Friday, 28 October 2011

Riddle me this......again.

The over-riding and all-consuming priority for every politician in a parliamentary democracy is to hold onto his seat. (I derive intense satisfaction from not saying ‘his or her’ seat). Irish politicians, due to the multi-seat proportional representation system, are more sensitive than most, as there are only a handful of really safe seats in the whole country. To keep his seat the pol must keep his constituents happy. This involved diverting as much government largesse as possible to his constituency, and above all in avoiding closure of police stations, hospitals, schools quangos or any other publicly funded institution.

Now given the financial calamity that has befallen this country, the government has had to get around to taking such measures. Slowly, painfully, reluctantly, but it’s happening nonetheless. Predictably, as when a barracks get closed as in Athlone, or a hospital unit in Roscommon, the life of the local government representatives becomes a nightmare. And their careers are likely to be doomed come the next election.

Naturally, the pols do everything in their power to prevent such cash-saving actions. They cajole very Minister, threaten to leave the party, to vote against it, to join the opposition or whatever. The pressure on those around the Cabinet table is immense. They labour long into the night to find the least politically damaging way to implement IMF-mandated savings. Hugely unpopular measures such as those I've mentioned have to be taken, as do more general ones such as the removal of special needs teachers. Facing constituents in these circumstances must be a dispiriting experience. Small wonder that the battles are so fierce and prolonged.

Often the savings, like the few I've already mentioned, are quite small, say €10 million annually. But they still get shoved through. They scour every item of expenditure to save a million here, a million there. Always with an eye to the political impact (i.e. their careers). Awful, painful, career-ending cuts must be made.

But must they? Lying on the table, in all its glory, lies an annualised pot of about €700 million which the pols could redeploy overnight with zero impact on the voting public. The initiatives I've referred to, and dozens more, could be reversed and with cash left over. So why in the name of Jesus do they not grab the loot? Because it’s Foreign Aid. I.e. it’s going in to dictators’ Swiss bank accounts, or flying their mistresses for a weekend shopping at Harrod’s. Ireland has given Uganda over €100 million. Uganda has spent over €100 million buying, wait for it, jet fighters!

Yes.

As they tear at each other around the Cabinet table, closing down a hospital unit to save a few million, why doesn’t someone say, no, scream, ‘why the fuck are we talking about closing a hospital here when we could keep it open, and a dozen others like it, by keeping what we toss away on foreign aid?’ Seems a reasonable question, doesn’t it?

Yet it remains, apart from some minor reduction, sacrosanct.

Go figure!

40 comments:

john said...

Exactly what I've been saying for years...
And in America, note that 16% of each dollar goes to"israel" - thats each dollar, not each dollar of foreign aid. Add Saudi Arabia in there too - like THEY need it, as well as all the money wasted on africa, and you could solve the US debt crisis too. Simple, isnt it? Wonder why it doesnt happen?

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sukhoi_Su-30_inflight.jpg

These planes won't buy themselves.

Unit cost US$33–45 million

6 of these.,

Aircraft Mikoyan-Gurevich
MiG-23 Flogger Soviet Union Sukhoi Su-30MK2 Russia 6
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 fishbed Poland Israel Multi role fighter 6 6 MiG-21 Bis\U Delivered. Upgraded by IAI (MIG-21-2000)

Aero L-39 Albatros Czech Light attack/ trainer 4
Aermacchi SF-260 Italy Light attack-trainer 2 delivered
Mil Mi-24 Hind Soviet Union heavy attack helicopter 1 with five further 'Hinds' unserviceable of a total of 12 Mi-24 delivered
Agusta-Bell AB-206 JetRanger USA Utility helicopter ? status unknown of a total of 10 delivered
AB.212 Italy Light transport helicopter 8 A total of 10 delivered.
FFA AS-202 Bravo Italy basic trainer 2 status unknown
Bell 412 USA Light helicopter ? 9 delivered.
Gulfstream III USA VIP Transport 1
Mil-17 Hip-H Russia Medium transport helicopter 7 status unknown. A total of 5 Mil Mi-8 and 8 Mil Mi-17 delivered.
Agusta A-109 Italy utility helicopter 2
Lockheed Martin 1

Looks like they cannot take care of their toys. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_air_force

Rob said...

A similar saving would be achieved by stepping up border controls and turning back every asylum seeker who hasn't come directly from his country of origin, and also deporting those whose claims have failed.
The housing of asylum seekers - who have been proven again and again to be at least 90 percent bogus - costs several hundred million a year. Add to that the cost of health care, education, etc. and you're probably into billions.
Who would have thought that supporting Third Worlders would become one of the "untouchable" areas of spending, like old age pensions?

