The Occidental Taoiseach

at | 107 Replies

From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Tony Groves

If Enda Kenny was considered by many to be the Accidental Taoiseach, then Leo Varadkar might be considered the first Occidental one. Occident derives from the latin occidens “sunset, West” and has evolved to simply mean the Western World or Western Culture.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is the biggest proponent of Western Culture ever to hold the highest office in Ireland. But in reality we couldn’t have a worst time to be led by such an individual.

Western Culture, ignoring imperialism and the hollowing out of the (horrible term) Third World, was historically about raising living standards, improving social mobility and creating economic opportunity.

But sadly, those parts of the culture are long in reverse. Every economic indicator tells of lowering living standards, less social mobility and an economic model of feudalism.

It is to this Culture that the Occidental Taoiseach belongs. He is part of the Kardashian Culture. He takes selfies, shoots videos from his private jet, waves socks and has a Strategic Communications Unit who have reduced the value of any words he speaks to less than a marketing slogan.

I saw the hashtag #NotMyTaoisock last week and, rather than laugh, I grimaced. This is what he has turned the highest office in the land into. I’m all for fun and I don’t think the offices of power need to be a sense of humour free zone, but it’s deeply unfunny when he’s paying people to make jokes with our money.

Take just the last few days of the Occidental Taoiseach’s Accidents; he (or TCD History Professor Patrick Geoghegan) plagiarised a JFK quote and tried to pass it off as deep, he tweeted an image of novelty socks (containing the caption You’re A Ride), then he had someone take a picture of him filling a dishwasher, with the caption “no-one gets away without packing the dishwasher around here”.

On November 10, he told the Fine Gael National Conference that “every child deserves a childhood”.

On November 11 he told the media (and a Facebook Live Audience) that Ireland has “one of the lowest levels of homelessness”.

It took him less than 24hrs to forget about the 3,124 homeless children.

Then on November 12, rather than be quiet he opened his mouth (or his now Trump Like Twitter Account) simply to exchange his feet, tweeting:

“Context matters. Was asked a question…about homelessness levels. We don’t by international comparison. That’s a fact.”

Let me give you some context, Taoiseach:

In 2008, at the death of the Celtic Tiger era, we had approximately 1,522 homeless people in Ireland. Today we have over 8,371.

In 2008 we had approximately 16,000 millionaires. Today we have over 116,000.

Taoiseach. Your attempts to contextualise and normalise homeless children are disgusting. Your party is in power since 2011 and has overseen this huge growth in inequality.

The Occidental Taoiseach has had more Enda Kenny like faux pas in the last fortnight than Enda Kenny himself had in over 40 years in politics. Please Taoiseach, put the phone away, pull up your fancy €9 a pair socks and get on with the real and difficult challenges that are facing the country.

Many people think you are the most Right Wing Taoiseach in the history of the state, I myself have some sympathy with this belief. But I’m starting to think you’re more dangerous than that. I think you have already made a calculated assessment that you can fool enough people via PR, Tweets and Facebook to get re-elected.

You know, in your less vacuous moments, that you’ll never persuade the many who see the lack of substance beneath the handsome veneer, so you won’t even bother trying. You’ll simply send a tweet on Monday saying you’re tackling the latest crisis and then explain it away as normal on Facebook Live on Tuesday.

If that doesn’t work you’ll get your Varak-ops department to follow you around on a bike ride.

The Occidental Taoiseach is banking on fooling enough of us so as he doesn’t have to reach out to those left behind. You can fool some of the people some of the time. The rest, in this context, don’t matter. Isn’t that right, Taoiseach?

Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld.

107 thoughts on “The Occidental Taoiseach

    1. ahjayzis

      It’s not hatred. he’s not engaged enough to hate anyone. he just doesn’t care. He’s in it to be in it – nothing else. He’s an empty shell.

      Reply
      1. Brother Barnabas

        Pretty much it.

        He reckons €350,000 is an affordable house.

        He also believes Ireland has one of the lowest rates of homelessness in the world… and that the rate is falling.

        He’s not a Taoiseach for ordinary people. That’s all there is to it. He doesn’t hate ordinary people, just doesn’t give a poop. No surprise – that’s what FG are all about.

