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Some Things You Should Know About Creighton’s and Hobbs #RebootIreland.
1 The lamest party ever…..
Lucinda Creighton and Eddie Hobbs didn’t announce a political party. They launched a Twitter hashtag #RebootIreland and an empty dysfunctional website at a press conference about having another press conference at some point in the future. Launching a new political party requires announcing some sense of membership base, actual organisation founders, candidates for elections, an indication of how the organisation is funded and finally some – even minimally – fleshed out social vision upon which organisational policy is rooted. None of this exists after today.
Creighton alleges this right wing coagulation has over 100 people “professionally volunteering.” in policy, organisational development, IT/web design and research. (Obviously ‘professionally volunteering’ it a completely made up category, but Ill get to that.)
Well at least the Twitter link does. When you clicked on the Facebook icon this afternoon you got a pop up saying
“App Not Set Up: The developers of this app have not set it up properly for Facebook Login.”
Less #RebootIreland and more CTRL+Alt+Del……
2 WTF are they Talking about….
The language used by Crieghton and #RebootIreland is mostly madey-upey-vaugey nonsense intended to disguise lack of originality and intellectual incoherence whilst also sounding like it has depth and meaning. But at its core its more ho hum neoliberalism for narcissists without a party.
Lets have a wee look at some of the terms used so far….
“Professional Volunteering” – What does this even mean? Is unprofessional volunteering a thing too? Eh no it isnt. It is of course utter bollix, but its much better than saying either ‘unpaid workers’ or ‘interns’, or simply volunteers.
Why? Well because giving recognition and value to the concept of unpaid labour plays havoc with right wing intellectualism. Not that the neoliberalism is against free or cheap labour. The entire rationale of right wing economics is the flow of wealth created by human labour into fewer and fewer hands. This isnt even a radical left idea anymore, but an accepted reality based upon empirical evidence. The problem for right wingers like Eddie Hobbs and Creighton is the need to create justifying myths for such inequality. And sure what way to create justifying myths and false explanations about how society works than using madey-uppey terminology and jargon.
The entire bedrock of society and hence any abstract economy is based in the first place upon the unpaid labour of caring for children, siblings, partners, parents, relations and friends. Which is something you dont want to talk about as it makes #RebootIreland over reliance on an un problematised ‘entrepreneurship’ seem non sense. Which of course is what it is. Most probably there is a bit of ego stroking here. These are REAL volunteers you know. Educated, respectable people, not like the common garden variety you see working in drug rehabilitation, mental health, hospices, charity shops and community education projects. That kind of volunteering is for plebs….
“Building An Economy for Entrepreneurs Across The Social, Private and Public Sectors -Building a new economy that supports entrepreneurs, employees and consumers of small businesses.”
So #RebootIreland wants an economy run on craft beer pubs, but the beer will also be cheap. Right so Ted. But hold on. What is the social sector? Is that a new word for society itself? Is society a sector now, a category that sits along side private and public sectors rather than containing them. And is society made up of consumers now? So this is all about choice? All about giving people the ability to choose? Heres some wise words on choice from George Carlin
“There’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better. Don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got.. because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now.. the real owners. The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations.
They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.”
“Make The Public Sector Public– Fostering a spirit of entrepreneurism in our public sector that will reward those who work the hardest and deliver the best results for our public services.”
Finally. At last someone has seen the true value of competitiveness in the public sector. I cant wait to see the full impacts of ambulance staff and fire brigade units battling it out to be the first to cut children out of car wreckage or rescue your granny from her burning flat. Think of the improvements in public health when doctors and nurses are green lighted to find ways to get personal rewards for most efficient use of bandages and IV drips and least use of expensive drugs. Chronic underfunding and hiring freezes alone wont bring us a lean, quicker more responsive public service. Unshackled from common sense and embracing a spirit of entrepreneurism – another way of describing risk-taking profit-seeking – seems to be a brilliant strategy for dealing with salting freezing icy roads and cancer treatments alike.
