Friday, March 24, 2006

Top 6 Friday Reasons People Fear McDowell

6. McDowell is honest, a man of principle and not afraid to give a straight answer to a question. It's been so long since we've had a politician like that.

5. There's a nasty little rumour doing the rounds that he is in fact, a fascist.

4. He believes in capitalism and is not afraid to admit it.

3. He has an air of confidence about him that many may construe as arrogance. This frightens some people. We like our politicians to be in a perpetual, but futile, pursuit of our approval.

2. He doesn't shrink from confrontation. As Simon has outlined in a recent post, the man has a history. Someone like that might eventually come after each and every one of us.

1. We need him and that frightens some of us. Our guilty conscience might force some of us to vote Green or Labour, but deep down inside we secretly long for a cold-hearted McDowell-type to lower taxes, brutalise criminals and rule us like a King!

30 comments:

copernicus said...

mcdowell doesn't believe in capitalism for himself. he's happy to maintain the protected, uncompetitive practices which obtain down the law library.

Capitalism is a form of livelihood to be frank. Anyone who doesn't control the means of production and run an enterprise is not a capitalist in my book. Capitalism is not a political philosphy.

copernicus said...

name one tax mcdowell has lowered. that's right. Not one. Name one tax mcdowell has suggested lowering. hmnn...

Don't believe the hype.

Simon said...

Anyone who doesn't control the means of production and run an enterprise is not a capitalist

So does that mean lenin was a capitalist

name one tax mcdowell has lowered. that's right. Not one.
Considering that he is not the finance minister that is not surprising.

Don't believe the hype.
I have to wonder that you in fact believe the hype.

al said...

Ask Frank McBrearty how 'honest and principled' McDowell is.

copernicus said...

Good man, Simon. To answer your first question, the soviet ecomonic model was "State Capitalism", so the USSR govt, was the capitalist in that economy, yes.

You're the one who said McDowell would lower taxes, not me, and so may have confused him with being the Minister for Finance. Besides I was thorough and asked what taxes he had suggested lowering. He doesn't have to be the MoF to make suggestions.

Even I don't think he is out to brutalise criminals (to make them brutal by mistreatment) as he is attempting to refrom the prison service and prison accommodation.

What hype have I swallowed. My comment was based on evidence - a) no genuine competitive reform in his own profession (the bar), despite being Minister for Justice.

b) no taxes lowered or suggested to be lowered.

Your post was hyperbolic as you set conflated with McDowell's achievements the reasons you think people dislike him.

You didn't set out his actual programme or the actual criticisms which have been made of his approach to his job.

Simon said...

You're the one who said McDowell would lower taxes,

It was in fact tuathal that said he would lower taxes anyway. He is generally considered to be one of the ideological driving forces of the PD's who were instrimental in bring down many taxes such as corporation taxes.

) no genuine competitive reform in his own profession (the bar)
How would you class this?


You didn't set out his actual programme or the actual criticisms which have been made of his approach to his job.

Well this is a top 6 list and not a full article. I have address what he has done before if you wish to type mcdowell into the site search. Also I addressed some of it in my moses piece which is just before this i think

copernicus said...

Sorry I mixed you up with tuathal. At any rate what was your point about him not being MoF then? Bit of a red herring.

Re McDowell's announcement of radical reform, you'll note I used the words "genuine reform". I used those words because I have read his proposals and they're not remotely going to address competition and barriers to entry to the bar.

Corporation tax was reduced to 12.5% by the Rainbow Coalition not the PDs. The fact that you think it was the PDs demonstrates that the hype swallowing is going on around here, not at Copernicus Towers.

Simon said...

My point about the MoF is that you asked which taxes did he reduce. He personnally has never been in a position to reduce taxes only to influence there reduction. If you get me.

How about the reforms against so called ambalance chasers

Corporation tax was reduced to 12.5% by the Rainbow Coalition not the PDs.

That is an interesting one Wikipedia says you are right however the revenue's website says it happened in the 98 budget under the ff/PD coalition. so I am not sure. In fact in his last budget ruari quinn reducted it to 36% from 38%. So I am not sure where your thing comes from.

copernicus said...

The rate for Manufacturing, IFSC and Shannon companies remains at 10%

so it was done before the 98 budget.

the rate you refer to isn't the relevant one.