        Reply
          1. ahjayzis

            +1 actually.

            It’s oddly refreshing. He’s not doing anything Fianna Fail and Fine Gael haven’t done for 30 years – he’s just not couching it in empty rhetoric he doesn’t mean a word of.

            It makes it more vulgar and ugly, but the people who think that weren’t going to vote for him anyway.

      2. push the button

        Do you know him personally ahjaysis? i’d say it’s more like any new and inexperienced CEO he is taking advice from others and not really asserting his own authority yet

        Reply
        1. ahjayzis

          I’m going on him being on the front bench for ten years. Can you name a ministerial success of his? A positive contribution he’s made? What’s his legacy in Health? A Leo reform? Any personal project or passion he’s spearheaded for the betterment of a department / system?

          He’s a showman. He’s Blair or Macron or Obama – all spin, all gloss, fresh new face, same old poopy.

          Reply
          1. push the button

            Well you mightn’t like it but clearly the discouragement of welfare fraud is an important public policy, as is encouraging lazy ass folks to get out of bed and try to get a decent day’s work in

          2. Sham Bob

            Oh dear, push the button, is that all you have, the drive to reduce social welfare fraud? Joan Burton championed this previously to appear tough, and Leo clearly resurrected it to raise his profile before Enda finally opened the drawer with the bottle of whiskey and the revolver.

        2. Eureka

          To hum along to , whenever Pushie jumps on the sheet and bores us all to death.

          “Push The Button”

          I’m busy throwing hints that he keeps missing
          Don’t have to think about it
          I Wanna kiss and
          Everything around it but he’s too distant
          I wanna feel his body
          I can’t resist it

          I know my hidden looks can be deceiving
          But how obvious should a girl be?
          I was taken by the early conversation piece
          And I really like the way that he respect me

          I’ve been waiting patiently for him to come and get it
          I wonder if he knows that he can say it and I’m with it
          I knew I had my mind made up from the very beginning
          Catch this opportunity so you and me could feel it ‘cos

          If you’re ready for me boy
          You’d better push the button and let me know
          Before I get the wrong idea and go
          You’re gonna miss the freak that I control

          I’m busy showing him what he’s been missing
          I’m kind of showing off for his full attention
          My sexy ass has got him in the new dimension
          I’m ready to do something to relieve this mission

          After waiting patiently for him to come and get it
          He came on through and asked me if I wanted to get with him
          I knew I had my mind made up from the very beginning
          Won’t miss this opportunity so you and me could feel it ‘cos

          If you’re ready for me boy
          You’d better push the button and let me know
          Before I get the wrong idea and go
          You’re gonna miss the freak that I control

          If you’re ready for me boy
          You’d better push the button and let me know
          Before I get the wrong idea and go
          You’re gonna miss the freak that I control

          I’ve been dropping so many hints
          You’re still not getting it
          Now that you’ve heard everything I have to say
          Where we gonna go from here?

          After waiting patiently for him to come and get it
          He came over and asked me if I wanted to get with him
          I knew I had my mind made up from the very beginning
          Won’t miss this opportunity so you and me could feel it ‘cos

          If you’re ready for me boy
          You’d better push the button and let me know
          Before I get the wrong idea and go
          You’re gonna miss the freak that I control

          If you’re ready for me boy
          You’d better push the button and let me know
          Before I get the wrong idea and go
          You’re gonna miss the freak that I control
          (I control)

          If you’re ready for me boy
          (For me boy)
          You’d better push the button and let me know
          Before I get the wrong idea and go
          (Oh, oh)
          You’re gonna miss the freak that I control

          Ohhhhhhhh Ohhhhh Ohhhhhh

          Reply
          1. Mary's oul wan

            Has our Mary been posting this vile sort of stuff on t’internet?

            Oh wow she is gonna get like, grounded so bad

  1. Milton Freidman

    Tony Groves is becoming the male Ruth Coppinger, an humorless wailing bore who will give his opinion on matters far beyond his ‘expertise’.

