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An Election… ? November 23, 2017

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The current issues with the Minister for Justice may well lead to an election. Indeed it may not just be the head of Frances Fitzgerald but Charlie Flanagan also that is demanded. Up until lunchtime I thought that it probably won’t come to an election as FF have enough sense to know that an unwanted election caused by this issue rather than inaction on the housing crisis or other pressing matters may not go down too well with the public. It’s also something that whilst bad is not something I’ve heard mentioned anywhere be it in work today or indeed up at the GAA club last night. Yet heads will have to have rolled before SFs motion of no confidence in Frances Fitzgerald. Will Leo sack them to avaoid an election?
Sinn Fein are almost between leaders, The Independent Alliance are a bit of a laughing stock after their North Korean exploits and the fuss over Garda stations. So it may be a good time for FF to pull the plug.
The mad thing is we could have a quick election campaign and ,as all the polls have shown, come out in roughly the same place with FG looking for a confidence and supply arrangement with FF again. Yes there would be changes in party representation and Independents but unlikely to be enough for a Government to be formed (unless SF/FF or FG/FF neither of which will happen this soon).

It’s also a vital time in the Brexit negotiations and I’m beginning to wonder is part of FF’s caution not to be in power and get blamed for whatever deal comes for Ireland/EU from the Brexit fiasco. I also think that the sounds coming from the Government have been good over the Border. A few home truths were told and being slagged by the Tory UK Press won’t do An Taoiseach any harm at all.

So what of the Left, how would they fare? An election with Brexit being a part of the debate would certainly hit some of those on the left that actively campaigned for a Left Exit. Gerry Carrolls drop in vote earlier in the year was evidence of this. Already we can see Sinn Fein pairing PBP with the DUP with regard to Special Status for the North post Brexit.
PBP-Solidarity
Richard Boyd Barrett – Should be safe
Gino Kenny – Under pressure should SF run a second candidate
Brid Smith – Under pressure along with Joan Collins as Catherine Ardagh came very close the last time. Here I think SF (who will be hoping for a second seat) will be pushing Smiths backing for Brexit.
Ruth Coppinger – Under Pressure from Sinn Fein although Joan Burton may be more likely to suffer, Leo will be looking to bring in a running mate too.
Mick Barry – Should be OK , although FF and SF will be targeting his seat
Paul Murphy – Should be OK.
John Lyons in Dublin Bay North and Cian Prendiville could be gains.

Seamus Healy – Again a fight on his hands to hold on but should be OK.
Clare Daly – Should be OK
Joan Collins – Again will be under pressure probably fighting it out with Brid Smith for a seat.
Catherine Connolly – Seat will be under pressure, hopefully she will hold on.
Thomas Pringle – Will be under pressure as SF try to win a second seat here.

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Signs of Hope – A continuing series November 23, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

An excess of ideology? Or an incoherent ‘leader’? November 23, 2017

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Jamelle Bouie on Slate.com has a novel point about the GOP in the US in relation to governing. Namely that ideological fervour has left them in a place where despite an agenda, and one which they are pursuing relentlessly, they don’t actually know how to govern. I think that’s spot on. So we see on tax, the ACA and so forth, they attempt to push back. But…

But to govern means to solve problems; to examine and tackle the issues and challenges facing the public. As a candidate for president, Donald Trump pledged to do just that, promising to solve big problems around health care and the economy. Republican lawmakers did the same. During the election, House Speaker Paul Ryan promised a “better way.” “Our ambition is a confident America where everybody has the chance to go out and succeed no matter where they started in life. That is the American idea,” Ryan said last year. “For the last number of months, this entire conference has been working hard to find the legislation to put the plan out,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a press conference rolling out the “Better Way” program.
This, the language of problem-solving and pragmatism, is the language of governing. It looks for common ground, accepts compromise and seeks solutions that benefit everyone at the negotiating table. And so far, Republicans have rejected this approach entirely.

I don’t think it’s just ideology either. Part of it is the incoherence gifted them by a President who by any rational measure has neither ideology (as is generally understood) or any particular interest in governance or politics or policy or…

So the GOP winds up in a car driven by someone who is kind of sort of moving along the road in the direction they want but isn’t really fussed, doesn’t seem to know how to drive really, might stop and get out take a look about and so on.

Is there, though, a political cost in this?

The border and Brexit…and a question about the ‘Irish’ Sun… November 23, 2017

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This is depressing piece – an article in the Guardian by Lisa O’Carroll on the Border. There’s nothing in it that is particularly new, we here commenting and contributing to this site know the score, but nonetheless hearing the voices of people on the ground on both sides (both geographically and in other senses) what comes across most clearly is a sense of bewilderment, isolation and in a way disbelief at what is coming down the line.

What is most clear reading it, once it gets into the detail about farming, animal transport, inspections and so on is how utterly lacking in any clear knowledge those pursuing this course of action were in regard to the implications to workers of what must happen next given the UK refuses to countenance EEA/EFTA status.

Still reading it something else stood out:

For the pro-Brexit media, it is good knockabout material for pungent anti-EU editorials, with the Sun labelling the taoiseach a “Brexit buffoon” who should “keep his gob shut”. For people on the border, the war of words simply underlines how voiceless their communities feel.

I wonder if the Irish Sun carried that particular editorial?

