Views on the Irish thing

“I’m writing just after an encounter
With an English journalist in search of ‘views
On the Irish thing’. […]

Expertly civil-tongued with civil neighbours
On the high wires of first wireless reports,
Sucking the fake taste, the stony flavours
Of those sanctioned, old, elaborate retorts:

‘Oh, it’s disgraceful, surely, I agree.’
‘Where’s it going to end?’ ‘It’s getting worse.’
‘They’re murderers.’ ‘Internment, understandably …’
The ‘voice of sanity’ is getting hoarse.

‘Religion’s never mentioned here,’ of course.
‘You know them by their eyes,’ and hold your tongue.
‘One side’s as bad as the other,’ never worse.

[…] the tight gag of place
And times: yes, yes. Of the “wee six” I sing
Where to be saved you only must save face
And whatever you say, you say nothing.”

From ‘Whatever You Say, Say Nothing’, Seamus Heaney, 1975

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Autumn Statement: My response – an opportunity missed

Agree with every word Andy Winter has written, so I’m reblogging his take on the Autumn Statement. I’d only add to it that we need to move into an era where renting becomes an affordable, desirable, long-term option in the UK, as it is in most of continental Europe. At the moment, renters bear all of the responsibility of home ownership with none of the rights or securities – and they’re very often paying a higher % of their income on keeping the rented roof over their heads than homeowners do on their mortgages.

Andy Winter's Blog

The Chancellor, Philip Hamond, presented his Autumn Statement to Parliament today (23rd November 2016). This is my instant response ….

The decision to abolish upfront letting agents’ fees is warmly welcomed. For far too long tens of thousands of renters have been ripped off by extortionate fees charged by unscrupulous letting agents. To replace these charges we need a fair deal for renters. This must include controls on charges associated with the renewal of six month assured shorthold tenancy agreements where agents levy charges for things that have not changed.

Landlords should also welcome these changes. They need to know what fees are being charged in their names, and fees that are being charged to them and to their tenants.

The announcement of £1.4 billion for ‘affordable’ housing would be welcomed if it is to be spent on homes for rent, but it appears not to be the case. Therefore…

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2015 review: from apathy to liberal identity

When I started this blog in 2014, it was because I was feeling apathetic about UK politics but didn’t want to disengage from it completely. Writing about politics was my way of ensuring I would continue to pay attention to news and current affairs, so that I’d at least go out to the polling station on an election day of uninspiring choices.

In May 2015, the party manifesto and national agenda that appealed to me most was that of the Liberal Democrats, but the local candidate who appealed to me most was from the Greens and my constituency was in a Labour-Conservative marginal. With one vote, it was impossible for me to express who I wanted to be Prime Minister, who I wanted to be my local MP and which party’s manifesto I would like to see become law.

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