You're MoF thing continues to be a red herring. I was speaking about the original post by tuathal - he said we needed McDowell to reduce taxes, I said he hadn't reduced any. Then you waded in. So you should be telling tuathal he was never MoF not me. I'm well aware of the fact.

copernicus said...

I'm lost on the revenue site. From Dail debates it seems McCreevy may have standardised the rate of tax on trading profits to 12.5%. Presumably this happened in 1998. It would be interesting to see if this was an inherited policy in the Department.

At any rate, it wasn't McDowell or the PDs.

Simon said...

The rate for Manufacturing, IFSC and Shannon companies remains at 10%

Firstly they are not corporation tax they are a part of it not all of it. So the rate I refer to is the one

And secondly the 10% tax was brought in in 1981. Under FF when Des O'Malley was minister for enterprise.

also In case you didn't guess Tuathals last point is a paraphrase of a simpsons quote. The one where the aliens conquor earth.

On your last point (just seen it after writing above)). Ya charlie is a every interesting one. He is credited was being very much at the for front of shaping the PD's economic outlook back in the 80's many I believe were surprised that he didn't join the PD's as he was a very important figure in their formation. I guess he thought FF might be a better path to power.

copernicus said...

why didn't you delete your original remarks when you saw my final points? I referred to the fact that the rate was standardised - you were speaking about the 38% rate etc.

I wasn't addressing the simpson's quote - I said the PDs hadn't reduced taxes. Income tax is still incredibly high and they have said nothing ever about changing the bands.

An illustration of how high is the fact that I've cut back my hours at work to about 2.5 days a week, which meant a fall in salary of approx €18,000 - however as most of that was tax, my net pay isn't down by much at all. Not only that but I was working late into the night on two of my five days originally and into the evening on one day - now I finish by five usually on the three days I'm in.

Impact on lifestyle - nil. Cost to Revenue about €15,000.

Everybody is wrong about the PDs. Fine, like them because they appeal to your inner snob, but don't pretend they champion enterprise and liberty for the individual from big government. Let's look at their CVs shall we?

Mary Harney - member of parliament since college - never had a job.

Michael McDowell - barrister (thanks mum and dad), member of restrictive, protected profession. Never exposed to market forces and competition.

Tim O'Malley - pharmacist (thanks mum and dad), member of restrictive, protected profession. Never exposed to market forces and competition.

Fiona O'Malley - arts officer. Er, hello? Totally nuts.

Mae Sexton - garda's wife. Quite nuts.

Liz O'Donnell - lawyer, member of protected, restricted profession. yada yada

Tom Parlon - farmer, where are my subsidies?

If your looking for a party which is choc full of entrepeneurs and successful businessmen, I suggest you vote Green.

Simon said...

I didn't delete anything I had just refreshed the comments in a different browser and i thought I would reply.

Income is not that high really the tax free allouances count for a lot. Frank is having that debate over on irishelection and will be better able to answer your questions

Thanks for calling me a snob for having my own politcal views.

copernicus said...

I didn't call you a snob. But thanks for taking my reasonable political insights as personal remarks. Maybe you can accuse me of forcing you to turn on comments moderation like wulfbeorn and that way you won't have to justify weak arguments.

I don't get your point on the delete thing. It appeared that you responded, read my comment and then continued to write in the same comment.

It just seemed irrelevant to leave the points in.

Frank is a FFer and his points about allowances are rationalising the fact that income tax is ridiculously high. I think my experience is ungainsayable in that regard. Don't forget if you don't have a mortgage, for example, you don't get mortgage interest relief.

Simon said...

Fine, like them because they appeal to your inner snob

How is that not a personnel remark.

you won't have to justify weak arguments.

You went on about how the Rainbow brought in 12.5% tax. I made some points quoted a source. You then changed your mind to saying that is was not the rainbow but McCreevy how is that weak arguements?.

Also you get morgarge relief if you have a morgage you get rental relief if you rent. If you do neither you don't get a relief because you don't get have to pay out for rent or morgage so I have no idea what you are on about there

copernicus said...

My point about PD supporters was that they shouldn't rationalise their love of as policy based but realise that such support is based on snobbery, which is obvious. I wouldn't have said I didn't call you personally a snob if I had. Maybe I should have used the pronoun "one" instead of the coloquial "you" - but thanks for the benefit of the doubt, despite my denials. Duly noted that you've called me a liar, which is pretty unfair.

