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Sunday Independent/Ireland Thinks Poll July 2, 2022

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The latest poll from that source records:

SF 36 +1

FG 22 +2

FF 15 -2

GP 4 +1

LP 4 NC

SD 3 -2

SOL PBP 3 NC

AONTÚ 3 NC

IND/OTHER 10 +2

As the Independent notes, in this poll SF is now just 1 point behind FG and FF combined.

The sound of music (festival) July 2, 2022

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Well, the Fairview Park music festival of sorts – Glastonbury in miniature redux on the river Tolka – ended on Friday night with Stereophonics. Wild horses would not drag me to see that band.

The night before was a cheerier outing so it would appear with Olivia Rodrigo whose Glastonbury set was enlivened by her and Lily Allen making their opinions on the US Supreme Court known. Other bands passed by. I’m trying to recall who was on earlier in the week.

The most intrusive section of it was when there were gigs Saturday, Sunday and Monday (and Croke Park hosting GAA simultaneously, which put some pressure on parking and traffic and foot traffic). But overall, bar there being talk of covid rife, it broadly has passed without any hitch, ending on time, much fewer crowds than expected the noise Again, as noted last week, for those with double glazing, about bearable. I’ll be interested to hear the community response but so far my sense it is broadly positive. That may change.

They’re disassembling the site at the moment. Probably take three or four days to do so completely. Four more years to go. If it keeps to the level of the last fortnight it might be a positive enough addition.

Political badges and T-shirts July 2, 2022

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Anyone a fan of political badges? Not only for collection (and IEL has a remarkable collection of same) but for wearing?

Back in the day, the WP did a nice Starry Plough enamelled badge but I don’t know where my one got to. Going through some old badges, I discovered a hammer and sickle one which I have no memory of wearing. Red stars were common but a bit too common perhaps? Badges were such a 1980s thing, though, or at least so they appeared, with music and political ones very popular across the decade.

Here’s a nice example a friend sent a link to…

 

Then there are T-shirts. Many many years ago I had a hammer and sickle T-shirt which I think I bought in the famous lefty bookshop in London down off Leicester Square whose name escapes me. Given it was 1990 or so that was almost an historical item by the time I actually wore it. I’ve a nice Vietnamese yellow star on a red background one but that’s the limit of my political T-shirts and, rather like the music T-shirts, I don’t have a real use for them outside the house.

What of others?

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Longitude July 2, 2022

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Those of you that live and outdoor music venues will be familiar with the sounds of the nearby gig. There seems to be some kind of sonic rule, where if you’re interested in hearing a gig the wind usually blows in the opposite direction and you hear little of it…. Indeed this week having sat in the back Garden to see if I could hear The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, there literally wasn’t a peep. I was in Inchicore Monday , at Marlay for Guns n Roses on Tuesday , so Wednesdays gig was my first chance to hear anything…. However if it’s something you don’t want to hear, the wind will definitely blow the sound in your direction and you may aswell have gone to hear the racket.

As the years rolled by I have known less and less of the acts playing longitude, this year Denise Chailia is the only one in the whole line up that I’m familiar with. Anyway I’m sure I’ll be hearing each and every note from it this year.

Marxism 2022, London: A festival of socialist ideas July 1, 2022

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Marxism 2022: A festival of socialist ideas

About this event

Marxism 2022 is a festival of socialist ideas in East London including debates, workshops, live music, a culture tent, film screenings and more. Socialists across the globe will be debating the fight for a better world. Speakers include:

Jeremy Corbyn MP and Gary Younge in the Bookmarks tent · Lowkey · Hannah Lowe · Yanis Varoufakis · Muzan Alneel · Tariq Ali · Janet Alder · Ilan Pappe · Sukhdev Reel · Jeff Sparrow · Laura Miles · Mike Davis · Shahd Abusalama · David Rosenberg · Anne Alexander · Michael Roberts · and more!

For full timetable visit our website.

Themes we will be discussing include:

System change not climate change · BLM: Race, class and revolution · Is revolution possible in the 21st century? · Marxism, gender and trans liberation · Marx and Marxism today · Smashing sexism and the system · Palestine, Zionism and the fight for liberation · Imperialism and the growing threat of war.

