There are many, many reasons to hold the state to account for its failings. But for once, let’s not do that. Let’s look carefully at the parts of the state quietly working to make life better for everybody. We take the state, and the people who make it work, for granted too often
There are not enough people, no systems, no actual borders set up to deal with Brexit. And 85 per cent of the time given to sort this out has already passed. As my mother repeatedly told me while I was cramming for exams, you can’t fatten the pig the night before the fair
The extent to which many English people are ignorant about Ireland has become clear. An interview Tánaiste Simon Coveney gave to the BBC’s John Humphrys was a case in point.
The irony of a border in the Irish sea carving the North from the rest of Britain for customs purposes as the main outcome of a process to take back control of borders is lost on no one.
When it comes to the budget of a nation, to understand what’s going on, don’t look at the headlines. Don’t even look at the text. Look at overarching messages, then the tables, the figures and, most importantly, the footnotes
The budget as political theatre implies some hikes in current spending for pensions and other areas, while increasing taxes on hospitality and the usual cigarettes and alcohol
Why should US or Indian or Chinese monetary policy concern Ireland? So much of what we call ‘industrial policy’ here is really policy for US-based multinationals. Changes to the banking system in the US, and more importantly business conditions there, can signal either good or bad times for us.
Housing policy is always political, but it has created a deeply politicised group of people in the have-nots. These people are typically younger and poorer. They are sometimes called ‘millennials’, but I like to think of them as people who are nearly 40
There have never been more workers, and they have never paid more in tax than today. Household disposable incomes are higher now than they were during the boom, and there are proportionately fewer children as a percentage of the population to look after. Why, then, is there a child poverty problem in this country?
Ideas matter. Memory matters. Without memory, the quality of our thinking deteriorates. We need to remember why the centre matters, how it has lifted living standards across every continent. Paschal Donohoe gave a speech last week arguing for a re-defined centre: socially engaged and based on action
The system we have set up is driving the negative outcomes we are seeing, where The Economist calculates house prices are 25 per cent overvalued, 10,000 people are homeless, and we can expect another boom/bust cycle in property to come
The state will end up carrying the can to roll out broadband to the furthest parts of the country. We must remember what the new public management scholars taught us to forget. The state is the only one who can do it, so the state should be the only one to do it
No doubt there are more scandals to come, largely consequence-free for the individuals found culpable. Banks, put simply, are crisis-generating institutions. No bank has been scandal-free. Trackers? They knew what they were doing. They did it anyway.
Brexit is bad for everyone. Even the Brexiteers. They know this. They don’t care. Ireland needs to become an intolerant minority within the EU. We need to start saying to everyone it’s not grand. It’s far from grand. And without a backstop, we are goosed