Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for JH

Co-founder of a tech start-up based in Belfast. Divide my time between Belfast, Dublin and Galway.

Latest comments from JH (see all)

JH has commented 294 times (3 in the last month).

  1. Comment on NI21 announce their Euro Candidate @NI21Chair Tina McKenzie
    on 7 April 2014 at 11:38 am

    Hate to be a naysayer but I have to agree with most of these comments, there’s simply no content to that video.

    NI21 seem to want to get across why they exist at every opportunity without actually giving away anything on policy.

    They say we need ‘radical change’. What kind of radical change? What does it look like? What are the achievable outcomes?

    How does the opportunity cost compare to other radical change already on the table; for example a united Ireland or the abolition of Stormont?

    Finally, you take a large number of people with widely divergent views, call it the ‘silent majority’ and then start telling people what it wants.

    Sorry.

    The non-voting bloc is as diverse, if not more-so, than the voting bloc. At best you get a small portion of it, although since it self-identifies as non-voting even that should be an uphill struggle.

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  2. Comment on NI21 announce their Euro Candidate @NI21Chair Tina McKenzie
    on 7 April 2014 at 1:48 am

    A few things it might be worth asking Tina;

    This party have no experience in European politics, who will be advising them and what will the learning period be before representation will be effective?

    Which EU party(s) will they be aligning with?

    What are their positions on EU hot topics, like Net neutrality and CAP reform?

    They don’t have a voting record. Since both Britain and Ireland are in the EU, the national issue is irrelevant and questions like this are important to know exactly what we’re voting for.

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  3. Comment on Anna Lo, and the Myth that Northern Ireland Politics is about the Border
    on 24 March 2014 at 2:35 am

    I really resent the common use of the term ‘Nationalist’ to refer to someone who would vote for a united Ireland; it’s presumptuous and insulting.

    In that sense I can share a bit of Anna Lo’s frustration.

    Given a choice I’d vote for a united Ireland. Not because I yearn for the day of impassioned reunion. Because if we could solve all of our differences tomorrow our prospects within the UK would be average at best.

    In that sense Alliance are starting to sound like an interesting proposition. It all hinges on what they do next. Will they snuff this out because Lo’s views are inconvenient? Or will they nurture this as a defining example of what makes them unique.

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  4. Comment on Anna Lo- A United Ireland would be better placed economically, socially and politically
    on 21 March 2014 at 2:30 pm

    CS:

    I think you’re right on the NHS, it’s incredible. However I do have to take you up on a couple of things.

    “the rates of which are all, last time I checked, higher than the corresponding rates of tax and National Insurance in the UK”

    This isn’t my experience in practice when factoring in national insurance, student loan contributions (Uni is free with comparatively low registration charge in the South) and a lower allowance.

    Obviously this is anecdotal, but in Belfast I was paying a combined ~35% on a wage 1/3 of what I was being offered in Dublin.

    It’s also true that you have to pay for doctor visits (~50 EUR) and prescriptions; however treatment is free with a medical card and private cover is almost ubiquitous for those in employment.

    I don’t believe dentist costs are cheaper in the UK solely because of competition brought by the NHS, I think you also have to factor in an average lower level of disposable income and a greater supply of dentists.

    I agree that the NHS is incredible and the Irish health system in desperate need of improvement.

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  5. Comment on Anna Lo- A United Ireland would be better placed economically, socially and politically
    on 21 March 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Interesting economic points from Michael and Neil.

    The point is that tax avoidance really isn’t an issue. In fact it’s not really an issue in the UK either. I’d wager that behind closed doors both the UK and Irish governments would rather abolish CT on multi-nationals altogether if they could handle the diplomacy and the response from the left.

    Job creation and the trickle-down boost to indigenous ancillary service companies is the name of the game.

    What’s more important, in my opinion, is the second generation of investment the South now has. That is to say, people who’ve exited companies and are putting the money and expertise back into the economy in the form of venture capital. It provides the lubrication needed to spin small startups into huge enterprises, to give young companies a fair crack of the whip on the international stage.

    This takes decades to build and the North hasn’t made any real headway. The seed investment scene is dominated by one or two prominent angels, with most coming directly from a Government-backed fund. The Series A+ scene is non-existent.

    Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be much prospect of it building either while the levers of control are in London. And so we end up with the chicken/egg problem. Is the Union really our only option because no-one else could afford us? Or is it that the relationship is actually depressing our economy and keeping it subservient?

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  6. Comment on Anna Lo- A United Ireland would be better placed economically, socially and politically
    on 20 March 2014 at 3:33 pm

    “Hmm so a lack of nationalist vision for a future UI = unionism on its arse… I think that stands on its own merits.”

    Type ‘Anna Lo’ into Twitter search and read the comments flowing from Unionist politicians and wonks. There’s little doubt she completely blind-sided everyone.

    As for her being naive, I’m not so sure. I think she’s just bluntly honest. She showed up to a panel at QUB and described non-STEM as ‘soft subjects’. The event was organised by the politics society.

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  7. Comment on Anna Lo- A United Ireland would be better placed economically, socially and politically
    on 20 March 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Hehe, I don’t think I said that Zep.

    What Morpheus said:
    “There is absolutely no point in SF or any of our political parties coming up with a proposal because it won’t even be looked at by half the population of Northern Ireland. It needs to be independent.”

    The reason this whole Lo incident has put Unionism on its arse is that she’s an unknown quantity. Her view could be infectious amongst a certain section of people once that door is ajar, it gives credibility to a position they’ve focussed on using SF’s past to discredit.

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  8. Comment on Anna Lo- A United Ireland would be better placed economically, socially and politically
    on 20 March 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Perhaps that would be better done by a non-party aligned group and presented purely as evidence to all parties.

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  9. Comment on Anna Lo- A United Ireland would be better placed economically, socially and politically
    on 20 March 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I don’t see the great controversy. The economic evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of a single island economic unit in the long term, even factoring in a protracted getting-to-know-you period.

    Her comment about being anti-colonialist is statement on her own heritage rather than ours.

    Frankly, if the Unionist economic argument is so self-evident I don’t why they’re not taking her up on that. All the criticism so far has been based on bending the colonialism statement.

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  10. Comment on After the Currency Union debate the #IndyRef is dead, so long live the SNP…
    on 20 February 2014 at 2:26 pm

    DC

    Hmm that’s interesting. If they take a hardline position now they’ll lose the referendum for sure but possibly be better positioned in the negotiations.

    …assuming that in the event of a ‘yes’ more than half of what’s in the remaining UK’s interests isn’t also in the emergent Scotland’s. In that case it’d be conceding the referendum to end up with the same hand in negotiations.

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