Are You In The Sinister Fringe?

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Protests in Donaghmede, Dublin 13 yesterday.

Cunning Hired Knaves writes:

“In Jobstown, Dublin, on Saturday afternoon, a woman was confined to her car for two hours. Insults were shouted. A water balloon was thrown. The car was rocked back and forth, and people banged noisily on the roof of the car. Following Garda intervention, and negotiation among the protesters, the woman was allowed to leave.”

“On the scale of things, on the scale of the massive structural violence inflicted by austerity policies in Ireland, this was nothing. Nothing. That did not stop a host of figures from Ireland’s political and media establishment, but also a good deal of polite society, from weighing in against the protesters, with terms like “scum”, “mob”, “fascists” liberally cast around.”

“In this regard, Joan Burton is a beneficiary of socialism for the rich. The concern for her wellbeing is a product of the indignation felt by the rich – and those who identify with them – when they feel that one of their own has come under attack. They look at her and ask themselves what if it was them, or what if it was a member of their family. The sympathy is second nature.”

“By contrast, the protesters who surrounded the car are an amorphous, menacing swarm. They are not people like “us”; they are not brothers or sisters or people struggling to pay bills or people enduring any kind of humiliation or hardship who have found a common cause together. The fact that they have appeared in public view, that they have stopped the normal order and flow of things where those who rule are treated with respect and those who are ruled maintain a harmless distance, becomes cause for instinctive outrage.”

“The idea that they might be stopping the car, and even hurling insults or a water balloon, because the government represents the interests of the rich whilst expecting to be treated like dignitaries, is beyond the bounds of polite conversation and contemplation. Joan is right because the State is right because the markets are right and because we are right, and that is that, and anyone who disagrees is an enemy of democracy. This, as I was saying the other day, is what demophobia looks like.”

“The focus on the Socialist Party TD for the area, Paul Murphy, and on his role in the protests, is in keeping with this fear of the mob. What is outrageous about him, from this perspective, is not that he is an elected representative and hence not behaving like the genteel legislator he ought to be, but rather that he is from a relatively comfortable background. And as such, he is a traitor to the cause of socialism for the rich.”

“People from relatively comfortable places, according to this line of thinking, have no business finding common cause with people from Jobstown, since the latter do not know their own minds: people like him should become accountants and vote Labour and remain respectable members of society. And if people in places like Jobstown do irrupt into our line of vision, it isn’t because they have decided among themselves to mobilise because they have had enough, but because they have been led astray. They are there to be led; they are not there to take part in politics, and if the Gardaí have to batter them, well, that’s regrettable, but they’re just restoring proper order, after all.”

“And the trouble for Ireland’s political and media establishment, and also a good deal of polite society, is that this “mob” is not planning on going away soon. And deep down, they know it, and they are scared. Hence it is easier and more productive to focus on a single brick than to contemplate the crumbling foundations beneath them.”

Socialism for the rich in Jobstown (Cunning Hired Knaves)

Related: Paul Murphy’s immaturity a disservice to real protests (Fionnan Sheahan, Irish Independent)

129 thoughts on “Are You In The Sinister Fringe?

  1. ollie

    interesting article. the foundations of the state are crumbling because of the contempt several governments have shown for the citizens, they have only themselves to blame. now, cue the fine gael trolls!

        1. Alfred E. Neumann

          I don’t think that Render unto Caesar lark would fly here. We’d have Barabbas free by lunchtime.

    1. Frilly Anne Keane Water Molester

      See how quick Al’fraud jumped in to Ollie’s ” cue the Fine Gael Trolls!”

      1. Alfred E. Neumann

        It is peculiarly irritating, Frilly. Answer the points, if there are any, rather than questioning the motives. An argument isn’t made more or less valid because someone is being paid to make it. (A scenario I find incredibly unlikely, by the way, but I’m not going to argue that with someone who believes in the Rubber Brick Theory.)

        On a personal level, I find your constant accusation of me incredibly unpleasant. I don’t think it adds anything to the site, and I really wish you would stop.

    2. Mister Mister

      Ollie is as bad as hired knaves. I’ve read some crap about this topic, but this is certainly up there.

