Let's put an end to obsequiousness in public life

An insistence on deference - and the inference that some people matter more than others - corrupts our culture and demeans our citizens. By Vincent Browne.

A seemingly trivial edict was issued by an unidentified Fine Gael apparatchik, or, more probably, initiated by some prematurely waist-coated self-important Fine Gael bigwig, and was hilariously lampooned by Miriam Lord in the Irish Times last Wednesday. Trivial in itself but suggestive of a wicked mentality, a mentality that has caused much harm over the ages and that continues to poison our public culture.

Why don't we mind the gap?

The greatest trick capitalism has ever pulled was persuading the world its effects - jaw-dropping levels of inequality - don't exist. By Vincent Browne.

The triumph of capitalism has been not just its survival and its vast enrichment of its aristocracy but its capacity to generate consent from the peoples of capitalist societies to the huge inequalities it generates.

The scale of inequalities generated by capitalism has been underlined in a number of recently published reports, from inside capitalism’s own ideological powerhouses.

Disillusionment looms - for Michael D and for us

The only reason the Government refuses to countenance increasing the tax rate paid by the wealthy is because of an ideological fixation on the idea that the rich must be protected. By Vincent Browne.

Maybe, in seven years' time, we will reflect on a bright moment on a dreary November day, when a new president offered a ray of joy and hope that illuminated our otherwise dark perspectives.

Michael D's brilliant parting shot

By some stroke of good luck we have a remarkable man as our president. We probably don't deserve him. By Vincent Browne.

The Dáil met on the afternoon of Tuesday, 26 January last and debated the second reading of the Finance Bill. There was a spat about speaking rights and the opening speech was made by Brian Lenihan, who went on to defend the Universal Social Charge and went through the changes which the new Finance Bill was to inaugurate.

Not a whisper as Germany and France take over

It has been a dismal seven days, not just because of the events of the week, but also for what those events portend. By Vincent Browne.

The spectacle of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy summoning George Papandreou to account, and threatening Greece with expulsion from the eurozone, was a chilling insight into the new reality in the European Union.

Heroic work by Howlin and Shatter

The rejection of the so-called Abbeylara amendment last week was down to two men: Brendan Howlin and Alan Shatter. Well done! By Vincent Browne.

Aside from Michael D’s splendid victory in the presidential election, there was another triumph at the polls last Thursday and those responsible have got nowhere near the recognition they deserve for an extraordinary achievement. It was on the referendum on Oireachtas inquiries.

Inquiries proposal is a dangerous one

We are being asked to vote on Thursday on whether or not we should give the government further power by enabling it to hold inquiries into anything except its own conduct. We should say no. By Vincent Browne.

We are lucky to have Higgins as a candidate

We are lucky to have the option of voting for Michael D, given the calibre of the alternatives. By Vincent Browne.

Martin McGuinness is the best-qualified person to be president of Ireland. His first qualification, which distinguishes him from all the other candidates, is that he doesn’t want to be president, thereby confirming a psychological normality, which perhaps is an asset, even in the presidency.

If you can pay more, you should pay more

The middle classes need to acknowledge just how privileged they are. By Vincent Browne.

We in the middle classes in this society are in denial about the scale of our privilege. Many of us think we are living on the margins, that we count among the disadvantaged, that the burden of the crisis falls disproportionately on us, that we cannot take any more 'pain'. We are delusional.