In ancient Rome there was a political office called the Censor. His role was to act as a check on the membership of the Senate, to periodically oversee its membership and ensure that it was comprised of those eligible to be therein. He had the power to disbar, if someone didn’t meet the property franchise, if they had bribed or cheated (actually, been convicted of…) or were of insufficient moral fibre. We might, in this state, consider reintroduction of the office, with a twist. Continue reading
So, Austria has in large numbers, voted right. Far right. Ally this to the Jobbik thugs in Hungary, the toxic religio-nationalist rhetoric of the Slovaks, the bubbling threat of the Golden Dawn, the slipping towards legal autocracy of Poland, the rise of Alternative for Deutschland, the rise of xenophobic politics in the UK (for that, at heart, is what drives Brexit), the rise everywhere of anti-migrant feeling, and one wonders – is fascism in all its varieties an endemic virus in most european countries? For all its many problems Irish politics has been remarkably resilient to the siren calls of the far right, for which we should be thankful.
A point that needs to be made is that the modern fascist doesn’t, mostly, wear snazzy Hugo Boss designed uniforms, but suits; doesn’t have an army of thugs, but of astroturfers; cloaks the vileness in honeyed words to avoid the anti-fascism legislation of the post WWII period and so can slip under the radar and into out parliaments quite easily. If you wonder whether someone is a fascist, you could do worse than apply the checklist of the magestic Umberto Eco : Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco | The New York Review of Books
Meanwhile, here is my attempt at mapping where we are.
Trinity College Dublin: A Case of Rankings AbuseTrinity College Dublin (TCD) is giving itself a public flogging over its fall in the rankings. This is rather odd since in fact it has been doing pretty well over the last few years with one exception.
It seems that TCD is doing the academic equivalent of taking a dive.
Via Jack Horgan-Jones, and the Sunday Business Post, a list of all companies who have used the controversial Jobbridge programme was listed today. Jobbridge is a program of labour market activation whereby persons on unemployment get paid €50 extra to be placed in a otherwise fulltime position. It is supposed to be a training and reintegrating into the workforce scheme.
Included within are some higher education institutions. See below for the list. In total, 90,000 working days actual or proposed seem to have been used by these institutions. Im pretty conflicted by this. At one level job activation schemes are a good idea. But without careful monitoring they become a way for workers to be exploited and for employers to get cheap work done that might otherwise have to paid full market rate.
Just released today. So, lets see how Ireland groans under a uniquely high burden of wage taxation shall we. Lets look, for illustrative purposes, at a single income average wage earner. Continue reading
Dangerous thinking. Apparently thats what I am engaged in. It makes a change I suppose. This charge arose in a twitter discussion on my proposal to tax the bejazuz out of the hyper wealthy, the billionaires. Keith, a member of Renua, is agin this. Fair enough, but his charge and concern is that I am unfairly casting the billionaires as cold hearted and grasping. But… they may well be. Lets look at some evidence on the psychological aspects of wealth. Continue reading
The rich are and have always been different. I suppose that we should be grateful that they are now just stealing our money not actually eating us, evidence recently suggesting that the emergence of highly stratified societies and cannibalism were contemporaneous. Back in the day the chief used the threat of a dissident becoming supper (for the gods, of course, the prime cuts being eaten by he and his cronies purely as a ritual, you understand) ; now we have threats of FDI withdrawal, slowing economic growth and a generalized “project fear”, combined with a conflation of the mildest tinge of socialism with the advent of a new yezhovshchina whenever anyone begins to suggest that taxing the bejazuz out of the wealthy might not be a bad idea.