Bemused stare said...

It truly confounds me. The labour they go to to do their own people is amazing.

Anonymous said...

I think cuts in foreign aid will come at some point.

Remember, all these budget cuts are happening in stages, to cushion the blow and prevent riots as much as anything.

After the first set of cuts were announced, a lot of people were wondering why tax hikes on tobacco and alcohol weren't included, seeing as that would be easier to pass than, say, closing a children's ward.

I think it's because they want to save something really obvious for round three or four of cuts.

People will be mad as hell, and the govt can point to increases in alcohol and tobacco taxes as a comparatively "reasonable" hike, in an attempt to calm people down.

Right now, cutting foreign aid would bring the world's biggest shitstorm down, especially in the middle of - *yawns* - yet another African famine.

And this won't just come from the self styled elites; many ordinary Irish people are inordinately proud of how much their govt donates.

But people will be prepared to riot at the last round of EU imposed cuts. And they'll start to resent foreign aid, or at least stop worshipping at its altar.

And the politicians will throw them a bone, because - politically speaking - they'll be able to do so.

Or maybe I'm attributing waaay too much insight and forward planning to these guys. After all, there are a lot of cushy govt and civil service jobs that depend on Ireland acting as Daddy White Man.

Anonymous said...

Irate,

Crap like this is going on in all Western nations.

In the Americohen (s)election charade presently in progress, Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul has proposed a Federal Government budget with 1 trillion dollars of cuts including eliminating five federal cabinets and cutting or eliminating foreign aid.

The phony neo-cons are all up in arms that aid to "That Shitty Little Country" would be cut off.

In that Paul has proposed the only sensible solution to the untenable federal budget situation, one would think that he would be the talk of the town.

Not quite...He seems to have been "black balled" from all media discourse as the corporate media suddenly has a love affair with the Republican Party token Negro candidate Herman Cain.

Cain is a former Federal Reserve Bank official - the same Federal Reserve that aided and abetted the Wall Street Looters who are responsible for the present economic collapse.

Ron Paul...Ron who????

RegThe Hedge said...

Simply put, you are giving the politicians too much credit.
Assume they all had IQ's of 80. Now ask the question again.

Yes. The answer is they don't know the money is being spent on foreign aid. They don't know what foreign aid is etc etc etc.

Send letters to them, stamp the envelope as private and from a builder. Ensure the envelope has a wedge of newspaper cuttings sized to match 50 Euro notes.
Now you can be sure the politician will be the one opening it and not his big breasted secretary.

Anonymous said...

John, w/r/t the US, the answer is simple. You don't touch the Third Rail. End of career, if not even worse.

Clogheen said...

Rob - that's a very good point. Housing and feeding for those bogus asylum seekers must all add up to about a billion a year. Add in legal costs for various appeals. Pamela whatshername alone cost over 1 million in legal costs!
But as you say, untouchable.

B Boru said...

anon 0.19. That's a great scenario that you lay out. Hope it works out. But do you think that our pols have enough brains to think that far ahead?

sharonski said...

The politicians are not all that stupid. They know that if they made serious cuts in foreign aid the whole MSM and the poverty/aid industry and the religious orders would be down on them like a (metric) ton of bricks.

Corkonian said...

The only thing that'll bring this to a head will be absolute collapse in the country.

Anonymous said...

Jesse Ventura says TSA against Article 4 of the Constitution

About two minutes in. He has metal in him which means that he sets off the scanners and here is the rub that is not mentioned there. Many guns have not enough of the setting off metal to set off the things that metal used by surgeons have.

Is that the reason TSA bunnies like assaulting Grandmas?

Anonymous said...

Another consideration is that where there's a regional cutback, e.g. baracks closure, it affects only the local politicians. Hence nothing in it for any of his colleagues to join the protest. Hence little bargaining position. Only with general things like pensions will they run the risk of united opposition.

kudzo bob said...

"Is that the reason TSA bunnies like assaulting Grandmas?"

I doubt it. The TSA are there to keep the local white population under control when we finally rise up. You could smuggle a bazooka onto a plane if you wanted.

Anonymous said...

What can we say about the Irish anymore? I am disgusted. They elect a far left loony as President, lol....and carry on as if we are not in the middle of a major shitstorm.
So yes, by ALL MEANS!: let's keep giving millions we DO NOT HAVE to the dark gods they adore so much, and when everyone around us starts to cry and bleat when the pain really starts, remind them of how much the niggers appreciate their "generosity" (lol, i mean STUPIDITY).

