Words Matter

Everything, as they say, has its place. Everything has its part to play. Everything matters. Except when it doesn’t matter. Not really.

Recently the Daily Mail got in “trouble” for the front page misogyny of its “Legs-it” headline. But it’s not that long ago that Matt Cooper was engaged in a little bit of casual misogyny in the Daily Mails Irish equivalent. He derided Mary Lou McDonald for her dress sense and said she was “every bit as dangerous as Donald Trump”. I don’t recall an other Irish newspapers calling for apologies in the same way as the UK papers did for Teresa May, do you?

So sometimes things matter and sometimes they don’t. What the qualifying criteria are for such things, I don’t know. There is a written language that we all can read, but none of us can really understand. That is to say, we understand the individual words, but they never actually add up to a meaningful sentence.

Our corporate, political and media landscape is awash with these phrases. I’ve bastardised some of my favourites below. They aren’t quiet oxymoron’s, but they are always taking us for morons.

Roots and branches are always reviewed. Failures are always systemic. Errors are always clerical. Exercises are always scoping. Pride is always resorted. And Noirin is always defiant.

Talks are always collapsing. Unions are always greedy. Management is always unreasonable. Efficiencies are always seeking. Brendan Ogle is always a Firebrand. Strikes are always wildcat. And Shane Ross is always missing.

Celebrity tweets are always hilarious. Twitter is always in meltdown. Trolls are always vicious. Chat is always snapping. Memes are always trending. And you always believe what you won’t believe happened next.

Rivals are always in the long grass. Knives are always out. Sources are always close to. Ministerial briefs are always getting handled. And Gerry is always denying he was ever a member of.

Plans are always strategic. Thinking is always blue sky. Jobs are always announced a few times. Corporation Tax Rates are always off the table. Brussels is always threatening fines. And Brian Hayes is always on your telly.

The centre must always be held. Politics must always be new. Polls must always be telling. The Left must always be Loony. The Right must always be Centrist. And Mick Martin is always the most popular leader, but not populist.

Crisis Talks are always crunching. Force is always excessive. Protesters are always like ISIS. Billions must always be wasted. Quango’s must always be re-branded. And Alan Kelly is always angry.

Immigration is always mass. Public Meetings are always Town halls. Citizens are always Assembling. Inquiries are always commissioned. And Paul Murphy is always the Posh Trot.

Speakers are always key. Doctors are always spinning. The recovery, like Enda, is always going. Bubbles are always bursting. Terry Prone is always paid. And Denis O’Brien is always REDACTED.

The middle is always squeezed. Vultures are always swooping. Confidence is always protected. NAMA is always defended. And Michael Noonan is always rebutting.

Events are always tragic. Tragedies are always avoidable. Funerals are always a who’s who of who’s? Eulogies are always heartbreaking. Oliver Callan is always spot on.

Migrants are always economic. Refugees are always a significant risk. Power is always having truth spoken to it. Appeals are always falling on deaf ears. Europe is always our friend. And RTE is always biased according to both sides of the debate.

Articles are always being triggered. Borders are always porous. Market contagion is always spreading. Europe is always our enemy. The Union is always breaking. And no deal is always better than a bad deal?

There’s hundreds more of these phrases. They fill empty air with empty words. None of them speak of real Accountability or actual Implementation. They are cloaking phrases. Used to cloak the unaccountable and a lack of effort.

But it’s not all bad. At least there’s always Sean Moncrieff, weekdays between 2 and 4, always asking interesting questions…

Tony Groves April 2014

A Letter to the Left

Dear Left Wing,

Today is not a bad day. Today is not the day to lament the rise of Trump. Today is not the day to mourn the failure of Bernie Sanders. Today is not the day to say “what if”. Today is not the day to navel gaze. Today is not a bad day. Today is an opportunity.

The polarisation of the US electorate is a global warning shot to the “way we always done things”. It tells everyone who believes the best way to emerge from the stagnation and austerity of the last decade is more of the same, is not going to be accepted by the electorate. The politics of sameness has been well and truly battered.

The battle lines for the future are made more clear by Trumps election victory than they would have been if Hillary had won. The onus is now on those who stand for progressive and inclusive policies to challenge the politics of protectionism and isolationism.

This is an opportunity for the Left to coalesce, put aside internal spats and adopt a united front that will stand against the politics of regression.

