Our own populism holds us back in Northern Ireland

For a part of the world that relies so heavily on compromise to literally allow public administration to function, we don’t do nuance very well. You need only look at the public outcry to the mere suggestion that we may have to pay for our own water back when the New Decade, New Approach deal was agreed as the latest evidence of our own self-defeating populism.  The uncomfortable, and unpopular, truth is that this mindset holds us back in Northern …

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Future Ireland / Economic Inequality: An emerging challenge for a New Ireland

In October last year, I attended a keynote speech delivered by President of Ireland Michael D Higgins to a packed auditorium at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. The speech was anchored around Michael Davitt’s 1896 visit to New Zealand, a visit where Davitt was impressed by the then Crown Colony’s progressive policies on land, tax, pensions and the economy. Subsequently, the founder of the Irish National Land League brought a number of these innovative ideas back to Ireland, to …

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Sinn Fein decides to bin Mr Wilson’s dodgy estimates (and one of its key pro #borderpoll arguments)…

Just in passing… Absentee Westminster MP Conor Murphy on the unreliability of Sammy Wilson’s estimates: “Mr Wilson insists that the methodology used to produce his figures is identical to those used for Scotland and that they are international standards for the compiling of statistics and have to be adhered to and are subject to a degree of rigour and international scrutiny. He fails to add that when Scotland launched a robust challenge to this methodology it was admitted by British …

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What Northern Ireland really needs is a REAL debate on its economic future…

Why was Sammy Wilson not as keen as some of his unionist colleagues on the Corporation Tax deal? Richard Murphy enumerates the prime reason. Stormont would have to make up the inevitable shortfall… With the banks in regression, and killing off struggling business, no one was taking any chances: …the last thing Northern Ireland needs to be is a tax haven. What it does require is a real debate on what its economic future should look like. And that’s the …

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Coalition needs to keep its collective eye on the Brussels game…

All politics is local, except when it comes to an Irish banking crisis. As Paul Gillespie notes in today’s Irish Times: Ireland is more deeply entangled with its partners in the European Union as a result of the banking crisis and the measures taken by the new Government to resolve it. That is part of a more general process called Europeanisation by writers on the subject. It makes European issues part of domestic politics. Politicisation of the issues makes them …

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After Ireland’s reckless “if-I-have-it-I’ll-spend-it decade”…

There seems to be a sustained counterattack on Irish Labour at the moment, usually framed as a question: ‘what would you do instead?’ That was the predominant line of questioning of Pat Rabbitte on Morning Ireland this am… Although you can see from Noel Whelan’s column on Saturday that whilst Labour may have many policy documents they may not add up to the sum of the parts… Rabbitte’s response was not to get tangled in the detail, but to argue …

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