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Coughlan on why 'dynasty politics' is practical.


roc_

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Thought it worth posting this excellent and significant article that Elaine Byrne wrote back in January 2009. (acknowledging that Obama's talk and stated intent back then has not transpired to any meaningful degree, so perhaps ignore this aspect of the article)

The Irish Times - Tue, Jan 13, 2009 - Lessons we must learn from Obama's self-reflection

"... In an interview with this newspaper at the weekend, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan said that dynasty politics was practical because of an inbuilt reputation. “They know you understand the system and are accustomed to how it works. You know the life and have the contacts,” she said. In other political systems this is known as an aristocracy. An inherent-ocracy produces a political generation where safe constituencies immunise political leadership from the necessity to inspire debate because of the assumption of automatic re-election..."

She also points out another very significant aspect of our political malady in the beginning of that article:

"... My UN colleagues challenged me to ask “Why?” about everything. Not that they knew the answers, but at least they recognised that asking the question was part of the answer..."


... It strikes me that the whole country knows very well what is the core problem that is bringing this country to its knees (and worse) but yet can't do anything about it! What does that say?!
 


R

RepublicanSocialist1798

Christ that woman does my head in.

FF are nothing more than arrogant ************************ers. They really believe in holding onto power.
"you're not allowed to say our dear leader is drunk"
"I'm entitled to have my fathers/mothers seat"
 

needle_too

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roc_

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May be difficulty accessing that link..

Obama’s team is trying to temper expectations. Meanwhile, in Ireland we are permanently disillusioned, writes Elaine Byrne

THIS COLUMN was born in anger. It stemmed from a period working at the United Nations, immersed in a vigorous and disparate world of colour, culture, class and religion. A world apart from a rural Wicklow upbringing of six younger siblings, where the family pub served as your living room and our funeral home as my only place of study. (It was dead quiet.) Dressing coffins was as much a part of the household routine as polishing the hearse to shine a magnificent black, proudly. When you grow up bearing intimate witness to death, you assume that death is normal.

Living outside of Ireland forced me to engage with her in a different way. My UN colleagues challenged me to ask “Why?” about everything. Not that they knew the answers, but at least they recognised that asking the question was part of the answer. I learned that sometimes you needed to be far away in order to get up close. Only then does it become obvious how normal gets to be defined and what you think is ordinary can possibly be abnormal to everyone else.

Irish politics thrives on entrenched and deep-rooted assumptions. We accept subconsciously that the position of taoiseach is reserved for those political parties of civil war origins. Or, that the proportional-representation single-transferable-vote electoral system is good for national democracy because it promotes provincial “ombudsmen”.

In an interview with this newspaper at the weekend, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan said that dynasty politics was practical because of an inbuilt reputation. “They know you understand the system and are accustomed to how it works. You know the life and have the contacts,” she said. In other political systems this is known as an aristocracy. An inherent-ocracy produces a political generation where safe constituencies immunise political leadership from the necessity to inspire debate because of the assumption of automatic re-election.

Extended Dáil holidays warrant that we learn second-hand of proposed tax increases. It was only through a Saturday report in this newspaper that we learned of the Department of Finance’s updated stability report to the European Commission on tax.

In this Ireland, the consequences of gross failures within the banking regulatory regime justify the retirement, not resignation, of the financial regulator; where the front page headlines of Sunday newspapers articulate national debate as to the type of car that the Taoiseach currently has.

These are old politics, old parties and old policies. Politics, though, has the ability to reinvent itself.

On this page, in extracts from Barack Obama’s autobiographical narrative, Dreams from my Father, he writes of the “needlepoint virtues” of his mother. “‘If you want to grow into a human being,’ she would say to me, ‘you’re going to need some values’.” She cited four: (Irish public life, please copy)

- Honesty
- Fairness
- Straight talk
- Independent judgment.

The president-elect was 33 when he penned these early memoirs. They start with a quotation from the Book of Chronicles: “For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers.” Like his mother, Obama is the perpetual sojourner, always searching for something, not content in what he describes as the “smugness and hypocrisy that familiarity had disclosed”.

