The Blog Round…

Thanks for the crowd sourcing ideas from yesterday… I’m holding fire until I make my decision (there’s half a dozen good ones there to choose from). From the wreckage of last week’s Irish budget, new proposals emerge, but Dan asks why Fianna Fail did not have a aggressive (progressive) game plan on Medical Cards back in December 2001 when Charlie McGreevy announced a fast order deployment (before the 2002 general election):

What was wrong with simply progressively extending the threshold for the card and the benefits associated with it year by year? Oh I forget we were due a general election and McCreevy reckoned the older members of our society could be bought off. And if you look at the raw polling data he was dead right.

Ciaran Cuffe, one of the few Green TDs without an official position in the government, warns that for all the hand wringing over the budget, this is just the beginning. Like the banks, no one is entirely sure show big the whole in the nation’s finances really are:

There may be a ten billion hole in the finances, and the hundred million euro mentioned in the context of medical cards is perhaps only 1% of the gap in the nation’s finances that will need to be filled in the near future. It begs the question as to whether we should continue to provide tax relief at source on mortgages and also on private medical insurance. The sooner we have a full reality check on the state of the nation’s finances, the quicker we’ll recover.

– And in Letterkenny, close to the ground where STV elections are won or lost, Damian reckons it should never have happened in the first place..

– George Osborne is stuck in a big deep rather sticky pile of do do, and Robert Peston reckons Rothschilde is in hard and is not going to let go. Things he won’t be heard to say: “I’m a pretty straight sorta guy”…

– Guido thinks there’s personal animus between the BBC man and the shadow Chancellor and throws yet more suspicion of dirty tricks into the ring

– At the very least, Mark Pack reckons Osborne’s been caught playing a double game. Lesson no 1, don’t mess with Mandelson

– Free market purist David Vance lays into George Monbiot for looking to what David describes as Roosevelt’s New Deal to mobilise an environmental workforce…

– The Curious Capitalist argues that given the potentially catastrophic damage the various bubbles are likely to wreck the era of the passive central banker is over

– Jeff Peel on why it’s all Labour’s fault

– Mick Hall flags up tonight’s scheduled parliamentary debate on Abortion provision for Northern Ireland. It looks set up for the chop, but if remains on the order paper, we may live blog it here at Slugger…

– Chris defends Sinn Fein’s support for bailing out the Irish banks

– Horseman has an intriguing essay (really, go read it!) on why nationalists need to care about Northern Ireland’s prosperity if political unification of the island is ever to come about (note to Conor)…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty