Sunday 26 January 2020

Letters to the Editor: 'UK general election shows values and morality have vanished to be replaced by bad intentions'

Lead problems: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn get together before UK Parliament opens. Photo: Getty Images
Lead problems: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn get together before UK Parliament opens. Photo: Getty Images
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

I should like to concur with the misgivings expressed by your correspondent R O'Rourke about the workings of Irish politics (Irish Independent, December 16).

We get the politicians we deserve, as we tend to turn off our intelligence when voting and switch on our focus on self-interest. In Britain we have just experienced an extreme version of this malaise.

The discourse that under-pinned the lead-up to the British election has blown apart the myth of the rational voter. The election was managed meticulously by the spin-doctors - the purveyors of disinformation, lies and deceit - whose main function was to colonise the minds of the electorate and fill them with unattainable dreams.

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We have witnessed the radical reshaping of the notions of value and morality. In politics now, anything goes. Values are seen as fluctuating subjective options; there is no supervening court of appeal to settle differences in the goals we consider worth pursuing; in our time the road to power is paved with bad intentions.

Traditionally, we believed power comes from the people; we now wonder where it has gone. We also believed the demands of the truth were not just some fleeting obstacle to the exercise of our will.

It will be difficult for the decent people of Britain to sleep easily, knowing the power of the people has been transferred to a man who nobody can trust and whose infantile ego has sacrificed everything in order to acquire power over others.

A minor miracle has turned the hopes of so many of the disadvantaged in our society into a vacuous expectation of a new Jerusalem and a new Messiah, nurtured by the solemn promise of a new form of secular redemption.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn both thrived on the amplification of traditional antipathies, pitting right against left as if questions about the equitable treatment of one another could be so easily characterised.

We were drowned in a strange concoction of right-wing and left-wing populism.

The first I heard of the exit poll was from my son, who messaged: "Dad, you won't believe it: the turkeys have just voted for Christmas."

Philip O'Neill

Oxford, England


Gaybo one of many fine broadcasters we have lost

I am sure I am not alone in doing an end-of-year reflection as we think of the passing of so many fine broadcasters, journalists and artists who have enriched our country greatly and have helped to enrich the freedom of expression/freedom of speech we enjoy in this great country of Ireland.

In doing so I single out in particular the late Gay Byrne as a broadcaster of great calibre and who showed great respect to those he interviewed.

As citizens of this state, we should really appreciate that gift of freedom of speech and freedom of expression and pay tribute to journalists, broadcasters, photographers and all involved in the presentation of information both to us here and throughout the world.

In this season of good will, I say thank you, and I am sure I am not alone.

Henry Alexander

Avoca, Co Wicklow


Just asking - how many people is 'too many'?

Every so often we hear claims that "the world has too many people", "such numbers are unsustainable", etc.

I have one question for those who advance such claims: can you please provide us with a figure for the "correct" number of people for planet Earth? I am not interested in vague and essentially useless phrases like "a sustainable population" or "as many as can be supported with finite resources" or even "not so many".

I would like an actual number, backed up by a rational and coherent justification for this figure. Whenever you're ready, thanks.

Nick Folley

Carrigaline, Co Cork


TDs' calendar mountain would rise 2,600ft high

Did all the 70,000 calendars which the Irish Independent reported Séamus Healy TD had printed at taxpayer's expense last year go to constituents/ supporters (noting that he polled 13,000 and was elected on the seventh count in a Tipperary constituency where 79,000 voted at the last general election)?

Likewise the 50,000 calendars procured by each of the 'Votegate twins' - Niall Collins (elected with 12,000 votes at the first count in Limerick County, with 45,000 voting) and Tim Dooley (elected with 12,000 votes at the seventh count in Clare, with 57,000 voting)?

Perhaps you've uncovered our own version of the "cash for ash" scandal, with surplus calendars being destined for burning in boilers?

Indeed, assuming the calendars produced were each around 3mm thick, printing 271,000 calendars in total would have involved processing a pile of paper more than 2,600ft (792 metres) high - no wonder there is so much traffic congestion around Kildare Street with trucks having to deliver and take away mountains of paper.

Roger Blackburn

Abbey Hill, Naul, Co Dublin


Public has no confidence in the Housing Minister

In 2018, local authorities built 2,022 homes and a total of 17,926 households depended on HAP by finding houses to rent in the private sector.

In 2019, 910 social homes were built by local authorities in the first nine months.

Unfortunately not everyone is able to find a house or apartment under the HAP scheme because there are not enough and more than 10,500 people are homeless.

Other agencies provide housing too, but the numbers are small in comparison to the need and local authorities lease and buy on the open market where they can but there is no denying that it's all not enough.

It's not surprising the general public have no confidence in a minister who is presiding over this and this was obvious both during local elections and the by-elections.

The Taoiseach and the Cabinet have stood by their minister and held the country to ransom over Brexit by threatening to hold an election if Fianna Fáil supported the no-confidence vote in Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.

That is all history now and politics moves on. However, it has come to the stage where people have had enough and are now saying children are more important than Brexit and they are willing to face down the Taoiseach and his threats to cause the political instability of a general election.

People are asking if the Taoiseach supports the Housing Minister and normalises homelessness, then what can we expect he will do on a post-Brexit trade deal?

The Government's track record on helping the vulnerable everywhere and not just on housing is appalling.

We don't need to have another no-confidence vote - it's an open secret that the Oireachtas has no confidence in Health Minister Simon Harris and in fact in the Taoiseach by association.

The irony for Fine Gael is that the work Simon Coveney is doing is probably prolonging Leo Varadkar in his position long past his sell-by date.

Caitríona McClean

Lucan, Co Dublin


Water, water everywhere but not enough to drink

Irish Water wants householders to conserve water because of the increased demand at Christmas, yet we have had the wettest November in four years.

Dermot Brady

Sutton Park, Dublin 13


When in a cash crisis, print your own money

Great comment from Dundalk player Chris Shields regarding the cash crisis at the FAI. He states that "all they are asking for is 18 printers". Now there's a man that can talk and play a great game!

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9


Dáil needs more than maps to resolve Votegate

I totally disagree with Brendan Casserly (Letters, December 19) that printing maps for TDs would help them to their right seats.

Surely guide dogs would be a much better option, maps can be so confusing.

Donough McGuinness

Bray, Co Wicklow

Irish Independent

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