Here's How ::: Ireland's Political, Social and Current Affairs Podcast
Summary: Here's How is Ireland's political, social and current affairs phone-in podcast. You can air your views by recording a message on on our voicemail line, and presenter William Campbell will play the best calls in the show each week. Contribute your views to the Here's How Podcast - dial +353 76 603 5060 and leave a message, or email your recording to podcast@HeresHow.ie. All views are welcome, and two- to three-minute with a single clearly-argued point are preferred. Find full details and tips on how to leave a good message at www.HeresHow.ie/call
Kerry-Anne Mendoza editor-at-large of the Canary and the author of Austerity: Demolition of the Welfare state and the rise of the zombie economy, published in 2015. We discussed this Twitter thread of hers: THREAD: How we actually beat CummingsStop fact-checking with the belief that establishing holes in his Swiss cheese story is a gotcha. He doesn’t care. It keeps us occupied while he gets as much nefarious shit done as possible, then laughs at us and tosses us another lie— Kerry-Anne Mendoza (@TheMendozaWoman) May 26, 2020 ***** It really is good to get feedback from listeners, and to know that there is a growing number of listeners out there, I always appreciate that. And it doesn’t matter to me whether the listeners are ordinary people interested in the world around them, ordinary working stiffs, or whether they are celebrity fans, I’m just happy to know that there is anyone out there at all. I know that some people might be wowed by the rich and the famous, but I try to keep a little more grounded than that… but I have to admit that I had a little frisson of excitement to find out that I have one very well-known fan. That’s right folks, you’re listening in the august company of none other than the billionaire financier Dreomt Dseomnd. How do I know that? Because he sent me a fan email. Well, of course he didn’t sent it to me himself, it was sent by Suzanne Mc Nulty, his … legal counsel. And looking over it again it doesn’t come across so much as a fan letter as… Well you see in podcast episode 101 we were talking about housing with Labour Party councillor Alison Gilliland, and in the show notes I referred to what I thought was a pretty good article written by my new best friend Dessie, that’s what I call him, and Dessie listed some excellent suggestions for fixing the housing crisis, and I couldn’t really mention that and just ignore the fact that he was very close to the architect of many of the problems that we have in Ireland to this day, Charlie Haughey.
Malcolm Noonan newly elected Green Party TD for Carlow Kilkenny, having spent 16 years as a local councillor in Kilkenny. ***** It was announced last week that Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street in Dublin won’t be reopening, the operators said that the lockdown, coupled with high rents, have pushed their business over the edge, and it’s no longer viable. That’s obviously bad news for the 110 staff that worked there. Most of the comments broke down into two categories – nostalgia and protest. The first type was typified by Vivian Lambert, she said: Such sad news about Bewleys of Grafton St. My great treat as a child was to go there for a glass of Jersey milk and a cherry bun with my Dad. There were loads more in that vein, and I have to admit that I could probably have written my own, I have a dim childhood memory of discovering the existence of coffee when I went with my parents, just about big enough to see over the table when I was sitting on a bench there. But, the second category of post was more political. The Green Party MEP Ciarán Cuffe tweeted When #Bewleys was last under threat 16 years ago I called up landlord Johnny Ronan and asked could he help. "Business is business" was his reply. No change there it seem There was much stronger criticism too, best represented by the People Before Profit official Twitter account’s tweet which said We need decisive state action to force people like Ronan to slash his rents. The state should then move in and take a majority share of Bewley’s, to preserve jobs and enable the café to ride out the storm, as well as preserve a cultural symbol of Dublin life. There were loads in that vein too, a lot of them critical, to say the very least, of Johnny Ronan. People Before Profit, as you heard, advocated the nationalisation of Bewley’s, other people made a variety of suggestions of market interventions the government could make to keep the café open.
