Thursday, February 03, 2011

Irish General Election 2011: The 'Democracy Now' soufflé

Sarah's Carey's op-ed article in today's The Irish Times: Angry men lack the courage of conviction

This is my comment:

This is an excellent article as it forensically debunks the excuses put forward for the collapse of the 'Democracy Now' soufflé.

It also comes from a commentator who is not an insider in the cosy media club.

I term it a soufflé because there was not much of substance to it; it is easy to be against villainous bankers but if there is an avoidance of inconvenient truths for voters, then it's a repackaging of Bertie Ahern's politics, albeit with some transparency.

Late last year, Fintan O'Toole addressed a public protest organised by the trade union congress, ICTU, and standing beside him was the general secretary who was a board member of the Central Bank from 1995 to 2010.

This is conservative Ireland after all, where the buck stops nowhere system!

The Dublin Chamber of Commerce calls today for “root and branch” reform of the public sector but it has zero to say on a system where lawyers as public contractors can get paid more per day than the claimed bribes they are investigating, while becoming multimillionaires in the process.

Yes to public reform but also for reform in the protected private sector where the Sate is the biggest supporter.

There is no evidence that these 'Democracy Now' folk were going to be iconoclasts and according to Colm Keena's report in the IT on Tuesday, when 5 putative candidates dropped out, the project collapsed.

Credit where it's due to Shane Ross, but the other big names found that it's easier to be a hurler on the ditch.

There was a confusing newspaper headline this week: 'David McWilliams plans Obama-style campaign' - - showing the conflict between the pull of the public limelight and hard choices, including fear of failure - - and Colm Keena also reported that Elaine Byrne, IT columnist and political scientist, got the impression after 3 meetings that McWilliams was planning to stand in the election but he apparently is giving a contrary impression.

Prof. Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University and co-author of the celebrated book, 'This Time is Different,' in 2002 when he was chief economist of the IMF, wrote an open letter to Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, highlighting how easier it is to be a commentator than a policymaker.

"Joe, as an academic, you are a towering genius. Like your fellow Nobel Prize winner, John Nash, you have a 'beautiful mind.' As a policymaker, however, you were just a bit less impressive."

Open Letter

Finally, I could be fairly termed a hurler on the ditch myself. However, I have stood in a national election and I have the experience of leaving the security of a multinational and starting a business myself - - it takes more stamina than a 4-week campaign!

The Finfacts General Election Page 2011