Saturday, October 28, 2017

Irish Examiner is in irrational, full-on panic mode over Brexit

Sometimes I try to imagine what Ireland would be like if it was in Europe or even on planet Earth. It's a little mind game that the editors at the Irish Examiner should try someday. What am I talking about? Their editorial this morning on Brexit finishes with this:
What a terrible Pandora’s box has been opened and for what? Apart from climate change it is hard to think of a greater challenge faced by this island since the Great Famine of 1845. It is hard to be optimistic but we must remain determinedly so.
Huh? I don't deny that the post-Brexit economic environment will be very challenging, BUT there were other events between the Great Famine and Brexit that were bigger challenges than the UK's departure from the European Union.

First, WWI. Tens of thousand of Irishmen died in that war. Somewhere in the range of 30,000 - 40,000 seems to be accepted among historians these days. 30,000+ Irishmen dead in a war. I would imagine that was challenging.

Then there was the War of Independence, the Irish Civil War and all the work that went into rebuilding Ireland afterwards. I'd guess that was fairly challenging.

Then there was WWII. Again, thousands of Irishmen died in the conflict and for a while the future of Europe hung by a fingernail. I would bet those were challenging times and worrying, right? I mean, the Nazis could have won, which would have been an issue if Ireland was in Europe. If.

There were some significantly challenging times post-War too, some that were probably about as challenging as life post-Brexit will be. And there was that whole Cold War thing when life on Earth itself seemed to be at risk.

No, life post-Brexit will not be the greatest "challenge faced by this island since the Great Famine." Not even close.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Last straw? Will unpaid bar bills finally end the Dáil Bar?

The Dáil Bar is still open, still a disgrace, still as clear an indication as any that the people we elect to represent us enjoy a sense of entitlement that is simply breath-taking.

The latest revelation is that some of those who make laws that govern how we live have failed to pay their bar tabs. Actually, that's loose wording because they are restaurant/bar tabs that haven't been paid. More than €5,000 worth.

I doubt I'm the only tax-paying citizen who thinks that those we elect – and pay well! – should pay for their drinks and meals as and when they get them. I see no reason for credit to be extended to any TD or Senator. If they can't afford to pay for the meals and drinks they consume on the salaries we pay them then they are clearly so profligate that they should be disqualified from serving. Or is it simply that they don't bother carrying cash or cards, that paying for things that way is only for the little people, beneath the status of a high & mighty legislator.

This follows the scandal of 'lapgate' and the scandal of TD's drinking in the bar before big votes. This is – I hope – the last straw. If they want a meal or a drink let them go out and find a restaurant, pub or hotel. There are many within short walking distance of Leinster House.

It's time they stopped disgracing themselves and stopped treating us with contempt.

Monday, March 27, 2017

License fees on iPads & laptops is chock full of stupid

So the Irish government is going to redefine what a "television" is which will allow them to say that anyone who has a laptop or an iPad will have to buy a €160 license in order to own such a device. All of this is because RTE wants (needs?) more money.

The obvious answer (scrap the license fee) is unpalatable to the statists who control the government so they have to redefine words and go to great lengths to try to plug a small budget hole in our bloated, mostly unnecessary public television/radio service. This opens up so many potential issues that they will have to deal with in legislature that it will require one huge pretzel of a law to make this work.

First, who will who will have to pay this license fee? Will every tourist touting an iPad have to pony up €160? What about every business traveler with a MacBook? Surely not. So, there's exception 1. What about people who are visiting for a month? 3 months? What about those who come for a 6-week course in Donegal in July? What about American students over for their semester abroad?

The intent of the law is to bring into the license fee catchment all of those people who don't have a television, who do their viewing on their tablet or laptop. How is the government going to track those people? Will everyone who buys an iPad or laptop have to register their purchase with the state? Will shopkeepers demand ID from anyone who wants to buy a laptop. If yes, that will make shopping across the border a whole lot more appealing even when the exchange rate is unfavourable.

Maybe that won't be necessary, but rather the thought police will demand the download records from every internet provider operating in the state. UPC, Eir, Vodafone, etc. will be compelled by the state to hand over all the names of those who they supply, but of course the state says mobile phones will not be included so anyone who is paying  for broadband can say it's for their phone. Very few people would have an iPad or laptop but no smartphone.

So this change to the license law will be even less enforceable than the current TV license. Some lily-livered law-abiding people (as I am) will pay, but I doubt they'll get anywhere near the €5m per annum they expect.

But I already buy my TV license so it won't affect me, right? Wrong!

I'm self-employed and now the government is about to make my TV license a legitimate business expense. I've never written it off before, but I will now as should everyone in the state who needs their laptop or iPad at home for work. Soooo, the question is, will this be a revenue positive or revenue negative change for the government? My guess is negative.

This idea is just so stupid, but it's what governments do.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Water regulator sees the light on water metering

Simply unreal. The water regulator (aka the Commission for Energy Regulation) says metering should stop so that there is money to repair the water infrastructure. {What is the non-crude equivalent for "No Sh*t Sherlock!"?}

All of this could have been avoided, but our elected officials insisted we needed water metering. We never did. It was forced upon us by our masters in Brussels because everyone else in the EU has metered water. So what, they don't live in an arctic rain(denuded)forest.

Newsflash to the Irish government & our Euro-overloards: Ireland gets a lot of rain. So much that virtually nobody waters their lawn. I guess some people wash their cars, but that's about it in terms of non-normal use. And, lest we forget, summers are fairly cool. Very, very few have swimming pools.

People use water to wash and drink. Not much else. We didn't need to meter anyone. The costs of water are not about supply & demand, but about infrastructure. Charge to connect to the mains, but don't waste all that money on meters, bills, billing, bill-collecting, etc, etc, etc. {I'm not in favor of this either because only the suckers (like me) will pay.}

How much money was wasted on meters, on installing them? If we had any elected officials with guts they'd send the bill to Brussels.