Social Democrats Manifesto: It’s No Bernie Sanders

Between Bernie Sanders strength in the American Democratic primaries and Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader of the British Labour Party, there has been a surge for left wing politicians challenging the establishment. In Ireland, following the Labour Party’s embrace of austerity, there is a gap in the market for a centre-left party and the Social Democrats aim to fill this. Continue reading

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Renua Manifesto Review: Vague Buzzwords Brought To You By Fox News

The Dáil has been dissolved and the campaign for the 32nd Dáil has begun. It’s easy to get lost in the media-spin, tribalism and parochialism. So I thought I’d try and clear this up by analysing the policies (not personalities) of each party by reviewing their manifesto. Trying to describe the views of any Irish political party is like trying to square a circle and first on the list, Renua, is no exception. In fact it’s hard to see what the party stands for. Seeing as it was formed from TDs who resigned from Fine Gael in protest at the abortion bill, you would expect them to be an anti-abortion party perhaps aiming for a social conservative vote like that which opposed the Marriage Referendum. After all, they are endorsed by David Quinn. However, abortion isn’t mentioned a single time in the manifesto, nor is any other social issue for that matter. Continue reading

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No One Has Time For A Completely Free Market

The free market often sounds quite simple and straight forward. Consumers simply decide whether product A or B benefits them more and then choose accordingly. If the same or similar product is sold by shop A or B consumers simply choose whichever is cheaper, better quality or otherwise benefits them. It is easy and doesn’t require any complicated plan or someone telling consumers what is best for them, people simply decide themselves. This is the market as described by economists, politicians and writers, especially when they are trying to make a political point. After all, if the market is so simple and straight forward, why do we need the government interfering? All these rules and regulations only get in the way, surely it is better for everyone if we just leave the consumers to decide for themselves. Continue reading

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An Atheist Reads The 2nd Book of Samuel: The Bizarre Justice Of God

The 2nd book of Samuel picks up where the 1st one finished, with David hearing of the defeat and death of Saul and Jonathan. Upon hearing this, he and all his men tear off their clothes and start weeping. He is told this by an Amalekite, who for unexplained reasons was wandering through the battlefield when he started chatting to Saul (why? Shouldn’t they be enemies?), who asked him to kill him (despite the Bible just saying that Saul killed himself). So the Amalekite mercy kills the wounded Saul brings his crown to David. Why? Out of all the people in the land, why did the Amalekite choose David? Why not sell it or return to his own king? David thanks the stranger who gave him this crucial news and the crown by having him executed. Continue reading

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An Atheist Reads The 1st Book Of Samuel: The Fall Of Saul And The Rise Of David

While the first half of the 1st Book of Samuel was about the rise of Samuel and how Saul became king, the second half is about Saul’s decline and fall, and the rise of David. However, this doesn’t happen in a straight forward way, instead the way is littered with massacres, murder and betrayal. The main characters act more like mafia dons than divinely blessed heroes. Continue reading

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An Atheist Reads The 1st Book Of Samuel: How Do You Make A King?

So the Book of Samuel begins with the origin story of Samuel (of course, he can’t be just an ordinary guy, no, even his birth must be something of a miracle). There was a man with two wives (an issue that God is completely silent on and presumably has no problem with) and he deeply loves one despite the fact that “the Lord had closed her womb”. This is revealing for two reasons, firstly that the Bible thinks that loving your wife despite the fact she can’t have children is unusual enough to merit mention. Evidently, the role of a woman was to have children and if they couldn’t this was seen as a failure. Continue reading

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Muslims Are The New Irish

Sometimes it feels that history repeats itself and only the names change. This is certainly the case with the current refugee crisis which parallels many previous refugee crises and migrant waves. People fleeing war and poverty in the search of a better life is not a new occurrence, in fact you could say it’s an eternal issue. Other writers have drawn attention to how current attitudes to Muslims resemble that towards Jews in the 30s and 40s (the family of Anne Frank applied for refugee status but were rejected). I can also see a strong resemblance between Muslims and my own people, the Irish. Continue reading

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