A poll with a Tory lead… but… before getting too concerned… November 23, 2017

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Almost needless to say a poll out this week that shows a Tory lead. Of course there is, wasn’t I only pointing to the then fact of Labour being ahead in polls since the election.

Topline figures are CON 42%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 5%. Fieldwork was between last Tuesday and this Monday.

Still before there is wailing and gnashing of teeth UKPolling Report suggest:

This is the first poll to show a Conservative lead since September and the largest Tory lead in any poll since the election. As ever, it’s best to look carefully at any poll that shows an unusual result before getting too excited/dismayed. The reason for the unusual result appears to be methodological, rather than from some sudden Tory recovery, and down to the way Kantar treat turnout. As regular readers will know, many polls came horribly unstuck at the 2017 election because instead of basing turnout on how likely respondents said they were to vote, they predicted respondents likelihood to vote based on factors like their age and class. These methods assumed young people would be much less likely to vote, and produced large Conservative leads that ended up being wrong. Generally speaking, these socio-economic models have been dropped.

Young Adams… November 22, 2017

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Isn’t this a fascinating quote in the IT from Eamonn Mallie about Gerry Adams…

Ascribing the favourable adage “E pluribus unum” – “One out of many” – to Gerry Adams will doubtlessly aggravate some readers. Yet even as a teenager the outgoing president of Sinn Féin was marked out by his elders for higher things. The old Official IRA leader in west Belfast Jim Sullivan once told me, “We always got young Adams to draft the statement to highlight a protest about high-rise flats or whatever.”
Adams very quickly left the Officials behind and in 1969 gravitated towards the Provisional breakaways: the Kellys, Cahills and more militantly minded republicans. To a mother, a wife or a grandmother sitting at home with an empty chair at the table on Saturday night, listening to and watching republicans extol Adams on RTÉ, he will always be the the devil incarnate, regardless of his political feats.

I’ve always been fascinated by how Adams (and I suppose to a lesser extent McGuinness and Ellis too) started out as Officials. And what is it that stopped them from staying there, or rather why were the Officials unable to keep them? It’s always dangerous to place too much store on personalities and individuals, but… what would the history have been had they stayed? Perhaps not that different. Perhaps a bit different.

It’s not that their departure was the end for the Officials as a force in the North, but… clearly these were competent people who had a range of talents of one sort or another. What also strikes me is that the period of the early to late 1970s was a cul-de-sac, that the leadership of the Provisionals was non-Northern and in a way didn’t quite get what was going on. There’s a lot of tragedies in all this, roads taken and not taken, and blame enough to spread around almost all involved. Anyhow a sympathetic and critical piece simultaneously from Mallie.

A great question… November 22, 2017

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This on the Paradise Papers, a question about why it is that…

…the revelations do not seem to have generated the level of public outrage that might have been expected.

Indeed…

Last year’s British Social Attitudes survey asked Britons about their feelings on this issue. Our analysis of this data (with Ben Baumberg Geiger of the University of Kent) revealed that the British public believes tax avoidance to be commonplace (around one third of taxpayers are assumed to have exploited a tax loophole). In moral terms, people seem rather ambivalent; less than half (48%) thought that legal tax avoidance was “usually or always wrong”.
By contrast, more than 60% of Britons believe it is “usually or always wrong” for poorer people to use legal loopholes to claim more benefits. In other words, people are significantly more likely to condemn poor people for using legal means to obtain more benefits than they are to condemn rich people for avoiding tax. This is a consistent finding across many different studies. For example, detailed interviews conducted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis found that people “tended to be far more exercised by the prospect of low-income groups exploiting the system than they were about high-income groups doing the same”.

I think that there’s a number of reasons for this. One is that the rich seem beyond control, another is a weird sort of obsequiousness to them, another is an almost mystical belief that somehow by impacting upon them it will lead to economic ruin. And then there are the attitudes towards those not well off, that their situation is in some way their own fault, that they are undeserving and so on.

But as the article notes:

The Paradise Papers have dragged the murky world of offshore finance into the spotlight. However, calls for change may founder against the British public’s persistent focus on the perceived crimes of the poor. That is, unless we – as academics, politicians, journalists and others – can articulate how the decisions of the very rich contribute to the expulsion of the vulnerable from the protection of state-funded public services. Quite simply, people get hurt when the rich don’t pay their taxes.

Too late… too late… November 22, 2017

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The news that…

The Irish and British governments should use an intergovernmental peace process body to plot a way forward for Northern Ireland if devolution is not restored, the Taoiseach has said.

Leo Varadkar said he would urge the recall of the British Irish Inter-Governmental Conference if a deal to revive power-sharing proved elusive.

The bilateral body, a construct of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, brings together Irish and UK ministers to encourage cooperation on matters of mutual interest in Northern Ireland.

Is woefully overdue. Not least when one reads that:

It last met in 2007.

Let’s be honest. The ‘peace process’ has suffered from a sort of benign (though not that benign) neglect where more proximate and short term considerations, not least a fear of SF, have come into play rather than a longer term sense of the overall robustness of the process. And consequently bits and pieces have fallen by the way side.

Difficult not to think that Dublin and Fine Gael in particular (and FF before them) are about to find themselves regretting that they didn’t pay more attention and invest more time in keeping these aspects up and running when they had greater leverage. Because intergovernmentalism with this Tory government?

What you want to say – 22nd November, 2017 November 22, 2017

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

And he’s gone… November 21, 2017

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Mugabe resigns. End of an era.

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