Author Archives: Anthony Sheridan

From top:  Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May MP at No. 10 Downing Street on Mr Varadkar’s first official engagement outside of Ireland after becoming Taoiseach in June, 2017: Anthony Sheridan

It is grotesquely hilarious to witness Irish journalists, commentators and politicians condemning the British political system over its handling of the Brexit crisis. Here, for example, is Irish establishment journalist Alison O’Connor:

‘Who are these people who have risen through the ranks of British politics who don’t know their history, their geography or their arse from their elbow?’

The suggestion here is that Irish politicians, unlike their British counterparts, do know their arse from their elbow. There are millions of Irish citizens with ruined lives who would beg to differ.

And here’s Michael McDowell ignorantly suggesting that British politicians should adopt the same dishonest, anti-democratic strategy favoured by the corrupt Irish ruling elite when the people don’t do as they’re told – hold a second referendum:

‘Obviously our government has to pay lip service to accepting the outcome of the first British referendum, but others in Ireland should, in a friendly and decent way, publicly encourage the people’s vote cause. It would be honourable and honest to do so – provided it was not done in a counterproductive way.’

This sly, manipulative, patronising and dishonest attitude to how politics should be done is the norm in our dysfunctional democracy and therefore the likes of McDowell, in his ignorance, thinks it’s the norm in real democracies.

There is no doubt that the whole Brexit episode is a complete disaster for the United Kingdom. There is no doubt that stupidity, extreme nationalism, selfish party politics and cowardly political leadership are the main ingredients that led to the catastrophe.

But there is one element of the crisis that no mainstream Irish politician could possibly recognise or understand – British democracy is alive.

British democracy is a living, breathing, dramatic, often toxic, always passionate, sometimes uplifting, sometimes disastrous, but most importantly, always, always alive to the awareness that democracy belongs to the people, that in the end it is the people, for better or worse, who will decide the fate of the nation.

Ireland, on the other hand, is a dead democracy and has been since independence. Irish democracy is a rotten corpse that goes nowhere.

It performs just one function – it feeds and fattens the political maggots of the main political parties that have been crawling all over its putrid body since independence.

The principal difference between so-called Irish democracy and that of genuine democracies is evident in how ordinary citizens interact with their political systems.

Citizens of functional democracies such as the UK, France and Germany are aware that ultimate power rests with them, with the people.

They are aware that elected representatives are servants of the people, servants of democracy. In other words, in functional democracies, power flows from the bottom up and when that power is abused there is accountability and consequences.

That’s why there’s a virtual revolution going on in France. That’s why British politicians are extremely wary of dismissing the will of the people as expressed in the Brexit referendum.

In Ireland, the complete opposite is the case.

Unique among Western democracies, Irish citizens, for the most part, see power as residing in their elected representatives and government officials. They see power as coming from the top down and are forever grateful when the powerful throw them a few crumbs from the table.

There are historical reasons for this mindset that are too complex to go into at this time. Sufficient to say that this attitude, that the citizen is powerless and dependent on favours doled out by public representatives, has morphed into a system of political gangsterism that has destroyed the lives, wealth and hopes of millions of Irish citizens over the decades turning Ireland into a virtual banana republic.

History is the key to understanding how all this came about.

Prior to the English civil war of 1642 Parliament had very little power. At the time the divine right of kings to rule was absolute. But that all changed when King Charles I attempted to force Parliament to do his bidding.

When Parliament refused the king entered the House of Commons [the House of the People] with 400 soldiers and attempted to arrest five members. Charles Lenthall, the Speaker of the House, displaying great courage, told the king that he stood by [the people’s] Parliament and not the monarchy.

Not only did the king lose the ensuing civil war, he also lost his head when he refused to accept that power resided in the people and not in his person. The English monarchy never regained absolute power and the English people, to this day, are very aware that they are the real power of the land.