Rent relief is a max of 300 per annum, so it hardly compares to mortgage relief. Anyway I was pointing out an "example" of why an appeal to reliefs to say income tax isn't high is simply a rationalisation - income tax is very fucking high. You've confused a detail with the whole tax system. Not me.

My point about scaling back at work also seems lost on you. If everyone copped on to it, the country would go down the toilet.

I admitted I was wrong about the Rainbow Govt and the standard rate of tax before you said anything and at any rate, it was a red herring. So what's your point in attacking me again? Worse, if you look back through the thread, it was you who started bringing up corporation tax and claiming it as a PD scalp. I should have ignored the point, but instead you've ignored all my other arguments and fixated on the one thing I didn't bring up myself. Anyway, knowing how govt. works, it is likely the tax thing was an inherited policy. I'm sure a bit of digging will sort it out one way or the other.

My point about the original post on McDowell still stands and you've done nothing to refute it.

Taxes are high and the PDs haven't brought them down. Competition still doesn't exist at the bar and still won't when McDowell's "reforms" are introduced.

Simon said...

My point about PD supporters was that they shouldn't rationalise their love of as policy based but realise that such support is based on snobbery, which is obvious.
No it is not obvious prove it give me an example of where PD support is based on snobbery. Also where did I call you a liarer I said you changed your mind. What I said implies that you thought something but later realised you were wrong and changed your mind.
What you implied I said was that you knew you were wrong but said it anyway. Two different things

Rent relief is a max of 300 per annum
it is in fact 1,650 for singel person 3,300 for married.

income tax is very fucking high
We are well below the EU average so no it is not that high. (See Graph on this page) VAT is high not income tax.

My point about scaling back at work also seems lost on you
It has indeed where did you make it I missed it.

So what's your point in attacking me again
arn't you the one attacking me you make points some good, some insults and I answer them I?

but instead you've ignored all my other arguments and fixated on the one thing

I have addressed your law points on two occasions the last one you did not reply too so what am I suppose to do. Also you kept going on about the coporation tax and I replied.

About your central point McDowell doesn't believe in Capitalism
You asked about lowering taxes. Well unless you have your hands on cabinet minutes you have no idea what he suggested all you can go on is what he and his party say. And they say lower taxes. So unless you can furnish cabinet minutes prove he hasn't advocated lowering taxes.

On the Bar council. I would consider the Personal Injuries Assessment Board as quiet a good reform of the legal system.

copernicus said...

on the liar issue, you said I called you peronally a snob, I said I didn't. You refused to believe me, hence I must have lied.

I have no idea what you are talking about re the change of mind thing. My point about the snobbery is that the policies set out are not PD policies in a real sense and that the joy people feel when McDowell expresses himself in arrogant, upper middle class terms is pure snobbery.

PIAB was an initiative of the Dept. of Enterprise. The reform of the Bar is a matter for Justice. And the proposed reform isn't extensive enough to provide competition.

You're wrong about rent relief. Where are your figures from?

Just saying (and even believing) you addressed my points doesn't make it so. My point about corporation tax was that I admitted I was wrong but you kept going on about it. You were wrong yourself by the way.

If you've missed my lengthy anecdote about my own experience with income tax, I can only assume you haven't bothered reading my comments but have simply fallen over yourself to post replies after a brief scan.

Just because average income tax rates are high across Europe doesn't mean ours still isn't high.

I thought you were a scientist, so you should be aware of the difference between an average and a median for a start. And be aware of the fact that relativity of rates doesn't speak to whether they are high or not in isolation.

The original post is wrong on McDowell - lots of mouth, little trousers - and your replies to my comments have been unfair, unreasonable and consistently missing of the point.

copernicus said...

I've realised re your figures that you are referring to the amount of income you can shelter for rent purposes you can claim for - which amounts to €300 cash into your hand per year.

As someone who pays 15,000 a year in tax, the 300 is nice to get back, but something of a drop in the ocean.

Middle income earners are punitively taxed in this country. Not only that, but they have to meet all the stealth taxes from their disposable incomes.

copernicus said...

One last point on PIAB, just in case you don't understand my refutation.

