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Sunday and the Week’s Media Stupid Statement April 28, 2019

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A Minister writes:

Public service employment offers terms and conditions that are, in truth, beyond what is available in many parts of the private sector.

Occupational pension coverage in the private sector in 2017 stood at just under 30 per cent. Virtually all public servants enjoy membership of a pension scheme. Public servants benefit from defined-benefit pension arrangements compared to the defined-contribution schemes which dominate in the private sector, where they even exist.

Public servants in general benefit from two forms of pay adjustments, incremental progression up a salary scale and also general annual pay increases negotiated through pay agreements. This contrasts to the private sector where pay has moved towards more individualised arrangements, where some do very well but many don’t.

The public service is a progressive employer when we consider annual leave, flexible working and the facilitation of work-life balance – as is right. A recent report by Aviva Insurance found that only 30 per cent of Irish employers offer flexible working hours. Also, how many employees in the private sector enjoy full salary top up on maternity and paternity leave?

Finally, public servants have a security of tenure that generally doesn’t exist in the private sector.

This isn’t a list of benefits of the public service, it’s a crushing indictment of the paucity of provision of basic supports by private sector employers.

And the Minister has to dance carefully for the very next point he makes is:

None of this is to suggest that such benefits are not deserved. Of course they are and this Government remains committed to being a good employer

Most of us might regard that as implying that those private sector employers were not committed to being good employers.

Marcel Ophuls’ A Sense Of Loss – IFI, Dublin, Tuesday April 28, 2019

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Many thanks to EC for noting that:

Something you, or indeed CLR people in general, might find interesting. Marcel Ophuls’ great documentary A Sense Of Loss, filmed in Northern Ireland in 1972, is on at the IFI at 6.15 on Tuesday. Very rarely shown and extremely worth seeing.

Alternative Ulsters – Punk Rock and Teenage Kicks in Troubles Times April 27, 2019

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Poster campaign April 27, 2019

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Mentioned yesterday and great to see a write-up of IEL here in the IT on Friday. And Alan makes a staunch argument in favour of the election poster.

“You might find these are the same people who complain they never see their politicians,” he said, “I think they’re an important part of our electoral and democratic process.
“They’re also incredibly important for first time candidates. The lampposts are a level playing field,” said Mr Kinsella, whose collection includes examples dating back a century.

And here’s a thought from an unnamed FF source who notes:

“There are very few ways of building awareness if you are a candidate, especially if you are a new candidate. Leaflets are expensive. Local newspaper ads aren’t as important as they used to be. Posters work, you can show people what you look like and who you’re standing for.”

That point about local newspaper ads is telling, isn’t it? Social media spots are different, launched into the ether and their effectivity difficult to judge – particularly given the demographic and other divides in that area.

Con story April 27, 2019

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I came across reference to this on a thread and thought it interesting to follow up, accounts of an influencers ‘Con’ in the US where it all went wrong. That’s one of those sentences that twenty years ago, even fifteen years ago, would have been in parts incomprehensible. Now… well, the idea of an influencer fills me simultaneously with dread and the urge to laugh.

So wrong that it was shut down after six hours by the authorities. Too many people turned up to the hotel where it was being held, there were insufficient events, or space within the hotel, long lines of people were outside waiting to get in in the Californian sun (this being June) and so on.

Mongeau is a YouTuber. She has 3.5 million followers and her name might sound vaguely familiar if you’re at all versed in the surprisingly engaging world of vegan YouTube drama. VidCon is an annual YouTube-centric convention organized by brothers and YouTube royals Hank and John Green. Tanacon is the event that Mongeau organized — and named after herself — last week in California.

There was no notification the next day that the event had been cancelled, etc, etc. Remarkably, and I mean remarkably:

None of the attendees I spoke with said they had heard back about their refund inquiries. Nearly all of them, however, wanted to be very clear that they don’t blame Mongeau for what went down. “I don’t believe it was her [Mongeau’s] fault,” Mary said. “There was just too many people there and that’s what caused everything to go bad.” The mental gymnastics there, given Mongeau elected to organize an event the same weekend as VidCon, in the same city as VidCon, with cheaper tickets and seemingly no system to cap crowds, is truly, uh, something.