Today’s outcome has given authenticity to some of the most base and repugnant of human views. Fear pervades the victorious narrative and the only reason fear won is because those who stand for progress allowed it to stifle their own message.

Let’s not blame the media. In fact, let’s not waste any time in blame-throwing. Grasp the nettle and take this chance. In Ireland the political landscape is more fractured than the Burren. The opinion polls show a steady flip flop between the “Fianna Gael” parties and a conglomerate of infighting Left Wing Parties.

There’s a large part of the Irish electorate (Right and Left) that are delighted with the Trump election. The Left must move towards these people, find out why they feel disenfranchised and offer them a vision for a brighter future. The Left must show this cohort that the alternative to the politics of fear is nothing to be feared.

There’s a large part of the Irish electorate (Left and Right) that are horrified with the Trump election. The Left must reach out to these people, show them how this is the opportunity we need for change. Ask them to help deliver a brighter future. The Left must use these new battle lines in the war of ideas to create a politics that can be taken seriously.

I’m an optimist. These political fractures are only superficial. The fact that it has happened in the US, shows the world that disillusionment and anger can shake the world. Imagine what healing enlightenment and cooperation could bring. Today is an opportunity for this process to start.

Opportunity knocks. Will you open the door or hide away?

Tony Groves – November 2016 Image result for opportunity knocks cartoon

 

Pick Up A Penguin

“Democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” Winston Churchill to the House of Commons Nov 11th 1947

Listening to all the media lamenting the splintering of Democracy today, I’m never quite sure if “They” know what they are really mourning. Reading the “commentary and opinion pieces”, I think they are referring to their own losses of influence and authority. What they commonly refer to as the polarisation of the electorate, or the “unravelling of the centre” is just a change in Democracy activism. And the change is scary.

Brendan O’Connor laments on how Fine Gael are neglecting “their constituency“; what he calls “the majority in this country”. Brendan needs to check his numbers. Fine Gael, getting less than a quarter of the electoral vote at the last General Election, is not a “majority”.

The other Brendan (Burgess), is calling for cuts to social welfare in the name of “fairness”. The great humanitarian that he is, admits “it will cause hardship in the short term…but we have to tell people that living on the dole will no longer be a picnic”. Bless you Brendan, your tough love is an inspiration to Right Wingers everywhere.

Shane Coleman makes a good point when he says that the government seem “intent on repeating the catastrophic error of narrowing the tax base“. He’s right of course; history repeats. He undermines his own argument by quoting the Irish Tax Institute report example of someone on €75,000 paying 44 times more tax than someone earning €18,000. I’ve written previously how someone on €18,000 per annum is INSOLVENT under the Insolvency Service of Ireland’s basic living standards. Seriously, who fact checks these pieces/reports?

Eoin O’Malley, in a balanced piece, writes about the concerns around some of the most emotive challenges facing modern democracy. On immigration, he states “55% of Irish people agree that there should be very strict limits on the number of non-EU migrants coming to Ireland…yet we never hear any debate on what reasonable limits might be.” Yes Eoin, extremists, on both sides, make debate difficult. But not impossible. Don’t withdraw.

All of these pieces are about fear and loss. Fear of change of social class, loss of political influence, loss of financial standing and  a fear of uncomfortable debate.

But, the biggest wastes of human energies, are those of loss and fear. Instead of sulking over the kicking that the failed “representative democracy” has taken since the 2008 financial crash, they should be asking what can be done to make sure the birth of a new democratic activism is nurtured, rather than smeared as “sinister fringe”. Instead of mourning; writing lazy tropes about Irish Water protesters, we should be offering solutions.

In his short book, “Our Iceberg is Melting”, John Kotter tells of how a lone penguin realises that the iceberg, which has been the home to his colony for many years, is melting. Met with disdain and indifference from the colony leaders, he sets about building an alternative leadership dynamic.

By pulling together a small group with credibility, influencing skills, and strong analytical/ organisational skills, our loner creates that one thing needed to influence the entire colony: a sense of URGENCY.

Ultimately, this small band delivers a vision and a strategy that brings the majority into the new reality. A new world; one were everyone plays a role. The colony divides the labour, shares the responsibility and through their individual strengths, they successfully find and relocate to a new superior iceberg. Happily ever after, right? Wrong.

The colony, now experts in dealing with change, has established a new forward looking culture. They don’t get comfortable in their new surroundings. They push on and challenge each other to make sure they don’t become as complacent as their earlier leadership model.