PIAB was created to address the cost of insurance, not to reform practice at the bar. Legal costs were a component of high insurance costs, yes, but the fact that there is less work in that sector for barristers doesn't improve competition at the bar or remove barriers to entry to practice. It's arguable, in fact, that it might make things worse. I don't think it does, and I agree with the thinking behind PIAB.

The point is, you yet again bring up a totally irrelevant point instead of addressing my points. And then I'm drawn into addressing it. But don't forget, I didn't bring it up.

Simon said...

Firstly just because you don't agree with someone does not give you the right to call them snobs. Considering that the greens and labour have the highest support amoungst the rich I could call them snobs but I don't because I respect that everyone has the right to support what ever party they wish.

The PIAB gives people an ability to get justice by an alterenative means. This to me is competion in the justice sector. Can you name a previous justice minister that has instituied a reform as major as this.

High is a realative measurement that can not be taken in isolation. So the measure realitive to the rest of Europe in my opinion is realivent. On the whether tax is high issues read Franks comments here
they make the arguement better then me.

copernicus said...

A snob is someone with an irrational distaste for something. You don't understand what the word means if you seek to equate it with the word "rich".

Again, PIAB is not a Justice initiative, it was an Department of Enterprise initiative to address the cost of insurance. It has no impact on the price of legal services or competition among lawyers. Why can't you accept that? This is an unbelievable waste of time. I thought you were a pretty reasonable fellow, but we are not even speaking the same language.

Simon said...

A snob is someone with an irrational distaste for something

So does that make you a snob for having an irrational distaste for PD supporters.

Department of Enterprise initiative to address the cost of insurance.
Fair enough Was it not introduced by Mary Harney of the PD's.

Considering that it solves claims without Solicitors and Barristers does not in fact mean that people have a choice in dealing with claims and not being forced into the arms of the solicitors.

This is an unbelievable waste of time.
At last we agree

copernicus said...

Er, no, I'm not a snob and I don't have an unreasonable dislike of PD supporters. You can't point to anything in my comments to suggest that I do. My criticisms of PD policy are entirely rational and I have set out my reasons. You've simply set out a series of angry reactions to my points. And if I think the way Mr. McDowell expresses himself appeals to people's inner snobs, I've backed up my argument with evidence.


Re PIAB, so what if Mary Harney is a PD? You brought it up and you were wrong to do so. It has nothing to do with Mr. McDowell's remit as Minister for Justice to address competition in legal services. As you point out yourself, legal services are no longer really required in personal injury claims. So by your own admission, solicitors and barristers have nothing to do with PIAB. So why oh why are you still banging on about it as part of competition among lawyers and as relevant to entry into the professions?

Basically, you've been responding to my comments by googling McDowell+law reform etc, and then presenting the resulting links as "proof" of his reforming zeal.

Well, unlike you I've actually read McDowell's speech on reform, the report of the Competition Authority, the submission of the Bar Council to the Oireachtas committee, and the response of the Bar Council to the Competition Authority report. And I can tell you categorically, that McDowell's reforms will be largely cosmetic.

Why not actually consider my points, rather than the fact that you're annoyed I'm making them?

Simon said...

Why not actually consider my points, rather than the fact that you're annoyed I'm making them?
I am considering your points and disagree with them. Can't you consider that instead of getting annoyed at me not sharing your dislike of all things McDowell by lumping them into terms like "upper middle class" as if that is a term of insult.

So you disagree with me I disagree with you we are never going to agree with each other. So this entire excersise is entirely fruitless.

copernicus said...

I'm not asking you to agree with me on liking or disliking McDowell - and I didn't express an opinion on his personality, only his policies. But I do ask that instead of continuing to berate me, you acknowledge that every point you brought up, I responded to with facts not simply charges that you were a snob. I never called you a snob I simply said that in my opinion a lot of what people revel in regarding Michael McDowell's perceived arrogance is an appeal to their inner snob.

I'm not so far removed from the upper middle classes myself and I can tell you that what passes for civilised discourse about women and the poor after a few drinks down the
rugby/golf club in south County Dublin certainly constitutes snobbery if not something a little worse.

I have no doubt that things are a lot more civilised after a Nenagh Ormonde game.