  2. Chris

    Nice piece.
    Notice the new 3-month moratorium on water charges. I think the government is running scared, and want to give us time to forget about our anger. Then they will introduce a small flat-fee charge (is this about conservation or revenue?).
    Same as with the property tax, once we accept a small charge we have accepted the concept of paying a new (extra) tax. Look at the joy with with we now accept a 10-15% reduction in LPT – of course, we’ll still pay more than last year, as last year we got away with only paying a 6-month charge.
    Once we agree to pay anything, we’re only negotiating on how much…

    1. deliverancecountry

      We still have to meter as per EU agreement. However in a bold move (before the next election) the government makes water a constitutional right or something and instead privatises the health service.

  3. ThePFJ

    So stereotyping the violent protester element as a scummy mob is bad, but labeling anyone who has a problem with their violent behaviour as some sort of pampered bourgeois elite is ok? You’d miss nuance sometimes.

    1. Niamh

      And this, everyone, is identity politics for the rich. Believing that stereotyping a privileged group as privileged is equal to stereotyping an underprivileged group as barbaric – like claiming that white people suffer prejudice, feminism is mean to the menz, and it’s ‘dangerous’ to judge people based on their inflated income and apparent lack of civic spirit because, well, everyone is a unique and precious snowflake and that’s what really matters. Yes, accusing those who feign horror at legitimate protest by people who are being oppressed by a state system structurally conditioned to concentrate wealth at the top (capitalism makes no bones about this) of being cowardly and bourgeois is ‘ok’. It’s bloody well true.

      1. Mister Mister

        Is that paragraph from the latest Adrian Mole novel found during a clear out of Sue Townsend’s documents ?

        1. f

          If it is, Sue Townsend was ON FIRE in the last stages of her writing career, and that manuscript should be published asap. I’d buy a copy.

      2. Alfred E. Neumann

        Niamh, do you really think all the horror is feigned? What I dislike in the article is the idea that objecting to pelting people with eggs or bricks means you are somehow part of their gang.

        It’s possible to disagree with Joan Burton and not want her physically attacked, and the fact that this needs to be said is bizarre.

        1. Nawfil Musty Bang A Frilly

          Have to say, I agree with you there Alfred.

          Though I’m not sure she didn’t expect some sort of reaction going there.

        2. ABM's Bloodied Underwear

          Have you any evidence of multiple bricks being thrown?
          I’ve only seen footage of 1 (possibly 2) egg(s), 1 water balloon and 1 brick.
          And the brick was thrown long after Joan had vacated Tallaght.

          Just careful you don’t fall too far off your high horse with all your bullshit flinging there.

          1. Spaghetti Hoop

            “1 (possibly 2) egg(s), 1 water balloon and 1 brick.” Sounds like breakfast at Mother Hubbards.

          2. ABM's Bloodied Underwear

            Her cupboard was bare when she got there unfortunately.
            Austerity cutbacks.

            She’s having the dog for dinner.

          3. Alfred E. Neumann

            I understand you’re angry, but you’ve got yourself into a bit of a state here. You don’t actually think I was trying to misrepresent the number of bricks, and you do understand that my controversial stance against throwing things at people doesn’t depend on who the target is. You’re shouting at shadows.

            As to your point? I’d like to answer it, but I’m afraid I can’t see what it is. Any chance you could drop the insults and have another go? That way we’d be like adults disagreeing.

        3. ABM's Bloodied Underwear

          You’re right, I did read you wrong there. Apologies. I’m reading a lot of spinning of the actual facts distorting what happened and did indeed let my tempers rise. My bad.

          1. Alfred E. Neumann

            We do have the occasional outbreak of civility, Ben. ABMBU and I are paragons of old-world disputation, twinkling drily as we demolish each other’s positions on post-Schenkerian tonality or the source of the Bann. You should pull up a crumpet and join us.

      3. ThePFJ

        I was actually trying to point out that stereotyping anyone is probably a bad idea, but you seem quite comfortable with doing that Niamh. If it’s “bloody well true” that lumping anyone who has an issue with the violent element of these protests into the category of the “cowardly and bourgeois” then surely it follows that people in the US who generalise about crime among black males, or people here who spout bile against the Roma or traveling communities are free to do so as statistics seem to support their argument? Again, I make the point that nuance is what’s missing here. Though if you’re happy to continue polarising the debate then have at it my friend.

  4. Fe Dlowered

    I’m not sure which is the more irritating generalisation, “The Rich” or “Ordinary People”.

    1. f

      I don’t see any mention of ‘Ordinary People’ in the above, or in the longer, linked-to piece. ‘The Rich’ are mentioned as ‘the rich –and those who identify with them’ – a broader and more interesting set of categories altogether.

