Archive for September, 2011

“The Seven Deadly Spins”

Posted: September 30, 2011 in Comment

On the 30th of September of 2011 the longest running chat show in the world of television held a debate. The participants were the seven candidates appealing for our vote so that they could become the President of Ireland. It promised to be a great television moment, but would it be a great Presidential moment? Or would it be a moment of Precedents?

The Candidates were Michael D Higgins T.D. (Labour), Gay Mitchell M.E.P. (Fine Gael), Martin McGuinness Deputy Minister of N.I. (Sinn Fein), Senator David Norris (Ind) Mary Davis (Ind) Sean Gallagher  (Ind) and former Eurovision winner Dana Rosemary Scallon (Ind)

The candidates were drawn randomly to speak alone first, the opening speaker was Gay Mitchell M.E.P.

In order to understand how a Presidential election in Ireland is perceived, then you need to understand that the position of President, is primarily a ceremonial position, an ambassadorial posting, a constitutional imperative. And historically has gone to previous political figures, until the triumph of Mary Robinson, which broke through that barrier.

And so as a result , it has become a political campaign that refuses to hold back on the smear campaigns and muck raking of its candidates, as it is about,’ ambassadorial qualities’, and not party politics, it is individual, not collective, even though the highest office in the land is supposed to represent the collective, and not the individual, or the party.

And so Spinner No 1, Gay Mitchell

APOLOGIES TO Mr Mitchell, a distraction occurred this end, and a true reflection of your pitch was not observed, and so by why of acknowledgement, It is presumed that your pitch was self promoting as in the spirit of the following candidates. Once again, apologies.

Spinner No 2 Martin McGuinness

Mr McGuiness states, “We have been through enormous difficulties, and greed, I will not take the full ministerial salary, I was Minister of Education in the North of Ireland for three years, If needs be I will embarrass people who have taken the huge salaries, I left the IRA in 1974 because I wanted to build Sinn Fein as a political party, The powers that be have become frightened at my candidacy, How have I been able to work with Ian Paisley?

Spinner No 3 Mary Davis

I want to be president because I have skills, I am a leader, I have seen the disenfranchised, and seen what they can do. Today is national volunteer day, and I want to acknowledge that, My key qualifaction is my leadership, my passion, energy, I have done it with the disabled, and want to bring it to a broader platform, I believe in people, the power of people, and that the president can highlight that. Many of the boards that I sit on are non profit boards. 23 in total, I have brought my experience and expertise to these boards. I am Totally independent. Political experience is making change happen, making the possible , possible, I am not a lawyer, but I dont believe those skills are neccessary.

Spinner No 4 Dana Rosemary Scallon

I want to be president because I have the knowledge and experience to our constitution, A small country has the same right as a big country, I warned about Nice 1 and Nice 2, Lisbon 1, Lisbon 2, we didnt go to Europe as beggars, we gave away our fishing rights, this election is about the constitution, that the peoples constitution is safe. when we are approaching the anniversary of our country, how can any president sign away our constitution to Europe? The people of this country have been very badly served. I was the first to open the indepentent route to this campaign.

Spinner No 5 Sean Gallagher

I want to be president because I want to help get this country back on its feet. I have been a community worker, but my life is about developing confidence in others. Our emigrants should be here, I want to do for employment and confidence what Mary McAlees has done for peace. I want to create entrepeneurs, that young people feel they have an opportunity, a president can create a culture of this. The culture starts in schools, transiton years, colleges and universaties. The presidency is about where the president goes, where the cameras follow, what the president says. What drives me, is the sense of building on our strengths. What people want are something fresh. in the 80’s I was unemployed twice, I believe we need a sense of leadership, I want to bring a belief of confidence

Spinner No 6 Michael D Higgins

I hope I will be an inspirational president. I hope we make progress to establishing a real republic. the kind of Ireland we know in the last 15 years was based on how much you owned….it created a version of Ireland not based upon the best of our tradition. You must be open about the values you hold. it is about the social, the cohesion, it isnt a matter of our cultural institutions being important, it is about the commitment to the public space. I have had courage, it wasnt meant to be my story, it was meant to be placed with the stories of others. I know the limits of the office, you have a constitunional obligation, discretion can be exercised through seminars,

Spinner No 7 David Norris did not appear as he appeared on this program 7 days ago, before his candidature was established, and therefore in the interest of balance by this program was respectfully uninvited.

And so there they are, the Seven Deadly Spins!

and now the debate follows,

1st question: The salary is 250 000 euro, will you accept that?

