Seems Reasonable



 Paul Murphy TD (sitting second right) during protests in Jobstown on Saturday

The Tallaght protests.

Joan Burton was not ‘Trapped’, ‘Under Siege’, ‘Held Against Her Will’ or ‘Kidnapped’. This was an old fashioned, down and dirty, power struggle between politicians fighting over the same territory. The true factual position is that one elected TD blocked a road on another elected TD.

This is no slide into fascism, no rise of a sinister fringe. This is cynical main stream politics hijacking a largely non political, classless popular people’s movement against the daylight robbery of their water.

If Joan wanted out of the situation she put herself in, Gardai would have obliged as they have done on numerous other occasions to enforce the instillation of water meters. The only thing ‘holding’ Joan Burton was her own fear of bad press if the Gardai beat a path through peaceful protesters to facilitate her exit. It is ridiculous to seriously claim that Gardai are incapable of breaking up 100 protesters.

“But Joan was hit by a water balloon, maybe even an egg, that’s violent protest” we are lectured. Food as protest tool has a long history, the first recorded food protest took place in 63 A.D. 18th-century texts recorded an act of egg-throwing to persecute Methodists on the Isle of Man.On the campaign trail for governor of California, in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was hit with an egg. (He brushed it off like a boss.) In 2011, Afghan demonstrators threw eggs at the Iranian consulate to protest a blockade of fuel tanks that caused prices to skyrocket. Dutch King Willem-Alexander was on the receiving end of some very angry tomatoes in Moscow. A New York Times article from 1883 discusses John Ritchie, an actor who was “demoralized by tomatoes” after an underwhelming performance.

In August 2013 French farmers took to the streets, breaking 100,000 oeufs a day to protest low prices set in place by the European Union. The throwing of food (even water balloons) is a time honoured act of non-violent protest. It’s objective is the same as circus performers throwing custard pies, to make one look foolish like a clown.

Indiscriminate use of pepper spray against women and children is not an act on non-violence. It is an act of aggression. It’s Labour’s way or pepper spray enforced on a community where Labour’s way means children going to school hungry, jobsbridge slavery and rising poverty for the working poor who see their standard of living reducing month on month despite their hardworking efforts. Working families in Jobstown face the same struggle as working families in areas perceived to be more affluent. They are all running flat out and still going backwards.

If you find yourself thinking “Your protest offends me more than your children going to school hungry does” or if you’re more outraged at a protest than structural violence inflicted by austerity, maybe you should lay down the MSM newspaper that’s flogging these lies to you.

Judging Jobstown (

During the riots here in Stockholm last year, more people were injured in the rush to condemn the violence than were ever in danger from the riots themselves.

Such condemnation serves nothing but the ego of the politician or journalist already well-served by the democracy they claim to be upholding – the one that depends on the votes and the purchases of working-class people, and then abandons them as soon as power is secured.

The kind of people who live in places like Jobstown, Neilstown, Coolock, Ballymun and Darndale. The kind of people who voted for Joan Burton – who sat in that car – and then saw her completely betray the mandate they had given her.
If you want a real story about the collapse of democracy, it was sitting in the car, not rocking it or shouting at it.

That story is how an unelected four-person “economic management council” has, with the support and full active participation of Labour, set aside Ireland’s parliamentary democracy until further notice.

No, the only thing that ran riot in Dublin yesterday was the middle-class sensibilities of journalists and politicians confronted by the dawning realisation that it is too late, and the proles have had enough.

For the hacks, there is no point back-pedalling now.

So do not start with your own answers and then tailor the facts to fit, as currently seems to be best practice at the Irish Water Meter and on Water Meter FM.

Instead, put aside your pointless pontificating, go back to your basic journalistic training and ask the five Ws and one H that we all learned on our first day in class.

And of all those questions you should be asking, right now “why?” is the most important.

And from what I’ve seen in this morning’s papers and online, not one of you has asked it yet.

For your betters, brow-beating beats being there (Philip O’Connor, OurManInStockholm)

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92 thoughts on “Seems Reasonable

    1. Rob

      People having been settling political disputes for centuries by going to war.

