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Thread: Coughlan on why 'dynasty politics' is practical.

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    Politics.ie Member roc_'s Avatar
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    Default Coughlan on why 'dynasty politics' is practical.

    Thought it worth posting this excellent and significant article that Elaine Byrne wrote back in January 2009. (acknowledging that Obama's talk and stated intent back then has not transpired to any meaningful degree, so perhaps ignore this aspect of the article)

    The Irish Times - Tue, Jan 13, 2009 - Lessons we must learn from Obama's self-reflection

    "... In an interview with this newspaper at the weekend, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan said that dynasty politics was practical because of an inbuilt reputation. “They know you understand the system and are accustomed to how it works. You know the life and have the contacts,” she said. In other political systems this is known as an aristocracy. An inherent-ocracy produces a political generation where safe constituencies immunise political leadership from the necessity to inspire debate because of the assumption of automatic re-election..."

    She also points out another very significant aspect of our political malady in the beginning of that article:

    "... My UN colleagues challenged me to ask “Why?” about everything. Not that they knew the answers, but at least they recognised that asking the question was part of the answer..."


    ... It strikes me that the whole country knows very well what is the core problem that is bringing this country to its knees (and worse) but yet can't do anything about it! What does that say?!
    “Words are animals, alive with a will of their own”.

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    RepublicanSocialist1798
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    Christ that woman does my head in.

    FF are nothing more than arrogant ************************ers. They really believe in holding onto power.
    "you're not allowed to say our dear leader is drunk"
    "I'm entitled to have my fathers/mothers seat"

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    Politics.ie Member needle_too's Avatar
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    Politics.ie Member roc_'s Avatar
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    May be difficulty accessing that link..

    Obama’s team is trying to temper expectations. Meanwhile, in Ireland we are permanently disillusioned, writes Elaine Byrne

    THIS COLUMN was born in anger. It stemmed from a period working at the United Nations, immersed in a vigorous and disparate world of colour, culture, class and religion. A world apart from a rural Wicklow upbringing of six younger siblings, where the family pub served as your living room and our funeral home as my only place of study. (It was dead quiet.) Dressing coffins was as much a part of the household routine as polishing the hearse to shine a magnificent black, proudly. When you grow up bearing intimate witness to death, you assume that death is normal.

    Living outside of Ireland forced me to engage with her in a different way. My UN colleagues challenged me to ask “Why?” about everything. Not that they knew the answers, but at least they recognised that asking the question was part of the answer. I learned that sometimes you needed to be far away in order to get up close. Only then does it become obvious how normal gets to be defined and what you think is ordinary can possibly be abnormal to everyone else.

    Irish politics thrives on entrenched and deep-rooted assumptions. We accept subconsciously that the position of taoiseach is reserved for those political parties of civil war origins. Or, that the proportional-representation single-transferable-vote electoral system is good for national democracy because it promotes provincial “ombudsmen”.

    In an interview with this newspaper at the weekend, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan said that dynasty politics was practical because of an inbuilt reputation. “They know you understand the system and are accustomed to how it works. You know the life and have the contacts,” she said. In other political systems this is known as an aristocracy. An inherent-ocracy produces a political generation where safe constituencies immunise political leadership from the necessity to inspire debate because of the assumption of automatic re-election.

    Extended Dáil holidays warrant that we learn second-hand of proposed tax increases. It was only through a Saturday report in this newspaper that we learned of the Department of Finance’s updated stability report to the European Commission on tax.

    In this Ireland, the consequences of gross failures within the banking regulatory regime justify the retirement, not resignation, of the financial regulator; where the front page headlines of Sunday newspapers articulate national debate as to the type of car that the Taoiseach currently has.

    These are old politics, old parties and old policies. Politics, though, has the ability to reinvent itself.

    On this page, in extracts from Barack Obama’s autobiographical narrative, Dreams from my Father, he writes of the “needlepoint virtues” of his mother. “‘If you want to grow into a human being,’ she would say to me, ‘you’re going to need some values’.” She cited four: (Irish public life, please copy)

    - Honesty
    - Fairness
    - Straight talk
    - Independent judgment.

    The president-elect was 33 when he penned these early memoirs. They start with a quotation from the Book of Chronicles: “For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers.” Like his mother, Obama is the perpetual sojourner, always searching for something, not content in what he describes as the “smugness and hypocrisy that familiarity had disclosed”.

    Obama argues with himself in his struggle to define his identity. He acknowledges his failures and confronts his assumptions.

    In Indonesia he meets direct racism for the first time. The “violent” Life magazine feature of the black man who had tried to peel off his skin would bring Obama to admit: “But my vision had been permanently altered.”

    This personal journey of self-reflection and self-examination ultimately translated into a broader political one for America. His extraordinary ability to connect with young people has established him as a new generation president not only for America, but for Ireland. Brian Cowen is 18 months older than Obama yet our generation identify more with an American president of Offaly ancestry than a Taoiseach of Offaly birth.

    Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic national convention in Boston was a defining moment of his political career: “In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? . . . Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope.”

    Despite economic reasons to the contrary, there is robust confidence and belief in the capability of American political leadership. The degree of expectation invested in Obama is such that his campaign team has emphatically sought to temper them since his November election.

    That’s the difference between America and Ireland. We do not have that luxury of attempting to prevent disappointment because we are already permanently disillusioned.

    In the absence of hope and an acceptance that Irish politics must also make a journey of self-revelation, I have decided to undertake a journey. It begins at the national convention centre in Boston, to meet Massachusetts Democratic Party activists. From there we take the train to Washington for Barrack Obama’s inauguration this day week.

    This column is still angry.
    “Words are animals, alive with a will of their own”.

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    Roughly translated as:


    "I grew up with the State's silver spoon feeding me. I got used to it. I want it to continue forever."
    We have turned the corner.I commend this Budget to the House. Brian Lenihan, 9 December 2009

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    Too much sense of self-entitlement in our bloated political class.

    Abolish the Senate; reduce the Dail to 80 seats; make the Dail into a proper, professional legislative body. That should help winnow out political time-servers. The likes of Mary Coughlan can then revert to their appropriate political level - representative county councillor. Let's see whether her sense of 'noblesse oblige' will kick in there.

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    Dynasties are so cool, like branding!! Bloody dopette...

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    Maybe this thread should be moved to the Political humour section

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    Politics.ie Member owedtojoy's Avatar
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    "In other political systems this is known as an aristocracy. An inherent-ocracy produces a political generation where safe constituencies immunise political leadership from the necessity to inspire debate because of the assumption of automatic re-election..."

    It is surely no accident that the three top political office-holders in the State are all products of political dynasties (Cowen, Coughlan, Linehan). TDs and their families are the nearest things we have to an aristocracy - all sorts of doors open for them like magic, they are courted and cosseted from an early age, they need never fear being stuck on a trolley at A&E - a quick call from Mum or Dad to a local bureaucrat will make sure of that.

    I have no objections to sons and daughters following the vocation of their parents or relatives, but there should be some system by which they serve a political apprenticeship. Cowen and Coughlan basically went straight into the Dail from University - they have no track record at anything other than presenting themselves to their constituents as Daddy's Little Boy/ Girl. At least Linehan did have a career as a Lecturer.

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    Politics.ie Member Franzoni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomas Mor View Post
    Maybe this thread should be moved to the Political humour section
    No..it's pretty serious that a deputy prime minister would be endorsing a culture of excluding citizens frolm the right to engage in politics just because they don't have the right 'breeding'..i've said it before FF are trying to be the new 'establishment' ...we should run them out of Ireland never mind out of government....

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