But what strikes me is this. What made anyone involved in this think they had the slightest ability to organise it? Since when has running a YouTube channel or similar been a qualification to run an event for many thousands of people? They’re not simply two different competencies, they’re arguably entirely unequal in regard to one another.

This is a perfect example of the utter dislocation between reality and social media.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Tones on Tail April 27, 2019

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Tones on Tail are a curiously unremarked group. A side project/successor band to Bauhaus – of which opinion is mixed, they consisted of Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins and Glenn Campling, missing only guitarists David J.

Pretentious, surely, as all the immediate post-Bauhaus spin-offs were. Self-consciously arty. Likewise. And yet, for my money this was a fantastic late post-punk excursion. Dancey – well sort of in that early to mid 80s funk inflected way, melodic, atmospheric and playful to a degree that Bauhaus, a ponderous creature much of the time, simply weren’t.

The best track for my money? Rain, a piece freighted with soft, atonal keyboards that somehow coheres into an almost perfect example of mid-period post-punk and then fades directly into Real Life.

But if those two shine just a bit brighter than all else there’s a scope here that is much wider than might be anticipated. Performance has sequenced keyboards interacting set against drum machines. How We Lustre is shoutey, and why not, set against an insistent repetitive bassline. Lions prefigures future offerings from Ash and Haskin’s Love and Rockets.

Perhaps surprisingly the band’s output has had a curious afterlife, appearing as soundtracks for a range of films, television shows and so on, right up to Stranger Things and Rick and Morty. Make of that what you will.

What I like most about ToT is the sense that pop didn’t have to be predictable, that it could be spiky, restless and experimental. And that was true of a lot of post punk, a moment when the promise and actuality of opportunity of music was clear.

Enjoy.

The Rain

Real Life

War

Lions

Movement of Fear

Go

Now We Lustre

Movement by New Order – the Definitive Edition April 27, 2019

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Did a This Weekend on this quite some time back, Movement by New Order, their first album and one that sits oddly in their output proving to be a transitional moment between Joy Division and the synth pop and dance that the group would go on to offer. It’s my favourite New Order album – not by a massive amount, I’m very fond of pretty much all of them, but something about it really speaks to me. I’d almost argue that it is a perfect post-punk album. The group itself loathed it apparently for quite some time. Though not so much that they’ve resisted releasing:

The Movement boxed set will include the vinyl LP with its original iconic sleeve designed by Peter Saville, original album CD in replica mini album sleeve, a bonus CD of previously unreleased tracks, DVD of live shows and TV appearances plus hard backed book all housed in a lift off lid box.

Keep walking April 26, 2019

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Some useful take-aways here in this from the IT:

Spending large parts of the day sitting down increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and death. The Northern Irish researchers for the first time sought to estimate the financial impact of sedentary behaviour on the UK health service.

And don’t think exercise will mitigate the negative effects – or not completely.

She warned that offsetting sedentary periods with exercise or other physical activity would not totally eliminate the risk to health brought about by sitting down too much. “You can lessen the risk by being active at other times, but it’s still not good for your health if you’re sitting for long periods of time,” she said.

I’m pretty active in daily life – cycling to and from work, getting a short walk in in the middle of the day, but I know how easy it is to slip into prolonged periods at the desk or in front of the computer and I can well believe that even that level of exercise is insufficient.

I try to stand up and walk around during the morning and afternoon. But I’m fortunate in my workplace that that is an option. For many that’s simply not the case.

That’s an issue for workers which is often under considered – the shift from heavy manual labour for many has not necessarily in and of itself been all good. In some ways it may actually be a bad thing. And if that’s an issue for workers then it’s an issue for unions.

The Irish Left: What is to be Done? Spring 2019 April 26, 2019

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SoS suggested some time back that we should do this thread regularly. And it is worth considering matters in the light of changing circumstances.

We see talk of splits, stagnant polling numbers, we face local and European elections in mere weeks – but what of the campaigns? How do matters fare in constituencies and on the ground?

This Week At Irish Election Lierature April 26, 2019

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Above a limited edition Poster from John Flanagan running for Peple Before Profit in Rathfarnham Templeogue.

On then to a piece in the Irish Times on Election Posters where I’m referred to as an Election Historian

Have been busy uploading leaflets and the index for the Local Election ones to date is here

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