How did the abortion debate descend into sane vs crazies?

Let me preface this post by stating that I am solidly pro-choice. I believe that abortion is far too complex an issue for a one-size-fits-all law to work. There will always be a scenario where the law is too restrictive, so the law should be as open as possible, and let people assess their individual circumstances.

That being said; pro-life is a logical position, or at least it can be. It doesn’t make sense that such a clear left-wing/right-wing division has arisen on this. Nor why the pro-life campaign has been completely monopolised by such psychos as Youth Defence. I completely understand how someone can be adamantly anti-abortion. To a certain extent, everyone is a little bit anti-abortion. Take the scenario that a perfectly healthy baby is due to be born, obviously an abortion the day before that baby’s due date is just plain wrong. This is clearly a ridiculous example but it gives a decent jumping off point for the argument.

There comes a time in the development of a foetus where abortion is just plain unacceptable. The day before the due date is past that point, but we don’t really know where that point is, nor can we. Some might argue it’s when the nervous system develops, but fully develops? The first signs of it? or some point in between? Is this point when consciousness begins? Well when is that? Or is it when the soul takes hold? When is that? Is that even a real thing? There is no concrete point we can point to and say “That is when these molecules become human.”

Instead everyone makes their own judgement on it. And it’s not even a concrete decision, it’s a gut instinct. When a couple are having a child. They don’t decide on an arbitrary point on a calendar that they’re looking forward to when they can say “this is real now.” It’s a feeling that grows as the pregnancy continues. That feeling can be stronger earlier or later for different people, it can even be earlier or later for the same couple in different pregnancies.

While there can never be a definitive moment in a pregnancy for people to point to, there does seem to be something of a general consensus around 20 weeks. It’s not true for everyone, and it’s very broad and loose estimation, but 20 weeks seems to be the number that sticks, and hence it’s become an important before/after point for abortion acceptability in international debates.

But what if, for you personally, The Point is significantly earlier than 20 weeks? Whether people agree with you or not is kind of irrelevant, as it’s a personal instinct, and that’s all anyone has to base this judgement on. But if you believe that The Point is actually around the one week mark, then how can you not be outraged that it could be nationally acceptable to obtain an abortion after that point? If you’re outraged at the thought of a baby being aborted a day before its due date, that’s because that is obviously well past The Point. At a day before the due date, everyone agrees with you that that’s well past The Point. But as you go back further in time over a pregnancy, into the fuzzy realm of an entire society’s personal instincts, the further back you go, the less people will agree with you. And while arguments can be made for different points, the fact is that no answer is right, and no answer is wrong. Even if you gathered all possible data, facts and figures, the best you can come up with is maybe defining a point after which The Point has certainly occurred, but you still don’t know exactly when it did occur.

If the government were trying to pass a bill allowing the abortion of healthy babies the day before they’re due, there would quite rightly be uproar. It is therefore perfectly understandable that there are people who are passionately opposed to abortions past when they feel The Point is. If someone believes The Point is extremely early in a pregnancy, you can’t exactly call them wrong, as gut feelings are all anyone has to go on, and you can’t blame them for being furious at the idea of abortions past that point. You don’t have to agree with them, but you can’t blame them for their passion.

I understand why people are pro-life, I understand why people are so passionate about it. I see a logical reason for it. But why do I never see this logic in their campaigning? Instead I see scripture and shouty slogans and pictures labelled as scenes of abortion (but which most of the time are wildly inaccurate). There is space for a healthy debate here, and healthy debate is what we need. Long after the current argument over legislation has passed, no matter what the government does or does not do, this is a debate that needs to keep happening as it is an important choice that needs to be weighed seriously. But instead of healthy debate we have Youth Defence and their ilk being outrageously crazy. And on the other side, we have a movement of people outraged by Youth Defence’s outrageousness drowning out the voices of people trying to actually discuss the issues at hand.

