Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Independents Day

With only a few days remaining until we cast our votes in the council, european and by-elections some decisions need to be made.

It is clear that the mainstream political parties in this country are a complete shower of muppets. They play their political games, unleashing ill-conceived policies on an electorate which they hope is too stupid to bother informing themselves. The only thing these politicians can agree on is that they want to preserve the status quo. They want to continue to screw the taxpayer for as much as they can. They want their huge salaries, ridiculous expenses and generous
pensions to remain intact while they wage a war of financial terror on the rest of us poor pixie Irish.

It is also clear that the choice of candidates in all the forthcoming elections is extremely limited. Whether you vote Funny Gael, Lie-bore Party, Fianna Fool or Green Sleeven Party you effectively end up with the same thing representing you - another party hack who will put the needs of their party and their own political progression before those of their constituents.

With this in mind I would urge people to consider the independent candidates in their areas. I watched Vinny Brownetrousers' show on TV3 last night which featured three independent candidates for the Dublin South by-election. I will make no further mention of Noel Car Park O'Gara's candidature other than to say that the clown deserves no further mention. However the other two candidates certainly have something to offer a disenchanted electorate.

Ross O'Mullane and his unitedminds concept is offering an alternative to our current corrupt political system. His proposed system, like his website, is far from polished, however, the guy deserves some credit for suggesting some imaginative reforms of our current shambolic implementation of democracy.

The last of the three candidates, Frank O'Gorman, came across as an ordinary bloke who has had his fill of corrupt politicians and the destructive effect they have on the lives of ordinary people.

These people may not be seasoned political performers and may have been slightly intimidated by Vinny Brownetrousers' confrontational style of questioning, however they seemed to be speaking from the heart (not from any party political hymnsheet).

Now some of the self-styled political know-alls over on like to criticise the performances of these independent crusaders. Well criticise away you asshats! These candidates don't have access to teams of spin doctors. They may not to be able to afford the ridiculous airbrushed posters. They may not be comfortable engaging in Mary Lou Hasn'tGotAClue McDonald style waffle-fests. But at least they are not selling their souls (and those of their constituents) so they may serve "the party". I am sure there are independent candidates up and down the country of whom the same can be said.

So I appeal to the people of Ireland who are sick and tired of our current colonies of political bacteria to register their discontent in the forthcoming elections. Please use your vote. Use it to elect an indepentent candidate and send a message to the arrogant political parties. Let them see that we have had enough of their corruption and dishonesty.

Again I urge you to use your vote! In a worst case scenario your independent TD, councillor or MEP turns out to be a lying, money-grabbing toe rag. So what? That's what you would have been guaranteed anyway had you elected a party serving hack!

DarkPassenger's idea of the month award goes to these guys for finally coming up with a productive use for politicians. Bravo gentlemen!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jurassic Park

I happened to be watching some coverage of the European elections the other night (sad I know) when the name of Proinsias De Rossa was mentioned. It struck me that this lefty sticky has been around for as long as I can remember. I was sure that this old communist relic must be past retirement age by now so I did a bit of research to satisfy my curiosity. Sure enough Franky Sticky Ross is 69 years old. Now this got me annoyed. I know of a number of people who have recently reached the "mandatory" retirement age of 65 and been forced to quit jobs that they were perfectly willing and able to continue performing. However, as most contracts of employment in Ireland specify a retirement age of 65 or less, the ordinary men and women of this country are forced out of the workforce whether they like it or not.

Surprise surprise! The rules that apply to most of us poor fools do not apply to our legislators and their accomplices in the courts. A little bit more digging revealed the extent of how out of touch the Kildare Street Country Club is with the ordinary Irish person:

  • 6 TDs over the age of 70
  • At least 9 will be 65 or over by the end of 2009
  • At least a further 15 will be 65 within two years

So that's 30 TDs who would be over the generally accepted retirement age of 65 before the 30th Dáil is due to finish its term. And the odds are that most of these antiques will stand for election to Dáil 31.

The situation in our Supreme Court is even worse. Of the 9 Supreme Court judges (including the President and Chief Justice) 5 are over 65 and all but one will be 65 within 2 years. But again, what applies to the common man doesn't apply to the judiciary. A judge in Ireland can legally keep his/her job until they are 70 years old (72 in the case of longer serving judges).

So the politicians can continue to rake in their sickening salaries, pensions and expenses indefinitely. The judges can sit in their golden towers until they are 72. But our fathers, mothers, grannies and grandads must give up work at 65 and hope that the bankers haven't raided their pension funds out of existence and that the government don't decide to remove their medical cards or cut the poxy state pension.

