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 Cowen's twelve hours

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PostSubject: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:53 am

A journalist colleague predicted today that Brian Cowen had 12 hours left to save his reputation.

His thinking was simple.

Cowen went into government as taoiseach with a high reputation. From day 1 he bungled the job.

- He mucked up choosing ministers

- He mucked up dealing with the initial economic crisis.

- He mucked up the banking crisis.

As the crisis deepened, Cowen blew chance after chance, until even supporters were despairing.

By today, his reputation was in shreds, with his shouting bellowing performance in the Dáil turning people's stomachs.

According to the journalist, today was Cowen's last chance.

Today he had to show competence, sureness of touch, and make people believe he knew what needed to be done and had the ability to do it.

The argument is that he had twelve hours today to seize the initiative, grab public respect and make people trust him again.

If he failed, he was finished.

That would not mean that he would lose his job immediately. But that if he blew it today, he would get no more chances. He would be a political dead man walking, condemned in history to be seen as a failed taoiseach, limping on in office until either his party deposed him or he was binned in the election.

The view of most people seems to be that Cowen blew it today.

He conveyed the impression of a man still all at sea, not communicating clearly to the people, producing a hard to understand speech that left confusion at the end, and which, incredibly, while bailing out banks have decided to charge people in the public service on the minimum wage (and there are some) a 3% levy for a pension, when they don't qualify for a civil service pension to start off with!

So has Cowen blown his key 12 hours? And if so, was it his last chance to save his reputation and earn the respect and trust of the voters?
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:07 am

He looked shook alright during the Press conference - maybe he got absolutely no sleep.

He should get used to insomnia - this is the Season of Horror Politics, unfortunately for him.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:15 am

Papal_knight Two wrote:
A journalist colleague predicted today that Brian Cowen had 12 hours left to save his reputation.

His thinking was simple.

Cowen went into government as taoiseach with a high reputation. From day 1 he bungled the job.

- He mucked up choosing ministers

- He mucked up dealing with the initial economic crisis.

- He mucked up the banking crisis.

As the crisis deepened, Cowen blew chance after chance, until even supporters were despairing.

By today, his reputation was in shreds, with his shouting bellowing performance in the Dáil turning people's stomachs.

According to the journalist, today was Cowen's last chance.

Today he had to show competence, sureness of touch, and make people believe he knew what needed to be done and had the ability to do it.

The argument is that he had twelve hours today to seize the initiative, grab public respect and make people trust him again.

If he failed, he was finished.

That would not mean that he would lose his job immediately. But that if he blew it today, he would get no more chances. He would be a political dead man walking, condemned in history to be seen as a failed taoiseach, limping on in office until either his party deposed him or he was binned in the election.

The view of most people seems to be that Cowen blew it today.

He conveyed the impression of a man still all at sea, not communicating clearly to the people, producing a hard to understand speech that left confusion at the end, and which, incredibly, while bailing out banks have decided to charge people in the public service on the minimum wage (and there are some) a 3% levy for a pension, when they don't qualify for a civil service pension to start off with!

So has Cowen blown his key 12 hours? And if so, was it his last chance to save his reputation and earn the respect and trust of the voters?

His first decision was to make Mary Coughlan Tanaiste. It's been downhill ever since.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:17 am

I don't think we'll be able to accurately assess Cowen's (or any other leader's) legacy for 30-40 odd years. It took that long for the 1929 repercussions to fade out. Very hard to say right now who is getting it right and who isn't. Notably we are into this downturn a year earlier than, say, the UK, and maybe 2 years ahead of Germany, based on what is happening to housing values.

Housing crises take a long time to play out....one thing that is however interesting is that the Iseq appears to have bottomed out (fingers crossed). Stock market crashes tend to precede recessions by 6 months or so, they also start to uptick 6 months to a year before the end.

Better weather might help the public mood. If the deficit is 750 odd million this month, doesn't this translate to a yearly deficit of 9 billion?? Are the bank recaps coming from the pension fund or do they add to the deficit??
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:28 am

So you are saying he is a dead man walking. They don't walk long in the best of times so are you predicting his demise in a matter of days or are you waffling in such a manner that if he goes in 18 months you will still claim clairvoyance
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:41 am

youngdan wrote:
So you are saying he is a dead man walking. They don't walk long in the best of times so are you predicting his demise in a matter of days or are you waffling in such a manner that if he goes in 18 months you will still claim clairvoyance
Tisn't a clairvoyance contest youngdan - the man is entitled to his hope if that's all it turns out to be.

I wouldn't mind knowing what is so wrong with Mary Coughlan - was she a good Minister for Agriculture?

Besides the fact that Fianna Fáil are successful snakecharmers I just don't know what this woman has or hasn't done. Was her appointment really such a disaster ??
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:43 am

Cowen will be gone in three months, the dollar's(exchange rate) will bring him down! Fact!
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:44 am

As opposed to the dollars (in a brown paper bag) which brought down his predecessor.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:47 am

johnfás wrote:
As opposed to the dollars (in a brown paper bag) which brought down his predecessor.

You've got it in one johnfás! Gordon land the Labour party look to be toast in the UK GE 2010. It is truly the worst time to be in government for decades, it seems every government, bar Obama's for obvious reasons, is tanking in public support. World revolution may be at hand!
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:49 am

youngdan wrote:
So you are saying he is a dead man walking. They don't walk long in the best of times so are you predicting his demise in a matter of days or are you waffling in such a manner that if he goes in 18 months you will still claim clairvoyance
He has a tremendous record on predictions, his book written after the ‘07 election “How to get it wrong in every known + one newly discovered way” is a master class.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:51 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Cowen will be gone in three months, the dollar's(exchange rate) will bring him down! Fact!

Well you're going to drag this one out now, aren't you?

What is it - our exports will get more and more affected and our economy more and more bankrupt? Or is this to do with getting more credit? Or MNCs not willing to stay here any longer and us going bankrupt

What ???
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:52 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Cowen will be gone in three months, the dollar's(exchange rate) will bring him down! Fact!

Well you're going to drag this one out now, aren't you?

What is it - our exports will get more and more affected and our economy more and more bankrupt? Or is this to do with getting more credit? Or MNCs not willing to stay here any longer and us going bankrupt

What ???

Time will tell, Audi, time will tell!
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:54 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Cowen will be gone in three months, the dollar's(exchange rate) will bring him down! Fact!

Well you're going to drag this one out now, aren't you?

What is it - our exports will get more and more affected and our economy more and more bankrupt? Or is this to do with getting more credit? Or MNCs not willing to stay here any longer and us going bankrupt

What ???

Time will tell, Audi, time will tell!

arrggh come on! What could be the mechanics of this now - the ins and outs ... come on ArdTaoiseach ... tell us.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:54 am

He predicted Obama to be a success and look what has happened in just 2 weeks. Worse corruption ever with 3 tax evaders trying for nomination to cabinet
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:56 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Cowen will be gone in three months, the dollar's(exchange rate) will bring him down! Fact!

Well you're going to drag this one out now, aren't you?

What is it - our exports will get more and more affected and our economy more and more bankrupt? Or is this to do with getting more credit? Or MNCs not willing to stay here any longer and us going bankrupt

What ???

Time will tell, Audi, time will tell!

arrggh come on! What could be the mechanics of this now - the ins and outs ... come on ArdTaoiseach ... tell us.

