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“….widespread support from her Oireachtas colleagues following her Dáil statement … with the exception of members of the Government” May 31, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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How very telling:

Ms Murphy said she had not taken legal advice before making her statement to the Dáil, but had done so subsequently and been advised that she should have “no concerns”.

She also said she has received widespread support from her Oireachtas colleagues following her Dáil statement about Mr O’Brien’s banking arrangements, with the exception of members of the Government.

Perhaps that’s what’s prompted one Minister to break cover today...

The Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe has said it is not tenable that the media outlets in Ireland cannot fully report on what has taken place in our Dáil while media outlets outside Ireland can and are.

But is this somewhat mealy-mouthed?

Speaking on The Week in Politics Minister Donohoe said process should be respected while it is under way.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week May 31, 2015

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.
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I see possibly the stupidest Sindo story ever has already been noted here. Particularly interesting was the fact that security and northern expert Jim Cusack seems to not know about the public LVF decommissioning in 1998. A clearly trustworthy source.

Not a great week for stupidity otherwise, though that may just be everything else paling in comparison. There is, however, possibly the most random attack on anonymous lefties ever in a piece on the economy in rural Ireland by Sarah Carey.

We’re well accustomed to the grievances of people, particularly west of the Shannon, that the crowd in Dublin forgot about them. But there was still a sense that you could make up the lost ground. Isn’t this what drove the farming classes to get their children into college, off the land and into a safe job? The begrudgery of left-wing commentators at this mobility was always a sight to behold.

Dan O’Brien, however, does not let us down.

‘The public sector did not cause the crash”. Whenever the issue of public sector pay comes up, in relation to past cuts or, now, when the case is made to increase it, this point is inevitably made. Nobody watching the extraordinary testimony of former public servant, Patrick Neary, to the Banking Inquiry last Thursday could deny that failings in the public sector were a significant cause of the crash.

Like me, I am sure you can’t wait for his promised column telling us who should be the next bank regulator.

Conspiracy theories… May 31, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Got to admit I like this from David Baddiel from some time back.

I don’t like anything that moves into the territory of conspiracy theories, because conspiracy theories are how idiots get to feel like intellectuals.

Party discipline and political reality: British Labour and its members who voted SNP… May 31, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…not sure this will work so well for the Labour Party, even if it is the correct approach within the letter of the law…

At least one Labour party member who expressed support for Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP on social media before the general election has been thrown out of the party, it has emerged.

The party took the extraordinary decision just two weeks after the election via a letter, informing a “Mr McLean” of Labour’s membership rules and his consequent exclusion from the party until 2020.

The legalistic approach is all very well, perhaps, during good times – though given that political parties are (for the most part) essentially voluntary organisations with weak mechanisms for enforcing decisions and given the somewhat nebulous nature of political activity in this period, one would have to wonder even then if its necessarily the best approach.

But one would think that since conviction and convincing are at the heart of any political project worth its name some efforts would have been made to talk through the situation with members who had, for whatever reason, turned apostate – or partly so, during the last year. If only to understand what the dynamic was that was making them take that route and see could they be brought back fully into the fold.

There’s the old quote, possibly apocrvaphyl, from Voltaire on his death bed when asked to renounce Satan he said: “Now is not the time for making new enemies.”

The British Labour Party might consider that at length.

Latest RedC Poll for the Sunday Business Post May 30, 2015

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And…

Support for Government parties has increased according to the latest RED C opinion poll, to be published in the Sunday Business Post.

The prominence of Government ministers and TDs before and after the referendum on same-sex marriage, may be a contributing factor to the boost in support.

The figures are:

FG 28% [+3], IND/OTHER PARTIES 22% [-4], SF 21% [-1], FF 19% [NC],  LP 10% [+2]

It notes:

Within IND/OTHER PARTIES the Green party are on 3% and Renua on 1%.

And:

Despite the gains in this and other polls the Government is still a long way off the kind of support it needs to be returned as a two party coalition.

However this opinion poll suggests Government popularity with voters is well up on what it was last winter.

Some obvious thoughts. Ind/Other is soft enough, albeit the figures for changes bar it are all around or within MOE. Still, that figure would return even more TDs in that cohort than are currently there. Secondly last weekend isn’t going to happen again, so the increases in the government party figures even if reflecting a real phenomenon may not be lasting. We’ll see.

And is there going to be any impact of the O’Brien/Murphy story?

Hyperloop! Belt up folks… and speaking of such matters, what about that Irish Sea bridge concept? May 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This is both cool, fun, scary and as it stands unlikely to be a reality any time soon – a proposal by Tesla/SpaceX founder Elon Musk for a ‘fifth’ transportation ‘mode’, called the Hyperloop which is sort of an alternative to maglev. Here’s the description on Wiki:

…a conceptual high-speed transportation system put forward by entrepreneur Elon Musk,[1][2] incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion that is driven by a combination of linear induction motors and air compressors.[3]

It could, apparently, be either above or below ground. One would sit in the capsule – carefully strapped in of course, this thing could hit up to 1,000 kph – and be pushed on air through the tubes.

