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Steady on… and yet… November 30, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Nick Cohen writes a more than half decent article in the Observer on conservatism (and acknowledges Ireland too), that tellingly only loses it in the last paragraph or two. And one has to wonder given his self-declared apostasy from the left some time back where he now finds himself. For he has begun to ascribe to the right many of the problems he once appeared to believe were unique to the left.

And there’s a further problem for him. It’s not quite the same with the left, is it? It’s one thing for him to complain about micro-parties on the left in the UK and their idiosyncrasies, some of which are indeed problematic. It’s another again to complain about the Labour Party and Corbyn, but that remains a party out of power – and frankly his depiction of Corbyn et al is far too close to a caricature. But it is another thing entirely when this analysis is applied to ruling parties and administrations in the UK and US in relation to Brexit and Trump.

There is, surely, a bitter irony in that those in the best position to inflict the most harm are those who he managed to largely ignore for years now so great was his concern about a left that was out of power.

I’m not entirely convinced by all this thesis. For a start it seems remarkably anglophone. The US and UK are in deep trouble, albeit in different ways. But is everywhere simultaneously? Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, wherever? It seems to me that there various flavours of centre right and right remain in the ascendent, at least so far. That may well change. Italy and France provide greater concern, but I remain to be convinced that this moment – despite it being as reactionary as it most clearly is, is as of yet (and note the caveat) inevitably going to inflect all from here on out. Trump may fail. Brexit is already, even despite not actually being triggered, a massive economic and social problem and one that is deepening.

So some calm is necessary if we are to draw back to look at the full European or global picture. Still, Cohen’s not wrong about how conservatism has failed in the face of Trump and Brexit.

Geopolitics November 30, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Good point made by Michael McDowell in the SBP this weekend. Lamenting the situation in Syria he argues that the US ‘foolishly… convinced themselves that the so-called Arab Spring offered the opportunity to assist burgeoning democrats to oust strongman autocrats throughout the Middle East and replace them with benign, inclusive pluralist regimes’. That hasn’t worked so well.

But he makes a further excellent point:

The State Department convinced itself of one particular piece of madness – that it was perfectly legitimate to depose autocrats who claimed, on the flimsiest of grounds, to be presidents elected by their people but entirely illegitimate to foster or help any resistance to any Arab monarchs who serve Western purposes.

The mad rule of thumb meant that the West vigorously backed monarchies led by kings, sultans and emirs in Saudi, Morocco, Water, Jordan, Bahrain and the other Gulf states – some more despotic than others. At the same time , inconvenient and troublesome non-monarchical heads of states were fair game for removal and regime change – in Iraq Tunisia Syria, Libya, Yemen and Egypt.

And he notes a further contradiction.

It is strange that the western democracies are most relaxed with regimes formally based one monarchic autocrat and most hostile to autocrat c regimes with democratic sounding trappings such as the Ba’athist republics. Democracy is only to be imposed on states that purport to have democratic forms. They are somehow the greater threats to the wester interest. Monarchs are more easily manipulated.

And there we have it. In a sense the West, or rather elements of it, while trying to play – most obviously for economic gain in terms of petroleum and also financial backing, was played itself. There’s a revolting cynicism about the whole process. Families imposed or assisted by European states initially have gathered around them legitimations (however specious) that somehow protect them. Others have not. No one is arguing that the latter were fantastic, often their brutality equalled that of the monarchies. And yet, the latter have been protected from enemies internal and external, whereas others…

Small wonder that these contradictions have come back in such force to cause such trouble and across the globe.

Polling blues and reds in the UK November 30, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Depressing to see the Tory leads continue to be extraordinarily high. The latest ICM poll from the Guardian notes:

Conservatives: 44% (up 2 points from ICM earlier this month)
Labour: 28% (no change)
Ukip: 12% (up 1)
Lib Dems: 7% (down 2)
Greens: 4% (up 1)
Conservative lead: 16 points (up 2)
That score for the Tories, just to contextualise it, is the highest they’ve seen since 2009 and just one point short of their highest ever since 1992.

An even more thought-provoking chart is this on the wiki page on polling in advance of the next election. Look at the blue line.

The Tories and Labour were much much closer until… earlier this year – that’s right, pretty much until the referendum. And subsequently, well both Labour and UKIPs vote tumbled (the LP not helped by a completely pointless leadership contest) while that of the Tories soared away. Note too that the Tories have, since May last year been effectively ahead at all times. It is post-referendum though that the gap has really opened up. So what happens now? That’s a big hill everyone else has to climb.

What you want to say – 30th November 2016 November 30, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

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

He’s Back? November 30, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.


Fianna Fáil in Dublin Central is set to ask former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to rejoin the party.
He undoubtedly has Political skills but is surely still a liability in the public’s eyes but maybe he’s been forgiven, obviously members in Dublin Central have forgiven him. Is it a sign of FF getting that certain type of fuck the begrudgers FF mojo back?
His membership has to be approved by the FF National Executive which is a tricky one for them. I’m sure they will be less than thrilled with the publicity…. on a local level another who may not be too thrilled is Mary Fitzpatrick.