Gay Mitchell…whatever it is it is

Dana……..as above

Sean Gallagher…as above

Mary Davis…….as above..

David Norris (Now invited to debate)…..drifts from question infairness

Michael D Higgins……Quotes article 13, pretty much in line with ‘as above’

Martin McGuinness…..I will take the average industrial wage, just over 300 pounds a week.

2nd question: How much will you spend on your campaign?

Dana…..public donations…..

Sean Gallagher…roughly 200 000 euro

Mary Davis……It is difficult to know, more than likely more than 200, it could be 300, 350…..

David Norris……I have spent myself already near the limit, I dont know the figure, but every penny will be accounted for.

Michael D Higgins…..my budget is 321 000……..

Gay Mitchell……I understand in the region of 350 000, plus about 20 000 of my own money

Martin McGuinness…..it is hard to say, much less than Michael and Gay, when pressed further, it is hard to say, I earn 300 euro a week

Debate seems to be moving to open discussion…

Dana…there is a threat to our constitution….this is a time of crisis…..the people can trust me……..any new job that anyone takes on has to learn the protocols…that obvious….

Sean Gallagher……I come from the gene pool of Fiannna Fail, that is no secret….I am not a politician……I haven’t distanced myself from them, I am standing as an independent, I am not a member of fianna fail, my message is not party political

Martin McGuinness….on the queens visit……I am standing in this election in my own right, what is relevant now, if honoured wih the presidency, I will happily meet with any royal, I think the day the queen meets McGuinnness as president of Ireland will be a spectacular occassion

Gay Mitchell…….McGuinness is a name dropper…..and then gaffes by calling Ireland as 22 counties…..

McGuinees…I want to move to a new ireland, and a new republic

Mitchell, …I am a nationalist….we need to unite people…Adi Roche was on 35% and got less than 7%….the real campaign starts now……..The letter for clemency to Paul Hill was 1 of 16 asking for clemency (on the death penalty)…

David Norris……in response to his letter scandals…..the information to this email is confidential…..in relation to his appearnace and requirements by RTE.  a point well made….The Irish people are decent, and compassionate people……..I will take it on the chin, no collatteral damage, I want to be a voice for change, let the system look after itself,

Michael D……..we must all take an affirmation when we take office…….I am not all things to all men and women…..I have the support of many

Mary Davis……I have achieved internationally with China, through the Special Olympics….I have have run a multi milion dollar business, I have expertise on boards, and have served with President McAlees…….I saw the power of people coming together, it comes from ordinary people, that makes change happen……I was part of the council of state…….trafficking of women is another area

Michael D….I didnt stand in 1997…no interst expressed…I wanted a debate in 2004 about Ireland, where it was heading…..I wanted a discourse……I have the same vigour and energy as I did when fighting for rights in my younger days……I am very much fit and healthy

Dana…. on Cloyne reprt…..we have a freedom of religion…there is not a break on the confessional seal……it was a minority that perpetrated………part of the catholic religion is the confessional seal……why do you ask me, and not everyone……I am not a mouthpiece for anyone, but myself and the people of this nation………

Sean Gallagher….the seal of confession?…..I’m a practising catholic….for me the welfare of a child being abused takes precedent over the seal

MccGuineess……the seal should be broken….as a catholic I am deeply disappointed that the bishops havent met over this issue of children

Mary Davis……I believe same sex couples have the right to marry and adopt children

Sean Gallagher….concurs…in spirit…but with the caveat of legislation being a factor…

David Norris…..you didnt ask the only non catholic on this issue….I introduced the Guardian ad litum act……as president I would sign a bill unless it is unconstitutional

Mitchell…if the oiraecthas got its act together….we could save money…it is not efficient

Higgins…the civil partnership bill achieved consensus…

Norris….I put that bill forward

Dana…..Guarenteeing the banks has hurt our country…I prefer to burn the bondholders rather than burn our constitution.

Higgins….I believe I have a commitment toIrelands skills and genius

Gallagher….over 21 years the presidency has been revitalised…I believe I can carry on that spirit…building enterprise, giving young people hope..

