Slugger O'Toole

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Profile for Comrade Stalin

General Secretary of the CPSU and proud Alliance Party supporter.

Latest comments from Comrade Stalin (see all)

Comrade Stalin has commented 4,784 times (85 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Some thoughts on the Economics of Unity.
    on 24 April 2014 at 10:50 pm

    McSlaggart – nothing, especially with respect to cross border. That’s my point, which I think refutes whatever yours is.

    Charles – I’m sure the residents of the RoI are more than interested to hear you dictating to them how their economy should be run. Especially given that your sister party are actually in government.

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  2. Comment on NI21 launch a diverse squad of 47 council candidates – will any get elected?
    on 24 April 2014 at 10:45 pm


    Occam’s Razor… If a group of otherwise capable people do something that looks insane then there’s probably something else going on.

    I literally laughed out loud at this.

    Occam’s Razor says (simplified) that in the absence of evidence you pick the simplest possible explanation for the observed phenomena.

    The simplest explanation, and also the most likely one, for NI21′s selection decisions are that they don’t know anything about how to maximise the prospect of getting candidates elected in an STV poll. It’s fairly well understood that NI21 are not swimming in money (they have opted not to put up posters – probably for this reason) so they’re not in a position to fund market research in lots of different DEAs.

    In fairness, they probably weren’t going to get anything anyway this time around.

    Indeed, but then the idea is to see which names can actually pull a vote out and then work on building them up. I assuming that NI21 are hoping on some level to take seats.

    I mean, Jayne Olorunda should have been able to put out leaflets saying “hey everyone, I’m NI21′s person in Ormiston”. And I thought that’s what they were doing when they got the News Letter to run a profile of her. But by running another guy there they are wasting all that work. In fact, I suspect Dickson might come before Olorunda on the ballot paper!


    I’m sorry, but your last contribution reads like someone trying desperately to explain to everyone what the Emperor’s clothes look like.

    Running two candidates on the back of a previous vote of zero is stupid, stupid, stupid. Parties who know how to run elections, and have a track record of winning elections, do not do this. If you looked at election history here you would know this.

    And no, running two candidates does not make you look strong if you lose. Two candidates with the vote split evenly between them who then get excluded after the first count does not look strong, it looks like a weak and badly run campaign by amateurs. You seem to be starting off with an assumption that NI21 will poll so strongly that it will win two quotas in these DEAs, rather than worrying about the more likely possibility of a poor showing. This is like someone worrying about what they’re going to do when they win the lottery.

    I repeat once again, this is a serious and naive mistake and it illustrates NI21′s ineptitude and lack of organizational discipline; it does not illustrate strength or discipline.

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  3. Comment on Some thoughts on the Economics of Unity.
    on 24 April 2014 at 10:23 pm


    I’ve absolutely no problem with that. Not least because I know that the SDLP and SF simply won’t bother with cross border initiatives. They haven’t in the Assembly.

    Politico, I look forward to your corrections. I did check the taxes on the Irish government website but it’s possible I made mistakes.

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  4. Comment on About ‘that’ crossroads: Moderate Unionism at Twaddell, April 2014
    on 24 April 2014 at 10:15 pm


    The camp is illegal on several levels :
    - it’s sited on publicly owned land, without permission of the owner (the Housing Executive)
    - unlawful assemblies blocking the road
    - illegal parades marching up to the camp
    - regular attempts to put pressure on the police lines
    - noise nuisance
    - closely linked with the UVF

    The authorities are afraid to do anything in case it makes it worse. Unionist politicians making speeches of this kind undermine the capacity of the authorities to put a stop to it. The people who live in the homes along the road dare not say anything otherwise they will be subject to intimidation. At least one of the homes has a young family living in it.

    Chris McGimpsey is actually right, ordinary loyalist working class neighbourhoods get a shitty deal from the politicians they elect – the DUP and UUP – who are to be seen making speeches and being true blue at election time yet do nothing to solve problems in between polling days. Moreover, they need political leaders who will tell them that the protest cannot work and that it’s time to give it up.

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  5. Comment on Some thoughts on the Economics of Unity.
    on 24 April 2014 at 9:56 pm

    We were having a (mostly good-natured) argument about the differences on twitter yesterday, and I think it’s germane here.

    I think a lot of people, including nationalists, are not quite aware of exactly how different the setup around taxation and charging in the RoI is. I’m aware of it, as I’m a homeowner and ratepayer in NI, and I lived in Dublin for a year a while back (and still visit homeowning friends there on a regular basis).

    For every tax in the UK which has an equivalent in the RoI, the RoI rate usually works out higher. For example, in the UK the 40% higher rate kicks in on your taxable income above £32,011. In the RoI, the equivalent upper rate – 41% – kicks in at EUR41800 which at the current mid-market exchange rate is £34,403.72. However, because (for a single person) the tax credit is EUR5500 or thereabouts, the proportion of income paid at the higher rate is greater.

    Those on lower incomes also pay more tax. In the UK someone on minimum wage pays almost no tax. In the RoI half of their income would be subject to tax.

