Slugger’s Daily Blogburst…

There’s a damaging impression held right across the media spectrum in the Republic that the government budget went in hard against the soft targets and deferred decisions on any of the difficult ones till ‘later’. And there’s the even more damaging one that the Minister of Finance delivered a budget entirely crafted and honed by his Secretary General. Eoin Brazil (via Irish Election) has a fascinating post on Civil Servant payrises:

…now we find that the oversight process for employees in the civil service, the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) has standards so low that in essence the civil servants are writing their own pay rises. According to the Department of Finance, the pay bill for 2008 will be €2.1 billion up 6.7% from 2007 (€1.9 billion). It’s worse in the wider public sector where the average wage increase is around 8.9% or so and adds €1.5 billion to the wage bill per year.

– Graham commenting on Sarah’s blog here draws attention to an uncomfortable truth about the refinancing of the banks:

We may be on an island but our banks certainly are not. And note that it is not only Irish banks that are in trouble. I still don’t think we should put money into them, it is there mess afterall but our way of life is very much tied into the system, so if you want to let the banks fail on a grand scale be prepared to give up your way of life as it is now.

– Chris Dillow takes Frazer Nelson to task over the apparent ‘weakness’ of the Pound:

Far from being a sign of trouble, sterling’s weakness is actually a help. In making exports and import-substitutes cheaper, it will – with a long lag – help boost profits and economic activity and relieve the recession.

– Suzy points to three Irish bloggers who have gone to the States

Kev’s in Kansas, where according to his old editor: “They will vote for the candidate who can stem the tide before it gets here”…

– Mark Hanson with a clever Obama trick for uncommitted voters (reminds me of a little peer pressure trick Dr Paisley used to use at the end of his services in Martyrs’ Memorial)…

Surprisingly readable fiction from Boris Johnson…

– Scottish Unionist sniffs the polls and imagines the end of the SNP’s honeymoon with the Scottish people…

– Ordovicius notes how the left has thus far failed to come to grips with devolution

– And did you know you can get fined for displaying national flags of any sort on your registration plate…

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