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 And Finally The Winners - Machine Nation Best and Worst Politicians of 2008

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PostSubject: And Finally The Winners - Machine Nation Best and Worst Politicians of 2008   And Finally The Winners - Machine Nation Best and Worst Politicians of 2008 EmptySun Dec 21, 2008 9:56 pm

After four weeks of nominations, discussion and polling, we are happy to announce the winners of the Machine Nation Best and Worst Irish Politician of the Year Awards 2008. cheers
In a year that will be remembered as 12 months of difficult transition between two extreme eras, many of the same politicians appeared in both the Best and the Worst Politicians nomination lists. Other surprises were Joe Higgins strong performance in spite of having lost his seat and Declan Ganley’s very poor performance in spite of never having been elected. The future being so uncertain, 2008 appears to have been mainly a year of judgement on politicians for their past performance, rather than expectation of future achievement.

The winner, Richard Bruton, would be the first to say he has benefited from a high profile portfolio and a fairly absent opponent in Brian Lenihan. Lenihan, nominated as second from worst Finance Minister in Europe earlier in the year by the Financial Times, managed to slip under the radar, and was nominated as neither best nor worst. Joe Higgins and Mary Lou McDonald came second and third.

Bertie Ahern and Mary Harney were lucky to have Declan Ganley around, to save them from the ignominy of being Machine Nation’s first Worst Politician of the year. There was only a nose between those two runners up. Declan Ganley’s entry into Irish politics has aroused extreme passions on both sides. It remains to be seen whether he has a constituency amongst Irish voters.


A total of 132 votes were cast.

Machine Nation Best Politician of the Year

FIRST Richard Bruton 25% of vote
SECOND Joe Higgins 17% of vote and
THIRD Mary Lou McDonald 13% of vote.

Other contenders for Best Politician in a very challenging year were Joan Burton at 12%, Bertie Ahern and Declan Ganley tied at 8% and John Gormley at 5%.

Worst Politician of the Year

FIRST Declan Ganley 25% of vote
SECOND Bertie Ahern 21% of vote and
THIRD Mary Harney 20% of vote.

Runners up for Worst Politician were Brian Cowen at 15% and Leo Varadker at 10%.

Best Posts on the Best and Worst Politician threads –
Some great posts on the voting threads, and even more on the original nominations thread, that I’ve just read through – by Toxic Avenger, Zhou, evercloserunion, Aragon, Slim Buddha, Youngdan, Edo, coc, Seathrúnceitinn, tonys, Auditor 9#, Ard Taoiseach, expatgirl, kn, Hermes and Squire, to name only a few of those responsible.

Impossible to pick a “best post” – here are couple of shorter ones that caught my eye.

Papal Knight

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
except when on the doss,
flying high
through an American sky
on a freebie paid by Fás.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
especially with McDowell
The south east boss
whose defeat no loss
being a political Simon Cowell.

Slim Buddha’s impassioned and well-constructed post on Mary Harney here:


I voted for Joan Burton because she sounds like somebody that rings into Gerry Ryan for advice on personal relationships in 1991......and then affirms that Gerry and Brenda have given her food for thought.


1. Richard Bruton TD: As already stated a capable speaker and knows his stuff. Well able to take Cowen and Lenihan to task. He has proven adept at landing punches on the government which previously known for wriggling away from hard answers.

2. Micheal D Higgins TD: basically for this speech

3. Senator David Norris: He has consistently held the banner for Gay Rights (and other minority rights) over the last number of years. He has never backed down and is not afraid of taking anyone on on Civil Unions including the Catholic Church!

Worst has to be Cowen, he didn’t see this coming!

Toxic Avenger

Cowen is partially responsible, he fell asleep on his watch as Finance Minister. But the main blame lies with Ahern. He effectively bought the 2002 election, encouraged profligacy, presided over a property pyramid scheme as the main plank of the economy, tried to buy off every interest group, then effectively blackguarded anyone who raised the slightest quibble about where it all was headed.

But there's no way that Ahern, despite the exhortations of the Sunday Pravdapendent, will get a sniff of any Cabinet Post again. The Tribunal Report's prolonged imminence, and it will be a damning report, means Ahern is the political equivalent of Krytonite. Plus Cowen is not going to willingly take the fall while Ahern plays the White Knight to the rescue...


Since we're somehow categorizing Ganley as a politician can I please nominate him for worst politician. The reasons should be fairly obvious; he arrived on the scene as a nobody and used his wealth to build up a political profile through the spreading of lies and fear. His behaviour has been completely disingenuous and has had a detrimental effect on the qualitative level of political discourse in this country.

Ard Taoiseach

1.John Gormley has been a great leader of the Green Party as he has led it to a rise in the opinion polls, a surge in membership and a quickly-established reputation for calmness and pragmatism in government. He has implemented 2 carbon budgets, an improvement in insulation standards in housing, a new motor-tax regime which is significantly better than previously, overseen a continued growth in WEEE and changed the face of Irish environmental policy at an EU level. With the fact that the Greens have become far more important to the stability of this Government, his ability to implement the Green agenda will only increase and will go to the electorate as a leader of the Green Party with a burgeoning list of policy successes.

2.Richard Bruton is a superb finance spokesperson for Fine Gael. His vision, clarity of thought and prescience all combine to make him one of the few people in the Dáil whom I would trust with the nation's finances. He has a great media presence, he speaks clearly, lucidly and correctly and he shows up the inconsistencies of government policy well. If the Government falls, he would be the best pick for Minister for Finance as I don't think Labour has someone of his calibre who has a reasonable chance of actually getting the job who would be better.

3.Mary Harney, she's the only politician with any vision for the health service and while the Opposition bleat and moan about her tenure as Minister, I have yet to hear them propose a convincing alternative. She has implemented hygiene audits, gotten some headway with the consultants and overseen an improvement in Ireland's standing in the European Consumer Health Index. She has the mandate of the people since the Health Action Group Independents lost their seats in the last election while she was returned to the Dáil in spite of an active campaign mounted to remove her.


Second that Slim - you beat me to it. I came on to nominate Joe Higgins as the best politician in Ireland for his enduring committment to rectifying social and economic injustices and his wonderful parliamentary and speaking skills. He is the most genuine politician we have in Ireland - who accepts only the average industrial wage from his salary entitlement as a TD. He's funny, humane, intelligent and stands out as a great human being in an arena where upholding the best of human values is often sneered at and/or written off as 'naivety'.


I've been thinking about this thread since it started. I've seesawed between throwing a major amount of muck and settling on gentlemen like Michael D. and Joe Higgins. But gentlemen, to me, just don't reach the spot - my politics are vastly different.

There's nobody that represents me. I'm unrepresentable. And that's scary, because I'm quite easygoing, I'd put up with quite a lot and would be willing to meet most folks somewhere in the middle, just to get stuff done. I'm not saying that I'd be as flexible with regard to being represented, but damn it, I'm not that rigid!

As an anarchist, I've only ever voted once (in a referendum, when I was a lot younger and even then it followed a decent period of not having voted). And I regret even doing that.

Political mandates and models aside, I want what most others want: decent educational system, decent justice system, decent healthcare service and a general caring for my fellow people. I'm not so different to the majority. It's my honestly held belief that there's not a politician in Ireland who can help achieve these things. The political party system, I feel, is part of the root of this issue (myself and Ibis touched on this a while ago).

The party system must go. And the man or the woman who can achieve this is more than worthy of my vote. Alas, I don't think I'll be exercising my right to vote anytime soon.


Myself & three of my incarnations voted for Richard the Brut by mistake, can someone change them to Bertie the bold, please.
Thank you ever so much & sorry for the trouble.

And many more good posts here:
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