Anyway, we started with State capitalism and moved on to the PIAB - you were wrong and I was right. Everybody makes mistakes. I made one myself, and conceded the point. So which of us is being unreasonable?

Simon said...

I have no doubt that things are a lot more civilised after a Nenagh Ormonde game.
I wouldn't know as I am far removed from the upper middle class myself. I suppose I would be rural working class if you wanted to label me. But that is just stupid labeling people.

moved on to the PIAB I still don't conside your point on the PIAB while perphaps not brought in by McDowell policy it certainly was brought in by the PD's and it certainly did challange the socilitor monopoly on compo cases.

While you say that McDowell measures at the bar are quiet week. Could you name another minister that has brought any changes to the bar at all.

Copernicus said...

I can only repeat it once more - Yes, PIAB removes legal services from the equation. The effect of this is to reduce the cost of insurance. There is no effect on competition among barristers.

So what if no Minister has tackled the bar before? How does that have anything to do with my opinion of Mr. McDowell's policies and their effectiveness? I don't see the point in dealing in relativism. I'd rather address his policies on their own merits.

Again, I didn't label you or anyone else. If someone is middle-class, it's not a spurious label to identify that as their socio-economic context. And my reference to my own class was to support my reference to snobbery among certain people of that class. Why on earth would you take that as a slighting reference to your own background, which I have no idea about and made no reference to whatsoever?

The Nenagh Ormonde thing was supposed to be a slightly amusing reference to a north tipp rugby club - I thought you were from Tipp and might enjoy the idea of contrasting it with the south County Dublin mentality to which I was referring.

I may be way off base (and sorry if I am) but you seem to be making yourself bitter about my comments by seizing on notions you have about what I'm trying to say rather than what I am actually saying.

Tuathal said...

Woah. Things kinda exploded there. My original Top 6 was meant largely in jest, particularly the Simpsons reference. The post is a play on some of the perceptions of McDowell held by the public at large. The debate it has sparked is testament to the strong feelings on both sides held towards McDowell. Anyways Copernicus....

'So what if no Minister has tackled the bar before? How does that have anything to do with my opinion of Mr. McDowell's policies and their effectiveness? I don't see the point in dealing in relativism. I'd rather address his policies on their own merits.'

So whilst McDowell's policies might not be your cup of tea, you would agree that he is ,at least, one of the most reforming Minister for Justice we've ever had?

And as for calling people snobs, snobbery is more than just an 'irrational distaste' for something. Snobbery also includes an irrational belief that you or your opinions are better than someone elses simply because of who they are or where they come from.

Anyway, you seem to have an 'irrational distaste' or a very low opinion of career politicians ('never had a job'), barristers & pharmacists ('thanks mum and dad') and farmers ('where are my subsidies').

And thanks for giving Simon the benefit of the doubt:
'Basically, you've been responding to my comments by googling McDowell+law reform etc, and then presenting the resulting links as "proof" of his reforming zeal.

Well, unlike you I've actually read McDowell's speech on reform, the report of the Competition Authority, the submission of the Bar Council to the Oireachtas committee, and the response of the Bar Council to the Competition Authority report.'

Why not practice what you preach?

copernicus said...

My rundown of the PD CVs wasn't an example of my irrational distaste for career politicians, it is a relevant point in the argument about whether or not the PDs reputation as libertarian reformers has much in the way of credibility.

But if you think we should accept their bona fides without question, that's your business.

I did give Simon the benefit of the doubt. My point about having read those documents was that it put me in a position to state, without fear of contradiction (and it hasn't been contradicted) that Simon hadn't read them and had missed my point about "genuine" reform of uncompetitive practices. I don't understand why that can't be accepted as a fair point. An illustration of how off base Simon was on this one (and I like this site by the way and what goes on here) was his repeated, blinkered reference to the PIAB.

He only skimmed my comments. He can't have read them properly, to have kept raising arguments which had been logically disposed of as irrelevant. It's his prerogative not to read what I write, but it's a bit dispiriting to have to rebut the same wrong points over and over again.

And I think you guys are getting really fixated on the snobbery issue - probably as a way of rationalising your irritation of my point of view.

To wit, I am not a snob. I don't look down on anyone and I wouldn't characterise my opinions as superior, rather I would aver that my arguments have been based on and supported with reference to the facts at every turn.