George Lee resigns from Fine Gael

RTE report that Fine Gael new-comer and rising star George Lee has resigned from the party and is to leave the Dáil. Lee, a former economics jourmalist with RTE caused a stir when he joined Fine Gael last year, romping home in the Dublin south by-election.
Per the RTE report

In the statement released just before lunchtime, George Lee says it has been a very difficult decision, but it is one that he has taken after a great deal of reflection.
He says that he has done his best to play a positive role in contributing to the national debate.
But Mr Lee was disappointed at his lack of input at ‘this most critical time.’
Mr Lee says the role he has been playing within the party has been very limited and he says he found this to be personally unfulfilling.

You have to wonder at the thought processes that led to Fine Gael luring an external, high profile, economics expert and then excluding him from economic policy formulation in the midst of the state’s biggest economic crisis. When the government benches are stocked with solicitors and school teachers, George Lee surely should have been an invaluable asset. All-in-all, a great day for Fianna Fáil.

  • what exactly did he expect??

  • Mack

    I know a lot of people who voted for him, and most of them expected more. Lee was / is a respected expert. He’d called the property boom and bust right, the politicians were held in much lower esteem economically.

    Given that he’d given up his career for this move, I think he expected, I expected, and the people who voted for him expected, that he would have high level input into shaping policy (that would ultimately impact economic policy across all the parties as they respond – forcing them to up their game). He wasn’t yer average clientelist yokel TD, he shouldn’t have been treated as such..

  • JaneJeffers

    Was in he in it for his own personal fulfillment or to perform a service to the public?

  • Mack

    Well, he was prevented from using his skills to serve the public, by the sounds of things.

  • Greenflag

    mack .

    The others did’nt know how to deal with him nor apparently he with the others . FG lost a potential ‘taoiseach’ back when Ivan Yates quit .

    The ‘wheels’ of the FG party organisation move very slowly . The party is fat , lazy , and soft arsed . No lean hungry ambitious men about .

    Calling the ‘property boom and bust ‘ is all very well -Actually formulating and implementing economic policies to deal with it is a horse of a different colour . Not that Brian Cowan and his team are any better . They all have to wait to see what happens /will happen in Washington DC and/or Frankfurt and the outcome of the British General Election .

  • Gael gan Náire

    “He wasn’t yer average clientelist yokel TD, he shouldn’t have been treated as such..”

    I disagree. He entered politics, he became a politican. Degrees etc. mean nothing in the game.

    Politics is a craft in itself, a trade. His expertise would count for nothing if he could not consolidate power in his party.

    A lesson hard learned.

  • Mack
  • Chuck Loyola

    An immensely satisfying blow to the Blueshirtistas.

  • Nordie Northsider

    Fianna Fáil might just win the next election yet – some good economic news and more OGs among the opposition parties and who knows?

  • Mack

    Gael gan Nire – nothing to do with degrees. But let’s see..

    Economics expert
    Polished media performer
    Able to take complex economic concepts and demonstrate their importance to a mass audience
    In an economic crises he had ‘star quality’

    What did we see George Lee do over the last 9 months? Make a public complaint about clamping in Churchtown.

    What did FG do? Made the best they could of Lee’s star quality, the incumbents were afraid of the rest..

    Complete and utter waste – ultimately this is a disaster for FG, looks like they are completely incompetent..

  • Mack

    George Lee on Liveline – Kenny offered him a front bench position to stay! Too late..

  • Gael gan Náire

    “Make a public complaint about clamping in Churchtown.”

    All politics is local.

    None of his qualities matter Mack if he cannot get power in his party.

    Maybe they were afraid of him? maybe they thought – where have you been up to now?

    I am not a FG supporter, I have just seen countless ‘stars’ failing in political parties as they could not adapt to the game that is politics.

    Not defending it.

  • Fine Gael’s natural partners must surely be the UUP and perhaps they have already been exchangning ideas as suggested by both managing to miss every political opportunity that has landed in their laps and both being blessed with outstandingly incompetent leaders.

  • Greenflag

    mack ,

    ‘he was prevented from using his skills to serve the public,’

    translation

    FG did’nt want to be embarassed by the fact that they do don’t have answers or none any that George Lee might have wished to promote .

    Shades of the Just Society of Declan Costello versus the Old Guard of Conservative Right Wing reaction which was always FG’s mainstay bar Fitzers few desultory years trying to prove the opposite ?

    Yes that’s right folks -we don’t have an opposition and our government has the look of a rabbit stuck in the headlights .

    As for ‘economic experts’. I believe Stiglitz’s tome on the recent chaos in the world economy titled ‘Free Fall’is soon to hit the bookstores .

    After about 70 or so various ‘interpretations’ from all sides of the political and economic divided Stiglitz’s take on the ‘free fall’ may be the definitive one ?

    I wonder if our Georgie has read it yet ;)? I’m sure none of the FG front bench have ever even heard of Stiglitz 😉

  • Scaramoosh

    Perhpas they should merge with Reg’s lot to form a new All Ireland Party of Incompetence.

  • Paul Doran

    I quote from Othello, “he has done the nation some service” and shown how inept that FG are. Sinn Fein are looking for him.