We’re back — in person! The event is at Queen Mary University in East London. If you can’t attend in person due to covid, you’ll be able to stream in online.

Marxism Festival is the place to discuss how we can change the world. From the climate catastrophe to the rising threat of war, we’ll be debating how best we can fight for a different kind of society. Don’t miss it!

Sick leave and pay in a time of Covid, and the broader situation July 1, 2022

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Andrew Flood had a point that is spot on about the current situation re the pandemic:

It’s worth addressing that in some detail. But here’s some further points to consider. We know herd immunity is a nonsense in the context of Covid. We know that people can be reinfected multiple times. So far – as reported on RTÉ up to four times but there’s no reason I can see why it can’t be many times more – effectively as long as the virus is circulating and that is clearly going to be many many years, if not indeed likely indefinitely. We know that the virus is more lethal than flu (albeit with vaccines this is moderated, but vaccines don’t seem to confer long term immunity or even mitigation and many of us are now six months beyond our last booster and with no clear sign of more boosters on the way). 

But as Flood notes this raises questions simply not being addressed in the public sphere. Our sick leave system is not fit for purpose and worse again in the context of a disease that requires potentially weeks off a year, even if one has a mild dose. And what of those who have long Covid – again mentioned on RTÉ. 

By way of example more Aer Lingus flights were cancelled yesterday and as noted in yesterday’s post there were others cancelled in previous days due to Covid spikes amongst aircrews. But it’s not just Aer Lingus (though again as noted yesterday the irony of them welcoming the end of masking mandates on aircraft some months back is quite something). Anywhere people work in close proximity to others there is a significant possibility of catching Covid with consequent knock on effects. Schools, shops, small offices, places where working from home is not an option. As was put to me only yesterday, all the old structures remain – contingencies have been put in place but almost with the expectation that the situation would return to normal. But it’s not returning to normal.

Mitigating measures have been all but abandoned. The reasoning is in part that the public support isn’t there. I’ve wondered about that. The data from polling up to the end of such measures indicated pretty broad support for them. But it may be more difficult at this point to reintroduce mandatory measures – short of a significant spike. 

But as Flood notes the framing of this is poor to the point of negligence by the media. As he notes RTÉ emphasises the number of incidental cases which is much less important than the fact of multiple reinfections ‘becoming increasingly common’. 

And the political response. One could ask what political response?

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he does not envisage an immediate return to mandatory mask wearing on public transport.

He said while there is a “significant increase” in Covid cases, the focus has always been to look at the critical end of the health system, including the numbers in ICU with the virus.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said: “The latest health advice from us isn’t to introduce mandatory mask wearing. What we have done is dusted down and had the legislation ready if we did get that advice. And we are doing that in advance of the summer recess to prepare for any eventuality.”

Meanwhile consider sick leave and pay. This shows just how abysmal the situation is today. And has been.

Here’s the the Citizensinformation page on this.

In general, you have no legal right to be paid while you are on sick leave from work, but this is due to change from 2022 – see ‘Upcoming changes’ below. Until then, employers can decide their own policy on sick leave and may decide to pay you while you are off sick. Your employer must give you written information about their sick leave policy.

If you cannot work because you are sick or injured, and you have enough PRSI contributions, you can apply to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for a payment called Illness Benefit.

If you do not have enough PRSI contributions, you should contact the Community Welfare Officer at your local health centre. They will assess your situation.

Upcoming changes

The Government has approved publication of the draft Sick Leave Bill 2022. The draft Statutory Sick Pay scheme will introduce:

  • Paid sick leave for up to 3 sick days per year. This is planned to increase to 5 days in 2024, 7 days in 2025 and 10 days in 2026.
  • A rate of payment for statutory sick leave of 70% of normal wages to be paid by employers (up to a maximum €110 per day).
  • A right for workers to take a complaint to the WRC where they are not provided with a company sick pay scheme.

To be entitled to paid sick leave under the new scheme, you must be working for your employer for at least 13 weeks. You will also need to be certified by a GP as unfit to work.