Dana…. you can trust me to protect the constitutiona, I respect all the people, all that I meet, you can trust me, that as a nation we have the right to self determination

Davis….We can give respect and dignity to every one that lives here….in the first 100 days I would ask the Taoiseach how can you best use me as an ambassador, and create a president award scheme

McGuiness…..we need a new Ireland. I have been at the heart of some of the most importnat times in the history of this island…

Norris….this country has been through great difficultires…..I have been thru a comeback that many said I couldnt do, a vote for me is for democracy, change, a new Ireland

Mitchell…..My father died when I was young…….I will make this country proud…

And so

There you have it, as best as I could quote and paraphrase…..it was fairly hard work to be honest……

The words are not verbatim all the way through, but the spirit is true, and not biased or altered, any difference to this recording is openly invited, I hope it has helped you in your voting for your new President.

Ladies and Gentleman,,,I give you The Seven Deadly Spins

Voice


In March of 2011 the people of Ireland had an opportunity to cast their vote in a general election. The Parties all laid out there stall, pleading with us to support them, Vox ‘popping’  ad nauseum about how they will change things for the better, How they are the party for change, for hope, for jobs, for prosperity……..Yes, every last one of them were the ‘Merchants Of Premise!’

The Premise in this case is that, back in November 2010, all the major parties at the time, both government and opposition freely and consciously signed an agreement with the IMF/EU to undertake austerity measures, so the new government were already bound to a policy document. The only outcome of the general election would be, which party(s) would implement said policy.

Now, way back in 1596, the playwright William Shakespeare penned his tragic comedy The Merchant of Venice, and it has an uncanny ring of truth about it in today’s times. It tells the story of how Shylock, a money lender, allowed a loan to Antonio, a fierce critic, in the hope of his critic’s failure to repay. The money was of no real concern to the lender, it was the life of the client that was really the hoped for outcome. This appears similar to the actions of the IMF/EU policies that Ireland are experiencing.

It was completely clear that the terms of IMF/EU ‘agreement’ would be unpayable by the citizenry of Ireland. And yet, just as Shakespeare wrote over 400 years ago, Ireland, like some kind of Celtic Antonio, signed up to a contract that would burden its people, its elderly, its children, its future genrations. A Faustian pact, that sought immediate cash relief, like a gigantic Coin of Nurofen Plus, washed down with a river of Jack Danials, just to block out the pain…….and the accountability.

You see, although we have a government made up of new parties, a Fine Gael/Labour coalition, and rightly elected to replace the former coalition of Fianna Fail/Greens, the reality is, all of these ‘public representatives’ are the ‘Merchants Of Premise!’

Merchants usually trade a product in return for financial gain, in the case of Ireland the product was its people, its future. The gain? Well, the gain appears to be on the side of the lender, the IMF/EU, the Political Shylocks…..

If we are to accept that the fictional work of Shakespeare, has some elements of coincidence in today’s world, then we may have a glimmer of  hope. For the conclusion of his great work sees, Antonio, having faced death at the behest of Shylock, escapes his imminent demise, through a confidence trick by his friends. A well orchestrated plan, that saw Antonio not only freed, but also gaining half of Shylock’s fortune. True to form, as all tragic comedies go..

Now Ireland has friends in Europe, friends in a similar quandary. They are Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal, and collectively are referred to as the PIIGS of Europe. Do you think they could come up with a well orchestrated plan, just as Antonio’s friends did?

Do you think this plan could end up with Ireland reclaiming its riches, its hopes, its future? Who knows? It is possible one must presume, and if carried off, would truly be comical, but alas, the tragedy is the players behind any such plan are;

”The Merchants Of Premise!’

Voice.

 

 

Are you HSE positive?

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Comment
Tags: , , , , ,

Back in the 1980’s, the world sprung into fear over a new virus which was rapidly spreading between humans, it was universally described as HIV/Aids. It appeared to be claiming many lives with no sign of a cure, it was indiscriminate as to gender, and people went into a panic.

Some of its most famous victims were singer Freddie Mercury, Actor Rock Hudson, Tennis Player Arthur Ashe, Author Isaac Asimov, to name a few….

But there were many other unknown victims of this virus, the less famous, the ordinary common man or woman, many hapless drug addicts that just couldn’t break free from the grip of heroin.

You see, a virus is a parasite that seeks a host. In humans a virus can survive whenever there is another Human to sustain it.

And so we come to the question, ‘Are you HSE positive?’

The Health Service Executive (HSE) of Ireland was formed under the Health Act of 2004, and commenced operation on 01/01/2005. It came into being as a way of centralising Health Care in Ireland, to act as one body for its 4.5 million citizens, and to replace the ten regional health boards that had existed prior to its formation.

It was meant to reduce costs to the taxpayer, improve both the quality and availability of services to those that needed them, or so we were told.

