Creating a new Government

A creative approach to bypass stereotyped thinking!

I don’t know if our political leaders are up for creative thinking as a way out of the present mucky mess of logical, linear thinking which is spiralling inwards and downwards in a meaningless rhetoric of negativities. Ireland deserves better. So, what would creative thinking contribute to the present stand-off?

Creative thinking is an approach to problem solving that stimulates a fresh approach, or “out of the box” thinking. It is used when people want to make sure that they don’t miss a trick, that they have explored all possible solutions and then some! Just what we need now, you might say. It would stir, maybe even agitate, the primordial soup of the political collective of little grey cells that at the present moment appears to be bubbling lazily and sticking closely together. The only rule that applies in this approach is “no critical comments, no negatatives, build on the previous suggestions”. You can critically examine the result as much as you like when you have completed this little exercise. Got the idea?

 Right! Let’s set the scene. First of all, what is the greatest problem or threat we now face in Ireland?  Without doubt, if we don’t resolve the problems of global climate change then all other problems are irrelevant. Then, be optimistic. But bear climate change in mind. So, let’s start the creative thinking process. Remember the rules! No critical comments until the task is completed! The process is designed to bypass your Ego’s judgmental and intimidating presence. That part of you that jumps in every time you think in order to protect you from making a mistake. It’s the Mrs. Doyle function, asking you “Are you sure? Are you sure you’re sure?”.

Step #01

Put your own name in the box below, nominating yourself for the role of Taoiseach. You will also need to appoint a Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister). Insert here the name of a Dáil Deputy whom you would trust as competent and suitable for this position.

Taoiseach ( Your Name)
Tánaiste

Step #02

Now please nominate a member of the 32nd Dáil for each of the following positions. Note that if you cannot find a suitable candidate who is currently a member of the Dáil, you may, as Taoiseach, nominate someone to the Seanad/Senate, and then appoint them as Minister. There is a precedant for doing this, but it is recommended that you limit the number on this occasion to not more than three nominations.

Now for the remaining members of the team.

The following are the main areas of government in recent times. You may alter them, add to them, or group them as you wish. Then list your government departments in sequence and nominate as Minister the person you would choose for each.

List of possible Departments:

Finance; Public Expenditure and Reform; Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation; Agriculture, Food & Marine; Defence; Justice and Equality; Children and Youth Affairs; Health; Foreign Affairs; Trade; Commerce; Education; Environment; Community; Local Government; Communications; Energy; Natural Resources; Transport; Tourism; Sport; Arts; Heritage; Gaeltacht (or Language(s))

Government Departments

My choice for Minister

a
 b
 c
 d
 e
 f
 g
 h
 j
 k
 l
 m
 n
 p
 q

Add more if required.

dreamstime_m_28250959And that’s it! The job is done, well, nearly done. I hate to disappoint you but as you are not a member of the Dáil you cannot be nominated as Taoiseach. But you have done your job so take a bow and step gracefully to one side. (Thunderous applause).

You must now select a member of the present Dáil to be Taoiseach. Select one of those on your list above, promoting them and fill the vacancy left.

The job is now done! The purpose of the little ruse was to facilitate you in breaking away from the status quo and taking a fresh look at the problem. You have come up with a viable list of names that you believe would be suitable as a Government. In doing so, you have redefined the intractable problem.

The new problem to be solved is “how to get this list of people approved as the new government”.

Ask yourself the question: “What would need to happen now, to enable these people to be appointed as the next  Government”?

If this suggests any new idea that would help us to break out of the present impasse, then please share it with us.

Thanks!

 

Cad atá le déanamh againn anois? Where do we go from here?

An tseachtain seo caite, do chaith mé roinnt ama ag faire a gcuid fianaise á thabhairt uathu ag na huaisle Enda Kenny, Pat Rabbitte, Joan Burton, Bertie Ahern, et al.,ós comhair an Choiste Dála.

Last week I watched some of the testimony given by Mr. Enda Kenny, Mr. Pat Rabbitte, Ms. Joan Burton, Mr. Bertie Ahern, et al.to the Dáil Committee.

Gaeilge (English version follows after the Irish version)

B’fhéidir gur rinneadh trácht ar seo le déanaí ach ní fhaca-sa é. An tseachtain seo caite, do chaith mé roinnt ama ag faire a gcuid fianaise á thabhairt uathu ag na huaisle Enda Kenny, Pat Rabbitte, Joan Burton, Bertie Ahern, et al.,ós comhair an Choiste Dála.