Malcolm Byrne won the 2019 bye-election for Fianna Fáil, but did not retain the seat at the general election. He was then elected to Seanad Éireann. Robin Cafolla is chairperson of the Green Party's Climate Forum. His questions, which informed my interview were first published on Twitter. The Green Party has asked a slightly less-focussed set of questions of their larger rivals. ***** Right now, there is what might be a courtship dance going on between the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on side, and the Green Party on the other, as to whether the Green Party will join a three-party coalition to form a government. I spoke to some senior Green Party sources at the time of the election, and they said that to join any coalition, they would want to be both wanted and needed in that coalition. What that meant, they explained was two things. Wanted meant that the other parties had to be at least amenable to the policies that they wanted to pursue. Clearly all parties have policy differences, but If they were only there for making up the numbers, and there was no meeting of minds, that would not, in their view, lead to a government worth their while being part of. Being needed meant that the proposed government would have to rely on Green Party TDs for their majority. If the government could function without them, they would have no leverage, and they would be fools to take responsibility for decisions they had no real power to influence. I have a interview coming up, where I put some of the realities of the Green Party intent to a Fianna Fáil politician. It’s a longish interview, so I’ll keep my own thoughts short enough here. You can judge for yourself how many straight answers are forthcoming in that interview and whether that would indicate if the Greens are wanted in government or not. But that’s a soft, values-based judgement. The question ‘are they needed?’ That’s straight maths. The civil war parties did spectacularly badly in the election, by a huge margin their worst combined result ever. But they still got a lot of votes,
Thanks to Cathal Mac Coille, former Morning Ireland presenter for taking the chair in this special podcast. This is the complaint that I sent to RTÉ. Complaint-to-RTÉ RTÉ gave it short shrift. This is the totality of their response. RTEs-Response-to-Complaint There was some back-and-forth between me and RTÉ, and RTÉ eventually they made it clear that they would not refer my complaint to an internal reviewer, so I referred the complaint to the BAI. Complaint-against-RTÉ-BAI-William-Campbell As per their procedure, the BAI asked RTÉ for their response to the complaint, and forwarded me the that response. This was the first time that RTÉ actually admitted how they classified AA Roadwatch - as an independent radio production. BAI-C5094_RTEBAI-2019-2463_AA-Roadwatch_RTE-Response-180619 I
Alison Gilliland is Labour Party member of Dublin City Council for Artane/Whitehall. She is also chairperson of Dublin City Council’s Strategic Policy Committee on Housing. In our discussion I mentioned the article in the Irish Times by billionaire financier Dermot Desmond about solutions for the housing crisis. Desmond was found by various investigations to have xxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxx. I also mentioned the huge cut in the windfall tax on profits from rezoning made while the Labour Party were in government, and the lackadaisical enforcement of the of the vacant sites levey by local authorities around the country; and the huge attention paid to the tiny impact of Airbnb on the housing market. ***** Father abandoned child, wife husband, one brother another; for this illness seemed to strike through the breath and sight. And so they died. And none could be found to bury the dead for money or friendship. Members of a household brought their dead to a ditch as best they could, without priest, without divine offices ... great pits were dug and piled deep with the multitude of dead. And they died by the hundreds both day and night ... And as soon as those ditches were filled more were dug ... And I, Agnolo di Tura ... buried my five children with my own hands. And there were also those who were so sparsely covered with earth that the dogs dragged them forth and devoured many bodies throughout the city. There was no one who wept for any death, for all awaited death. And so many died that all believed it was the end of the world. That’s a quote from the Italian chronicler Agnolo di Tura about the effects of the
Peter Boland, as well as running Cases.ie is the director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform. ***** There’s a lot of people talking about the other thing, but I'm sure you’ve heard enough about it by now, and there’s nothing extra that I can say that hasn’t already been said, so let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about the state of the world and its people. Bear in mind that life expectancy in Ireland in 1916 was just 53. Thinking of all the countries in the world, taking into account the huge populations of the poor countries in Africa and Asia, what would you guess is the average life expectancy of people today? 50 years? 60 Years? No, the average across the whole world is now 70. And again, across the whole world, what percent of the population do you think has access to electricity? The answer is 80 per cent. And if you had to guess what percent of children had at least some of their vaccinations? Again, across the planet, the answer is 80 per cent. Finally, if you had to guess, over the last hundred years, taking into account the massive population explosion we’ve had, what has happened to the number of people – the absolute number, not the proportion – the number of people who die each year in natural disasters; has it more than doubled? Stayed the same? In fact, that number has more than halved. All these figures come from a book by the Swedish academic Hans Rosling, and he formulated them to show us that sometimes, things are much better than we think they are, and in particular, for all our cynicism, things can and do get better. Lots better. By those metrics that he chooses, the average person in the world today is vastly better off than the average person was in Ireland a hundred years ago. More children – much, much more children – are getting educated, much more people are getting basic healthcare, much more people have access to the basics of comfort that the whole of humanity went