This week in the Western Mid Regional Hospital in Limerick a second four hour work stoppage by nursing staff took place. The reason for these stoppages has been put down as ‘concerns over patient safety, gross overcrowding in emergency wards, that compromise the delivery of proper clinical support and services to patients’.

Now,the merits of  industrial action can be debated until the cows come home, but in the case of the HSE, it may be fair to say, ‘when the chickens come home to roost’.

You see, the frontline staff, are struggling under the pressure of working conditions, and therefore it may be fair to suggest, that the patients are suffering even more. This Human to Human contact is rampant throughout the HSE system and spreading like a wildfire thus rendering its very clients ‘HSE Positive’

Absenteeism is high among staff. At any given time an absentee rate 0f 4.78% has been recorded. Surely this puts more pressure upon the services available to its patients, its clients. Of a staff of 105,000, figures showed that 5,086 were absent on sick leave in June of 2011. So even the staff are being infected with this Human to Human contact, many staff are manifesting the symptoms of being ‘HSE Positive’

So where has this virus originated from?

It appears on a casual glance that this virus has yet to infect the management or political structure. It is as if its ability to find another host is restricted to only frontline staff, and the general public. Although many that enter a hospital environment have come into contact with the dreaded MRSA virus, measures to control this bug seem to have had some measure of success, whilst the numbers of those being infected with the ‘HSE Positive’ virus are increasing unbridled.

The HSE has been involved in many scandals since its inception. In 2008 there was the cancer misdiagnosis scandal, In March 2010, there was the scandal of 58, 000 x-rays that had not been reviewed by a consultant radiologist. Patients are waiting up to six months to receive a medical card, and thereby, unable to access the services until receipt of the same.

In May 2011, forensic evidence in 25 sexual assault cases could be thrown out of court, due to a major administrative blunder by the HSE.

Add these events to personal records being found dumped in fields, 90 year old women sleeping on trolleys in busy hallways,etc…. and you will get the picture.

And there are other cases: The tragic case of Susie Long, who died of cancer because the waiting list as a public patient for diagnosis came too late, Or, the traumatic story of the courageous Orla Tinsley who went public to ask for a cystic fibrosis unit. Ireland has the highest records of CF in Europe apparently, and yet had no unit to ease the patients of this condition. Or the recent case of 14 year old Maeve McGiven who had been on a waiting list for 11 months for a liver transplant, and classified as a high priorty case, only to find the flight arranged for her would arrive too late for a successful transplant to take place in London. A massive and incompetent oversight.

All of these stories help to spread the virus and in turn increase the chance of becoming ‘HSE Positive’

So today in Ireland, which has raised the concept of incompetent, bureaucratic, self serving quangos to a high art form. Its many talented and highly skilled citizens are struggling to maintain a quality of life that isn’t burdened with overwhelmimg stress, due to financial imposition by the government.

As a result many have cancelled health insurance policies, thus placing more pressure upon the public health system, thus increasing the cues, the trolley numbers in the many corridors of its hospitals, the stress upon its frontline staff,the elderley, the vulnerable, the lengthening of waiting lists for important preventative scans and tests.

This modern day scourge however, does appear to have one redeeming factor, in its current form it appears to only infect the vulnerable, the common men and women of this island. Even though this virus may appear rampant and voracious it has yet to develop its parasitic ability to cause enough concern to the Administrators and Political elite.

But like all viruses it wont take long before it finds a way to make that mutation, and then we as a society will openly ask each other, as a means of survival:

“Are you HSE Positive?”

Voice.

De Mockracy

Posted: September 27, 2011 in Comment
Tags: , , , , ,

In a democratic society, a democracy, the political system is when the supreme power lies with a body of citizens that elect people to represent them.

Obviously, it is not perfect, and has offered many close calls in general elections and referenda,the world over, but its fundamentals are right, that is, the greater population are invited to have a say in who they wish to represent them.

In Ireland there seems to be a selective view of how this process should work, when the Presidential election comes into play. It appears to be more of a DeMockracy.

In this De Mockracy, if any candidate wants to run for the Presidency, they must endure a selection process that is controlled by the political system, the elected representatives, and in some cases, as in the Senaed (Senate) unelected Taoiseach (Prime Minister) appointees.

Now, traditionally, in each Presidential election, the major parties have nominated a candidate from within their ranks, in a kind of wink and a nod to party service. A way of saying, ‘here you go, a nice little earner before you retire’. Now, that may be well and good, even commendable, for these candidates have being elected in the past haven’t they, by us, to represent us?