But what of this:

Some critics of the Hyperloop concept have focused on the possibly unpleasant and frightening experience of riding in a narrow sealed, windowless capsule, inside a sealed steel tunnel, that is subjected to significant acceleration forces, high noise levels due to air being compressed and ducted around the capsule at near-sonic speeds, and the vibration and jostling created as the capsule shoots through a tube that is not perfectly smooth or level.[25] Even if the tube is smooth upon construction, ground shifting due to settling and ongoing seismic activity will inevitably cause deviations from a perfectly smooth, level path. At speeds approaching 900 feet per second (270 m/s), even 1 millimeter (0.039 in) deviations from a straight path would add considerable buffeting and vibration. With no provisions for passengers to stand, move within the capsule, use a restroom during the trip, or get assistance or relief in case of illness or motion sickness,[26] the potential for a seriously unpleasant travel experience would likely be higher than in any other popular form of public transport.

Fantastic stuff… literally.

The idea of networks, indeed global networks of maglev tube trains isn’t new. And it’s been a staple of fiction for many many decades (Arthur C. Clarke’s The City and the Stars had a technology in it that was essentially identical). It has obvious attractions.

Mind you, more locally there’s been some noise for many years about an Irish Sea tunnel that would be the equivalent of the Chunnel (I took the latter a couple of times and quite liked it, though interestingly others I know found it deeply claustrophobic). And not just a tunnel, but also a bridge.

One proposal is to span the 19m between the Mull of Kintyre and Antrim, and I was amazed to read that:

If it ever were adopted, passengers would to a high degree still use ferries and aircraft, since it would be a big detour for trains from England. Trains would have to go via Glasgow and around 155 mi (250 km) further to reach Belfast. Even if the High Speed 2 railway is fully built, the travel time London-Belfast would not be below 4 hours.

Just four hours, London-Belfast? But then it’s so much shorter by air.

This is where the bridge concept comes into play as noted here back in 2007.   And the length of the bridge would actually be shorter than that of one in China, in Hangzhou Bay between Shanghai and Ningbo.

However, the depth of the bay is 15m whereas the North Channel is up to and over 160m deep. One has to wonder about the practicality of that.

From Dublin – say using a tunnel, the wiki piece suggests using high speed rail a tunnel between the city and North Wales could shorten travel times to London to as little as 2.5 hours.

It’s highly unlikely to happen, short of a massive change in regard to air transportation, although… who can tell how that will stand in thirty or forty years in the face of resource challenges?

Honest Jons Record Shop May 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Just to reiterate on a link that SonofStan commented on during the last week or so, a fantastic essay on Resident Advisor on Jon’s Record shop in London. Amazing to see those in it say vinyl sales are good again. 

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Denis May 30, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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For the times that are in it……

More on the O’Brien/Murphy ‘you can’t say that’ controversy… May 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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From Michael McDowell in the Irish Times today pointing to a massive contradiction at the heart of this and underlining just how pernicious the curtailing of parliamentary privilege is:

We now also have the ridiculous situation in which O’Brien’s spokesman uses the airwaves to condemn Deputy Murphy for “peddling lies” in the Dáil but listeners are not told what her allegation is and are in no position to judge for themselves whether the spokesman’s strident condemnation is itself true or not. That is pathetic and ludicrous.

And good sense here:

Deputy Murphy’s speech was firmly grounded in the public domain; it did not concern the private, intimate, domestic borrowings or banking affairs of just anyone or just any businessman. The nature of her concerns and their scale in my view takes the matter well outside the “private” in the personal sense of that term. If her remarks concerned a company’s affairs, no one would see them as in any way “private”, even though many companies are private.

The size of an individual’s business banking relations may be of such an order as takes them far outside the scope of citizen “privacy” rights protected by the Constitution. In that area, “size matters”.

And:

We are in dangerous territory where the alleged privacy rights of the powerful call into question the freedom of speech of our parliamentarians and of the citizens’ right to know of such matters, and seem to cast doubt on the efficacy of Article 15.12 of our Constitution.

Fair dues.

One thing that is evident is just how absurd all this is. McDowell’s use of the term ludicrous is spot on, and it’s something that has to be said again and again, because it is one very clear means to undermine the toxicity of the processes we have seen over the last week. All this is – obviously – useful, in terms of underlining the manner in which power is distributed and exercised in this society.

Someone in government says something about the not being allowed to mention something controversy…but… May 29, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…it’s not exactly a full-throated defence of parliamentary privilege.

The good:

Speaking to reporters after the announcement of the Lansdowne Road agreement on Friday, Mr Howlin said the use of Dáil privilege was an “important hallmark” of a functioning democracy.

“Having utilised provisions of Dáil privilege myself, I think it is an important hallmark of a functioning democracy that any member of the Oireachtas can speak without fear or favour in our national parliament,” he said.

But…

Asked whether he believed the media should be able to report Ms Murphy’s remarks, Mr Howlin said that would be a matter for the Oireachtas itself to deliberate on in due course.

“I don’t want to comment on a court decision,” he said. “There is a separation of powers. I think that will be a matter for the Oireachtas itself in due course.

Though:

“I don’t know if [the situation] is unique but certainly it is something that would cause concern for members of the Oireachtas.”

But no recall of the Dáil…

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