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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Same Title Different Song August 29, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Sometimes you think it might be a cover version but it turns out its just a song of the same name. I’ve left out ones like “The Power of Love”, “Runaway” and tried to include just the one band. An awful lot of Beatles tracks have names that have been used by other songs.
Other examples welcome….

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Cultural Marxism… August 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This is great, an overview of the particularly knuckle headed conspiracy theory (held by a tranche on the right) about ‘cultural marxism’. I’ve mentioned it before, how it seems like a sort of right shading to extreme right ‘lucky dip’. Pull out a name and try to make connections, arriving at a point where individuals and groups entirely at odds with one another are mixed together as part of some group.

The reason I mention this is the way it is now scattered across BTL on the IT site in relation to a number of issues as if the very mention of it was some sort of rhetorical ‘gotcha’.

More trouble with water… August 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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On the other hand a good editorial in the SBP which notes that on foot of Eurostat determining that Irish Water could not be kept off the state balance sheet and the curious new(ish) grant/charge structures. It concludes with this:

In fact, a more serious mistake was the government’s earlier decision to break the link between consumption and billing. If there is an argument to be made for water charges, it is that by charging people for use, the state encourages conservation, or at least discourages waste. That sound principle was utterly undermined by the coalition’s search for political expediency.
By divorcing the charges from householders’ usage of water – in a bid to shut down the political problem – the coalition has instead confirmed to people that the water charges are simply another tax. By extending a grant to non-payers, the coalition will antagonise those who do pay.
In allowing the trouble and confusion over water charges to trundle on into electoral season, the coalition is handing its opponents a rod with which to beat it. It is one they will use with glee.

There’s an element of political truth in that. The bizarre twists and turns of government policy on the matter – clearly driven by expedience mixed with a wish (never quite expressed) to long finger the issue as best as was possible, have led to a situation where whatever about the campaigns as such there is no general appetite on the part of most citizens to pay the charges or engage with the political structures attempting to implement them.

Part of that is, I would suspect, driven by a sense that with an election so close any future administration will radically alter or abolish the charges entirely. We shall see. I worry about what a returned Fine Gael led government might do, particularly if it feels it has a mandate. And even if diminished it still looks fair set to be the largest single party in the next Dáil.

Yet even if so it seems to me that the efforts to impose and then rework the water charges stand testament to this current administration and how ineffectual it has been, how limited its ability to – for want of a better term – to turn the political weather to its advantage. Perhaps it was inevitable or perhaps there was a way forward for them. I don’t think the SBP is correct to think that a focus on the technicalities of the issue would have been better. I do suspect that had there from the off been a resolve to impose this through Revenue matters might have been different. But then that would have underlined the revenue raising aspect of the charges in such a way as to make them even more politically untenable.

So now it is a matter of waiting to see what happens next.

Entrepreneurship August 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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An inadvertently revealing editorial from the SBP this weekend – and one of some interest given the mention of entrepreneurs by Shane Ross in the Sunday Independent too. His line was that IBEC was unfit for purpose – catering to ‘big’ business, the commercial public sector and multinational, and shunned by entrepreneurs. Perhaps so. Perhaps not. The SBP editorial by contrast argues that capital gains tax should be cut for entrepreneurs. But why you ask?

Well, what of this for a rationale?

When a multinational is considering establishing in Ireland, it looks to the rate of corporation tax. In effect, such a company looking to see how much of their profits will be taxed, and at what rate.
Most entrepreneurs who are establishing a company in Ireland do not ask those questions, as many will never make huge profits. Instead, they want to know how much they will have to hand over to the government, through CGT, in the event they are successful and sell their business. Once they have entered the business, most entrepreneurs are looking for the exit.

Is that true?

This Week At Irish Election Literature August 28, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
2 comments

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A 1987 Letter From The National Socialist Irish Workers Party

“Sinn Fein Preparing for Government” a leaflet from Paul Donnelly

From the 1991 Local Elections a leaflet from Dominic Noonan of The Christian Principles Party who was running in Clontarf

Alan Shatters latest Newsletter (With Exclusive Interview With Alan Shatter)

From “Iris Fianna Fail ” Summer 1975 Edition, Tomás Ó Maoláin Remembers The First Fianna Fail Ard Fheis

“It’s Time To … Get The Dough Out Of Politics!” Flyer From Ben & Jerry’s

Something for everyone in this new political crisis in relation to Stormont August 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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It’s amazing the array of faces that have appeared or returned in the last few days. Some sense from Michael McDowell, albeit wrapped up in his usual contentious rhetoric. Was that Bertie Ahern I heard there? It sure was.