This little book should be compulsive reading for anybody who:

  • Is wasting time lamenting the loss or fragmentation of their old model/status
  • Aspires to a better more inclusive future
  • Is afraid of change

Rest assured, despite the lamentations and wailings of traditionalists, change is already under way. Rather than push against change, we need to guide it. We need to mould these changes into a compelling vision for a fairer, more inclusive and progressive society. We need to remember that democracy, in its literal form, means people power.

People power is the exact opposite of Trump’s “only I can save us” shtick. People power is not the outsourcing of our democratic responsibility, once we vote every four years. People power is knowing Bernie Sanders won a great victory in his defeat to Hillary Clinton.

People power is having the courage to have difficult debates, addressing the fears of the “centre” and lending your skills to help create a new vision. We need an optimistic “we’re all in this together” democratic activism. Lazy cliches and diatribes, like those of the Two Brendan’s, have no place in a forward facing Ireland. They belong to the fear-mongering, change intolerant mourners. The future belongs to the ones who want to problem solve, not problem produce.

And no matter what your outlook, the Iceberg is still melting.

 

 

Tony Groves October 2016 Image result for penguin cartoon

 

 

 

Stick that in Your Knowledge Box

When the Taliban drove lorry-loads of dynamite from Kabul to the Bamiyan Valley in the Hindu Kush, they were (in their warped heads) doing Gods will. The world’s two largest standing Buddha’s were blown to pieces, having stood for nearly 1,700 years. The Taliban, proud of their achievement, videoed the destruction and put it on YouTube….as we do these days.

The deplorable ISIS has obliterated the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, the Venice of the sands; smashing away the memory of Syria’s glorious history, in the name of God, apparently. Again, lovingly preserving the carnage on social media.

I wonder how many of the “Jundallah” (soldiers of God) are aware of how their current ideology is not only reprehensible today, but would have been equally as condemned in the previous Caliphate, that of the Umayyad Caliphate of al-Andalus.

In 711ce, less than one hundred years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, the Umayyad’s landed in Gibraltar, and by the end of the campaign most of the Iberian Peninsula was under Islamic rule. Yet, unlike today’s “caliphate”, they didn’t rush to destroy all the art and history of the land.

No, the Umayyad’s actually developed it. They had thriving communities in art, science, medicine and a buoyant economy. No better example existed than the Library of Al-Hakam II in Cordoba. It was said to be the largest collection of books anywhere in the world. At over 400,000; the catalogue of books “alone consisted of forty-four volumes”.

Imagine it; al-Andalus (modern Andalucía) was the cultural centre of the world. Whisper it, they even had Jewish Stonemasons work in the construction of the Great Mosque. What would the modern “caliphate” make of such sacrilege?

The current malignant vision has devolved from an 8th Century Caliphate of 400,000 books to a modern “caliphate” of one vile interpretation of just one book!

In the battle of ideas; the war for hearts and minds, whoever has the better propagandist wins. Whoever knows which buttons to push, what hooks to use and which clickbait works best, holds all the aces. Sadly, I don’t see the enlightened past used to counter the current propaganda! The moderators are asleep at the wheel.

And don’t think you’re not affected. We are all at the mercy of the manipulation of Data. In his Ted Talk, Ricardo Sabatini explains Big Data in human form. In terms of you and me, the (DNA Coding) data that goes into creating our bodies would fill ten thousand Titanic’s with hard-drives of data. Not only are you a giant Data set; you are an active participant, a player on the pitch.

As you read this, your phone is tracking your location, various apps are monitoring your behaviours and your search engine is placing ads on this very screen that are tailored to you, based on previous searches.

The Google Algorithm is whirring away, not just bringing up the search results you asked for, but actually bringing up the one it thinks you are looking for. No, you didn’t misread that. That little round Chrome logo is already in your head and is manipulating the search results in a way that it knows you like!

Big Data is Big Business. And Big Business has all your Data. It’s no wonder Google keep their algorithm so secret. Knowledge is power and that level of knowledge of us is a commodity. Commodities can be monetised. Speaking of commodities and monetisation…

Think of (the defunct) Irish Water, I mean, has there ever been a bigger Data Protection breach in this country than Irish Water? How many of us never registered with Irish Water, yet the bill arrived in your name? What right had the Revenue Commissioners to share our Data? Did they sell it? Seriously, this is outrageous. When Banks breach these Data Protection laws they get fined. Why was this okay? And let’s not linger on the ridiculous original requirement to provide PPSN numbers for “customers”.