    Note, that he doesn’t disprove the fact that Ireland by international standards,DOES have below average homelessness. Does not stop his rant though.

    According to the OECD in 2017, Ireland has a homeless rate of 0.08% which is below France, Germany, Sweden, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, the UK and a host of other countries.
    http://www.oecd.org/els/family/HC3-1-Homeless-population.pdf

    What Leo said, is a FACT!

    It is a pity people don’t look into the facts first and try and see if there is truth to the statement. He didn’t say it wasn’t a problem, he didn’t trivialize it, he just stated a clean objective fact that can be verified by anyone, as the media being the media just want something negative to write about.

    So, save us the faux indignation and try and write something more coherent next time.

    Reply
    1. mkg985

      But didn’t Peter McVerry produce stats that showed we are the worst country based on population size. Or do you just like to normalise (moany Tony’s word) stepping over homeless people on your way to lunch.

      Reply
      1. Cian

        Did you Milton’s post? and look at the stats he provided?
        2 of the countries mentioned have a similar population size:
        * New Zealand 4.6 million
        * Denmark 5.7 million

        Reply
        1. Listrade

          Is that the message to the over 8000? Could be worse, you could be in New Zealand?

          As pointed out in the report it is hard to compare directly. One issue being how homelessness is defined.
          Just look at the table comparing figures. Ireland’s figure is from 2015, official homeless figures now far exceed that. Not charity figures, official figures.

          2nd, Ireland is on of 12 countries that limits the definition of homelessness to ” 1) living
          rough, 2) living in emergency accommodation, and 3) living in accommodation for the homeless?”

          New Zealand also includes:
          ‘people living in improvised shelters’, ‘people staying in camping grounds/motor camps’ and ‘people sharing accommodation with someone else’s household’

          Denmark also includes a similar expanded definition.

          The Denmark figure in 2017 was 6,635. A rise of 497 (2013-2017) since the figures reported in the OECD report. Ireland has risen from 3,625 to 8,371 (2015-2017).

          But apart from the factual basis being a bit off, certainly when using 2 year old figures that ignore the significant increase since, it’s the morality of making that claim in the face of a crises.

          To put into perspective the figure Leo is boasting about as reported by the OECD, 2 years later and that’s now the number of kids alone who are homeless, and that’s without the expanded definition of New Zealand and Denmark.

          Reply
          1. Milton Freidman

            As I already pointed out, what Leo said is factually correct. The people making a big issue out of this are the same people who would be against Water charges and the LPT. The problem with Irish discourse is that everything is a “crisis” and the media want to whip everyone into a frenzy about utterly meaningless quips or words. Everything is an outrage, yet what is said is totally true.

            By the way, Denmark and NZ have also grown their homelessness the past few years, the latter having effectively banned foreign ownership of new houses such is the problem there. The facts are all there, but no one wants to read it as it undermines their daily dose of faux outrage. We are becoming a nation of children.

          2. Listrade

            @Milton.

            I agree. Let’s be really accurate then and say that what Leo said “Was factual, based on 2015 figures (which have since nearly tripled) and based on the OECD’s insistence to not draw too strong a comparison between the figures due to the significantly varying international definitions of homelessness.”

            Do you not see any problem in quoting that report to curb scaremongering when it no longer represents the scale of homelessness in Ireland? Is a rise from just over 3000 to over 8000 in two years not just a little bit of a crisis? Factually speaking of course.

          3. Nuala MC Namara

            EXACTLY!NZ& Denmark use more than 3/7 Categories in their figures.As I said below even in the 3Categories Ireland are reported to go by they exclude rough sleepers& women&children in refuges!Plus Ireland excludes 4categories of homeless!
            CSO’16 said number of overcrowded dwellings is 95,013& if you just take 1person extra per household that’s 93,013 people!
            Social housing list number are 120,000 HOUSEHOLDS & if you just take 1 person per household that’s 120,000 people.
            ? Figures for people living in non conventional dwellings,mobile homes,tents,temp structures
            ?Figures for people staying longer in institutions due to lack of housing
            ?Figures for people’s living conditions or status not included in above
            Above shows that ‘offical’figures of 8374 is only tip of iceberg!