However if someone from outside that political circle wishes to run, then the opportunity to do so, is greatly reduced, due to political allegiances, that is, an ‘outsider’ faces a non level playing field.

Why should we care? Why should we bother to care?

Well, the fact remains, that as to date, two particular Presidential hopefulls, have yet to achieve a nomination. They being Dana Rosemary Scallon and Senator David Norris.

In the case of Ms Scallon, she if nominated, will collect some votes, but is a rank outsider to win this election, in the case of Mr Norris, he has consistently been 1st or 2nd in many various straw polls that have been taken to date. And yet he is struggling to even be nominated.

Surely in a democracy, he should be nominated to allow the greater body of citizens to give their voice, but alas, this is a De Mockcracy, not a democracy.

Now, before you jump to any conclusions here, I am not a supporter of Mr. Norris, I will not vote for Mr. Norris, but I am a supporter of true democracy, and support his right to run.

If he gets, nominated, and in turn elected to the Office of President, then so be it, that is Democracy.

If he fails to be nominated, when it is clear, a significant number of citizens support his candidacy, and in turn is kept out of the race, then is that Democracy?

 

I suggest that is Politics, not democracy.

Or if you prefer, the actions of De Mockracy

Voice

 

 

Prospecting The Truth

Posted: September 25, 2011 in Prose

Walking innocently through the forever winding roads of life,

I arrived at a stop sign, or is it more of a road block, perhaps a detour, To be honest it seems more like a calling, a seduction, a promise of serenity,

Like a terrainean mermaid’s siren beckoning me to her breast.

 

The valleys and vales that have welcomed and challenged me, in equal measure,

Have been but just mere obstacles and occasional refuge on my journey,

As I prospect for the truth,

My prospecting, never focused, nor deliberate, but always curious,

Has revealed many gems, and a thousand more disappointments and false dawns,

 

One hundred failings can only fulfil the belief that the mother lode is nearby,

Just under the surface, or midway on the rise of the valley,

Lying peacefully undisturbed like the beauty waiting for the princely kiss, she lies there

Waiting in anticipation, to give the touch bestowed upon her, by Midas,

Upon my life.

 

Prospecting for the truth, becomes a tragic, obsessive pursuit, that can render me blind and weary,

And smite my senses to the very presence of the miner’s grail,

The idiocy that prevails in determination, serves only to highlight the capacity of the fool and not the perseverance of the man,

 

For he would be alive to the knowing through experience, tribulations, triumphs and travails,

If he were not so consumed with the prospecting, as to the prospect

Of the truth.

 

And yet she lies there, in tranquillity, ready to blossom as the eternal poppy, ready to flower  as only beauty can,

For she is the truth in all its form.

Alas she is caged and cannot be free until the prospector finds her,

For only then will she live and only then will he have found an end to his searching,

 

When my eyes opened, when my heart held the rhythm of the land,

When my ears heard only the siren of angel,

And my feet could not move,

I found myself at this stop sign,

You were there, before me, I was captivated, spellbound,

Like a drunken sailor I couldn’t resist the allure,

And as a prospector I knew its worth,

I offer you my kiss, and although I am not royal, I feel as a king amongst men,

And as you break free from your cage, I will lay my shovel down,

And prospect no more,

For I have seen and found the truth

In you.

The Layman’s Bank

Posted: September 23, 2011 in Musings

In the mid nineties the world was swept by a new craze called Pokemon, the brainchild of Satoshi Jahihri, http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/History_of_Pok%C3%A9mon a concept that came to life, through innocent child’s play that went on to generate a small economy all of its own.

Now, crazes, fads and trends are not new to the world, especially when it comes to children’s games. Who could ever forget the impact of the Rubik’s cube, designed by Erno Rubik, and although he took out a patent in his native Hungary, he missed untold fortunes by failing to take out an international patent.  (inventorspot.com › Articles)

And yet, this mad, and often frustrating fad still managed to generate a small economy all of its own.

So how does this fit into the Layman’s Bank?

Well, lets picture a little nine year old boy called Johnny, he comes from a poor inner city background and hopes for a better life someday. One day, whilst walking his way to school, he finds on the ground in front of him a Pokemon card. He was delighted, as he never could by one, that was a luxury that his mother couldn’t afford.

When he got to school, he showed his friends, and before long found himself being popular, for he didn’t realise that this card was apparently a much sought after card. Word soon spread to the ‘bigger’ kids and Darren, a well built 12 year old, wanted his new treasure. Johnny realised Darren was big enough to just take it, so he decided to box clever, He said he would sell it to him for 5 euro, if it was such an important card.