The best of the Irish have left this Island. And I think this is basically the beginning of the end of any kind of Ireland we are familiar with. I am no longer convinced this is a people worth saving---and yes, I am Irish.

Anonymous said...

One wonders about the intellectual capacity of politicians.
Wonder no more.

If you were president of a country that was literally weeks -- if not days -- away from going down the gurgler, would you call the president of the country about to save your sorry arse, an "unfuckable lardass"?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/italy/110915/berlusconi-calls-merkel-unfuckable-lard-arse

Berlusconi calls Merkel an "unfuckable lard-arse:"

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi reportedly calls German Chancellor Angela Merkel an "unfuckable lard-arse."

News DeskSeptember 15, 2011 14:48

Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi reportedly called German Chancellor Angela Merkel an "unfuckable lard-arse" during a wiretapped conversation, the Independent of London reports.

Investigators overheard the remarks during a July phone conversation between Berlusconi and the man accused of supplying prostitutes to the prime minister's parties, the Independent states. Berlusconi used the Italian phrase, "culona inchiavabile," reports the Atlantic.

More from GlobalPost: Italian voters run out of sympathy for Berlusconi

Investigators were searching for evidence against the prime minister regarding a number of charges including corruption, Germany's The Local reports.

“If the rumors are true, which are not only circulating in journalist circles but also in parliament, that the Prime Minister has spoken about Merkel in an unspeakable, unpronounceable, unacceptable way, the situation would be dramatic. Someone who has reached out their hand to us would be spat at in the face," Italian MP Rocco Buttiglione told parliament, according to The Local.

Berlusconi, 74, has made a series of what many describe as outrageous gaffes during his tenure as prime minister. Three years ago, he described President Barack Obama as "suntanned."**

The latest sexist remarks concerning Merkel came as German officials were pressuring Italy over its implementation of budget cuts.

During the call, Berlusconi also called Italy a "shitty" country.


Garibaldi, he ain't.

Cheers,
Uncle Nasty

** Could have been worse ... a lot worse.

UN
.

Digby said...

I often wonder whether Berluscone actually wants to be heard and for it to resound around the world. He certainly doesn't seem to care too much about anything.

Franz said...

Well, my take on the riddle:

Watch any episode of "Yes, minister" and you'll know why there is this eery sense of continuity of policy which no election result seems to be able to change.

There ARE real-life Sir Humphries in every major government. As they are appointed, they don't give a fig for the wishes of elected representatives, much less the electorate itself.

In Germany we have a guy called Jörg Asmussen, who is totally unknown to the larger public. Being the "grey eminence" in the treasury, he took it upon himself to shovel billions upon billions to the banks since 2008.

This summer, he has been promoted to the ECB where he will presumably continue his largesse.

I am quite certain that Ireland has its own proper Asmussen/Humphry who makes sure that his countrymen pay their proper share for the devellopment of Uganda et al.

Public opinion be damned.

Heraclitus said...

Franz you're right for sure about your eminence grise here in Ireland. in our case it's more a permanent caste rather than an individual. Same scenario.

Franz said...

While the Savant frets over a measly €700 million for foreign aid, zee Germanz show the world how to make money and prosper.

BTW: This is not a joke.

Today the German government announced that it "found" €55 billion lying around in a bad bank - right next to the car keys.

At least this is the spin sold to us, courtesy of the MSM.

Apparently some accountant confused credits and debits and - presto: after the matter is rectified, we are all €55 billion richer.

As mentioned, this is the spin. I figure that if such things are admitted in public, at least ten times the amount has been stolen outright.

Who would have thought that Joe Pesci's monologue about the countnig room in "Casino" would be used as a coaching manual for public servants in Germany?

Anonymous said...

I know we're all bored with the "Occupy" arseholes stinking up various financial sectors around the world.

Here's a handwritten answer to the one percenters by an oil worker's wife.

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/020862.html

She's obviously not an intellectual or a college graduate. There is not a single spelling error on her sign.

Cheers,
UN
.

Anonymous said...

.
British shops can now carry arms if sailing anywhere near Somalia.

Wow. The Poms have finally grown a pair?

Not really. They just can't afford to run their navy anymore. Go here:-

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/020862.html

EXCLUSIVE: How Cameron’s pirate guards scheme disguises a naval cuts cock-up.

Yo-ho-ho, and a rum business at the Home Office

The Prime Minister’s new anti-pirate shipping guards scheme is designed to spare the blushes of the Royal Navy ... and distract the electorate from the parlous state of our defence infrastructure

The Slog has learned from senior maritime vessel management sources that the Prime Minister’s announcement about guards on merchant ships is, in reality, a clever spin exercise to mask the helplessness of the Royal Navy.