  • Paddy Matthews

    All-in-all, a great day for Fianna Fáil.

    At least until they look outside the windows of Leinster House at the state of the country that they’ve governed for the last thirteen years…

  • John Joe

    Interesting to note that Lee states he on RTE (http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0208/leeg.html) that he may go back to RTE. I think the man is demonstrating either very flawed judgement or an out of control ego.
    Firstly, is their not a recruitment embargo in the public services, so there shouldn’t actually be a post at RTE for him to go to? Secondly, when he left RTE he was heavily criticised over the blurring of his politic affiliations and his role as economic editor on the state broadcaster. Thirdly, (despite the fact that he may have been more valuable to FG in the role as economics editor for RTE) having been in FG, does he think it is appropriate to have an economics editor in the state broadcaster with political associations?
    I think a reality check is in order here. George may register with FAS for the time being.

  • Mack

    JohnJoe –

    He is still and RTE employee. Public sector workers (teachers and the like) tend to have their jobs held for them when they enter politics.

  • Jaggers

    Jesus, when the State has just had the worst economic contraction in its history, with bank capitalisations and the NAMA rubbish (the IMF even saying that NAMA won’t get credit flowing again), spiralling deficits and a shakey Budget in November, unemployment at nearly 13% and a Live Register at 20% of the working population, spiralling emigration, 300,000-plus vacant homes, public sector unrest at 10%-plus reductions in income, new taxes in the shape of 2nd home taxes, carbon taxes and an income levy, the assertion that we are now the ‘I’ in PIGS, cross-border trading madness (NI imported 10% more fuel last year to meet demand from Southern drivers, I wonder how much more Tescos and Sainsburys sold) and yet after all of this FF are moving up in the polls !!!

    I never had much time for George Lee, he is in my view a reasonably competent economist and a so-so communicator, but it says something about the abilities of FG that they have failed to land any punches on FF when they’ve had nothing but open goals for the past 12 months. As for George, he seems under-utilised at best and at worst negligently abandoned.

  • Framer

    What a self-regarding wally who did not even do a probationary year.

  • Paul Doran

    Fas are looking for failed Td’s to be on their board, The Greens just recently apppointed their failed Local councillor who broke his leg in the last election onto the board of FAS.But they are a very ethical party.

  • Framer

    It shows the danger of celebrity candidates.

  • Greenflag

    paddy matthews ,

    ‘until they look outside the windows of Leinster House at the state of the country ‘

    The view is’nt all that different from the windows of the White House or Westminster or from the Reichstag or the Elysse Palace .

    The ‘economic order’ is breaking down . A ‘second’ wave of unemployment induced mass foreclosures in the USA could be the trigger . Greece , Spain and Portugal may be nearing widespread civil disruption and Ireland will not be ‘immune’

    They don’t have answer’s and they are all scared s***less of the banks and the financial services sector particularly in the USA .

    Lee did’nt have the answers either but he was asking the right questions . A bit like a RC priest back in the 1960’s trying to raise a debate on paedophile clergy and cover ups in the ONE TRUE HOLY etc 🙁

  • FitzjamesHorse

    “He wasn’t yer average clientelist yokel TD, he shouldn’t have been treated as such..”

    Not sure what you are saying Mack, except of course that being a journalist made him smarter than a politician.
    This is actually the recurring theme thru every post on “Slugger O’Toole”

    Journalists (Malachi, Newt, Suzanne, Darwin, Eamonn etc) are intelligent and those who quote them Mr Fealty, Mr Walker etc are also smart). It must be nice to be a journalist sitting around all day telling each other how intelligent they all are.

    “Your very intelligent Malachi”
    “Not at all Newt, youre much more intelligent than I am”.

    In Britain, quite a few journos have gone overtly political. Norman, Fowler, Roy Hattersley, Jonathan Aiken, Ben Bradshaw.
    And George Lee looked like quite a catch for FG. On TV screens every night pontificating like a guru……must have been a dream to get him elected and now it goes pear shaped. Personally I think its hilarious.

    Are there any local journos who want to go into politics locally instead of just being part of the mutual admiration society that passes for journalistic integrity in Norn Iron.
    Probably not.
    It would be the surest way to get shafted by other journos.

    Journalists in Norn Iron are the elite…..er in their own eyes anyway.
    They believe themselves to be morally and intellectually superior to politicians.
    And of course the voters.
    And now local journalism can surround themselves with “bloggers” who see themselves in the same light.

    So one of your own…..George Lee….left the Journalistic tribe to become a politician…..to give them the benefit of his wisdom….and and and……heaven forfend…FG thought he did not deserve instant award of a front bencher. Poor George had to behave like an ordinary back bencher.
    What lunatics……the wisdom of a journalist in their midst……and they did not recognise it.
    Boohoo George.

  • David Crookes

    You know what the elderly managing director is supposed to have said to his secretary. ‘Go through the whole company until you find an intelligent, competent, and articulate man who is ready to step into my shoes right now. When you find him, sack him.’