      2. Milton Freidman

        New Zealand and Denmark has a similar population to us, yet they have far more homeless there than here according to the OECD. How does that tie in with the facts that Peter McVerry produces?

        On a side note, I would put far more trust into the facts that the OECD produces than the facts the poverty industry in Ireland produces. Their motive is different. The OECD has no agenda either way to produce these facts in relation to homelessness, wile the poverty industry do have a good motivation to paint the picture in as bad a light as possible, in an effort to garner more funding and put pressure on the government.

        Reply
          1. Nigel

            Why, yes, the government is failing to adequately regulate some parts of the charity sector which it is relying on to cope with and be a scapegoat for the homeless crisis it is failing to properly address in any way shape or form, we noticed. Thanks for doing your bit.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          Of course you try to gloss over the 2015 report that clearly says that we do not calculate the level of homelessness by the same standards of other countries.

          Reply
    2. Barry the Hatchet

      Have you actually read the document you linked to? It essentially says, look we’ve done our best here but the data is very difficult to directly compare and there are dozens of reasons why these figures should be taken as merely a general indicator and not as anything close to “FACT”.

      Reply
    3. Daisy Chainsaw

      Blueshirt fraperoom isn’t hanging around is it? Dear Leoder must be defended and exalted at all times. It’s Dept of Propaganda policy.

      Reply
    4. Nuala MC Namara

      These are 2015’offical’figures(2017:8374 including 3124 children)&Ireland supposed to use3/7 Categories of homeless BUT shockingly doesn’t even do that because Cat1 rough sleepers NOT included&Cat3 women&children (4007 including 2349 children)NOT included!Then you have the other 4 Categories of homeless excluded!

      Reply
        1. Milton Freidman

          @Listrade
          Homelessness has tripled in 2 years in Ireland, oh my, this should be good one, please do explain.

          Reply
    5. painkiller

      Chart the increase in the rate homelessness across OECD countries from 2008 and come back to me!
      …we are talking about a 550% increase in homelessness over a 9 year period, in a country where we are not at all conditioned to walk past beggars and feel nothing.

      Milton Friedman – name says it all. I suppose we have to break eggs to make a big tasty omelette…

      Reply
    1. Candy Crush Guru

      Indeed he has
      And it’s a running current is these tragic columns

      Could he be FFrape Crew, for the District of Broadsheet
      Alongside Derek Mooney

      Reply
  2. Eoin

    It’ll be a minor PR issue for Leo when more homeless freeze to death on the streets this winter. I’m glad someone is ranting in this kip. I don’t find it funny either.

    Reply
  3. b

    “In 2008, at the death of the Celtic Tiger era, we had approximately 1,522 homeless people in Ireland. Today we have over 8,371. In 2008 we had approximately 16,000 millionaires. Today we have over 116,000.”

    it’s a meaningless statistic and almost purely down to paper gains in property prices, so why are the left parties in the county councils opposing property tax increases then?

    Reply
  4. push the button

    I wish people would suggest solutions here and be more positive

    a lot of the criticism of our leaders seems unduly personalised and vindictive

    Reply
  5. Tony Groves

    *checks phone, sees inhumane apologists for a humanitarian crisis. Notes the repugnant phrase “poverty industry” and wonders what’s wrong with some people. Turns off phone*

    Reply
      1. Milton Freidman

        A humanitarian crisis is what happened in the Darfur, or Syria or what is happening now in Yemen. Not what is happening in Ireland, less hysteria more reason please

        Reply
  6. Pat Harding

    The problem with Leo is that he is turning into Bertie….lite.

    One would have hoped that a someone in their 30’s would have a real vision for Ireland in the 21st century, but he doesn’t and that’s a shame. The Taoiseach reminds me of Tony Blair for the Millennial generation, or at least his image is being crafted by unimaginative dullards who are so lacking in originality they are still using New Labour’s textbook not realising the world has moved on from the Clintonian – Blairite Spin of the 1990s!

    So here’s my advice Leo. The ‘Republic of Opportunity’ tag is a lame duck with no cache….. It might work for the unoriginal, the uninspired and the bland – but the truth is, it’s not working at all. Which reminds me of that dreadful ‘Celtic Snail’ campaign Fine Gael ran back in 2000?