Doublespeak on workers representation. November 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I have to admit, I actually laughed when I read this in the Guardian about the tortuous knots that May has tangled herself in in relation to her idea of workers representation on company boards.

Theresa May is not back-pedalling on her pledge to give workers a voice on company boards, the business secretary has said in response to criticism of the government’s announcement that it will not force companies to give employees a governance position.


Greg Clark said the prime minister wanted workers to be represented, but not necessarily by having an employee on the board.

Brilliant! And how would this representation work?

“What we are proposing today is a range of proposals, including a non-executive director who has an explicit obligation to engage with the workforce, to report into the board, to chair a stakeholder panel and influence the renumeration committee.”


1999 as imagined in 1967 November 29, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

The usual mix of some things right, some things wrong. Interesting that for all the technology the role of Karen is “wife, mother, and part-time homemaker” and even the bill for her online shopping gets sent to the husbands office computer.

That SBP/RedC poll November 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I’ve got to admit I’ve got near nothing on it. Nothing I tell you. The latest poll from the SBP and RedC points to the essentially static picture we have seen since the election. There’s some slight variation as there has been at the edges, but the fundamentals remain largely the same as they have for months across this year. Indeed striking indeed is the lack of change. Next to nothing on the right side of the fence. And little enough on the left.

Fine Gael 25% (no change)

Fianna Fáil 24% (-2)

Sinn Féin 16 % (+3)

Independents 12% (+2)

AAA-PBP 5% (-4)

Independent Alliance 4% (-2)

Labour 5% (no change)

Social Democrats 4% (+1)

Green Party 3% (no change)

And Others including Renua 1% (+1).

Perhaps the most useful way of looking at this is by considering how matters has changed since the Election.

Fine Gael 25.5 %

Fianna Fáil 24.3 %

Sinn Féin 13.8 %

Independents 11 %

AAA-PBP 3.9 %

Independent Alliance 4.2 %

Labour 6.6 %

Social Democrats 3 %

Green Party 2.7 %

And Others including Renua 3.5 % +

Hardly any change at all. An election run tomorrow would have – likely – similar outcomes, not identical but similar. Sinn Féin might do a bit better. General Independents a bit worse. Labour likewise. Perhaps.

Who is going to go to the state on foot of this poll? Hardly anyone.

Michael Taft has a good post here (noted by An Cathaoirleach) which argues that there’s a consolidation on the right, and that is certainly possible even on these figures. If there’s a shy FF vote then it is possible that they might do better than the current headline figure in the polls. But even so, we’re probably talking at most three to five per cent. Not to be sniffed at and FF would be happy indeed to leapfrog ahead of FG and in such a way. But the other side of Michael’s argument is well worth considering. That the left hasn’t taken off. I think that’s a fair assumption too.

What’s interesting as well though is that left arguments have to some degree defined the post election space. Not just on water charges – but, as evidence in the attitudes to public sector pay at the weekend, in terms of support for pay restoration. That’s no mean feat. Of course if actual political heft can be added to that, well that would be a significant step forward.

CLR Book Club – Week 14 November 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

And so it comes around. I’m serious, next time a chapter of a book! Or suggestions about how to organise online reading groups like this…

Wales and the RoI November 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

If someone had told me this I don’t think I’d have believed them, but in this new world we live in it somehow makes more sense than a lot of other stuff I’ve read.

The Welsh government is being urged to open talks with Ireland in an attempt to secure continued access to European funding after Brexit, under a plan by Plaid Cymru.
The party believes it can take a leaf out of Norway’s book. The country gets EU funding despite not being a member, thanks to a partnership with Sweden.
“The Welsh government cannot afford to play ‘wait and see’ with Wales’s future relations with our nearest neighbours and must think creatively in order to further Wales’s interests post-Brexit,” said the party’s external affairs spokesman, Steffan Lewis.


He made his call for a new Celtic Sea alliance on the first of two days of biannual talks at the British-Irish parliamentary assembly in Cardiff.
It says that the Belfast agreement provides for bilateral deals even if the UK quits the EU. Lewis believes such an alliance could mitigate the economic impact of Brexit on Wales and Ireland, which is already being hit by the fall of the pound.
The exit from the EU could have devastating consequences on the economy of Wales, where the vast majority voted for Brexit.

As SoS noted, the vast majority did not vote for Brexit in Wales. It was just about 52%. But beyond that isn’t it fascinating to see the devolved governments beginning to flex their muscles?

And this is just remarkable:

There may also be an opportunity for Ireland and Wales to dip into EU inter-region funds, known as Interreg.

Norway and Sweden share €73m (£62m) from Interreg funds for programmes designed to protect vulnerable border regions, in terms of environment, employment and social cohesion.
The notion that Wales could continue to benefit from EU funds comes as similar attempts are made in sectors such as education and science, which are heavily dependent on EU funds.
British universities are considering plans to open branches inside the European Union to soften the blow of Britain’s exit.

I wonder if such side deals are possible, and yet, there’s a certain logic to using the pre-existing links between Dublin and Cardiff and indeed Dublin and Scotland to assist.

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