Ah, when Intel is in the house of Aquarius and Amcham is in the third division of Pisces aligned with te IDA under the influence of Neptune, all will be revealed. These are, the crying times.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:12 am

tonys wrote:
youngdan wrote:
So you are saying he is a dead man walking. They don't walk long in the best of times so are you predicting his demise in a matter of days or are you waffling in such a manner that if he goes in 18 months you will still claim clairvoyance
He has a tremendous record on predictions, his book written after the ‘07 election “How to get it wrong in every known + one newly discovered way” is a master class.
Now there's two of you at it. Is this going to become a feature of the site. I hope not.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:13 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
tonys wrote:
youngdan wrote:
So you are saying he is a dead man walking. They don't walk long in the best of times so are you predicting his demise in a matter of days or are you waffling in such a manner that if he goes in 18 months you will still claim clairvoyance
He has a tremendous record on predictions, his book written after the ‘07 election “How to get it wrong in every known + one newly discovered way” is a master class.
Now there's two of you at it. Is this going to become a feature of the site. I hope not.
At what?
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:19 am

tonys wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
tonys wrote:
youngdan wrote:
So you are saying he is a dead man walking. They don't walk long in the best of times so are you predicting his demise in a matter of days or are you waffling in such a manner that if he goes in 18 months you will still claim clairvoyance
He has a tremendous record on predictions, his book written after the ‘07 election “How to get it wrong in every known + one newly discovered way” is a master class.
Now there's two of you at it. Is this going to become a feature of the site. I hope not.
At what?
Biting, pinching.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:16 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
youngdan wrote:
So you are saying he is a dead man walking. They don't walk long in the best of times so are you predicting his demise in a matter of days or are you waffling in such a manner that if he goes in 18 months you will still claim clairvoyance
Tisn't a clairvoyance contest youngdan - the man is entitled to his hope if that's all it turns out to be.

I wouldn't mind knowing what is so wrong with Mary Coughlan - was she a good Minister for Agriculture?

Besides the fact that Fianna Fáil are successful snakecharmers I just don't know what this woman has or hasn't done. Was her appointment really such a disaster ??

Yes it was. It really doesn't matter who is the Minister for Agriculture. Agriculture is decided in Brussels, so what goes on in Kildare Street is glorified bean counting. Anybody can do the job because there is virtually no policy that is not decided at European level. There are times when an Agriculture Minister can be severely tested, as was Joe Walsh with the Foot and Mouth crisis. Minister Walsh responded to that very effectively and in such a positive, timely manner that his reputation was enhanced as a result.

Coughlan, I'm afraid, comes across as clueless and utterly out of her depth. She is a liability at a time when we need some kind of assurance that this government has an idea where it's going. There are better candidates for the job of Tanaiste. Coughlan has been promoted several levels above her level of competence for internal party political reasons at the expense of the country as a whole.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:50 am

Coughlan was a far better Minister for Ag than Brendan Smith is, she had a feel for it and could manage her constituents, Smith rubs everyone up the wrong way, is out of depth with his brief and doesn't get it. Worst thing to happen to ag in many years. Decisions may be made in Brussels but the bean counting and the implementation here are essential, as is the negotiation at Brussels level - the disaster that is the nutrient waste plan is a case in point - farming by the calendar, who'd have thunk it? (that happened on Coughlan's watch, by the way)

But back to Cowen. I watched the three speeches with my mother and brother. The speech wasn't Cowen's finest hour but I'm glad the 1.4bn cut will happen in the public sector and I think the public service unions will come out of this far worse than he did. They have discredited partnership, themselves and trade union politics in their behaviour.

What really, really annoyed me was Enda Kenny's response. It's a hundred previous empty rhetorical speeches re-run - he needn't have turned up at all. I confess, my heart raced a little at the beginning when I thought he wasn't going to play party politics but no, it was not to be.

Such bullshit and hypocritical bluster about a lack of bi-partisanship and then an abject failure to address any of the points raised in Cowen's speech. No reference to its content (lacking in detail as it was, but then we all know that the ten minute speech, no more than the budget, is not where the detail is delivered). The dogs in the street knew that Cowen would implement the cut once agreement couldn't be reached with the unions. Yet Kenny wasn't prepared to comment on it. Breathtaking.

What emerged from Enda Kenny's risible presentation was that he's still hurting at not being in government, hurting so badly it blinds him from being an effective leader of any opposition because his bitterness pervades every thought he has. His performance points out clearly than any pretence he may have alluded to about FG's willingness to engage in bi-partisan politics was simply vote-getting pretence. I am so angry with him. Eamon Gilmore at least had some vision in his response, focussing on the shortsightedness of the measures contained, what was left out of the speech. He responded to what was and wasn't said.

Kenny did an unforgivable thing at a moment of national crisis. He put himself and his party and their petty grievances above the issue of the day. I am not a FF or Brian Cowen apologist - far from it but Enda Kenny and Fine Gael are not an alternative. I'm not sure which fills me with more dread, the continuance of Fianna Fáil or the prospect of Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.

Is Brian Cowen a dead man walking? He has been since he took office and not exclusively through his own fault. Your journalist friend could have made the same point a number of times recently, PK2 - a stopped clock is right twice a day.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:29 am

Kate P wrote:
Coughlan was a far better Minister for Ag than Brendan Smith is, she had a feel for it and could manage her constituents, Smith rubs everyone up the wrong way, is out of depth with his brief and doesn't get it. Worst thing to happen to ag in many years. Decisions may be made in Brussels but the bean counting and the implementation here are essential, as is the negotiation at Brussels level - the disaster that is the nutrient waste plan is a case in point - farming by the calendar, who'd have thunk it? (that happened on Coughlan's watch, by the way)

But back to Cowen. I watched the three speeches with my mother and brother. The speech wasn't Cowen's finest hour but I'm glad the 1.4bn cut will happen in the public sector and I think the public service unions will come out of this far worse than he did. They have discredited partnership, themselves and trade union politics in their behaviour.

What really, really annoyed me was Enda Kenny's response. It's a hundred previous empty rhetorical speeches re-run - he needn't have turned up at all. I confess, my heart raced a little at the beginning when I thought he wasn't going to play party politics but no, it was not to be.

Such bullshit and hypocritical bluster about a lack of bi-partisanship and then an abject failure to address any of the points raised in Cowen's speech. No reference to its content (lacking in detail as it was, but then we all know that the ten minute speech, no more than the budget, is not where the detail is delivered). The dogs in the street knew that Cowen would implement the cut once agreement couldn't be reached with the unions. Yet Kenny wasn't prepared to comment on it. Breathtaking.

What emerged from Enda Kenny's risible presentation was that he's still hurting at not being in government, hurting so badly it blinds him from being an effective leader of any opposition because his bitterness pervades every thought he has. His performance points out clearly than any pretence he may have alluded to about FG's willingness to engage in bi-partisan politics was simply vote-getting pretence. I am so angry with him. Eamon Gilmore at least had some vision in his response, focussing on the shortsightedness of the measures contained, what was left out of the speech. He responded to what was and wasn't said.

Kenny did an unforgivable thing at a moment of national crisis. He put himself and his party and their petty grievances above the issue of the day. I am not a FF or Brian Cowen apologist - far from it but Enda Kenny and Fine Gael are not an alternative. I'm not sure which fills me with more dread, the continuance of Fianna Fáil or the prospect of Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.

Is Brian Cowen a dead man walking? He has been since he took office and not exclusively through his own fault. Your journalist friend could have made the same point a number of times recently, PK2 - a stopped clock is right twice a day.

I cannot get over you Kate P. You seem to have no sense whatever of what has just been done to ordinary people the length and breadth of the country. You come across like some sort of arm chair executioner rejoicing at the pain inflicted on people who are entirely innocent of what has happened to our economy - your only regret possibly being that even more heads did not roll. As for Cowen and Kenny - we must have been listening to two completely different speeches. Cowen mumbled his way through an incoherent speech which left more questions unanswered than before he got up to speak. The specifics had to be dragged out of him afterwards. It's also completely untrue to say that Kenny did not give a much more specific speech about what FG felt should be done - in fact he made it quite clear, and rightly so, that Cowen has routinely usurped parliamentary democracy by refusing to engage with the opposition parties about a whole raft of measures that they had submitted. FG have put forward masses of suggestions - all of them rejected out of hand. Gilmore savaged Cowen - and rightly so too. Cowen is an incompetent bufoon.