    Reply
    1. push the button

      Why is that a problem? A bland little man who courts the headlines won’t rock the international consensus and will make sure that we are properly ignored in international affairs and on the receiving end of boo boo by the great and good as usual

      Reply
        1. Mary's oul wan

          If I’ve told Mary once I’ve told her a thousand times not to be talking to them strange men on t’internet. MARY! GET OFF YER BLOODY PHONE!

          Reply
  7. rotide

    This is new levels of Moany Tony.

    The criticism leveled at Leo is entirely based on “I don’t like him” rather than any actual policy disagreements.

    we’re talking about the first Taoseach in over 30 years to seriously look at the 8th let alone call a referendum on it. He’s also got the ball rolling on medicinal cannabis. Those two things alone give him some room in my mind.

    The housing crisis is not of his making and won’t be solved instantly. I’ll judge that by the time the next election is called

    Reply
    1. Pluto

      Leo doesn’t have any policies. That’s the problem. He’s content to just do nothing as evidenced by his entire career as a politician. We can’t attack him for this according to all the Fine Gael hacks on here so we should all just pipe down and get on seems to be the attitude.

      There are more and more people in tents on the streets in Dublin.

      Leo is in charge.

      Tony wrote an article outlining how Leo is more keen to tweet and take PR photos with dishwashers than actually lead public policy and introduce changes.

      Please feel free to link ANY policies / legislative changes that Leo has introduced since setting foot in the Dail.

      You could start with his time as Minister for Health…..

      Reply
      1. Donal

        +1

        Rotide, the housing crisis has increased hugely over the last 6 years, all of which FG were in power, all of which Leo was a minister in the government. He is part of a collective failure on their part to deal with it. The clock didn’t start on housing when Leo took over and any attempt to claim it did is pure spin on the behalf of a FG supporting mindset

        Reply
  8. Cian

    Tony,
    Yes, there is a problem with homelessness in Dublin. This problem is currently no worse than more countries (although it is growing). This problem needs to be resolved. This can only be fixed by either (a) building more homes; or (b) de-incentivising people from living in Dublin (e.g. another financial crash, for example)

    You missed the unemployment figures in your story of doom and gloom. Things have been awful in Ireland since the Celtic Tiger years – but they are a hell of a lot better now (for most) than 6 years ago:
    Unemployment figures (%)
    2008 173,000 (7.6%)
    2011 324,000 (15%)
    2017 131,000 (6.0%)

    Reply
    1. Nuala MC Namara

      Some interesting facts:
      Since 2007 part time employment went up by 15.6%.
      Those on job Activation schemes not classed as unemployed:80,000
      54% of workers earn under €30,000.
      18.8% adults who have an income below the poverty line has a job.
      17% of ‘offical’ homeless have jobs&12% ‘offical’ homeless unable to work due to permanent sickness or disability,8% are students!
      NERI study 2016 suggested approx 370,000 living below the living wage.
      SJI Employment Monitor 2017 :found 92,000 part time workers would take more employment/underemployed
      13% of part time workers are in receipt of JA/JB(reduced)&SJI stated this is double the rate from 10 years ago!(these also are not classed as unemployed!)
      The proportion of long term unemployed that are 45& older has risen from 25% at end of 2006 to 39% now(SJI)& the most significant trend has been in % of older unemployed workers that are without a job for year or more from 29% in Q2 2009 to 68% now!
      1/4 of Ireland’s population are experiencing poverty or social exclusion,of these 308,000 are children under 16 yrs.Consistent poverty up from 4% in 2010 to 8.8%!
      By the way as ive said in 2 comments, ‘offical’ homeless figures are just tip of the iceberg &homelessness not just confined to Dublin.
      Using the excuse of ‘normal’ doesn’t make sense whatsoever: eg:attacks,abuse,murders,other crimes,bad banking behaviour,cronyism,crisis in homelessness,housing,health,failure in public services including health services,police forces,etc occur in other countries but these are usually tackled before they develop into emergencies.However in Ireland crisis have developed into emergencies!

