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Mass Picket Against Strike Breaking At Greyhound Recycling, Monday Morning, Aug 25, 9 am August 24, 2014

Posted by guestposter in Economy, The Left.

Greyhound Recycling, Crag Avenue, Off Station Road, Clondalkin Industrial Estate, Clondalkin, Dublin

That new flexible economy… August 24, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy.
1 comment so far

…for a vision of a world without unions, without labour power, without any real check on employers, bar the intermittent focus of the news media, check out this story here from the New York Times about how employees in Starbucks have to work to schedules that suit the company but are profoundly destructive of their wellbeing, in all respects.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week August 24, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.

Thankfully, I don’t have time to do this properly this week, but there’s probably no need to look beyond this from a highly predictable source anyway, which is remarkably stupid for so many different reasons.

But there the comparison ends. Southern Protestant numbers have stabilised. The community will not cease to exist except by its own choice. But for the past 25 years, European Jews have faced a third threat from Muslim immigrants whose anti-Israeli anger has aroused dormant anti- Jewish prejudices across Europe.

As a result, the one million descendants of the Jews who somehow survived Hitler’s plan to make Europe “Judenfrei”, free of Jews, no longer feel welcome or safe. The largest number, nearly 80pc, live in France Their numbers are dropping fast, from 535,000 in 1980 to some 500,000 in just two decades, and that decrease is being accelerated by events like the Toulouse murder of a Rabbi and his three children.

Many observers believe Europe may be effectively empty of Jews by the end of this century. French Jews are already emigrating in significant numbers, prodded by Muslim hostility and the feeling of exclusion prompted by the current campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) which is now gaining strength in Ireland.

Albert Reynolds… August 24, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

Not sure why, perhaps it’s age, but the death of Albert Reynolds really brings back that strange period of the early 1990s – not a time I ever thought I’d be that nostalgic about. Things were really beginning to change – for better and for worse, though definitely for the better in relation to the North. And I’d have to admit a certain admiration for the man. I was only very slightly surprised to realise he’d only been Taoiseach for three years. I’d have thought it was four or five, but there one has it.

This isn’t an unconflicted history – the legacy of the X case in particular remains with us and it remains chilling to think of a young woman being forced to stay in the country by the state, of which he was Taoiseach. There was the Beef Tribunal, and a curious lack of ability to keep his governments on the road at crucial junctures. But there were socially reforming aspects to his governments, not least as noted earlier, in relation to lgbt rights.

Perhaps it was that Reynolds was – even factoring in his being an FF politician, clearly a sensible, quite unassuming and in many respects decent person who achieved some really quite remarkable things in retrospect (SonofStan compares him to Major, another not dissimilar politician – and there’s definitely something in that, truth is either of them could quite happily have been in any party of the centre left with, one suspects, little real problem. That’s far from unproblematic, the term ‘pragmatism’ is far too often a short-hand for cleaving to the orthodoxy. But both were in some ways oddly unpragmatic and willing to bend that orthodoxy, at least in relation to the North).

Also noted in comments is the fact that he left a paid pensionable job to go into promotion and management in the show band scene (and as noted in comments and in this fairly sympathetic piece by Stephen Collins, interesting to reflect upon the sort of snobbery that sometimes evinced amongst the great and good in political commentary at the time and after, as well as his financial interests in petfood which appears to have been regarded as almost beyond belief – though there was also a similar enough sort of snobbery over his assertion he was a one-page man in meetings, to which perhaps a lot of us who’ve sat through interminable political and business meetings, more power to him). I find that particularly admirable. I wouldn’t want to overstate it, but that impulse to go in a radically different direction perhaps hints in a weird way that far from Reynolds being cut from, say, the same cloth as a Haughey (a man with an almost stratospheric level of pretension and old fashioned self-regard as well as a truly strange almost 19th century concept of himself as a political figure) he was by contrast perhaps representative of a somewhat more modern, if not necessarily contemporary, Ireland.

Video East Wall public meeting – The lockout of Greyhound workers August 23, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Beneath the waterline…and taking the long view August 23, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Entertaining piece in the Guardian on iceberg homes, where people (in London) dig down to do basement extensions rather than out or back. According to it there’s an urban myth doing the rounds about JCBs that have fallen into excavations for such basements and been unable to get out and therefore have been covered up, only to be discovered subsequently by others attempting to do similar conversions. Yeah. Well.

By the by it’s not cheap and I seem to recall hearing that in large parts of Dublin its next to impossible due to potential flooding.

Still, I quite like what one individual who had precisely this sort of conversion done suggested:

“I think one thing is for certain,” says Hogarth. “Grass will one day grow through our motorways. We’re just passing through, and it will all become like a Mayan ruin.”