There is a vicious tendency among the extreme right in this country which this crisis has brought to the surface. The snarling contempt for ordinary people is staggering. Preserving privilege is what gets them out of bed in the morning. People seem to be deluding themselves that public sector comprises masses of people earning huge salaries. Well excuse me, but that would be the top end of the banking and commercial sector in point of fact - yet again completely untouched by any of the measures the government has announced - other than being the benficiaries of huge bailouts. Of course most of of those who are advocating the imposition of misery on so many people would not be doing so if they stood any chance of being affected equally themselves. People are just so much vermin to be kicked about at their feet! Obnoxious. Sooner or later the marie-anotinettes will get their come uppance, that's for sure.


Last edited by Aragon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:45 am

Dead right. She comes accross as a complete machinist with no empathy what so ever. Gilmore is indeed a complete buffoon like you said
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:55 am

Kate

The Oppostion weren't given out the details of those cuts until during the session which to me is a shabby way of treating an Opposition at all - didn't the Japanese fella Taro Aso - recently invite all suggestion from the Opp. that they could give??

How long has this been going on -the brutal shunning of the Opposition's suggestions in Government? Bruton has been banging on for years but was often shouted down by Cowen and his Government - is that really a decent way to treat a party which has the support of a significant portion of the people? No it's damn well not. This has to change but I fear it's too late. Cowen nailed his own coffin in one interview with Richard Bruton on RTE radio just before the last general election. He 'savaged' him - not on figures which Cowen's own Finance Ministry subsequently got ALL WRONG (this was before we were subject to an 'unprecedented' 'global' 'American' problem) - to me Bruton was so roughly dealt with in that interview on O'Rourke at One that it was clear that Cowen was and is nothing but a bully. He and his Government are the ones playing party politics - they are in power, they should have the luxury of lending an ear to one of their main Opposition parties but they reserve that for Labour, HATRED is what I regularly hear coming out of Cowen - pure vicious, peeved-off hatred at FG. They bought that election as they bought previous elections and they sowed fear that FG would ruin everyone's cosy nest. We see now that they are unrolling many things they used to buy the electorate with all along.

Gilmore on the other hand spoke firmly to Cowen the way a caring father speaks to a wayward child - I wouldn't be surprised if FF are behind the scenes courting Labour to go into Government in the next run which you can possibly see in the chemistry between the politicians. The numbers are still there too.

And on and on the dance will go. The country needs to be utterly ruined before people wake up and smell their own coffee that they spilled on themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:05 am

Aragon wrote
Quote :
I cannot get over you Kate P. You seem to have no sense whatever of what has just been done to ordinary people the length and breadth of the country. You come across like some sort of arm chair executioner rejoicing at the pain inflicted on people who are entirely innocent of what has happened to our economy - your only regret possibly being that even more heads did not roll. As for Cowen and Kenny - we must have been listening to two completely different speeches. Cowen mumbled his way through an incoherent speech which left more questions unanswered than before he got up to speak. The specifics had to be dragged out of him afterwards. It's also completely untrue to say that Kenny did not give a much more specific speech about what FG felt should be done - in fact he made it quite clear, and rightly so, that Cowen has routinely usurped parliamentary democracy by refusing to engage with the opposition parties about a whole raft of measures that they had submitted. FG have put forward masses of suggestions - all of them rejected out of hand. Gilmore savaged Cowen - and rightly so too. The man is an incompetent bufoon.

