Hot Press: political news from Ireland. On Friday we had two bye-elections to fill Dáil seats vacated by elevations in the European Elections, which we suffered in May. My advice to voters had a notable impact in the results. The bookies favorite in each of this weekend's elections was pushed aside by a pair of maverick/independent candidates: Michael Fitzmaurice (Ind. Roscommon/South Leitrim) and Paul Murphy (Anti-Austerity Alliance Dublin South West). Bye-elections allow for protest voting on local issues which tend to be put on hold in general elections when some acknowledgment is made of the theory that you can't run a whole country with a congeries of woo-wahs and monomaniacs. It's too late and too trivial for me to comment on these elections now, but I have a few words to advice to the Government about the upcoming budget. The word on the street is that there is about €half-a-billion of slack in the profit-and-loss accounts of the good ship SS Ireland. With a general election coming along in 2016, the Government has an opportunity to tilt the system in their own favour; probably to the detriment of the greater good. Sorry Kiev, this will be of no interest to you except as light relief.
In the Scottish Independence referendum all age-cohorts under the age of 55 voted Yes to independence while the army of grey-beards over 65 were 70% in favour of the status quo. The 16+17 y.o.s who were eligible to vote for their own future will thus, for another generation, be saddled with the No decision tilted by preferences/prejudices/ignorance of their long-gone [great]-grand-parents. There will be no flowers on some graves in Scotland. In Ireland, a young person on "job-seeker's allowance" gets only €100 p.w., which is rather less than €230 which is the weekly dole for old age pensioners. I think that government, which controls the purse-strings and which is top-heavy with silverbacks, games the system to ensure that Youth is quietly starving while Age is living the Life of Larry. I'm not sure that I buy the argument that Age has earned its doles while Youth should be starved to encourage them into the 'productive' work-place to generate tax for the whole system. That requires you to believe that earning money is the only productive life that is 'worth' much. Dancers, painters, mathematicians, athletes, mothers, are statistically much more likely to be creatively at their full powers when they are young, so maybe they should have parity of dole with the end-of-life brigade?
Just a thought.