    Years ago I was in the room when a number of Annalong gentlemen were reacting to the news that Enoch Powell had been selected to stand as UUP MP for South Down. ‘I hear ‘e’s supposed tae be a wile smart boy,’ said one man tentatively. ‘Far too damned smart for here,’ said another man. Growls of approval. ‘Eenick Pile is Greek Orthodox,’ the second speaker continued. No, I said, Powell is an Anglican. He was once professor of Greek in the university of Sydney. ‘There you are,’ said the second speaker. ‘That’s where ‘e got it from. Studyin’ the Greek , an now ‘e’s Greek Orthodox.’ More growls of approval.

    It was ever thus.

  • John Joe

    Are you sure Mack – given the job did he not have paid leave until the election but then would have to officialy resign?

  • Mack

    John Joe –

    Yep. He’s on Joe Duffy now, he’s said as much himself. They were talking about what he might do. He won’t get the same job, but he still has a job of some description..

    http://www.rte.ie/radio/liveplayer2_av.html?1_real,http://dynamic.rte.ie/av/live/radio/radio1.smil,real,200

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I am not sure how Boy George can do next.
    He is seemingly a nop notch economist. Might get a job under a FG administration running a Bank or some such.
    Difficult to see how he could work as Economics Editor at RTE again.
    Spending ten years of your life as Economics Editor and coming into the nations living rooms every night as a respected and impartial voice.
    Then becoming a TD as Fine Gael member and appearing on Prime Time as a partisan voice.

    Difficult to turn back.
    There are precedents…Sean Dignam (sp) went from RTE Political guy to PRO for Charles Haughey or Bertie Ahern.

    I note from Wikipedia George Lee is 47. I thought he would have been younger.
    Nine months in Dáil ÉIREAN……probably a mid life crisis.

  • John Joe

    Cheers Mack. Seems that George is an integral part of the gilded system he was ‘opposed’ to, then. Still think it will be difficult for senior management to put him back into an editorial role.
    George might be ‘intelligent’ but some of the stupidest people I ever met either worked or studied with me at universities.

  • John Joe

    Cheers Mack. Seems that George is an integral part of the gilded system he was ‘opposed’ to, then. Still think it will be difficult for senior management to put him back into an editorial role.
    George might be ‘intelligent’ but some of the stupidest people I ever met either worked or studied with me at universities.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Somebodys got something on George and he had to commit political Hari Kari to keep it quiet.

    I wonder what it is ? ?

  • Paul Doran

    This will deflect the attention away from the serious issues that are not being addressed.

    It has served FF well. The scandal that has taken place in Limerick will be forgotton about whereby the Government has gone back on its word about regenerating that deprived City. Its Local rent a mouth TD Wee Willie O( I ‘ll shout louder than you) Dea let that cat out of the bag the other day, by saying the Government can’t afford it.

    How much more will the people take take of this shit.What we need a a good riot , smash a few windwos, turn over a few buses, you know the noramal crack the french get upto. A Then they will do soemthing.

  • Marcionite

    Fitzjameshorse For once, I agree with you. You’re more intelligent than me. (cue..)

    Seriously though, this is what happens when you throw the pearl of Mr Lee to the sty of FF/FG swillery, I mean politics.

    Its only in Ireland and GB is the sentiment ‘too clever by half’ used as a pejorative. He was too good for them.

    A benign coup, an appointment of several technocrats to serve a fixed term of 10 years and no more to put the house right and hand power back to the people. People can be like kids, ok to leave them for an hour but anything after that, they find the matches and set light to the finery.

    David Crookes The reign of Patriarch Powell I was wasted on the UUP, wasn’t it?

  • Paul Doran

    This will deflect the attention away from the serious issues that are not being addressed.

    It has served FF well. The scandal that has taken place in Limerick will be forgotton about whereby the Government has gone back on its word about regenerating that deprived City. Its Local rent a mouth TD Wee Willie O( I ‘ll shout louder than you) Dea let that cat out of the bag the other day, by saying the Government can’t afford it.

    How much more will the people take take of this shit.What we need a a good riot , smash a few windwos, turn over a few buses, you know the noramal crack the french get upto. A Then they will do soemthing.

  • Marcionite

    There is something wrong with Slugger at the moment, its freezing up and submitting several copies of postings.

  • Scaramoosh

    “He is seemingly a nop notch economist.”

    He would be the fella then that predicted the fall of the Celtic Tiger; the destruction of the Irish economy; the collapse of the banks; the rise and fall of cute-hoorism etc, etc etc….

    It was just such a pity that he kept it all to himself, and decided to take the political route…

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Scaramoosh,
    I have no idea whether or not he is a nop notch economist which is why I used the qualification “seemingly”.
    If economists were laid end to end they wouldnt reach a conclusion.

    Or indeed if they WERE laid end to end……would anybody be surprised?

  • jack

    All FG need to do now is put Enda Kenny back on the Late Late again and really make a B…S of the thing .

  • Jaggers

    ‘I don’t know 100% what I am going to do now…I think I will be probably going back to RTÉ.’

