The response of some public servants to the scrapping of the 30 mins cheque cashing time is quite revealing. What it shows is that there is a large section of the public sector who are not actually being selfish or mean, but genuinely believe that surreal anomalies like this are normal. They constantly harp back to the statement “we didn’t wreck the banking system, so why should we suffer”. They are, of course, correct. But they also need to recognise that the large gap between public spending and tax revenues is as a result of the intervention of their union representatives, alongside a reckless Fianna Fail/PD government that ceded the spending to them. Also, the relative safety of their jobs has to be given some monetary value, because that is the sort of feature that people in the private sector would happily pay BIK on.
Just saw the last episode of the TV show “Monk”, which I thought wrapped up the show and the characters very nicely. The show is about a brilliant but flawed detective who suffers from extreme OCD after his wife’s murder. I’ve always liked the show for its gentle humour, engaging characters and mystery storylines, and it acts as an antidote to the gorey realism of “Criminal Minds” or “CSI”. Sometimes you just want to be entertained for an hour, something “Monk” never failed to do. Will no doubt become another addition to my wing of the National Obscure DVDs Library.
The strong performance of the True Finns party in the Finnish general election isn’t an easily dismissable anomaly. All across Europe, from Wilders in the Netherlands to Marine Le Pen in France to the Swedish Democrats or the Danish People’s Party, f**k-the-EU nationalism is on the rise, and connecting with voters of both the right and left who would never traditionally give such parties a second look. The really frightening aspect is that EU leaders, by refusing to appoint a charismatic President of the EU to make the case for integration, are leaving an open goal. If we don’t act soon, watch as one-by-one the European Council is replaced by nationalist eurosceptics until it’s too late
Excellent piece by Dan O’Brien here about why Irish government has failed so many of the tasks of running a 21st century country, including the definitive summary: “The most localised and least cosmopolitan political class in western Europe has run the region’s most globalised economy into the ground”. Always strikes me that we have a bizarre means of measuring successful leaders in Ireland. It’s like saying “How do we pick good brain surgeons? Well, first of all we see if they can get us a good parking spot near the hospital.”