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Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week December 9, 2012

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

Eoghan Harris has the answers to Fianna Fáil’s dilemma in a week when the Sindo is massively disappointed that Fianna Fáil did not make more gains from slaughtering the government over the budget.

Be clear. I do not believe this country is divided into public and private sector. It’s divided between those who have to do panicky tots after this Budget and those who don’t. You can be sure that cabinet ministers and senior public servants around the €100,000 mark aren’t doing panicky tots.

Fianna Fail’s first task is to figure out where the class politics of the lower-paid public sector and that of the majority private sector coincide. An honest accounting means ending its lethal love affair with the Croke Park class.

A classic Harris statement – apparently he hasn’t spent the last few years saying exactly that the south was divided into public and private sector (also known as Moby Dick), and apparently he still believes in the importance of class.

All the evidence shows that to stimulate growth and reduce debt, budgets should focus solely on cutting spending and on the most wasteful spending of all.

Marc Coleman continues his crusade against reality; there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.


1. CL - December 9, 2012

‘Stormont has been unfortunate that the path to economic prosperity has been floored by a worldwide recession, one felt even more acutely in the North because of the bailout in the south.’-Dearbhail McDonald.
I thought the unemployment in the ‘North’ was much lower than in the ‘south’.


Bartley - December 9, 2012

Yes, the headline rate is much lower, by virtue of a subvention from the rest of the UK in the form of a public sector employment rate circa twice that of the Republic.

If Northern Ireland had a similarly sized public sector to the rest of the UK, their unemployment rate would far exceed ours.

So, let’s call it the ‘Queen’s shilling’ effect 😉


ejh - December 9, 2012

Good Lord, it turns out that increasing public sector employment decreases unemployment.


Bartley - December 9, 2012

Course it does, when funded by an external benevolent entity (in this case, a Sugar Mummy?).

Even when internally funded, the public sector payscale ranges in NI would make it much more feasible for such a large headcount to be carried.

Whereas in the Republic we’ve (wrongly in my view) chosen a path that involves funding the maintenance of higher payscales by reducing headcount.


ejh - December 9, 2012

Of course, the Westminster government is not in fact “external” to Northern Ireland. Quite likely it should be, but it isn’t.


ejh - December 9, 2012

As for “Sugar Mummy”, well gosh, how hilarious.


Garibaldy - December 9, 2012

Of course, it’s far too simplistic to say “a similarly sized public sector to the rest of the UK” when there are such massive regional variations in the size of the public sector. For example, Scotland by some figures has a bigger public sector than NI. The north-east of England is another example.

And, of course, the question of how dependent the private sector is on public sector spending, subsidies, tax relief etc is another issue altogether that tends to get ignored in such discussions.


Bartley - December 9, 2012

For example, Scotland by some figures has a bigger public sector than NI.

Well the Scottish government’s own figures show a public sector employment rate of circa 23.5%, a full 8 percentage points behind NI:


Wales and North-east England weigh in higher, at circa 26%.

But even if the NI rate was to drop down to equal that of the next highest region in the UK, their unemployment rate would still likely jump above that found in the Republic (due to the knock-on impact on private sector demand).

So the distorting effect of the UK government subvention can’t be ignored in any economic comparison of the NI situation versus the Republic. If the Republic was to receive a subvention from say the EU equal to 20% of GDP, we’d be on the pigs back.


2. WorldbyStorm - December 9, 2012

That’s astounding stuff from Harris – as you say – given all he’s written in the past five years or so.

And Coleman simply wrong about all the evidence pointing to the policy he proscribes. https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/spending-and-cutting-no-spending-no-cutting-no-taxing-ah-no-taxing/


smiffy - December 9, 2012

It’s unfortunate that Harris doesn’t follow through on his logic about the conflation of interests between lower-paid public and private sector workers. Why would only the highest paid public sector workers (>E100) be happy with the Budget. If they’re happy, surely those in the private sector in the same income range (of whom there are far more) would equally be happy. And if you’re serious about addressing inequality, then surely the wealthiest – in both the private and public sectors – should be targeted equally.

But no, it’s back to the same old Croke Park blah blah blah, as if the Agreement relates only to the most senior public servants.


WorldbyStorm - December 9, 2012



CL - December 9, 2012

Perhaps Maureen Gaffney could organize some Positive Thinking seminars for the unemployed in the worst his areas; a ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ initiative.


CL - December 9, 2012

Lest anyone take the previous literally:

“the refusal even to consider negative outcomes—like mortgage defaults—contributed directly to the current economic crisis.

With the mythbusting powers for which she is acclaimed, Ehrenreich exposes the downside of America’s penchant for positive thinking: On a personal level, it leads to self-blame and a morbid preoccupation with stamping out “negative” thoughts. On a national level, it’s brought us an era of irrational optimism resulting in disaster. This is Ehrenreich at her provocative best—poking holes in conventional wisdom and faux science, and ending with a call for existential clarity and courage.”

The ‘Happiness Industry’ has invaded the academy too, Martin Seligman, being one of its main exponents. His latest book is called ‘Flourish’. Maureen Gaffney’s latest is called ‘Flourishing’.
Perhaps ‘How to Flourish in a time of Austerity’ would be a better title. And there’s also ‘enter with


3. Michael Carley - December 9, 2012
PaddyM - December 9, 2012

Thomas Molloy


4. gfmurphy101 - December 9, 2012

Reblogged this on gfmurphy101.


5. CL - December 9, 2012

Only the severely deluded will deny that the govt. is pursuing a pro-unemployment, deflationary fiscal policy. Even Mr. Snip Nua gets it.
‘The Department of Finance have assumed that national output will grow 1.5 per cent next year, 2.5 per cent in 2014 and 2.9 per cent in 2015. If this pattern actually emerges, Ireland will be doing better than other European countries, despite the huge public and private debt overhang, crippled banks, weak competitive position and the deflationary impact of domestic policy.’ -Colm McCarthy

‘We are all Keynesians now’,-again. Except for Marc Coleman and Angela Merkel.


6. littlemicky2012 - December 9, 2012

I was once in a warehouse where thousands of remainder copies of Marc Colemans’ book were stacked. We should buy them up and everytime he writes something in the indo post him a copy. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Best-Yet-Come-Marc-Coleman/dp/1842181424


7. Ivorthorne - December 9, 2012

Any thoughts on the Sindo’s coverage of Labour’s woes?

Is the Labour leadership really in trouble? If any of the Labour TDs and senators left the LP, would they find a welcome (or even just be tolerated) in the ULA?


sonofstan - December 9, 2012

Hard to know how much credence to give to any of it: it talks about a ginger group of ‘hardcore Labour’ TDs but also throws random quotes from John Whelan and Dominic Hannigan into the mix, neither of whom have been in the party a wet weekend. With regard to your last question, i would say, without any inside knowledge, the answer is certainly ‘no’


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