Youth Defence are an easy target though, they invite so much vitriol and attack that sometimes they get attacked for the wrong reasons. Take for example one of their poster campaigns this year featuring a picture of a woman with the slogan “abortion tears her life apart”. There was uproar over that, and several complaints to the advertising standards authority. But this was a picture of a model, hence they were portraying a character, a character whose life had been torn apart by their decision to have an abortion. That is not a ridiculous scenario, many women suffer for years from the weight of their decision to have an abortion, their lives can in fact be torn apart. I know women who have struggled with that choice for many years, just as I know women who have managed to find a peace relatively quickly. Youth Defence saying that having an abortion can tear a woman’s life apart isn’t inaccurate, it would only be inaccurate if they said it always tears their life apart, which they didn’t. But the real problem with Youth Defence’s position, is just because a woman suffers with the weight of their decision, doesn’t mean it wasn’t their decision to make.

Another thing Youth Defence gets slammed on is that they are largely funded by Americans. To call this a serious stain on Youth Defence is hypocrisy. Many left wing organisations in this country are funded by Americans and have been for years. Ireland doesn’t have a decent philanthropic infrastructure and advocacy groups on all kinds of issues, left wing and right, have been depending on american money for years. It’s not problematic that pro-lifers get american money, because pro-choice gets american money too. The problem with Youth Defence is the particular Americans they get their money from are despicable, hate-filled, bigoted cretins.

There is a decent argument to be had from the pro-life side. An argument we should hear, just as they should hear our arguments. But as long as pro-lifers in this country keep spouting scripture and hatred, we’re never going to get that healthy debate we so desperately need.

Disclaimers: I described a couple experiencing pregnancy, as opposed to just a woman. This is not some kind of judgement against single mothers or any other kind of scenario not necessarily involving a couple. It is simply my perception of the experience of pregnancy as I know it best, having experienced it as part of a couple (though obviously I didn’t experience nearly as much of it as the other part of the couple did).

Some people are going to get angry that I seem to have drawn a comparison between an abortion the day before a due date, and a day after conception. The day before the due date is an extreme example, but I needed an example I was pretty positive no-one would disagree with for being an awful time for an abortion. You can try and transpose it to an earlier time if you’d like, but you’ll soon encounter the fuzzy mess of uncertainty as you try to define a concrete point.

Other people aren’t going to like my slamming of scripture spouting. I have a healthy respect for people of faith, even if I’m not one myself. My girlfriend is christian and our daughter is baptized and being raised to experience christianity before she makes her own choices. But religion has no place in this debate. If your sole argument against abortion is that it’s against your religion, then you’re only ever going to convince people who already share your convictions. If you want to get through to people about this issue, talk to them about this issue in universal terms, not terms restricted to your faith. And if your goal is to convert people to your faith; then in the middle of an already fraught and heated debate is not the time or place to do it.

Still more people are going to get mad at me for any number of things I’ve said in this post. All I can say is, I’m not here to piss people off (except maybe Youth Defence because whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, those people are fucking disgusting). If I’ve phrased something particularly poorly, I’ll try to clarify, if I’m objectively and demonstrably wrong about any aspect, I’ll correct it. And most importantly, if there are alternative opinions, I will listen and take them seriously. If people are still mad at me then, well that’s just the price of doing business.

Man of Steel Review

Director: Zach Snyder
Writer: David S. Goyer & Christopher Nolan
Starring: Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Christopher Meloni, Antje Traue, Richard Schiff, Harry Lennix and Laurence Fishburne
Run Time: 143 minutes
Release Date: June 14th
Cert:
Rating: Four Stars

Man of Steel is the movie your summer has been waiting for.

Summer blockbuster season has been a little lax this year, a comedown from last year’s Avengers. We haven’t even had a movie as hyped as Prometheus was (though Star Trek came close, without being such a let down). But at last here is a tentpole to get excited about. Zach Snyder has blown Superman to an astounding scale.

Opening on Krypton we’re given a bit of uncertainty as to how the film will work out. Snyder messes around with the Krypton we all know, and while it doesn’t really screw up the key elements, this is a more alien world than it used to be. There’s also a little bit of altering characters. Jor’El (Crowe) is still the wise scientist, but now he also comes with a hefty serving of badassery as he tries to save Krypton’s future while simultaneously feeding out the first drops of exposition. It just about works, but some of the fans might take issue.