We had an ill-formed and untested utility company spring up, illegally issued with a customer base that others would pay millions for. We have a Eurostat letter saying “privatisation is ultimately envisaged” and the Government of “Free Market” Fine Gael. How on earth were the establishment surprised that the plebeians didn’t go along with them in the further ruination of the public sphere? Honestly, WTF?

It gets worse. Not only are Political Parties spending millions of our money to gather our data, they then have a largely docile media that goes along for the ride.

When recently New Fianna Fail told us their New, New position on the abolition of New water charges, as part of New Politics, the Irish Independent published a headline proclaiming: “FF joined by Sinn Fein, AAA/PBP in call to abolish water charges”

Honestly,  this happened. An news paper decided to manipulate reality to credit New Fianna Fail with suddenly coming up with the idea of abolishing water charges. It would be funny if this particular publication hadn’t already spent months smearing anyone with legitimate concerns about the Lame Duck Utility, Irish Water.

If you want to read real Data on how bad the Irish (fair and balanced?) media actually is, I recommend this article from Padraig O’Mara, it’s a real eyeopener.

I’m not suggesting all the Data is being used for nefarious purposes, the vast majority is used to improve life. The biggest leaps we will make in the coming years will be because we can gather information like never before and make (hopefully) better decisions/discoveries.

I am however, suggesting that you look at what you read (including this) with a healthy dose of scepticism. I am arguing that you should ALWAYS question those in charge.I’m not saying not to click on the fluff piece that catches your eye. I’m one of those who never liked Clickbait articles, but then I clicked the link…

…and you won’t believe what happened next.

Tony Groves September 2016 ethics

War Without End…?

Ahmad Shah Massoud isn’t a name that comes tripping off the tongue. His sobriquet, the Lion of Panjshir, is much more palatable and in keeping with his story. A story of hero to villain to hero to villain to…

…I don’t want to give away the ending.

The charismatic Tajik commander was the original Dark Knight. The Hero Afghanistan deserved, not the one it needed. I think I’ve got that the wrong way round? Either way, so successful was he, that when his army fought (and defeated) the Soviets in the 1980’s, the Wall Street Journal called him “The Afghan who won the Cold War”.

In the aftermath of the 1992 Soviet collapse, it was his mujahedeen that captured Kabul. Sadly for him, the tribal fault lines, papered over by Soviet occupation, re-emerged. The country divided into Pashtun and Tajik fiefdoms (an oversimplification I know, but it’s a short post) and Massoud’s vision for a united country drifted away, like sand through his fingers. His desire to see a Democratic Government became mired in old grudges, coups and assassination attempts.

May you live in interesting times…?

In 1994, while Massoud was busy foiling one such coup in Kabul, a new force materialised in Southern Afghanistan, the Taliban. The new force absorbed many of the militias defeated by Massoud. Well financed and supported from “abroad”, they unified most of the Pashtuns (including the Pashtun Communist faction) and managed to capture most of the country. In some of the newly acquired lands they discovered training camps for another militant force, one which shared much of their ideology, al-Qaeda.

Stay tuned for more oversimplifications…

Today we have the never ending, constantly evolving and life sucking war on terror. The Taliban facilitated al-Qaeda, America invaded Afghanistan. This “success” emboldened George W. Bush to invade Iraq. In Iraq Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Mehdi army grew out of the occupations resistance. So too did al-Qaeda in Iraq. Dispossessed Ba’ath Party members radicalised. The violence intensified, surge followed insurgency and the proxy wars of super powers cast more human lives to the flames.

In an interesting Irish Republican Frongoch parallel, a hodgepodge of occupation resistance fighters were all imprisoned in Camp Bucca, outside Fallujah in Iraq. This internment allowed ex-military Ba’ath Party soldiers, hardened Jihadists and multiple other Mujahedeen forces to meet, organise and formulate a coherent insurgency. Much like how Frongoch is known as the Irish “University of Revolution”, ISIS prep school was held in Camp Bucca.

The barbaric and inhumane war continues and this week an estimated 400 people drowned off the coast of Italy. Every life lost, at sea, in the Middle East, Africa and in Europe is lost to this bloody war without end.

So what has this all got to do with Ahmad Shah Massoud?

For a start, the dead of the “war on terror” are all descendants of Massoud. This war started, at least this version of it, in Afghanistan. Think I’m mad? Well, let me explain. Osama Bin Laden did not like Ahmad Shah Massoud. They never got on.Not even during their time fighting the Soviets.

