Politics should be a battle of ideas. It shouldn’t be a personality contest. In a democracy where people accept the basic ideas of democracy then we should respect our opponents. We believe that they have different views to us but they believe that their views will better society. I hate it when the private life and the family of politicians are brought into public debate. Certain sections of the media are more guilty of this practice than politicians are. Unlike the media politicians are elected.
We are getting ready for the local and the European elections in 2014. I hope we will respect each other. I hope that respect the motives that our rivals have in going for elections. Our difference with the other parties should be based on a battle of ideas. Our difference with others should be based on how we can serve the people.
John O Brien.
In the United States the government has shut down. In Ireland the people have voted to keep the Senate. I think it is true to say that the Irish people want a reformed Senate.
In the United States the Republicans want to kill Obama’s health care act. They have no problem with the state looking after members of Congress, prisoners, the old and the very poor. Hard working middle America can drop dead as far as they are concerned. We cant understand the lack of compassion the ultra right have in America. I find in sick. Even the right wing British Tories support the NHS. The shutdown also shows that parliaments are superior to the US system.
In our anti political mood at home I get worried. Do we want to replace democracy with dictatorship and slavery? Less politicians means more experts means less democracy means more slavery. I find the new local government reforms have problems. We will have too few representatives. The unelected officials will have the same power. Local democracy will be gutted. Instead of being a free person you could wake up wondering where has our freedom gone.
Value freedom, go out and vote. Make a difference. People died and people are dying for freedom. During the 2nd World War and during the early Cold War both left and right united to defend democracy, They also united around the idea of the mixed market. Unlike the Tea Party in America they had humanity.
John O Brien.
This is my letter to the Irish Times dated 12 Aug 2013.
Sleep-walking into a police state
Sir, The recent local government reforms mean that we will have fewer local representatives. Local democracy is being gutted. Increasingly democracy is being bypassed. Power is moving into the hands of the experts. Our freedom in under attack.
After the second World War, both left and right supported the mixed economy. Things were not perfect, but the era of social democracy or the social market was better than the free market fundamentalism we are living in today. The post-war era gave the world greater liberty and social justice.
Can we recreate this post-war consensus? I believe that if we don’t protect individual liberty, we are sleep-walking into a police state.-
Yours etc., John O Brien.
The people of Ireland will be asked about their views on the Senate and a Court of Appeals. Justice delayed is justice denied. This old saying shows that justice should be swift as well as fair and open to all people. An increasing backlog of cases to the Supreme Court is delaying justice for many people. I think a Court of Appeal is a good idea. As for the Senate I am of 2 minds on that issue. Both the yes and the no people agree that the present Senate is not fit for purpose. The yes side wants to reform the Senate. The no side wants to get ride of it. Costs and the number of politicians shouldn’t be part of the argument. Democracy is too important. How should people vote? The question people should ask is how will democracy be advanced? Will it be advanced by a reformed Senate or will it be advanced by getting rid of the Senate? Personally I find the present Senate elitist. It is a place for failed politicans. If we are going to get rid of the Senate then the Dail will have to become more powerful.
Let us hope that a peaceful pluralist Syria is being born. The violence in Kenya is a reminder that the War on Terror is still ongoing. We should never give the reactionaries an inch they will take a mile. We must defend secular liberal democracy with everything we have. Al Qaeda and others like them have no place in a humane society.
John O Brien.
Sorry it has been a while since I last posted a blog. I am back again. A lot has happened. Internationally Syria has dominated the news. The USA has treated war with Syria. The Pope has prayed for peace. Russia has made itself into a peace maker. The Americans with their military decided to shoot first and ask questions later. Russia wanted to show that it is a new world power. It believed that war could set alight the Middle East and it could put Al-Qaeda into power in Syria. Russia also wanted to protect the Christian minority in Syria. Churches and Christians are attacked in Syria. Hopfully Syria will be sorted out. Hopfully Russia and America can unite in NATO. We need a global democratic alliance. The Cold War is over.
In Ireland the people will be asked if they want a Senate or not. I believe that there are good arguements on both sides. If we are going to keep the Senate then it needs to be reformed. When people will vote then I hope that democracy and not cost will influence their decision. John O Brien.
The failure of any system doesn’t mean that a brighter tomorrow will happen. All the breakdown of a system proves is that the present system doesn’t work. People will look for alternatives. Good and bad solutions will be offered to the people.
When the free market crashed in 1929 different countries turned to different solutions. Germany turned to fascism. America turned to the New Deal. Sweden turned to social democracy. Many people accepted communism. Other countries turned to nationalism. Not all of these solutions resolved the problems caused by the Wall Street Crash.
Nationalism, fascism and small changes to the system ignore the economic problems that caused the mess in the first place. Fascism and communism lead countries towards slavery. They are anti-democratic. Only social democracy can resolve our problems. Our present economic problems are like the problems that people suffered after the 1929 crash. People today have seen the false promise of neo liberalism. They are looking for a way out. They are looking for a new society. They could accept false promises of a new society unless social democracy wins the battle of ideas.
The media today supports the present mess. We need a social democratic alternative. I am thinking of an online magazine. I was thinking that it should cover sport culture and fashion as well as news.
The recent local government reforms means that we will have less representatives in local government. Local democracy is being gutted. Increasingly democracy is being by-passed. Power is moving into the hands of the experts. Our freedom is under attack.
After World War 2 both the left and the right supported the mixed economy. Things were not perfect but the era of social democracy or the social market was better than the free market fundamentalism we are living in today. The post war era gave the world greater liberty and social justice.
Can we recreate this post war agreement? I believe that if we don’t protect individual liberty we are sleep walking into a police state.
As Israel and Palestine have begun talks I hope that the talks will lead us towards a 2 state solution. Freedom for Palestine and security of Israel will be achieved by a 2 state solution.
Recent developments in Egypt are dangerous. I hope that it will not lead the country into a civil war. Turkey is still in crisis. I hope the people will be achieve victory against the government. We don’t want Turkey go the way of Iran.
Minister Sean Sherlock has been given responsibility for the social economy by the government. The social economy serves the people. Social economy businesses is about developing services to people, it is not about making profits. Meals on wheels is an example of the social economy in action. The social Economy will create jobs as well.
John O Brien.