      Therefore, war is a time honoured act of non-violent protest.

  1. Just sayin'

    My, has taken a major lurch further to the left of late. They already have the comments section the The Journal and And now here.

    1. Medium Sized C

      You can go to more or less every other media outlet and get a heavily conflicting account of what happened in Jobstown.
      And to my mind, broadsheet have always been a bit lefty.

      I’m not sure it is a problem.

      1. jungleman

        The trick is just to avoid the IW posts and pray that there is no contagion into the cat and stolen bike posts.

    2. Fergus the magic postman

      Certain governments (depending on how corruptly they represent the people who elected them) often have that effect.

    3. Jackdaw

      I didn’t think it was possible but the electorate found the perfect replacement for Brian Hayes. They have replaced one smug little pr1ck with another one in Paul Murphy.

    4. cluster

      It’s arguable whether water charges are a left wing issue or not.

      On one hand, they are consumption-based so could be thought of as regressive. Also, there is clearly a danger that IW could be privatised.

      On the other hand, the left is often associated with positive environmental measures, which this clearly is – measuring flows, putting a financial value on it (one if the few things many people seem to care about) and incentivising conservation. It will also help provide a more regular source of income, helping to minimise the sort of rapid & painful cuts to public services caused by FF’s reliance on construction receipts.

      Anyway, BS has always had a sort if middle-class, mildly lefty take on many (though not all) issues.

      1. cluster

        Also, Irish Water would be a lit cheaper if they fired all the surplus employees they have and kept only those necessary. (No simple way to evaluate this but it’s a standard challenge of every sort of business or institution).

        The same is true for most public bodies/institutions.

        Not exactly a standard Irish left-wing position.

  2. Louis Lefronde

    Of course throwing eggs, water balloons or indeed bricks at someone comes within the meaning of Assault under Section 2 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997….but then those who engage in peaceful protests wouldn’t do such a thing.

    2.—(1) A person shall be guilty of the offence of assault who, without lawful excuse, intentionally or recklessly—

    (a) directly or indirectly applies force to or causes an impact on the body of another, or

    (b) causes another to believe on reasonable grounds that he or she is likely immediately to be subjected to any such force or impact,

    without the consent of the other.

    (2) In subsection (1) (a), “force” includes—

    (a) application of heat, light, electric current, noise or any other form of energy, and

    (b) application of matter in solid liquid or gaseous form.

  3. Louis Lefronde

    The Irish Left-Wing (and Sinn Fein especially) set out to control the discussion boards back in 2009… It was only a matter of time before they tried to hijack Broadsheet…

    1. Walter-Ego

      Because Right Wing Politics of FF and FG have led us to precisely here. The Irish People were robbed and stunned and have now awoken and are very Angry. So i think a shift to the left should be expected and one i welcome.

      1. Johnny B

        FF Right wing? A party who trained hard so that it wouldn’t disappoint unions when they said to jump higher. A party that flooded the state with welfare payments and benefits that crippled the working man in taxes. A party that introduced wave after wave of social housing schemes that destroyed many parts of perfectly peaceful counties. A party that introduced equality legislation to ensure the rights of people with no ethnic variation from ourselves are protected above all else for the sake of the left wing marches? C’mon, seriously? FG aren’t much better. The PDs were about the closest thing we ever had to a right wing in this country.

    2. fmong

      That’s funny I think Broadsheet comment sections are subject to flooding by FG, right wing, comedy right wing comments. The editorial bias is certainly left-centre.. but the reaction is often rabidly right. Maybe we see what we want to see Louis?

      I’m curious if Broadsheet feel they get flooded by Trolls, or at least a concentrated campaign, from the left or right, is there a system to posting on the Irish Water threads? You can have 3 posts with 10-20 comments, then an Irish water post with 100+ in an hour… Anyone from BS care to comment?

      1. Banotti

        Their audience is or probably was a slightly more enlightened bunch. Cultured types in decent Dublin office jobs. Normal people like us probably appear right wing to the welfare class.

