When the establishment betrays the people’s trust

By Anthony Sheridan

The political establishment that has [mis]ruled Ireland since independence is on the verge of extinction.

For clarity, here’s a good definition of the term ‘establishment’.

The ruling class or authority group in a society; especially, an entrenched authority dedicated to preserving the status quo.

An establishment’s greatest resource is the people over whom it exercises power.  Its success depends on the people’s willingness to tolerate its behaviour.

When an establishment betrays the people’s trust one of two things will happen.  The ruling elite will attempt to preserve its power by becoming ever more oppressive, even to the point of violence, or the people will bring it down and replace it with a new establishment that will return the balance between rulers and the ruled.

For example, abuse of power and an abject failure to respond to the needs of ordinary people trigged the French revolution in 1789.  The revolution marked the beginning of the end of the divine right of kings to rule and the eventual emergence of the middle class political establishment we see in France today.

In addition to getting rid of corrupt regimes revolutions also serve to enlighten citizens to the fact that it is they, and not the ruling elite, who are the rightful owners of political power. They become aware that power flows from the bottom up, that those at the top exercise power solely on sufferance from the people. This sense of people power is as strong in France today as it was in 1789. 

Unfortunately, the opposite is the case in Ireland. This is because there has never been a political revolution in our country and as a consequence there has never been a change in the mindset that sees power as belonging to the powerful. 

We had a rebellion in 1916 that ultimately persuaded the British establishment, who were distracted by the brutality of WWI, that a degree of independence for Ireland within the Commonwealth was better than more war and rising criticism from the international community.

This resulted in the relatively smooth replacement of an oppressive, self-serving colonial establishment with an equally oppressive, self-serving home-grown version. 

This home-grown establishment immediately set about creating a political regime that ensured the subservient mindset instilled in the population over centuries of colonialism lived on as a powerful means of political manipulation.

They created a system of gombeen clientelism where crumbs were handed out in payment for votes.  Citizens were led to believe that the natural order of power in a democracy was a top down system, where the ruling establishment knew best.  

This is why, unlike functional democracies, Ireland never benefitted from the healthy tension between a Left/Right political system.  There was never any real political opposition in our parliament. We never witnessed political parties seriously competing with each other to promote and implement their own political ideologies for the greater good of the country.

All we got was a political ruling elite, principally made up of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, masquerading as separate political parties. They are, and always have been, one political class with one overriding ambition – to exploit the people and resources of Ireland for their own benefit.  The only competition they engaged in over the decades was in the Tweedledee Tweedledum race for government where the opportunities for self-enrichment are most plentiful.

As the political establishment became weaker in recent years smaller parties such as the Progressive Democrats, Labour and, currently the Greens were recruited to support the ruling political class.

The abandonment of most, if not all, of the ideals and policies of these smaller parties was the price demanded and received in exchange for admission to the exclusive ruling elite club.

The British left-wing journalist, Owen Jones, provides the best definition of this particular type of establishment:

The establishment represents an attempt on behalf of powerful groups to “manage” democracy, to make sure that it does not threaten their own interests.

But the century long manipulation of the people and contempt for democracy by this political regime is rapidly coming to an end.  Irish citizens are beginning to realise that it is they who are the rightful owners of power and not the ruling political establishment.

It is crystal clear from recent elections and polls that the people are rejecting the old regime and are demanding real change in how the country is governed. That this demand for change is being ignored not just by the political centre but also by mainstream media demonstrates just how out of touch the establishment is with this revolutionary redirection in Irish political history.

The consensus among the ruling regime is that housing, health and the economy are the reasons for their continuing loss of power, that if these problems are fixed they will survive – it is a vain hope.

While these problems are obviously of huge concern to the electorate they take second place to the demand for radical political change.  People have come to realise that the old regime must be abolished and replaced with a genuinely democratic system. This change of mindset in the electorate is not a temporary phenomenon, it’s permanent – the old corrupt regime is finished.

The dramatic and historic rise in support for Sinn Fein is the most visible sign of this new emerging political landscape.  But that party should take note.  If it fails to radically overhaul how the state is governed, if it fails to abolish the old establishment and create a genuinely democratic balance between rulers and the ruled then it too will be rejected by the power of the newly enlightened electorate.