With some fanfare yesterday, David Cameron announced that ships sailing under Britain’s flag will be permitted to carry armed guards on some perilous routes to combat the threat from pirates. Cameron told the BBC that Britain would be reversing its opposition to the use of weapons aboard ships, amid mounting concern about the risks of vessels and crew being seized by pirates — particularly off Somalia’s coast.

But while the Cabinet office ‘confirmed’ that the use of weapons on British-flagged ships is banned under firearms laws, most UK flag ships travelling anywhere within range of Somalian Pirates already carry armed guards. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which comes under the Department for Transport, has turned a blind eye to the practice for the last two years.....ever since the biggest British shipping company, Zodiac Maritime Agencies, had a ship pirated. ZMA's owners, Sammy and Idan Ofer, put armed guards aboard their hundred-strong fleet immediately after having to hand over a ransom.


The Somalis are actually very easy to deal with ... if you speak the right language. Simply inform them that for every shot fired at a Western ship, you will drop a fuel-air bomb on Mogadishu.

People did this sort of thing a hundred or more years ago and it worked .. the Fuzzy-Wuzzies either stopped their crap -- or were vaporised.

A win-win situation, as they say.

Uncle Nasty
.

Anonymous said...

Drill to the bottom of the villainy, and here is the core ... the Corporation of the City of London.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/oct/28/occupy-london-city-st-pauls

Do some reading about them, and you will be convinced, like me, that we have finally found the nest.

Cheers,
UN
.

Simon Q said...

OT

Anyone know why Bert over at SAS is maintaining radio silence?

Nothing since last week.

Croesus said...

Franz, at first glance this seems to be a crude, incredibly crude, attempt to soften up the German taxpayers in support of building up an ever larger bailout fund. Could they possibly be that naive?

Hector G. said...

Uncle Nasty. Just watched a feature-length documentary about a Danish ship that was captured by these Somali neanderthals. I remain confounded at how powerful; countries let these ragbag half-stoned savages run rings around them. YOu should see their base village. One mortar shell would flatten the whole place.

You look at how the British navy took over China with just a few ships, likeweise Admiral Perry with the Japs. Yet we all seem helpless with these guys.

Is there something going on that we don't know about?

Piet said...

@Simon Q. I wondered about this too. Have they got to him again?

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's why the recent referendum was defeated.

People have such low opinion of our politician's.

Anonymous said...

Here's another little earner that US officials have latched onto ... prosecutors selling info to offshore plaintiffs.

The petroleum companies are being treated like South Africa in the 70's.

I wonder when they're going to lose their temper ... and start behaving the way leftists alway said they behaved --- by popping lefty activists.

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com/

Hatred of an American oil company

Corrupt NY officials aid and abet a corrupt prosecution in Ecuador.

Chevron is not backing down to New York State officials who are pressuring the company to settle a multibillion-dollar lawsuit that involves plaintiffs from Ecuador who are suing over alleged environmental damages.

On Oct. 7, Chevron submitted a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in an effort to flush out and detail the assistance he and his predecessor Alan Hevesi furnished to the plaintiffs’ lawyers and the consultants.

The litigation began in New York back in 1993, but the case was moved to Ecuador a decade later. Although Chevron has never operated in Ecuador, it purchased Texaco Petroleum in 2001, which was the subject of the initial suit. Plaintiffs accused Texaco of dumping oil-drilling waste in unlined pits they claim later contaminated the forest and caused illness to the local population. In response, Chevron pointed out that Texaco remediated environmental impacts that resulted from its operations. Moreover, this remediation was certified by government agencies in Ecuador.

“All legitimate scientific evidence submitted during the litigation in Ecuador proves that TexPet’s remediation was effective and that the sites it remediated pose no unreasonable risks for human health or the environment,” Chevron officials have pointed out. Moreover, Ecuador’s state-owned company, Petroecuador, was actually the majority owner of the consortium that included Texaco and bears responsibility, with the government of Ecuador, for any environmental damage that has occurred in the region, Chevron has argued.

Nevertheless, in Feb., an Ecuadorian court in Lago Agrio issued an $18 billion judgment against Chevron.


Interesting how the words "Corrupt" and "Official" go together so well, these days ... rather like "Stinking" and "Protesters"; "Brain-dead" and "Liberal"; "Murderous" and "Nigger"

You get the picture.

Oh, speaking of niggers, it appears that Peter Jackson is finishing his movie on the Dam Busters.

Due to political correctness, Wing Commander Guy Gibson's dog has been renamed from "Nigger" to "Digger".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2002027/Dambusters-dog-renamed-Digger-remake-iconic-film.html

Go the the site above and read the comments.
Some little gobshite from London named "Russell" said: "Note to DM headline writer: the N-word doesn't just offend Americans, it offends everyone."