There’s an interesting balance between changing the formula just a little, and letting the audience’s familiarity with the classic story advance things. Snyder gets to leap forward quite a bit and skip the bits we already know.

A more tricky balance to find is that between the epic nature of Superman’s heritage, and the smaller tale of Clark Kent trying to find himself. Flashbacks to Clark’s childhood are used to colour his quest to find out who he is. It gets the message across, but it’s not always a smooth ride, and doesn’t imbue quite enough of an emotional connection to the characters. Snyder uses an awful lot of close detail shots of minor features of the surroundings. A technique done well in many other films (see Mud for great examples) but Snyder doesn’t quite seem to know how to work them. Not that it makes for a bad film, it just sometimes feel like a good film that keeps you aware of its running time.

That is, until General Zod shows up looking looking for Superman and threatening Earth.

Things kick into gear as Clark is forced not just to find himself, but to choose who he wants to be. From this, the physical conflict emerges. And it is epic.

For the first time we see what Superman in action really looks like. There are no physical barriers. Buildings, freight trains and explosions don’t get in the way. They simply disintegrate heavily as Superman faces off against Zod’s forces, and Zod himself. The combined forces of the US military are just distractions in a war between gods. And that’s just the opening skirmish.

As the conflict heightens the battles become more epic. Snyder tries to keep it somewhat grounded by showing us side scenes of humans in peril, but the peril features characters we haven’t really seen. One woman in danger we’re supposed to feel connected to, but the first time we hear either her voice or her name is as the rescue attempt for her begins.

But as the scale heightens, the humans must become involved. The invincible Superman is placed in real peril and yet sequences of mankind’s part in this war of gods can at times be more interesting that what Superman is up to. And all of this leads up to a climax which hurts.

Henry Cavill is strong as Superman, but like Superman’s early attempts at holding great weights, he does occasionally struggle. He’s not always easy to connect with, though that is part of the aloof nature of his character. In the end though, he does manage to hold up the film, and looks set to grow stronger. And thanks to the impressive CG throughout, you really will believe a man can fly.

It’s a strong film which does send up a few question marks over tone and some choices. But those niggles are soon washed away by one thought: Wow.

Fruiting projects

Reviews, Directorial debuts, sitcom scripting and working on a project with George Takei. I’ve been deceptively busy.

It’s been a while, eh? The blog posts on this site are fairly sparse, but that’s because that’s not my focus now is it? No, this site is mainly to point out projects I’ve been working on. I’ve been updating the site fairly regularly with things I’ve written, but I’ve had a particularly fruitful time of it lately, so I thought I’d write a wee post pointing out some things that, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head a little, look like I have a career.

As ever I’ve been writing movie articles, primarily reviews, for Pop Culture Monster. The site’s planning on kicking things up a notch in the next few months so I’m excited about that. I’ve also been writing some business articles for The Sunday Business Post, which is nice.

My biggest projects however, have actually been not writing about things, but actually doing things, two projects I’m really excited to have been involved with. One of those was my directorial debut. A friend put me in contact with Kristin Kapelli, a great burlesque and cabaret performer who has been doing more and more comedy lately. A few months ago she released a music video for her song “Skanger Style“, a parody of PSY’s Gangnam Style. The video was a huge success and garnered over 60,000 views across the few pages it was uploaded to, as well as a fair bit of media attention. So Kristen decided to follow it up with “D4 Style”.

That’s where I came in. I came on board and directed the “D4 Style” video. We got to shoot in some great locations and spent loads of time capturing what I think turned out to be a great video. Check it out here.

Then there was the most exciting project of all. My cousin Eoin is a graphic designer and animator. He had an animated short premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh last year and he’s following it up with a new one entitled “The Missing Scarf” this year. Very early on he brought me in to help out with the scripting. It was great working with Eoin (and his producer Jamie). Then came the news that the narrator on the project would be George Takei! I’ve seen an early cut of the short and I have to say, I get goosebumps listening to George. Not just because that’s what George Takei’s voice does to you, but also because I wrote the words he’s performing.

