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?”
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?”
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?”
The government has been celebrating Ireland’s recent exit from the Troika bailout and have proclaimed that Ireland is now on the road to recovery. The Taoiseach addressed the nation to celebrate the regaining of Ireland’s economic sovereignty. But are we out of the woods yet? Is Ireland facing a new dawn that leaves the nightmare of the recession behind or is it only a mirage of false hope while we are still stuck in the mud? Continue reading “On The Road To Recovery Or The Road To Nowhere?”
The proposed abortion legislation has many flaws and even once it’s passed, Ireland will still have one of the most restrictive regimes in the world. It is probably the most limited bill that could have been passed and includes many hurdles for suicidal women. It says nothing about pregnancy through rape and will do little to stem the tide of women forced to head to England to get abortions. However, all this considered, it is still a step in the right direction. It will protect the life of the mother and hopefully ensure that a tragic death like that of Savita Halappanavar never happens again. Most important of all, it has broken the taboo on abortion and shown that the anti-abortion extremists no longer dominate the debate. Continue reading “A Small Step Forward”
Irish politics is in a great state of flux. Nothing is quite certain and the positions keep changing. After being fairly rigid and predictable since 1932, it was burst apart in the earthquake election of 2011 and things have yet to settle back into place. Every opinion poll shows the sudden rise or fall of another party, but failing to add much clarity to the situation. This is why the Meath East by-election is useful as it allows us to take stock of the situation and give us a rough idea of where things stand and what direction Irish politics is heading. Continue reading “Meath East And The Future Direction Of Irish Politics”
A guest blog I did for a new group, Irish Student Left Online, on the Anglo Promissory Note. Its a specifically Irish issue, but basically a private bank made reckless gambles and was about the go bankrupt when the Irish government bailed it out. It will cost 30 billion euro to wind down the company (as in return for 0 benefit). It been a huge problem figuring how we should pay this and this week the government finally got an agreement with the ECB to delay repayments for 30 years. I discuss whether or not this a good deal.
In his debut for the ISLO Robert Nielsen goes through the bizarre and tragic nature of the recent “deal” on the Promissory Notes. Robert blogs over here normally.
Whenever discussing the banks people often preface their comments by saying that they don’t know much about economics. It is assumed that the bank bailout only seems absurd due to a lack of economic knowledge, that in actual fact the government is following well-established economic principles. As an economics student, let me tell you that nothing is further from the truth. There is no economic logic or theory behind the government’s
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Irish politics is in crisis. The economy has been severely damaged and recovery is still far off. Old political loyalties are breaking down. The nation is near bankruptcy. In this time of great trouble we need great leadership and new thinking. The old ways have failed us and we need new ideas. Instead we stuck with old fashioned mediocrity. Irish politics is not based on ideas or visions but on keeping the status quo. We have a crisis of consensus. Continue reading “Crisis Of Consensus”
This time last year there was a political earthquake that changed the shape of Irish politics. Fianna Fail suffered the worst defeat in its history and lost its dominance over Irish politics. The political system in place since 1932 was destroyed. Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein made enormous and unprecedented gains, while the losses suffered by Fianna Fail and the Green Party were so great many commentators questioned if they would survive. A Fine-Gael-Labour coalition was formed with the largest majority in history. One year on, how has the new government fared? Has it redefined the way politics operate or is it simply a case of new faces, same old story? Continue reading “New Dawn or More of the Same?”
The Labour party used to have principles. It used to stand for something. Nowadays it is indistinguishable from the Fianna Fail government it had vehemently opposed and its governing partner Fine Gael which it is supposed to counter balance. Continue reading “The Fall Of The Labour Party”