811 people (myself included) told him to fuck off.

Looks like PC is beginning to wear a little thin ...

Cheers,
UN
.

Anonymous said...

Franz said...

While the Savant frets over a measly €700 million for foreign aid, zee Germanz show the world how to make money and prosper.

BTW: This is not a joke.

Today the German government announced that it "found" €55 billion lying around in a bad bank - right next to the car keys.


Dammit Franz. Even in large-denomination notes, that would make a hell of a bulge under the cushions on my couch ...

Cheers,
UN
.

Anonymous said...

Completely off-topic, and on a lighter note, I am torn between wanting to smack this girl for stupidity -- and giving her a pat on the head for sheer determination ...

http://tiny.cc/ganwg

In which --

Now that's a real driving test! Learner passed exam while in labour... and then drove herself to the hospital to give birth

A learner driver passed her test while in labour and then drove herself straight to the hospital to give birth.

Emma French, 20, felt four contractions during the driving test and despite the pain she managed to not only pass, but drive to the hospital where she became a mother for the first time.

Miss French from Livingston, Scotland, said: 'Everyone was telling me to go to the hospital but I had waited so long for my driving test that I was determined to do it.


Cheers,
UN
.

Anonymous said...

My, my, my. Things are beginning to move in Europe.

GREEK CRISIS BREAKING: ANOTHER PAPANDREOU ALLY PURGES ARMED FORCES AS PM GETS CABINET BACKING

In what has clearly been a very well-planned operation, Papandreou and his allies are putting the EU to shame

Following last night’s surprise purge of the Greek armed forces by Papandreou confidante Panos Beglitis, news has just broken that the Greek Cabinet has backed the Prime Minister’s call for a referendum.

The confidence motion on Friday remains in place. It is now becoming clear that George Papandreou is restricting all the key moves to his very closest inner circle, but mainstream foreign media are still floundering as to an explanation of his game-plan.

This morning, Merkel and Sarkozy are flying in to Cannes to meet with a member State leader whose action and determination contrasts starkly with their indecisive dithering. They should watch out for any grassy knolls.


it's beginning to look to me, that there are no flies on the Greeks. Obviously a hell of a lot sharper than the Poms.

Cheers,
UN
.

Croesus said...

This (Greece) is an amazing development UN. What do you think is behind it?

Digby said...

" the N-word doesn't just offend Americans, it offends everyone."

Really? How does this little prick know that it offends everyone ?

We should be thankful that the lead pilot isn't a 'person of color'.

Anonymous said...

See that Ireland has 'found' $3.5 billion behind the sofa! FFS.

Eamon Bejayzuz said...

Eamon Bejayzuz said;
Once upon a time Irish politicos had to tread v. carefully so as not to incur the wrath of the Church. Well, today they must do precisely the same, for the wrath of the Church must today be likewise avoided.The only differance is that its not the SAME Church, you see. The Church, before whom all Irish pols tremble and which is as ever the final arbiter in all matters of faith and morals is of course the MSM and to a lesser extent the entertainment business.(All that shit about clerical child abuse obscured the real game, which was that the meedja were able to pull off a spectacularly successful coup which saw off a hated enemy, Catholicism, and entrench themselves thereafter).
So now, today; if this new conventicle church deems the waste of squillions of Irish taxpayers money on financing African kleptocrats, said wastage is sacrosanct, not to be questioned. If they deem a candidate unsuitable in an election they will happily instruct their flock to not vote for him, just like a P.P. up in his pulpit in the olden days.If a smear is made against an aged retired priest the whole media rabble are at his door. If 30 children DIE in state care, little is made of it. (They speak of "survivors" of clerical sex abuse---how many fatalities were there....?).
To all this and more the Irish people, drunken and dissolute cattle as they have always been, consent mindlessly.
That is why at the end of the day schools will be closed to save money here, while---with the approval of twats like Bono---our dough goes ina bundance to subsaharan vermin.

Corkonian said...

Eamonn - you speak the truth man. We've just swapped one religion for another.

Amazing name though. Is that real?

commonwealth contrarian said...

I hope New Zealand isn't sending these guys money. We don't even have an air force of our own anymore.

Anonymous said...

(All that shit about clerical child abuse obscured the real game, which was that the meedja were able to pull off a spectacularly successful coup which saw off a hated enemy, Catholicism, and entrench themselves thereafter).

Savile is thrown under the bus but the media cannot find out about the religion of the Rochdale groomers.

Must be too far to get to from Salford.