    1. Rep

      Either that you you are part of ‘The Rich’. There is no in between, you are either with us or against us.

        1. Rep

          “The concern for her wellbeing is a product of the indignation felt by the rich – and those who identify with them – when they feel that one of their own has come under attack. ” If you felt are sort of concern for her, then you are one of ‘The Rich’.

          Amazing how people can complain about the characterising of the protesters as being jobless scumbags yet then write this rubbish.

      1. Mister Mister

        “Either with us, or against us”.

        Not entirely correct. Commentators on the Journal, boards.ie, and not certain blow ins around here believe you’re either with is, or a shill. Idiots.

          1. Rep

            The government stooge/shinnerbot/etc rubbish going around now is particular sad. Nobody is allow have a differing point of view any more.

          1. Alfred E. Neumann

            You may be right, but the kind of nonsense we’re both objecting to is rife among the regulars too.

          2. Mister Mister

            True, my view is tainted somewhat I suppose by one particular poster who only shows up for these type of threads, never to be seen in any other.

  5. Kevin Keegan

    Lets not forget that these state agents are trying to guarantee there own futures.Their own legacy in the eyes of history is in part a motivation to please the citizens, and be co sidered favourably,But where do they go after they leave the Dail if they weren’t effective in pushing the agenda of corporatism.The likes of DOB are far more powerful than any of these politicians and can make or break any of them.

  6. Bluebeard

    Excellent piece. When the Government is obsessed with controlling the State, they forget about the country. To their peril.

  7. Jock

    That’s exactly the mindset that is so dangerous. ‘this is nothing in comparison..’
    People have justified all sorts of violence and killings in the past with those words.

  8. Soundings

    We’ve come to a pretty pass when this Government is using Google to search for ways to influence people.

    This 10 Top influencing tips list includes
    #9
    “Trick: Ask for way more than you want at first then scale it back later. This trick is sometimes known as the door in the face approach. You start by throwing a really ridiculous request at someone—a request they will most likely reject. You then come back shortly thereafter and ask for something much less ridiculous—the thing you actually wanted in the first place. This trick may also sound counter-intuitive, but the idea behind it is that the person will feel bad for refusing your first request, even though it was unreasonable, so when you ask for something reasonable they will feel obliged to help out this time.”

    #7
    “Trick: Flattery will actually get you everywhere.”
    Or call people whom you expect to pay the charges “reasonable”, nobody wants to be accused of being “unreasonable”, right?

    http://listverse.com/2013/02/03/10-psychology-tricks-you-can-use-to-influence-people/

    1. Clampers Outside!

      I was thinking that #9 was in practice for a few weeks now… but then I realised that would have required a lot more forethought from the time when Phil Hogan got the ball rolling, than any forethought that has been seen.
      Everything from the off has been reactionary…. which scuppers that idea, me thinks. I slapped myself on the face, took off my tinfoil hat and told myself to stop filling my head with nonsense conspiracy theories or notions of them.

      I’m sure #7 is real enough :)

  9. seany_delight

    We should boycott Irish water by treating their staff like the scabs are – refuse to serve them or socialise with them – black list their staff from anything possible.

    Harder in Dublin, but rurally can refuse fuel, admission, sale of goods if you know a person works for IW.

    1. Mister Mister

      Now there’s a particularly vile post, this idiot doesn’t even know what a “scab” is in terms of employment.

      Show’s the pathetic mentality of some people.

    2. ReproBertie

      Why stop there? A proper boycott would mean stop drinking their water. Stop using the washing machine and dishwasher. Stick barrels out the back to gather rain water to flush the toilet. Shower in the rain.

      1. Sam

        In case you missed something… Irish Water didn’t build a network of pipes to supply water to houses, they just installed meters… so how would a boycott of Irish Water involve not using the product that they didn’t actually provide?

        Those pipes were installed and paid for long before the IW gravy train left the station.

        1. ReproBertie

          In case you missed something, Irish Water has been taking responsibility from the local authorities for the provision of water sincre early 2014. They didn’t build the infrastructure but they are now responsible for it.

          If you’re going to boycott do it properly instead of worming your way out with half thought out, poorly informed arguments.

          1. Sam

            “Responsibility” in this case is a term of convenience. Ownership in the sense they wish to be paid handsomely for having something signed over to them.
            Their main focus is charging people.
            Responsibility carries with it a bit more than the power to issue a bill.

