In defence of Fine Gael

Its not very often I disagree with Damian Mulley, but I think in one of his latest posts “On why Fine Gael as a party can go fuck themselves“, he’s gone a bit wide of the mark.

Damian is currently being harrased by two people who claim to be FG’ers from UL. Now I am not doubting that this is the case, but I think Damian went a bit overbaord by throwing the entire Fine Gael party and organisation in the same bucket as these gobsheens.

Firstly, YFG is an autonmous organisation and you must apply seperately to join Fine Gael senior party.

Secondly, FG and YFG has no control over what indivual members do in their spare time and can only reprimand them when they misrepresent FG (or YFG)

I dont blame Damien for making his twitter private but lumping all blueshirts into one basket cause of two bad apples is a bit OTT.

I know and like Damien, I truely hope he follows trough with contacting the Gardai and the UL authorities about these two trouble makers.

Harassement, whether online or not, is not acceptable.

I had my own brush with this kind of thing from a student in UCC. Once the college authorities were contacted, it stopped.

I don’t expect or want an apology from Damian, just hope in future he won’t bandy all blueshirts into one label cause of two people.

I wish Damian the best and know this kind of stuff affects his health. I hope the blog awards will without a hitch on Saturday.

Please Damian remeber some of us Blueshirts aren’t half bad!

Japan Pacifisim Gone?

Via Al Jazeera

Japan alters pacifist stance

Japan’s government has moved to alter the country’s pacifist stance, requiring schools to teach patriotism and upgrading the defence agency to a full ministry for the first time since World War II.

The measures, passed by parliament’s upper house, are key to Shinzo Abe’s push to bolster Japan’s international military role and national pride.

The votes on Friday were important victories for the prime minister, who has suffered a sharp drop in popularity polls since taking office in September over the perception that he has not paid enough attention to domestic issues.

The education reform bill triggered controversy, because of its sensitive content and disclosures this week that the government had planted officials posing as ordinary citizens at town meetings to discuss the measure.

On Thursday, Abe apologised for helping to rig the meetings to give the impression of public support for his policies and said he and four senior cabinet members would work for three months without pay as penance.

The scandal and other issues inspired a spate of no-confidence motions against Abe and Taro Aso, his foreign minister, but they were crushed in parliament, which is dominated by the ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP).

Aso had angered opposition politicians, and some members of his own party, by suggesting Japan should hold debate on building a nuclear arsenal.

Last month, he told members of a parliamentary committee that Japan’s pacifist constitution did not prevent it from building nuclear weapons for defensive purposes and that it was capable of building a nuclear weapon but had no plans to do so.

The upgrading of the defence agency to a full ministry passed parliament without significant opposition, propelled by deep concern in Japan over North Korea’s nuclear test on October 9.

The upgrade, to be effected early next year, gives Japan’s generals greater budgetary powers and prestige – a reversal for a military establishment that has kept a low profile since the war.

The education measure, the first change to Japan’s main education law since 1947, calls on schools to “to cultivate an attitude that respects tradition and culture, that loves the nation and home country”.

The reform reflected concerns voiced by Abe and Bunmei Ibuki, the education minister, that Japan’s long stretch of economic prosperity has eroded the morals and co-operative spirit of prewar Japanese.

“The new education law will allow children to acquire a good understanding of their heritage and become intelligent and dignified Japanese,” Hiroo Nakashima, an LDP legislator, said during the upper house debate.

Critics, however, attacked the move as harkening back to Japan’s war-era education system, in which children were instructed to support the country’s imperialist military and sacrifice themselves for the emperor and nation.

Opponents on Friday voiced fears that the changes could lead to schools grading students on their patriotic fervor – possibly as a prelude to making Japan an aggressive nation once again.

Ikuko Ishii, a Communist party lawmaker, said: “The government is putting the future of Japanese children at risk and turning Japan into a country that wages war abroad.”

The call for more patriotism in the schools coincides with a push by some local governments to crack down on teachers and students who refuse to stand for the national flag or sing an anthem to the emperor at school ceremonies.

Sliding popularity

The no-confidence motions come amid sliding popularity polls for Abe’s government which only came to power in September.

At the time his public support stood at around 70 per cent. But in a poll released this week, conducted before the scandal over the public hearings emerged, that had slumped to 42 per cent.

Voters have expressed worries over Abe’s handling of the economy and his approach to foreign policy, particularly in the wake of North Korea’s test.

Interesting I think. One of the few countries in the world that does not have offensive capalities. Which is unique, I believe, among developed countries. Not sure where i stand on this, as the world is becoming more and more polarised.

FG Defence Policy

From the Fine Gael website

Fine Gael is currently conducting an examination of the ways in which the Defence Forces might make an enhanced contribution to our society, in addition to the important roles which they currently hold.

The first matter being considered is whether the skills of the Defence Forces could be used to coordinate volunteers from civic society to carry out desirable projects in disadvantaged areas. The Defence Forces have a wealth of project management and logistical experience which may be of great assistance in work of this type.

The second area under consideration is whether the Defence Forces could provide an alternative for young juveniles who would otherwise be committed to prison for anti-social behaviour or other minor criminal behaviour. The Defence Forces is an organisation which sets clear boundaries, imposes discipline and infuses members with a clear sense of rights and responsibilities. It has experience in delivering structured training and developing interpersonal skills, and also has a physical infrastructure throughout the country.

With these points in mind, Fine Gael whould be very happy to receive any feedback from interested individuals or organisations on either or both of these matters. Feedback can be sent or directly to:

Billy Timmins TD
Fine Gael Spokesperson on Defence
Dáil Éireann
Dublin 2
email: billy.timmins@finegael.ie

below is my response to this.

Deputy,

I believe that the Irish Peramanment Defence Force (PDF) and Reserve Defence Force (RDF) have huge expeirence and ability that may not always availible in the private sector. I believe both the PDF and RDF personnal should be given paid leave to help out on emergency teams in conjunction with relief organisations.

On the issue of the defence forces been used as a ‘alternative for young juveniles’ would be a huge mistake. The PDF as a professional army is the best way it will sevre tha nation and puttin young people who do not want to be there in to it would be a huge mistake. I believe the RDF should be kept as a voluntary organisation as that best suits its purpose and will ensure that only those interested will be there.

I hope you will take my views on board