Tag Archives: ireland

Batsh!t Britain’s Brexit Border Blues

humpty_dumptySo, having run on a campaign of “taking back control (of our borders)” the latest cunning plan to deal with its only actual EU border is for Brixitian to ….cede control of its border to another EU state. Yep.

This is cracked. Humpty Dumpty , sorry James Brokenshire , the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has suggested that in order to avoid a hard border at the actual legal border between the EU and Brexitian the Common Travel Area external border would be “the” UK border. Several thoughts come to me on this

Continue reading

Post Brexit will Irish citizens need a visa to go to the EU?

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.

Source: Britons may have to apply to visit Europe under EU visa waiver scheme | Politics | The Guardian

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.

Ireland : A picture of health

Health appeared as a big issue in the election. A common tendency is to say “sure we cant keep throwing money at it!”

This presumes, of course, that we have been. And we are “we”. Some we’s are spending more. Theres a creeping privatisation at work from the OECD data.

 

Screenshot 2016-03-05 08.56.24

Irish Health Expenditure vs the OECD 2013 -We’re in Red

Screenshot 2016-03-05 09.09.18

Screenshot 2016-03-05 09.10.18.png

Screenshot 2016-03-05 09.11.44

 

Taxes – You are Here (and its not where you think)

So the general elauction is in full swing. And the theme of GE2016 is “Irish taxpayers are uniquely, punitively, outrageously taxed, and thats causing all our trouble:. Pretty much every party, bar the courageous (in a Sir Humphrey Appleby way) Social Democrats are pledging to cut, slash, reduce….

Meanwhile, away from the fevered fantasies of Irish political parties, in the real world, this is where we are. Data from OECD Taxing Wages 2015, 2014 data : here

First, the total : the tax wedge, defined as  the difference between total costs to the employer (so including PRSI and other social security) vs what the employee gets (so including USC and PRSI). Oh, look….

taxwedge

Then tax on the average wage (a shade under €700 per week for 2014 from CSO data) by family type. Cash transfers here are the standard benefit packages such as childrens allowance or its equivalent.

single2kidsbenefitscouple1earnnokidsbenefitscouple1earn2kidsbenefits

Finally at different percentages of the average wage. Ireland is in red.

Screenshot 2016-01-31 08.51.57

 

Feeling overtaxed is fine. Claiming that we are, at least in the comparative sense, is not. Its not just a misreading, its a misrepresentation. We get the politicians we elect. If we elect people who look us in the eye and lie a hole in a pot, so be it.

Refugees, rural decay and reinvigoration.

Sometimes things seen cannot be unseen. The tragedy in Syria, and that’s where the main impetus of refugees is from now, has been a horror. But numbers numb. 250,000 dead including 20,000 children is for most of us incomprehensibly large.  But one death, that of a poor wee toddler washed ashore in Turkey, a small helpless child, that is comprehensible and unbearable. Continue reading

Schrodinger’s Member

So, another day and another rebuff for David Cameron in his desire to make the United Kingdom into Schrodingers Member – neither in nor out of the EU.  The stark reality is that the key changes he feels he must seek or else be eaten alive by the right are unlikely to be deliverable. So what then?
Continue reading