          2. ABM's Bloodied Underwear

            Local county council still seem to be dealing with any water availability/leakage problems so don’t see what IW is doing in this regard.

          3. ReproBertie

            Irish Water are in the process of taking responsibility for the water. The process is not yet completed so many local authorities are still dealing with leaks.

          4. ReproBertie

            Yes, in some areas they are. That’s what I said. So if the intent is to boycott Irish Water then as soon as the county council hands over responsibility (if they have not already) to Irish Water the use of water from the mains has to stop.

          5. Clampers Outside!

            @Repro and @ABM’sBoodied

            On Six One last night they covered the burning out of council vans that had ‘water services’ on them. And in it they said that the council was doing ‘contract’ work for IW.

            So, the responsibility for the pipes is IW…. but councils are still doing some of the work, by contract.

            I think that should clear that up.

          1. ReproBertie

            No, it’s not but they are responsible for treating it and delivering it to your tap so if want to boycott IW then you can’t use the water from the mains.

          2. Nawfil Musty Bang A Frilly

            That’s akin to saying if you protested against property tax, move out of your house/don’t have a property then.

            Come on ffs.
            Try and make a better argument, besides they are now in charge of the water, tough.

          3. ReproBertie

            No, it’s nothing like that. The post I’m replying to called for a boycott of Irish Water. Boycotting Irish Water means, among other things, not using the water they provide via the mains.

            Protesting against irish Water is not the same as boycotting Irish Water (a boycott is a form of protest but not all protests are boycotts) so to point out the difficulties in such a boycott is nothing like telling people not to own property if they protested against the property tax.

            Come on ffs.

          4. ReproBertie

            No, the post said Boycott Irish Water by treating their staff like scabs.

            This shows two things
            – the poster doesn’t know what a boycott is
            – the poster doesn’t know what a scab is

            My post was supposed to show how stupid the original post was but instead has become a target for people who apparently agree with the sentiment.

    3. Nigel

      I believe that the appalling way the water charges are being implemented have created a massive antipathy and opposition to the government and IW, allowing utter shite-for-brains insanity like this to rise and gain prominence. The government and the Gardai need to get their bloody act together or we’re going to be listening to tedious yelpers like this from now til doomsday. Small bloody hope.

  10. Lawrence Cleary

    This viewpoint is not being well enough aired. The gov’t is invested in winning their position by discrediting those who oppose that position instead of acknowledging that a large section of society are responding in kind to the assault by the gov’t through unending austerity policies on the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder.

  11. ScaryLady

    They are the democratically elected representatives of the people and should be treated with a certain level of respect – whether you agree with them or not. Some of the behaviour on display by the protesters has been disgusting – and in sharp contrast to the marches around the country protesting against the water charges.

    It reminds me of many of protest marches that I went to as a Student – which were inevitably hijacked by the SWP apparatchiks who always pushed their way to the front and made a nuisance of themselves trying to provoke the Guards (and then screamed “brutality” when they got a shove back).

    I don’t think it’s clear what these protesters want anymore – apart from the Government out and … who in then? FF who landed us in this mess? SF – don’t make me laugh – have you seen the cuts that they’ve stood over up north?

    The Government to some extent have brought this on themselves by the inept handling of the introduction of water charges (signed up to by FF as part of our bailout conditions btw). If you disagree, the ballot box is where you can protest – although given the derisory turnout at the local elections (less than 40% of people in my constituency voted, for example) – it would make you wonder how many of these protestors bothered to make their voices heard there.

    1. Sam

      They are the democratically elected representatives of the people and should be treated with a certain level of respect – whether you agree with them or not..

      And what about the rest of the people? Do the rest of us non-elected people not deserve respect or are we to be plamásed, lied to, and made into suckers to prop up the golden circle? We deserve more respect than being lied to and ripped off.

      Some of the behaviour on display by the protesters has been disgusting – and in sharp contrast to the marches around the country protesting against the water charges.

      Some, out of how many thousands? And I don’t hear an equal condemnation for the Gardai in assaulting people at demonstrations where nobody was throwing anything. Of course, from the Gardai we can either say ‘just doing their job’ or ‘a few bad apples’… but the ‘few bad apples’ excuse doesn’t extend to the public anger does it?

      I don’t think it’s clear what these protesters want anymore – apart from the Government out and … who in then? FF who landed us in this mess? SF – don’t make me laugh – have you seen the cuts that they’ve stood over up north?

