Showing posts from March, 2004

The Man who gave 3 billion of your money to the horsey set . . .

Here's a telling quote from Charlie McCreevy, Minster for Finance, which makes it clear where his priorities lie: (source is

"The next logical step was to put racing's finances on a permanent footing. If that is not done, racing will be at the whim of the government of the day and, when the pressure comes for expenditure on things like health and education, racing will go down the political priority list."

So Racing is actually not just of equal but HIGHER priority to health and education? And oh, orrore, God forbid anybody might just think that it was a lower priority?

Make sure you vote against this dreadful government in the European elections this year.

Ireland's Deceit . . .

Today the Home Office (UK, of course!) announced that unemployment there has fallen to the lowest rate since records began in 1884. The current UK rate is an enviable 4.8%. But before you say "hey, Ireland's better" - oh no she's not. Because Ireland deceitfully uses only the signing on register as "unemployment". The comparable rate for the UK for the so-called live register is 2.9% - still less than half of the Irish register. The real unemployment rate in Ireland - which measures all those seeking employment, and not just those on the dole, is about 8-9% - something more akin to the German rate and nothing at all to boast about.

Read it at the Guardian.
Here's a lovely website that I often revisit, Jeanette Winterson's site. If you are not familar with the magnificent writing of Winterson I'd recommend you do so as soon as possible. I think I've read all bar one or two of her books.

Its difficult to describe what makes Winterson so special. I first encountered Winterson when I was about 17 or 18, watching the opening episode of Oranges are Not the Only Fruit with a cousin, who'd read Sexing the Cherry. I was drawn in by the story - a mother/daughter tale which to me was not unlike the relationship between myself and my mother. I grew up with the same level of religiosity and authoritarianism at home. I could really understand the limitations that your life seem to have when you come from a high authoritarian working class background. I read the book not long afterwards and eventually went on to buy most of Winterson's books. She's a strong sense of fantasy, often writing strongly biblical or classi…

Irish Democracy goes down the pan!

Two cheers for the schoolgirls who yesterday caused an evacuation of Dáil Eireann. The young ladies in question blocked the sinks in the vistors reception and then turned on the taps. The resulting steam caused the alarm to go off, forcing an evacuation.

Ironically the ladies in question had blocked the sinks with copies of pamhlets on Irish democracy they had been given earlier!

See the Independent

More CORI pap . . .

CORI ( have come up with yet another hare-brained "solution" for Ireland's poverty issues. The latest is "cost-rental" housing. After an excellent review of housing inequity in Ireland (and believe me, I understand this, since I pay out 1/3 of my after tax income on very overpriced, poor quality rented accomodation), they come up with yet another totally unworkable solution. For a start nobody actually explains what a "cost rental" approach would entail. I've scoured the web and it appears that basically this would be either of two things: social housing with controlled rents, or renting out, for example, an entire apartment block and then renting to social tenants at subsidised rates. However, social housing is extremely under-resourced in Ireland, with a less than 60% success rate in local authorities reaching their own targets for completions. Also renting to social tenants is a highly profitable business for private la…