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They still don’t get it… September 28, 2016

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An article in the Guardian notes a report from care charities in the UK that suggests that post-Brexit:

According to modelling by the charities, a scenario which closed off all migration would leave Britain with a social care workforce shortfall of more than a million by 2037. In a low-migration scenario this would still mean a 750,000 shortfall. Even under a high-migration scenario, the care sector would still face a workforce shortage of 350,000 because of the likely dramatic increase in the population needing care, the charities said.
London and the south-east would be worst hit by a post-Brexit shortage of care workers, with one in nine of the capital’s care workers at risk of losing their right to work in the UK.

But the response from the UK government?

A government spokesperson said: “The prime minister has been clear that she wants to protect the status of EU nationals already living here, and the only circumstances in which that wouldn’t be possible is if British citizens’ rights in European member states were not protected in return.”

But that’s not the answer to the questions raised by the report. It’s not about who is in the UK today, but who will be in the UK in 2020, or 2025 or indeed 2037. And moreover:

Staff turnover and vacancy rates have risen sharply in the last decade, triggering fears that the safety and quality of social care would be affected. Ben Franklin, ILC-UK’s head of economics of ageing, said that as Britain’s population grew older, thousands more care workers were needed. “A continual failure to support and enhance the care workforce could result in thousands of frail and older people losing out on the proper care and support that they need.”

This is basic basic stuff about the care of a growing ageing population (I’m part of that in this state. Perhaps you are too. You may well be by 2037). Yet on something so basic, so obviously problematic there’s no real response.

How will those needs be met? Hard to tell when one reads the following:

The UK has become increasingly dependent on a European migrant workforce to provide services for its ageing population since 2012, when the coalition government changed immigration rules, making it more difficult for non-EEA people to enter the UK to work in social care.

You don’t say! September 28, 2016

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The Government believes that Fianna Fáil’s economic credibility could be at stake when a motion on the abolition water charges is considered in the Dáil today.

Why so?

A Sinn Féin proposal to permanently scrap the levies, which were suspended for a period of nine months as part of Fianna Fáil’s deal with Fine Gael to support a minority Government on certain matters, is to come before the House.
Fianna Fáil has agreed to vote against the motion despite being in favour of eliminating the charges.

Twisting this way and that…

What you want to say – 28th September 2016 September 28, 2016

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

Another five or six months? September 27, 2016

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Until Brexit is triggered, according to Enda Kenny…

The Taoiseach also said he is finalising plans to convene an all-Ireland conversation following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

Responding to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who asked when the “national conversation” would take place, the Taoiseach said it would be in November.

The group will include business people, members of civic society and political parties.

Mr Kenny later told the Dáil that he believes the British Prime Minister will trigger Article 50 towards the end of January or February.

Good show by TDs on the return to the Dáil in relation to Repeal the 8th. In the same article linked above entertaining to see that:

…clarification was sought from the Ceann Comhairle on emblems and items of clothing that express a political viewpoint being worn in the Oireachtas.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaílsaid the matter would be discussed with the Business Committee and the Committee on Procedures.

CLR Book Club – Week 5 September 27, 2016

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Okay, book selected. How does this work from here on out? We read a chapter at a time or what?

Dublin Central? September 27, 2016

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All politics is local and given that the CLR has at times seemed to operate as an informal Dublin Central blog time to look in once more on the constituency. Anyone have thoughts on how the latest political dynamics impact on the constituency? Does the loss of a TD fro the SDs make their one potential shining light a bit dimmer? How about FF? Any chance they might slip in? What about the current Independent seat held by the tenacious Maureen O’Sullivan? SF? Topping the poll with a potential party leader next time out? And FG and the man with no ambition. So he says.

With Corbyn September 27, 2016

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Thanks to the person who sent this analysis from Tim Stanley in the Telegraph [!] in. Ignore the source and one will find it, I think, actually pretty good in relation to the dynamics extant across the last year. It notes that:

I started to feel, dare I say it, sympathy for the militants? They have spent generation after generation languishing on the backbenches – carrying the torch for an ideological socialism that Labour has pledged itself to but never actually delivered in government. Throughout all that time, they’ve caused trouble. But comrades like Corbyn have stuck with the party and worked for its candidates. Broadly speaking, they have accepted the principle of democratic centralism – that the party disagrees internally but speaks with one voice at election time. The Blairites insisted upon this to the point of authoritarianism.

But once they lost control… they:

…suddenly started to squeal about the importance of dissent. Cabinet members must be free to ridicule policy; MPs must be able to slag off the leader. Having done everything within their power to force Corbyn from office by making his position untenable, the moderates finally decided to launch a leadership bid against him – in the name of unity!

And this is particularly good.

They cried havoc and unleashed the Chihuahuas of War. Owen Smith. Owen. Smith. A good man, no doubt, and an intelligent one, certainly. Flashes of self-depreciating wit were obvious. But Owen Smith? As leader? As prime minister? His only definitive stance throughout the race was his insistence that Britain should stay in the EU even if the British people don’t actually want to. He managed an astonishing feat: he made Corbyn sound not only more democratic but more patriotic.

Whatever one’s views on the referendum outcome it is clear that a ‘re-run’ isn’t on the cards for a decade – and frankly nor should it be. So there’s some degree of truth in that. Moreover the lack of support for Smith from those who had started that ball rolling – well as Ed put it on this site, one would almost be sorry for him. Almost.