      The usual ‘I don’t think it’s clear what they want’ line. That’s been rolled out so many times it’s a cliché along with the ‘who else would govern’ line. Fact is, a public that doesn’t take crap lying down is more of a decider of public policy than which party is in power.
      The Government to some extent have brought this on themselves by the inept handling of the introduction of water charges (signed up to by FF as part of our bailout conditions btw). If you disagree, the ballot box is where you can protest – although given the derisory turnout at the local elections (less than 40% of people in my constituency voted, for example) – it would make you wonder how many of these protestors bothered to make their voices heard there.

      Oh, champion of democracy, how sensible thou art… of course, having a thin veneer of democracy whereby a govt can lie there way in, and then avoid accountability for 5 years, that’s what its all about isn’t it?

      Bull$hit. The very idea that we should shrug and wait to ‘punish’ them at the polls years later is daft. A country can go seriously downhill in 5 years, job losses, emigration, suicides, cuts in hospitals leading to more deaths than would otherwise happen.

      An election is not a suicide pact. We hire them, and if they screw us over we should fire them.
      Those of us with real jobs are familiar with the notion of being fired. It is not, finishing out a long contract and not getting a new one, but getting a nice golden handshake. It is being asked to clear the desk long before the contract expires, for pi$$ing off the employers.

      Your devotion to representative (adj) democracy (noun) is weighted too much in favour of the representative (noun) and not much on the actual democracy.

      1. Mister Mister

        If gardai assaulted people, I’m sure they’ll be dealt with appropriately given all the video evidence.

        However I would imagine most of these claims of assault are hysterics because a protester gets pushed back or something.

        1. Sam

          If gardai assaulted people, I’m sure they’ll be dealt with appropriately given all the video evidence.

          Your faith in accountability is touching. Have you heard of GSOC? Have you read their reports, and seen their results? a ridiculously low level of prosecution for misbehaviour.

          However I would imagine most of these claims of assault are hysterics because a protester gets pushed back or something.

          Ever seen video of cops throwing men head first into ditches in Mayo? Or cops coming up behind women and kids and whipping them with an extendible baton
          or ‘Robocop’ in Dublin beating people willy nilly with a baton, and what happened to him?
          Oh, yes, that was him later on, posing in his suit, ‘guard of honour’ at the door of the GSOC offices for their official opening day photograph.

        2. Nigel

          ‘If gardai assaulted people, I’m sure they’ll be dealt with appropriately given all the video evidence.’

          Oh my God. Roll on the day.

          1. John

            ‘If gardai assaulted people, I’m sure they’ll be dealt with appropriately given all the video evidence.’

            Really? There is clear video footage showing that a TD engaged in nonviolent passive resistance was assaulted by gardai, who partially stripped him. Has there been a single mention of this event in the mass media? I’m yet to see it.

      2. ScaryLady

        Dear Sam

        You say – “An election is not a suicide pact. We hire them, and if they screw us over we should fire them.”

        I agree – isn’t that what happened to the last government? By firing them, do you mean physically intimidating them out of government though? Because that’s never going to happen – it just makes both sides more entrenched. Each side regards the other as scumbags because of aggressive behaviour – how is that progressing anything?

        I respect your absolute right to disagree with me, and your absolute right to be angry – but “oh champion of democracy how sensible thou art”? Don’t you see how a sneering aggressive tone totally undermines whatever other sensible points you might make? The bullying rhetoric is firing off from both sides now – and it’s not achieving anything.

        1. Sam

          You say – “An election is not a suicide pact. We hire them, and if they screw us over we should fire them.”
          I agree – isn’t that what happened to the last government?

          No. I did write about what it means to be fired.

          By firing them, do you mean physically intimidating them out of government though? Because that’s never going to happen – it just makes both sides more entrenched. Each side regards the other as scumbags because of aggressive behaviour – how is that progressing anything?

          Again, I told you what being fired means. Most people who have ever had a job understand it.
          TDs are employed by the public for periods up to five years.
          At the end of the 5 years their contract expires.
          They may not even ask for it to be renewed, but if they do, they have to submit to the same selection process that got them their *previous* contract.
          Failing the selection process is *not* equivalent to being fired.

          I didn’t say anything about intimidating people out of office. In a small number of democracies, they have recall elections. I think they would be a great improvement to the current system.
          As a precursor to a recall election, I think a massive public protest to policy would count as a verbal warning.

          If you don’t like the tone, it’s probably because it’s the standard tone I take when I see strawman arguments being trotted out as the voice of reason.

