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Sunday and Other Media Stupid Statements from this Week…  October 17, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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The Sunday Independent slightly reframe Micheál Martin’s words this morning. He said with reference to restrictions:

“We do not want to go back, and we are not contemplating going backwards. The only issue facing us now is going forward.”

They heard:

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the Government will not be reintroducing restrictions to curb the surge in Covid-19 cases which is once again putting a significant strain on hospitals and ICUs around the country.

And the headline is: “No going back to lockdown, says Taoiseach”

Let’s hope that the situation does not get to the point they are necessary. At this point the prospect of them seems very remote. But as always in this perhaps a little less certainty – this time on the part of the media – would be no bad thing. 

 

In the same paper Colin Murphy writes about a problem that may not even exist. 

Are we facing into a winter of discontent? Even before the depressing turn in the Covid news, the country was irritable. Walking through Dublin’s city centre midweek, it was striking how desolate and abandoned it still felt. In a country judged, by a recent ranking, to be the most Covid-resilient in the world, there has been no pandemic bounce for the Government. The Budget, described on Wednesday in a front-page headline as a “giveaway gamble”, was greeted with a giant “meh” and an unembarrassed chorus of: “What’s in it for me?”…Has the solidarity of last year been replaced by a sourness? And if so, why — and what can we do about it?

But then in the next paragraph has to admit:

The Government has been studying the public mood since early in the pandemic. The broad trend this year has been positive: as vaccination has spread, people have reported being happier and more active. But the metrics for negative emotions — although trending in the right direction — still seem stubbornly high.

‘Trending in the right direction’, ‘broad trend has been positive’… but ‘solidarity has been replaced by sourness’? A bit of actual evidence wouldn’t go amiss. 

Dan O’Brien in the SBP still seems to be unaware as to why state spending has had to increase so much recently, impelled by Covid, but driven by underspending for many decades before hand. He’s almost alarmed. Most people appear to think otherwise.

And so it has been confirmed. The massive expansion in the size of the state, in response to Covid, will not be reversed. If there was any real doubt about that, last week’s budget settled the matter once and for all.

The most comprehensive measure of spending by the state – general government expenditure – punched through the €100 billion threshold last year. It increased further this year. If the government’s longer-term budget forecasts prove accurate, it will never fall back below €100 billion.

For those who favour low taxes and small government, this will cause worry, if not alarm. For those more agnostic about such matters, it is at least cause for concern.

Matt Cooper in today’s SBP takes Professor Philip Nolan of NPHET to task for saying that going to work with symptoms of Covid should be ‘socially unacceptable, like drink-driving’. Cooper argues:

But hold on a second. There many people who suffer from allergies, asthma and other non-life threatening and non-contagious illnesses, who regularly suffer symptoms that are similar to Covid. What about people who have ordinary head colds or the flu? They are being compared to drink-drivers? That’s over the top, to put it mildly.

Are these people supposed to take more time off work, without pay, if their employer won’t recompense them? It may be easy for someone with tenure who can work from home to suggest this, but many people simply can’t afford to take any more time off work, unless employers compensate them.

It is a quandary but Cooper points to the solution while seeming to argue that it can’t be implemented, for later he writes: “And what about the employers? Many need their staff to turn up. No employer wants an employee coming in and spreading Covid, but many have reason to worry about the disruption caused when employees – full-time or part-time – call in sick.There will be some who will take advantage of the situation and who might not be sick at all. That’s human nature, after all.”

Perhaps so, but Cooper seems to ignore the basic reality we’re still in a pandemic!

Finn Redmond in the IT argues that:

The very welcome measure of free contraception does not, in fact, succeed in granting every woman with absolute reproductive freedom. And to present it as doing so is dishonest. Because, as Matthew Breunig argued in the Los Angeles Times, reproductive freedom is not solely about the ability to prevent conception, but it is also about affording all women the economic capacity to have children if they want to.