Elaine Byrne: Lacking moral courage to name names

By Anthony Sheridan

Establishment commentator Elaine Byrne believes Mary Lou McDonald and her party are lacking in moral courage and are therefore unfit to govern.

Sinn Fein does not deserve a pass until Mary Lou and her leadership demonstrate genuine moral courage.

Byrne is not alone in holding such an intolerant, undemocratic and hypocritical view.  The entire horde of establishment journalists have been scrambling around in panic ever since polls indicated that Sinn Fein have become a major force in Irish politics.

This development comes as no surprise to ordinary citizens who have suffered catastrophe after catastrophe as a direct result of political corruption in Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.  

The very fact that Ms. Byrne obviously believes that these two parties are in possession of any semblance of moral courage destroys her credibility as an objective commentator.  

But Ms. Byrne will not recognise this criticism because, like all establishment commentators, she operates from within the extremely restricted realm of the political establishment.

Looking out from that bubble Ms. Byrne can see and is indeed very angry at the massive damage inflicted on Ireland and its people by the disease of political corruption.

We know this because she wrote a book outlining in great detail every major incident of political corruption perpetuated principally by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael since the formation of the state.  

Unfortunately, Ms. Byrne does not, for whatever reason, possess the moral courage to name the guilty.

Instead, she falls in with the rest of the baying mob of ‘journalists’ in passing judgement on those who challenge the power and privilege of our corrupt ruling political class. 

Copy to:

Ms.Byrne

The poor standard of Irish political journalism

By Anthony Sheridan

The standard of political analysis within Irish journalism is disturbingly poor.  There is one simple but very troubling reason for this. 

Most journalists are loyal members of the establishment and as a consequence refuse to even acknowledge never mind actually write about the dark, underlying reality that lies at the heart of Irish politics. 

The dark reality is that the three centrist parties, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour, are not separate political parties struggling to attain power in order to implement policies for the greater good of Ireland and its people.   

The dark reality is that these three parties constitute a corrupt political class that, for the most part, works to enrich itself and those who support its agendas. 

The economic catastrophe and consequent extreme austerity inflicted on the people of Ireland by this ruling political class since 2008 has resulted in very serious damage to its credibility and as a consequence to its power. 

Labour has been virtually wiped out by an angry electorate while Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have been so damaged they have been forced into a coalition of desperation where they are engaged in a life or death struggle for political dominance.

The establishment media plays a major role in propping up the power of this corrupt political class.  Journalists do this by simply ignoring political corruption altogether or by retreating into a parallel reality.

A recent article by Irish Times journalist Pat Leahy provides us with a good example of how establishment journalists ‘analyse’ politics from within this parallel reality.    

In the article Leahy is making the point that the Left in Irish politics is not serious about achieving its political goals.  They prefer talking to doing, he says.  He goes on:

If power is impossible without compromise and personal sacrifice, they prefer the empty dance of politics without the prospect of power.

This, of course, is a ridiculous conclusion.  But such silly opinions are not unusual among journalists like Leahy because, while they can see the rot in the political system, they are not, for whatever reason, prepared to expose it. 

Clearly, Leahy doesn’t realise that the three centrist parties are a political class masquerading as separate entities.  We witness his ignorance by his use of the term  ‘go figure’  when describing how Fianna Fail and Fine Gael can operate on any point of the political spectrum without apparent scruple.

Political parties of integrity and principle do not do this.  They avoid associating with parties of opposite ideologies altogether or lay down very strict conditions for any coalition deal. 

A single ruling political class, particularly one infected with the disease of corruption, has no scruples about moving to any position on the politcal spectrum if it suits its purpose.  That’s why, for example, the Labour Party had no difficulties in collaborating with Fine Gael’s extreme right-wing austerity policies. 

Leahy further demonstrates his ignorance of the political landscape by asking the following question:

What, exactly, is the difference between the Labour Party and the Social Democrats apart from the fact that they cannot get along together at a personal level?