      Reply
      1. Milton Freidman

        Oh great now we are using the NERI stats to argue a point. NERI are the creationists of Irish economic discourse. Medium earnings for a full time worker was 32,000 euro in 2015 according to the CSO, no doubt it’s higher now, so not sure where you are getting the 54% figure from, probably from NERI which are about as water proof as the Titanic in terms of robust statistics.

        I think some people are also forgetting that we went through he worse economic crisis since the foundation of the state, as if this didn’t happen, they choose their baselines off the top of the Celtic Tiger, an unsustainable bubble, yet expect this to be the benchmark against which all things are measured. We should benchmark against the EU and the UK, as then the stats will see quite good in comparison.

        Reply
          1. Milton Freidman

            Yes, median is the correct word, which of course is not the same as average, as if I was talking about average the figure would have been even higher still.

        1. Nuala MC Namara

          Just 1 of the facts above is from NERI,rest from CSO, Census’16,SJI Reports,Ireland&the Europe 2020 Strategy,Michael Taft,etc!
          The” 54% of workers earning under €30,000″ fact is quote from Michael Taft ” Myths of the Squeezed middle’ article 4/10/16.
          The ‘economic crisis’ wasn’t the fault of the people left paying for it though harsh austerity imposed regardless of consequences affecting& still affecting their lives,their communities,&their services.The ‘economic crisis’&’Celtic tiger’ were caused by bad policies,lack of proper regulation & failure to listen to warnings from certain economists.
          I see the same stance re crisis after crisis in this country not taken seriously,failure to listen to warnings from those working in or caring for those affected by crisis,lack of proper regulation or reluctance to use powers & frustrating to see these crisis developing into emergencies.People’s lives matter especially those affected by these crisis or emergencies!
          Forgot to mention this fact: Census’16 Report showed 81% increase in homelessness since 2011!These are real people behind the ‘stats’ and they deserve a ‘Republic of Opportunity’!

          Reply
  9. Milton Freidman

    Can Tony share this stats on this with us?

    “But sadly, those parts of the culture are long in reverse. Every economic indicator tells of lowering living standards, less social mobility and an economic model of feudalism.”

    Big claims require big evidence! Or is his argument built on sand?

    Reply
    1. Cian

      Best of luck getting the stats from Tony. He’ll either
      a) not respond
      b) ignore your question and just make a sly joke
      c) tell you he really, really, really has the numbers – but unfortunately they are secret so he can’t share them

      Reply
      1. Milton Freidman

        Well not much of a financial consultant so if he cant produce his verifiable facts which leads him to his conclusion of said topic. Maybe that is why he spend his spare time writing here, rather then being elsewhere enjoying his life.

        Reply
  10. MKG985

    Ah people,
    I disagree with Moany Tony on nearly everything. Including his love of hating Leo, it’s boring. But there’s too much guff in here defending homelessness. Using Darfur and Syria as an excuse for leaving 3000 kiddies homeless is poopy. Some of you are better than that. At least, usually.

    Reply
  11. MKG985

    Ah people,
    I disagree with Moany Tony on nearly everything. Including his love of hating Leo, it’s boring. But there’s too much guff in here defending homelessness. Using Darfur and Syria as an excuse for leaving 3000 kiddies homeless is low. Some of you are better than that. At least, usually

    Reply
  12. Catherinecostelloe

    Leo is on record that the Dept of Justice is not fit for purpose. What is he doing about it? He stated the problems in HSE is not about government investment. So what is he doing about it? He called the garda whistleblowers ” distinguished” and now his new spin doctors can’t answer questions as to whether the dept of Justice were in cahoots with senior garda “to go after Maurice” at the o Higgins Commission. Leo has done precisely NOTHING since he came into office apart from sucking up to the EU. Tell them Leo we Dont want killers and paedophiles free entry into Ireland, tell them people that come in and made welcome are out on their ear if they serve more than 12 months behind bars.

    Reply
    1. push the button

      ah now it’s totally different when you go into the ‘big’ job do you not know anything catherine?
      you have to be tea-sock for ALL the people!

      Reply

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