Obama argues with himself in his struggle to define his identity. He acknowledges his failures and confronts his assumptions.

In Indonesia he meets direct racism for the first time. The “violent” Life magazine feature of the black man who had tried to peel off his skin would bring Obama to admit: “But my vision had been permanently altered.”

This personal journey of self-reflection and self-examination ultimately translated into a broader political one for America. His extraordinary ability to connect with young people has established him as a new generation president not only for America, but for Ireland. Brian Cowen is 18 months older than Obama yet our generation identify more with an American president of Offaly ancestry than a Taoiseach of Offaly birth.

Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic national convention in Boston was a defining moment of his political career: “In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? . . . Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope.”

Despite economic reasons to the contrary, there is robust confidence and belief in the capability of American political leadership. The degree of expectation invested in Obama is such that his campaign team has emphatically sought to temper them since his November election.

That’s the difference between America and Ireland. We do not have that luxury of attempting to prevent disappointment because we are already permanently disillusioned.

In the absence of hope and an acceptance that Irish politics must also make a journey of self-revelation, I have decided to undertake a journey. It begins at the national convention centre in Boston, to meet Massachusetts Democratic Party activists. From there we take the train to Washington for Barrack Obama’s inauguration this day week.

This column is still angry.
 

DCon

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Roughly translated as:


"I grew up with the State's silver spoon feeding me. I got used to it. I want it to continue forever."
 

McDave

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Too much sense of self-entitlement in our bloated political class.

Abolish the Senate; reduce the Dail to 80 seats; make the Dail into a proper, professional legislative body. That should help winnow out political time-servers. The likes of Mary Coughlan can then revert to their appropriate political level - representative county councillor. Let's see whether her sense of 'noblesse oblige' will kick in there.
 

Tomas Mor

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Maybe this thread should be moved to the Political humour section
 

owedtojoy

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"In other political systems this is known as an aristocracy. An inherent-ocracy produces a political generation where safe constituencies immunise political leadership from the necessity to inspire debate because of the assumption of automatic re-election..."

It is surely no accident that the three top political office-holders in the State are all products of political dynasties (Cowen, Coughlan, Linehan). TDs and their families are the nearest things we have to an aristocracy - all sorts of doors open for them like magic, they are courted and cosseted from an early age, they need never fear being stuck on a trolley at A&E - a quick call from Mum or Dad to a local bureaucrat will make sure of that.

I have no objections to sons and daughters following the vocation of their parents or relatives, but there should be some system by which they serve a political apprenticeship. Cowen and Coughlan basically went straight into the Dail from University - they have no track record at anything other than presenting themselves to their constituents as Daddy's Little Boy/ Girl. At least Linehan did have a career as a Lecturer.
 

Franzoni

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Maybe this thread should be moved to the Political humour section
No..it's pretty serious that a deputy prime minister would be endorsing a culture of excluding citizens frolm the right to engage in politics just because they don't have the right 'breeding'..i've said it before FF are trying to be the new 'establishment' ...we should run them out of Ireland never mind out of government....
 

consultant

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No..it's pretty serious that a deputy prime minister would be endorsing a culture of excluding citizens frolm the right to engage in politics just because they don't have the right 'breeding'..i've said it before FF are trying to be the new 'establishment' ...we should run them out of Ireland never mind out of government....
It IS serious and should remain in the public focus.

The concept makes a mockery of the anti-monarchy aspects of our republican fore-fathers - remember, the ones that FF proudly proclaim as their own?

It also explains to an extent the FF belief that government is their sole right. To the extent that they refuse to proceed quickly with the outstanding bye-elections.

This, in their view, is not denying people their democratic right of representation. It is only to avoid the distraction that the elections would cause to them "carrying out the job for which they are elected".

On one level, however, Coughlan is correct. The dynastic system eases and facilitates the cronyism and gombeenism so beloved and continuously perpetuated by FF. Its the same as a Clongowes versus Tallaght VEC up-bringing. You live and breath the 'right' atmosphere.
 

