Sinn Fein believe the EU is undemocratic, lowers wages and damages Irish fishing and farming

Sinn Fein have launched their Vote Remain campaign because they think the EU is undemocratic, is behind austerity, has decimated Irish fishing, lowers wages, undrmines working conditions and damages family farms: 9 March, 2016 Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada asked “Is austerity ruling the EU BUDG committee as it has been ruling some of our Member States?” February, 2016 Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams “We are critical of the European Union because of the democratic deficit …” 18th February 2016 Sinn Féin … Read more

“in which case, may I be the first to say well done Gerry.”

Aided and abetted by the right-wing nationalists of the Independent Greeks, Alexis Tsipras has been returned to power in Greece at the head of a New Syriza “experiment” to implement the EU bail-out, and associated austerity measures, that the Old Syriza experiment was once elected to oppose.  Given the contortions Tsipras has put his party, and his country, through it was interesting to see the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, quick off the mark to congratulate Tsipras [on his chutzpah? – … Read more

Anti- austerity arguments are not limited to Sinn Fein, but a proper debate about the real impact of cuts is needed.

Anxiety and anger over budget plans including welfare cuts continue on both sides of the water. Amid the attacks on George Osborne for “ Tory austerity” in his  plans to cut public  spending  by a further £20 billion or 40% for unprotected  areas, a rough comparison of public spending as a share of GDP  suggests that  UK and Irish spending by this measure will remain roughly comparable to the end of the decade. I float this out in the hope … Read more

Austerity – is there a credible left-wing alternative? (Answer = not yet, but Sinn Féin are up for civic protest) #feile15

Against a backdrop of “working people facing an onslaught of right wing policies in Ireland and across Britain”, the panel chair explained that this Féile an Phobail event was the “first time we’ve had these progressive organisations come together and share a stage”. Twenty five plus years on since the community festival’s inception – and I understand some of the history and purpose of its creation – it’s remarkable that the organisers have allowed the programming to remain so tightly … Read more

The resources to end austerity In Ireland

Economist, Michael Burke writes for us looking at the economics of austerity and how they compare in Northern and Southern Ireland The claim from supporters of austerity is there is no money left and that therefore TINA, there is no alternative policy. These assertions are false. Table 1 below shows the level of output in the Irish economy on both sides of the border, either GDP or GVA (Gross Value Added). The total compensation of employees is less than half … Read more

What Austerity is what it isn’t (and, really how not to haggle)…

Now, notwithstanding the sage advice of Chris Dillow that “understanding support for austerity requires not an economist but a psychologist”, here’s Newton Emerson to duly report that whatever Northern Ireland is suffering, it sure ain’t austerity: HNIW9 from The Detail on Vimeo. There’s the narrow case that Newton makes here, but to that you can add the fact that the Treasury has been quietly doing what Greece has been requesting which is quietly restructuring Northern Ireland’s debt to release up … Read more

Ireland has missed a glorious chance on Greece

As the Greek tragedy rumbles on France has said it will keep up efforts to reach a deal. France has also maintained that the biggest critics of Greece are the other smaller countries. This brings Ireland into the spotlight. Has the government really been politically clever in how it has handled the Greek crisis? Ireland has a strong reputation in Europe. At several junctures in the history of the EU it is Ireland that has helped to bring people around … Read more

What Ireland needs is “a return to economics as skillful means…”

Two related pieces from the Irish Times worth sharing. Both under Mark Hennessey’s byline. First this from his interview with Joe Stiglitz… Politicians today offer meagre fare to voters, he says, despondently: “Most government ministers (throughout the world) are middlemen in ideas. They are looking for packaging for simplistic ideas.” For the last few years, the simplistic package, in Stiglitz’s view, has been austerity: “It said austerity works. I very strongly believe it doesn’t. And the IMF – which is … Read more

Eat Your Children: chasing the lost unicorn of Irish citizen protest #bff15

“We’re not Ireland, we will resist” (Greek austerity protest chant) Has Ireland lost its protest mojo? Flatmates Treasa O’Brien and Mary Jane O’Leary bailed out of Ireland to study in London and Barcelona. Partly motivated by the Greek chant and surprised by the contrast behind high profile citizen action in countries like Spain and the lack of news reaching them from Ireland, the friends came back to their homeland and toured around in a white Transit van to make a … Read more

“When it comes to fiscal responsibility, it’s your real future liability and assets that matter…”

So yesterday it was Labour making promises they don’t know they can keep, and today it is the Conservatives taking stale old policies from the 1980s out of the oven and serving them as fresh, leaving the country with a poor politics of small differences. So, on old narratives recycled as new, here’s Outside Left on the illusory comfort of austerity politics: When it comes to fiscal responsibility your paper balance sheet doesn’t really matter, it’s your real future liability and … Read more

In the teeth of an election is Germany finally relenting on domestic austerity?