Employees Sick Pay entitlement starts as soon as the law is enacted. This is expected soon.

Worth looking at the situation with regard to Sick Pay. This is arguably no better. And consider all this in the context of Long Covid. 

Rules about sick leave and sick pay

Can I get Illness Benefit and sick pay at the same time?

You can apply for Illness Benefit while you are also getting sick pay. But if your employer already provides sick pay, they will probably ask you to sign over any Illness Benefit payment to them for as long as the sick pay continues.

Will my employer provide sick pay?

If you are not sure whether you can get sick pay, you should ask your employer or look at your contract of employment.

Your contract of employment should clearly state the rules on sick leave. It may:

  • Limit the length of time you can get sick pay (for example, one month’s sick pay in any 12-month period)
  • State that if you are sick and unavailable for work, you must contact a specified person by a certain time

If you do not get sick pay although it is in your contract or terms of employment, you can complain under the Payment of Wages Act. Use the online complaint form on workplacerelations.ie.

But here’s the question. Why is none of this being teased out publicly? Why is ‘living with Covid’ apparently a matter of attempting to pretend Covid doesn’t exist as distinct from engaging with the reality of the impacts that it has on pre-existing structures (such as sick leave and pay) and how they and perhaps numerous other areas are going to have to be refashioned for the years ahead?

On Ukraine: more links July 1, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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From ColmB this link…

Noted these in comments – two pieces with differing takes on the invasion and NATO… here and here.

Here from a week or two back Rupture’s report on the PBP AGM 2022 including their analysis of the invasion of Ukraine.

And an interview with Jeremy Corbyn (thanks Liberius) from some months back.

And here’s Slavoj Žižek in the Guardian.

On Ukraine… July 1, 2022

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Allan Armstrong has written a two-part article, Why has Putin has invaded Ukraine? The first part was posted on bella caledonia and the CLR. This has now been amended following the helpful comments from Connor Beaton, Nick Steff and Sairah Tariq.

Allan makes a clear linkage between James Connolly’s approach and Socialist Republican ‘Internationalism from Below’.

Mother of parliaments July 1, 2022

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Three snippets from Westminster yesterday struck me as educative. First up was a piece by Stella Creasy of the BLP noting that:

Last night his deputy criticised my parenting for bringing my toddler to the voting lobbies. She demanded I hand her over to her instead, despite being a stranger to my child. Such outward hostility towards making parliament family friendly does little to improve the perception that Westminster is out of touch with those it seeks to serve. When 41% of the population think democracy doesn’t work, refusing to accept the status quo becomes even more important, not just for equality, but to protect democracy itself.

Today’s news that the procedure committee has decided parents accompanied by babies are forbidden in the House of Commons – in contrast to many other legislatures around the world and previous custom – yet again reinforces the impression Westminster isn’t a 21st-century workplace, but a rarefied debating club for the elite. This decision will not affect me. Both my children are now too old to sit quietly so I can speak, but it speaks volumes about how determined some are to send the message that mothers are not welcome unless they pretend their children don’t exist.

What’s particularly notable is Creasy’s point that this is a step backwards. And that to me seems to sum up much of political activity at this moment in the UK (and the US too, come to think of it). I’ve tried to find the situation that pertains in the Oireachtas. 

Meanwhile, there’s this: Angela Rayner criticised by the Tories’ Dominic Raab for attending the opera. One doesn’t need to be a fan of the BLP to see this as a functionally and overly classist attack on people from working class backgrounds engaging with culture in any form. It speaks, well… volumes about the perceptions of those like Raab. And also how this is used politically, weaponised as it were. 

Finally, this from Matt Hancock, Tory and former Secretary State for Health and Social Care. He’s not worried about rising Covid numbers, though he doesn’t really address why one shouldn’t be. He places a lot of faith in vaccines, which is fair enough, but doesn’t even begin to engage with their fading effectivity over time. A lot of chatter about ‘liberty’ too, but in the course of a few hundred words amazing how little substance there is in there. 

Signs of Hope – A continuing series July 1, 2022

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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

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