Johnny also knew that 5 euro was nothing to ‘Big Darren’, and that he could also buy 5 packets of cards with this new money. 25 cards in all. So a deal was done.

One the way home Johnny had an epiphany.

He bought his new cards, and on the next day, began to show them with his friends, but instead of ‘trading’ cards as was the purpose of this craze, he would sell them. Whenever someone wanted one of his cards he would sell it for  1 euro at least, depending on his buyers desire. 1 euro would buy 5 more cards in his local shop, a neat profit to be made. Each day he made a concerted effort to sell each new card, so that his product always looked fresh and desirable, and it worked. He fast became the ‘go to’ man, and was still only in the fourth grade.

As Johnny grew, and moved through primary and secondary school, and onto college, he never forgot this valuable lesson that he ‘chanced’ upon as a nine year old.

It was what he called The Layman’s Bank. A facility that operated similar to the major banks, but one that he controlled.

Now, aged 40, he is a successful businessman, without any financial cares or stresses. He has more material gain than he could ever imagine. All because of his Layman’s Bank.

You see, the lesson he learned all those years ago, was this:

If you want something so badly, you need to ask yourself why do you want it so badly? And if you want it so badly, then maybe someone else wants it even more, and is willing to pay handsomely for it, for they haven’t perhaps asked themselves why they want it so badly. If people can only be fulfilled through their bragging rights of their material gain, and not material gain per se, then Johnny was happy to assist them in their foolishness.

He clearly remembers as a nine year old boy, that he was happy, until everyone began saying…”you need to get some of these cards Johnny, they’re great….” He remembers that fateful day when he stumbled across that one and only card that was to change his life forever, and how, he became popular because of its ‘value’. He also remembers Big Darren, threatening him, and how he negotiated a deal, and how within the space of a few hours, the very thing he dreamed of having was gone. He remembers this clearly.

He also recalls, that before and after the presence of this card in his life, he was still Johnny. To this day, he still tells himself, as part of his daily ritual, that he is happy for one reason, and one reason only,

“You are Johnny, a poor kid from the inner city, and the Chief Executive Officer of The Layman’s Bank!”

Voice


An old wise friend once said to me, “Your Truth may not be my Truth, but they are both Truths as we perceive them to be”.

Academics will seek to research a topic in order to substantiate or prove a theorem, and two academics can quite reasonably prove their points conclusively, by using available research, even though they may differ entirely in their findings. So, are they economical with the Truth? Surely not, perish the thought…….

So, what is the Truth? Well, as my old wise friend suggests, it is akin to two people sitting opposite each other looking at a coin, one sees the ‘head’, the other sees the ‘tail’. They may agree it is a coin, but their perceptions are completely different, and yet, both right.

Now, lets move this into where Ireland in 2011 is today.

In the recent Irish Census of Population 2011, http://www.cso.ie/census/documents/Prelim%20complete.pdf the figures show that there were approximately 4.5 million people living in Ireland. As of this date, the statistical evidence shows that from this number Ireland has a workforce of circa 2.3 Million. Of these the ‘live register’ shows approximately 450 000 people are unemployed, leaving a performing workforce of around 1.8 million people.

N.B. It is worth noting that the ‘live register’ does not include those that were self employed, those working on a government training scheme, or those signing for disability payments.

So, in a nutshell, 1.8 million people are working and paying taxes to support the remaining 2.7 million.

With varying figures being spoken of in relation to emigration, 110 a day (770p/w) – 3000 p/w, lets settle for easy math and assume a figure of 1500 emigrants a week, which is about 78 000 per annum, ( a figure of 76 000 was quoted on radio in recent weeks) If this trend were to continue, then it would take 57 years,for the last person to leave Ireland. Of course, if that trend were to actually occur, then it would take far less time for this to happen, or is that being economical with the Truth?

Alas, if we are to believe the current sovereign debt figures of around 200 billion, to date, and that they will be ‘serviced’ by the taxpayer, then it may be fair to assume that 1.8 million people will be expected to repay 200 Billion euro, as well as, support 2.7 million fellow citizens. Now, do the math, 200 Billion euro divided by 1.8 million workers = 111,111.11. Yes, that’s right, around 110k per working taxpayer. Or is that being economical with the Truth?

If we accept these figures, and presume a ten year period where this debt would be wiped clean, then it would mean, allowing for the status quo, that each working taxpayer would be required to pay approximately 211 euro PER WEEK to service the ‘sovereign’ debt, that is 844 euro a month, or 11k per year. Or is that being economical with the Truth?