Another project which didn’t go quite as well was a sitcom I was working on. It’s a project I’ve had gestating for a while now having been originated by my friend Anna Hayes years ago. Then during March, Sideline Productions put out a massive call for sitcom scripts. I had a pilot episode written, and I knuckled down and wrote another episode. It was a very focused period of writing. Unfortunately I got the e-mail today saying that my scripts didn’t make the cut. To be fair I was one of 176 submissions. It’s disappointing but I like to think that my script was liked, just not exactly what they were looking for. I know I wrote well, but 176 is a deep pile to rise to the top of. That sitcom isn’t dead yet.

So yeah I’ve been busy, hopefully next time you look at my projects, you won’t have to squint your eyes and tilt your head for it to look like I’ve got a career.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review (or, On Cinema)

Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Peter Jackson & Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Guillermo Del Toro
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian Mckellan, Richard Armitage, Graham MacTavish and Ken Stott
Run Time: 169 minutes
Release Date: December 14th
Cert:
Rating: N/A

There’s an inherent problem with reviewing films for a living. I mean, naturally it is mostly a great way to spend your time, but it can force you to think in, at times, irritable ways. Obviously in order to do the job you have to really love cinema, you can’t go to the movies 5 times a week, sometimes more (often less, it depends on the season) unless you really love it. But it is a job, you have to think about these films professionally, with a critical eye. You do that for long enough and you can lose sight of what cinema really is.

Cinema is escapism, it’s about disappearing into an entirely different world and gaining all kinds of experiences that aren’t usually open to you. It’s about hearing fascinating tales well told. Getting to know new characters, falling in love, falling in hate. Experiencing emotion not just due to the tale but through the artistry in the visuals, through music which moves you. It’s about being transported somewhere else, for better or worse, just for the opportunity to explore something new.

The skills and talents of so many people go into this process. The instincts of many help mold the experiences of a (hopefully) massive audience. As reviewers we look at these people, we look at what they’ve done before, we look at what other people in their field have done, we break down what decisions they have made, where their instincts have taken them, and if those instincts worked. If enough “right” decisions were made to let their film be immersive. In many ways the marks of a good film are both in how much you want to immerse yourself in it, and how easy the makers have made that for you.

Last night I went to see The Hobbit. My mind, tuned as it is, began taking notes. I was looking at how jarring the crispness of the image was in the early sequences, I was looking at how the film referenced The Lord of The Rings trilogy, how it attempted to connect the two stylistically and also depart. I took note of how well delivered some of the monologues were. And then something interesting happened.

I got lost.

I got lost in this fantasy world full of trolls and dwarves and goblins and scurrying little hobbits. I didn’t see the images, I didn’t watch the performances, I just got lost in a world which for two hours of my life at least, was very real.

There was adventure and song, rolling vistas and hideous creatures. There was Middle Earth and not a darkened room filled with a few hundred other people.

As a film it’s not perfect, there were jarring little moments and a few nits to pick, but none of that matters, because last night I got to go to Middle Earth. I haven’t had a cinemagoing experience so pure since I was a child. No doubt you’ll see plenty of reviews of The Hobbit elsewhere, there will be good points made and bad. Just remember that after all that analysis, after all the deconstruction is done, underneath all of that lies a film. A film that takes you somewhere else. Somewhere exciting.

Boycott Hit & Run

Next month Hit & Run opens in Irish cinemas. I urge you to boycott this movie. Trust me, you won’t be missing out on much. It’s an action-comedy starring Dax Shaepard and Kristen Bell. He plays a guy in witness protection, she plays his girlfriend. When Bell gets a job offer in LA, he ignores his witness protection and drives her to LA. This leads to the bad guys he testified against tracking him down.

