The government came under intense fire on Thursday over what opposition New Democracy described as old-school practices of mass hirings to the civil service and transfers of public sector staff to Parliament. The outcry became even more acute when it emerged that many of the scheduled transfers to Parliament concerned relatives of high-ranking officials of the leftist ruling SYRIZA party. Conservatives were quick to accuse the government of offering scores of jobs ahead of a snap election next month. The transfers were based on a regulation that was published in February this year and would have benefited, among others, the former wife of current Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis, the daughter of Deputy Speaker Tasia Christodoulopoulou and a former aide to Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis. In the wake of the outcry, the government announced a freeze later in the day on half the transfers. According to reports, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras contacted Voutsis to ask him … [Read more...] about Government rapped over Parliament transfers
It has been a long time since local government was a hotbed of political struggle. In the past several decades the British state has become ever more centralised. The UK raises just 5.8 per cent of taxes locally, making it an outlier among its more decentralised European neighbours. The justification for the marginalisation of local government has always been reducing “postcode lotteries” between more and less wealthy parts of the country. But after decades of centralisation – interrupted only recently by a spurt of uncoordinated decentralisation to city-regions – the UK has become the most regionally unequal country in Europe, measured by output (gross value added). Austerity has only added to these problems. Local government has had its central funding cut by almost 50 per cent since 2010. Local authority spending fell by almost 20 per cent in real terms in this period. The partial devolution of business rates has helped some councils to fill the gap but … [Read more...] about Why we must empower local government
In 2016 Boris Johnson and Michael Gove narrowly won the referendum on EU membership. But it turned out they had no idea how to turn their victory into a concrete policy. They had dismissed every potential difficulty as just more “Project Fear”, and it became clear they were not just doing this just because it was effective rhetoric: they had not thought through any of the major problems that implementing Brexit would create. They looked rather shocked when they won, realising that these problems they had airily dismissed would now have to be resolved. Cameron resigned, and the Conservative Party needed to choose a new prime minister whose main preoccupation would be negotiating the terms of our exit. Their choice was Theresa May, who was known from her previous job as being non-collegiate, slow to adapt but obstinate in the views she held. These were almost the exact opposite of the qualities needed in any negotiation with a more powerful neighbour. Perhaps knowing this, … [Read more...] about Why are we governed by incompetents?
There have been widespread calls for the FAI Board and John Delaney to step down following their appearance in front of an Oireachtas Committee yesterday. Delaney said he could not answer any questions in relation to a €100k "bridging loan" he gave the Association in 2017 because of legal advice he had received. It was left to FAI President Donal Conway to address most of the questions from the Committee over a seven-hour session at Leinster House. Many questions directed at the FAI delegation went unanswered, with Sinn Fein TD Imelda Munster branding them "an absolute disgrace, a farce". The FAI have commissioned two investigations - by Mazars and Grant Thornton - into the €100k payment and corporate governance issues and Three Ireland, who have been the primary sponsor of the FAI since 2010 and in November 2015 signed a new deal up until 2020 that is worth €8.9million, said they expect all recommendations to be implemented. "As primary sponsor of the Irish … [Read more...] about Three Ireland and New Balance expect FAI to ‘implement recommendations on financial and corporate governance matters’
Glasgow Airport rail link ‘badly needed’, Scottish Government told BelfastTelegraph.co.uk Proposals to build a rail link between Glasgow Airport and Glasgow city centre must be progressed “as a matter of urgency”, according to opposition parties at Holyrood. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/glasgow-airport-rail-link-badly-needed-scottish-government-told-37737719.html https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/article37737717.ece/f8076/AUTOCROP/h342/bpanews_c6339323-8546-4598-971d-7d95a00e52c1_1 Email Proposals to build a rail link between Glasgow Airport and Glasgow city centre must be progressed “as a matter of urgency”, according to opposition parties at Holyrood. A plan to connect the airport to the city directly from Glasgow Central Station, also stopping at Paisley Gilmour Street station, was put forward as part of the £1.13bn Glasgow City Region deal agreed in 2014. The project has not yet started amid concerns over … [Read more...] about Glasgow Airport rail link ‘badly needed’, Scottish Government told