    From the RTE news report

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0208/leeg.html

    I look forward to him commenting on government economic policy with a straight and impartial voice …

  • David Crookes

    Marcionite, Powell’s chief legacy is extra representation for Northern Ireland at Westminster, and increased leverage for NI MPs in the event of a hung parliament. Two smaller parts of his legacy are a mistrust of the Conservative Party, and a propensity to be friendly towards the Labour Party. Lady Sylvia Hermon is the sole legatee here so far as I can see.

    The UUP will have to be careful with the said lady’s constituency. Whatever unionist ‘gospel’ may prevail elsewhere, North Down always has a Craigavadgita of its own.

    In late 1974 some leading UUP men wanted Powell to be leader of the party, but he was disqualified in the eyes of most party members on two counts: being English, and being intelligent. Ian Paisley later called Powell ‘an Englishman and a foreigner’. It’s hard to know what some people mean when they say that ‘Ulster is British’. If you go back and read Ian Paisley’s warm tribute to Alec Salmond, you may wonder if you’re hearing one monarchist nationalist addressing another.

  • Marcionite

    David Crookes some good points there. Did Paisley really say that? hmm.

    I know Paisley did say that Salmond was his kind of nationalist as he wanted to keep the Queen should Scotland go independant. Which led me to think, was that all there was to being a Unionist?

    I also sometimes wonder if the RoI underwent a 21st century voluntary reformation, would that change the dynamic too?

  • Marcionite

    Panic you’re a cynic but I think you might be onto something. 9 months is curiously short. If he was left out, he doesnt strike me as the kind of boy who would sit in quiet desperation, surely the FG caucus is small enough for him to muscle into the positions that mattered to him?

    Didn’t Ian Parsley leave the Alliance with indecent haste recently, only to pop up as a Tory some weeks later?

    Mr Lee may reappear as a PD so that Mary Harney no longer has to eat her lonely lunch in the Dail canteen.

  • Paddy

    Garrett Fitzgerald, Fine Gaeler, Blueshirt and son of an arch Civil war scumbag, was an economist and arguably, the worst taoiseach who ever graced Leinster House.

    Different era but same sense of scumbag entitlement.

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    What a petulant self-regarder and egoist. A show horse, not a workhorse. Reminds me of Mary Robinson talking of resigning when she found the UN bureaucracy hard to bear, after all the lobbying the Irish govt. did to get her the job. Act like an adult, George and get real. Pathetic moral conceit here. He was hardly out of his probation period. If he didn’t have the political skills to advanced himself sufficiently then he shouldn’t have run in the by election.

  • David Crookes

    Marcionite (#17), there are funny noises coming out of the RoI: you hear talk from younger persons about rejoining the Commonwealth (last week’s speech from Sonny Ramphal must have been ‘cleared’ with at least some people in Dublin), or about a new British-Irish federation, or about linking up in some kind of cultural forum with the Irish disapora in Brtain. There was even a thread on politics ie recently about apologizing to the Queen and rejoining the UK! Kites are being flown. Unionists in NI would be wise not to shoot these kites down impolitely.

  • Paul Doran

    David

    Not a chance in hell of that happenning.More chance of Annalong winning the Down Gaa Senior Championship

  • FF should absolutgely refuse to take part in any interviews he conducts or programmes he takes part in. He has demonstrated his political bias.

    Eejit.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Its a pity nobody seems to care about the people of Dublin South…the actual people in the constituency but since when did journos think about ordinary people when they can sit in “journalists bars and slap each other on the back and give each other awards.
    The by election last summer was caused by the death of Seamus Brennan.
    When Lee (unopposed) got the FG nomination and subsequently won the bye-election, I think the people of Dublin South had a reasonable expectation that George Lee would serve the constituency for more than nine months…up to a General Election.
    I daresay he made a speech on that Victory night pledging to serve them.
    Manifestly he failed to do so.
    Fast tracked into Dail Éireann George Lee thought his mighty intellect was enough to get him fast tracked onto the FG Front Bench and into the Cabinet.
    The least important people in all of this in the mind of George Lee are the people of Dublin South.

    He is frankly a selfish scumbag.
    So the country will be put to the expense of another bye-election and the same FG camvassers will be knocking on the same doors in Ballyboden singing the praises of another FG candidate….while distancing themselves from George Lee.

    Meanwhile without irony…….George Lee…..will continue to earn a good living from pontificating on good economic practice.

  • Mack

    FitzjamesHorse

    I think the people of Dublin South had a reasonable expectation that George Lee would serve the constituency for more than nine months…up to a General Election.

    While that much is true, they voted overwhelmingly for Lee (52%) in the expectation that he would make a real difference. They weren’t, as I said earlier, voting for your usual clientelist TD. George Lee was well known to the electorate for telling like it is on economic issues (including warning that a huge bust was coming Scaramoosh!). On a poll on Liveline today 83% or so who voted in backed him.

    I know Dublin South pretty well, and a lot of people who voted for Lee (many of them lifelong FF’s). None were voting for him to fix potholes – they wanted an economic heavy hitter, landing heavy blows..

