What we need to look at is politics as a business. And business means profits, and profits means you look at who benefits.
For starters a disproportionate amount of Irish politicians come from dynastic political families.
They go to the same schools and colleges, the same restaurants, the same social events, take the same vacations, own holiday homes in the same areas and as we saw recently belong to the same golf clubs.
Politicos rely on developers, business and bankers for political funding.
Politicos rely on control or collusion with the media for political support.
You don't need a formal conspiracy when interests converge. They don't need a meeting, they have like interests and know what is good for them and their ilk - and they are getting it.
The bank bail-out took care of reckless bank speculators who were pals with politicians - Charlie McCreevey and Celia Larkin never had to go through the formal channels at Nationwide, and CJ was afforded special treatment at several banks.
The choices that really matter in this country have been reduced, there are two main political parties, a handful of banks and insurance companies.
Dep. Creighton - who did not cow-tow to Kenny after the failure of the so called heave, and has maintained her integrity at least. However, one feels she is bound for the back benches.
"It is not a good image for any political party to be in receipt of donations from developers who are associated with NAMA"
She insisted that there could be no room in Fine Gael for "cute-hoor" politics, which she said had "defined and tainted Irish public life like an incurable cancer"
She was right in one respect, and to go further, the strains of clienism, gombeenism, dynastic politics and the appointment of utterly incompetent but politically loyal people to government bodies are an incurable disease that has long infected FG as well as FF.
Media coverage and convergence of interests is also an issue.
I have written before about Paul Williams 'reporting' on the Shell to Sea protesters. After his incredible biased reporting for TV3 and a tabloid he has been a corporate guest of Shell at the 2007 England Rugby match at Croke Park, part of what Shell told the Phoenix was their “stakeholder engagement list.”
Shell spends huge amount of money on PR, in 1998 “Shell spent US$30 million on contracts with PR company Fishburn & Hedges alone.”
The article “Irish Times Shell PR” in the May 22 issue of the Phoenix looks at how in Ireland Shell have successfully changed the line of the Irish Times over the last two years to the point where now the Irish Times now frequently send their crime correspondent to cover protests in Erris.
What I did not write about Paul Williams boss.
Protesters are attacked and marginalized in the press, yet no questions are asked about Ray Burke - who is one of the few politicians in this country that went to jail for corruption - and his role in the deal.
Bertie Ahern, whose personal finances have never been fully explained, also further did favors for the big oil companies.
Exxon Mobil was awarded licenses for exploratory drilling in the Porcupine Basin, which is in the Atlantic roughly parallel with Clare and Kerry.
For the exploratory bid Exxon Mobil combined in a consortium with Providence Resources.
Providence Resources are also engaged in exploration off the south east coast of Ireland.
If the Shell deal goes through, that sets a precedent to increase profits to other companies, like Providence Resources.
Forty five per cent of Providence Resources is held by Sir Anthony O’Reilly, and his son is the company’s CEO.
Tony is also, of course, CEO of, and owner of a large shareholding in, the Independent News and Media group.
IN&M owns the Sunday World, the Sunday Independent, the Star, the Irish Independent, the Evening Herald, part of the Sunday Tribune, and many local papers in Ireland.
There are clear grounds for linking the commercial interests of the O’Reilly empire, and the political influence it wields through its major media holdings.
A politician attacked in such a wide range of press is looking at electoral failure.
To look at this in the context of oil and gas consider the wild unsubstantiated slanders which have been directed at the Shell to Sea campaign in Mayo by O’Reilly papers.
Something which they engaged in earlier, and to a much greater extent, than the rest of the national media.
This reached a crescendo of almost parody in August 2007 when one columnist opined “Shell has been scandalously remiss in not employing someone to bump off a few of these fellows” as ““the rule of law has to be enforced, by apparently harsh measures if need be”.
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