Just the other day, nearly 400 years after people power first challenged royal power, the current Speaker of the House, John Bercow, told those who sought to abuse the people’s parliament, to take a hike.

The evolution of Irish ‘democracy’ could not be more different.

When independence was achieved in 1922 power was usurped by an extremely conservative political class that created a fake democratic system based on parish pump politics and gombeenism.

Hughe swathes of power and influence were handed over to the Catholic Church that led directly to a holocaust of abuse and criminality that continues to this day.

Ireland has never had a functional democracy. Instead we have a political ruling class made up principally of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the near extinct Labour Party.

This is why there has never been a Right/Left wing political divide in Ireland as there is in almost all functional democracies. You cannot have such democratic balance in a country where there is, effectively, just one ruling class [party] masquerading as three political parties.

In Ireland we have a political system that is nothing more than a diseased corpse where the stench of corruption, lies, secrecy, cynical political manipulation and outright state criminality daily chokes the lungs of any hope of a genuine democracy emerging into the light of day.

Yes, British democracy is in crisis. Yes, total catastrophe is a distinct possibility, even the possibility of revolution. But that has happened before, it has happened in many countries over many centuries.

But the very fact that such chaos exists is testament that British democracy is a living, breathing entity where the people are fully engaged and ultimately supreme.

Only in countries like Ireland do we witness politicians and their toadying supporters in mainstream media say:

‘Look at the chaos that reigns in the UK in comparison to our stable political system here in Ireland.’

They little realise that apart from the stench and rot a [political] corpse is always stable.

Anthony Sheridan is freelance journalists and blogs at PublicEnquiry.

Rollingnews

From top: A demonstration on North Frederick Street following the forced removal of housing activists from a vacant property on the street last week; Marian Finucane; Anthony Sheridan.

When RTÉ was a national broadcaster the station provided a reasonably balanced news output. In recent years, however, since the station began to serve government rather than citizens, news manipulation has taken precedence over factual reporting and professional analysis.

On yesterday’s Marian Finucane Show on RTÉ Radio One, for example, listeners were subjected to an intelligence insulting, extremely short, cartoon-like discussion on the disturbing events that occurred on North Frederick street during the week involving Gardai and housing protesters:

Panelist: “In fairness, Josephine Feehily and Drew Harris came out and said, no, that shouldn’t have happened.”

Marian Finucane: “And yet and yet and yet..its tough on gardai. I thought it looked… I mean I was astonished at how it had come about.”

Panelist: “Look, there is an issue around social media , there’s no doubt about that, but look, we expect to see people in balaclavas in the Basque country or dealing with the Real IRA or whatever. We don’t expect to see gardai in balaclavas policing genuine protests about housing.”

Another panelist: “I think the public were very, very upset about it and I’m thinking of something Theo Dorgan said once ‘I thought I was born into a republic’ and you see these private balaclava-clad guards arriving in a van. But protesting has changed, I think the gardai are very measured in the way they handle the physical and verbal abuse they get.”

Then another panelist changed the subject by referring to a protest Ms Finucane had participated in 48 years ago. Ms Finucane, seemingly delighted at the diversion, went on to reminisce about another protest she attended in the last century – and that was it.

That was the sum total analysis of the disgraceful and disturbing events in North Frederick Street where the gardai behaved more like second-rate nightclub bouncers than a professional police force.

Possibly under pressure by her producer to keep discussion of this embarrassing Government/gardai scandal to an absolute minimum, Finucane, in a fluster, did as she was instructed.

“Mmm…well…ah…I mean..we’ll move on very quickly. I think that deserves more conversation but I’m just watching my clock here and…”

Watching her clock? The discussion was taking place just half way through a two-hour long show and this major public interest story gets a grand total of 1 minute 56 seconds coverage.

This is not news analysis, it’s blatant news manipulation. No doubt, Fine Gael and the gardai are delighted with RTÉ’s collaboration in this type of warped current affairs analysis.