  12. andyourpointiswhatexactly

    Sinister fringe? Wearing ones barnet styled to the left?
    I don’t sport a fringe, thus am exempt.

  13. Paolo

    Why are people in Ireland different to virtually every other developed nation? Why do they not believe that water should be conserved? Why do they believe that only some people should pay for water and it should not be treated as a precious resource? Every other country believes this but Ireland is special.

      1. Sam

        And oddly enough, we use treated water to wash our clothes, and flush human waste down the drain.
        What was that about conservation again?

    1. Sam

      We do believe that water should be conserved.
      We don’t believe that the purpose of water meters is conservation.
      It’s a tax on an essential service.

      It can be shown that on average 45% of water from reservoirs never reaches a house… and the focus on conservation is on putting meters just outside the house. Do we imagine someone is flushing the toilet 90 times a day in the average house?

      Or do we see an attempt to hold our water supply to ransom, by threatening to shut it off if we don’t pay?

        1. Sam

          Pablo asked why people don’t want water conserved. I am responding with my own opinion and those of many people I spoke to on protest marches. It seems he hasn’t bothered to ask anyone, or prefers to spin out a lazy line.

          1. Paolo

            How do you conserve water without water meters? Why is EVERY other developed country doing it wrong. What is your genius solution?

          2. Sam

            If 45% of the water is leaking out before it gets near a house, then the network is the problem, not the house, and whether I flush the toilet once or twice during the day doesn’t change that.
            The leaks in the pipe network can’t be attributed to my house or yours, so they should be shared out more equitably, by general taxation.

            Making it easier to commodify water, is not an incentive to maintain infrastructure. Repairs cost money, whereas ramping up the charges increases revenue.

          3. Karl Monaghan

            According to this Wikipedia article (usual caveat on reliability of course) only Italy and Croatia use more water per head:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Water_resources_and_use

            Conversation of water needs to be two pronged – both the amount lost to leaks and the amount consumed.

            If Irish Water was to be sold off, then fixing the pipes would be a priority as losing 45% of your product before it can be sold off is insane.

          4. Sam

            According to this Wikipedia article (usual caveat on reliability of course) only Italy and Croatia use more water per head:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Water_resources_and_use

            The source cited in that Wikipedia article is a quote from a TD’s speech, where it doesn’t seem clear where he’s getting the figure from or whether the per capita figure quoted includes the amount lost to leaks.

            Conversation of water needs to be two pronged – both the amount lost to leaks and the amount consumed.

            A meter is a very blunt instrument for that. There are other means that could be employed to discourage specific types of wastage.

            If Irish Water was to be sold off, then fixing the pipes would be a priority as losing 45% of your product before it can be sold off is insane.

            Not from a business point of view, scarcity increases price. They can charge more for the 55% that does get delivered.

            Look at the example of rail privatisation in the UK. The infrastructure went to pot, but they kept charging. Profits are short term, rebuilding a whole network is a long term project, and what company would risk it, if they can simply jack up prices to keep shareholders happy in the here and now?

          5. Karl Monaghan

            Water meters are absolutely not a blunt instrument. If you don’t measure something you can’t say how well your are doing. If you don’t measure what’s going into a system and what’s coming out you can’t tell how much you’re losing from inefficiency.

            Not from a business point of view, scarcity increases price. They can charge more for the 55% that does get delivered.
            Absolute nonsense. No business would be happy with each unit it sells costing nearly double what it should because of wastage.

          6. Sam

            Water meters are absolutely not a blunt instrument. If you don’t measure something you can’t say how well your are doing. If you don’t measure what’s going into a system and what’s coming out you can’t tell how much you’re losing from inefficiency.

            I didn’t say they weren’t capable of measuring anything, but they are a blunt instrument on the household level.
            – They will tell you how much water is used by the household. –
            – They won’t tell you how much of it is wastage

            Your argument could be applied to the overall system yes, if there are meters at key junctions to help narrow down where leaks are. But not for conservation on a household level, because without knowing what the needs are for that house, you can’t say how much is wastage. number, age and health status of the inhabitants can cause variations of water needs, which can’t simply be called wastage. In my house for example, we used cloth nappies, which required more water for washing, but it wasn’t wastage, and certainly not irresponsible, but the meter takes no account of the water wasted by the manufacturing process of disposable nappies, nor the environmental costs of disposing of them. If I could have, I would have run the washing machine on grey water, but that’s not a popular idea in this country.

