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What you want to say – 4th June 2014 June 4, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

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1. Michael Carley - June 4, 2014

Daniel Finn of the New Left Review on the present state of affairs: http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2014/06/04/daniel-finn/the-centre-will-probably-hold/

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CL - June 4, 2014

Finn quotes John Bruton saying that “Ireland will have to endure another ten years of austerity” and that this probably “has more substance behind it than all the talk of green shoots and corners being turned.”-Bruton’s position would seem to contradict what the ESRI, IBEC,-..and Joan Burton are saying about austerity. Or does it?

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CMK - June 4, 2014

No. Bruton is being honest. The European Commission’s first recommendation in their recent report is to stick with the 2bn in cuts and taxes in October and then keep going with cuts of at least 0.5% per year and more if possible. This would be in the region of 700 million plus per year. And we have to get the deficit down from 3% to .5%, as Finn notes, over the next 4-5 years. With job growth shuddering to a halt and economic growth overall very sluggish, that’ll mean a lot more pain. Handily for the European Commission, Sinn Fein will implement these cuts as efficiently as Labour and Fine Gael. The political consequences of this will be interesting to see……

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CL - June 4, 2014

Yes, but a lot depends on the assumed rate of growth.
“Although the commission argues that a big reduction in the €2 billion would jeopardise the glittering prize of a sub-3 per cent deficit and economic growth at 3 per cent, the elections have put the frighteners on both Government parties.” (And note the implicit assumption here that reducing the deficit is good for growth)

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/political-challenge-as-brussels-warns-against-change-of-strategy-1.1819425?page=2

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CMK - June 4, 2014

3% growth this year? That won’t happen. I would say that breaking 1% this year would be the best that can be done. It’ll likely be less than that. The austerity death spiral continues.

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CL - June 4, 2014

Yeah, its difficult to see where the growth is going to come from. Burton seems to be basing her stance on ESRI growth projections, an outfit with a poor forecasting record.

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RosencrantzisDead - June 4, 2014

Following from a stray comment in the Finn piece, we should start imposing a duty on anyone who wants to quote Yeats. Given the amount of times someone in the IT or RTE or the comments section of a website has uttered ‘a terrible beauty is born’, we could have that deficit paid off in jig time. (I will be happy to make the first contribution).

It will have the added benefit of discouraging some from turning poetry into cliche.

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2. Ramzi Nohra - June 4, 2014

Hello All
I thought some here may be interested in this article, an interview with one of the ex-members of the Angry Brigade:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/03/angry-brigade-prison-bombings-john-barker

(he has a novel out)

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CMK - June 4, 2014

Just read it; very interesting.

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3. CMK - June 4, 2014

An interesting blog post about the discovery of nearly 800 children’s bodies at the Bon Secour home in Tuam. The last sentence is chilling. How many more of these institutions have similar secret mass graves? Finished reading Ferriter’s ‘Occasions of Sin’ recently and am giving his ‘Ambiguous Republic’ a go now; but I get the feeling from him, as the establishment historian of the day, that while he wants to dig deeper than others, he doesn’t want to dig too deep or analyse too closely the structures of this ‘Republic’ from 1922. It’ll be interesting to see how the Church pushes back on this revelation. Interesting, too, to note, as several others have, that the Bon Secours order are the biggest providers of private healthcare in Ireland, running four, for profit, hospitals.

View profile at Medium.com

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Gewerkschaftler - June 4, 2014

Pushing back ineptly so far:

Father Fintan Monaghan, secretary of the Tuam archediocese, says: “I suppose we can’t really judge the past from our point of view, from our lens. All we can do is mark it appropriately and make sure there is a suitable place here where people can come and remember the babies that died.”

It’s strange how you think you’ve become innured to more revelations about the role of the Catholic Church in the abuse of women, children and the poor in general, and then some detail knocks the breath out of you once again.

Septic tank, indeed.