So, having finally balanced its own budget in 2014, Schaeuble finally seems ready to start re-investing in Germany’s ‘crumbling’ infrastructure: German federal government said on Tuesday that it would spend an additional 5 billion euros (about 5.59 billion U.S. dollars) in the next three years to help local communities improve infrastructure and boost investment. The additional spending on top of a 10-billion-euro investment plan announced by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble last year would not affect Germany’s strict fiscal principle, … Read more

Austerity and Health

For the last 30-plus years, the dominant politico-economic theory in the West has been ‘neo-liberalisation’. Roughly, this believes in the pre-eminence of the market, that the market is always right, that government should be small and not provide services. The response of neo-liberalism to bad times is austerity. A retrenchment of state services, and an emphasis on debt reduction. What effects does austerity have on health? It’s not so easy at this stage to be factually certain, for statistics often … Read more

Welfare Reform: Are the SDLP showing real policy leadership or just grandstanding?

Welfare Reform, austerity, cuts and Tories-these are the words of the day at Stormont. Here are some of the pictures doing the rounds from the SDLP about the Welfare Reform bill A full list of the amendments to the Welfare Reform bill can be found here Then the SDLP put this out there Arguments for SDLP position: They are honouring a position set out to oppose the initial opposition for Welfare Reform. The party are seeking to actually have a … Read more

Cartoon – Spencer on Tuesday

In response to the Cameron-Kenny talks exit the Telegraph wrote, “It is astonishing how money can conquer ancient sectarian divides.” The divided became the united and money was the lubricant and the bridge. The only problem, Cameron wants the money back with interest. The divide now is between Cameron and the common money front of DUP-SF. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here:

Ireland you’re exceptional, we should act like it.

Ireland is an exceptional country, well so I think anyway. I know this is the easiest plug that any person can give a home town crowd “there’s nowhere like …..” and you get your applause. The concept of exceptionalism is more commonly identified with the United States, were the notion of this being a special place is hammered home time and again. My nephews who are all Americans, do have a real sense of civic pride as they are quick … Read more

Christians on The Left take food poverty debate beyond the foodbank

This is a report by Jonny Currie, a Community Development Worker in East Belfast and a member of Christians on the left, who held their inaugural event this week. Over forty activists gathered in a lecture theatre at QUB on Thursday evening for Christians on the Left’s (COTL) inaugural Northern Ireland event. Titled “Beyond the Foodbank: Pushing the Food Poverty Debate Forward,” the event challenged those in attendance to move beyond the charitable act of food bank provision to change … Read more

Adams: The Taoiseach should now show the courage of his convictions by resigning, calling a General Election and letting the people decide.

Following the Irish Water saga there is mounting speculation that Ireland might be heading to the polls in 2015. Writing for Slugger, Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams TD argues that it’s time for the Taoiseach to go the country and let the people decide the future economic direction of the country. The Fine Gael/Labour coalition Government is in deep crisis. As each day passes it is clearer that it will struggle to stay in office for its full term. The … Read more

Is it time to reduce our number of MLAs?

So our MLAs are currently still engaging in yet another talks process and according to the BBC earlier in November, the DUP circulated a paper which again highlighted their support for the deflation of Stormont departments and a reduction in the number of MLAs. While the DUP support a reduction in MLAs from the current number of 108 to something between 70 and 80, the Deputy First Minister wouldn’t cut back Stormont just as much as the DUP but does … Read more

Hamilton calls time on Speaking Clock at Stormont

If you don’t follow Sinn Fein’s Phil Flanagan on Twitter you should and for no other reason than he asks the most under the radar assembly questions you can think of. Today he got a response to a question he posed to the Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton a few weeks ago on the cost of Stormont’s talking clock. Yes, this is a clock that you ring up and it tells you the time. Courtesy of Phil, this is how much … Read more