There is a vicious tendency among the extreme right in this country which this crisis has brought to the surface. The snarling contempt for ordinary people is staggering. Preserving privilege is what gets them out of bed in the morning. People seem to be deluding themselves that public sector comprises masses of people earning huge salaries. Well excuse me, but that would be the top end of the banking and commercial sector in point of fact - yet again completely untouched by any of the measures the government has announced - other than being the benficiaries of huge bailouts. Of course most of of those who are advocating the imposition of misery on so many people would not be doing so if you stood any chance of being affected equally yourselves. People are just so much vermin to be kicked about at their feet? Obnoxious. Sooner or later the marie-anotinettes will get their come uppance, that's for sure.

I'm on career break from teaching, Aragon and that career break opportunity has ended since the budget - I don't have a private sector employer giving me 20k to find myself for a year or two. I'll possibly be back in school in September and my pay will be affected by those cuts, the ones I'm in favour of.

Perhaps you cannot get over me - fine. But I'd suggest your arguments would get over a lot better if you did get over the poster and get on with the issue. I am not an armchair executioner and I resent the personalised and rather nasty suggestion that I'd like to see more ordinary people suffer. (Indeed I've already modded a comment by you on this thread in a similar vein directed at another poster and it is with the Mod Team for consideration). I am not rejoicing in the infliction of pain on anybody. You have no justification in making that point, you've merely jumped to a conclusion that suits your perspective.

But seeing as that's where we're at just now... It would be very easy to look at the world in the way you do and criticise everyone from a height who has had the temerity to put themselves in a position of leadership, four legs good, two legs bad. The problem is that your way of looking at the world doesn't make it any better, what it does is attempt to impose and fit an ideology onto a situation that bears no similarity to that ideology. It doesn't fit and it won't. You can rant and rail all you like, but it won't change anything.

There are many benefits to the decision Brian Cowen made yesterday and the first is that it's positive action. And we've waited a long time for that. I don't doubt that there will be changes made in the implementation of it - which is why I'm not stamping my foot about it the lowest paid workers suffering. I don't think they will in the long run, but the bigger picture is more important, despite my sympathy for anyone on a low income.

Partnership has now been shown up - the unions have made their position quite clear and they can never expect to have the same rights or credibility again. Union leadership has been divorced from union members for a long time. I hope we'll see a major re-think within the union movement of how business should be done in the future.

The public sector have taken their medicine and the graduated principle has been set out. It's not ideal but it's a starting point. Actually, it's a line in the sand. We yelled for leadership and action and now we have it. Things can only get better, Aragon. We can move on. The public sector winge-fest will lose steam and we can move on to more deserving causes who need to have their wages cut, like some of those whom you suggest.

In the long term, I don't think this is a battle worth fighting because essentially it's far better than the alternative (Richard Bruton, interestingly, wasn't able to provide Mary Wilson with a single alternative on yesterday's Drivetime). We don't have time to hang around. We have to make the big decisions and tidy the detail as we go and I have faith that that will happen. I don't believe that all in government and all in the civil service are fundamentally evil, armchair executioners even if they and all forms of human interaction are imperfect.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Aragon, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
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PostSubject: Re: Cowen's twelve hours   Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:11 am

I agree with a lot of what you say there Audi, but think Gilmore read the riot act to Cowen. Left him for dead, really. As for directing the blame for this mess to its source, the majority of people in Ireland are entirely innocent of blame for this. Most people had one house, one job and maybe some savings in the bank if they were lucky. There seems to be some notion abroad the most people had several houses, two foreign holidays a year and a lucrative portfolio of investments. This would have applied to fewer than 10% of the population, at best. Many of us are sick to the back teeth of the lies and bullshit being talked about us by politicians and their lackey's in the media - scarcely any of whom have the wit to look past the press releases issued to them daily. They sing like dutiful little song birds, in perfect harmony with the politicians and the IBEC types. It's like the government have issued an instruction to the media to have a go at the public sector - and off they all run like dutiful little school kids anxious to please the teacher. The Irish media are exceptionally thick, however, so we are especially handicapped here when it comes to public debate.
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