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mack,
    I would expect a journalist to rally to the defence of a fellow journalist….its what journalists do.
    The fact is that if Lee did not want to represent his constituents on bread and butter issues…..because he was too good for that kinda thing……sorting out their dustbin collection or dealing with a hospital appointment….he should have mentioned it in his victory speech or maybe even his election literature.
    And no doubt he got a generous EXPENSES allowance so that someone in the office could do that kinda thing for him.
    This would have enabled Boy George to apply his legendary talent elsewhere in the corridors of power.
    Like I said……he has only brought discredit to himself and his supporters.

  • Mack

    Well, I’m not a journalist, only a blogger :-0

    In fairness to Lee I don’t think he objected to constituency work, it was the fact he wasn’t involved in policy formation that was the kicker. I get the impression he thought he would be involved in formulating economic policy when he joined. Why was he allowed to think that, if it wasn’t to be the case?

    It’s a bit like moving jobs, leaving a good job, for a promotion elsewhere, only to find you’ve got less responsibility and less fulfilling job than the one you’ve just left. Sure muck in and after a while things might improve, but that’s not why you left. There’s a breakdown of communication somewhere, and as it’s costly to Fine Gael, it’s reasonable to assume that the commication problem was down to incompetence or a complete lack of understanding on their part..

  • Jaggers

    FitzjamesHorse

    The fact is that if Lee did not want to represent his constituents on bread and butter issues…..because he was too good for that kinda thing……sorting out their dustbin collection or dealing with a hospital appointment….he should have mentioned it in his victory speech or maybe even his election literature.

    Research published last week showed that the average backbench TD spent over half of their time on constituency work. Did George have ambitions to be fast-tracked onto the Front Bench, and if so what thwarted those ambitions? If George is indeed impartial (which I know is somewhat different to saying he can report economics impartially) then why didn’t he join FF (did he try, I wonder)? The State is crying out for economics expertise in government and it is sad to see George go – as I say I wasn’t a fan but I preferred him being in politics and the Oireachtas than reporting oustide.

  • Marcionite

    David Crookes I’ll check all that out. thanks

    Everyone, it Ireland could spreak with one voice, it would say this to England

    “We hate you because you don’t love us as much as we love you”

    England = Bruce Willis
    Ireland = Cybil Shepherd

    Let’s have a conference

  • Alias

    He probably found out just how boring it is, and just how brain-dead you need to be for a career in politics. Anyway, FG needs accountants and not economists on the front bench since Ireland only retains sovereignty over fiscal policy with sovereignty over the big stuff – macroeconomic and monetary policies – being managed by the ECB/EC. The government does not control economic policy. FG should leave the prima donnas where they belong – in RTE.

  • Alias

    I think Fitz’s point is that while the Shinners are undereducated and under-qualified street thugs, at least they’re not journalists.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mack
    Bloggers are on the Journalistic ladder…though admittedly we are more ethical than professional journos.
    But the problem here is Lees massive ego.
    He got preferential treatment (selected unopposed in South Dublin)……did he really think he had a “nod or wink” from Enda Kenny to be on the Front Bench without even serving a kinda probation.
    Just caugght on car radio. RTE News where FG colleagues are expressing surprise and disappointment…..I suspect privately some are very angry.
    A female back bencher saying that the first year is difficult.
    But saying Lee tended not to mix with colleagues.
    Another male FG poloitician suggesting that “mentoring” had failed but surely THIRTEEN years as a RTE Economics Editor might have given Lee an insight into how Leinster House works and that the failure of communication wasnt the fault of Fine Gael.
    After all…..George Lee is a PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATOR.
    The male FG person suggested that “he knew” that Lees family was not happy with his political career but the presenter (Mary Wilson I think) did not seem to want to go down that road. In fairness she is an ex colleague and probably friend of Lee.
    I take Jaggers point that the nation needs economic expertise……..in journalism in politics and in banks. Lee probably thought that politics was the way for him.
    In reality he might have been better employed as a top civil servant in Dept of Finance.
    Jaggers gets it right….journalism and politics are different disciplines. Ironically I would trust Lee making a statement on economics in the Prime Time studio in six months…(I dont think a journalist would really compromise his reputation to make partisan statements). But the nature of politics is that a partisan politician would have to compromise on his economic beliefs to toe the party line.
    But I really do think this SHOULD NOT be a story where the main focus is the Dáil/Journalists/The Blogosphere.
    Its a story about the people of Dublin South.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Alias,
    I do not know how I have given the impression that I dont like journalists. 🙂

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Of course he might have a job lined up in Brussels……the one place a failure can go.

  • Munsterview

    Joe Duffy phone in ten minute vote for or against George’s decision. Almost 16,000 votes cast……85% YES agreeing with his decision!

    Will we now get the real truth regarding so called Dail politics, that individuals no matter how talented or expert are handed their script by the ‘ Backroom Boys’, step up to the mark and say their lines.

    New Labour party management tactics now apply to all parties in these islands, ‘on message, on cue and f*** all to say!. Good for him, he has walked out proud with his integrity intact. In the elegant words of the poet Joyce Kimler ‘ he carried in his soul the courage of his song’

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Paul (#22)! Don’t misunderestimate Annalong men. Ferdinand de Lesseps said that the Annalong man Francis Chesney was the father of the Suez Canal. There should be a statue of Chesney in Annalong, and there should be a statue of Amanda McKittrick Ros in Larne.