Agus mé im’ shaoránach ríméadach na tíre seo, do chuir sé clár ar mo chluasa ag éisteacht le, agus ag faire ar, a gcuid iompair ós comhair a gcomhghleachaithe, agus ba léir é go raibh siad ag tapaidh an deis chun “toghchánaíocht de réir an sean-nós” a chur ar siúl. Ní raibh ann dóibh ach ‘charade’, gnáthgheamaireacht na Dála. Bhí mé ag feitheamh, agus ag súil, le réimiúlacht, le meas, agus le humhlaíocht. Dhéanfadh leath-‘apologia’ an ghnó, fiú leithscéal ón gcroí.

Tháinig an smaoineamh chugam: “Níl san ócáíd seo ach cluiche dóibh, iad cosúil le páistí seanchríonna, agus iad ag ligint orthu gur daoine fásta iad, fad is atá siad ag magadh faoinár n-institiúidí, gan ar bun acu ach iarraim cúis ar nós matadóra. Ni hea, ach ar nós fir sorcais ag ligint orthu gur matadóirí iad. Ní raibh san éisteacht seo de réir dealraimh ach cró sorcaise. Bhí áiméar ar fáil dóibh an bhinnbharraíocht a bheith acu ar duine agus fonóid a dhéanamh faoi dhuine eile. Ócáid dóibh chun a lucht leanúna a mhúscailt, saillte le dea-chaint, amhail is gur orthusan a bhí an cáipéis.

Bhí mé am shamhlú go raibh cailíní deasa ar an maide luascáin, go raibh fir cróga ar an sreang ard, agus, cinnte, ba chóir go mbeadh ‘pierrot’ ann. Fir sorcais i ndáiriíre, agus deor ollmhóir ar a leiceann acu agus iad ag déanamh trua don chine daonna faoi fhulaingt do-inste. Ach, tada le feiscint. Ní duine sorcais le croí óir a bhí os ár gcomhair amach, ní raibh grá ná trua le feiscint ann. Ní raibh ann ach dróid-anna nua-aimseartha amháin, Daleks na Dála, agus caint an gheilt á chogaint acu. Ba mhaslach a gcuid cainte agus iad gealsúileach agus tom-eireaballach, ag tabhairt masla do mhuintir na tíre seo atá ag fulaingt go huafásach faoina réimeas, muintir a bhfuil deacair orthu foighneamh lena ngréasán bréag, lena bhfeall ar iontaoibh, agus lena seápála.

Ach gan amhras ní raibh na daoine atá faoin fhulaingt is mó feasach faoin bhfeic náisiúnta seo ar raidió agus ar teilifís. Bhíodar ag codail amuigh ar an sráid agus faoin sceach, ag maireachtáil i lóistíní sealadacha. Nó faoi fhulaingt sa bhaile, gan dóthain airgid acu , gan teas, gan solas, gan bia, gan sólás. Nó ag faire ar glao Skype ó aird i gcéin chun a chlann páistí a fheiscint, chun a chéile a chloisteáil, daoine a ligeadh le sruth mar chacamas le sruth dramhaíol as obair dramhaíola na tíre seo chun áit a chur in áirithint don Déine. Don diabhail le clár damanta na Déine!!

Ach fós anois, agus na hócáidí á leanúint agam ar nuacht an lae, agus na pobalbhreitheanna ag teacht ar shála a chéile, cuireann sé iontas an domhain orm faoi chad atá i ndán dúinn. Tá dian-rialú ann ag na Deasaigh anois, agus iad tacaithe le hairgead a ghoideadh, agus le cambheartanna sracaidh leathdhleathacha a bhí dlisteanaithe ag rialtas i ndiaidh rialtais thar na blianta. Tá an Ceartlár plódaithe leis an iomarca polaiteoirí ainléanta atá deamhéineacha agus garúla agus iad ag iarraidh greim a fháil ar sopanna agus ar gearróga an daonlathais. Agus na Ciotaigh, cosúil le Néandertálaigh i bhfolach ó na dineasáir caipitlíocha atá ar díbheargach ar machairí móra na hÉireann, tá na Ciotaigh ina bpluaiseanna díospóireachta, ag míníneacht, ag cur faobhar ar bioranna oighir, agus ag beartú conas ar féidir leo, cosúil le madraí, na conablaigh curtha de láimh ag sealgairí vóta níos éifeachtúla ná iad féin a chosgairt. Meascadh bróid bhréagaigh ar bhonn prionsabal amhrasacha, éide nua don Impire snite as bréaga, as calaois agus deartha ag claonbholscairí. Sea, is soiléir anois é, go bhfuil toghachán ag teach chugainn anois, in éineacht leis an ngnáth-bhús! Tuigim, a Yeats Uasal, beidh “the catch-cries of the clowns” againn, mar aon leis.

