Showing posts from December, 2006

Channel 4 comes to Sky Ireland: but too late?

I was delighted to discover last week that - finally - Sky digital now carries Channel 4 to those unlucky people in the Republic forced to subscribe to them out of a total lack of choice. (One of these days I will write an article on how ridiculous it is that there are huge campaigns out there complaining about lack of access to broadband internet when so many people in Ireland cannot get a proper signal from a terrestrial aerial these days.) The curious thing is that the event passed with so little significance because so many of the once considered rauchy channel's offerings are now pretty much outmoded and outraunched by many of the niche satellite channels broadcasts.

My particular example is Living TV. Aside from a diet of sheer vomit - including various forms of XXX's Next Top Model, dieting, and the particularly nauseating ads for cosmetic surgery masquerading as reality TV. At least they do have Jade Goody - who I will at least credit with having far more intelligen…

2006 - another budget worth forgetting?

The big flaw with the 2006 Budget is in its lack of imagination. In fact I'd suggest its real ploblem is a failure to address mismanagement, failed schemes and disorganisation.
For example last year an effort was made to increase the number of chid minders (while at the same time luring them surreptitiously into the tax net) by introducing generous limits for child minders who mind at home. The take-up was extremely poor.
Why was this?Why, when such a substantial sum was on offer, did no department bother to examine why this wasn't taken up. Why did nobody talk to the very tiny few (166) who delcared themselves out of a total of 36700 undeclared minders to see what made them different from those who don't declare their income?
It would stand to reason that for example, a married homemaker would be an ideal target group for the child minders allowance, but clearly this group are either not declaring out of ignorance, or else they aren't providing the care, as previously…

Why You Might be better off on the dole

In the buzz leading up to the Budget tomorrow, nobody has pointed out that "victims" of the celtic tiger, assumed to be those who don't work, are suffering dreadful poverty at the hands of a vicious, uncaring state.

After doing some basic math, I was horrified to discover that in certain - increasingly typical scenarios, a person who is dependent on social welfare is actually not only better off than a working person, they've actually been better off for several years. In fact the real victims of the tiger are the large numbers of people working for low wages.

Basically I noticed that the average rate of social welfare increase since 2001 was around 9 per cent. However the minimum wage only went up 3 times, so the net annual gain is only about 5 per cent. I created geometric sequences, and added in an increasingly commonly claimed side benefit - rent supplement.

The disturbing truth is that since the beginning of 2004, even a single adult on welfare getting the basic &q…