    This is excluding the effect of the Universal Social Charge. Almost all Irish taxpayers, ie anyone earning over EUR16000-ish, has to pay a 7% flat tax on their entire income on top of whatever other tax they have already paid as regular PAYE income tax and PRSI. There are lower rates for those earning less (eg part timers and students doing summer work etc) but these are taxes that are paid irrespective of tax-free allowances etc.

    On top of this, Irish citizens also have to pay :

    - bin collection charges

    - there are no rates, but an annual property charge has been introduced, and water charges are around the corner

    - It’s EUR55 to see a a doctor. Further charges for prescriptions.

    - car taxes are higher. My car costs £220 to tax in NI, it costs EUR750 to tax the same car in the RoI. (I wonder what insurance costs look like)

    - In the UK banks tend not to charge transaction fees when you are in credit. Not so in the RoI. My friend with an AIB account gets charged 35c to make a cash withdrawal and 25c for every direct debit which comes out. I’ve never paid bank charges in NI, as I’ve never been overdrawn.

    - broadband and mobile phone is more expensive. The most basic UPC package in Dublin with broadband, phone and TV is EUR53 monthly (with usage allowance). Here I am paying £30/month for my Tivo package and no usage allowance.

    - if your house goes on fire and you call the fire brigade, they will charge you a call-out fee. Sometimes your home insurance will pay this cost.

    - the price of a pint is 10-20% higher.

    - parking penalties are high and in Dublin they are everywhere, even at small shopping complexes in the suburbs where they will clamp you at the drop of a hat and charge a EUR100 release fee. This happened to someone I know out at Leopardstown Valley.

    - I was in St Stephen’s Green shopping centre last week and was charged 15c to take a leak! Then I was charged EUR8 for two hours of parking.

    In exchange, RoI citizens benefit from better social welfare rates (or so I’m told – I’ve not checked, as I’ve never been on the dole in my life) and the ability to purchase their annual bus/train/DART/Luas ticket free of tax. It “feels” like public transport costs are a bit lower as well. When I used to take the #18 to work in Dublin it definitely covered a lot more distance for less money than the nearest equivalent Citybus service at the time.

    The reason for the disparity in taxation is simply Irish government policy. The punitive tax rates are required to maintain the ongoing low levels of corporation tax, welfare spending, subsidies for third level education, and to continue bribing the overpaid public sector unions (especially the transport and teacher unions) not to go on strike. The taxes are also required to pay for the Fianna Fáil government losing its backbone and caving in to European pressure to bail out German and French pension funds invested in dodgy banks.

    You could quite easily argue that this is a price worth paying. Ireland’s economy is recovering well from the recession. The reasons for Ireland’s economic success are various; low corporation tax is a factor, as is having a well-educated population, but it is probably more to do with the fact that Ireland is home to the Eurozone’s only native English-speaking population and that makes it attractive to Eurozone investors. During recessions Ireland tends to see high rates of migration, which help to reduce the social welfare burden on the State during the time when it is least able to fund it.

    However, I hasten to point out that so far Northern Ireland’s nationalists and persuaders for a united Ireland are showing no sign of accepting the economic tradeoffs that contribute to the RoI’s economic success. Many of the charges paid in Ireland above could be introduced in NI, and used to (for example) offset corporation tax, or invest in education or promoting FDI. That’s what makes me wonder if they have other reasons for avoiding discussions of what a united Ireland would really look like in case it would scare too many nationalist voters off.

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  6. Comment on NI21 launch a diverse squad of 47 council candidates – will any get elected?
    on 24 April 2014 at 12:00 am

    JH, I’m not an expert in software marketing (or marketing in general) but common sense would dictate that shipping a crap initial version of your first product would irreparably damage customer’s faith in your brand. If you produce something which which very obviously does not work, you will find it harder to get people to come back and give it another shot than you would if you had delayed the launch for a few weeks to iron out the worst of the issues.

    I don’t think the analogy applies here. There is no problem with NI21 running as many candidates as possible, but running several in one DEA like that is self-defeating in the fullest, literal sense of the word. This is the behaviour of a gambler staking the last of his bankroll. Not even the DUP would take the risk of running two candidates for the European seat even given that they have one of the best election machines there is and that they have an outside chance of taking two seats.

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  7. Comment on NI21 launch a diverse squad of 47 council candidates – will any get elected?
    on 23 April 2014 at 10:14 pm


    In the scenario you describe, NI21 running two candidates helps Alliance, as if their vote gets split they will be eliminated first and their transfers will go to the other moderate parties.

    If I was an Alliance Party or UUP mole joining NI21 undercover and trying to undermine it from within, I’d be running their election campaign exactly the way they are running it now.

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  8. Comment on NI21 launch a diverse squad of 47 council candidates – will any get elected?
    on 23 April 2014 at 10:01 pm

    It comes across to my (admittedly jaundiced) perspective as a desperate clutching of straws. If you can’t turn around to your party and say “look we can only run one candidate here, once the party is off the ground then naturally we will be able to run more” you’re going nowhere fast.

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