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 …

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Hamilton: “When faced with tough choices, we have made the right choices and chosen the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland”

Two days ago Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton MLA presented his draft budget. Writing exclusively for Slugger, he argues that in this budget he has done what is right for Northern Ireland Constructing a Budget at any time is always a challenge. There is never enough money to spend on public services to meet all of the demands placed on government. Agreeing a Budget in the circumstances we find ourselves in Northern Ireland is even more difficult. Our Budget has not …

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Believe it or not, the economic recession has been worse in the north than the south…

The economist Michael Burke has made some interesting comparisons between northern and southern economic outputs using a measure called GVA which strips out the influence of tax and subsidies: The effect of comparing the data may be surprising. These show that recessions occurred both sides of the border at the same time but that the recession in the North was more severe. Real GVA in the South fell to a low in 2010 and has since recovered slightly. The links …

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Surviving the job hunt-It’s a jungle out there!

I recently applied for a job (wasn’t successful) and found out that nearly 300 people applied for the position. I nearly fell off my chair when I heard about it but when you consider the floods of applications to bodies such as the PSNI for positions you really understand how it really is an employer’s market. For any university graduate or person who has lost a job the harsh reality of continuously applying for a job and hearing nothing back …

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The brain drain from Northern Ireland continues…

I wrote a few weeks about the increasing brain drain from our province. Typically in Northern Ireland we view emigration as a problem that mostly impacts the Irish Republic rather than us. However, today thanks to a question by Phil Flanagan to the Finance Minister, we have found that emigration from Northern Ireland now is actually worse than it was during some of the worst years of the Troubles. Now here I must put a note that emigration from Northern …

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The omni shambles and Labour’s difficulty capatilising

The omni shambles which is the current government seems to continue. I mentioned the disaster which was the budget and the spin surrounding it recently. Jeremy Hunt and his special advisor have yet again shone a spotlight on the relationship between Rupert Murdock’s media empire and politicians (though of course the Tories were far from the only political party with close links to News International – take a bow Alex Salmond). It has been suggested that Hunt is being kept …

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‘The graduate with no future’

Paul Mason has written a sweeping post here based upon some notes he made in preparation for a Newsnight package that didn’t go out in the end: It’s his analysis on why 2011 is starting to take on the hues of 1848 and 1989 with it’s gathering storm of insurrectionism. Like the very best blogging, its worth reading because it’s a scratchpad rather than an article. It doesn’t lead us to a conclusion – it just dumps a pile of subjective …

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In terms of post-recession employment, the young and the vulnerable are suffering the most – but what will we do about it?

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland logo

In many ways the Equality Commission’s 115 report confirmed my shallow understanding of the recession. People who’ve never worked – eg, the young – are struggling to get jobs. People who have lost jobs are struggling to regain employment. Vulnerable groups are finding it tough. And blue collar has so far been worse than white collar.

Recessions – good for your health?

A couple of weeks back, writing in the Sindo, Gene Kerrigan made the not unreasonable assertion that severe recessions cause unnecessary deaths. We saw all this before. During the Eighties, savage cuts inflicted lasting pain and cost lives — someone had to pay for the crisis. Meanwhile, known to the establishment — who were up to their necks in it — the fortunes of the elite were safeguarded using massive tax frauds. An article in yesterdays Guardian refutes this – …

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