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What shying “away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges” looks like…. July 29, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
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Yesterday The Socialist Party in an article referenced here , made an accusation that Clare ‘Daly, like Joan Collins TD has shied away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges.
Here’s a few examples (aside from the many examples in the comments of the previous post) of what shying “away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges” looks like….

-Getting arrested for protesting against the Installation of Water Meters and holding a “Build A Mass Boycott” poster.
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-Giving speeches to Rallies using slogans like “Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay”

Clare Daly Had a newsletter totally focused on Irish Water and advice on non payment

Joan Collins Newsletter mentioning among other things ‘Mass non-payment’ of water charges.

7 is the magic number in the Dáil July 29, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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There are many who will have been disappointed at the figures emanating from the SBP/REDC poll at the weekend which despite showing a massive tranche of support for Independents and Other parties had somewhat less good news in terms of how that shook out for those smaller groupings. Of 31% for IND/OTHER, up from 27% in June, and up from 17% at GE 2011, Ind was 25% (no separate figure for the Independent Alliance), GP 2%, Social Democrat 2%, Renua 1% and PBP 1%.

On those figures neither RENUA, nor the Social Democrats, nor PBP, nor the GP (not at all), would be close to getting 7 TDs necessary to form a group in the Dáil with all that that entails. And that is, to some extent, the name of the game for some in the Dáil for the post election period. They want 7 TDs, they in fact need 7 TDs. But at this point in time they ain’t getting 7 TDs.

What you want to say – 29th July 2015 July 29, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
63 comments

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

The banking inquiry July 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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An excellent piece by Colum Kenny in the IT today on the banking inquiry. While I think he stretches matters when he argues that it’s a very ‘Catholic’ inquiry, he’s absolutely correct, in my view, when he notes that it is flawed from the start. Not least in the following:

Because of its terms of reference, the inquiry cannot explain where billions went that banks lent recklessly, and that the State replaced in their vaults at enormous cost to Irish people in health, education, social services and job- creation.
During 2011, as a communications academic, I wrote to party leaders and all deputies proposing an official report on who got the main loans originally lost by the Irish banks, on what terms they got them and subject to what supervision, and on where those billions now are. Someone has all that money, later replaced by taxpayers.

And:

Yet disturbing questions remain about those original loans. Treating such matters as private and confidential in the context of a disastrous crisis is reckless. Questions now arising, about how the National Asset Management Agency does business, highlight that earlier need to know. Twice bitten, shame on who?

It is essential to point out time and again that while yes, economic policy was remarkably stupid in the 2000s in relation to tax cuts and expenditure hikes, leaving the latter utterly exposed when the economic collapse occurred, it was the monies paid by taxpayers to cover private debt which has caused the most immediate problems – monies which many of us believe should never have had to go to cover those private debts.

Kenny also notes how ‘suspicions linger that it was really intended as a political show trial of the Government’s predecessors’. That, I think, hasn’t quite happened. In part because it has become ever more evident that there was broad political acceptance, even embrace, of the very policy approaches that exacerbated the crisis. But few in the orthodoxy come out of this process with their reputations enhanced. And in truth given the scale of economic and social devastation few deserve to.

The Socialist Party on Clare Daly, Joan Collins and Water Charges July 28, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
122 comments

A piece on The Socialist Party site on Independents and Others

This particular passage caught my eye….

Many of the most articulate Independents in the Dail are of a ‘populist’ character, with both left and right tinges. Populism could be described as reflecting moods that exist amongst the mass of people in society, but lacking in a clear political programme as your backbone. When this is the case, we can expect any such individual to bend to the status quo if in power.
As an example of a right-wing populist, Shane Ross TD, who has received credit for stinging rebukes of the parties of the establishment, was in fact a cheerleader for Anglo Irish Bank during the boom, and is a former stockbroker himself. Ross supports a neoliberal vision of capitalism with minimal taxes on or state regulation of business.
Clare Daly TD, who can make powerful criticisms of the Government on issues, typifies left populism. Tending to highlight the incompetency of the individual actors, rather than any overarching systemic criticism of the right-wing ideology and practice that’s at the heart of the matter. Daly, like Joan Collins TD has shied away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges.

I’m pretty sure both Clare Daly and Joan Collins have advocated non payment?

Locking the stable door after the horse has fled… July 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Lucinda Creighton has a piece in the SBP this weekend on the banking crisis. And some of what she writes makes perfect sense. She notes that:

Ireland has suffered the costliest banking crisis since the Great Depression, according to the IMF. This costliest banking crisis has resulted in improvements in the broader financial regulatory regime, but there have been virtually no reforms of our actual systems of enforcement where financial or white-collar crimes occur.
There is no point having robust laws if either the criminals know they are not being enforced, or if the resources for their enforcement are inadequately deployed or underfunded.

And she continues:

If we want to be serious about combating white-collar crime in this country, bankers must be criminally held to account for reckless lending they commit, and our enforcement authorities must be adequately resourced to investigate, initiate and prosecute all forms of white-collar crimes.

Her solution is:

The type of sanction we in Renua Ireland propose for reckless lending is not about preventing bankers from taking calculated risks with strong enterprises or new businesses, but rather is modelled on British legislation and Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan’s proposals.
This legislation will impose criminal liability on a senior manager of a banking institution, fund or insurance undertaking who knowingly puts the viability of the institution at risk through their acts or omissions.