But does this really describe making the public sector public? Surely what Creighton and Hobbs are describing is making the public sector private. That’s what they really mean. And this is the point. Its Dr Suess channeling Mrs Thatcher. The use of language that obfuscates and makes invisible that the opposite thing is being spoken about was brought to the fore by Blairite politics in the late 90’s. This is about not just to the material dismantling of an already crumbling welfare state, but eroding more thoroughly even the idea of an consciously unselfish society as a whole. It’s been said before by many but needs to be said again. People would much prefer properly working health, education, welfare and infrastructures – available to all – rather than choose between broken public services and other private systems most of us have limited or zero access to.
“Give Politics Back To The People- Creating a political system that supports freedom of thought, difference and independence.”
Pitching, in 2015, for a political system that supports freedom of thought is perhaps the most flaccidly uninspiring idea I’ve ever heard from a politician and sidekick. Maybe we should have a political system that supports breathing and riding too, right?
This isnt about giving politics back to the people. We ‘do’ politics every day of our lives just living with the fucked up captured state this is thanks all the same Lucinda. This bit seems entirely about the venting of frustrated social conservatism wrapped up in the discourse of independent thinking.
If you want to enjoy the luxury of your repressed and repressing ideology – independently and unfettered – take a walk in the park. Or run a bath and ponder some. Hell sure even get drunk in the corner of a pub ranting like a mad yoke. But don’t come giving us some crap about it being about giving politics back to the people. That’s like shitting in my lunch-box and telling me you just increased my material assets. Which for a lot of people in Ireland who followed Eddie Hobbs advice pre-crash isn’t far off the mark.
A vibrant democratic sphere supports freedom of thought, difference and independence. Diverse media ownership supports freedom of thought difference and independence. An education system readily accessible to all at any point of their lives supports freedom of thought, difference and independence. Non-repressed human behaviour supports freedom of though, difference and independence.
On the otherhand organisations set up by people like Creighton and Hobbs support first and foremost people like Creighton and Hobbs. At best it is the social reproduction of dis-proven social, political and economic dumbfuckery.
“Measuring Government With A Clear Social Target – Underpin Irish society through fiscal and social policy with a targeted Minimum Lifestyle Standard.”
Minimum Lifestyle Standard?
I did a quick search on Google for “Minimum Lifestyle Standard” and got 23 results. Most related to the #RebootIreland launch.
For a sense of scale I also Google “Enda Kenny ate my hamster” and got 5,220 results.
Others results for the term referred to, I shit you not, the upgrading of prison cells to ‘minimum lifestyle standards’. One other reference was a blog post on Mao, but when I clicked it was clear it was a malware site. So the only other reference to minimum lifestyle standards that seems to exist as a real term as is about reducing inhumane conditions in prisons. And inspire analogy for a right wing neoliberal project? At this point I’m beginning to think some of these professional volunteers aren’t as professional as professional is meant to sound.
On the other hand perhaps prison makeovers is quite close to what #RebootIreland imagines how best to deal with those of us living in poverty. I mean, if prison cells attain a minimum lifestyle standard sure what do we have to complain about if we end up there.
Oddly it is the only pillar of #RebootIreland that addresses society as a society. But it even does that without mentioning society. Totally bonkers stuff when you think about it really.
To the right wing, the collective politics of being alive and human means little more than a series of economics transactions, everything reduced to the amoral arithmetic of cold cash, individuals atomised in the workplace. Its how #RebootIreland even speaks about itself thus far. There is no society to speak of, merely technocratic policies resting upon a amoral logic that refuses to expose itself to interrogation.
Of course that doesn’t apply to wombs and women. Wombs and women are spaces for the most invasive specificity and pub(l)ic policy. People and places for the most intense scrutiny and application of scripture codified as laws. Wombs and women are the property of society, a society only constituted for that specific purpose. The Freudian unconscious at work here would be too publicly embarrassing to maintain were it not for the mostly emotionally illiterate craft of economic and political commentary in Irish mainstream media. Most can’t even see this shit when its drafted into press releases and websites by professional volunteers. Luckily the population is a great deal smarter than your average political commentator.