The UUP, as noted yesterday, has walked. The DUP is biding its time, for all its rhetoric. SF is not exactly over the moon – though given the way these matters have played in the past for them this is not the worst controversy to come to the fore in a pre-election period. One has to wonder whether Joan Burton et al have quite factored that in when they deploy their rhetoric. It doesn’t seem like it.

Notable were more emollient words from our own Minister for Foreign Affairs:

[Minister] Charlie Flanagan said he respected the UUP’s right to make its own judgments, but he believed “the interests and welfare of the people of Northern Ireland are best served by an inclusive powersharing Executive, as envisaged in the Good Friday agreement”.

Well now.

An interesting thought from Ed Moloney in the IT this morning where he writes:

Eventually Sinn Féin got its way and the IMC was wound up. In the absence of regular reports on paramilitary activity and with a mostly reassuring silence from government and police services on both sides of the Border, the public began to think the IRA was a thing of the past. Hence the level of shock at the revelation that not only had it not gone away, but it had structures, guns and the personnel to use them.

Again, that shock on the part of many seems overdone given that as noted previously the IMC as recently as 2011 in its final report quite explicitly mentioned that the IRA had not ‘gone away’ and that it continued to exist and offered no reason whatsoever to believe that situation would change.

And the reading most would have of the Chief Constable’s thoughts would be that possibly individual IRA members were acting in concert with others outside the IRA, so the point about it having guns seems a bit of a stretch, though one would have to be somewhat credulous to think there wouldn’t be some small caches of weapons retained just in case.

Meanwhile, a really interesting question for people. Where is the SDLP in all this? Keeping relatively quiet and wondering how matters will develop most likely.

How are matters going to develop? Any thoughts?

Local government in Cork August 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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From Archon of the Southern Star, and thanks as always to the person who forwarded it. As they said, it may be mostly of interest to those in Cork, but all politics is local on this island.

ENVIRONMENT Minister Alan Kelly is no comedian. Although he had the nation in stitches with a gag about the Labour-Blueshirt coalition being the best government in the history of the State, his latest effort at evoking laughter – a plan to abolish local government in Cork city – has gone down like a lead balloon.

Kelly’s prank neither amused nor impressed Corkonians who are proud of belonging to an incorporated city with historic charters, boundaries and legal powers that go back to the twelfth century. Indeed the career politico profoundly shocked Cork with his undemocratic, anti-Leeside proposal, which is coming hot on the heels of his catastrophic handling of the water charges issue.

His dastardly plan for Cork County Council (a body established in 1889, notable for its sheep dipping committees) to annex a city famous for its history and sense of identity is deeply offensive.

Here’s Kelly’s explanation: ‘This is about selecting the most appropriate system of local government for Cork city and county. Unifying the city and county structure in Cork should be considered in view of the potential benefits: such as strengthening local government, the elimination of administrative duplication, improved service delivery, greater efficiency, economies of scale and more cohesive and effective economic development’.

And here’s how an Irish Times editorial responded to Kelly’s raiméis: ‘The establishment of Cork City and County Council as a single local authority unit is a crazy idea’. Pulling no punches, the former ‘Old Lady of D’Olier Street’ reminded him that for a number of years the local authority auditor reported on ‘inadequate financial controls, poor value for money and weak compliance with public tendering rules in both Cork city and county’. It advised Kelly to focus on transparency and on the quality of public service in Cork.

Instead of a handover of the civic administration to the County Council, the newspaper recommended an expansion of city’s boundaries to include satellite towns; and that the boundary extension into the county should be accompanied by ‘higher-quality corporate governance from officials in both jurisdictions.’ Harsh, but on the ball!

Eighteen former Lord Mayors, including several Fine Gael and Labour mayors, agreed. They denounced Kelly’s proposal as ‘preposterous’, ‘unworkable’ and a ‘dangerous experiment’. They also bitterly criticised Cork County Council for having promoted a fifty-year resistance to any expansion of the city boundaries, and they described the Coalition plan to strip Cork City of its powers to self-govern, run its own affairs, set its own budget and ‘strategise for the future’ as an extraordinary proposition.

Cork city, they warned, would become a sort of municipal district with the same standing as a country town – and that was beyond belief. A city without power is not a city, they said.

Their definition of a city was interesting: ‘Cork city is not an abstract idea. It is a living, breathing, evolving organism that has an urban identity and an urban personality; it has shape and a soul. That is what makes cities special. Those who know and respect Cork City have no reason to be modest about its contribution, but now have every reason to be fearful for its future”.

