Slugger’s blogburst…

We will reinstate these on a daily basis when we move to the new site in the Autumn, but I’m doing this one now so I can clear my browser of some of the good stuff that’s been collecting there over the last week… Kicking off with Fergal’s not to be missed run down of the snake oil projects that have slowly been flooding the Republic over the last few months since Mr Lenihan was forced to admit the cupboard is now officially bare… He doesn’t blog often, but when he does, he hits the mark pretty sweetly, the oul’ barrister…- Karl Whelan reckons NAMA will cost the Irish government a fortune… Far better, he argues to go down the British route and nationalise any bank that fails… (for all the stamping a shouting, Northern Rock seems to have made a remarkable recovering in a very very short period of time)…

– Stephen Kinsella’s short piece for the Sunday Independent notes that Ireland and California are in deficit to roughly the same tune (24 billion Dollars to 24 billion Euro). And Ireland is following almost exactly the same policy:

Unless we decide to borrow, future Irish budgets must be sharply contractionary to deal with the estimated shortfall. The key policy choice for Ireland is now how deep to cut spending on public services and increase taxes on income, property, and carbon usage, while avoiding widespread social unrest. California, here we come.

– PS David Begg is riffing off the same tune in today’s Irish Times

– And Gavin finds one of the Anglo Ten, trying the oldest trick in the book: signing his assets over to the missus…

– I’m sorry, but I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this one… P O’Neill picks the most cringeworthy note from the expenses of Minister Cullen, the boy in charge of Arts, Sports and Tourism…

A visit to India included a claim of €80 by the official for tips “forked out to the Indians for moving the luggage around airports, hotels etc”.

– Oh, and it pays to stay clear of the those “questionable” surveillance activities of the kind apparently routinely indulged in my Mr Murdoch’s minions… In the banking industry, where trust was once commonplace and renewal of which will be crucial to any renewed confidence… it is a sackable offence before prosecution rather than after

– And Chekov picks up on what is a thoroughly weird Scottish outcrop of Irish sectarianism (it’s not just the silly season, Chek, I nearly got crowned once for wearing a blue scarf in the Celtic end at Easter Road): the imbuing of mere colour with unmitigated sectarian inference…

– Labour’s disillusion seems to multiply by the day, as Scottish MP Tom Harris confesses the current ban on smoking is not what he or the Labour party signed up to in their manifesto of 2005… Can’t buck the power of the sofa Tom…

– Subrosa notes that Cameron’s decision to bin the Calman report is not going down well in Scotland… Also worth reading Simon ‘Knute’ Heffer, whose sworn aim is to hold back the Red Tory tide… Last week in Dorset Cameron promised not do anything that would bolster the SNP in the face of his incoming UK project… then promptly told the assembled masses that he was planning to cut seats in Westminster to 400… Nobbling the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish blighters who steadfastly continue to not vote Tory…

– Yousef takes a look at the SNP’s claim that an ‘Oil Fund’ would help make an independent Scotland much more prosperous and finds it severely wanting…

Malc gives his top ten blogs

– Matthew Taylor asks Boris why a sports committee convened, with customary public flourish back in April this year, hasn’t actually met yet

– Mick Hall, more familiar to Slugger readers on Irish politics once had the retiring Labour MP Andrew McKinley as his local MP… At the time of the Iraq war debate in the Commons. Mick told McKinley (in his inimitably direct style):

that Iraq simply did not have a delivery system to attack the UK with WMD’s and he would be making a dreadful mistake if he supported Blair, as the man was either a liar or a fool

It’s a refreshing perspective on a story that I suspect would otherwise remain pretty distant from most of our readers…

– Mark picks up on Jacqui Smith’s remarks in this month’s edition of Total Politics on the extraordinary way professional politicians climb the greasy pole at Westminster:

It seems odd to me that people are put in charge of huge sprawling departments with thousands of people working under them and budgets of billions of pounds often without any experience of running anything except a constituency office. Also, the skills required to be a good minister are in some ways different to those required to become and remain an MP. It is crazy that we just drop people into these jobs with minimal if any training. Our political system of course makes it almost impossible for it to be any other way.

Bit like putting your lawyer in charge of auditing your accounts, or, ahem, shifting your Minister who was happy dabbling in Justice across to Finance, eh Brian?

– And speaking of economics (in a roundabout sort of way), Chris gives a bluntly wrought lesson on the nature of relative child poverty in response to what he colourfully refers to as Tory arse dribble

– Mark Coughlan doesn’t think Denis O’Brien and Michael Lowry’s pre-emptive strike on the Moriarty Tribunal in realising detail from the tribual’s report which has been press embargoed since last November will work… Instead, Mark reckons big, big lawsuits will follow from those firms who failed to get the second mobile licence that went to O’Brien’s Esat company… Lowry, now an independent was Fine Gael’s Minister for Transport, Energy & Communications back in 1995/96 when the licences were awarded… The last word to Mark Tighe:

This has lead to the farcical situation where those affected by the findings are up in Dublin Castle at the moment trying to argue their case and get Moriarty to change his mind while not being allowed to explicitly refer to what they are disagreeing with. These are public hearings but the public is the only one not in the know. Still, it doesn’t take a genius to decrypt questions like this one asked of Martin Brennan, the civil servant in charge of the award process back in 1995. “Does it alarm you or surprise you that there might be a suggestion out there somewhere that you had in some way obscured details or concealed details or misrepresented matters to your Minister?”

– And finally, Will has an interview with the pastor with five men from his congregation who went to Romania to destroy an orphanage they had helped build because they feared that the building would fall into the hands of “a paedophile ring in the Romanian government”…