Ach an bhfuil sé riachtanach go dtitfidh sé amach mar sin? Cad is tuairim duit faoi? Fad is atá guth fós againn, ar bheartaigh tú conas a gcaithfidh tusa do guth? In ionad a bheith ag glamaíl ar an ngealach agus tú ag súil go haonarach le macalla glaime a cloisint ar ais, an bhfuil dóthain suime agat ann, an bhfuil an ‘nous’ ionat, an bhfuil tú cróga go leor chun an fód a sheasamh? Chun an fhírinne a rá, táimse in amhras faoi, agus fúm féin chomh maith. Dá mbeadh caoi agam air anois, “I would arise and go now, and go to a little Greek island”, chun mo shaol a chaitheamh i gcomhluadar le daoine a bhfuil meas acu ar a ndéithe, ar a stair, ar a dteanga, agus ar a gcultúr. Ach ní bheidh an caoi agam é sin a dhéanamh. B’fhearr liom fanacht anseo in Éirinn. Is i mo thír dhúchais í. Is oth liom é a rá, áfach, ach ní bheimid in ann tada a dhéanamh chun an tír áluinn seo a chur le chéile arís go dtí go ndéanfaimis tarrtháil ar spiorad na tíre seo, ar spioraid na ndaoine. De réir dealraimh, níl meas muice ag formhór na ndaoine anois ar ár n-oidhreacht, mar Ghaeil, ar na bunphrionsabail a cheangal an pobal le chéile in aghaidh ár namhaid san am atá thart. Cinnte ní foláir dúinn ár n-aigne a dhíriú ar sin agus 2016 ag teacht in ionad Disneyland bréag-Gaelach a thógáil ós cionn uaigheanna ár muintir is ár laochra.

English

Perhaps this has already been commented upon and I missed it. Last week I watched some of the testimony given by Mr. Enda Kenny, Mr. Pat Rabbitte, Ms. Joan Burton, Mr. Bertie Ahern, et al.to the Dáil Committee.

As a proud citizen of this country, I felt deeply offended by their attitude towards the questioning, their general behaviour towards their peers, and their obvious seizing of the moment for “d’oul bi’ of electioneering”.  The whole thing was just a charade for them, the usual Dáil circus. I waited and waited for dignity, respect, and humility. Even half an apology from the heart.

I thought: “This is a just a game for them, like precocious children playing at being adults, mocking our institutions, trailing their coats like matadors. No, like clowns in a circus pretending to be matadors. It was a circus to them. It was an opportunity to gloat and deride. A time to stir up their followers with their witty barbs and pretence at being responsible.”

There should have been beautiful girls on the trapeze, men with courage on the high wire, and of course, there should have been clowns. Real clowns, with a giant tear on their cheeks in their pity for suffering humanity. But, no. These were no clowns with a heart of gold, who love humanity and who pity it. These were mere clown droids, Dáil Daleks, muttering insanities. Their wide-eyed bushy-tailed efforts at humour were an insult to the people of this country who have suffered terribly under their reign, who have put up with their lies, their deceits, and their posturing.

The people they have hurt most, were probably not aware of this national spectacle on television.They were sleeping rough, living in temporary accommodation. Or suffering at home, without enough money for heat or light or food or comfort. Or waiting for a Skype call to see their children, their husbands or wives, who were flushed like shite out of the sewer jobs of this country to make a home for Austerity. Austerity be damned.

But yet, as I follow events in the news, listen to the polls, I wonder. The Right is in tight command now, supported by stolen money, barely legal extortion rackets legitimised by our Governments for years. The Centre is crowded with well-meaning political illiterates who are grasping for the straws of democracy. And the Left, like Neanderthals hiding from the dinosaurs who maraud on the plains of Ireland, they are hiding in their caves of debate, splitting hairs, sharpening their ice-picks, and planning on how they can live off the carcases left behind by more efficient hunters of votes. A mixture of false pride in debatable principles, a new garment for the Emperor spun from lies, deceits and designed by spin doctors, yes, it is clear, that there is an election coming down the road, with all the razamatazz that comes with it. Yes, Mr. Yeats, there will be the catch-cries of the clowns, as well.