It’s a nice little set up and the film pulls it off reasonably well. It’s a little slapdash and uneven in tone. Overall it’s a grand movie that’s also very forgettable. Under normal circumstances I’d give it three stars, though I’ve been told that’s a little generous given how very forgettable the whole affair is.

There is one aspect of this film however, which is not forgettable. It is downright disgraceful and writer/co-director/star Dax Shepard should be ashamed of himself. This film does not deserve to make money.

This film features the worst taste rape jokes I have ever seen.

I’m not an easy person to offend, normally you’ll hear me arguing that either everything’s fair game for comedy, or nothing is. I myself have made rape jokes. But I believe how those jokes are constructed is incredibly important. You can make rape jokes where you ridicule the rapist. You can make rape jokes where the act of rape is mocked. You can use the word in a context that is just outlandish and ridiculous. I know plenty of people will disagree with me, they will say that there is no circumstance where rape jokes are acceptable. But that doesn’t matter here. I think it’s safe to say that Hit & Run shows the worst possible way to make rape jokes.

The first example is in a conversation between Annie (Bell) and Debbie (Kristen Chenoweth). Debbie is talking about the shitty jobs they have in a small town college, and that Annie deserves better things. Debbie is trying to convince Annie to go for a nice job in the University of California because she deserves the nice job. Debbie believes she doesn’t deserve a nice job, she’s where she’s supposed to be. Debbie believes that she’s lived an irresponsible life and the crap job is her penance. Debbie in no way feels bitter about this, she’s quite chirpy in recognising this fact, but her exact words to characterise her irresponsible past are: “You know, I got date raped, I’ve had the abortions. I got what I deserved.”

At first this seems merely horrific. Nobody deserves to get date raped. Nobody deserves to have an abortion. But fortunately, that’s not exactly what’s meant. The real meaning is far, far worse. She’s not saying that rape and abortion are what she deserves, she’s saying that her shitty job in a shitty college in a shitty small town is her punishment for the sin of getting date raped and having an abortion in the first place.

This speech is comedy. This speech is mined for laughs. This woman cheerily accepts her punishment for the sin of being raped in a manner designed to elicit laughter. What the hell is wrong with the makers of this film that they thought that this was okay?

Later on in the film there is another joke involving rape. This time Annie tries to come up with an example of awful human beings. She picks “rapists”. That’s fine, that’s acceptable. But given the awful joke from earlier, this still made me uncomfortable.

There is then, near the end of the film, another awful joke. A joke where the punchline is “I got raped.” To be fair the exact words are “I got buttfucked.” But given the context, it is rape being referred too. Shepard obviously just decided that “buttfucked” was a funnier sounding word.

At first I thought this was just another example of the tone in this film being remarkably uneven. That the line wasn’t supposed to be a joke, but more of a dramatic moment. But then the joke was repeated. And then the film spent at least five minutes wringing as many “jokes” as possible out of this man’s admission that he was raped. The concept of this guy being raped is apparently hilarious. All the characters in this scene with the exception of Shepard’s character seem to get that this is a serious issue. So there is an argument to be made that the humour comes from one guy not being able to process the gravity of the situation. But that one guy is the hero of the movie, the guy we’re supposed to be rooting for and who we’re supposed to feel a connection to. All this scene does is alienate the lead. So realistically this scene isn’t designed to tell us more about the hero, it’s purely there to make an admission of rape seem hilarious.

So first this film makes being the victim of date rape a punishable offense, it then uses “I got raped” as a punchline before milking the joke for all they can. This is not acceptable.

It’s a pretty average and forgettable film apart from these incidences, so you’re really not missing out on anything by not seeing it. But this film does not deserve to make money. Do not let this film make any money. Boycott it. Send a message that this kind of joke is not acceptable. It’s probably not a bad idea to boycott anything Dax Shepard ever produces.

If you’re really curious about the movie, at the very least download a pirate copy, so that nobody involved makes any money.

Why I’m voting Yes to policies I disagree with

So I’ve managed to land at a rather complicated position regarding tomorrow’s referendum. I don’t agree with the methods of attaining economic success as outlined by the treaty, but I still think that voting Yes is the right call. Allow me to try and explain why.

