Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nationalising the banks comrades- Sure tis a great thing altogether now!

In the bad old days the biggest insult you could throw at the Labour Party was that they wanted to 'Nationalise the Banks'. The implication was that the horrible old socialists would rob all your money and take it out of your life savings account and throw it all away on nasty things like school classrooms and hospital beds.
Now take a look at the smiling man here and reflect! The face of 'Ireland Inc.', the epitome of all that was great in Irish life in the Celtic Tiger period was Mr. Fitzpatrick, when all of us who warned that our ten-year party was based on what David McWilliams called the greatest pyramid selling scheme in the history of capitalism were dismissed as pessimists who were 'talking down the economy'. And what was he up to all along-why feathering his own nest of course, along with a whole lot of other chancers. And what must we do now? Well Cowen and Lenihan first ask us to shell out a fortune to bail out the nice lads at Anglo, and then, sure we might as well buy it altogether sure!
Ten years ago you'd have been sent off to the Celtic Tiger gulag for unsound and unpatriotic people for suggesting nationalising anything-'give it to Michael O' leary-he'll show you how to do it' was the refrain. Remember now when Labour opposed the sell-off of Trustee Savings Bank from the state: 'Sure what would the state be doing running a bank?!!', the sneering fatcats chortled. Well how's about to put manners on a few people and to have a bit of financial ethics around the place as an answer?
Now is the time for this Government to get off its complacent backside and to engage in a real public debate about where we go next. I believe that what my party is proposing is the way to go. Let's stimulate the economy just as Obama and Brown are doing. Let's get building and creating, and if we have to borrow to give people hope and dignity back, let's do so. Staying stuck in the same old Thatcherite slash and burn policies of the 80's will plunge us deeper into darkness and will set our recovery back year.
Who do you trust more on this choice- Obama, Brown and Gilmore or Cowen, Lenihan and indeed Kenny?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Tony Gregory- a decent man but tough opponent

The death of Tony Gregory this week was not unexpected to those of us in political circles but has taken most people by surprise. The last time I met him was at the launch of the book dedicated to Seamus Pattison's life in politics in Dail Eireann back in October. Tony looked visibly ill at the time but still had that twinkle in his eye.
I began my political life in Dublin Central. I knew Tony's core team members like Mick Rafferty, Seanie Lambe and of course my union colleague and now TD Finian McGrath. They were a hugely committed group of people who worked their socks off for what was then and still is the most deprived part of the country.

They were joined in that work by a series of Labour Party figures, most notably Joe Costello TD, his wife Emir and many others. In fact Dublin Central Labour has produced two other TD's who moved to neighbouring constituencies in Roisin Shortall and Joan Burton and the writer as a Councillor in Carlow/Kilkenny.
Tony was buried today in Dublin and as usual had the last word. The tribute speech at his final mass castigated those politicians who praised him loudly in the past week but had done so little to support those he represented during his lifetime in politics.

A real tribute to Tony Gregory would be the ending of the endemic poverty of the North and South Inner cities in Dublin, in Southill and Moyross in Limerick and in countless other ghettoes of local authority housing in our cities and towns, including here in Kilkenny.

The hypocrisy of a right-wing media which canonises Gregory, idolises Joe Higgins, but continues to attack real radical and left-wing policy aternatives to our current outdated Thatcherite economic model is also breathtaking. The attitude seems to be that a few colourful socialists in the Dail are OK but not if the things they believe in come close to be implemented.

Let's remember that the aim of Connolly and Larkin whose starry plough flag draped Tony Gregory's coffin today was the transformation of Irish society to win equality for all.

Ar dheis De go raibh anam Tony ach go dtiocfadh a chuid aidhmeanna i bhfeidhm chomh luath agus gur feidir.