cost of their safety.

British prime minister David Cameron is currently out of Britain, in the Gulf on a trade mission. However, he immediately apologised this morning for Britain's slow response to evacuating their own citizens. He's apologising for not getting his people (and ours) out quick enough, even though he was out of the country when this happened.

Where's the apology from Cowen and Martin for failing to get anyone out at all? I haven't heard it. I don't expect to hear it. There won't be an apology because for these corrupt cretins, sorry seems to be the hardest word.

It's at times like these that I feel sickened to be Irish, sickened to be represented by these venal incompetent scum.

They're a cancer in this country. And if we don't wipe them out for good, they will return to kill off their host, this nation, once again, as they've done so many times before.

Imagine sitting in Tripoli airport, afraid for your life last night. Imagine watching the Irish air force plane taking off empty into the night sky. Imagine your relief when the Brits find you quivering in the terminal and tell you that they've a seat for you as far as Gatwick if you want it.

Fianna Fail never fail to disappoint. They should not be trusted with operating a coffee dock kiosk, never mind a nation.

Let's amputate them tomorrow. Let's cut out the cancer for good, before they leave all of us stranded on the tarmac, set to face armageddon, while they jet off into the sunset once again.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rumours from the campaign trail

Some great rumours out on the campaign trail so far, most of them libellous and likely untrue and probably all of them being spun by rival candidates about each other.

My favourite election yarns so far -

* Not one but two candidates in Dublin are allegedly hiding secret illegitimate children. Extra points for candidate A for his secret illegitimate child apparently being black.

* A candidate who supposedly has more than a passing acquaintance with the gay porn industry in their past.

* Straw grasping award goes to a number of Fianna Fail incumbents who are telling anyone who will listen that people should vote for them to ensure a 'strong opposition', which is apparently 'essential' for a healthy democracy to function.

* The candidate allegedly telling voters not to give Joe Higgins a preference because if he's elected Clare Daly will become an MEP for Dublin.

* My "Avril and Mairead' award for the best internal party spats so far - the evergreen rivalry between FF's Mary Fitzpatrick and Bertie's bagboy Cyprian Brady in Dub Central. Silver medal position for the battle of the outgoing ministers Hanafin V Andrews in Dun Laoghaire. Bronze to Fine Gael's Derek Keating and Frances Fitzgerald in Dublin Mid West.

* The Dublin South West candidate who reckons that his rivals are taking down his posters is mistaken - it's actually a craze among the local kids who are making Halloween type masks out of them!

* The Nigerian ministerial advisor on integration to the Lenihan brothers was so impressed by their understanding of migrant cultures that he quit his job in disgust to run against Brian in Dublin West.

* Oh, and could someone tweet or poke or (forgive my retro-ness) even just tell TV star Dylan Haskins that the real election is held in voting booths around the country and not on internet discussion boards? The poor lad apparently thinks he's got it in the bag because he topped an online voting poll, bless him. The bookies think otherwise in a big way, needless to say.

As you can see, I don't get out of Dublin much. I'm reliant on ye all out beyond the big bollix to let me know what great yarns you've heard about the candidates in your area.

Don't get pissed at me if I have to moderate them though. I don't want sued.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The quandary of the reluctant floating voter

I can't vote for Fianna Fail or the Green Party because they are national traitors who deserve to be in jail.

I can't vote for Fine Gael because they are a bunch of would-be Tories itching to lower taxes for the rich and devastate social welfare.

I can't vote for Labour because they want to preserve unionised public sector jobs at the expense of those in the private sector who can no longer afford to keep the parasite public sector class in their 49% higher-paid jobs.

I can't vote for Sinn Fein because they are closet fascists who endorse mass immigration without the introduction of a points-based work permit system.

I can't vote for Independents because they are almost all pothole-filling clientelist parish pump attendants who will flex no muscle or power or influence over government.

Christian Solidarity are Catholic fundamentalists, New Vision are actually a very old vision (Indie Fianna Failers) and Fis Nua are disgruntled Greens.

