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How bad can it get? March 31, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Sam McConkey has done no small service in alerting this island to the threat from the coronavirus, and he’s been calling for some sort of resolution politically – in the shape of some sort of national or unity government during this period too. In truth we have a de facto unity government, and are likely to have a new one in the near future too. Granted that is limited and partial but the demands the GP or whoever ‘must’ enter government seem to me to be unreasonable and utterly contradictory given the equal vehemence that SF ‘cannot’ enter government’. In fairness to McConkey I’m not sure he’s putting limits on participation. Indeed anything but:

To continue that good tradition of debate and discussion, we should find ways for our current parliamentary process to deliberate about future proposals. For example, a series of cross-party subcommittees of TDs and senators that, in full view of the public, could debate urgently and make concrete new proposals to address Covid-19 issues, agree solutions and quickly propose all-party and cross-party consensus plans for the Government to enact. We can use consensus-promoting tools such as preferendums and matrix voting.

That doesn’t sound exclusionary.

But more pertinent in a sense is the following:

Although the Taoiseach announced further sensible restrictions on travel, personal interactions and social gatherings on Tuesday and further measures on Friday, as well as supports for the businesses and people affected, many more interventions may yet be needed.

He elaborates somewhat on these:

To aid in contact tracing and isolation, should our personal GPS location from our mobile phones and other mobile data be gathered without the explicit consent of individuals? This needs debate and legal clarity. Should even stricter travel and quarantine rules be applied? How could these be enforced? Where would travellers be quarantined? How can we keep open our airports and seaports for trade in goods and services? Should we, or could we, do voluntary quarantine of entire towns and regions? Should An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces detain people who break any curfew or quarantine? How should we advocate in Europe for a multinational approach to Covid-19? How should we build links with China, which seems to have solved this problem there?

All fair points, and he’s absolutely correct that there is a pressing need for democratic legitimation of future measures. But even he resiles from arguing that these proposed measure will definitely be needed. Still it does raise the issue of how strict could matters get.

What do others think?


1. tomasoflatharta - March 31, 2020

Once Again, Professor Gabriel Scally points out that the British Government’s “let them die” Covid-19 policy does not stop at the border in Ireland. Boris Johnson’s policy means unnecessary death and illness for hundreds and thousands of people. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/03/31/ireland-squanders-geographical-advantage-with-different-covid-19-stances-north-and-south-scally/

Liked by 1 person

2. EWI - March 31, 2020

I think that Simon McGarr was on the nose in pointing out, on the radio the other day, just how slippery the language and descriptions given by those advocating this mass surveillance are.

If nothing else convinces people of what a bad idea letting this creep in would be, then surely such manifest bad faith should be it.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - March 31, 2020

There’s an argument for a limited surveillance – through apps – which would be tied up in clear legislation that was time limited and subject to proper legislative approval. But agreed, that’s something that one would want to have massive safeguards before going too close to. It reminds me of the arguments in the Blair government (third one I think) re national identity cards. In the end the consensus was that was a tool that authoritarians and totalitarians could use against populations and there were no clear means of preventing that.


EWI - March 31, 2020

Truth. If it’s there, they’ll try to use it. And this, now:


3. Joe - March 31, 2020

Da? Yeah? Is sex dirty? It is when you do it right, son.

But, apparently and sadly, not any more, or at least not for the duration.



WorldbyStorm - March 31, 2020

Sad times we live in!


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