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Government, Infrastructure, Business



Last Build Date: Wed, 02 Nov 2016 11:47:05 +0000

 



What’s an algorithm, what’s the problem?

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 11:46:48 +0000

I was at re:publica the other day and someone confidentially asked me: what exactly is an algorithm. Why is Frau Merkel herself upset and concerned? So here’s the understandable explanation. In the old days, decisions of all sorts were made wholly by humans. If you applied for a loan, for instance, the bank would look at [...]



Why the government is right to subsidise first-time buyers

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 22:03:31 +0000

The government is not giving a grant to first-time homeowners in order to make them more affordable. Every economic and political correspondent should print this out on an A2 sheet and stick it above their bed. The purpose of the grant (or any subsidy) is to increase the supply. In the economic jargon, this is ‘moving [...]



Budget gobbledygook

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 20:52:54 +0000

Another year, another budget. However, budget figures are largely impenetrable. Tax is a great thing. We are all lucky to live in a society where we trust each other enough to contribute to a centralised pool of services that are beneficial to everyone and where taxes are collected and spent by a democratic government. You don’t have [...]



Hard brexit means a ‘hard’ border

Sat, 08 Oct 2016 17:28:46 +0000

There will be a ‘hard’ border with border crossings and checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit. The UK want to keep the European hordes out, and the Europeans want to preserve their customs union. It is basically unavoidable. We can’t say we are a special case. The EU has thousands of miles of external [...]



7 impossible things before brexit

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 09:32:36 +0000

To go ahead with ‘hard Brexit’ in good conscience, the British government needs to believe all of the following: That introducing trade tariffs on trade with neighbours can make Britain into a great trading nation That the EU will let the UK sell goods and services into Europe without agreeing to follow European rules That [...]



Brexit: Free-riding Europe’s Peace

Mon, 27 Jun 2016 08:20:23 +0000

There is an array of tubes leading all the way from Kazahstan, a difficult and turbulent place in the middle east not far from the border of China which leads across Asia through Russia into Europe and onwards to Britain and Ireland and finally to Mayo in the west and Kinsale to the south. This [...]



Buns, parking and the modern acute hospital

Sun, 01 Nov 2015 15:47:22 +0000

Bedside manner may not make patients better, but it does matter, and not just for doctors.



Why water meters were a bad decision (still)

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:00:41 +0000

Lots of spin going on today about why water meters are a good idea and how many leaks they are finding. Apparently, Irish Water has already identified 20 houses that were using loads and loads of water. But this is only one million litres a day of water. That is obviously great, but greater savings, and [...]



Irish Water has failed. What is Enda Kenny going to do now?

Mon, 03 Nov 2014 00:20:01 +0000

Irish Water has failed. That is, it has failed to get the confidence of Irish people. Here is what the government should do to solve the problem. 1. There should be a New Water Company to replace the old one. We need a new one, built on modern, sound, civically minded strategic intent and values (not [...]



The political price of complexity.

Thu, 02 Oct 2014 22:41:17 +0000

When will politicians learn the political price of complexity? Look at Irish Water. First things first. Establishing a national utility out of a local authority patchwork of pipes and personnel is complicated to begin with. There are a lot of people to satisfy, a lot of metaphorical buried bodies, and a whole load of politics. But layering on [...]