I will warn you before I begin, I am by no stretch an economist, my understanding comes from reading opinions and analyses from people far more qualified than I to interpret the treaty. As a result there’s a decent chance that I say something incredibly stupid or overlook some significant fact here. I don’t think I have, but if you notice any errors, please let me know in the comments.

I believe in free and open markets, I believe that consumer purchasing habits should be the primary mover in any economy and that tax collection should be driven by increasing the number of transactions, rather than from raising taxes. Taxing your way out of a recession is not the way to go. I believe that you have to spend money to make money. On a national level much of that money should be spent on education. Entrepreneurs create jobs and the best way to make sure there are as many possible entrepreneurs is to ensure that all potential entrepreneurs are educated to a level whereby they have the know-how to set-up or improve businesses.

In order to allow a government to be able to fund this kind education, as well as many other incentives and programmes, they need to be able to borrow. They need to be able to invest. They need to be able to plan on spending more money than they have, provided that they have made a reasonable estimate as to how much of a return on their investment they will receive. The ‘balanced budget rule’ of the Fiscal Treaty essentially eliminates this ability. By capping the structural deficit at 0.5% governments can’t spend more than they have. This seems like a logical position but what it really means is that governments can’t make big investments in the future. The economy can’t be encouraged to boom, there’ll just be a steady trickle of growth.

The view is that this also means that there can’t really be a bust either. But economies are supposed to boom and bust. We just don’t want the boom to hit the heights of the Celtic Tiger, otherwise the bust at the far end will be just as painful. Economic policy is a delicate area, managing a boom is just as important as managing a bust, but for there to be any real change and development the rough up/down pattern must continue. By enforcing the ‘balanced budget rule’ economies will move at a glacial state.

One upside of this slow moving economy is that it allows for the Euro to be saved. Yes the Fiscal treaty makes for a slow moving economy, but it is stable enough to allow the Euro to be saved. If none of the rules in this treaty are enforced, the Euro will fail. A Yes saves the Euro.

Many of you may be saying now; “who cares? Let the Euro fail.” Well I oppose that view for a couple of reasons. Number 1; reverting to individual currencies for the Eurozone would result in an unholy economic shitstorm. Each country would grapple with their own plans for a changeover while also trying to work together for a unified plan. Larger and more influential countries would be in a better position to control the EU policy of the changeover so smaller, and economically weaker countries like Ireland, would have to work extremely hard to keep their heads above the water. If the Euro were to fail now, things would get a lot worse before they got better. And even if our economy did survive such a massive changeover, there would be a phenomenal amount of uncertainty as to how to move forward afterwards.

The second reason I’m opposed to dropping the Euro is because I believe that it is a step in the right direction toward more unity in Europe. The Euro has been criticised for trying to operate a single currency without the advantage of a single central government, like the US has. But the longer that the Euro exists, the more countries must therefore cooperate to help make it work. The central government of the EU would have to become stronger and more efficient and gradually the need for economic borders would dissolve. With economic borders dissolving, so too would other borders. Nationalistic squabbles would die out. I believe the Euro is a step toward uniting the people of this planet and making our goals and interests more shared and aligned. So I want the Euro to continue.

All of this is rather irrelevant however, as whether the treaty is passed or not, most of the rules are already in place due to other EU agreements and directives. This is not a choice between an open economy and a 0.5% structural deficit limit, it’s a choice between a 0.5% limit and a 1% limit. The structural deficit is already limited to 1%. Another 0.5% doesn’t really make a huge hell of a difference. But there are some things which are different.

Firstly, if we don’t ratify the treaty we have to hit that 1% limit by 2015, whereas if we ratify the treaty we have until 2019. Meaning we can allow more time to allow the economy to grow (which it is doing) in order to hit the target rather than having to rapidly implement a mountain of new taxes in order to reach the target.