Massoud was often referred to as a fundamentalist, he never corrected this, only qualified it. But Bin Laden was too fundamental for Massoud. The Lion loved poetry, art and history. Bin Laden loved…

While Bin Laden merely disliked Massoud, the Taliban HATED him. They had identified him as the biggest threat to their vision of an Islamic State, governed as a medieval Necrocracy; a country ruled for and by the dead.

In 2001, Bin Laden’s plans for 9/11 were at an advanced stage. But before this horrendous crime against humanity could be perpetrated, the al-Qaeda leader needed to be sure of his safe haven. He needed the unquestioning support of the Taliban in the war to come. So it was that in early 2001, al-Qaeda commenced multiple plots to assassinate Massoud.

The Lion had already survived assassination attempts from al-Qaeda. He’d escaped or evaded others from the Taliban, Pakistani ISI and the Soviet KGB, among others. The CIA, in 2001, on the other hand, considered him the “best chance” for Afghanistan.

They called Massoud “a military genius, a religious man, and a leader of enormous courage”. They wanted to aid his battle with the Taliban and in mid-2001, sent entreaties to Washington for support. With plans of a nascent alliance, the CIA left Takhar Province. As they left another party arrived. Two foreign journalists, who wanted to interview the Lion of Panjshir.

The Belgian reporters went about the area,interviewing people about this modern day “Che Guevara figure”. They wanted to speak to the man who was famous for his military brilliance, his love of poetry and his ability to speak multiple languages. After several entreaties, Massoud agreed to an interview in his bungalow. He had an hour free before he was scheduled to fly to the front lines.

Sitting on a cushion designed to ease his back pain, Massoud listened as one of the journalist read out the list of questions. The other reporter set up his equipment and prepared to film. Unsurprisingly, many of the questions were about Bin Laden. Massoud gave his approval and indicated he was ready to begin.

The camera exploded, blowing the “cameraman’s” body apart. The blast smashed the windows and filled Massoud’s body with shrapnel. The “reporter” tried to flee, but was shot by Massoud’s shocked men.

Massoud, still alive, was picked up and rushed to a helicopter. There was a hospital only ten minutes flight away. On board, his bodyguard Omar, held his head, saying “He’s dying and I’m dying”. The Lion did die. He was 48.

It was September 9th 2001.

 

Tony Groves April 2016Ahmad_Shah_Massoud

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack & the Bean Counters

I’m at the till in Tesco and remember back to over twenty years ago, when I worked in Quinnsworth as a young dogsbody. Mopping floors, stocking shelves and washing down the butcher’s fridge, all for IR£1.60 per hour. The good old days, really.

I’m talking to one of the lads in the shop and he’s telling me that it looks like they’ll be going on strike. Saying “They want me and the old school gang gone” with a sigh that can’t conceal the hurt of the loss to come. He’s a local institution and his loss will be felt in the area.

You see, Tesco are “streamlining” their work practises and “modernising” their employee work patterns. In layman’s terms that means, without concern for loyal staff, tearing up contracts and implementing watered down new ones. This, you would imagine, is illegal. It is not. Nor is it a new development. Nor, sadly, do the general public give a Shit. Why would we care about a problem for 6% of the Tesco employees? “Every little helps…?”

The Luas workers have announced they are to postpone their scheduled strike this weekend to engage in further talks. They are quickly becoming the punchline of 2016. As in, any display of gluttony is met with “You’re as greedy as a Luas driver” and a derisive snort.

Just don’t mention that the 25% pay rise, widely reported, is a myth. Forget the fact that the Luas drivers, in a rare act of solidarity, refused better terms as they were to be paid for on the backs of future workers. They don’t want the two tier work place currently endured by our Teachers, Nurses and Gardai. But that isn’t as convenient a tale as cheap quips and slagging. “There but for the grace of God, go I…”

ActionAid have today said that “Ireland’s tax treaties are hurting developing countries”. This is a polite way of saying Tax Haven Ireland Inc. is helping Multinationals avoid paying taxes in the countries where they run their production sites, as long as they have a Brass Plate Tax Inversion site in here. “Beggar thy Neighbour…”

This “news” is not news at all. We all know it’s going on. We all accept that when Michael Noonan said he “didn’t know where the extra Billion Euro in Corporation Taxes” had come from he was spoofing. We understand, he just didn’t want to vocalise that Ireland was benefiting from record Multinational Tax Evasion in 2015. But failing to acknowledge it is happening doesn’t stop it happening. In reality, pretending you don’t know IS tacit approval.