            Influencing certain behaviours, (like hosepipe bans or other ways of discouraging people from power-washing something rather than use a bucket and sponge) is a specific conservation measure, far less blunt than simply measuring the amount of consumption.

            Absolute nonsense. No business would be happy with each unit it sells costing nearly double what it should because of wastage.

            That depends on the relevant fixed and variable production and delivery costs involved.
            It’s not a car factory where half the metal is being flogged off by employees or ruined by dodgy processes, yes, they’d get right on that and it would be relatively inexpensive to sort out. Fire a few, put in cameras, and checks and the cost of enforcement is far outweighed by extra productivity.

            With water, they are not making the water by electrolysis, they are taking free rainwater, adding a few chemicals and filtering stages, and the cost of the delivery network is enormous by comparison to the cost of actually killing any microbes in the water.

            So, the cost of renovating the delivery system would be enormous, and far greater than the marginal costs of treating extra water to take into account of the leak-to-delivery ratio. Basic fixed costs v variable costs calculation.
            That is a criteria the bean counters would use. Not just the waste percentage, which by itself doesn’t tell you the impact on the bottom line.

    2. Paolo

      Hi Ben, I do live in Ireland. I have paid my taxes in Ireland for 25 years and I have seen the wastage that goes on.
      Yes, Ireland was screwed over by bankers, builders and inept Government
      Yes, people pay a lot for some services
      Yes, the system should change to better reflect the mood of the people

      No, water charges is not the issue for that. It would make much more sense for people to have rallied against property tax because that really is inequitable. You pay for your house and then, even when it is costing you more than it is worth, you pay tax on it.

      Perhaps the reason we didn’t see such a movement against the property tax is because most of the people protesting against water charges (pay by use remember) live in properties paid for by the taxpayer.

      The fact is, most of the people protesting violently against water charges are not socialists (I’m a socialist), they are scumbags who feel that society owes them something.

      1. Sam

        The fact is, most of the people protesting violently against water charges are not socialists (I’m a socialist), they are scumbags who feel that society owes them something. [ citation needed. ]

      2. Nigel

        ‘No, water charges is not the issue for that.’

        You don’t get to choose the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

        ‘Perhaps the reason we didn’t see such a movement against the property tax is because most of the people protesting against water charges (pay by use remember) live in properties paid for by the taxpayer.’

        It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate.

    3. lerelah/therelah

      I don’t think that the way they’ve gone about this has highlighted, or is really about effective conservation.

      This is one of my main beefs with the way they’ve introduced this system – it is SUCH a wasted opportunity in terms of what could have been done to improve conservation attitudes and education in Ireland.

      The system they’ve proposed is so heavy-handed and unfair to some members of society after a number of years of austerity that people have rejected the whole concept completely. I genuinely don’t think most people have a problem with conservation – rather, it’s the way the Govt has gone about implementing it. Also, I’d have real concerns about the system being privatized. I think that’s a genuine threat they’ve done very little about.

      Because of how the Govt tried to introduce this, I think a lot of (admittedly dumb) people will now react to any form of water conservation with rage, because of the bad feeling created by the way this whole sorry mess has gone. Which will undermine any legitimate attempt to educate or promote water management. Which is enraging.

    4. Nigel

      We may be amazingly different inasmuch we’d prefer if the implementation of water charges wasn’t massively wasteful, incompetent and full of boondoggles.

  14. seany_delight

    I think most people believe all of that Paolo, but most as far as I can tell prefer that it is administered and managed publicly at all levels.

    I myself wouldn’t even mind an extra docking on my payslip if it meant that the water we have and /or its supply is everyone’s and not for the benefit of some but all and only ever for all.

        1. Soundings

          We contribute 100% of the cost of water, there is no practical difference between “pay” and “contribute”.

          1. Paolo

            I would like to pay for the water that I use not the water some scrounger p*sses away because she/he doesn’t have to turn off the tap or fix leaks in his house. If you can’t afford it then don’t use more than the allowance. That is fair.

          2. Nigel

            Yes we do. And that system needs to be changed because it sucks. Unfortunately so does the way they went about changing it. Yay Ireland.

    1. Nawfil Musty Bang A Frilly

      I myself wouldn’t even mind an extra docking on my payslip
      But the PAYE workers, ala Jock think the scroungers (not in government) won’t pay then, and he’s paying for everything.