The answer, of course, is that the Labour Party is a loyal member of the corrupt ruling class.  The party sold out on its socialist principles and political integrity in 1992 when Dick Spring went into coalition with the criminal politician Haughey shortly after [accurately] describing Haughey and Fianna Fail as ‘a cancer on the body politic’.

The Social Democrats, on the other hand, represent the complete opposite of what Labour has become.  The Social Democrats came into existence as a direct result of exposing corruption within the ruling class. 

The party’s leadership know very well that they would be signing their political death warrant if they were to associate themselves with any of the parties that constitute the corrupt political class.

It is incredible and deeply disturbing that a journalist such as Leahy, who is considered an expert on political analysis, is not aware of this obvious political reality.

But, as I said at the beginning – the standard of political analysis within Irish journalism is very poor.

Copy to:

Pat Leahy

Alison O’Connor and professional deceit

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

Even for a Fine Gael journalist Alison O’Connor’s portrayal of Brian Hayes is way over the top. Hayes, who’s abandoning politics for a more lucrative career in the financial services industry, is portrayed as a virtual Irish Nelson Mandela.

O’Conner writes of the terrible conditions Irish politicians such as Hayes have to endure in order to serve the people. Having to stand for election, having to put your face on a poster, having to survive on €100,000 plus generous expenses – my goodness, such horrors.

But like all establishment journalists O’Conner reveals her bias in the detail. She tells us that Hayes’ greatest talent lay in making the government look good.

I couldn’t understand at the time how the party, and then taoiseach Enda Kenny, felt he would be better off in the European Parliament than at home doing a fine job of making the government look good, despite the slashing and burning that was ongoing.

Note – not fighting for the health and wealth of the people, not badgering his party leader to do what was right for the victims of political and financial corruption, not insisting that corrupt bankers be brought to justice.

No, Hayes’ greatest talent, according to O’Connor, was his amazing ability to ‘make the government look good’ as it destroyed the lives, ambitions and wealth of millions of Irish citizens. In other words, Hayes was a brilliant political liar and propagandist.

And then there’s the accidental admission that Hayes is leaving politics so that he can accumulate even more money.

A politician of Brian Hayes’ experience and profile might stand to earn considerably more in the private sector.

So it’s not about selfishly serving people and country, it’s about who pays the most. And with Hayes’ many connections in politics, government and banking, his new career in the Irish Banking and Payments Federation is sure to make him a very wealthy man.

But there’s always a nagging problem for establishment journalists like O’Conner – how to explain the awkward logical gap between the catastrophic financial, psychological and social damage inflicted on the Irish people over recent decades and the claim that the political system responsible for the suffering is populated by people of high principles and integrity such as Hayes.

The answer – ignore the brutal reality and resort to professional deceit.

And the current choice of deceit is – blame social media.

Quoting a senior Fine Gael source O’Connor writes:

It is proving exceptionally difficult to get them [candidates] to stand because they see the abuse politicians get on social media and feel that a political career just isn’t worth that.

I’ll finish with this thought: Irish citizens will never see the extermination of the disease of political corruption for so long as establishment journalists like O’Connor are willing to loyally defend the rotten system.

Copy to:

Alison O’Connor

Gombeen democracy v real democracy

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

There has been a great deal of arrogant criticism in this country about the manner in which the British political system is dealing with the Brexit crisis.

But comments in a recent speech by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, highlighted the difference between a real democracy like the UK and a gombeen democracy like ours.

May was responding to those who are calling for a second referendum:

The latest plan is to hold a second referendum. They call it a ‘people’s vote’, but we had the people’s vote and the people chose to leave. A second referendum would be a politician’s vote, politician’s telling people, you got it wrong the first time so try again. Think for a moment what it would do for faith in our democracy if having asked the people of this country to take this decision politicians try to overturn it. Those of us who do respect the result, whichever side of the question we stood on two years ago need to come together now.

May is spot on in describing the idea of a second referendum as a ‘politician’s vote’. In our pretend democracy we’ve had two such ‘politician’s votes’ in recent years when the democratic will of the people wasn’t in line with the interests of the ruling elite so the result was thrown out and the people were forced to ‘try again’.