SideysGhost

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No..it's pretty serious that a deputy prime minister would be endorsing a culture of excluding citizens frolm the right to engage in politics just because they don't have the right 'breeding'..i've said it before FF are trying to be the new 'establishment' ...we should run them out of Ireland never mind out of government....
Trying to be? They've been the Establishment, and working solely for Establishment interests, since at least the 1960s, but they still get away with pretending to be some sort of rebellious upstarts on the side of de peeple.

Agree with the rest though, it's shocking for a senior politician - from the "Republican" party - to be advocating aristocracy. Mary is probably to dumb to realise what she is doing here though. Dumb and Entitled. Yeah the political class really are the cream of Ireland alright - rich and thick.

I keep coming back to this but it does seem to me that the principles of republicanism really run very shallow in Ireland. 90% of people just don't understand the system we are supposed to have and that we were supposed to have fought for all those centuries.
 

eoghanacht

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Direct Democracy is the only way forward folks, FF are the masters of nepotism but FG and Labour are just as keen on the idea.

Our whole system is rotten to the core.
 

Disillusioned democrat

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No..it's pretty serious that a deputy prime minister would be endorsing a culture of excluding citizens frolm the right to engage in politics just because they don't have the right 'breeding'..i've said it before FF are trying to be the new 'establishment' ...we should run them out of Ireland never mind out of government....
I've said it before on this board and I'll say it again....throughout the War of Independence the then "FF" saw themselves as replacing the British as opposed to displacing them. The gombeens didn't fight to free Ireland, but to rule it as their own, which they have largely done for 80 years. Coughlan is just stupid enough to actually say what they all privately believe...the banking crisis and NAMA are perfect examples of this - the elite fe*ck up, but the peasants pay...not too different to living under an aristocracy.
 

Pauli

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Direct Democracy is the only way forward folks, FF are the masters of nepotism but FG and Labour are just as keen on the idea.

Our whole system is rotten to the core.
+1. Direct democracy makes people take responsibility for their decisions. To advance real politics in Ireland, you have to devolve power to the county councils, including giving county councils tax-raising power under the constitution but also constitutionally limiting the tax-raising power of the "federal government" in Dublin. Reduce the Dail to 40% of its current size and limit their powers to dealing with defence, foreign affairs, national infrastructure and federal matters. The county councils look after everything else from the taxes they raise. Make balanced budgets mandatory. Then and only then will people take responsibility for their voting choices. When they know there is nobody else to bail them out, then sensible politics will prevail and the Frankenstein that is FF today will change or die. The others would have to move with the changes also.

This is a very brief and bald summation for what I believe can be a cure for the wretched uselessness of Irish politics as it is now but at its core is making people accountable for voting choices.
 

DCon

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I've said it before on this board and I'll say it again....throughout the War of Independence the then "FF" saw themselves as replacing the British as opposed to displacing them. The gombeens didn't fight to free Ireland, but to rule it as their own, which they have largely done for 80 years.
+1
 

Franzoni

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I've said it before on this board and I'll say it again....throughout the War of Independence the then "FF" saw themselves as replacing the British as opposed to displacing them. The gombeens didn't fight to free Ireland, but to rule it as their own, which they have largely done for 80 years. Coughlan is just stupid enough to actually say what they all privately believe...the banking crisis and NAMA are perfect examples of this - the elite fe*ck up, but the peasants pay...not too different to living under an aristocracy.
I remember a documentary on TV years ago where it claimed that Dev actually toyed with the idea of establishing a Prince/President and approached someone who had links to old irish royalty to head the state but was turned down

I'm well aware of FF's ambitions to replace the brits in all things in this country but i wass pretty shocked at this claim considering FF's republician claims over the years.... looks like the later generations of FFer's didn't lick it off the leaves....
 

Victor Meldrew

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No..it's pretty serious that a deputy prime minister would be endorsing a culture of excluding citizens frolm the right to engage in politics just because they don't have the right 'breeding'..i've said it before FF are trying to be the new 'establishment' ...we should run them out of Ireland never mind out of government....
If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck....

Defacto "Ruling class".
 

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