        1. fmong

          Us “reasonable” people in the “centre”? : )

          I’d be considered ‘middle class’ I’m in an office, I used to vote labour… but I think Irish Water is *gasp* double taxation, and would have more empathy with the protestors then Bruton.. shock horror!

          Anyway, bias apart, it’s probably equal at the end of the day, the sheer amount of posting per thread is suspicious though no?

          1. cluster

            There are reasonable arguments on both sides but the only stupid line which is trotted out again and again is the ‘paying twice’/’double taxation’ canard.

            We have a current account deficit.
            We have not spent appropriately on water infrastructure maintenance, yet alone investing for the future.

            In short, we haven’t even paid once.

      2. Anne

        You can have 3 posts with 10-20 comments, then an Irish water post with 100+ in an hour… Anyone from BS care to comment? Anyone from BS care to comment?

        Fixed now. Apologies all.


      3. cluster

        There are definitely more new commenters from the anti-water charges rather than the pro-water charges wing the last few weeks.

        That doesn’t bother me one way or the other. The constant accusations of ‘shill’ or ‘troll’ are pretty boring and useless.

    3. Zynks

      I find the left/right argument too basic. If you consider that Ghandi was in the left and Pinochet in the right, it is almost scary to group SF with Ghandi.

      Here is a better way (IMO), used to map the political dispositions in the UK. I agree with the position for SF and would suggest that BS’ position in general would be closer to the Green party than to SF

    4. stev

      You are fast becoming my least favourite cretinous poster on this site. What’s the real agenda you’re trying to peddle here? Nearly all your posts refer to Sinn Fein.

      My tuppence worth on this: this site is generally left in terms of liberal issues such as marriage equality but often it’s quite conservative in terms of economics which probably is a fairer reflection of the readership.

      1. Eliot Rosewater

        Yep. Pretty much identical to the Guardian (except a more flippant, humorous tone). People always see things in terms of black & white, but there’s usually a fairly healthy dose of grey in there.

        The idea that there are SF trolls ‘flooding’ the comments section of Broadsheet is hilarious, though. Surely there would be far, far more comments supporting SF ideology than what we are currently seeing. I would think it (broadly) reflects the 25% that they are supposed to be getting in the latest polls.

    5. Mé Féin

      And that’s why there are never any right-wing comments to be seen on discussion boards? Silly comment.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      Yes, that man Murphy who has built his short political career to date out of fighting austerity is jumping on the austerity bandwagon.

      Very good.

      More Kool Aid for CCCC, he’s on a roll.

  4. Just sayin'

    Any rant that has as its underlying tenet that working class=good, middle class=bad just sends me into a snooze.

      1. edalicious


        “What the rich elite bourgeoise want to do is divide the country and have it fight against each other but the proud ordinary working class people of Ireland will stand up to them!!”

        and vice versa.

  5. Frilly Keane

    Ah give over

    This government is out of control
    The Health Service is out of control
    The Guards are out of control
    The teachers are again going on strike
    Irish Rail need a 100m subvention a year

    Lads. The games up

    There are no sides anymore.
    Its just them
    And us. Working Class Middle Class First Class. They’re riding us all.

    1. Pablo

      Nah, that’s total bollocks Frilly. The permanently unemploed underclass (which makes up the majority of these protestors) and people like you want two very different things. You want the government to stop taxing you for everything. Whereas the underclass want everything paid for by people like you.

  6. ljr

    yer man in Stockholm is not reading or listening to the same things as the rest of us and I can’t be alone in resenting his supercilious and patronising tone. The who has been clearly written about with the different groups involved (mostly) named. The what has obviously been written about, the where is obvious in all the reports, the when is known and the why has been debated endlessly on every news programme and media. If he wants to take it back to the bond holders then he needs to go back to the bailout and then back to the lads that signed us up for the Euro which led to low interest rates, which led to ridiculously cheap money, which, allied with non-existent regulation led to a property bubble and so on. there are lots of whos, whats, whens, whys etc. there too.