 

Dan Boyle: Corruption…what corruption?

 

By Anthony Sheridan

I recently engaged in a twitter discussion with former Green Party TD Dan Boyle on the question of politican corruption. Incredibly, and somewhat depressingly, Mr. Boyle does not believe that political corruption is a major problem, he does not believe that political corruption is principally responsible for most of the damage and suffering inflicted on Irish citizens over the decades.

Indeed, despite years of direct political involvement Mr. Boyle claims he has no direct evidence of the disease.

I believe corruption exists but I have no specific evidence of it.

Here’s the verbatim account of our discussion.

 

Dan Boyle:  The significant whataboutery of many in Irish life, reacting negatively to the latest in horror homelessness stories, shows the horrible link that when becoming richer as an economy we seem to become poorer as a society.

Anthony Sheridan: Ah yes, once again it’s the royal ‘we’ that’s to blame. This avoids the brutal truth – the corrupt Centre of Irish politics is responsible

Dan Boyle:  We all exist in a society. You don’t isolate. Nothing ‘royal’ about it. Bigger picture exists despite personal animosity.

Anthony Sheridan:  You do isolate, you identify the guilty (in this case, corrupt politicians) and make them accountable. The ‘we’ generalisation is a cop out.

Dan Boyle:  To you it is. Choose isolation if you want. All it leads to is constant conflict and little, if any, progress.

Anthony Sheridan:  Your reply does not make sense. Focus on the brutal truth – our corrupt politicians are responsible.

Dan Boyle:  Your use of the phrase ‘corrupt politicians’ is meaningless. It’s a convenient catch all phrase that doesn’t forward debate in any way at all.

Anthony Sheridan:  Wow…that’s an incredible comment given the massive suffering, loss and even death as a direct result of political corruption. No wonder the Greens are in the waiting room of extinction.

Dan Boyle:  Of course there are politicians who are corrupt, but most politicians regardless of where they sit on the policy spectrum, are not. Pretending they are, and using politicians as a generic reason for all that is wrong in society, is just plain wrong.

Anthony Sheridan:  It is not just some corrupt politicians, the political system itself is rotten to the core. You are an insider and like all insiders you are blind to the rot all around you. The countless victims of political corruption do not have the luxury of ignoring the brutal reality.

Dan Boyle:  I’m not an insider but I am someone who has had experience of where and how the system falls down. You put this down to corruption, I put it down to competence. Where the system most falls down is where those in charge have no accountability mechanisms.

Anthony Sheridan:  You are an insider, It’s deeply disturbing how unaware establishment politicians are of the true nature of political corruption. I’m confident that in time the rotten system will be brought down and replaced with honest politics. We’ll have to agree to disagree until that day.

Dan Boyle:  I’m not an insider I hold no public office. I believe corruption exists but I have no specific evidence of it. Laws need to be strengthened and greater resources given to help prosecute more. Corruption needs to be eliminated but lack of competence is the real problem.

Anthony Sheridan:  Your admission that you have no specific evidence of corruption defies belief. The disease of corruption is obvious and rampant throughout the political and administrative system. You live in a bubble of denial Mr. Boyle, a fact that does enormous damage to the Irish people.

Dan Boyle:  I speak honestly on the basis of my experience. If specific evidence was made available to me I would have acted on it. If such evidence is available to you, I would encourage you to have it acted on. Most failures in Irish politics are as a result of cock ups not conspiracies.

Anthony Sheridan:  I am genuinely astonished at your apparent ignorance of the rampant corruption within the political/administrative sectors. Clearly, you pay little attention to news and current affairs. Such ignorance is a guarantee that the guilty will continue to thrive.

Dan Boyle:  Again not what I’m saying. Convictions depend on evidence of sufficient quality. Corruption exists. It is notoriously hard to prove. But I’ll repeat lack of competence is the greater cause of maladministration in Irish public services.

Anthony Sheridan:  We’re going around in circles now. Just to finish, it is deeply disturbing and bodes ill for the future of our country if your ignorance and naivety are common [and I suspect that is the case] within the body politic. Thank you for engaging in the discussion.