    Of course a reconstituted UK is quite inconceivaable. But certain winds of change are blowing, and certain old hatreds are losing their power. Either our children or our grandchildren may help to create such a form of concord as presently we are unable to imagine.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Munsterview.
    Dont you find it surprising that George Lee did not know that this was how politics worked?
    Brussels? Maybe
    RTE? Awkward for them……and it could even involve their lawyers.

  • Alias

    His integrity intact? Right, the muppet assumed that his public profile should automatically translate as the right to dictate his opinions to the party leadership. Perhaps if he had a Nobel Prize in economics or had authored some influencial academic papers or even had a track record of success in any field related to economics, but being an RTE journalist – however self-important they feel they are – carries no entitlement to power.

    He is just another example of the dismal careerist muppets who put their own selfish interest ahead of the national interest and who we consistently elect to public office. That is a lamentable but inevitable consequence of Ireland no longer reasserting its national interest, its nationalism, and no longer demanding that only patriots are elected to serve the state.

  • georgieleigh

    FJH,

    you have a lot to say on this. Most of it could be heard on any bar stool in any crappy pub you care to name tonight.

    You say about George Lee…

    “He is frankly a selfish scumbag.”

    A selfish scumbag, eh?

    Do one please.

  • DerTer

    As a (now former) admirer of George Lee, I am stunned at this egomaniacal performance. He was a new boy; what the hell did he expect after nine months? It is an indictment of his understanding of the politics that he so closely observed for so long. And as an observer who has no axe to grind for either of the two main parties in the Republic, I need someone to ask him (1) why he chose to join Fine Gael in the first place; and (2) why does he now want to damage that party so much, and deliver such a huge gift to Fianna Fáil?

  • Jaggers

    Quitting a career in politics is one thing but then to resign from the party at the same time is a massive F-you to Enda Kenny and his colleagues in the Oireachtas. Plainly there is a lot of emotion beneath the surface and we are getting a small part of the whole story.

    According to Lee, he met with FG Finance Spokesman Richard Bruton on three (3!) occasions since becoming a TD, this during a time of NAMA legislation being enacted, a large part of the banks recapitalisation, the Budget in November 2010, the most painful contractions in quarterly output, revelations about the number of vacant homes in the State, negotiations with the EU to agree a plan to bring the deficit back to 3% of GDP, a drastic contraction in lending and seizing up of competition in the Irish retail banking sector. It may be a fact that George couldn’t hack the rough and tumble of politics but the question is begging, who is Richard Bruton relying on for economics expertise in doing his job in calling the govt to account – plainly he is not landing effective punches where there appear to be rich opportunities.

    Overall, sorry to see Lee departing politics. There needs to be a mix of talents in the 166 TDs and Lee brought something clear and specific to the table.

    By the way, it seems RTE granted him an unpaid leave sabbatical until May 2010! What was RTE thinking would happen in May 2010? Looks like a blunder on their part.

  • Jaggers,

    agree on the other stuff ‘below the surface’ as mentioned by other(s) above as well, presumably something may appear in the papers soon. Has simply made a bit of a twit out of himself.

    DerTer,

    also if he had a particular requirement from the Party he should have made that clear from the start. FG seem to have actually made a sensible decision to hold back on moving him through the ranks as he might well have gone later when something else was not quite to his liking.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    georgieleigh,
    you are perhaps more familiar with bar stools than I am.
    Are you perhaps related to George Lee?

  • the.digger.notes

    FitzjamesHorse,
    The Digger Notes that bloggers in the main are members of the ‘free commentariat’ – they are not journalists.
    Otherwise they would all be members of the National Union of Journalists and abide by the following principles:

    NUJ
    Code of conduct
    The NUJ’s Code of Conduct has set out the main principles of British and Irish journalism since 1936. It is part of the rules and all journalists joining the union must sign that they will strive to adhere to it.
    Members of the National Union of Journalists are expected to abide by the following professional principles:
    A journalist:
    1. At all times upholds and defends the principle of media freedom, the right of freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed
    2. Strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair
    3. Does her/his utmost to correct harmful inaccuracies
    4. Differentiates between fact and opinion
    5. Obtains material by honest, straightforward and open means, with the exception of investigations that are both overwhelmingly in the public interest and which involve evidence that cannot be obtained by straightforward means
    6. Does nothing to intrude into anybody’s private life, grief or distress unless justified by overriding consideration of the public interest
    7. Protects the identity of sources who supply information in confidence and material gathered in the course of her/his work
    8. Resists threats or any other inducements to influence, distort or suppress information
    9. Takes no unfair personal advantage of information gained in the course of her/his duties before the information is public knowledge
    10. Produces no material likely to lead to hatred or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age, gender, race, colour, creed, legal status, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation
    11. Does not by way of statement, voice or appearance endorse by advertisement any commercial product or service save for the promotion of her/his own work or of the medium by which she/he is employed
    12. Avoids plagiarism.

