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A man of the people speaks September 12, 2019

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From the Guardian…

Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s powerful de facto chief of staff, was doorstepped by Sky News as he left home this morning. Asked what his next move would be, Cummings replied:

You guys should get out of London. Go and talk to people who are not rich remainers.

This seems to be a reference to the idea that London-based journalists do not realise how much support there is for Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy outside middle class remain circles in the capital.
There is quite a lot of evidence to support this view. Here is some YouGov polling from earlier this week suggesting that, amongst voters in general, people are more inclined to think Boris Johnson and his government are in touch with the public mood on Brexit than MPs in parliament are.

But hold on, the data from YouGov does not support that proposition. A perception is not a fact. Simply put, just because people think that Boris Johnson is more in touch with the public mood does not mean that Johnson is in touch with the public mood.

Meanwhile on that very topic, this from from John Crace is to the point:

…the only other highlight of the day was a brief cameo from Dominic Cummings, who was doorstepped outside his home. How was he planning to spend the next five weeks? Not talking to rich remainers in London. Said the rich Brexiter whose family has taken £250,000 off the EU in farming subsidies.

They’re on the bridge to nowhere… September 12, 2019

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CL notes this in comments today…

Boris Johnson has told government officials to explore the possibility of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Documents seen by Channel 4 News reveal that both the Treasury and Department for Transport have been asked for advice on the costs and risks of such a project.
The prime minister wants to know “where this money could come from” and “the risks around the project” – which appear to include “WW2 munitions in the Irish Sea”.

And this has to be simply wrong:

The DUP, the party supporting the Conservatives in Parliament, believes a bridge could break the Brexit impasse by removing the need for a border in the Irish Sea.

As noted on Slugger when this was linked to by Brian Walker, surely the DUP realise that the ‘border’ isn’t patrolled by ships in the middle of the Irish Sea but is a function of controls at the points where goods and people depart or arrive on either side and this was a function of over-enthusiastic reporting.

Or perhaps they don’t realise…

Worst case scenarios… September 12, 2019

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Well, finally the British government released – under pressure from Parliament this week, its no-deal Brexit projections. They’re neither new, for those following these matters, or pretty (and here is the full document):

A no-deal Brexit would trigger major hold-ups at channel ports, significant electricity price increases, shortages of some foods and delays to medicine imports in Britain, documents published by the British government show.

HGV delays of between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half days would occur at Dover and public disorder could increase, according to Operation Yellowhammer “reasonable worst case planning assumptions” released in response to MPs voting for it to happen.

It does strongly suggest a breakdown in public order in the UK itself – and ‘a rise in community tensions’. Think about that for a moment. All too predictably it notes that those who are on lower incomes will be hit hardest by price rises in fuel and foods.

Those travelling may face delays at places like Dover and St. Pancras (for the Channel Tunnel) so severe they may seek alternative arrangements.

On food, it warns that some fresh supplies will decrease and that “critical dependencies for the food chain” such as key ingredients “may be in shorter supply”.

It says these factors would not lead to overall food shortages “but will reduce the availability and choice of products and will increase price, which could impact vulnerable groups”.

There may not be food shortages as such, but one can easily imagine panic buying leading to similar outcomes.

And the north of Ireland?

…the automatic application of EU tariffs and regulatory requirements on goods crossing the Border from Northern Ireland will severely disrupt trade.

“The expectation is some businesses will stop trade or relocate to avoid paying the tariff, which will make them uncompetitive or to avoid the risk of trading illegally, while others will continue to trade, but experience higher costs which may be passed on to consumers.
“The agri-food sector will be the hardest hit, given its reliance on highly integrated cross-border supply chains and high tariffs and non-tariff barriers,” it says.

All of which will lead to job losses, ‘economic disruption’, road blockages, civil disobedience and smuggling.

And even this isn’t the complete document, with one paragraph redacted.