Dan Boyle:  You can call me ignorant as much as you like. You have no greater information or experience on this than anyone else has. Your shock and scorn is immaterial.

Anthony Sheridan:  It’s not about me, it’s about ridding our country of the disease of political corruption, clearly there’s a long road ahead.

Copy to:

Dan Boyle

 

Orwell’s 1984 arrives in 2018 Ireland

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

Here are some quotes I’ve taken from Wikipedia’s description of the George Orwell dystopian novel ‘1984′.

An environment of omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation. A government invented language that replaces English. A system enforced by a privileged, elite Inner Party that persecutes individualism and independent thinking.

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power.

It is in no way an exaggeration to say that the above description is fast becoming a reality in Ireland today.

A corrupt political elite made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour masquerading as democratic politicians as they manipulate power for their own benefit while attacking those who would challenge their privileged position.

We only have to observe the ruthless and often illegal tactics employed by the State during the water war. The manipulation of information by the Government’s Strategic Communications Unit and the unlimited funds available to elite schools while the schools of the poor fall into disrepair, to see just how close ‘1984’ resembles the Ireland of 2018.

 

 

Those who may consider this a bit over the top might consider the following headline:

Bin lorry cameras are on hunt for thousands of homeowners who break rubbish rules

Here we have private companies monitoring and imposing punishment on citizens who fail to obey instructions. Initially, the Government information machine attempted to persuade citizens that these instructions, to separate refuse into different categories, was for the benefit of the environment.

To a degree this is true but it is also true that encouraging people to separate refuse saves the collection companies an absolute fortune in having to do it themselves.

But now the days of encouraging are over, now the Government has handed over power to private companies to monitor and punish citizens who fail to do as instructed. Education (of the masses) is also a priority for the companies as this comment makes clear:

Clearly a huge challenge lies ahead and education is needed.

The state tyranny described in Orwell’s ‘1984‘ is controlled by a mysterious leader known as Big Brother. All citizens are required to give unquestioning loyalty and respect to the great leader.

Winston Smith, the rebel who challenges state power in the story, is eventually defeated and brainwashed into a feeling of intense love for Big Brother.

The Irish ‘Winston Smith’ is none other than former rebel Bono who recently sent messages of intense love to his hero Varadkar.

Dear Leo,  I am utterly proud to call you my Taoiseach. I look forward to lots of plotting and planning. Yours with respect, Bono.

 

Elaine Byrne: Not speaking full truth to power

 

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Corruption expert Elaine Byrne and two or her colleagues, Hugh O’Connell and Barry J Whyte, recently wrote an extensive piece on the failings of the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO).

Similar articles on the issue of poor or non-existent state regulation have been penned by a long line of journalists in a long line of newspapers over a timescale of many decades.

They all have one thing in common – they fail, for various reasons, to speak the full truth.

So here’s the full truth in just four sentences:

One:       Those who wield power are responsible for enacting and enforcing anti-corruption laws that are critical to the proper functioning of a state.

Two:     When those in power fail in their duty to confront corruption, the state and its people suffer.

Three:   Ireland and its people have suffered enormously from the disease of corruption over the decades as a direct result of this failure.

Four:     The people who are directly and indisputably responsible for this failure are the three mainstream political parties – Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

These four points should form the basis for every single article written by Irish journalists when they are addressing the issue of political and state corruption.

Unfortunately, Irish journalists have a very poor record of speaking truth to power. Instead, we get articles like that written by Ms. Byrne that pulls punches all over the place out of fear, ignorance or support for those who corruptly wield power.

For example, Ms. Byrne speaks of ‘governance failures’, ‘mistakes’, ‘shortcomings’ and ‘blunders

Here’s the truth: Those who wield power strip all regulatory authorities of power in a deliberate strategy that is specifically designed to protect the corrupt. The evidence for this truth is overwhelming and indisputable.

Ms. Byrne also uses the royal ‘we’ instead of precisely identifying those who facilitate political and state corruption. For example, she tells us that:

We excel at the disease of implementation deficit.