I need a party to vote for who will cull the excess in the public sector, create jobs, preserve the social welfare net for those in genuine need, close the open-door on immigration, reverse emigration, and provide affordable education for the people of Ireland.

But that party doesn't apparently exist. So who the hell am I supposed to vote for?

Monday, February 07, 2011

No comment required

Chelsea 0 - 1 Liverpool FC

Sunday, February 06, 2011

There is a better way

This is an update to one of the earliest posts I ever wrote on this blog, back in 2006, some 500 or more rants ago.

If you recall, Molly/Misbah was a little girl who ran away from a council estate in Scotland where she lived with her mother to be with her father in Lahore, Pakistan, sparking an Interpol search.

It subsequently transpired that the child wanted to live with her father and other siblings there, and was very unhappy at the prospect of being with her mother in poverty and deprivation in Scotland.

There was, at the time, concerns about the mother's drinking too.

In the end, Molly got to live in Pakistan with dad, but one wonders whether that would have been the case had the evidence not stacked up so strongly that it was the best place for her. Had she not expressed her own desire so dramatically to leave, had her mother not been drinking, had her father not been affluent enough to fight the case, it could have been very different.

Anyhow, the update is that she has now, as a near-adult, moved back to Scotland to be with her mother and one of her sisters. Reading between the lines (Mum's had a child by another relationship taken from her custody) the girls are looking after their mother rather than the other way around.

But what's crucially important about this development is that it came about as the result of out-of-court negotiations between all the parties. IE the dad Sajad Rana could have sat in Pakistan and ignored all the mother's claims, but he didn't. He facilitated her visits and permitted his children to return to be with her when they expressed that interest.

There is a better way to resolve custody disputes than the traumatic and dramatic adversarial court system that put this family through the ringer over 3 years ago. And these people have found that way. It is to talk, mediate, negotiate and put the children first at all times.

I congratulate Sajad Rana for showing grace by allowing his children to be with their mother, and I congratulate Louise Campbell for having grown into a responsible relationship with her children and her co-parent.

And I'm delighted for little Molly/Misbah, who I suspect will never again feel the desperate need to run away sparking an international manhunt because she was so unhappy about the situation created by her parents' break-up.

Many couples can learn from the example here. The lessons are myriad - mothers who vindictively use their children against their exes may find those children come to reject them. Parents who show dignity and respect their children's need to see their other parents are rewarded with love and loyalty. And no one need enrich the parasites of the legal profession in resolving the issues that arise when a relationship breaks up.

There is a better way. Perhaps it's time we all migrated to it.

Friday, February 04, 2011

A millennium of Irish kidnapping, exile and enslavement

The first man I met this morning is expecting his fiancee to be kidnapped and made to slave abroad anytime now.

"It's inevitable at this stage," he said through bloodshot, sleepless eyes. "I fell like I'm powerless to stop it. It's like my entire future has just been amputated. What can any of us do?"

The second man I met this morning has already had both his sons kidnapped and is fearing his daughter may soon be taken too.

"It hurts every day," he admitted. "But you can't say that. People think you're whining. Everyone's in the same boat. Who hasn't had someone depart? It used to be that exile and banishment was a punishment for some of the worst possible crimes. Nowadays, it's all young people have to look forward to."

The third man I met had been kidnapped himself many years ago. It took him decades, most of his life, to escape and return home.

"We were conditioned to accept it, weren't we?" he asked. "We just didn't query it. It was normal. That's what people did. They went away. People went to slave abroad and those left behind were to just act as if that was perfectly normal. But it wasn't normal. It was how a slave race behaves. In darkest Africa, where they don't have anything at all, they have their children, their fathers, their husbands and wives. Their children aren't taken. But ours were. And are."

This is a tale of Irish helotry. A long dark tale with no happy ending.

