24 April 2008 Edition
Young Fine Gael’s Lisbon boobs
THE Hooray Henrys in the Young Fine Gael Common Room must have been watching too many TV re-runs of the Carry On films when they came up with these posters to try and get Sunday Sport and Page 3 readers to vote ‘Yes’ to Lisbon.
I wonder what Fine Gael’s Europe spokesperson, Lucinda Creighton (herself a former member of the baby Blues’ national executive), has got to say about them?
CHARLIE McCREEVY, the former Fianna Fáil Finance Minister and now European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, has been popping home to Ireland to big it up for the Lisbon Treaty and lecture us about how we should show what responsible people we are. Charlie’s example, however, is not one that European heads are keen for us to follow.
Charlie went AWOL from a full plenary session of the European Parliament last month to discuss the EU master plan to harmonise and upgrade its financial legislation. The disgruntled chairperson of the Economic and Finance Committee, Pervenche Berès, phoned Charlie’s office to find out why he wasn’t at this very important meeting. McCreevy’s secretary insisted that they had instructions not to reveal his whereabouts. Maybe he was in top-level negotiations with shaky Balkan states’ finance ministers. The possible doomsday effects of the US economy on Europe could have had him secluded in a secret location with our biggest bankers drafting emergency contingency plans. Or he could have been brokering an EU aid package for Darfur or Palestine. He wasn’t. The redoubtable Ms Berès’s investigations revealed that he was at the Cheltenham horse races.
If she had studied Charlie’s form, she would have noted that Champagne Charlie had skipped another important finance committee meeting, this time on tax harmonisation, in favour of joining the horsey set at Cheltenham (although he did at least leave a note outlining his views on the subject before he flew out of the starting gates for the gambling extravaganza).
Britain’s satirical magazine, Private Eye, reports in its Brussels Sprouts column:
“He got his comeuppance at another financial committee meeting. This time McCreevy did grace the podium with his presence but proceedings kicked off with Berès sternly presenting him with a plastic horse, the plaything sporting both a harness and saddle in a shocking baby pink.”
ONE poster on the politics.ie website has started a thread saying that Ireland needs a “conservative/right-wing party” (obviously the PDs aren’t right-wing enough now that Michael McDowell’s gone).
Amongst the usual British National Party-style policies like a complete halt to all immigration, total privatisation of health and education, and “encourage mothers to stay at home and rear children”, the ultra right-wing nut’s ten-point dream policy platform includes, at Number 4, “restore the death penalty and corporal punishment in schools”.
Now I know that some school classrooms get a bit rowdy but capital punishment for not listening to teacher?
Flying the flag
WHILE Aer Lingus has been buffeted by a storm of criticism by eagle-eyed bargain spotters, cheap airline rival Ryanair is weathering the wind from DUP cabin crew member Gregory Campbell over flying the flag.
The East Derry wing man has accused Ryanair of insulting unionists by flagging its Belfast destination on its company website with an Irish Tricolour. “They have gone from budget to barmy in this instance,” the DUP high flyer snorted.
Ryanair replied: “We thank Mr Campbell for drawing attention to www.ryanair.com’s ‘barmy’ homepage and we strongly urge the people of Northern Ireland to see it for themselves and pick up an equally ‘barmy’ £5 fare while they’re at it.”
The spying game
ANTI-AVIATION group Plane Stupid was a bit suspicious about an eager young new recruit who was enthusiastic about climate change direct action against the expansion of Heathrow Airport and soaking up all the information he could get.
Oxford graduate and posh boy Ken Tobias claimed he’d just got back from China but, in the words of Plane Stupid veterans, “Something about him just wasn’t right.”
On the alert after the infiltration of London Greenpeace, the group at the centre of the McLibel campaign, by corporate spies (at various meetings, more than half those present were on some agency’s payroll), Plane Stupid quietly carried out a background check on Ken Tobias. Although Ken lived in London, he wasn’t on the electoral register. Nor was he on the records of the rugby team he claimed to have played for.
He was fed false information about a fake action; the group was told by an aviation industry insider two days later that security at airports around the country had been alerted to their ‘plan’.
Three activists later met Ken and asked him for proof of his identity. He claimed he’d lost his wallet and had no photo ID. His passport was at his mum’s but he could get a letter from Oxford University. What he didn’t know was that the group secretly recorded the meeting and took a photo of him leaving to show other groups. A contact at Oxford University recognised Ken Tobias – only his name was really Toby Kendall. A quick google search revealed a Bebo page with a photo. The site led the mole hunters to Linked In, a high-flying corporate networking site where ‘Ken’ claimed to be an analyst at C2i International, working in “security and investigations”.
C2i’s corporate motto is: “Command + Control + Intelligence = Security.”
According to C2i’s website: “C2i’s specialists are drawn from commerce, the military and government agencies. They include internationally-recognised authorities on special risk management, industrial espionage and law enforcement, and senior personnel from special forces and special operations, London Metropolitan Police [Scotland Yard].”
Its clients include “governments and the aerospace industry”.
Toby’s high-flying spying has crash landed but what was it about him that spooked his spotters in the first place? He was keen, he was clean and he turned up for meetings on time – traits that An Phoblacht staff are free of.