And yet, putting this in context with the piece referenced earlier in the week by William Keegan from the Observer isn’t it remarkable how she doesn’t seem to engage with a much more basic problem – which is, of course, the idea, still extant, that the state will become the entity that will bail out, at public expense, the banking sector when that sector runs into trouble.
Of course there should be sanctions for appalling behaviours, but surely there should be a deeper consideration as to the very nature of the structures that have led to pernicious outcomes that have impacted severely upon citizens and communities who had no hand or part in those behaviours or decisions taken?
But perhaps to do so would be to seek a fundamental reworking of these structures.

Trouble ahead… July 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As IEL notes this morning the latest news on Irish Water is a massive blow both to the governments plans and any aura of competency. Getting this wrong is near inexplicable and is bound to impact negatively upon the closing months of this government. It also makes one wonder what assurances were given by the EU in relation to it. And whatever the individual campaigns there’s a broader antipathy to water charges across the society.

The State funds spent on Irish Water will have to stay on the exchequer balance sheet, under a decision by Eurostat, the EU statistics agency.
The ruling is a blow to the Government’s strategy on water investment, and will mean that a hoped-for boost to the 2016 budget figures will not now emerge.

It’s the unexpected things, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, I was wondering reading this this morning how they’d deal with the elephant in the room in relation to the topic. Which they sort of do with a certain delicacy in the last two paragraph or so. ‘Controversial’ they say. Well, that’s one way of putting it.

Irish Water Fails Eurostat test July 28, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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From The Irish Times

The State funds spent on Irish Water will have to stay on the exchequer balance sheet, under a decision by Eurostat, the EU statistics agency.
The ruling is a blow to the Government’s strategy on water investment, and will mean that a hoped-for boost to the 2016 budget figures will not now emerge.

A massive blow to The Government.

The trouble with (new) parties… July 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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The launch of the Social Democrats was marked by a number of aspects that are well worth a look. For a start, there was none of the fuss that was made by other rivals of logos and suchlike. Nor, and this was crucial, was there the concentration on a single individual as a personification of the new formation. Quite the opposite. If anything a virtue was made of the fact it had three well-known TDs as a sort of joint leadership. Some pointed to an ideological differentiation.

These are strange times. A former employee of high powered consultants McKinsey joins forces with a one-time Workers’ Party activist and a long time Labour Party stalwart to establish Ireland’s first Social Democrat Party.

But Donnelly has always been somewhat more left inclined than media reporting would indicate. Gently so, though. We’re not talking red revolution here.

Policies were a little thinner.

A document distributed by the party at the launch event said its key policy areas were “strong economy, open government and social vision”.
The party’s values were listed as: “progress; equality; democracy and sustainability”.

This is perhaps a little ironic given that Catherine Murphy in particular, but also Stephen Donnelly, have been very clearly policy oriented in this Dáil. But early days yet.

Still, not difficult to feel that this was a project that was – like so many in the current Dáil, very much focused on a certain political layer. What I mean by that is that so far of the ‘new’ formations established in this latter part of the Dáil they’ve tended to revolve around TDs. The Independent Alliance is predicated on currently existing TDs coalescing. RENUA is essentially the product of a parliamentary split. The Social Democrats represent three TDs working together now under a single banner. In fairness some of those involved in the SDs have long been seeking a coherence at parliamentary level, but it does suggest that the dynamic is positioned at a fairly specific point of political activity. At least so far.

One has to wonder how TDs who have, broadly speaking, run their own show for quite some time will take to the necessary dynamics of an organisation – however loose that organisation may be. Again in fairness, Catherine Murphy in particular, has long sought some sort of coherence amongst Indepedents, and only Donnelly comes for an entirely non-party background. But it’s a change.

And there are many other questions. What sort of party is the SD going to be? What is the nature of representation within it? How is it organised in terms of members? What about the spread of its organisation – will it organise in the North? Will there be Ard Fheiseanna/Annual Delegate Conferences? Is there any question of international affiliations? How will policy be made?

So far the focus has – perhaps understandably given the near obsession within the media on government formation – been on the parliamentary aspects of the SDs. For example:

Ms Shortall said the “policy-based” party hoped to contest the election in every constituency.
She said the party would make a decision about a leader after the election, when she hoped its Dáil representation would be much larger.

And:

Ms Shortall said nobody else had been approached to run for the party, but that would happen. She also hoped people would approach the party in the coming weeks and months.

But how are those who seek to run selected? What democratic controls are there upon them? There’s talk about meetings around the state in the near future and some form of digital participation but again, how are they organised and how will they represent views?

It’s curious in a way, because all three TDs obviously have their own activist bases. But now those activists are (presumably) today newly minted members of the SDs. How does that work, pulling together disparate organisations and groups – potentially with different emphases on political issues?

Looking at both the WP and DL experience the prospect for significant challenges exist. The WP came from the opposite direction, with the arrival of TDs being closer to an end point than a beginning. But the dynamics of a parliamentary party arguably were one of the major aspects that led to the rupture in that party. Yet the Democratic Left experience would seem to suggest that TDs alone cannot a party maintain. Replicating that experience of a party which exists effectively around TDs and has relatively little life beyond that would be all too easy.

Note that I’m not engaging with the political substance – that’s a whole different other discussion. But it seems to me that that media obsession pointed to above misses some of the logistics of party formation, and I’d wonder how many of the questions above were raised at the launches. Precious few I’d suspect, because again the focus is so much on who will be in government in 2015/16 on. And I don’t for a moment believe that the issues I raise above are insoluble. Of course political life can and does develop above and beyond TDs. But… for them to be genuinely successful life will have to be breathed into many many different areas of the new party. That’s quite some challenge.

Trotsky on film …. July 27, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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A few more pieces from the Movietone archive

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