But does it have to be like that? What do you plan to do? While we still have the Vote, have you decided how you will vote? Instead of howling at the moon in the lonely hope of hearing howling echo back to you, have you enough interest, enough nous, enough courage to speak up? Quite honestly, I doubt it. I doubt that I am ready for the struggle. If I had the chance, I would arise and go now, and go to a little Greek island, to live among people who have respect for their gods, their history, their language, and their culture. But I do not have that chance. I prefer to stay here in Ireland. I was born and reared here. It is my home. I am sorry to say, however, we can do nothing to restore our beautiful country until we salvage what we can from the wreckage we have left behind us, the spirit of a country, the spirit of its people. It appears that most of the population couldn’t care less about our heritage, as a Gaelic people, about the basic principles that united the people in the face of the enemy in times past. Certainly we will need to direct serious attention to this area with 2016 getting closer by the day. Especially if we do not wish to erect a pseudo-Irish Disneyland over the graves of our ancestors and our heroes.

William Butler Yeats: 150th Anniversary of his birth on 13th June, 2015

Yeats’ writing addressed not only the Irish situation but, drawing upon the mythology of the world, his poetic scalpel dissected global issues.

Yeats in his time also saw Ireland as an accessible model of the world’s situation.

Horseman pass byToday is an important day. All this week we in Ireland have been celebrating, talking and thinking about his work, but today, Saturday 13th June, 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of William Butler Yeats. I make no pretensions to be a poet, and when the truth is told, I struggle to feel the unwritten power between the lines of any poet’s work. But for some reason I cannot explain, I have always been drawn to the work of Yeats. I have no difficulty even now, three score years after I sat in my secondary school desk, in remembering the poems of Yeats, and in moments of doubt and trepidation it is strange how easily his words slip quietly into my mind.

Yeat was an Irish poet, a Nobel Laureate and one of the four such Laureates about whom our small country, but great nation, boasts. Yeats’ writing addressed not only the Irish situation but, drawing upon the mythology of the world, his poetic scalpel dissected global issues. In particular, I sense that his comments upon the emerging Irish State in the early 1900s, are still fresh and true, not only about Ireland today, but they also give us a poet’s insight into the universality of the human condition.

Just as Pierre Turquet in the 1960s suggested that the situations then emerging in Ireland and in South Africa offered a laboratory of social change that the world could well benefit from, Yeats in his time also saw Ireland as an accessible model of the world’s situation. After the relentless viciousness of the Anglo-Irish war that followed the Rising in 1916 and eventually gave way to the Treaty of 1922 and ironically ended with the Civil War, Yeats wrote:

“We are closed in, and the key is turned

On our uncertainty; somewhere

A man is killed, or a house burned,

Yet no clear fact to be discerned.”

Surely, if the hearts and spirit of those who, in increasing numbers around the world, are fleeing persecution and manic ideology, were aware of those words of Yeats, they would resonate in sympathy. Yeats not only saw clearly into the heart of such a situation, he also showed some of his own despair with what was happening:

“We had fed the heart on fantasies,

The heart’s grown brutal from the fare;

More substance in our enmities

Than in our love … “

Having immersed myself in Irish politics in my younger days, devouring the works of Karl Marx and James Connolly, I spent most of my working life outside Ireland and had the good fortune to find work in different countries, with different cultures and different histories. Nevertheless, I became increasingly concerned with the story line that I saw emerging, a story line that said:

  • The world is a violent place that is evolving from violence and must live with violence
  • Ruling classes always use violence to enforce their will; those who are oppressed by them must needs overthrow them with violence
  • Sir James G. Frazer described Magic and Religion as a cultural story or a dream-world within which human beings live their lives. Again violence was a central warp thread in the story that he wove.

Yeats painted a picture of what he saw, and truly, we can see the same picture around the world today. A shared story is still ruling people’s lives and our lives are rounded with that dream:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all convictions, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.”

When I examine what I have learned so far in my life, I see the relevance of what Albert Einstein once said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” I think that Yeats’ despair at what he saw reflects the same thinking. Our only chance of getting out of the spiral dance of violence which is leading us to the destruction of our world, is not to fight our way with violence, but to open our hearts to the silence within, the silence of Spirit, and ultimately to wake from the dream that confines us. We have a chance to write a new story, a story with a happy ending. Then we might turn to those great minds that have led us there and salute them with the words of the Great Man whose birth we celebrate today:

“What they undertook to do

They brought to pass;

All things hang like a drop of dew

Upon a blade of grass.”