But RTÉ cannot escape the fact that, day by day, its reputation as a professional and balanced current affairs outlet is reaching the same zero credibility rating as that of our police force.

RTÉ news bias – Destroying credibility (Anthony Sheridan, Public Inquiry)

Meanwhile…

Hmm.

Previously: Garda Sources Say

Meanwhile…

There you go now.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald (left) and President Michael D Higgins

Anthony Sheridan writes:

Sinn Féin’s decision to field a candidate to challenge the current President has wrecked the cosy arrangement between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour to keep their man in the office. But consider what would have happened if the following scenario had evolved.

Imagine if Sinn Féin had decided to support the conservative centre and then, dramatically, a leading member of the party broke ranks and attempted to force the leadership to change its decision by putting himself forward as an independent candidate.

Here’s exactly what would have happened:

There would have been an immediate wall to wall, seven days a week attack on the party by the establishment media led by the government broadcaster,

RTÉ. Sinn Féin members from Mary Lou McDonald down to local councillors would be relentlessly paraded, harassed and questioned across the establishment media for reactions and explanations.

So here’s my question.

Why is the establishment media completely silent on the dramatic decision by Éamon Ó Cuív to challenge his party’s presidential election strategy by putting himself forward as an independent candidate which, by extension, constitutes a direct and very serious challenge to Michael Martin’s leadership?

Here’s the answer.

The establishment media does not serve the interests of Ireland or its people. Their loyalty lies entirely with the ruling political class made up of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour.

The undemocratic attempt by these three parties to keep their man in the Park received strong and widespread support from the establishment media.

Across radio, television and print the people were arrogantly told that they would not be getting an election, that it would be too expensive, that it would distract from Brexit and sure wasn’t ‘Michael’ doing a great job anyway.

But Sinn Féin’s strategy put a stop to all that patronising, insulting guff.

Now, the establishment media has just one aim – to protect the interests of the corrupt centre of Irish politics by preventing a powerful outside force such as Sinn Féin from occupying what the ruling political class have always considered to be their personal fiefdom in the Phoenix Park.

To that end, the Irish people are about to witness the biggest, most ruthless anti-Sinn Féin propaganda campaign ever mounted by the establishment media.

The campaign will, as always, be led by the cheerleader of the establishment media – the government broadcaster, RTÉ.

Why the establishment media is silent on O Cuiv’s rebellion (Anthony Sheridan, Public Enquiry)

Previously: Anthony Sheridan: Citizens Are Not ‘Customers’ Of The State

Rollingnews

At your service: Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection Regina Doherty and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

The people of Ireland should know that Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party have removed the status of citizenship from them and replaced it with the inferior status of ‘customer’.

The process was initiated in 1997 and has been refined and expanded upon ever since. Ministers and civil servants no longer address citizens as citizens but as customers.

For example, during a recent interview on RTÉ Radio 1’s ‘Today with Sean O’Rourke’, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty referred to old age pensioners as ‘customers’.

Thinking that this may have been a ministerial slip of the tongue I had a look at Ms. Doherty’s department website and found that the status of citizenship had indeed been removed and substituted with the lesser title of ‘customer’

A quick search across other departments confirmed that this is official policy. Here for example is an extract from the Department of the Taoiseach:

Our Commitment to our Customers

The Department of the Taoiseach is committed to providing a professional, efficient and courteous service to all our customers…We will treat all our customers equally and make every effort to ensure that the services we provide reflect your needs and expectations.

This is a deeply disturbing development as it strikes at the very core of the democratic relationship between citizen and state.

It strongly implies that ministers and state officials have taken ownership of the power, wealth and resources of the state. That they, and not the citizenry are – The State.

It implies that [now former] citizens are mere ‘customers’ that must comply with laid down conditions if they wish to ‘do business’ with the new owners of the state.

This quote, taken from the Dept. of Public Expenditure and Reform, makes it crystal clear that it is the department that is the provider of goods and services and the citizen is the customer:

Deliver quality services with courtesy, sensitivity and the minimum delay, fostering a climate of mutual respect between provider and customer.

