Author: Brian Smyth

The Temptation and Corruption of Power

Trump orders Bombing of Syrian Airbase. Last Thursday night, between six and 20 people at or close to the Shayrat airbase in Syria were killed by a US Tomahawk missile. Before you dismiss this piece of news and justify the deaths of THESE people  by reference to the alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government which, Western media claim killed 89 lives in the Syrian town of Kahn Sheihoun, let’s give a minute to these six or  20 unknown people.  We have seen no photographs at all of these people compared to the deluge of pictures of people in...

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Bus Strikes – Symptoms of a Bigger Problem and even Bigger Opportunity

Bus Strike in 10th Day As many will be aware, we currently have a bus strike in Ireland affecting rural and intercity travel. It is over cost-saving measures that the semi-state Company, Bus Eireann, claim are necessary for the survival of the company. You might think that it should be possible and relatively easy to establish just how serious the situation is, get common agreement with this and then work collectively and collaboratively to come up with a solution. Part of the reason why this is not so easy, and why this does not happen, is that the situation...

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Portuguese Drivers and the Power of Not Knowing

Not knowing can be very Powerful Many years ago I got a lesson on how to manipulate roundabouts in Lisbon, Portugal. My companion told me that Portuguese men can be the nicest and mildest of people, but not when they have a steering wheel in their hands and a car in their control.. He had noticed that I was unable to make any progress in getting into traffic on a roundabout and, he was right, in theory I could have been there forever. “What you have to do,” he told me “is to see the other person on the...

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Involvement, Democracy and the Good

Reagan, Bush and Worse! These three, Involvement, Democracy and the Good,  may seem strange bedfellows! We may be all for involvement – or believe we are – and may also wholeheartedly endorse democracy. Fine so far, but what about the Good? How can we wholeheartedly endorse a system, Democracy, which gives us Ronald Reagan and George W Bush as the leaders of a nation of 300 million people, among whom are the most outstanding in the world in various fields? Is that the best ‘democracy, the system can give us? Have I omitted anybody from the list of strange...

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Trust, Transparency and Truth

“Liars” When I was the manager of a General Motors Plant in Ireland some years ago, my management team and I were often accused by our workforce of being dishonest, of telling lies. And, of course, they had no shortage of examples where they claimed to have caught us out.  There would be some plan or direction – always a negative one, – that they would have asked us about which we would have dismissed or denied but which subsequently turned out to be true.  “What did I tell you?” They would gloat when a rumour that had been...

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