And for each emigrant that leaves, this figure increases the burden upon the remaining workforce.

Now the current Fine Gael/Labour Coalition government, that signed up to the Four Year plan that was imposed by the Troika of the IMF/EU/ECB are telling us that we have to take this pain, and that we will benefit in the long run. They more or less state that there is no other game in town, even though many respected economists have continually predicted the continued downturn of the nations finances if such policies were implemented. So are the governemnet speaking the Truth? Are the economists?

Perhaps we can look at it another way.

A benefit, as promised by the government, is best defined as ‘something that aides or promotes well being’. Ok, so paying 11k a year, to bail out banks,bondholders, speculators, developrs, etc…… promotes well being on this logic. Maybe they are speaking the Truth, but most of us are sitting on the ‘other side of the table’, aren’t we?

If John or Mary, our working taxpayer, must find 211 euro per week to service this debt, as well as be expected to pay day to day taxes, mortgages, utility bills, insurance costs, and health care costs, perhaps even feed, clothe, and educate a family, put a car on the road, tax and insure it,…….all contributions that keep an economy ticking over, then perhaps it would be safe to assume that the 211 euro out of their pocket, is of no benefit whatsoever. Or is that being economical with the Truth?

So from this side of the table, looking at the last coin that we may have, here is what we may see, one toss of the coin, can decide, do we stay, or do we emigrate, do we struggle under an imposed debt, or do we decide to surrender our home, do we continue to endure the struggle, or do we decide to end it, or do we stop complaining and accept the benefit as promised?

Either way you choose to look at the coin, you will see your Truth, and if it is your last coin, then that is the Truth of your Economy, and if that is your situation, then I hope you see the benefit…………as promised by our elected leaders.

Surely things will get better, wont they? 1500 emigrants a week means more jobs for those staying behind doesn’t it?

Or is that being economical with the Truth, or just being truthful with the Economy?

Voice.

A Letter From Ireland 2011

Posted: September 20, 2011 in Comment, Uncategorized

A chance meeting with an old friend has moved me to write about him, to tell his story, to try to explain how just one of Ireland’s citizens is living life in 2011.

Sean is 47 years old, divorced, and raising two teenage kids on his own. He lives in rural Ireland, in a small cottage. He has no mortgage, drives a 12 year old car, and has loans of about 6000 euro. A manageable lifestyle some would presume, nothing too out of control or overbearing.

However, Sean was telling me he is considering emigrating. Why?

Well, you see Sean is one of the new unemployed, he holds a first class Honours Degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy,  and was self employed, he worked within the schools system providing support services to troubled teenagers. He had been doing this for the past four years. Now due to the austerity cuts, Sean’s services are no longer considered worth retaining. He along with others, have been considered to be a ‘non essential service’ Last Easter, these cuts hit Him and his family.

He was telling me, that many of the children that he worked with had remained in school, obtaining a Leaving Certificate, because he was there for them, they had told him as much, and surely the long term benefit of this to both the individual and society as a whole is clear to see.

And yet, Sean now finds himself struggling to survive. he receives approximately 210 euro a week to live on, with little prospect of earning an income in the future due to continued austerity policies. As he was self employed he is entitled to ‘no further assistance’. He needs to service loans, pay insurance for the house, car, and his life. He holds no health insurance. He has no heating oil for the winter, and often sits by candlelight in the evening to conserve electricity costs. As the closest shop supermarket is about 10kms from his home, he needs to drive, but tells me that he only leaves his house once a day if he can, as the petrol prices are now too much to bear. He contributes to community groups, the church, and local football team, and gives of his time because ‘it is important’, and is happy to do so, but is finding this even difficult to keep up, because of transport costs.

The reality he says is that “when I take out my costs, insurances, loans, petrol, Electricity, phone, I am left , if I’m lucky, with about 70 euro a week to feed and clothe the family, it is near impossible. But moreover, it is just an existence, not a life, I want more than this for more kids” All of this was manageable when he was earning a wage.

“But I am one of the lucky ones, at least I can emigrate, as I hold dual citizenship, I feel sorry for those that cant leave, for they will be hit with even more cuts and taxes, and bled dry” My family and I will be o.k, for we will leave here, it will be struggle to start a new life, but it will be a struggle worthwhile, which shall bring a quality of life…..surely that is better than having a struggle that brings no promise, no hope, no life…..?”

