Afternoon Blog - 09 December 2010
Criticism, analysis, response: The BudgetJam live blog. Email your comments here or comment below.
16.50 From Eoin O Mahony on FF's gracious concession of a Dail debate on the EU-IMF stitch-up:
A clearly emboldened FF party is not going down without some kind offight. However, this idea that FF is a better party when Cowen shoutsloudly at Donegal meetings and barks back intemperate answers to
interviewers is the politics of poverty. It is the politics ofbullying, of desperation and of hopelessness. No doubt in time FG andLabour will respond to Brian's childish hectoring and his continuedinsistence that their opposition to his government is mere bluster.These opposition responses will never of course challenge the idea
that what is happening here is the hollowing out of the politicalrealm and replacing it with equally empty rhetoric of TINA.
The statement makes reference to a debate where Coven hopes to"givethe Opposition the opportunity to either come clean, recognise thatthis deal is essential and in the best interests of the country, orspell out their alternative". This is macho posturing at its worst.Meet me at noon and you better bring some big boys is the Taoiseach'sonly response.
16.20 This from Pennyred on twitter: 15.48 "The crush is awful. I just got trampled, in lots of pain. Cops still beating ppl, kids going mental. From Lenin's Tomb: Just narrowly escaped being kettled by a phalanx of riot cops and mounties. There will be 1000s having a long night in parliament square. From Doug Sanders: Things are getting very violent here in London. At least one cop and one protester appear seriously injured. Very aggressive policing.
And this fantastic riposte from Mark Thomas to Sky's finest reactobot: Kay Burley describes students as 'insurgents' but still not quite as outrageous as describing herself as a 'journalist'.
15.54 Afternoon everybody, Gavan here for the last live blog session in this incarnation of Budgetjam. We will be back in other forms, but more on that shape-shifting later.
'We are where we are': picked up as one of the capitalist realist mantras of choice when we started this blog, it has started to take on a different sense. Right now in London, the Met's finest are beating the tar out of university and secondary school students, and presumably many of the teachers and lecturers I know are there will be mugged also. The Guardian has a liveblog and according to what I am reading on Twitter students are being seriously injured by a police force that the cases of Ian Tomlinson and Jean Charles de Menezes suggest can kill with relative impunity. In the Dail, the social welfare bill was passed by a government, without legitimacy, as the latest stage in the blatant transfer of resources from the poor and marginalised to a slush fund for the extension of doctrinaire delusion. In Clondalkin, it seems that a Moyle Park student, Shane Doherty, faces expulsion as a scapegoat for the inspiring collective action of school students on budget day. Students thinking for themselves blah haha: You can jam their phones and email here: +353 1 4574837, firstname.lastname@example.org.
So this is the where that we are. And it's a fairly reactionary place.
15.35 Oh irony. Mere minutes after I made that post at 3, the news came out that the Social Welfare Bill was passed by 80 votes to 76. On that depressing note I leave you all in the capable hands of Gavan, who I believe will have some more cheerful news about how people are attempting to resist the cuts.
15.15 This also in from Miriam:
Not everybody was impressed with the way Vincent Browne interviewed Joe Higgins the other night.
"...Vincent Browne interviews him in a snide manner on TV3 while crawling to protect Topaz sales after a shell to sea banner accidentally creeps into his interviews"
"Vincent brown should be ashamed of himself at his snide interview of Joe and then his subsequent corporate crawl afterwards to try to distance topaz/shell from the corrib protest on tv after shell to sea snuck their banner into his interview. Background phone calls to TV3 from shell no doubt. He blatantly and barefacedly stated topaz had "nothing to do with the corrib protest". Corporate sellout Vincent Browne. He didn't even mention the huge potential gas revenue either. The only saving grace was a half decent piece with Pierce Doherty of Sinn Fein, the one sane voice advocating a rejection of the bank guarantee. Sadly a link was not available as the tonight show is no longer available without subscribing to the new Politicotv.ie site."