    The NUJ believes a journalist has the right to refuse an assignment or be identified as the author of editorial that would break the letter or spirit of the code. The NUJ will fully support any journalist disciplined for asserting her/his right to act according to the code.
    Conscience clause
    The NUJ has a code of conduct that members are required to uphold. It states amongst other things that journalists ‘shall not mention a person’s colour race or religion unless strictly relevant to the story, shall not write stories which encourage discrimination, ridicule, prejudice or hatred…”
    The added conscience clause would give a journalist ‘the right to refuse assignments or be identified as the creator of editorial which would break the letter or the spirit of the code. No journalist should be disciplined or suffer detriment to their career for asserting his/her rights to act according to the code.’
    The NUJ campaigns for employers across the industry to adopt the clause.
    Public interest clause
    Problems over media coverage often hinge on the “public interest”. The Code of conduct uses the concept as a yardstick to justify publication of sensitive material. This is the NUJ’s definition, drawn up by the Ethics council.
    1. The public interest includes:
    o Detecting or exposing crime or a serious misdemeanour
    o Protecting public health and safety
    o Preventing the public from being misled by some statement or action of an individual or organisation
    o Exposing misuse of public funds or other forms of corruption by public bodies
    o Revealing potential conflicts of interest by those in positions of power and influence
    o Exposing corporate greed
    o Exposing hypocritical behaviour by those holding high office
    o There is a public interest in the freedom of expression itself.
    2. In cases involving children, journalists must demonstrate an exceptional public interest to over-ride the normally paramount interests of the child.
    PS: The majority of bloggers could not report on a sitting of a court, council, education/health authority, local assembly, inquest or parliamentary proceeding!
    Nor could they do a ‘death knock’.
    They just offer a biased comment.
    Serious news journalists do not pretend to know all the answers to a particular issue but they have the knack to know someone who does.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    the digger notes……

    why am I being told this?

  • Munsterview

    Alias,
    during the time when the property bubble was inflating and it was obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of finance and history that the bubble was going to burst, George, like Mc Williams, was a consistent voice in predicting what was going to happen and the devastation that it would cost current and future generations.

    Was he heeded? was he f**** ! Bertie Ahern even singled him out at a national conference, identified him as a ‘doom and gloom’ soothsayer and wondered aloud as to why such people did just not go away and commit suicide. Indeed it is to the singular credit of R.T.E.’s Director. General. that George was left in place to be such a strident, contra, unpopular voice.

    So all pervading was this Celtic Tiger, money no object, ethos, that would be comedian in the country was certain of a stage laugh just by repeating George’s dire warnings and contrasting these with the so called success all around.

    Fianna Fail or Fine Gael are but the choice tweedel dum or tweedel dee! George maintained the same honesty inside politics as outside and he is to be commended for that.

  • Since McWilliams have mentioned:

    “G Lee’s resignation tells us all we need to know about traditional politics. Those blackening him on radio today are part of the problem.
    about 7 hours ago from web”

    “He is exposing pathetic nature of Dail.more interested in grubby politics, promoting “team” players rather than those who can change things
    about 7 hours ago from web”

    “all i am saying re GLee is that it reflects on the inertia. Its like signing Rooney and not playing him! Who wd go to it now – bar sleeveens
    about 7 hours ago from web”

    “@drrrop i think it is a disaster for all but I know G, he is a brilliant mind, decent man also. not a narcissist. could’ve changed things
    about 7 hours ago from web in reply to drrrop”

    “i know that some people think he bottled it, but why are we defending a system that has failed? the system is broken. he is the evidence
    about 5 hours ago from web”

    “so what to people want? the useless gobsite whose dad had the seat and who has been eating chicken dinners for years to get the top job?
    about 5 hours ago from web”

    You know what Mr McW – I think that’s exactly what people want.

  • Lugs Brannigan

    “George, like Mc Williams, was a consistent voice in predicting what was going to happen”

    Posted by Munsterview on Feb 08, 2010 @ 10:59 PM

    He certainly didn’t predict the collapse of Stamp Duty revenue…

    Pat Kenny “…which means that the cash flow from stamp duty’s gonna stop?”

    George Lee “It won’t stop; it’ll just stop expanding at the rate at which it was expanding…”

    (From a Late Late Show prior to last election)

  • Munsterview

    Lugs

    And he was right ! Left to natural forces that is what would have happened. A few or the bigger players had already taken their profits and moved on to the Asian markets and where ever. There is one milestone interview in the Irish Times with one of these ‘ Old Money’ players and indeed a radio interview where he said that the game was up in Ireland and why he was cashing out!

    The tipping point in the housing bubble came when ‘Mick The Mouth’ tried to do one last favor to his P.Dl pals and buy votes by promising to abolish stamp duty. McWilliams had long claimed that the principle economic activity in the South were people buying and selling houses to each other on readily available money.

    Naturally everyone at the bottom stopped this activity to wait until stamp duty was abolished, people stopped exchanging deck chairs in the Titanic for ever bigger ones and too late people began to sober up to reality. The market froze and did not get moving again before the International crash. This was our ‘Daffodil Bulbs’ moment that emulated the famous Dutch Disaster and all the other ones since!

    In 2005 I went to Poland to see the Death Camps for myself first hand. I met an unemployed Dublin man there, he was from one of the poverty areas, yet he was over and back regular and had two properties there and was buying a third that weekend! That is how far the madness had gone.