Here’s the truth: The ‘we’ Ms. Byrne speaks of consists of the three mainstream political parties who have wielded power since independence. The evidence for this truth is overwhelming and indisputable.

Ms. Byrne also writes about the ‘national addiction to reports’. There is no national addiction to reports. Irish citizens are fed up to their back teeth with reports and reports on reports that result in zero accountability.

Here’s the truth: The establishment of reports, reviews and tribunals is a strategy specifically designed by those who wield power to protect the corrupt.

So, as Mary and Joe soap make their case before an empowered judge the politically protected corrupt casually perjure themselves in front of a disempowered judge at a tribunal. The evidence for this truth is overwhelming and indisputable.

To her credit Ms. Byrne is one of the very few commentators who have come even close to speaking truth to power.

Here’s how she wrote about a speech she made at the McGill Summer School in July 2012. She was speaking to an audience that would have included many of those responsible for protecting the corrupt.

Official Ireland is predominantly male, predominantly over 50 and predominantly people who earn over €100,000. For the most part, it includes the speakers at this MacGill summer school and those that attend it.

That didn’t go down too well. That part of my speech was greeted with an audible murmur of disapproval (my emphasis) at MacGill in Donegal last week.

Yet every single inquiry into public life that we have had in this country over the past 15 years has come down to one singular thing, the operation of power by Official Ireland. The political tribunals, the church scandals, the police inquiries, the hospital failures and the banking crisis were ultimately about the abuse of power.

She ended her article with this:

These mostly male, middle-aged decision makers are responsible for the (economic) collapse in the first place because they never shouted stop.

This is an example of what I mentioned at the beginning of this article – a failure to speak the full truth to power.

Here’s what needs to be said to the powers that protect the corrupt:

The three mainstream political parties of this country, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Labour Party are directly responsible for infecting the political and administrative systems of our country with the disease of corruption.

The evidence for this is overwhelming and indisputable. These are the parties that have wielded power since independence. These are the parties that have consistently and intentionally failed, power swop after power swop, to challenge the disease of corruption.

These are the parties that must be permanently removed from power if the people of Ireland are ever to enjoy the benefits of living in a functional democracy free of rampant political corruption.

Copy to:

Elaine Byrne

 

 

Israel/Ireland: Corruption comparison

 

 

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

The ongoing corruption scandal involving the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provides a stark comparison with just how corrupt Ireland’s political/state system is.

Here’s a brief list of some of the charges against Netanyahu:

Receiving expensive gifts from wealthy businessmen in exchange for favours.

Striking an illicit deal with a newspaper in exchange for favourable political coverage.

His wife, Sara, is also under investigation accused of using government money to pay for private chefs at family events and electrical work in the family home.

In Ireland, this kind of corruption is casually accepted as part and parcel of normal political activity.

For example, it has just been revealed that the Government’s Strategic Communications Unit (SCU) paid out €1.5 million of taxpayers’ money to favoured newspapers to publish propaganda articles in favour of Fine Gael.

Or, to put it another way: The Government struck an illicit deal with newspapers in exchange for favourable political coverage.

The response to this corrupt act in Ireland was to appoint a senior government official to review the actions of senior government officials.

The response in Israel saw the police directly investigating the chief suspect, the Prime Minister. As a result of that investigation they have recommended that he be charged in a court of law. This is the norm in functional democracies.

Here are some more stark comparisons between how things are done in a functional democracy such as Israel and a corrupt state such as Ireland.

In Israel the police are independent of the political system and are therefore free to investigate political corruption.

In Ireland the police are, effectively, a branch of the political system and therefore do not investigate political corruption.

In Israel there is a specialised anti-corruption police unit.

In Ireland there is no such unit.

In Israel, all crime, including political corruption, is dealt with through police investigation and the courts.

In Ireland, there are two separate systems for dealing with crime. One for ordinary citizens that involves police, courts and punishment and another made up of tribunals, commissions and committees deliberately, and very successfully, designed to ensure there is no accountability or punishment for those with power and influence.

In Israel regulatory agencies such as the Central Bank or corporate enforcement operate independently of the political system.

In Ireland all regulatory agencies are subject to political control and influence.