Michael O'Regan is journalist and former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times. He says he doesn’t have a book for me to plug, ‘yet’. ***** I managed to grab an interview with Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh at the election count in the RDS. To put this in context, Aengus Ó Snodaigh got one of the highest votes of any politician in the country, and at the moment I spoke to him those votes were being counted and tallied – it might have been quicker to weigh them – so of course I started with congratulating with on his vote. But I really wanted to ask him about a topic that I think is very relevant given the possibility that was emerging then of Sinn Féin going into government. The Cash for Ash scandal in Northern Ireland, whereby some people in the know, often DUP supporters, made huge amounts of money claiming subsidies for renewable heating that were vastly higher than what they actually spent on the heating bills. To Sinn Féin’s credit, it’s clear that their politicians did not have their sticky hands in the till on this, unlike some others. But the enquiry into this revealed a series of emails that Sinn Féin clearly would rather have remained secret, and it’s clear that the emails were written in the belief that they would never come to light. Máirtín Ó Muilleoir was the Sinn Féin finance minister in the Northern Irish executive from 2016 to 2017 when the executive collapsed. Ó Muilleoir wrote an email to Ted Howell. Howell is a secretive figure who largely disappeared in the early 1970s, probably to work for the IRA outside Ireland, and re-emerged on the Árd Chomhairle of Sinn Féin during the peach process. No serious commentator doubts that Howell was the closest of confidants to Gerry Adams, and a senior member of the provisional IRA. And the email that Sinn Féin finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir sent to Howell asked whether he, Howell, was content if the writer, Ó Muilleoir,
Colin Harvey is Professor of Human Rights Law in the School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast, a Fellow of the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, and an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Irish Studies. In November, his group, Ireland's Future sent a letter to An Taoiseach calling for a new conversation about the constitutional future of the island of Ireland. The polls from Michael Ashcroft - conducted by professional polling companies - gave the first indication of a majority in Northern Ireland in favour of reunification with the south, but the demographic breakdown is the real shocker: ***** Following on from what I was saying at the top of the last podcast, I got in a couple of Twitter debates, I won’t say Twitter spats, it was all very polite, I’ll link the threads on the website, but I got in a couple of Twitter debates during the week. It was about housing, building and planning policies. People are, rightly, very annoyed when they see homelessness all around them, and derelict buildings, empty houses, and prime sites that lie empty for decades. The thing is that, as with almost every problem, there a quick, simple, easy-to-understand solution that is completely wrong. In this case the two quick, simple, easy and completely wrong solutions are rent controls and using compulsory purchase orders – CPOs – to forcibly buy empty properties and house homeless people in them. The first thing to say here is that I don’t doubt for a moment the good faith of the people who I was disagreeing with, I'm certain that they are motivated by nothing but a desire to help their fellow citizens. But let’s take those ideas in order. The Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck, said “Next to bombing, rent controls are the most efficient known technique for destroying cities.” What he meant is that, like with any product, if you artificially lower the price, then the producers respond by just stopping the production of that product.
Seán Fleming, currently Fianna Fáil TD for Laois, if the gods of the ballot box smile on him he might become the Fianna Fáil TD for the reconstituted constituency of Laois Offaly. He's been a TD since 1997 and for 15 years before that he was Financial Director of Fianna Fáil at national level. Gavin Reilly's twitter thread helped me in researching this interview: https://twitter.com/gavreilly/status/1216802428856782848?s=19 This is the three-page form (plus three pages of explanatory notes) that you need to fill in, get stamped at a Garda station, and hand in to your local authority office during office hours if you want to get on the supplementary register. Anyone who is trying to work out if they are currently registered to vote might not find it possible. This is what I got: ***** Nobody likes taxes. People don’t like paying taxes, but they also don’t like talking about, or even thinking about taxes. It stresses people out. You can even see that in the support for proposals for things like ‘flat taxes’ because people think that they will be simpler, even if they pay just as much or more. Politicians know this, particularly when they make promises like this. And, of course when those promises are broken, there are serious ramifications. Any politician going into an election promising to introduce a new tax isn't likely to prosper. But that’s just what the economist David McWilliams is recommending. And he’s right; in fact, he doesn’t go far enough. McWilliams article on the topic is titled The party that taxes land hoarding will get my vote. I would argue that we need an wide-ranging property tax that covers all – well, all property. That would include houses, building land, agricultural land, commercial and industrial property, the lot. Before you start
John McGuirk is the founder and editor of Gript. John referred to the cost of building passive homeshere. In our discussion I mentioned an article falsely claiming that hacked emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia showed scientists 'plotting to manipulate data, ... suppress evidence ... and boycott ... divergent researchers". I also mentioned an adulatory article celebrating the election win of the homophobic, anti-semitic Polish PiS party, and an article on Gript falsely claiming that a video error by ABC News was a 'hoax', and another falsely claiming that British Extinction Rebellion protestors were being paid, and suggesting without evidence that Irish Extinction Rebellion were also being paid. ***** There was one thing that we discussed that I have to comment on. On the Gript website there is a video interview under the headline “Pay more taxes to change the weather” – the world’s most expensive religion” with a man called Christopher Monckton, Gript presents him as an expert in climate change and he makes various claims about himself. His first claim is that he is a member of the House of Lords. This is a straightforward lie, and he’s been telling it for years. He even wrote to US senators making the claim and got himself invited to a talk to a congressional committee in the US with him saying that he was bringing fraternal greetings from the mother of parliaments, although he got short shrift when he appeared before the committee. ***** Monckton is not and never was a member of the House of Lords, or any other parliament. The closest he came was when he ran in 2011 for the Scottish Parliament as a UKIP candidate. He got one per cent of the vote. His false claims to be a member of the House of Lords
Paul Murphy was an MEP for the Socialist party, since then he’s been elected and 2014 and 2016 as a TD for what became the Solidarity party. He has now founded the party Rise. In our discussion he mentioned the book The People's Republic of Walmart: How the World's Biggest Corporations are Laying the Foundation for Socialism by Leigh Phillips.