    I wonder how the other lad would feel if it was his mammy or his granda or his mot in the car for two hours being pelted with eggs.

  7. Soundings

    “It’s Labour’s way or pepper spray”

    Love that, was that what Eamon Gilmore meant to say during the 2011 General Election.

    Separately, I see the meeja is saying Joan was hit with a water BOMB.

    Why don’t you just shout it was a HYDROGEN (2 parts, one part oxygen) BOMB.

  8. Drogg

    All I see Is a bunch of keyboard warriors here ready to bend over and take another tax and say thank you for it. I am glad you are all in a position that you can afford to pay another tax bill but I work 5-7 days a week and I can barely make it month to month.

      1. Drogg

        I come out from behind my computer to protest as well and least I am not a lap dog for austerity like yourself.

        1. Banotti

          They need to balance the books so congrats on having pressurised them into moving some water revenue onto PAYE workers like yourself.

          1. Karl Monaghan

            So you earn less than €10,000 and work 5 to 7 days a week Drogg? You’re being screwed.

            Otherwise you have gotten a (albeit small) tax cut due to the USC changes. (I’m presuming you earn less than €33,200)

        2. Medium Sized C

          You’re a moaning freeloader who only gets off their arse when someone asks them to pay their way and thinks going to a protest puts you on a par with ghandi.

          1. Kieran NYC

            Heh. Nailed it.

            Paul Murphy is starting to remind me of the Unionist politicians up north who whip people into a frenzy and then say “Wasn’t me” when it all goes horribly wrong.

    1. cluster

      Yours is a problem we have with democracy in Ireland.

      We want public services but we don’t want to pay for them. In general, we have an extremely progressive tax system (see OECD reports on income equality after taxation) and out tax burden, although it has increased since the onset of the recession, is still a bit below most of the European countries we (allegedly) aspire to match.

      Much of our public services and the method of their delivery is ripe for reform. ‘Starving the beast’ isn’t going to achieve that.

  9. Sam

    It’s a bit disingenuous to pretend throwing eggs and water balloons is not violent.
    Sure it’s not the same scaled as the state’s ability to have the Garda whallop people, and have people fecked into prison cells, but let’s not pretend that there were not a few incidents of violence in that protest.

    I’ve no sympathy for Joan Burton. She’s chosen to help screw us over, and shouldn’t be surprised that people are belatedly losing patience with the politicians.
    but let’s not pretend that getting a water balloon thrown at you is not a minor assault, (outside of the context of a kids party.)

    Likewise, all the rightwingers who post that there’s nothing wrong with the cops firing people onto the ground are just as biased – violence isn’t violence when used against people we don’t like…
    The cops can caution people about blocking the road, direct them to mover under the Public Order Act, and arrest those who don’t comply.
    The law doesn’t entitle them to practise their favourite WWF moves on people and then not arrest them.
    It’s the job of the courts to mete out punishment, not the Gardai, who are neither judges nor bouncers.

    The whole idea of democracy is to have a system of government that doesn’t depend on having running battles.
    When the govt can do as it likes for long periods without accountability people will only take so much, and not many people will give much of a hoot about the primary school civics lectures about ‘waiting for the next election’.

    Who waits years to stop daylight robbery?

    1. CousinJack

      So what do you make of the lad standing in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square, if the same thing happen in Ireland?
      Civil disobedience, such as sitting on the road and blocking vehicles, is a well established form of peaceful protest – otherwise there would still be segregation in the southern US states

      1. Sam

        Hi CousinJack,
        I’m a big fan of directed and disciplined civil disobedience.
        I’m just commenting on the futility of pretending that aiming stuff at people and throwing it isn’t an act of violence at all, not even a minor one. – calling it some form of ‘tradition’ is just blowing smoke.

        From what I’ve read and seen, a few people threw some things , an egg, a water balloon and a brick.
        The smart and honest thing to do is admit that a tiny number of people did somethings they shouldn’t have, and think about how to deal with that in the next protest.
        Denying that throwing stuff at people is dishonest, and it gives the opponents a bigger stick to beat you with, and scaremonger to discourage people joining the next protest and an excuse for the cops and courts to be more heavy-handed. That’s not smart.
        Also, the govt are less afraid of people who will just do knee-jerk reactions. Someone who will smash a window, burn a car and get done for it is less of a problem than people who might (for example) calmly plan sit-ins, meter removals, and other ways of disrupting ‘business as normal’.