In Israel the media use the word ‘corruption’ when writing and speaking about corruption.

In Ireland the word ‘corruption’ is never used by establishment media. Instead, the fuzzy word ‘culture’ is used.

So, for example, there’s no such thing as police corruption in Ireland but rather a ‘culture’ that provides journalists and politicians with a safe area in which to endlessly discuss reform of the ‘culture’ while completely ignoring the brutal reality right in front of their eyes.

In Israel, Prime Ministers and former Prime Ministers can face prison when found guilty of corruption.

In Ireland the notion that a Prime Minister or former Prime Minister would be the subject of a police investigation never mind actually do jail time is so ludicrous as to border on the insane.

 

 

Irish cowboy town and fake regulatory agencies

 

 

 

 

Elaine Byrne is, once again, writing about scandal and regulatory failure in today’s Sunday Business Post (Sub reqd). This time it’s about the failure of the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) to do its job regulating the political system. I hope to respond to her article in the next day or so.

In the meantime, I’m republishing this article (with some minor editing) I wrote in April 2015 outlining how all regulatory bodies in Ireland are, in reality, fake.

 

 

Irish cowboy town and fake regulatory agencies

2 April 2015

It’s not often a minister for justice makes me laugh but the latest comment on police reform from Frances Fitzgerald had me in stitches.

Making excuses for her complete failure to establish a police authority the minister said that, in the meantime:

“A kind of shadow board would be set up.”

Ok, let me first state an absolute fact. This government will not set up a police authority. The next government; if it is spawned from the same corrupt political/administrative culture, will not set up a police authority.

The reason is simple; the establishment of a genuinely independent police authority would end the corrupt nexus between the body politic and the police force. That corrupt nexus has served the interests of politicians, their friends in the Golden Circle and senior police officers since the foundation of the state; it will remain firmly in place for so long as that culture exists.

What we will see is the establishment of a fake police authority, an authority that from the outside looks and acts as if it’s the real thing but, in reality, is a fraud.

The setting up of fake regulatory agencies is the single greatest achievement of our corrupt political system. These fake authorities are so successful that they have not only fooled ordinary citizens, they have fooled the media, the international community and even many of the politicians who established them in the first place.

The system can best be understood by comparing it to those fake Hollywood wild west towns built to make cowboy movies.

Walking down the main street everything looks real so long as nobody actually believes there’s anything of substance behind the facades.

So, for example, when a citizen opens the door marked ‘Financial Regulator’ they find themselves in a wilderness populated by drifting tumbleweeds, each one with a tag reading – secrecy laws forbids the answering of any questions.

When the door marked ‘Standards in Public Office’ is opened citizens are met by an official endlessly chanting – Political accountability? No, never heard of it. We just dig holes in the sand and fill them in again.

When the Troika arrived they already knew there was something odd about the way things were done in this town so they opened more doors than usual.

Inside the austere and impressive door to the legal system, for example, they found mountains of stolen loot surrounded by hundreds of partying solicitors and barristers. Clear out this den of iniquity they instructed the government, we’ll be back to check on it.

When they returned a year later they failed to notice that what appeared to be a reformed legal system was actually an act performed by actors hired for the day from a nearby spaghetti western movie set. The drunken solicitors and barristers were still partying just over the hill.

Down at the end of the town there’s a brand new, freshly painted building with the title, Charity Regulator. Inside there’s a large office with an impressive array of filing cabinets, computers, desks and stern looking officials.

On closer inspection however, the files are just blank paper, the desks and computers are made of balsa wood and the officials are shop mannequins.

So what, at first glance, looks like a real regulator turns out to be nothing more than the usual cynical exercise in deception. Because this is a new regulator, no citizen has yet been damaged by its fraudulent front but, in time, thousands will inevitably suffer heavy financial loss and perhaps worse.

Irish citizens have lost faith in the State and its administrators. They know that almost all state agencies are steadfastly loyal to the corrupt political system that created them and exercises control over their activities.

The long-suffering people of Ireland are waiting for somebody to lead them in knocking down all the buildings in Irish cowboy town.

Copy to:

Frances Fitzgerald