The First Citizens also took a slice off the Cork Chamber (of Commerce), which supported the merger. Taking advantage of the political turmoil, the Chamber opportunistically called for private sector-business involvement in the decision-making activities of the future County Council-dominated local authority.

In response, the 18 mayors disdainfully made clear that, unless local business operators were democratically elected, they had no mandate to intrude in areas where they had no remit. In simple terms they told the Chamber to get stuffed!

Cork city isn’t the only place thrown into confusion by the Coalition’s machinations. Some months ago UCC academic, Aodh Quinlivan, warned of the knock-on effect a County Council takeover would have for West Cork which, he said, already was one of the most under-represented regions in the country following the abolition of town councils last year.

He said that FG-Labour had reduced the number of local authorities from 114 to 31 and, in the process, created one of the most disconnected systems of local governments in Europe. Local representation in the county fell from 156 to 55. He cautioned that a super-style County Council would make things worse.

‘In 2009, West Cork had 12 county councillors drawn from the Bantry and Skibbereen area, as well as 27 town councillors from Bantry, Clonakilty and Skibbereen. As a result of the so-called reforms in 2014, West Cork was now left with eight councillors serving a huge jurisdiction,’ commented Mr Quinlivan.

Merging Cork City and Cork County Council into one giant administration would not automatically lead to efficiencies, cost savings and economies of scale, and there was little evidence to support the idea, he said. ‘Larger unified local authorities are associated with higher costs per capita than smaller units. In addition, citizens feel disengaged from local government and are less satisfied with local services as you move towards large, unified authorities’.

So why are the Blueshirts and the Cloth Cap Brigade enthusiastically pushing the scheme? The answer is contained in a comment that Fine Gael’s Cllr Tim Lombard made to The Southern Star: ‘This is all about the finances and with this proposed merger we will have a rich local authority,’ he explained.

Simple. It’s all about the aggrandisement of Cork County Council, and we compliment the councillor for his candour on having said so. His observation was refreshingly devoid of Kelly-style baloney.

So, at what stage of development is Kelly’s undemocratic council amalgamation? According to Cllr Lombard, very advanced with a decision likely by September. But first Kelly has to go through the motions of taking seriously a report that he commissioned from a group set up to review the local government arrangements in Cork.

The group consists of five eminent and independent experts: former brewery boss Alf Smiddy; former Kerry County Manager Tom Curran; John Lucey SC, an expert in personal injuries litigation; historian Dermot Keogh and Theresa Reidy, a lecturer in UCC with a declared interest in ‘political behaviour’.

But here’s the good news. Whatever conclusion the illustrious group comes to, it may never be implemented. Why? Because a general election is on the cards and, in a few months’ time, voters are likely to boot Kelly into the political wilderness.

In an ironic twist, Tipperary North and Tipperary South constituencies have been merged into one constituency: the new five-seater Tipperary constituency. The redraw means all six sitting TDs will be contesting five seats – in other words it’s a classic example of the absorption of one entity by another!

Cork city may well have the last laugh!

A new Ceann Comhairle ? August 27, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
10 comments

More rumours circulating this week that Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett will step down and announce that he won’t be standing at the next election. It of course makes Dun Laoghaire a bit less fascinating but who would fill the job?
There are plenty of Fine Gael TD’s that would fit the bill……
Jerry Buttimer is one who may struggle and well an added bonus to him getting the CC position would be the possibility of taking either Michael Martin or Michael McGrath out in a new 3 seat Cork South Central.
Catherine Byrne in Dublin South Central could well struggle and has sat in the chair a number of times. She would also be the first female Ceann Comhairle which may appeal.
Regina Doherty in Meath East is another loyal servant and again would be the first female Ceann Comhairle. One of The FG seats here in Meath East is in danger.
Although supposedly not standing again, Dinny McGinley is another name connected with the post. Donegal would be some fight for the remaining four seats then.
Olivia Mitchell (another candidate for first female Ceann Comhairle) or even Alan Shatter who will both be running in the three seat Dublin Rathdown.
Andrew Doyle in Wicklow where he will be under pressure from Billy Timmons.
Bernard Durkan in Kildare North is another possibility.
Fergus O’Dowd in Louth although unlikely.
Michael Ring in Mayo where FG will have three TDs running in the new four seater Mayo constituency. Enda making sure his own seat in alright?
John Perry in Sligo Leitrim is another name that could be in with a shout. FG have yet to have a Leitrim candidate in the four seater , so this may suit.
Tom Hayes in Tipperary where there will already be one less seat. Could change what was previously 6 seats into an incredibly competitive four seater.
Paudie Coffey in Waterford could be another name in line , although he hasn’t been a TD for that long.