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CMK - June 4, 2014

Someone had to open the lid of that sceptic tank 796 times over 25 years……

This one won’t go away I suspect. The only decent thing to do is to re-inter the bodies in a more respectful manner, which will, of necessity, require more investigations into how they ended up there is in first place. Coroners records, medical records, death certificates? Where are they? Do they exist at all? If not, why not? These questions have to lead to an inquiry.

I suspect the State knows this is a catastrophic s**t-storm as there are almost certainly other mass graves out there, in addition to the ones we know.

Yes, the church’s reaction so far has been unbelievably disgraceful.

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CL - June 4, 2014

An extraordinarily high death rate. The demand must be for an inquiry to see if the criminal law was violated. There is no statute of limitations on murder. This horror story is now gaining some traction internationally. Maybe international pressure will develop to force the state to take appropriate action.

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CL - June 4, 2014

“According to Corless, death rates for children in the Tuam mother and baby home, and in similar institutions, were four to five times that of the general population. A health board report from 1944 on the Tuam home describes emaciated, potbellied children, mentally unwell mothers and appalling overcrowding.”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/04/children-galway-mass-graves-ireland-catholic-church

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ejh - June 4, 2014

Would it be possible to start a separate thread for Tuam? It’s really of enormous importance.

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WorldbyStorm - June 4, 2014

Yes, I think you’re absolutely right ejh. The phrase ‘beyond belief’ is often bandied around but what is being revealed…

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4. lcox - June 4, 2014

The latest issue of Interface: a journal for and about social movements is now up, slightly belatedly. This issue focussing on movement pedagogies. http://interfacejournal.net

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5. Gewerkschaftler - June 4, 2014

If you haven’t read Flash Boys – about the significance of algorithmic trading on the financial markets, then John Lanchester’s review here is a good summary of parts of it.

John has interesting things to say about regulation and complexity as market opportunities:

This is part of a consistent pattern in the modern world of finance, whereby legislation introduces complexity, and complexity offers the chance of profit-making. If you have super-smart people who have powerful incentives to spend all day every day working out ways to game the system, the system is going to be gamed. Lewis has a theory about why so many of the backroom wizards behind HFT are Russian: ‘The Soviet-controlled economy was horrible and complicated and also riddled with loopholes,’ he writes. ‘Everything was scarce; everything was also gettable, if you knew how to get it.’

Why chimes with a bee I’ve had in my bonnet for some time, namely that a marker of real reform or change is that comes with a reduction in complexity. And that is something that the left should take on as a virtue, principle and selling point.

Only the rich can afford lawyers, managers and technicians to exploit the level of complexity that pertains in oligarchic suicidal capitalism. Simplified, exceptionless taxation or universal entitlements to social benefits etc. are all examples of complexity reduction which benefit the citizenry at the expense of complexity parasites – i.e. lawyers, accountants and the rich that they serve.

Most of the actually existing finance sector is not regulatable – we should be looking to abolish it rather than trying to tax and regulate it.

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6. sonofstan - June 4, 2014

‘ [Prosperity being taken for granted]We should not now judge a Labour government’s performance primarily by its record in the economic field. Personal freedom, happiness, and cultural endeavour should be the goals, the cultivation of leisure, beauty, grace, gaiety, excitement, and of all the proper pursuits, whether elevated, vulgar or eccentric, which contribute to the varied fabric of a full private and family life…. we do not want to enter an age of abundance, only to find we have lost the values which might teach us to enjoy it”

Tony Crosland in 1956. Can you imagine a politician of any stripe being able to say anything like that now?

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Michael Carley - June 4, 2014

And Crosland was on the right.

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sonofstan - June 4, 2014

Exactly. Quoted in a review of a biog of Roy Jenkins in the same issue of the LRB referenced above, I should have said. Even Woy comes across as a dangerous radical compared to NuOldLabour

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Michael Carley - June 4, 2014

A bit like the way the party has slid under Roy Hattersley who is now a swivel-eyed Bolshevik by their standards.

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WorldbyStorm - June 4, 2014

Crosland just looks better and better in retrospect.