These comment are from an article on Indymedia which can be read here. I'm going to have to add my two cents on the Politicotv comment - it is quite simply not true. There will not be a subscription for Politicotv - we are in the process of upgrading the site, that's why all the videos aren't available at the minute. Moreover, the show referred to in this article IS available on Politico...in fact if you look to your right I think you'll be able to see it!
15.00 Bit delayed with this post but this morning, PK was analysing Cowen's 'lazarus-like' resurrection over the last couple of days, which reminds me of this FT editorial from September. Always worrying when your government is to the right of the FT...
Anyway, Paul O'Brien of the Irish Examiner argued that this palingenesis began with a speech in Donegal a few weeks ago where the Taoiseach was, apparently, "ferocious". They played us an extract...it appears shouting constitutes as "revving your engine" for the general election.
This entire discussion reminded me of Alison O'Connor on Tonight with Vincent Browne last Tuesday evening. She talked about how Cowen and Lenihan were dressed and I think she said something ridiculous about how female politicians had noticeably toned down their outfits compared to previous years...is this in any way relevant to the budget, or indeed to politics in general? Not in my view.
Olivia O'Leary would perhaps argue that it's the people, rather than the policies, that make politics worth watching. But whilst I enjoyed Pearse Doherty's speech on Tuesday, I certainly wouldn't use it as my basis for voting Sinn Féin. Just as Cowen's apparent regeneration should neither negate nor distract from the damage he has done and continues to do to this country.
Yet, as a PK listener observed this morning, all this talk of Cowen's rebirth (enjoy that mental image) has done a great job of distracting away from the real issues at play today – the vote on the Social Welfare Bill, due to take place this afternoon. If passed, this bill will negatively impact the lives of carers, the disabled, widows, and jobseeker's among many others. The €1 cut in the minimum wage is also expected to be rushed through the Dáil with that vote taking place tomorrow. As mentioned earlier, a protest against this measure took place outside the Dáil at 1pm today. The Poor Can't Pay campaign is also encouraging people to lobby their TDs to vote against these cuts. More information here.
With all this talk of regeneration I've had to restrain myself from making Dr Who references. I had a lovely picture of the TARDIS for all of you but, alas, I can't upload it at the minute.
14.40 Paula Geraghty put together this video of the protests outside the Dail on Budget Day:
14.20 This in from Helena Sheehan:
If I hear one more person say that pensions haven't been cut or that nobody over 66 has been touched ...
At least someone notices that public service pensions are being cut.
Here is a piece called "Some Pensioners Don't Count" by Michael Taft on Notes on the Front.
Most are not receiving anything remotely like what Roddy Molloy or Dermot Ahern have / will be getting. They are on modest pensions. These are earned. These pensioners are also being hit by higher taxes, 'social charges', etc. Of course, we are more incensed about the reduction of the minimum wage and cuts in health and education, but that doesn't mean that no one should object to public service pensions being cut.
14.12 Eadaoin sends us this update from the Save the Minimum Wage protest outside the Dail:
I'm just in from the minimum wage protest outside the Dáil - good enough turn-out of both people and politicians (see what I did there? Never let it be said I miss a chance for a cheap shot). Pat Rabbitte, Richard Bruton, Martin Ferris and Aengus Ó Snodaigh were all there. Bruton and Ferris both made short speeches - of the two Ferris's was probably better received (if one is to judge reception by the tried and true method of the clapometer, which I do). I'll upload pictures and video - if the quality of the latter is good enough, twas cold and my hands were shaking rather - and write a longer report anon.
13.50 Alison here, holding the fort for a while. Miriam sends us a reminder that Shane Donnelly of Moyle Park College is threatened with expulsion for organising a walkout in his school on Budget day. There's a discussion about it over on political world or you can find more information on facebook and on the FEE website. I believe Shane is talking to Joe about it over on Liveline at the minute.