Lisbon – Round II

EU Flag + Gay UKImage by stephen.spillane via FlickrSo the stage is being set for us to vote on the EXACT same treaty again. Granted the only difference is that the member states will agree not to limit the number of EU Commissioners. The other changes will be copper fastening what we already have. A protocol on Abortion (Attached to Maastricht!), Military (Attached to Nice after Nice I) and Tax Sovereignty which is in all the treaties! Really come on like! How stupid do the government think we are? While I love Europe and the EU and all the good it does it, I am not voting for this treaty unless our Government and specifically our Taoiseach shows some leadership!

Martina Devlin has an excellent column in todays Indo on Brian Cowen’s lack of leadership especially in comparison to Gordon Brown who “transformed himself into a phoenix among politicians, emerging gloriously from the ashes of his career after bold steps to tackle the banking meltdown”. Which is true and opinion polls have shown that with a marked decline in the lead the Tories have over Labour.

The same cannot be said for Brian Cowen and Fianna Fail here. When ever there is an announcement all that follows is confusion and blame games. No one in this country will take the blame. When it was obvious to the dogs on the street that the Lisbon Referendum was going to fail, Brian Cowen decided to blame Fine Gael and Labour for not pulling their weight when it was obvious Fianna Fail TD’s and suppporters where not canvassing (I didn’t get canvassed by any ‘Yes’ group).

Though I am suppportive of the European Project, I am more supportive of Democracy and think unless there is substansive change to the treaty I shall be voting no.

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Not in a Million Years!

Every time there is an election I always give Fianna Fail a look to see if I would give them a preference and next year in the Local’s and Europeans a fairly high preference is on offer due to the fact there is only one FG candidate in Cork South Central LEA and Ireland Euro South constituency, but after yesterdays budget not in a million years will Fianna Fail get a preference, no matter how measly from me. The Greens and PD’s (if they are still around) can go look somewhere else too, unless they get a backbone. Not only have FF lowered my take home pay by 1% (I’m on minimum wage ffs) but all my costs will rise because VAT is going up, road tax is going up, petrol is going, flights are going up among lots of other things (oh and wine, but not beer and spirits? would love to know the reasoning behind that). Also I see they are bring in College fees by stealth, increasing the registration fee by €500. this year the registration fee for UCC was €1050 (it was €750 when I started many moons ago (4)), so that lessens the likelihood of me returning to a HEI as I have to pay fees for the first two years.

The over 70’s medical card is a scandal, it doesn’t effect me personally but I do have elderly relations. It annoys me so much. I pity any one from FF or the Greens who knock on my door next year, as it’s not only me who will be giving them a piece of my mind!

So FF/Greens, don’t even bother asking me for a vote next year!

Another opinion poll….

This time Ireland! Its an interesting one too.

The Party Breakdown is as follows

Fianna Fail 36% (down 4)
Fine Gael 28% (up 3)
Labour 9% (down 1)
Sinn Fein 9% (down 1)
Greens 7% (no change)
PD’s 3% (up 1)

(June poll available here in PDF)

In another question in the poll 50% of people are not confident that the government can get the economy out of the current downturn.

Its nice to see FG up and FF down below the 40% (the polled 42% at the last General Election), also these polls are leading us into the local and european elections next year.

The PD’s being up is a bit strange considering while the poll was being carried out, the leadership decided they were not politically viable. Then again the fact the PD’s were in the media a lot over the grealish debacle raised their profile. But where will that 3% go is the question on everyone’s lips?

RTÉ Story – Poll shows fall in support for Fianna Fáil
Sunday Business Post – Sharp fall in support for Fianna Fáil as economy slumps
Irish Election – Fianna Fail Down in Business Post Poll

Me and Gay Marriage

Okay, so I get in a lot of trouble in gay circles and lefty equality circles (you know who you are Len) about my opposition or really lack of support for gay marriage.

I recently posted over on The Political Gay about my thoughts on the Heads of the Civil Partnership Bill 2008 (available here (PDF)).

Though I did take part in the LGBT Noise protest in Cork about the bill ( thread) I am not that fussed. I am broadly supportive of the bill and will be hoping it is passed more or less in its current state.

The one thing that made me turn up last week was the issue of adoption and children in general. It is completely ignored by the bill and I am not a happy bunny because of it. Of course, this might change in the future and maybe a second bill will allow gay adoption like what has happened in the UK. So I am adopting the Micheal Collins approach to this bill. For those of you unsure of that, I mean along the lines of what Collins said about the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It‘gives us the freedom, not the ultimate freedom that all nations desire and develop to, but the freedom to achieve it.’ I believe something similar about this bill, it will be a gradual thing, and as time goes by we will gain more rights and entitlements.

Now as for Marriage, I ain’t a fan of it. Thats just who I am, to me its too religious and can never se myself have a Gay Civil Marriage. While Civil Partnership’s I do support full heartedly and will be lobbying my Local TD’s to support it with the minimum of amendments.

Scouting – A New Program

A Langer’s Blog has an excellent post on the upcoming Scouting Ireland National Council which will decide on a new program for Scouting in Ireland. He seams faily in favour of it, I’m not convinced. I don’t like the way things are at the moment as there is no program and it leaves alot of us leaders in a very difficult poistion at times, so I’m willing to give the new program a go.