But who, really, is presenting it as such? And oddly, in the same article, she notes that the ‘riposte’ to those who question the limited extension of this measure (to women in the 17-25 age group only) is that ‘The measure is intended as a first step’. Indeed (though given the rank misogyny in the comments section below the piece at the very thought of any provision of health support to women the fact that Redmond wrote about the topic at all is a plus). 

Anne Harris in the IT during the week took aim at Sally Rooney’s decision not to have her latest book published in Israel. In the course of which she wrote ‘criticism of Israel alone does not constitute anti-Semitism” and then writes:

Half a century later, anti-Semitism still smoulders in Ireland, according to a report published last week by investigative journalist David Collier.

Through a dossier of open-source material, Collier shows that anti-Semitism is woven into the warp and weft of our society; in anti-Israeli propaganda by politicians, academics and activists.

Speaking of over the top:

Frost is not beyond criticism or guaranteed a new deal. His critics include British remainers and Conservative MPs. But the Irish fury he provokes seems aggravated by a particular cognitive dissonance. It is a nationalist article of faith that London will always betray unionism, so why is it taking unionism’s side?

Fury? Steady on there Mr. Emerson.

And here’s a question, precisely what is Mark Paul arguing for in this column about the worsening situation as regards Covid-19 and the problems clubs and other entertainment sector establishments face in the light of this? Is it for the vaccine pass to be retained for those areas so they might reopen or something else? Or is he being deliberately opaque in order not to come down on one side or another? 

 

All other examples welcome.

 

Comments»

1. EWI - October 17, 2021

It is a nationalist article of faith that London will always betray unionism, so why is it taking unionism’s side?

Always the trolling and bad-faith argument.

Liked by 1 person

2. Fergal - October 17, 2021

‘Going forward’ is Martin’s catchphrase when Oliver Callan imitates MM…
Good one!

Liked by 1 person

3. LMS - October 17, 2021

“Anti-Semitisim still smoulders in Ireland”… really? I definitely think the prevalence of racism in Ireland is very understated and I’ve certainly seen many examples of all different kinds of it but anti-Semitism not so much.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - October 17, 2021

It’s all anecdata, but I’d agree completely and I think someone in the media stating this as fact is being frankly irresponsible.

Liked by 1 person

4. Brian Hanley - October 17, 2021

It depends what you mean by ‘smoulders’. I teach on the subject of Jews during the revolutionary period and so on and I find the most blatant cliches and stereotypes are still widely accepted. And yes, it is anecdotal but I can recall two examples in recent years where people who probably (I’m being very generous) thought they were expressing sympathy with the Palestinians actually made blatantly anti-Semitic statements. So, yeah, to be honest I would come across anti-Semitism reasonably often, sometimes just ignorance and sometimes a complete lack of understanding of historical experience and so on.

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - October 17, 2021

+1

Same here. I’ve heard shocking cliches about ‘the Jewish character’ from Irish people who would be horrified by any other kind of racism.

Like

Fergal - October 17, 2021

Yep, unfortunately same experience too… a person blaming the crash in 2008-9 on Jews and then in the next sentence suggesting that high profile sex abuse scandals were the work of Jews …
And this in 2020, right out of the 1930s… by a guy who purports to be Christian… Fingleton, Seanie Fitz, Dunne … all semites of course and that’s before you even talk about ‘christian’ industrial schools, mother and baby prisons etc…

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WorldbyStorm - October 17, 2021

Definitely heard some elision over Israel/Palestine in ways that I’d consider unthinkingly anti-Semitic on the part of a few people, but not more broadly. Which doesn’t excuse that sort of elision one bit. But it would be useful to get some sort of information on the nature of the issue overall.

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5. Brian Hanley - October 17, 2021

Because the issue is toxic, a political football and weaponised by almost all the contenders it is very hard to get a balanced overview. That’s the best I can give you. (And I think Dave Renton has made some good points on the topic.)

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WorldbyStorm - October 18, 2021

Yes, Dave Renton’s thoughts on this are excellent.

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