Voting Yes would also mean that we would have access to the ESM fund to hit our target if we needed to. Campaigners for a No vote have said that we still have access to other funds, they’re right, we do. But those other sources would likely have higher interest rates and more would have to be borrowed in a smaller amount of time, so it would cost us more money in the long run. Some No campaigners have even insisted we would still have access to the ESM. That’s pretty tricky, I don’t know if we do, but if we do it would be a hack of a lot more difficult to get at, and we’d have to borrow more money more quickly, meaning greater debt and interest to be paid. Quite simply, a No vote means higher taxes very quickly, a Yes vote means slow growth in the economy as we move forward.

In the short term, a Yes vote makes it easier for us to reach our obligations. We have more support and more time to comply with EU regulations. So a Yes vote makes more sense. In the long term however, we get locked into an economic plan which discourages real growth and open investment. But that doesn’t really matter, because by the time we get to the long term, this treaty will be largely relaxed and/or dismantled.

Back in 2003 France and Germany breached a 3% deficit limit imposed by the Stability & Growth Pact (under the Maastricht Treaty, which established the Euro in the first place). So what happened? Germany and France used their clout to have the rules relaxed. At the moment the Fiscal Treaty and it’s austerity measures have been pushed by France and Germany, particularly by Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. But Sarkozy got voted out of office this year and Merkel is likely to experience the same fate next year. Europeans are rejecting Austerity measures. So in the not too distant future the two most powerful EU countries will be led by governments opposed to the type of Austerity plans laid out in this treaty. This treaty does however make it more difficult for those countries to change the rules, they need far more cooperation from the other EU countries to make changes, but it won’t take too long before the other nations, including Ireland, are finding economic growth limited due to this treaty. It’s going to become very unpopular so more than likely it’s going to get changed.

To try and avoid this change, the Fiscal Treaty says that it would be preferable to have some of its provisions constitutionally enshrined. That is a bad plan, we need the ability to dismantle this treaty later, so if we’re ever asked in a referendum to put the measures of this treaty directly into our constituion, be sure to vote No.

The EU is constantly evolving and changing, there is going to be greater economic cooperation which fosters additional cooperation. Meaning that in the long term, this treaty will become increasingly irrelevant, both as it’s policies are rejected as we exit this phase of extreme economic pessimism, and as the EU evolves to a more experienced and unified entity.

So in the short term, this treaty helps Ireland stabilise and makes it easier to achieve our economic targets, while in the long term, this treaty will become more irrelevant. If we stuck with this treaty to the letter in the long run, then yes, that would be rather rubbish, but I really don’t see that happening. Economies are robust and unpredictable things, driven by confidence. As Ireland and Europe become more confident, economies should improve and policy will reflect that. A No vote triggers panic mode, meaning things would get much worse before they got better. A Yes vote gives enough confidence to help pump up an economy, and a pumped up economy rejects austerity easily.

Site Launch

Well would ya look at this, a brand spanking new website. For all the world to see no less. Written and maintained by Richard Duffy. Spiffing!

Yes. I have started a website, and a bloggy one at that. Here I collect my published work as well as a few bonus articles created just for you. Yes, that’s right, you Marian (If your name is not Marian, this website is still for you, I’m just trying to freak some people out. Probably should have gone for a more common name than Marian to make that one work though. . .).

As you may notice, the site already has a rather ample archive, well that’s because I’ve taken a few articles from the last year or so which I’ve had published elsewhere, and thrown them up here. And there’s the last article, which was created just for this site, I got a bit ahead of myself and published something before the site officially launched, so sue me.

I would rather expect all the other people I’ve written for would be quite annoyed if they discovered that articles on their pages have been published here at the same time, kinda ruins the exclusivity. So I’ve made sure to always link back to the original place of publication, and any articles which I get published elsewhere won’t be posted to this site until at least 7 days have passed.

Original articles though, ones which I haven’t written for someone else, well the loyal readers of this site will get first glimpse at those (you will be loyal, won’t you?).

So now that you’re here, check the place out. Have a trawl through the archive, glance over the ‘About‘ pages. Explore! If you need the bathroom it’s the third door on the left.