Well, that’s alright then… August 23, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

…reading the latest good news report on the economy – it’s all about consumer spending, or perhaps from their perspective more importantly consumer sentiment, this time from Investec, about how all is getting better I was struck in particular by the following:

The country’s unemployment rate of 11.5% is back in line with the euro zone average for the first time since October 2008 and the positive trends are set to continue, the stockbrokers added.

Fantastic… but hold on, we might be shuffling back to euro zone ‘averages’ but what is the level of those averages compared to 2008 – and all that before we even begin to unpack how that figure is arrived at and whether it actually masks significantly greater unemployment levels…

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Music from ‘Grease’ August 23, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

A few weekends ago there was an Outdoor Cinema put on by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in Marlay Park. I was given a choice …….. “Dirty Dancing” on the Saturday night or “Grease” on the Sunday night. I opted for “Grease”.
I came home from The Limerick Kilkenny match in Croke Park, dried out a bit and off the family plus German exchange student went. The ground was sodden in places but armed with rain gear a groundsheet , an umbrella and some shopping bags , a flask and picnic we found a spot. I was surprised at the amount of equipment some people had brought along, fold up chairs, tents, tents open on one side, big thick plastic sheets to make bivouacs and lots more besides. The best one I saw was a crowd who on arrival each got into a big black bin bag, sat on the ground and then covered themselves in a tarpaulin.
I’d seen ‘Grease’ performed as a school musical before but as the movie came on I realised that I’d never seen the movie before. I would have been too young at the time and my older sister would have seen it in the Cinema or in the school hall where they showed year old films on Friday afternoons. I saw some great films in the school hall over the years …. and “Abba The Movie” !!
The music in ‘Grease’ was good and Travolta could really move. “Summer NIghts” and “You’re the one that I want” (which as 8 and 9 year olds myself and my brother though went ‘you’re the wibbleawong’ ) which was number 1 in the charts for an eternity. It was also one of the first videos on Top of The Pops.
I hadn’t realised either that Stockard Channing was in the movie.

Irregulars… A free e-book on the 1950s and 1960s that may be of interest… August 22, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…to many of us here, with some familiar names and organisations in what includes an unusual history of the 1960s and on. The self-proclaimed Hungry Brigade Collective who produced it went to a lot of trouble.

The Sixties, very roughly the period between the end of the 1956 – 62 Campaign (waged by the IRA and Saor Ulaidh) and the intensification of the Provisionals’ War in Northern Ireland in the early seventies, was an irregular period in Irish political life.

This irregular period was, irregularly, a time when all the categories of Irish politics, from the nation to the polity, from Hibernianism to Republicanism, from Socialism to Unionism were actively thought about and fought over, in the streets and the pubs of Ireland, and in the dreams of Irishmen and Irishwomen.

That is the background to the stories contained in this book, which attempt to show how the irregularity of those times was answered in the name of the poor and the powerless and the rights of the people of Ireland by a group of men of no property and no name, or of many names:—the IRREGULARS.

Wage disparities… August 22, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Culture, Economy, Irish Politics.

The link to the Guardian below is no longer live, here’s more on the general topic.

The piece in the Guardian this week on high pay is very disturbing. Note that it makes the point that the bosses of the 100 biggest listed companies in the UK are making not, five, not ten, not twenty, not thirty, not forty, not fifty, not sixty, not seventy, not ninety times more than their workers, but on average 143 times as much. And the figures reveal not just a disparity in the UK but also globally that should be deeply thought-provoking – for example ‘The pay gap is widest at Rangold Resources, where boss Mark Bristow was paid £4.4m last year, nearly 1,500 times that of his average employee, many of whom work in the company’s African mines’.

Even within the UK the figures are stunning in terms of pointing to the disparities…

WPP founder, Sir Martin Sorrell, received nearly £30m last year, 780 times the £38,000 earned by his average worker. At Next, Lord Wolfson received £4.6m, while his staff, most of whom work on the shop floor, typically took home £10,000 – about 459 times less than their boss. The disparity at Next would have been greater had Wolfson not chosen to waive a £3.8m bonus and share the sum among the company’s 20,000 staff.

780 times? 459 times? This is quite insane. And to what purpose? Here is the emergence not of the super rich, but the hyper rich. As always the dangers of untrammelled wealth and power and their distorting effect upon polities are all too evident (and in a sense that Bruton speech in NYC last year pointed that up – how glibly dismissive about the lives of others those there were, both explicitly and implicitly). Though even in the context of reformism something can be done.

…campaigners are demanding more radical measures to tackle the widening gap between the UK’s select group of well rewarded executives and its 30 million-strong labour force.
Wilson called for worker representation on company boards and remuneration committees, a legally binding target for a reduction in inequality, and the introduction of a maximum pay ratio. At the retailer John Lewis, the ratio is capped at 75:1. At TSB bank, it is 65:1.

Even those ratio’s are madness. 75 times the average? 65 times? And worth reading the article for the evasive response from the British government. Though all that said, at least it appears to be an issue in Britain. What about here?


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