One would imagine that if it is acceptable for TDs and judges to do their "important" jobs into their 70s then it is fair to let the rest of the poor pixie Irish continue to work past 65 if they so wish. I don't particularly care if our parliament and courts resemble Jurassic Park or not. What I want to see is these cornerstones of Irish democracy reflecting the realities of Irish life. For this fair reflection to be achieved we should be seeing judges and public representatives being forced to retire at 65. But expecting our scumbag millionaire TDs to care about things like fairness is probably a bridge too far.

Good God! - Is that a pack of Tyrannosaurus Rexes I see marauding down Kildare street? Ah no - it's just Jackie Healy Rae, Rory O'Hanlon and Mary O'Rourke on their way to the Dáil bar!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where the hell are they?

I'm very disappointed! So far there has only been one caller to my door canvassing my vote in the local elections - a poor simpleton who is standing for the Green Sleeveen Party. She was so inept I nearly felt sorry for her. This young wan didn't even seem to know why she was standing for election. I had intended to launch a full scale barrage of verbal scud missiles on this representative of the hated Sleeveens but I aborted the mission at the last minute as I was afraid she'd have a heart attack on the spot. Rabbit in the headlights doesn't even begin to describe the pathetic figure that cowered before me. I gave her some abuse about the complete uselessness of all local politicians and voiced my distain when she extolled her party's supposed qualities. When I started to ask difficult questions about the funding of local authorities her complete lack of knowledge became apparent so I called a halt to proceedings. All in all she got off quite easily - never let it be said that DarkPassenger shows no mercy.

Anyway I'm saving my real lightning for the sitting councillors. The Fianna Fool, Funny Gael and Lie-bore Party scumbags that have completely failed to represent the interests of my community. I hope one of them comes calling tonight - I'm in the mood for a row!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

They Think it's All Over!

Welcome to the inaugural DáilOfTheDead Political Penalty Shoot-out.

Today's Contestants
Representing truth, justice, revenge and anger - DarkPassenger.

Representing hypocrisy, rhetoric, greed and waste - George Lee.

Pre-match Preamble
George "IToldYouSo" Lee's entry into the Dublin South by-election marks a new low in Irish politics. The announcement of the "celebrity candidate" has been greeted with a chorus of triumphalist bullshit by the blueshirted masses. Their little keyboards are on fire - posting gigabytes of cyber-diarrhoea on political discussion sites such as You would swear that Jesus H. Christ himself had donned a blue shirt and gone up for election.

I hope that the people of Dublin South will see Lee for the snivelling, treacherous little runt he is. He spent the last 10 years talking the economy down and sermonising about public sector waste while he worked for the monetary black hole that is RTE. He claims that he will take a significant cut in pay if he is elected a TD - proof that he has had no problem screwing the state out of millions in the past and that he intends to carry on doing so if elected to Leinster House.

Match Report
So what does "IToldYouSo" Lee plan to do to rescue us all? He outlined his master plan in an article in the Evening Helard. This blueprint of hypocrisy promised the following:

The Shootout Begins

1. He would finance a massive job-intensive investment programme in green energy, broadband and clean water, financed in part by selling off state companies like Bord Gais and parts of ESB that the State no longer needs to own.

DarkPassenger says: Are you a bit thick George? Have you not heard of Eircom? We have all seen how disastrous it was when the state sold vital infrastructure into the hands of private companies. What could be worse than handing our communications infrastructure over to foreign companies who continue to rape us for phone and broadband services? Duh.....we'll sell our natural gas and electricity infrastructure off too. George you are a clown.
1-0 to DarkPassenger.

2. He would fight for a fairer sharing of the burden of rising taxes. Middle income families on an average wage should not be paying 51pc in tax on every extra euro earned (41pc income tax, 4pc PRSI, 4pc health levy, income levy 2pc), while non-resident millionaires who creamed it during the boom years pay nothing. This is hardly the strategy needed to encourage people to put in the effort and initiative needed to create new jobs and economic opportunities.

DarkPassenger says: To coin an Enda "de road" Kennyism - POPULIST NONSENSE. We would all love to see taxes cut. We would all love to see non-resident millionaires pay their fair share. But how does IToldYouSo Lee plan to extract this money from tycoons such as Denis O'Brien? Especially since the likes of the afforementioned O'Brien are (or were) financial backers of Fine Gael. If IToldYouSo supports DarkPassenger's plans to form a Mossad style unit to abduct these millionaires and "extract" the money they owe us then I'll defer to his wisdom.
Given that this is an unlikely course of action for a wimp like IToldYouSo it's 2-0 to DarkPassenger.