The development further implies that ministers and civil servants no longer see themselves as (civil/public) servants, elected and employed to serve people and country but rather as wielders of state power over and superior to the power of the people.

I spoke about the issue with a senior official in the Dept. of the Taoiseach who was genuinely surprised that I thought the matter was of any importance.

Here’s why I believe the issue is of crucial importance:

Democracy literally means ‘rule by the people’. Not by politicians or civil servants but by the citizenry. In representative democracies certain elected citizens are temporarily appointed to govern on behalf of the people.

They are granted state power by the people to govern on behalf of the people but the possession of that power does not raise their status above that of any other citizen.

It does not create a relationship whereby the politician is master and the citizen is a customer.

Similarly, many citizens are employed to serve the State on behalf of the people across a wide range of government departments but no individual civil servant possesses a status or a power above that of any other citizen, they remain servants to the democracy of the people.

This policy of downgrading the sacrosanct status of citizenship by replacing it with the inferior and cheap status of ‘customer’ is obnoxious to the very meaning of democracy.

Customer means:

A person who buys goods or services from a shop or business.

In the world of trade this is a perfectly legitimate definition. An individual becomes a customer when they decide to purchase goods or services from the owner of a business.

In a functional democracy citizens do not purchase goods or services from politicians or state officials operating under the illusion that they own these goods and services.

Citizens avail of goods and services that they (the citizens) have provided for the greater good of all the people.

It is the function of politicians and officials to serve the people by organising and dispensing these goods and services according to need.

They do so as fellow and equal citizens, not as overseers doing business with customers.

Citizenship means:

A person recognised under the custom or law as being a legal member of a sovereign state or belonging to a nation.

It’s unlikely that this removal of the status of citizenship is a deliberate conspiracy to weaken democracy but that is exactly what it will do. Once a concept is accepted by an authority it quickly becomes the norm.

That’s why the official I spoke to at the Dept. of the Taoiseach was so puzzled by my concerns.

She has already accepted those who deal with her department are not citizens but customers and therefore should be dealt with as such.

Similarly with Minister Doherty. She obviously feels totally at ease in referring to citizens as customers. But by so doing she is over-turning the centuries long democratic principle that politicians and state officials are servants to the people and not, as the term ‘customer’ suggests, masters over the citizenry.

But even more crucially the Minister has lost sight of the most important democratic principle of all – that citizens ARE the state and therefore can never be customers to it.

Citizenship Status Has Been Removed From The irish People (Anthony Sheridan, Public Enquiry)

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews

Nothing less than radical reform will do.

Caution: Some salty language.

Anthony Sheridan writes:

And so the usual avalanche of meaningless, naïve and uninformed analysis is upon us in response to the latest scandal – the sacking of yet another Garda Commissioner.

Yes, she was sacked, there are many ways to sack a person without actually seeming to do so.

So for those who wish to bypass all the utter bullshit that will be spewed out over the coming weeks in response to this latest episode of police/political corruption – here’s the stripped down truth.

Our police force is an irredeemably corrupt organisation. It will never be reformed from the inside because to do so would mean having to retire, fire and prosecute hundreds if not thousands of police officers.

Real reform would also mean establishing a truly independent police force that would see the severing of the corrupt nexus between the force and the corrupt political system principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

A politically independent police force would mean corrupt politicians would find themselves under regular investigation for their criminal activities.

A politically independent police force would see, for the first time in our history, bankers, property developers, members of the legal profession, civil servants, so-called regulators, judges and even police officers regularly facing justice before the courts.

A politically independent police force will never become a reality until the corrupt political system is first removed from power.

All other talk/analysis surrounding this issue should be treated for what it is – utter bullshit.

Garda corruption: the stripped down truth (Anthony Sheridfasn, Public Inquiry)

Rollingnews

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