Comedian and satirist Morgan Jones is calling on people to join him in a silent protest outside Leinster House midday next Thursday, the day of the Donegal Southwest byelection.
Morgan C Jones is one half of Carmody and Jones, and one sixth of the Emergency, a satirical comedy cabaret known for their work on the show of the same name by independent radio station Newstalk, and with the Leviathan political cabaret.
Jones first decided he would stage a silent protest last week, and has urged his twitter followers to come along too.
“I’m as pissed off as everybody else,” he said. “Next Thursday there’s the byelection in Donegal Southwest, and it would be nice to able to voice one’s vote.
“So I just want to stand outside the Dáil for a couple of hours, waving a placard saying ‘You’re Fired’.
“Anyone else who wants to come along with their own placard is welcome to do so.”
In addition to his professional work, Jones last month put a mash-up video on youtube, in which he discovered his local TD (and former taoiseach) Bertie Ahern living in his kitchen cupboard [see end of article].
“My wife was unimpressed. What’s the first thing she said to me when I showed her? ‘Oh my God, the kitchen looks terrible’,” he laughed. “So I’ve actually just spent the morning painting here.”
Rebirth of a Nation Rally
“You can start all the facebook groups you want but I wanted to do something more. So I’m just going to stand outside the Dáil. I don’t are how cold it is.
“We need a Rebirth of the Nation Rally. A call for a Second Republic. Even if sometimes it looks as if it’s going to be the Unwilling Caesarian of the Second Republic.
“It’s not political. No riots, no throwing fire extinguishers, just stand there,” he explains. “There is nothing scarier in an argument than being met with total silence. Stand up and be counted, literally.”
“I’d like it to be like John Wyndham’s Midwitch Cuckoos,” Jones adds. “I’d like it to see hundreds of people just standing there, and they can hear us all breathing. That would be marvellous.”
“Everyone is welcome to come along on Thursday and get quietly righteous.”
Ireland doesn’t do mass protests, so I asked Jones if he was inspired by Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity in Washington DC.
“I wasn’t thinking of it from that point of view, but it is very much a pissed off angry citizen approach,” he said. “I’ve gone on a lot of the marches, you wind up going on these demos. But it’s quite dispiriting after a while. There’s an awful lot of activists. I would tend to vote very far left, but I’m not a joiner, I’m not a member of any political party or any organisation.
“I am by birth an Irish citizen, and I’m just really pissed off with the way they’re doing things, our government.
“It’s not down to the opposition being toothless. They were made toothless by our system, over the past ten years in particular.
“But we’ve been let down massively by our elected representatives.
“How long does it take before somebody stands up and says, Hang on, you’re cheating with this game of Monopoly?
“The government has not had a mandate for a long time. The game has completely changed. They don’t have the authority, will, or ability to see us through this. It’s the worst of crony capitalism still being played out in front of us. Where’s the just outrage?”
The Emergency is currently on hiatus. There are six members in the group, and each works on individual projects between Emergency sessions.
“We’re working on a musical and more live sketch shows for next year,” Jones says. “Meanwhile myself and Dermot (Carmody) are still plugging away as Carmody and Jones.
However, he is keen to emphasise that the protest is simply an expression of his own personal need to say “Stop”, and not part of the Emergency.
“It’s awful when you think about it for everybody’s kids,” he concludes. (He is a father of six children, aged from five to 22). “At least at our age we saw the good times, even if we are going to be paying through the teeth for it for years to come. But the next generation, what are they being born into? ‘Hurry up and bugger off’?”
[UPDATE #1: Saturday 20 November, Morgan Jones chose the hashtag #YoureFFired to mark twitter conversations about his planned silent protest.]
[UPDATE #2: Tuesday 23 November, The Irish Times picked up on this story, first reported by Newswhip.]