        1. Clampers Outside!

          Funny thing is the woman in that incident wasn’t doing the disobedience protest you speak of in your comments…. she jumped out in front and tried to get onto a moving vehicle which had a clear path and she did so in front of Gardaí who reacted quickly.

          She was doing no such ‘disobedience’ or disruption protest. She was just being stupid…. which as you say is counter productive for the entire protest and will drive others away. She did more damage than good IMO.

  10. JunkFace

    People ruin the comments section.

    I want to hear from the dogs and cats. And maybe the parrots. What say you?

  11. Hashtag Diversity

    Philip O’Connor hasn’t a clue about the reporting in Ireland. He might want to read more.

    He’s the same guy who contacted BS about the Jane Ruffino ‘censorship’ in favor for #websummit coverage. So there you have it “yer man in Stockholm” and “yer woman in Stockholm” who haven’t a clue about what’s going in in Ireland. Awesome diversity. But not in a useful way.

  12. Alfred E. Neumann

    “Mainstream media”, like “keyboard warrior” and “shill”, has the useful function of identifying the person who uses it as a tedious clown. It is a bare quantum of nonsense away from sheeple and contrail fluoridation.

  13. Nellypop

    Left, right, center left with a fulcrum originating in the right. It’s pointless categorising of politics like this that side steps us from actually talking about the issue. Broadsheet has always been user reported journalism and the user base don’t seem to like these water charges.

  14. Geoff

    The issue is not water charges – all views are valid in a fair debate. The issue is whether or not the actions on Saturday were legitimate protest or inappropriate menace. To me the test is simple – would you be comfortable to see your own mother in that car?

  15. AG

    Jesus, Broadsheet has gone to the absolute dogs.
    Since when is being opposed to taxes left wing? The last time I checked, it was the left that was in favour of more taxes. We have to be the only country in the world where a party that calls themselves a socialist party oppose a property tax. It’s not left wing or right wing – it’s pure populism. I consider myself left wing and I’m in favour of water charges. They’re necessary for conservation and to actually get some proper money spent on water infrastructure. Would I prefer an increase in progressive taxation instead? Of course, but the Irish people voted in the last election for FG who promised no increases in income tax. Imagine the outcry of broken promises if that happened.

    As for the argument that you already pay for water: (1) if you earn 36k, a grand total of €5.65 of this goes on water: (2) Arguments saying it comes out of motor tax are wrong as motor tax was over-hauled in Budget 2008 to be calculated on CO2 emissions and also, what kind of F**Ked up taxation system thinks that car tax should be used for water? Finally, it’s not double taxation as when water charges are introduced, the other money will be diverted elsewhere. That’s like saying that if you get a tax decrease, the state should also decrease the amount of services you get from the state. Saying tax is only paid in exchange for services is grossly over-simplistic.

    Now as for the privatisation of Irish Water – that’s a genuine worry which is why I signed the Green Party petition for a referendum. But you can’t say that you’re against the privatisation of Irish Water while at the same time calling it a tax and re-naming your party ‘Stop the Water TAX: Socialist Party’. That’s talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    Anyway, rant over. I think I’m done with Broadsheet for a while. Posting unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, ridiculous pictures equating a navy t-shirt to a stab vest, no real balanced critique about what constitutes a peaceful protest. it’s actually a joke at this stage.

    1. Alfred E. Neumann

      Well said. I don’t think Broadsheet’s posting of that stuff indicates approval, though. It’s the deadening stupidity of the comments that it attracts. People are very bad at arguing.

  16. kiora

    Too many god damn Hipsters standing around posing, spouting crap these days, far better if spend their time protesting in the rain with the rest and give themselves a break from staring at their reflections in shop windows
    … you know who you are…

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