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ejh - June 4, 2014

Oh yes. I mean not least because Crosland wasn’t empty, he wasn’t a party machine man like the newer brred of Labour rightwngers.

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Pasionario - June 5, 2014

I’m reading the Jenkins bio. at the moment and find it fascinating. The author, John Campbell, is obviously very sympathetic to Jenkins but sets all that out very clearly from the first pages so it doesn’t get in the way of what is a thorough account of the man and his times.

What strikes me in the early chapters is how exciting it must have been to be involved in the Labour Party during the post-45 years. There was an enormous sense of optimism and potential, even after the disappointment of defeat in 1951, coursing through the movement which is exemplified by Crosland’s rhapsodies about leisure, beauty, grace, and gaiety. Note the title: The Future of Socialism. This was when the future was still something inherently filled with promise!

The calibre of the participants, no matter where they sat within the party in ideological terms, puts the current bunch of empty suits to shame. Bevan, Jenkins, Crosland, Crossmann, Foot, Castle, to name just a few — they all had what Healey called “hinterland” and were actually interested and knowledgeable about things outside politics. They came from a variety of backgrounds too — from grandees like Foot to miners’ sons like Jenkins (though his father was a prominent union official by the time he was born, later an MP). Interestingly, those from working-class backgrounds often seem to have gravitated towards the right of the party — George Brown, being a case in point.

And though Crosland et al. were classed as being on the right of the party, they were still well to the left of the Labour leadership from any time post-1983 and put equality at the centre of their thinking in a way which would now be almost inconceivable. On a good day, Crosland and Jenkins would argue in favour of confiscatory wealth taxes and the abolition of public schools.

Jenkins moved steadily towards the centre but Crosland retained a socialist core which he displayed to considerable effect during the debates on the IMF loan in 76 when he came close to defeating Healey’s proposals in cabinet.

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WorldbyStorm - June 5, 2014

Great outline Pasionario. It’s remarkable how socialist they almost all were. It genuinely informed their thinking. As you say there’s nothing like it post 1983.

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Liberius - June 4, 2014

…the cultivation of leisure, beauty, grace, gaiety, excitement…

Is it my imagination or did Blair and his government take that a but literally with all the art galleries etc. that were built in the UK during his reign? Who needs a home when you’ve got the Imperial War Museum x2, so to speak?

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WorldbyStorm - June 4, 2014

Free in though, or is it my imagination that that happened on Labour’s watch? Not dismissingyour point at all, and granted on a tangent but free access to museums is a progressive position.

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Liberius - June 4, 2014

It is of course great that people have the chance to experience history and art without cost(though I’m not sure if the art is free, could someone actually in the UK comment on that?), though I’d still see it as being a sort Reithian take on bread and circuses. Might have helped Labour more if they’d left Reith out of it…

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WorldbyStorm - June 4, 2014

Some art, not all, though I’m open to correction. It is Reithian in a way, but… in very centralised societies it’s probably as good as it gets. Though I do think the idea of splitting museums and having non London based one’s is a great idea.

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Michael Carley - June 4, 2014

I was in Manchester at the weekend: the Imperial War Museum and the People’s History Museum have slightly different takes on the First World War.

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WorldbyStorm - June 4, 2014

I’ll bet!

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Michael Carley - June 4, 2014

PHM looked at the role of the labour movement, and mentioned women being obliged to give up their jobs to men returning from the war.

http://www.phm.org.uk/whatson/a-land-fit-for-heroes-war-and-the-working-class-1914-1918/

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sonofstan - June 4, 2014

@Liberius et al – it does sound a bit Reithian but don’t miss the next line:

all the proper pursuits, whether elevated, vulgar or eccentric,

It was just as much a swipe at Fabian austerity and high seriousness..

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sonofstan - June 4, 2014

As in personally austere habits, not ‘austerity’ in either its post -war or current incarnations…

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7. Doug - June 4, 2014
Gewerkschaftler - June 5, 2014

Ach well – that comes as no great surprise.

But it’s worth reading the statement (scroll down) to find out where the KKE is coming from.