The one thing I am dissapointed with is the abolition of Macaoimh, well there has been no reference to it so far. I will state an interest here as I am Macaoimh Leader in the 37th Cork Group in Togher. The new age groups is one of the stumblimg blocks, the original proposal was

Tracker Scouts – 7-10 years
Explorer Scouts – 10-14 years
Discovery Scouts – 14-17 years
Rover Scouts – 17-21 years

This compares to the current system

Beavers – 6-8 years
Cubs/Macaoimh – 8-11 years
Scouts – 11-15 years
Venturers – 15-21 years

There was alot of concern about dropping the 6 year olds and there was alot of opposition within my own Group, so the National Management Committee has put forward an alternative proposal

Tracker Scouts – (6), 7, 8, (9) years
Explorer Scouts – (9), 10, 11, (12), (13) years
Discovery Scouts – (12), (13), 14, 15, (16), (17) years
Rover Scouts – (16), (17), 18, 19, 20, 21 years

Confused? Well it is a bit but this will allow groups to decide their own age ranges. I can see some groups trying to stick to the current system which I am told will be impossible as each section will be limited to three years.

My own scout county have decided we will harmonise our age ranges so that county events and competitions will be fair and will not have disparite ages. Which is something I hope most scout counties will do.

I have been involved in scouting since I joined Beaver Scouts when I was 6. I am glad that a new program is as this will allow scouting to develop and sustain in the future. So I hope the proposals do pass on later this month.

Orginal Post:
irish scout decision timeA Langers Blog

Links of Interest:
Scouting Ireland
Program 2008

Scouting Age groups from around the world

Lisbon Round II? No Thanks!

I am getting very annoyed with certain leaders and pro-europeans on the European continent. Granted I was disappointed with the No vote but then again, I’m not surprised. It was very hard to sell and explain! And I had read the feckin thing! I still think that the EU needs reforming. Nice is not very satisfactory for me and we need reform, but not Lisbon. Its back to the drawing bored.

Certain EU leaders (Both Government and Opposition) seam to think its all right to ask us to vote again. I say NO! We had 55% turnout which is above average, we the people have spoken. The project must find another way to move forward.

If the government bows to pressure from France, Germany, Italy and others, I will not campaign for a Yes Vote, I infact will vote NO. If the EU is to be democratic then it should respect democratic outcomes.

People who read this blog know I am very pro-EU, infact nearly a Euro-federalist, but at the same time I respect the vote of the people. We in Ireland were in a unique position to vote on this treaty and we were not voting on it for 500 million other people, we were voting to change a document that says how Ireland is governed, Bunreacht na hEireann which only affects 4 million or so people. I am still annoyed with this arguement.

I have a big issue which the claims of some members of the No side. Sinn Fein did not win this for them In fact most people I talked to were ignoring SF. The people that won it were Libertas on the right and Coir (not sure where they are) and the sociailists and anarchists (People’s movement) on the left who ran a very good campaign and were out in Cork City every weekend trying to convince people while the Yes crowd were no were to be seen.

Anyway I think I’ve made my point and my dinner is burning!

Dumbledore is gay

Okay so now Damien’s twitter makes sense 😀

But while reading that article, I realise how much I hate Peter Tatchell! he actually said this

Gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “It’s good that children’s literature includes the reality of gay people, since we exist in every society.

“But I am disappointed that she did not make Dumbledore’s sexuality explicit in the Harry Potter book.

“Making it obvious would have sent a much more powerful message of understanding and acceptance.”

Its a kids book for gods sake! This is why Section 28 was brought in and that! God that man drives me mad at times!

Skimmer Update

Well following may last post on skimmers it was on the front page of the Evening Echo (Im the Bank Customer) but it seams the Ulster Bank on Patrick St was also hit by the same people and people have been caught by that one.

So people beware

UPDATE: Front Page (PDF)

Twitterfeed set up

I have set up a Twitterfeed for this blog Steve My Opinion this goes alongside my personal twitter! 😀 Im getting around to lots of stuff today!

I wonder will it work the way I hope it will. I also had to sign up for OpenID for twitterfeed. Not sure what it does exactly…

"Contract for a Better Ireland" Outdoor Media Campaign Launched by Fine Gael

The Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny T.D., today launched his Party’s outdoor media campaign in support of his “Contract for a Better Ireland” which he set out in his Presidential speech at the Fine Gael Árd Fheis at the week-end. He was joined at the launch by Front Bench members Richard Bruton, Olivia Mitchell, Fergus O’Dowd and Dr Liam Twomey and first time Dáil candidates Leo Varadkar (Dublin West) and Lucinda Creighton (Dublin South East).

Commenting on the launch and the Contract for a Better Ireland, Enda Kenny said:

“At the week-end I set out my vision for a better Ireland. It is one based on ending the era of the broken promises and restoring the confidence the public have in their Government to deliver on their pledges. For too long we have seen empty promises reneged on by this Government and we now lie in the wreckage of their cavalier attitude to the public’s interest.

“I am confident that the Contract for a Better Ireland will help restore the public’s faith in the political process. I have set out an agenda, the fundamental building blocks of a better Ireland, that I will deliver on when elected Taoiseach. Only after having delivered on this Contract will I seek re-election as Taoiseach. If I have not, I will not.

“Today’s launch highlights two key components of the Contract – health and crime. There are four different posters highlighting specific commitments from the Contract that will be running over the coming weeks, and they are:

Poster 1 “Free health insurance for all children under 16.”
Poster 2 “2,300 more hospital beds.”
Poster 3 “Tougher sentences, tougher bail for criminals.”
Poster 4 “2,000 more Gardaí on the streets.”

“The campaign will incorporate a mixture of 48 sheet posters, a heavy concentration on 6 sheet posters (bus shelters etc), targeted print media, transport media and online advertising.

“Over the coming weeks the public have a choice to make. Will they continue with the cycle of broken promises and empty rhetoric of the past 10 years, or will they sign up for the Contract for a Better Ireland? I am growing more confident with each passing day that the public will sign up for the Contract, they will vote for accountable politics and they will vote for Fine Gael.”

I think they are good posters they are strong, attract attention and look good.