Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Spin cycle - Set to B for Bertie

(This has also been posted to the Irish Election blog.)
A couple of comments to frame the scene and that echo my feelings:
It wasn’t wrong, but if I’d known you were going to give me such hassle about it, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I’d also like to apologise to those who had to listen to you all giving me hassle about it.
joemomma - Bertie’s textbook non-apology apology
Bertie was not held to account, he delivered two set-pieces and the facts were partially disclosed to the media rather than the people. Our Dail has failed us in that this story ran for three weeks and put the brakes on governing this place. Our representatives, like us, were hapless bystanders as the leaders of the parties did battle through the Editors of our news cycle. Their first and foremost role and consideration is to discover the facts, and make Bertie accountable for the facts as they stand.
Cian - Bertiegate Highlights Weakness of Dail
What Ahern did was deeply inappropriate, foolish and should have been brought into the public domain much earlier.
Worldbystorm - Ahern, the Irish Times and the high moral ground
A bit of basic crisis management would have gone a long way, .... Contrition, apology and regret. A promise to act differently in future. The whole issue would have died a death within a day or two.
Wagger - What Bertie Should’a Done
"I knew at that moment what was so wrong and so shocking about everything in the Dail yesterday. It was like that moment at the zoo when you peer into the eyes of a gorilla and releise how much he is like us but also realise that there is something profound which is missing, What is missing is reason. The ape looks like us, he moves like us, he has emotions and appetites like us, he can play hunt-the-ball and count to three, but if you ask him to see the point, he can't, because he doesn't have the equipment for it..... The point is that a Minister for Finance taking money is just plain, unavoidably, ineluctably, self-evidently, straight up, 101 per cent wrong. But the higher-primates in the Dail haven't got the equipment to see why. But wht haven't they ? Why does the forum of this nation operate like the ape house at the zoo ?"
Mark Ellen Synon, Page 8, Irish Daily Mail, Wednesday, October 4, 2006.
"Real evil wasn't about bending the law to suit justice: evil was acting out of small, intensely personal expedience and losing sight of the bigger picture so often that you never got it back again."
Karen Traviss, City of Pearl, Page 369 (The book I've been reading whilst Bertiegate has raged.)

I have spoken before on Bertie's love for social capital. The core of social capital is the concept of generalised reciprocity where I'll do something for you (and I may or may not know you) now, without expecting anything in return for the present because down the line I know that either I or somebody I know with get a return favour from you. Michael Taylor sums it up nicely with "Each individual act in a system of reciprocity is usually characterized by a combination of what one might call short-term altruism and long-term self-interest."

This evening the latest additions to this melting pot where questions about Bertie's house which was bought from one of the gentlemen who 'contributed' to Mr Ahern's Manchester dinner and in the wings, we have Minister Cowen showing documents to Frank Dunlop and then rezoning access of state lands to the benefit of a developer associated with FF.

I could start to rant and rave, calling for fire and brimestone to strike those who have left politics in Ireland in a position somewhere below pond scum but I think it would unfortunately be an echo in the vast empty cavern which seems to constitute the average Joe Soap's interest in politics. Joe Soap wants change, wants action, wants results but doesn't bother about getting involved in local groups not to mind political groups. I think that Mary Davis and the Taskforce on Active Citizenship has more than its work cut out for it. I'm sick of this situation, I think politics and activism is something to be involved in and proud of. I'm not going to lecture or rant, its no secret that I'm political so I'm going to put my feet to the ground and start knocking on the doors of those Joe Soap's and ask them simply do they want a change for the better?

If I have learnt anything from the Bertiegate scandal, its the need to press for change as I cannot in good conscience be a part of letting a government continue when it has opened the way for Ministerial bribery by the Minister simply saying I acted as Mr X rather than Minister X.


  • Yes, I would love a change for the better, sadly I don't believe that there is something for the better to change to.

    Politics is a two way process - what have politicians done to bring politics to the Joe Soap, except for calling around once every four years to get a vote? I know there are meetings and whatever but expecting people to turn up to these out of committment is not a reality.

    And why do you think that "Joe Soap wants change, wants action, wants results"? Where is the evidence of this?

    It appears to me that Joe soap is too busy trying to work and earn money to keep the mortgage paid, too busy trying to look after children, too busy travelling to work or from work, too busy trying to get to Gym, too busy meeting friends, and too busy taking weekends away to be able to have time to commit to something else. Joe soap is relatively happy, relatively being the operative word. And while Joe soap could be happier with an alternative, there is no massive incentive to change.

    Yes, other political parties will bring in policies that may improve commuter times, may help with childcare, or even may stablise house prices but Joe Soap doesn't have time to go through policy documents. Documents, that are mainly propaganda statements, which are hidden away on a web site and in some cases will not be published until the election starts.

    By Anonymous amadan, at 11:21 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous amadan, at 11:22 a.m.  

  • Joe Soap doesn't give a fuck at the moment beacuse the good times are rolling.
    When the bad times roll around again and they will roll around again the apathy of Joe soap will be gone and in it's place will be chants of "how did it come to this" and "I never supported them anyway".
    It's good that there are people out there to poke and prod the government every step of the way.
    If there weren't can you imaginge how corrupt the whole place would be?
    I agree Amadan that Joe soap doesn't seem to want change or even accountability at the moment. That doesn't mean that when the shit hits the fan that Joe Soap won't be the first to say "Off with his head". At that stage the damage is done, too little too late. At least there are people willing to question everything now.
    Amadan from what you say you seem to want politions to engage with you one on one. Perhaps you can lobby your TD for a weekly update on his progress. It might not be a bad Idea. God knows we have no idea what they do day to day. They're not in the Dail thats for sure.

    By Blogger The Busy Engineer, at 1:22 p.m.  

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