Paul Cullen is the Health Editor of the Irish Times. His article headlined Almost 70% of cyclists without helmet at time of head trauma, appeared on the front page of IT last month. The article was sharply criticised in online discussion, including in this article by Cian Ginty. In our discussion, I mentioned a number of articles and scientific studies, including this analysis of the reporting of deaths of vulnerable road users by Joe Lindsey, and this study by Kelcie Ralph et al. I also mentioned that international and Irish studies indicate - contrary to popular imagination - motorists break traffic laws more frequently than cyclists. A study by Dr Alexa Delbosc from of the Monash Institute of Transport Studies, Department of Civil Engineering concluded that "Around half of non-cyclists view cyclists as ‘less than fully human’", and that these "dehumanization measures were significantly correlated with aggression toward cyclists." ***** Francis Rawls is in an American prison. And that’s where he’s staying. He lost his case at the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. So what has he been convicted of? Nothing. Rawls, a former Philadelphia police officer has been in jail 17 months because he invoked the Fifth Amendment, he said he wouldn’t give self-incriminating information to police investigating him. But the Fifth
The Social Fabric podcast is created by Andrea Splendori, and I'm sharing it in the Here's How feed to give you a chance to hear a sample episode. If you like it, you can subscribe on his website here.
Dr Katherine O'Keefe is an author, and the director of training and a management consultant with Castlebridge, a data privacy and information governance consultancy. Our discussion referred to a twitter thread by Katherine and another by solicitor Simon McGarr. ***** It’s probably just dumb luck, but I made two pretty accurate predictions about the byzantine machinations over the Brexit deal – or non-deal – in British politics. Firstly back on 9 May, before the first of the three House of Commons votes on Theresa May’s failed deal to leave the EU, I pointed out that that single vote meant that she was finished. The defeat was – as turned out to be the case – too big for her to overturn, and no prime minister could long outlive such a defeat, and that this outcome led inextricably to a takeover by a hardline Brexiteer, David Davis, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid, or most likely Boris Johnson, and thereby a very hard Brexit. Then on 21 May, as the polls were showing that the Brexit party would perform strongly in the European elections, at the expense of the Conservatives, I predicted that would influence the election of the new Conservative leader, and make it certain that whoever took the hardest Brexiteer line would win. Two weeks later, May announced her only slightly voluntary intention to resign, and six weeks after that Johnson was elected, on a platform of saying that he would prefer to be dead in a ditch rather than delay Brexit past Halloween; and his half-hearted efforts to play the role of someone involved in serious negotiations haven't fooled anyone. Now we have the UK Supreme Court ruling that his effort to close down parliament, and prevent those pesky MPs from interfering with his cunning plans are illegal. So what’s going to happen next Mystic Meg? Is there going to be a deal,
Brigid Laffan is currently Director and Professor at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Director of the Global Governance Programme and of the European Governance and Politics Programme at the European University Institute (EUI), Florence. She was previously Professor of European Politics at University College Dublin. While she was there she was Vice-President of UCD and Principal of the College of Human Sciences. Brigid Laffan Photo: European University Institute She also is an organiser of the annual State of the European Union conference in Florence, which has a high power guest list including the president of the European Commission, president of the European Council and president of the European Parliament. She was the founding director of the Dublin European Institute and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. She was a member the Fulbright Commission and has been awarded the UACES Lifetime Achievement Award, the THESEUS Award for outstanding research on European Integration, and she’s received the Ordre national du Mérite from the President of the France. ***** I just want to follow up on a couple of the things that Brigid said there. The first point to address is where she said that she wasn’t giving me ‘permission’ to use the interview. That has no validity whatsoever. I told her very clearly that I was recording an interview for the podcast, and even if I didn’t, I don’t need permission from her or anyone else to do so. I can think of a lot of politicians who would like to withhold permission to report some things they had said. We don’t have very robust media independence in Ireland, but we’d have none at all if anyone could veto coverage of themselves. But on the substantive point, the Santer Commission, which resigned en masse in 1999, in my view is a very relevant topic for discussion because the method of nominating commissioners has not substantially changed since. Each government chooses one politician who they send to become a commissioner, basically a Europe-wide minister for something in the way that Phil Hogan is the European Commissioner for Trade. As I mentioned to Brigid, commissioners have immunity from prosecution for any crime in any EU country. That’s not so surprising when it comes to international officials like ambassadors, they couldn’t work in other countries if the host governm...