3. He would reverse the increase in the VAT to 21.5pc announced by the Government last October, which has combined with the weakness of sterling to see a deluge of hard-pressed Irish shoppers crossing the border, at the expense of thousands of Irish jobs and hundreds of millions in lost tax revenues.

DarkPassenger says: A poxy half a percent reduction in VAT will not stop my friend Devoted Dexter embarking on more adventure's up north! What else have you got IToldYouSo? Will you dispatch a platoon of blueshirts to the border to attack any cash-strapped Free State citizens and send them back south?
He shoots, he scores...3-0 to DarkPassenger.

4. He would cut the reduced 13.5pc rate of VAT to just 10pc between now and the end of 2010. This would stimulate labour-intensive services like construction, help the tourism industry through the downturn, and give a huge incentive for first time buyers to bring forward purchases of new houses, helping to resolve crises in banking and the public finances.

DarkPassenger says: I can't really argue with this one too much. However, reducing VAT does not even begin to address the massive oversupply of housing stock in many areas of the country. The biggest problem that the construction industry has is that the demand for housing has peaked - the industry needs to refocus on other areas. But not the worst of policies all the same. IToldYouSo is on the scoreboard.
3-1 to DarkPassenger.

5. He would freeze local authority rates for at least five years.

DarkPassenger says: Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Funny this one. Now my views on local government have been made clear in my last post so anything that causes local authorities to loose out on money makes me happy. However I'm not sure IToldYouSo's colleagues sitting in the council chambers of Ireland will be so enthused. Local government in this country is already a joke and any plans to reform this situation will require serious sums of cash. IToldYouSo hasn't presented any proposals on providing alternative sources for local government funding - I'm guessing he doesn't expect too many people to question his "wisdom". Must try harder here George.
4-1 to DarkPassenger

6. He would legislate to make upward only rent reviews for small businesses illegal.
DarkPassenger says: Can't disagree here. Another score for Ireland's most treacherous journalist.
4-2 to DarkPassenger.

7. I would exempt employers who take on additional staff from additional employer PRSI obligations until the end of 2010.

DarkPassenger says: Not nearly enough detail provided here oh sanctimonius one. Any sweeping plan which sees en mass PRSI exemptions will be abused big time. There is no doubt that many businesses that haven't been badly affected by the recession have been taking the piss of late, using the downturn to justify cuts in pay and conditions for their staff. Profitable businesses shouldn't be entitled to any more reductions in costs. IToldYouSo's hasn't identified this most basic of points.
5-2 to DarkPassenger.

8. He would make sure that taxpayer support for banks is used only to support new lending to small businesses and families, not to nurse along dodgy property related debts to Fianna Fail's developer friends. The banks, the professional investors who funded them and developers should between themselves take care of the mess they have created. They made the big profits in the good years. They should now eat the losses.

DarkPassenger says: Fair enough. But the tone of this smacks of political opportunism. Everyone would like to see the banks and the property developers having to take it in the ass for the damage they have done. However, let us not forget that it was Fine Gael who bailed out the AIB/ICI in 1985. Leopards don't change their spots - anyone who believes that George of the Bungle or his fascist colleagues would really let the captains of industry loose is a fool.
6-2 to DarkPassenger

9. He would fight to make performance, accountability and thrift core values of our public service once again, starting with the political system itself, and cut top-end public sector salaries, including those of TDs, by at least 5pc.

DarkPassenger says: OH MY GOD! A case study in hypocrisy this one. The man who spent 17 years working for one of the most unaccountable, wasteful and poorly managed organisations in the country is now talking about accountability and value for money. IToldYouSo has shown his true colours here. By his own admission he was overpaid in RTE. He had no problem raking in the cash for 17 years - but now he wants value. And he will cut top-end salaries by at least 5 percent. WOW 5 whole percent - how radical, how brave - how bleedin' sickening. TDs and senior public servants deserve a paycut of at least 20%. Anyone who suggests anything less is a moron. Quoting a figure of 5% is an insult to the people of this country.
7-2 to DarkPassenger.

10. He would overhaul the massive public sector quangos like the HSE, CIE and FAS and expose them to more competition in order to deliver vital health, transport and training services more effectively and at less cost to the taxpayer.

DarkPassenger says: It doesn't take an MSc in Economics to see that the HSE, CIE and FAS are a disgrace. Most people would rather see them exposed to lethal doses of radiation rather than "more competition". How about adding RTE to your list George - there's not much competition or value for money to be found amongst your mates in Donnybrook. You spend 17 years sermonising on the economy in an organisation that is rotten to the core. Now you have the temerity to point fingers at every state supported agency bar the one that facilitated your 10 year campaign for a seat on the Dáil gravy train. Shame on you!
8-2 to DarkPassenger.

