Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Jason’s Diary.

Posted by Jason O on May 23, 2011 in Irish Politics |

Well done to Fine Gael and Labour on their Taoisach’s appointees to the Seanad. Nice mix of interesting appointments. Martin McAleese in particular was an inspired appointment. Nice one, Enda.

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More good trade figures here underline the fact that a key problem with restoring a decent level of economic growth is the fact that the domestic retail economy is so weak, and will stay that way, I suspect, until people start to see unemployment figures start to come down. Yet unemployment will struggle to come down as long as the domestic retail economy remains weak. Breaking that cycle is the greatest challenge facing the government.

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Met an intelligent woman this week who underlined for me the problems the Progressive Democrats had with their public image. She said that she could never vote for such a right-wing party, yet struggled to name a single policy of the party that would be deemed right-wing by modern standards. Interestingly, when we got on to social policy, she was conservative right-wing in her views. Just goes to show that one of the greatest flaws the PDs had was their inability to prevent their opponents shaping their image.

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Reading about the anti-unemployment demonstrations in Spain here, one can’t help thinking that the demonstrators would be just as opposed to the means of creating jobs as to the problem itself. Spain’s redundancy packages seem very generous (see here, and bear in mind that in most of the Irish private sector you get two weeks for each year after two years worked). It means that an employer has to consider before hiring whether they can actually afford to pay redundancy. If such a rule existed in Ireland, many employers would find it cheaper to not hire new staff but pay existing staff overtime as needed. 

2 Comments

Criostoir
May 24, 2011 at 10:00 am

Think it’s entirely inappropriate to appoint Mr McAleese while Mrs McAleese is still President.

And Zaponne? Good grief!


 
Cynic
May 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm

More good trade figures here underline the fact that a key problem with restoring a decent level of economic growth is the fact that the domestic retail economy is so weak, and will stay that way, I suspect, until people start to see unemployment figures start to come down.

It’s not just fear of unemployment.

As long as people believe that their standard of living is going to decline over a long period of time – whether because of the fear of losing their job or because of tax increases or, just as importantly, because of public spending cuts that will reduce their net income because they have to pay or pay extra for services they still need – then they’re not going to spend on anything but essentials. Especially not when so many are in debt and interest rates seem likely to increase in response to the performance of the German economy.

Haughey and McSharry got away with a lesser degree of austerity in the late 1980s because the next-door economy was booming. Things are much worse now, because the crisis is more widespread and also because the global political leadership dealing with it is so inept.


 

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