Just like failing to support the Tesco workers is tacitly approving that employers can unilaterally rip up contracts. Just like the media reporting the Transdev lie of a 25% pay rise and reading out “witty” texts on how “a monkey could drive a tram” is allowed pass as reportage. Just how ActionAid’s report is listed 17th on RTE’s website, 8 places below Johnny Depp’s dogs!

It’s infuriating that so many people cannot see the linkage between a loyal Tesco Employee and a Developing Country. They are both taken advantage of, then marginalised and then dismissed. What ever happened to the Clery’s workers…?

It’s an inconvenient truth that if we don’t stand up for what’s right, the injustice moves on to the next target. Sooner or later it will get to you or someone you do care about. And when it does you will be met with “That’s awful, someone (not me) should do something” or the emphatically impotent “There but for the grace of God, go I” or the most common reaction of “As long as I am alright”.

If we don’t see that our failure to act, be that through greed or disinterest, only brings the next injustice one step closer to our door, then we tacitly approve of inequality. If we feel “I’m alright Jackism” justifies looking the other way, then we invite the wolf to our own door. Every time we behave as “I’m Alright Jacks” we let the system remove another barrier to social equality. Whether it’s watering down employment terms and conditions or asset stripping another country, by looking the other away we risk our future.

When the wolf knocks on your neighbours’ door and they come running to you for help, what will you do? Will you let them in and stand by them as they seek justice. Or will you, like so many do, turn the lights off and pretend you’re not home. Will you stand by and watch them eaten, as opposed to standing by them?

Or will you look up from your iPad and realise that if the wolf is next door, he could be here any minute? By then, it’ll probably be too late.

Sure, as long as I’m alright, Jack…

 

Tony Groves April 2016 wolf

 

 

Enda’s Rump

Seven weeks ago I wrote about the Lame Duck Taoiseach and how people go through the 5 Stages of Grief differently. While some are intent on staying in the Bargaining Stage forever, it appears finally, that we’ve come to the day that the majority of “elected officials” have moved to Acceptance. Albeit a belated reluctant acceptance. A grudging acknowledgement, that they must get on with the job of governing and abandon their 7/8 week hiatus. This, they want you to believe, is progress.

It is not! This is shadow boxing when the rest of the world is spoiling for a real fight. They will soon form a government and they will expect us to be grateful that it only took them 7 or 8 weeks to do it. You can hear it in their speeches. The newly elected Right Wing TD Noel Rock, last week boasted how “his party had engaged in 50 hours of negotiations”. Imagine the hubris of boasting working 50 Hours in a four week period! Is this the Reform promised by the new breed?

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell spoke against the Rump Parliament (1948-53) and is quoted as saying:

“You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately…Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, Go!”

The Rump Parliament has become a term to describe a governing parliament left over from the actual legitimate parliament. The fascinating thing about Ireland’s situation is that our next Government will be a Rump Parliament from the outset. They’ve de-legitimised themselves already. Wasting time bickering about “civil war politics” and “red line issues” as people sleep on the streets and waste away on hospital trolleys.

Honestly, the level of mental incompetence demonstrated over the past few weeks could be a study in “What not to do?” when you start a new job.

Don’t divide the workforce up into cliques.

Don’t rule out what your employer (the electorate) has asked you to do.

Don’t spend your days gossiping.

Don’t spend your evenings running down the company.

Don’t think you are irreplaceable.

This Rump Parliament has yet to sit and it has demonstrated a lack of vision, a dearth of talent and a disdain for making hard choices. A friend of mine always tells me that “We get the government that we elect”. Well not this time. This time we are getting the Rump; and before it has even sat, it’s time for it to go.

A lame duck Taoiseach cannot lead a lame duck administration. It can waddle on a few months; maybe even a year or two. But as it will be a Minority Government, it will never have the legitimacy of representing the Majority of the Electorate. No matter the formation, this will be the first Government to be sworn in against the voice the electorate.

So they fiddle while Rome burns. They play at politics to avoid working at governance. Let them at it. We are only getting hungrier while they delay. We want Change, we want reform and we want fairness. And at the next election, whenever it comes, ravenous, we will eat the Rump first.

Tony Groves April 2016 IMG_3988