Here’s an interesting set of points.

What hurt the poor man more than his general air of inauthenticity was the impression that Corbyn has quietly grown in stature. In debates, Smith was supposed to come off as the moderate making a rational case for electability. But the more he ranted about racism and extremism, the more Corbyn – calm and often quite funny – came across as an elder statesman being unfairly traduced. That is this campaign’s greatest, most ironic legacy. It has helped Corbyn hone his skills. It has lent him authority.

Again let me quote (at this rate too many times) Michael White who predicted precisely this, albeit against a different Tory ‘team’. That Corbyn could well look like the quiet English town bank manager come in to clean up the Tories mess. I’ve no particular optimism that Corbyn will win the next election – never did (and I don’t think that that is his fault, I think that politically and demographically that would be an impossible task for any LP leader), but you know, perhaps the events of the last few weeks and months have closed the gap a little.

And what’s interesting is the way the following is framed:

Which makes him impossible to dislodge this side of a general election. Labour is now stuck with a leader who could do “this” or “that” and could benefit from “one thing” or “another” – and tiptoe into the orbit of potentially winning an election with a bit of luck. But millions of Britons just can’t vote for him under any circumstances. Why? Take your pick. For me, it was the day he commemorated dead IRA terrorists. Good grief, why couldn’t the moderates even beat that?

Good point in terms of the specific. But… there’s a problem with it too. Just as this polity has discovered it’s a lot more difficult to ignore people once they’ve laid down arms than might be imagined. And for those who argued some sort of engagement was necessary. Well, that’s not necessarily a minus.

A fake choice… September 26, 2016

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Conor Pope recently took readers of the Irish Times to task for not changing energy providers.

Irish consumers have collectively wasted close to €1 billion over the last five years by spending way more than necessary to heat and light their homes.
Now Pricewatch knows that number might sound absurdly inflated at first glance but, if anything, we are underestimating the nation’s wanton wastefulness when it comes to energy.

And:

But to make the savings, people need to switch, and a staggering number of Irish people don’t bother. According to figures from the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) more than half of Irish consumers have never switched their energy provider, while the numbers who have switched in the last 12 months is a whole lot smaller.
A less-comprehensive Pricewatch Twitter poll of more than 500 people last week echoed these numbers. We asked people if they switched provider annually, occasionally or never. Only 15 per cent said they switched annually, while 40 per cent said they had never switched provider.
They are all wasting money and just how much is really quite shocking.

I was fascinated by the fact that (at the time) there was only one comment. It went along these lines:

• UrbanSprawl
The author does not take into account the value consumers place on customer service. Having changed providers several times over the years, I have experienced middling to dreadful customer service from the cheaper providers. Incorrect bills, unauthorised deductions from my bank account, weeks and months of trying to engage with companies to have their mistakes rectified… I have been with my current provider for 3 years and am just not willing to take the risk of changing again, even if I could be saving €200 a year.

I’ve no idea whether that comment is an accurate outline of the situation, I’ve not had those problems – though getting the meter read is a nightmare which despite repeated requests to contact me re arranging an appointment no response. But I can’t help but think that Pope et al are missing the point. I don’t want to change my energy provider any more than I want the near continual calls from my mobile provider or similar from my internet provider in regard to ‘cheaper’ options. I don’t want the hassle. All I want is a good service that continues into the medium to long term. I’d vastly prefer if these were socialised services. But hey, that isn’t going to happen. Failing that I don’t want to be engaged in a sort of perpetual bidding process with energy or other providers. It seems a pointless and cosmetic exercise whose purpose appears more to justify the ‘liberalisation’ of a market for which the benefits of liberalisation are difficult to understand.

Saoradh… September 26, 2016

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One has to wonder has this been a long time coming, the announcement yesterday of a new party – Saoradh, launched by dissident Republicans.

A range of high profile dissidents from both sides of the Border gathered at a hotel in Newry on Saturday to outline their vision for Saoradh, the Irish word for liberation.
The radical new party, which is opposed to the power-sharing government in the North, will stage demonstrations in support of republican prisoners. Its constitution says it might, at some point, contest elections.
However, if candidates are put forward at future elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Dáil or Westminster it would be on an abstentionist basis, meaning seats would not be taken if they were successful.

A message of support from NIRA prisoners and one also has to wonder how this impacts on parties already in the field with a similar programme, such as RSF. And what of SF – now, as it notes itself in response, with MLA’s TDs, Senators and MEPs as well as many many councillors. Though that alone points up the reality that the scale of the task ahead of them is daunting, doesn’t it?

Tip-offs September 26, 2016

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The Irish Times has a piece this morning on how there’s been a 60% increase in tip-offs for benefit fraud. And:

The Department of Social Protection has received 11,689 such reports from members of the public from January to June 2016, compared with 7,092 in the same period last year. The majority were made through the department’s website.

We are told…

The figures show that 8,476 of the tip-offs were sent to the relevant departmental section for examination as clients were found to be in receipt of more than one payment. It was not possible to pursue a report in 3,213 cases due to a lack of information, the absence of any welfare claim or the fact that information supplied would not impact on any entitlement.

But curiously there’s no figure as to how many of these led to a ‘successful'(?) prosecution. Anyone know where the raw figures are?

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