Have We Learned Nothing From The Crisis?

Do you remember 2007? The economy was booming (or so we were told) and the government was swaggering. This was all due to their wisdom and excellent management they told us. Don’t throw it away, they told us, by electing that other crowd, or even worst still, those leftists who might try to regulate the property market. There is was no debate over whether the property boom was sustainable or if the banks were properly regulated. Those who questioned if all parts of society were benefiting or if the government really knew what it was doing were dismissed as moaners. Questions over whether giving tax cuts so that people could buy bigger houses was the best use of resources were ignored. The system was working so don’t question it. Continue reading “Have We Learned Nothing From The Crisis?”

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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 “Social Democrats Manifesto: It’s No Bernie Sanders”

Why I Will Vote For Bernie Sanders

America has a serious problem with inequality. The gap between the rich and the poor is one of the widest among developed nations and has reached levels last seen in the Roaring Twenties before the Great Crash. Although the productivity and wealth of the nation have grown rapidly, the wages of ordinary workers have stagnated. Average wages have remained more or less the same for forty years. While wealth becomes increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, more and more people fall into poverty. Unions have had their strength drained from them and adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is lower than it was fifty years ago. To be successful in America nowadays has less to do with your skill and abilities and more to do with where you were born and how rich your parents were. Continue reading “Why I Will Vote For Bernie Sanders”

Elections Are Not Won In The Centre

It seems that journalists feel it’s mandatory every time they discuss either Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn to declare that they can’t win a general election. According to them, there is a simple rule of politics and those who stray from it are doomed to defeat. It is almost a motto that “Elections are won in the centre”. This piece of perceived wisdom is repeated constantly to the point that a great many believe it without even thinking about it. It seems obvious that elections can only be won by avoiding divisive principles and instead only proposing watered down moderate proposals. To listen to political analysts, it would seem that you could have principles or power, but not both. Continue reading “Elections Are Not Won In The Centre”

What Is The Best Electoral System?

In the aftermath of the UK general election, a lot of focus has shifted to the electoral system and questions have been raised over how fair and democratic it is. In particular, is it democratic for the Conservative party to win a majority of seats with only a third of the votes? Is it democratic for the 7.5 million people who voted for the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and Greens to have only 10 seats? Surely the fact that 25% of voters got only 1% of the seats is a sign of a serious problem with the electoral system? How can we make the electoral system better? Continue reading “What Is The Best Electoral System?”

Can The Labour Party Be Saved?

The Irish Labour Party is in dire straits. Its vote has collapsed from 19.7% in the 2011 general election to only 7% in last months local election, causing its leader Eamon Gilmore to resign. Now there is a leadership election ongoing between Joan Burton and Alex White, both of which are making bland statements about what they would do as leader (neither have mentioned any policies or anything concrete). But is this simply a case of rearranging chairs on the Titanic and finding someone to take the poisoned chalice and lead Labour into election meltdown? Continue reading “Can The Labour Party Be Saved?”

Which Lesser Evil To Vote For?

I have a bit of a dilemma. You see the local and European election are on this Friday here in Ireland and considering my interest in politics, I will proudly do my duty and vote. The problem is the question of who to vote for. The options are pretty woeful. Irish politics is a mash of grey politicians who take turns to implement the same policies in government and criticise these very same policies in opposition. There is little difference between the parties and we seem doomed to get the same policies no matter who we vote for. Continue reading “Which Lesser Evil To Vote For?”