> You're probably right though I've definitely heard it in a British context. Can't remember who was saying it, though.
I've heard it in a Scottish context all right. But then most of the Scots I know would be Catholics, and most Scottish Catholics go to Catholic schools, so ...
I definitely don't remember ever hearing it in an English context - to the contrary, the Sasannachs I have discussed it with have usually said they find the Irish (and right-wing American) controversy over the procedure utterly baffling.
> She was directed to the offices of a group called Life who gave her a pregnancy test. When I heard the name alarm bells started ringing in my head and I insisted on accompanying her.
Well, at least their name makes it clear what they're all about. Down here we're dealing with an agency that lists itself in the Golden Pages under various names including "A Choice for Women" and "British Alternatives", lists phantom associated offices in London, Liverpool and Manchester, and generally presents itself as an abortion referral service. Of course once they've got a woman in their offices the horror videos come out.
> I'm not that bothered about them not legislating given that I disgaree with the vast majority of the laws they pass - in fact, I'm in favour of less laws, not more
Hmm. I can see that when it comes to regulating individuals' activities, but I can't see how anyone on the left can argue that fewer laws are needed to regulate businesses, corporate bodies and the like. Most of what's wrong with this country can be directly linked to the carte blanche given them by the government over the years.
> The fairly large amount of independents in the Dáil is also instructive. What can these people offer except the promise to divert more cash to their constituencies?
Well, you could probably say the same about most of the smaller parties, couldn't you? But I think it's important not to tar all independents with the same brush. You have your Jackie Healy Raes, of course, but you also have people like Joe Higgins (effectively an independent in the last Dáil, although probably not the next) and Catherine Murphy - who I'm sure do as much constituency work as the Healy Raes but also manage to consistently raise issues of national importance.
Heard an interesting anecdote yesterday which neatly illustrates the extent of clientelism's grip here. A guy I know told me he knocked on a door seeking a vote for his candidate. The homeowner said that the candidate had been around a few months earlier and he had pointed out a part of his house that needed work. She went away, wrote to the Council and they came out to do the work. But they did a terrible job - so he won't vote for her. Hopeless, isn't it?
> He said that they intimidated witnesses etc. which may well be the case but I was labouring under the illusion that you were supposed to back up comments like that with evidence, not just announce them to a pack of cut-price journalists.
There was the whole Frank Connolly thing too. And then the Government has the gall to complain about links from the Moriarty Tribunal. But then nobody ever said politicians weren't supposed to be hypocrites.
> I think FF's republcianism, tokenistic as it was, was a poor vehicle to begin with but now... For one reason or another I find myself talking to a lot of people who plan to vote Fine Gael or Green party. I must be the only person who think that'll be even worse.
I don't really think it makes that much of a difference. A Fine Gael victory would at least have the effect of giving FF a kick up the arse, although it would probably form such a hopeless government that FF would come back with a huge victory and then repeat it in every election for the next 20 years ... all over again.
> > Erm, isn't that what I just said? :)
> Yes, but I mean generally, not just here.
Well that's the context I said it in (in response to your comments about Bill Clinton etc).