    For Goodness sake this is not ancient history, this was only the last Southern election…….. do anyone read and remember what was in the bloody papers up there, it is all there in black and white and in the case of the property bubble property ads in full glorious color!

    Before the collapse Fianna Fail were proud to be the natural party of Builders, Bankers and W*****rs, Fine gale wished there were and Labour God help them ( and us) campaigned on the radical slogan…….. but are you happy. ?…. !

    George had certain professional training, he consistently called most of the shots right, he identified the problem, he wanted to contribute to a solution yet he was only used by Fine Gael as Jedyards Poster Boy to dray crowds to venues to the same tired old faces that people otherwise would not cross the road to see.

    The National Patient was on the operating table needing financial open heart heart surgery. Theater Sister Enda Kenny had a First Class trained surgeon at her disposal and she insisted in consulting the same inner coterie of G.P.s Cleaning Staff. Auctioneers and Teachers etc, to gobble on about about what needed to be done while the patient was flatlining.

    Nothing new in that…… look up the Great Kerry Trainer Mick O’Dwyer and how he was shamefully shafted by Fianna Fail in his first Council meeting. Lee is well out smothering party politics.

    So George for President anyone?

  • Alias

    “Alias,
    during the time when the property bubble was inflating and it was obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of finance and history that the bubble was going to burst, George, like Mc Williams, was a consistent voice in predicting what was going to happen and the devastation that it would cost current and future generations.”

    Guess what? So was my dear Jewish mother, yet I hardly think that qualifies her to be finance minister. But then you already say that “it was obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of finance and history” who what makes George’s prediction especially prophetic?

    “Was he heeded? was he f**** ! Bertie Ahern even singled him out at a national conference, identified him as a ‘doom and gloom’ soothsayer and wondered aloud as to why such people did just not go away and commit suicide. Indeed it is to the singular credit of R.T.E.‘s Director. General. that George was left in place to be such a strident, contra, unpopular voice.”

    Guess what? George Lee was a Fine Gael supporter so he probably had an agenda to undermine a Fianna Fail government. It is not at all to RTE’s “credit” that they failed to spot his longing to be a partial player rather than an impartial reporter. However, he didn’t have what it takes to be a player either.

    “So all pervading was this Celtic Tiger, money no object, ethos, that would be comedian in the country was certain of a stage laugh just by repeating George’s dire warnings and contrasting these with the so called success all around.”

    But I thought you said it was obvious to anyone with “basic understanding” that it was a bubble and that bubbles are not capable of infinite expansion, so why would they now find it so incredulous that the very idea that a bubble might burst would cause general hilarity?

    “Fianna Fail or Fine Gael are but the choice tweedel dum or tweedel dee! George maintained the same honesty inside politics as outside and he is to be commended for that.”

    George Lee chose tweedel dee. Was he a bit thick to do that? It hardly sounds like something that a genius would do.

    “The tipping point in the housing bubble came when ‘Mick The Mouth’ tried to do one last favor to his P.Dl pals and buy votes by promising to abolish stamp duty.”

    Now forgive for pinching a line from your response to Lugs, but as it happens I dealt with this europhile fallacy on another thread:

    “However, the tax breaks for developers simply means that they were able to retain circa 20% more profit from development than would otherwise have been the case. It doesn’t mean that there would not have been as much development as if those developers only retained 600 million out of every billion instead of 800 million. 600 million retained profits per billion would still have been more than enough financial incentive to supply the consumer demand that was created and sustained by the ECB’s expansionist monetary policies. So your argument, like the ECB policies, is a bust.”

  • Alias

    Incidentally, the same argument holds for stamp duty on consumers as holds for tax breaks for suppliers: the incentives to speculate dramatically exceeded the disincentives, so paying a typical 20k stamp duty offers no deterrent to speculation when offset against a typical 200k profit.

  • Mack

    That’s not quite true – you still have to be able to afford the tax (stamp duty) & mortgage repayments – the more outgoings you have in that regard the lower your borrowing capacity becomes. A once-off €20k may not make much difference, but if your getting €20k or €5ok or €1m a year in tax breaks and they go.. it makes a huge difference..

  • Munsterview

    Alias

    George’s view of the boom was not unique, he was however one of the few economic experts that consistently went against the prevailing view.

    Covert Blueshirt undermining F.F ? Aside from the fact that they are expert in doing that for themselves,any glaring examples of where G. was not objective ? if there was the F.F. spin doctors would have immediately nailed him on it.

    So all pervading…… public mood, march of the property lemmings, consensus hard times no more view etc. Only point made that he consistently articulated a contrary view.

    Genius….. your term ! Jagger 1/20 gave a good concise summary of G and issues that hits the nail on the head.

    Tax breaks etc. Point made that Mick the Mouth indulged in opportunist, ill thought out populist politics by promising to modify stamp duty in the next government resulting in an immediate buying pause pre election, then once people reflected a stall and then collapse in the market. Since people were just buying and trading up to ever bigger chairs on the property ship Titanic, this would have happened anyway, he just brought date to that point and time.