Having known Sean for many years, it must be noted, that his demeanour has changed. He appears less burdened, more hopeful, and excited at building a new life for his family, and he says he will never return. Why?

Because he values his life, his children, his future.

His last words to me were…”Austerity works both ways,my friend, If you want to withdraw services, take my money,cut and run with it,….then I have the right to do the same.!”

Maybe he has a point………

Voice.

Little Child

Posted: September 17, 2011 in Prose

Little child, runny nose, freezing cold little toes,

Pleading eyes, to passers bye, and winter’s lacerating throes,

The season’s song goes on and on, and on to the point of heresy

And your begging cup, fills with the drip, drip, drop,

As your hands begin to freeze

 

A crust of bread, a soft warm bed, a hot drink to warm your heart

A mothers hold, escape from cold, a wish for a new start.

And as you fall down and down and down, to the point of feral existence

Your begging cup fills with the drip, drip, drop,

As you cry out for assistance.

 

The executive gives ex-ple-tive, as his path is forced to detour,

The averted eyes, of the ones on high, extol ignorance so pure

And as you shiver, wither and wither, and wither to the point of letting go

Your begging cup fills with the drip, drip, drop,

As rainfall turns to snow

 

Little child, runny nose, the spirit always shows,

That your house of card, is far too hard, for all the high street Joes’

And as you tumble, crumble and crumble, and crumble without a fight

Your begging cup fills with the drip, drip, drop,

As life becomes eternal night.

 

Little child, runny nose, freezing cold little toes………..

Can 450 000 People Be Wrong?

Posted: September 15, 2011 in Musings

Can you imagine having a product reaching a market of 450 000 people? Seriously, think about it, if you were to receive one euro from each of them, year on year…..?  Now that adds up to some pretty lovely lucra…

A market, or constituency that is engaging with what you provide, your ‘product’….. a nice little earner…but take even a fraction of this figure, lets say, 150 ooo, one third, well, that is still a tidy sum at one euro a head isn’t it?

Now lets look at 450 000 as people that are experiencing unemployment in Ireland. This appears to be the approximate figure this September of the year 2011. It measures at 14.6% of the population of the nation.

The figure of 150 000 therefore comes in at around 5%. This was the number of people, by this logic,  that were unemployed in the height of the Celtic Tiger, and often referred to as the ‘typical’ amount of unemployed persons in a ‘zero’ unemployment economy.

If we accept that as read, for the sake of discussion, and also acknowledge that Australia currently in the month of September 2011 have an unemployment rate of circa 5.6%, and their people are calling for government heads to roll over this issue, then can we deduct that many Australians are up in arms over an unemployment rate of 0.6% according to Irish standards?

No, of course not, it is a non nonsensical arguement.

However, the unemployment figures that are presented in Ireland are based upon the per capita population, and not the ‘workforce’ population. So lets, revisit these figures on a more realistic level.

In a population of approximately 4.5 million people and a workforce of about half that amount, the figure of 14.6% now becomes 29.2% of available workers being unemployed. Yes, that is right,approximately one in three adults capable of working are unemployed in Ireland as of September 2011.

Now, we know there are many reasons for the ‘bust’ that Ireland is experiencing, but has anyone ever asked, if we continue to fudge these figures, as we did in the boom, then will we continue to fudge the future?

These figures are the figures that come from the  ‘live register‘, that is, the people that are unemployed that are entitled to seek welfare assistance. They do not include the now struggling self employed,disabled, depressed,  or those that have taken up a ‘Jobbridge’ position.

So lets take a very conservative view here, and allow 1% of the ‘live register figure to these people, ….that would equate to 45 000, bringing our overall figure to circa 500 000 unemployed.

Today on radio, a report stated that 76 000 people had emigrated so far this year, and a total of 66 000 had done so last year. Why? because of job prospects, and a future, many are graduates, and will be lost to this state forever. For the sake of discussion, lets add them to the equation, and we find a figure of 630 000 thousand all of a sudden.

Not completely scientific I realise, but that is precisely the point, it is humanistic, not scientific.

Unemployment is a very real experience, it can be soul destroying to some, whilst others can see it as temporary, either way, it is a human experience and not a figure or statistic. 450 000 people find themselves out of work today, not because of vagrancy, or misdemeanors, of theft, or malpractice, no, they find themselves out of work because of the actions of a select few, the Golden circle, some say they number 200, but even if they number 1000, they have effected the lives of many.

or maybe I am wrong here, and that can be accepted, however,

Can 450 000 people be wrong?

Voice