Well, not quite. Off to Blighty for a week so no posts from me until at least Monday 7th. But maybe Neil might throw a few words together between now and then (hint, hint).
Archive for October, 2005
…Apparently. I’m the featured interviewee for Disillusioned Lefty’s Irish blogger interview this week.
A heavily advertised piece on Ireland’s boombastic economy in the current Newsweek deviates, in some small measure, from the usual ochón go deo garment-rending ‘feel’ pieces that fill our print and broadcast media with nauseating regularity. It’s boilerplate stuff that smacks of the US obsession with fact-checking e.g. for every Joe Higgins bleat, there’s a counterblast from Constantin Gurdgiev but it’s nice to see the current administration get a little love:
And Ireland’s government—the ruling Fianna Fail (Soldiers of Destiny) Party, in
power for most of the last 20 years—deserves plenty of credit. If the Celtic
tiger roars, it’s partly because of smart, enterprise-friendly policies. Those
big investors, from Dell to Intel, aren’t interested in the dreamy green
landscapes of Olde Eire. They like Europe’s lowest corporate taxes—just 12.5
percent—and a clever work force. Ireland also plowed much of its EU development
cash into overhauling an antiquated education system. Now only Japan’s work
force boasts a higher proportion of scientists and engineers.
Mind, if the likes of ‘Fast’ Eddie Hobbs think it’s only the under 35s that are getting shafted on indirect taxes and the like, he’s evidently never seen my pay slip and any ailing working stiff in Ireland has long since paid his subs to a private health insurer.
Anyone who still thinks that the Irish edition of the Sunday Times is a uniformly “right wing” publication because it used to employ Eoghan Harris in the previous century would do well to read the abysmal witterings of one Michael Ross, editor of the Culture section, who strongly resists this characterisation. He used to confine his weekly, weakly missives to relating the various petty squabbles between the boards of cultural institutions, the Arts council and the Irish government. Patently more interested in the process by which Culture is funded by the government than, well, the actual culture itself, he has more recently dropped any kind of pretence that his cultural comment should be about culture at all and instead fulminates on matters political, economic and social displaying a miserable comprehension of such matters commensurate with his purported job description as a culture specialist.
Last week, (no link available) he erroneously claimed for political gladfly Eamon Dunphy, on the basis of his working class background, some sort of longstanding leftwing opposition to the way the rich “reinforce their privilege” to the detriment of those less well off. In fact, hard as it is to pin Dunphy down on a single unwavering principle, this is closer to being the opposite of Dunphy’s declared views. He was, after all, closely associated with the Progressive Democrats at their inception and has generally been in favour of economic liberalism and reform. This week, I was amused by Ross’ recent column on the Irish Times, in particular a throwaway remark, that the “galvanising of the economy driven by Ray McSharry’s” [sic] reforms was “achieved at the expense of the poor”. Such a breadth of economic ignorance revealed by those seven little words. No expense at all was incurred by the poor. Indeed the poor were spared, by McSharry, the “expense” represented by unemployment continuing into the foreseeable future or the necessity to emigrate in search of employment.
One of Ross’ themes is the “cheerleading” by various Irish media outlets of an economic dynamism he sees (without evidence) as detrimental to the interests of the “poor”. He might profitably direct his attention to the Business pages of his own newspaper, where, among such cheerleading, he could learn something about the actual problems Ireland faces, such as our ruinously expensive and inefficient public sector for example, instead of the phantom problems he conjures up of inequality and insufficiently extravagant arts spending.
Now, I’m not normally one for peddling conspiracy-theories. Particularly those relating to the death of Diana Spencer in 1997 in a Paris car crash. Of her demise, one need only ask the question: Cui Bono? Irritant though she might have been to her former husband’s family, it is hard to imagine her mother-in-law demanding to be “rid of this turbulent princess”. And as for the latest suggestion that she was silenced before she could declare her, no doubt extremely influential, support for the Palestinian cause: Yeah. Whatever.
However, when it comes to a disgraced Irish politician, who had hitherto refused to reveal to corruption tribunals the extent of his various murky dealings and the identity of his benefactors, to the point of serving time in jail for contempt of court, meeting his doom in a late night car crash, I don’t feel quite so confident ruling out foul play. I would have thought that Moscow would prove a considerably more congenial place to arrange a fatal car crash than Paris and, when it comes to who benefits, as the Irish Examiner puts it:
Suggestions are now being made that the Mahon Tribunal will never get to the root of the problems, because Lawlor is likely to take many secrets with him to his grave.
Indeed, from the point of view of certain individuals Lawlor does seem to make a cadaver eccellente.
Or acute observers of Imperial déshabillé?
Based on aperçus such as this assessment of Go tell it on the mountain:
If the book was written differently I probably would have found it enjoyable.
I’m leaning to the former
Noted by Irish Eagle: Two differing headlines about U2’s attitude towards political fundraising (by Rick Santorum and Hillary Clinton) coinciding with their concert tour.
The New York Times: U2 Moves to Distance Itself From Concert Fund-Raising