4 After 12 months of running around and biggest ally mustered was Eddie Hobbs??
Hobbs is a celebrity *cough* economist and financial *cough cough* adviser who
likes to play himself as a champion of the consumer. He’s an odd sort of a character though. He never stops turning up on radio, in print or in TV giving out about the media, and about insiders. Though he is very much part of the establishment himself. And there is no nice way of saying this. Eddie Hobbs is from a class of people who are vampires on other peoples pain and misery. He played a public role justifying and validating financial speculation that drove Irelands property bubble. He is one more of the faces that gave vocal support to political and economic ideas that led directly to a 15% rise in suicides, and that has seen the number of children living in poverty rise by 130,000 in 5 years in Ireland.
But why would Eddie Hobbs be a fan of financial speculation that drove so many people to an early grave, that shreds public services and that sees a growing poverty on this island and across the globe. The answer here is quite simple. He makes money from it. Money based on other peoples misery.
Detroit in the US was home to thousands of missold mortgages by banks such as Bank of America. Bank Of America was fined $16 Billion for is dodgy dealing which have resulted in thousands of families being evicted and made homeless. Where Eddie Hobbs comes into the mix in Detroit is through the US arm of his investment company Brendan Investments. Hobbs – who makes so much of hating the media – took out half page adverts in Irish papers advertising his US arm, called Artesian Equities.
You needed to front up at least €500,000 to be part of his scheme. Picking at the bones of a society ripped apart isn’t something ordinary Joe Bloggs can get in on very easily. This is a game for the rich, by the rich, sucking the marrow of the poor and impoverished. Like most of the squeamish end of capitalism in western society, all of this is of course perfectly legal and above board.
Detroit is in Wayne County. The Wayne County Register of Deeds, which hold records of land transactions shows Artesian Equities as being the grantor in over 5000 separate land transactions to date.
A community activist project called “Why Dont We Own This” mapped out current property ownership in Detroit post 2011 to track the Wayne County Foreclosure Auction, following large scale mortgage failures due to massive unemployment causes by financial speculation itself.
As families were evicted across Detroit, Wayne Country facilitated the auction of peoples former homes for next to nothing, in many cases handing them to vulture investors like Hobbs Artesian Equities for free. At present Artesian owns 482 properties in Detroit. As you can see from the list below this make it one of the largest private owners of property in Detroit, ownership built upon the the misery of hundreds of families and a bankrupt city. For me the type of person who makes money, and helps other people make money, off the backs of people caught up in the economic crisis is no different than someone who rifles the pockets of someone knocked down on the street instead of calling an ambulance.
Eddie is quite upfront himself about making hay from this misery.
““The results are that for c.€500k or $660k an investor can acquire a portfolio of 16 newly refurbished middle class homes, fully tenanted at gross yields after costs and local property taxes of 15% to 16%. There is no intermediation, no fund, the investor, whether private or a pension fund, holds the assets directly. When you net out taxes under the DTA, the return is double the after tax return in Ireland and the scope for capital uplift higher and quicker because the market is not subject to artificial distortion. As the housing recovery gathers momentum this window will close in the US market which we can reasonably say has hit a genuine bottom and clear out unlike the artificial situation here because of extend and pretend policies.”
Hobbs company made €1,200,000 gains in 2014 from taking over home people were forced to leave. When people come to our shores ready to buy for nothing the homes our families, neighbours and workmates are evicted from, we generally have no problem considering them parasites on society. Why would we think this lad any different.
5 The Twitter *ahem* Fightback.
The day #RebootIreland launched – or at least launched that there might be a lauch at some point, folks on Twitter immediately ripped a hole through the incoherences of what was announced. People arent stupid. The inevitable right wing lash back began in earnest today with some hilariously daft comebacks. Here’s a selection for a LOL. Its never cease to amuse me the lack of irony of people of the right on Twitter giving out about people using Twitter. Numbnuts of the highest order.
6. Do spare a thought though for John Leahy.