……………….Or could it be a Labour TD in exchange for an early election?

To save the village we had to destroy the village… or… what is it with some British Labour Party supporters and the prospect of a split? August 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Reading Peter Kellner in Prospect I’ve got to admit my jaw dropped when I came to the conclusion of this piece. In it he outlines how a Jeremy Corbyn leadership might actually see Labour do better than some on the ‘centre’ of the LP might expected.

You might think he was pleased with such an outcome, but not a bit of it. For according to him even if Labour was doing better at local and European elections, even if it was winning increased support – even if it was extending its message, perhaps persuading some to return to it or to view it afresh – it wouldn’t work at a national election (though in passing worth noting how vague Kellner’s definitions of class are).

The defeatism of that is quite something. It is the pre-loaded view that right of centre thinking on the part of the electorate is so unamenable to change that it is essentially a force of nature, a mountain that must be gone around rather than tackled directly. As always what is most puzzling is how those like Kellner who hold this view appear oblivious to the implications of their stance – that at all points they effectively cede ground to the right by not defending their own positions and seeking to expand the terrain they can function upon. The right, it must be said, rarely, at least in this era, seems to make quite that error.

This places centre left politics in a purely defensive posture, which is bizarre in the extreme.

But back to Corbyn (and in passing, am I alone in thinking that the blue sky thinking from that quarter that brought the idea of women only tube compartments is a bit muddle-headed. Not a policy I’d support, not least because it removes agency from women and responsibility from the men who harass them. A better solution? Well, how about reintroducing a couple of conductors on trains – female and male, and a serious campaign to address harassment?).

Okay, Kellner’s analysis is one view and fair enough. Perhaps he is correct. But… it is where he goes next that is so telling.

Corbyn’s internal opponents should not rely on him doing so badly as leader in the next year or two that he will have to quit. They may need a different and far more dramatic Plan B. The only way to escape his orbit may be for them to split the party.

In fairness he does talk about ‘escaping his orbit’…but… let’s get this straight. It would be worth splitting Labour to wriggle out from under a Corbyn leadership? Let’s assume for a moment that such an approach was feasible. How would that work?

We have seen, he has seen, precisely that happen in the 1980s and the split kept Labour out of power for a decade and a half. So because a Corbyn leadership might lose 2020 (which by the by might not be that unlikely a prospect under any leader of the LP) Kellner would almost certainly be happy to see an approach that would guarantee no LP government until 2030 – at the earliest? Does this make any sense at all?

Or is he suggesting that if the party split the more rightward component would do better, say, than the SDP/Liberal Democrats did in the 1980s and after? This after the near extinction event that the latter party has suffered at the last election? Because whatever else, the British electorate certainly hasn’t had any great enthusiasm for the foremost proponent of the political centre across the last decade, and while granted in that period it saw a greater number of MPs returned at elections that masked its ineffectuality – and its retreat in previous home grounds, such as Scotland. Indeed, curiously, he himself notes this in the following:

Corbyn’s Labour could harness the protest vote, as the Lib Dems did for decades, and the Social Democratic Party did in the 80s. Their problem was that, like the UK Independence Party, mid-term triumphs did not become general election success.

And how would one split a Labour Party where there is – whether one likes it or not – a clear evidence of an appetite for Corbyn and what he represents? Would that not be entirely undemocratic for a start? For all the talk of infiltration and so on does it not seem – at least in regard to some – that their sense of loyalty to that party is remarkably contingent, and most certainly so as compared with Corbyn who has remained loyal through leaders of various stripes.

UUP Intends to Withdraw from the NI Executive August 26, 2015

Posted by Garibaldy in Northern Ireland.
6 comments

Interesting news that the UUP has stated its intention to leave the Executive following the PSNI’s comments that members of the Provisional IRA were involved in the murder of Kevin McGuigan.

Is the murder is a cause or a trigger?

There has been pressure within both the UUP and the SDLP to leave the Executive and form an opposition over the last several years, especially given that both feel that the big two parties have things stitched up, and that they are often ignored. There are those within both who feel that their electoral interests, and possibly their very survival as significant political forces, are dependent on making that move. And there are elections to the NI Assembly within the year. It’s hard not to feel that there is a connection between that and this decision, though Mike Nesbitt has said this is a case of putting the country first, and party second.

Where does this leave the DUP? Perhaps pulling the Executive down and avoiding the responsibility for welfare “reform” might appear all the more attractive now.

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