Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for The Raven

Resident of the North Coast. Protestant. Green Unionist. Quite happy to stay as we are; won't bear arms if we don't - only to raise them above my head and say "don't shoot!"

Latest comments from The Raven (see all)

The Raven has commented 477 times (0 in the last month).

  1. Comment on An early look at the Euro Runners and Riders
    on 18 February 2014 at 2:38 pm

    “So, at last european election, turnout was 42% and last council which was same day as 2011 assembly, it was 54%”

    Wow. That was said so matter-of-factly, it seems that it’s acceptable.

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  2. Comment on Young people and the upcoming elections
    on 5 February 2014 at 1:49 am

    There’s a candidate in my own new council area standing in the next council elections in his early-twenties. I am singularly unimpressed. I’ll say nothing more so there is no danger of identification – but he has no work experience; he has no life experience; he hasn’t travelled; he just puts out lots of press releases. I want a bit more. I’m not trashing youth. Just youthful arrogance. Don’t get that mixed up with youthful desire for change. I just want that same youthfulness to know what it’s talking about.

    Anyway….this is probably just the ramblings of someone who is realising that youth is past him. Casting a jealous eye on those with more years and better knees.

    Worth throwing something else out though: I understand that my new council will have someone standing who may be the near side of 90 should he finish his term. Anybody got a problem with that…?

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  3. Comment on What about some ‘hothouse political talks’ around NI’s social and economic future?
    on 24 January 2014 at 1:29 am

    Indeed, OM.

    Whereas over on the minimum wage thread, we have the usual overpaid civil servants whinge, the Benefit Street brigade, and it’s-not-fair-my-pension-will-pay-feck-all whines.

    This sheep infested isle truly needs some self awareness and introspection about what’s important, and how to get on with their short lives.

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  4. Comment on Could raising the minimum wage hurt NI?
    on 23 January 2014 at 1:32 am

    “Welcome to NICS land. Also most are allowed to move to EO/SO and PO (salary £40k plus) fairly easily. No actual job, but moving A4 sheets of paper about “meetings”. Lovely Jubbly”

    Really, I know this sort of thing isn’t on in Keyboard Warrior land, but I’m gonna have to ask for some empirical evidence…like something more than stories and “I once knew a man”.

    Is there not around 35,000 civil servants in NI? To absolutely contradict myself against what I wrote above – I do know quite a few, and I’m damned if I know many of them that moved from the basic grade to the grades you’ve mentioned, “fairly easily”, if at all…

    Neil – if your pension after 40 years is a fifth of £6250….can I suggest seeking some prudent financial advice?

    Also in general – can I even suggest that more than quite a few of us either take our jealous-heads off, put more towards the pension, (I do), or just simply wait for an opening in the Civil Service? My understanding from some of the comments here is that it is “fairly easy” to get to forty grand in a short period of time from being a photocopier…


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  5. Comment on Could raising the minimum wage hurt NI?
    on 22 January 2014 at 12:46 am

    “Mary had twenty years of reckonable service, including 5 years transferred in from another scheme. Her final pensionable earnings were £36,000. She has bought £1,000 of added pension. Her pension will be: (20/80 x 36,000) + (1,000) = £10,000 a year”

    Am I – as your ordinary common or garden taxpayer – alone in thinking that if every pensioner was on £10k a year – which is taxed of course – that the world would be a better place?

    Would I also be right in thinking that if your average photocopier on £25k has that applied it works out at £6250? Is that a “superb” pension? You’re also presupposing that people stay 20…30 years. The younger generation in now, I am led to believe, average out at about 12 years at most.

    I’m not having a pop – I’m just wondering if the truth and the Daily Mail are two things we’re all getting mixed up… I’ve probably missed stuff about lump sums and State pensions and other things too, but isn’t your average “photocopier”, an Adminstrative Assistant or officer or something on about £16k? Yields a pension of around £4,000 over 20 years? Perhaps someone who knows for sure could comment.

    Anyway…back to the actual topic…

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  6. Comment on Could raising the minimum wage hurt NI?
    on 21 January 2014 at 11:11 pm

    “We need a revolution. Why should any public employee get more than six times what the lowest-paid employee gets?”

    How many of them are there? Just wondering if there’s enough to generate that revolution. I know that in our local council, the Chief Exec gets paid around five times as much as the binman. Of course, the binman doesn’t have any of the responsibility of the top dog. What would *you* suggest?

    “Business owners, the conch is yours….”

    It doesn’t really count, but I have a small part time business that I am hoping to expand in a couple of years beyond my usual day job. I wouldn’t take on staff. But not because of the minimum wage – because of the regulations on health and safety, the insurance costs, the NICs costs, the eternal threat of litigation if you forget to buy milk for the tea and so forth. Arguments about minimum wages are usually generated by the CBI and FSB. The same organisations that argue against maternity leave increases.

    Frankly I have no problem with public sector pay and pensions. Surely it should be down to the private sector to elevate themselves to a par, rather than lowering the standards of others.

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  7. Comment on Kenny addresses the nation as Ireland exits its bailout.
    on 16 December 2013 at 9:56 am

    Cynic, though I accept all your points, it’s more how the aftermath was handled, and the utter lack of backbone I’m seeing then and now.

    As for the politicians bit? I had hoped down there – as I do here – that change would emerge.

    Like I said – just an outsider nordie.

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  8. Comment on Kenny addresses the nation as Ireland exits its bailout.
    on 15 December 2013 at 11:46 pm

    As an outsider nordie, I really want to rant about how amazed I’ve been at how the general population have been taxed until their very pips squeak; at how everyday items are beyond the grasp of many of the population; at how there is any sort of homeless problem, with 700-odd ghost estates dotted around the country; at how many of them – many within my circle of friends – have been left with mortgages they might never pay off; how many others have just handed the keys over the counter of the bank which was so generous many years ago, and now is bending them over the counter for one very final shaft; and about my absolute disappointment in the wider (i.e., not bankers, speculators, developers and many – but not all – politicians) population for letting themselves take it so squarely and firmly up the arse.

    But I live under the Stormont junta-cabal, and subsequently, a Tory government. So I suppose I’d better say fcuk all.

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  9. Comment on That #Selfie: Do our elite really ‘get’ the new grammar of digital democracy?
    on 12 December 2013 at 5:51 pm

    “Rest assured you wouldn’t have witnessed Cameron posing for a ‘selfie’ at Thatcher’s funeral.”

    Funeral at suitably intimate (compared to a football stadium) venue where cameras are pointed from all angles, with capacity for extreme close-up


    Memorial, in a stadium, with music, dancing, a huge crowd in ‘celebration’, no casket, and essentially, not a funeral. That’s “not a funeral”.

    “All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid,” Roberto Schmidt said. That’s the photographer.

    We also have the whole “Oh look at the bake on Jealous Michelle” issue, which precludes the other stills which weren’t broadcast as widely, with Michelle and Helle sharing a joke.

    “I later read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather peeved on seeing the Danish prime minister take the picture. But photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.”

    Perhaps we need to look at what isn’t shown, as much as what is. But sure, isn’t that always the way?

    World leaders in not-automaton-aide-groomed behaviour shocker. “That #Selfie”?? Get over yourselves, folks.

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