Meanwhile in the North September 11, 2019

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Can this be accurate – the results of the latest Ashcroft poll on attitudes in NI to unity, Brexit etc? Whatever else it points to changes – no wonder Arlene Foster is saying what she said earlier this week. Bit late some would say.

A clever plan unravels September 11, 2019

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Scottish appeal court judges have declared Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful.

Another chapter written in the annals of incompetence regarding this Johnson government. And it kind of scuppers the idea that the dissent over proroguing Westminster was exaggerated.

That much vaunted private sector efficiency… September 11, 2019

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…AWOL in this instance. Private bus operator ‘Go-Ahead’ who run some routes in Dublin and who the NTA has decided not to fine despite complaints about:

…punctuality and buses failing to turn up.
Pensioners and children trying to the get to school were particularly affected [Richard Boyd Barrett] said. The most complained about routes, he added, were the number 59 from Dún Laoghaire to Killiney, the 63 from Dún Laoghaire to Kilternan and the 111 from Dalkey to Brides Glen.

The reason for the problems, according to Go-Ahead?

[it] attributed problems meeting its targets to “higher than expected driver resignations”.

Given this is a completely avoidable problem, since there was no pressing reason to open up these routes to private operators, it really is absurd. And as RBB notes, this is a service for which the operator is paid £125m over five years.

The annual Sean O’Casey Festival 10th September – 23rd September – Dublin North Docks Community September 11, 2019

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Exciting programme of theatre, film , music , art and history announced

The Dublin North Docks community will play host to the Sean O’Casey Festival 2019 from Tuesday 10th September until Saturday 21st September.

The great playwright lived in the North Wall / East Wall area for three decades of his life, and much of the inspiration for his writing came from his time here. Many of the most memorable characters in his most famous plays can be identified as originating with the real residents of the area and the language and humour of their speech is an authentic voice of working class Dublin of that era .

Last years inaugural festival concentrated on the work of O’Casey , including performances of some of his lesser known one-act plays. This year festival organisers are concentrating on works inspired by or in the tradition of O’Casey , or associated with his era.

Festival co-ordinators Fran Laycock and Neili Conroy explain the background :

Neili Conroy  (Actor ‘Fair City’ / ‘Love Hate’) :  

“Sean O’Casey spent three decades of his life in the Dublin Docklands area and much of the inspiration of his early plays is drawn from the people and situations within that community. The aim of the festival is not just about celebrating the legacy of the great playwright , it is about ensuring that he is identified with the community that helped shape him . What better way to celebrate his memory than by presenting great drama, great art , great music in the theatre named in his honour”.

Fran Laycock (Sean O’Casey Theatre) : 

“The festival is a mixture of fresh , upcoming talent and more established artists and performers , and is supported by Dublin City Council. We are also delighted to work for the first time with the Irish Film Institute who are hosting a screening of the 1964 movie “Young Cassidy” as part of the festival”.

Brochure attached .

Full details of all events can be found here :


For further information contact Joe Mooney at 087 669 8587

What you want to say – 11 September 2019 September 11, 2019

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

To commemorate Cressida Dick’s damehood September 10, 2019

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1989 revisited: 10 September – Hungary allows East Germans into Austria September 10, 2019

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Hungary announced today that it is allowing thousands of East Germans who have refused to return home to leave for West Germany. It was another chapter, and a dramatic one, in a summerlong exodus through the new Hungarian gap in the Communist frontier.The announcement cleared the way for more than 7,000 East Germans, who have said they wanted to go west, to do so beginning at midnight. But it was possible that this number might substantially increase as other East Germans, now in Hungary as tourists, take advantage of the new opportunity. Hungary’s Foreign Minister said there are 60,000 people in this category.A declaration by the Hungarian Government said that because of the ”unbearable situation” created by the tide of East Germans trying to leave their country, Hungary has decided to temporarily suspend a 20-year-old agreement with East Germany and to allow the refugees free passage ”to a country of their choice.” Tears of Joy

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