      Just a thought, but isn’t the ability to pay, deemed by how much you earn. Pay As You Earn.
      If some people cannot get work, and can’t/won’t emigrate for whatever reason, isn’t whatever state benefit they’re receiving to keep them at a minimal level of the breadline?

      I don’t get the logic myself. If you don’t have it, you can’t pay it.

      If there aren’t enough PAYE workers, so be it. But who else can pay?

    2. Paolo

      Seany, that is NOT what the protesters are saying. The spokesperson for mandate was on the radio stating that they will not accept ANY metering of waters. That people should NOT be charged based on their usage.

      No meters = No conservation

      1. Nawfil Musty Bang A Frilly

        People will swallow any aul bullsh*t.
        Were you for the plastic bag levy too? Coz plastic bags are bad for the environment.

        Metering is about charging. Not conservation – That’s the spin.

        1. ReproBertie

          Charging is supposed to be about conservation but if it was about conservation there would not be a plan to increase charges if revenue doesn’t meet certain levels (due ot a drop in water usage). That’s punishing conservation which shows the whole conservation argument to be a sham.

        2. deliverancecountry

          Aye, I be all PAYEing right now but so is the dude washing his roof or filling the pool with drinking water.
          We need to meter, (water butts aren’t expensive). The flat rate is stupid, a revenue stream to justify sale of a monopoly.
          I agree with metering which will compel people to repair their pipes and conserve water. This can be managed by local authorities. Repairs to the system will have to come from capital investment. A private company will extort investments and grants anyway, why pay another layer of wasters?
          Lol name btw, soz Frills youzer great too.

  15. louislefronde

    Irish Socialists, please don’t make me laugh. When reading red propaganda substitute the word ‘Rich’ and replace with the words ‘Middle Class’ and you catch their real drift.

    As long as I can remember the Irish ‘progressive tax system’ has been used by politicians to buy the votes of ‘the mob’ which in turn has created a culture of benefits, welfare dependency and a sense of entitlement. Rather than alleviate poverty with a hand up, it has in fact created a permanent underclass – who always see it as someone else’s responsibility to pay.

    No reasonable member of society would begrudge helping those in poverty or assisting those in low paid jobs who genuinely are struggling (hand up and not a hand out)- but permanently subsidising those who take no responsibility for creating their own future shows the absolute failure of policy inspired by the left.

    The only way out of poverty is opportunity, and that comes through education, hard work and risk. Give a man a fish (handout) feed him for a day – teach him how to fish (hand-up) you feed him for life.

    1. Nawfil Musty Bang A Frilly

      Fair enough Louis.
      Teach ‘them’ how to fish etc, but if you acknowledge there are people living in poverty, and the only way out of it is opportunity, education etc. How is imposing a charge on water going to help them?
      See my comment above on PAYE.

    2. Nigel

      ‘teach him how to fish (hand-up) you feed him for life.’

      Unless overfishing leads to catastrophic collapse in fish stocks leading to widespread loss of livelihood, a food source drastically diminished and huge environmental damage.

    3. Bobby

      ‘…but permanently subsidising those who take no responsibility for creating their own future shows the absolute failure of policy inspired by the left.’

      Yeah we all need to take a stiff turn right. Because you know the way conservative, right-wing, neo-liberal policies that have been the prevalent and dominant socio-economic structures in the Western world for decades have like sorted everything out. Capitalism totally facilitates ‘creating peoples own futures’ (said every election slogan ever).

      Capitalism is crisis, and creates the crisis in which the vast majority of this planets humans suffer dehumanising and degrading existences to provide resources for consumption and waste. Structural and viscous inequity in the name of profit seems to have been the problem. But you seemed to have found the real problem, but it’s actually your complete and humiliating understanding of what encompasses ‘left-wing’ ideas that is the problem.

      An island of well educated idiots.. not that I’m implying that you are, but I’d better my bottom dollar that you’re probably infested with ordinary ideas. Depressing.

  16. Leaning to the centre

    …on the scale of the massive structural violence inflicted by austerity policies in Ireland, this was nothing. Nothing.

    Double facepalm

  17. Bobby

    Wowzer comments. I, and most other oridinary/poor people in Ireland, have been victims of capitals structural inequality. It was a brick and a water bomb. Wait until the actual violence kicks off, people won’t know what’s happening.

    One brick!

    1. Fe Dlowered

      Can’t wait. Bring on the real violence and Paul Murphy and his ilk will be gone quicker than you can say “One Trick Pony”

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