Last week the government launched a plan. An education plan. Like all plans, it should be taken with enough salt to preserve a whale, but plans are needed if only to know what we should be doing. But plans should be coherent. A close examination of the plan suggests some worrying trends. We are creating an eduprenairship – full of ministerial hot air, conflating ideals that should not be conflated, slow to move, outdated, a hybrid nobody asked for which is hard to control and direct and prone to crashing. But it looks good and has a lovely dining trough, sorry car.
Colm McCarthy writes , as usual, a very good column in the Sunday Independent. In essence it reminds us that post Brexit we have few allies in the EU. Whats missing is the conclusion as to what we can do, perhaps because not even Colm can figure that one out. Theres one thing we shouldn’t do however.
British citizens may have to apply online and pay to travel to Europe after the UK leaves the EU, under plans being drawn up by the bloc for a visa waiver programme similar to the US system.The European commission is due to unveil draft legislation for the EU travel information and authorisation system (Etias) later this year as part of a broader response to calls for greater security across the continent following recent terror attacks in France and Belgium.The scheme would cover all visitors to the passport-free 26-nation Schengen zone – of which Britain is not a member – from countries that do not need a visa to enter, EU sources confirmed.
Now.. this is interesting. I have suggested before that we should consider joining Schengen. As things stand post Brexit we will be the ONLY EU country not therein or moving towards same. The Commission document underlying this is here . A discussion is here
Schengen is a visa free zone. We are in another, the Common Travel area. In effect we have over decades adopted a visa and travel scheme that the UK accepts as equivalent to its own, given the open border with Northern Ireland. But post Brexit that will be an open border with a third country.
We may face a choice – preservation of unrestricted movement with Tyrone or with the Tyrol. Can we remain part of the UK immigration system allowing them free movement into the EU and at the same time remain part of the EU system? Can we negotiate something as complex as that with a commission whom we are , in the Apple case, daily denigrating and catcalling? What makes us special snowflakes?
Schengen will deepen. As Europe moves more right this is inevitable. Can we be outside Schengen and truly be within Europe?
Its a mess.
Coming up to my 52nd birthday, I got thinking about the place in which I grew up, Waterville Co. Kerry, and where the family home still remains. In particular, I got to thinking about how the village commercial life has changed over the half century or so of my recall.
Regardless of whether or not an appeal should or should not be taken by the Irish government in relation to the Apple tax ruling, apple themselves will of course appeal. We should not mistake the individual issue, whether Apple did or did not get illegal state aid, for the broader issue of Ireland’s over reliance on (tax driven) FDI. Its time for a rethink.
Theres a lot of breathless posturing from the Government about the integrity of the tax system, post Apple. From the sound and fury one would imagine that the Commission (boo, hiss) had made a ruling that our 12.5% rate, blessed be its name, was in itself wrong. In fact all they have done is what they have done in numerous other cases – assert that state aid can be channeled by the tax system. Don’t believe me? Continue reading
The recent events in Rio have brought the issue of ticket reselling, also called touting or scalping, to the minds of many. Without getting into the issue at hand, which is under legal investigation, it raises some interesting questions. Why are some trades seen as repugnant exchanges and others not? How should we decide?