Politics »

  • Slugfest

    August 27, 2009 @ 10:35 am | by Harry McGee

    The row between the Government and Fine Gael over Nama is good old-fashioned toe-to-toe political pugilism. The subject matter of the debate is complicated (class exercise: explain the difference between senior, and subordinated, debt in one sentence) but the intensity and adversarial nature of it is unmistakable.

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  • Ted Kennedy

    August 26, 2009 @ 10:03 am | by Harry McGee

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    There will be acres of prose eulogising Ted Kennedy today and many playings of his two most famous speeches: at his brother Robert’s funeral; and when ceding the Democratic presidential nomination to the incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980. (Even if Kennedy had won that primary, the consensus has always been that Ronald Reagan would still have triumped)

    More…What prevented Kennedy from becoming President? Did the fatal incident (and his inglorious role) in Chappaquidick in 1969 ruin his prospects for all time? Somebody described him this morning as a person with huge talent but also with  flaws? But his brothers, we found out posthumously, also had the same flaws, and JFK in particular was a serial womaniser. Did Ted Kennedy’s coming of age politically coincide with a new era where the private lives of politicians were no longer off limit?

    Or could he have overcome that? Was it just that synchronicity wasn’t on his side? Was he a little too young in 1976 or was he wrong by not going forward then? And did he make a major tactical mistake by going for the 1980 nomination, and not biding his time for another four or eight years (when he would have been in his 1950s).  I’m sure there have been may, but I can’t remember a same-party rival ousting an incumbent President at a primary in recent history.

    Or was it a deeper issue. For such a confident man from such a self-confident dynasty, maybe he lacked the confidence to believe that he could carry America in the way that his two brothers had… that the youngest Kennedy brother had got lesser rations of his family’s political magic.

    He remains a colossus. Nine-time senator over 47 years. Chairman of the most influential committees in the Senate. A huge ally and friend of Ireland. A great orator. An unflinching champion of liberal causes throughout his career. A great speechmaker. His political instincts were evident when he backed Barack Obama in the Democratic primary, infuriating the Clintons, to whom he had always been politically close.

    I’ve always loved his closing lines from his barnstorming speech in the 1980 Convention, just because of the hope and optimism it expresses at the moment when defeat is finally acknowledged.

    “For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

  • There may be trouble ahead

    August 25, 2009 @ 11:28 am | by Harry McGee

    Over the past couple of years, I have done the Overlook Hotel metaphor to death when describing Leinster House during the summer months. (For those who are not film buffs, it’s the hotel to which Jack Nicholson takes his family in Stanley Kubrick’s film on Stephen King’s novel The Shining).

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  • Stark Honesty (for once) in Leinster House

    August 22, 2009 @ 1:58 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Maybe it’s the Dog Days of August but there is an air of considerable fatalism in Leinster House these days. Talking to seasoned politicians this week, two strong messages came forward, both of them surprising to a greater or lesser extent.

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     Gloom and doom at Leinster House (Photograph by Alan Betson)

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  • Thirty Years Waiting for Seanad Reform

    August 19, 2009 @ 9:36 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

     It’s hard to believe that 30  years have elapsed since the people decided by referendum to extend the Seanad election franchise beyond Trinity and the National University of Ireland, to include graduates of other institutions of higher education.

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    ‘Non-TCD and non-NUI graduates need not apply for a vote’ (Photograph of Seanad chamber by Alan Betson) (more…)

  • Thirsty Work

    August 18, 2009 @ 8:13 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Getting back into blog mode after a wee holiday, may I advert to a subject far removed from politics? Any time I attend a GAA match at Croke Park I am struck by the number of water-carriers who invade the pitch at every opportunity.

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    The Bert at Croker: maybe he knows the answer? (Photograph by Alan Betson)

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  • Beckett O’Donoghue

    August 11, 2009 @ 7:28 pm | by Harry McGee

    Both halves of the politics blog are on holiday this week. We are still capable of some form of communication though! Unlike John O’Donoghue. Ceann Comhairle or nit – he just can’t sit this one out.

    In passing it must be noted that journalists should also fess up about the trips and freebies they get. I was at U2 in Croker, having paid the full whack for my ticket, and spotted hordes of my brethren from the press sitting in the free seats. Full disclosure from the fourth estate is required – we can’t pretend that bought journalism doesn’t exist.

    We aren’t elected true. But interests need to be declared to Joe Public.

  • Who’s next?

    August 6, 2009 @ 8:52 pm | by Harry McGee

    I have always liked the term ‘cross-bencher’ that applies to the non-affiliates in the House of Lord. They are kind of independent but not independent in the true sense. (more…)

  • Thomas Cook serves up half-baked redundancy plan

    August 4, 2009 @ 6:43 pm | by Harry McGee

    I have been away because of a family bereavement but returned this weekend to find evidence of a new militant mood out there.

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