Among other things they don’t like European Left’s attempts to work with the Greens on certain issues.

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8. Gewerkschaftler - June 5, 2014

So now the European Central Bank (and the deflating European economy generally) is so disfunctional, that it has to pay people to borrow from it.

Fascinating also to see the programmed trading kick in on the money markets – every blip is accentuated and spikey. See above.

And every other measure like LTRO will feed only the (insolvent) banks, and have precisely no effect other than to prop them up. But then from Draghi’s POV nothing else matters.

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CL - June 5, 2014

Negatative interest rates. The ECB trying to induce borrowing. But this is pushing on a string. Where budget deficits are being reduced and demand is being suppressed this is unlikely to work.

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Gewerkschaftler - June 5, 2014

Where “unlikely to work” can take all probabilistic values up to and including “has a snowball’s chance of working”. :-)

Even the makey-uppey future inflation rates Draghi is touting are very low, even after after this mighty reflationary engine gets rolling.

But then his class are happy with stagnation so long as the wealth transfer continues in their direction.

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CL - June 5, 2014

Well, they’ve outlawed Keynes (‘they’ being Merkel, Olli Rehn, ECB, etc), not realizing that Keynes objective was to save capitalism. Hayek has triumphed. The contradictions are being accentuated.

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Gewerkschaftler - June 5, 2014

Speaking of Merkel, this rate is there for the foreseeable, and should serve to erode the CDU/SPD’s support among their electorate of compulsive savers.

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fergal - June 5, 2014

How are they paying people to borrow form the Central Bank? Is it not a negative interest rate making overnight lenders to the ECB pay to park their cash in frankfurt?

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9. fergal - June 5, 2014

The above is for Gewerk at 8 above!

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10. doctorfive - June 5, 2014
11. Liberius - June 5, 2014

For anyone for has an interest I’ve started writing up some posts looking at the results of the euros Europe-wide. This post covers Austria, Belgium and Croatia with more to follow in the coming days and weeks.

http://sevenherring.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/european-parliament-election-2014-post-mortem-part-1/

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12. WorldbyStorm - June 5, 2014

Both of those are fantastic doctorfive and Liberius. Will link in individual posts to them.

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13. Tomboktu - June 8, 2014

Piketty in Croke Park later this month.

http://www.tasc.ie/news/2014/06/04/tasc-to-outline-proposals-for-tackling-economic-in/

TASC has Patrick Honohan giving the response. <we_need_a_scratching_head_smiley>

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14. Tomboktu - June 8, 2014

I hope the Green Party candidate in Ballybay-Clones lives in a very small household. She got two votes.

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WorldbyStorm - June 8, 2014

:)

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Clive Sullish - June 9, 2014

Maybe the dynamics in that Green household in Monaghan are similar to those in my own family. Anyway there’s a story about my grand uncle who was co opted onto the county council when a Fianna Fail TD with whom he was associated was appointed a parliamentary secretary. Evidently, he neglected the farm and when the next council elections came round, my grand aunt sent the kids out to canvass: “Mammy said don’t vote for Daddy!”

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15. Liberius - June 9, 2014

The second party of my series on the European elections for anyone that’s interested. This one covers Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Denmark.

http://sevenherring.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/european-parliament-election-2014-post-mortem-part-2/

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16. Joe - June 9, 2014

Isn’t it wonderful that democracy has returned to Egypt? The new President was democratically elected over the weekend. He’s a military general but he has promised to restore full democracy in about 4 years. He took over from that nasty Muslim chap who ran the country before him but made a mess of it. The new man has had to bring in some tough laws to deal with protesters and that kind of thing but most people welcome his election because the country needs a strong leader and some stability.
It was on RTÉ and in all the papers.

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17. ivorthorne - June 10, 2014

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/no-evidence-to-support-claims-gsoc-offices-were-bugged-report-1.1827115

Hmmmm. The devil will be in the detail.

Always skeptical when these things are leaked early to tame journalists like Collins.

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WorldbyStorm - June 10, 2014

Entirely agree.

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