So the next time someone tells you how great it is that someone of the status and calibre of George Lee is going to enter Dáil ask them if they've bothered to examine his "policies". Point out the sickening hypocrisy surrounding his entry onto the political stage. Point out the total lack of depth and sheer stupitidy of some of his policies. Whether Shay Brennan, Alex White or George Lee wins in Dublin South matters not. The net result will be the same - another money-grabbing hypocrite will enter the Dáil. But let us not pretend that George Lee is some kind of patriotic economic crusader. He is as greedy a charlatan as anyone else in Leinster House.

They think it's all over.....It is now!

Full Evening Herald article where IToldYouSo outlines his policies:How I would fix the economy by George Lee

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Give 'em Hell!

Most people will now agree that the parasites who inhabit the houses of parliament in Kildare Street are a pretty disgusting conglomeration of germs. Like any parasite, they thrive while their unfortunate host suffers.

While the tapeworms in Kildare Street may be the most obvious infestation that Ireland is suffering from there is a bigger, more costly and even more incompetent group of parasites exploiting this nation. They are currently roaming the streets en mass, looking to dupe unsuspecting citizens into voting for them so that they may continue to leech off our dwindling resources. Yes, I am referring to that most unpleasant of parasitic infections - Parasītus Councilicus a.k.a. your local councillor.

The natural reaction to the words "local councillor" is to slam the door or walk away. Many people don't know what they do. Most don't even care. However, DarkPassenger would urge everyone to consider the following before walking away from these lice when they're canvassing your vote.

Many councillors claim to be community activists. They concoct crocks of crap such as the following as justifications for their existence:

"I was on the tidy town's committee when I realised that I needed to do more for my community. So I decided to join <insert party name here> and run for the council."

What this really translates to is:

"I was on the tidy town's committee when I realised what a handy number councillors had. I needed some easy cash and always fancied a bit of politics so I decided to join <insert party name here> to get elected. If I serve my party well, to the detriment of my local community, I may even get selected to run for the Dáil. Chaaaa-ching!"

This translation probably applies to 90% of the country's councillors. It certainly applies to 100% of councillors who are members of political parties. The majority of our TDs come through the County Council system. They learn how to leave the real decisions to unaccountable civil servants. They learn how to extract the most from expenses, how to claim credit for work they haven't done and how to follow party orders. All skills which will serve them well if they move up to the Dáil.

While councillors don't enjoy the Julius Caesar sytle conditions which prevail in Leinster house, it is worth their while to "represent" us. They receive an annual representational payment (€17,604), expenses and even redundancy payments. So when we've had enough of their uselessness and vote them out they still cash in. Read about the €10 million pot of gold waiting for deposed councillors here.

The fact of the matter is that councillors have no executive power whatsoever. The unelected, unaccountable County/City Manager is the one who makes the decisions. His staff are incompetent and unsackable (like most public servants). Work practices in the local councils are inefficient and our money is wasted hand over fist. And our beloved councillors can do nothing about this because A) they don't have the power and B) they don't want to.

So when the local clowncillor knocks at your door don't hide behind the sofa and wait for them to go away. Open the door and ask some tough questions:

  • How much do you get paid for "representing" me?
  • What were your total expense claims for the last 5 years? Justify this.
  • How many council sittings did you attend last year (the average council sat 18 times in 2008).
  • How much money do you stand to make from the €10 million "goodbye fund" if you are not re-elected. Justify this.
  • Do wasteful practices such as "bank time"* continue to be allowed amongst council employees? Do you agree with it?
  • What is the point of having councils full of elected officials who have no executive power?
  • If councillors are worth having why does my locality have so many problems (insert your own list of complaints here - you're bound to have loads!).
  • You are a member of a political party. Do you agree with the fact that your colleagues in the Dáil should be rewarded so extravagantly for their incompetence?

Above all, give these councillors a hard time. Get annoyed with them. Make them feel uncomfortable. The vast majority of them don't give a stuff about the local community. If they represent a political party they certainly can't claim a single ounce of integrity. They will ultimately do as the party tells them, not what is good for the area. The only reason they stand before you is because they want your vote. I hope all you give them is hell!

* Bank Time: The 30 minutes that some public sector workers get to cash their non-existent cheque because salaries are now electronically paid into bank accounts. This practice occurs in many City/County Councils.

Some interesting links: