Residents Parking Only June 27, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.
On some levels this is sort of entertaining.
Thing is that I know well the impulses in inner city communities to attempt to stymie out of area parking. As it happens there’s no parking spot outside where I live, nothing but double yellow lines, but some years ago some residents put up on the fence of the house I live in as well as all others along the terrace, Residents Parking Only. As I say, with double yellow lines the issue is sort of academic.
But the signs are entirely without legal backing, and given the proximity to Croke Park – which was the real driver of the push to put them up – somewhat pointless. Living that close to it the roads are filled with parked cars at weekends.
There are many possible responses to it (not least that the administration of Croke Park are remarkably ungenerous in allocating even the odd complimentary ticket to communities close enough to regularly feel the effects of their activities – those closer in get a better deal or so I believe), but in truth living in a city has certain costs as well as benefits, and this is one of them – if one chooses to see it that way.
Which isn’t to say that the responses aren’t sincere, or not deeply held – and strengthened on occasion by a sense of change where before there was relatively little or at least it felt controllable.
More similar, in a way, to the complaints in Belfast are out of area parking for those who work in local banks or shops. But… given that those people are generally working in the community or close enough to it, it’s hard to know what to do. Of course I’d prefer if they were cycling or taking public transport, but sometimes that’s not possible. Or to push and prod people towards that choice takes a considerable length of time and we’re talking years, not months.
So, even were I certain that what was being attempted in Belfast was a good idea, and I’m not, I’m pretty certain that it’s not going to work and that it may well be built on flawed assumptions. Perhaps not the best way to start a campaign.
Yeah, but what if that Irish Times poll wasn’t a rogue? June 27, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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Got to say, and this is simply a first impression, isn’t it remarkable, the latest poll where Fine Gael are up 3%, Labour on 27% and Fianna Fáil still becalmed on 24%. Fianna Fáíl on 24%.
But look, FG has had wall to wall coverage for two weeks and it’s just up 3%. And Labour is up five points.
Which makes one wonder, what would the poll rating be for Labour had the Bruton non-heave not occurred?
More on this during the week.
Another little ‘first’ June 26, 2010Posted by Tomboktu in Uncategorized.
Today, at the Dublin Pride parade, a gay Traveller group, LGBT Pavee, participated in the parade. It wasn’t mentioned at the party at the Civic Offices afterwards, but I think the development should not go un-noticed.
Political TV series… June 26, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, The Left.
…I’ve just finished watching the BBC’s State of Play, from the early 2000s and written by the writer of Cracker. Pretty fine, got to admit. Indeed, without giving the end away despite a slightly melodramatic tilt in the final episode there was a logic both personal and political to the conclusion.
But I was thinking, what other examples of good political television drama can people think of? Okay, as this list suggests… there’s West Wing, The Thick of It, The Wire, A Very British Coup, GBH, erm… please fire ahead with your suggestions…
This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… The Times June 26, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to..., Uncategorized.
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Here’s a funny one. Ed Ball and The Times, whose ‘Beat Torture’ from the late 1980s I still treasure for the astounding ‘Godevil’ song (which appeared on the near peerless ‘Doing it for the Kids’ Creation sampler). They wound up on Creation (why yes…), but their earlier more clearly mod influenced pop, indeed none more modder some might say, material from the early 1980s is something else again. Take ‘This is London’, from 1983. A great title song and the genially sarcastic ‘Whatever Happened to Thamesbeat?’ about one of those limited mod revivals that seem to come around every once in a while with it’s closing refrain of ‘powerpop… powerpop!’. And a snippet of Thames TV title music as well to start it off. What’s not to like? It’s all meant to be a concept album of sorts, and the track ‘This Green and Pleasant Land’ (unavailable on YouTube) is suitably elegiac. In it’s own odd way.
Ed Ball had been in the hit or miss Television Personalities, of whom I have a couple of albums on vinyl that I’ve never played that many times over the years. The Times were still gigging sort of a few years ago, and the magpie like shift from one style to another can be off-putting for some (check out their celebratory – ahem – ‘Manchester’ from 1990). Piss-taking, shambolic, amateurish, serious, parodic. I like it. Although I’ve always felt that they weren’t quite the same as say Half Man Half Biscuit, that the humour was a little more incidental. They’ve released an amazing number of albums subsequently to varying response all (barely) held together by Ball’s personal vision.
Red with Purple Flashes (the first TImes single)
This is London
Whatever happened to Thames Beat
I’ve thrown these in, although they’re not from the This Is London album but from an EP released the same year…
I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape (the Prisoner bits sounds like they redid them themselves which sounds odd now in age of sampling).
The Theme from Dangerman
And the enormously pisstaking (or is it too celebratory?) David Jones…
More austerity… June 25, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, European Politics.
At a news conference in Toronto, Barroso said Europe could no longer afford to borrow and spend and must repair its budgets in order to rebuild confidence for growth.
“It will not be a change overnight, but there is no more room for deficit spending,” he said.
The European central bank president, Jean-Claude Trichet, also dismissed the idea that budget cuts could undo the fragile economic recovery.
“The idea that austerity measures could trigger stagnation is incorrect,” he told the Italian La Repubblica newspaper, describing the German budget plans as “good”.
Well, we’d better hope he’s right. But note that this latest change of direction is explicitly political, not economic – since in large measure it is driven by the recent UK election.
The election of a British government supporting the new austerity mood inside the EU has decisively shifted the balance in the G20 towards greater action to cut deficits.
The departure of Gordon Brown – a leading advocate of last year’s worldwide fiscal stimulus – from these summits has left the US increasingly isolated, even if some claim the US attitude to deficit reduction is not vastly different to Europe’s in detail.
The US president, Barack Obama, is warning Europe that the US cannot be expected to pick up all the slack, and that “surplus countries” – frequently code for Germany and China – must find ways to stimulate growth and promote trade.
George Soros, the billionaire financier who famously “broke” the pound, has warned that German economic policy threatens to tear the eurozone apart, and said he could not rule out a collapse of the euro.
As the credit outlook of southern European high-deficit countries worsened, Soros said Berlin needed to switch its economic policy from deep austerity measures to a more pro-growth agenda. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced plans this month for €80bn (£66bn) in budget cuts.
Soros said: “German policy is becoming a danger for Europe, it could destroy the European project. Right now the Germans are dragging their neighbours into deflation, which threatens a long phase of stagnation. And that leads to nationalism, social unrest and xenophobia. Democracy itself could be at risk.”
Southern European countries are getting a tougher reception in markets, as investors fear that their ailing economies won’t generate enough growth to repay for their debts. Portugal yesterday sold five-year bonds worth €943m (£784m) with a yield of 4.6%, a big leap from the 3.7% paid in an recent May auction in May.
“The big difference is that the UK can set its own monetary policy and it also has the currency, which allows more freedom,” said Elisabeth Afseth, an analyst at Evolution Securities.
“The tightening of fiscal policy can be counteracted by weak or accommodative monetary policy going forward. The budget was a bit tougher than expected and it’s brought the rating agencies in favour.”
Now someone’s analysis has to be wrong. Is it that of the governments and right of centre parties who were cheerleaders for the light regulatory touch and fiscal approaches of the last decade and a half, or is it that of those, like Soros, who argued against precisely those approaches?
We know what the markets themselves think about the austerity regimes as they impact upon Europe.
This week at the Irish Election Literature Blog… June 25, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
AK notes that these are ‘not as old as some of last weeks offerings but some decent enough ones too. I particularly like the WCA and Coir ones! The Labour one is also good.’
Definitely good to see some WCA material in there. As always many thanks to AK for the opportunity to see some of the IELB archive.
From 2003 , a classic anti Fianna Fail poster from the group Working Class Action.
A suave, polo necked Eamon Gilmore running for Democratic Left in 1992.
A leaflet for Kathleen Lynch of The Workers Party running in 1987.
From 2005 The Socialist Partys ‘No To The Race To The Bottom’ Leaflet.
With all the talk of Labour being in government, from 1993 – Labour ‘Working Hard For You In Government’.
Finally from Lisbon 1 …..”A Godless Empire”.
Meanwhile back at the Seanad… June 25, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in back at the Seanad, Irish Politics.
Ah, another week of fun and frolics. What does the second chamber of our bicameral legislature offer us? Well, one Senator is very certain he knows what’s going on in Irish political polling and the masterminds behind the current chaos in our political parties of the centre right and if you want to know about that scroll right to the end.
Another, a friend of the Cedar Lounge Revolution, is attacked outside Leinster House while another unlikely individual calls for stimulus…
The IMF speaks… June 24, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
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The latest report is out from the IMF on our straits.
The Irish Times notes that:
Irish banks could provide support to struggling homeowners, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said today but warned weaker economic growth could hinder plans to reduce the country’s budget deficit.
It has now mentioned that some measures to help those in danger of defaulting of their mortgages are now appropriate…
Mindful of the moral hazard risks, narrowly-targeted support measures for vulnerable homeowners would limit the economic and social fallout of the crisis. With their bolstered capital, banks could absorb the initial costs, perhaps basing themselves on the welfare system to identify eligible beneficiaries. This process will be aided by an overdue shift to a more efficient and balanced personal insolvency regime.
However, the earlier point about weak growth impacting on deficit reduction is a bit confused. Let’s see what it says about these matters…
1. Through assertive steps to deal with the most potent sources of vulnerability, Irish policymakers have gained significant credibility. Measures to stabilize the banking sector and achieve substantial fiscal consolidation have demonstrated the authorities’ resolve to alleviate short-term risks while beginning to tackle their considerable long-term challenges. These actions have reassured the global policy community and international financial markets. Over the past months, Irish sovereign bond spreads have tended to rise significantly on the days of intensely adverse international market sentiment but otherwise Ireland has been accorded the space to pursue its planned policy trajectory.
2. Along the complex and long-haul path to normalcy, retaining policy credibility will require active risk management. The appropriately ambitious fiscal consolidation plan demands years of tight budgetary control. Likewise, the weaning of the banking sector from public support and its eventual return to good health will proceed at only a measured pace. In the interim, unforeseen fiscal demands may occur. In this context, at times heavily bunched banks’ funding needs and episodes of market volatility could generate unwelcome pressures and disruption. With limited fiscal resources for dealing with contingencies, maintaining a steady policy course will require mechanisms for oversight and transparency, and high-quality communication to minimize risks and sustain the political consensus and market confidence.
Hmmmm… so, keep on keeping on.
10. Looking ahead, substantial challenges remain. Following the already sizeable consolidation in 2009 and 2010, further consolidation measures, although not as large as that already achieved, of at least 4½ percent of GDP are required to reach the 2014 target. If GDP growth outcomes are weaker than those currently foreseen by the authorities—a clear possibility within the current range of scenarios—the additional effort needed may even be greater. Staying on target is critical to retain the hard-earned credibility. But the risk of “consolidation fatigue” and, hence, a fraying of the necessary social cohesion cannot be ruled out. For this reason, greater specificity on further proposed measures is necessary. Sustainable expenditure savings will be central, including through efficiencies in public services. Broadening the tax base for revenue enhancement will also be necessary.
When I first read the IT report I interpreted it as suggesting that due to lower than expected growth fiscal consolidation wouldn’t be feasible at the planned level. But reading the above what the IMF appears to be saying is that weaker growth shouldn’t be allowed to block further consolidation measures, even in the face of ‘consolidation fatigue’.
I wonder how [or if] that will work.
Reassessing Reagan… June 24, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in International Politics, US Politics.
This piece in Foreign Policy considers the foreign policy (natch) legacy of Ronald Reagan and how some of his contemporary admirers tend to misinterpret that legacy (by the by Reagan provides a most intriguing political personality for study). It’s positioned within global realpolitic, and therefore glosses over the appalling contradictions of US policy during that period – particularly in South and Central America, but it’s useful nonetheless.
Incidentally, an excellent analysis in the final paragraphs of some more recent issues…
In that regard, it is not jihadi fanaticism that has taken the Kremlin’s place. After all, even in the Muslim world, barely anyone really believes that al Qaeda, the Taliban, or Iran’s ruling clerics can build a society prosperous and stable enough to challenge the West. The better analogue is China’s 21st-century authoritarian capitalism, which has built a record of political stability and economic dynamism that has captured the imagination of people (and governments) throughout the developing world.
Mind you, this piece isn’t much cop, listing the 24 ‘Worst of the Worst’ ‘bad dude dictators and general coconut heads’.
My hackles always rise when I see Chavez included in that sort of a list, because that state doesn’t seem to me to be a dictatorship in any meaningful sense of the word. And then there are what one would consider outright errors of fact – as noted in the comments the Iranian political structure is rather more complex a political animal than the term ‘dictatorship’ would imply. But as interesting are the names not listed. Can you guess which states they might be?