A millennium ago, the Norsemen conducted raids all across the North Atlantic, pillaging land and monasteries, and taking children and women as slaves. Among the worst affected places was Ireland, where the passive locals seemed to accept a proportion of death and captivity as their lot in life. Elsewhere, they fought the Vikings off.

In 1631, Barbary Corsairs from the North African coast conducted a famous raid on Baltimore in Cork. The slavers departed with the entire populace of the town, all but one of whom were destined for a life as a galley slave or harem whore.

The Seventeenth Century was something of a high water mark of Irish people being kidnapped into slavery abroad. Following the Battle of Kinsale, the English had 30,000 military prisoners to deal with. So they sent a load of them into slavery in the New World colonies.

The first ones are thought to have arrived in the Amazon around 1612. A proclamation in 1625 formalised the system. Irish political dissidents would be transported and sold as labourers to planters in the West Indies.

Cromwell upped the ante further in 1649 after sacking Drogheda, when he said: "I do not think 30 0f the whole number escaped with their lives, but those that did are in safe custody in Barbados." The following year he oversaw the sale of 25,000 Irish children to planters in the island of St Kitts. That following decade, more than 100,000 Irish children, mostly under 14 years old, were sold as slaves to planters in the Caribbean and New England.

For the masters of independent Ireland in the period between the 30s and the 60s, economic development was much less important than subduing the populace with fundamentalist religion and maintaining the post-colonial one-party state for the benefit of the elite within that party.

The policy was simple - export the excess population, the ones with drive, ambition, education. Because they were dangerous. They risked rocking the boat. They risked overthrowing the cosy cartel. So the elite learnt from Cromwell - export your enemies. Exile the opposition.

A later variant of this same poisonous clique realised that a certain degree of economic development might be welcome, since it would provide a bigger pie for them to carve up among themselves. After a period of time, they found that they had for the first time in a millennium, reversed the flow of population.

Ireland's lost children took the opportunity to return. They sold up their successful lives abroad in their thousands for the chance to return home and be among their friends and family once more.

But they were bitterly betrayed, their fortunes pirated from their pockets by the property developers and then their futures at home eradicated by the cosy cartel of thieves as they stole all the wealth, and indentured the country to pay for their gambling debts.

And now, after that brief hiatus, we find ourselves resuming the same sad old song we've been keening for over a thousand years. Once again, our bright, our young, our talented, are being exiled to slave abroad.

One time, nearly a millennium ago now, the Irish resisted the process of kidnapping, exile and enslavement.

Brian Boru faced down the Viking raiders in the Battle of Clontarf, the visceral anger of the Irish finally sprung forth and found voice. Of 6500 Vikings, only one in ten was still alive when the day was over. There were casualties - Brian himself fell in battle. But that one time, the message of resistance was clear.

We need that same spirit today. We can no longer indulge the coterie of filth who line their pockets while our families are broken up, our loved ones exported like cattle abroad.

When Fianna Fail come knocking - if they dare - think on everyone you know forced abroad as a result of their pocket-lining policies.

And I won't blame you if you give them a taste of what Brian Boru would have done to them.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Poison Pens 9: telling the opposite of the truth

All today's headlines from the CSO unemployment figures would suggest to you that the number on the dole is actually dropping.

Take this one - you'd assume that meant there were nearly 7,000 more people in work than there were last month.

Here's Pravda RTE singing the same good news song. And here's the Irish Times.

At least to the latter's credit, they reveal buried in their story the actual truth -

"While the number of people on the Live Register did increase over the month the level of increase was less than the increase recorded in the month to January in the previous three years. As a result, on a seasonally adjusted basis there was a monthly decrease of 6,900 on the Live Register in January 2011," the CSO said.

There you are. Actually the number signing on increased. All the headlines are telling you the opposite of the truth.

I'd expect this crap from the government. I recall successive British governments fiddling and massaging dole figures so often as to render them meaningless.

But why are the Irish media telling the opposite of the truth when it comes to unemployment?

PS: Loving the work of this gentleman on Twatter.