Posted on 16th October 2021

Slane Castle

There is a dangerous state of mind that has got hold of the nation and that is complacency.  It sneaks up on us and we are seduced into dropping our guards.  Remember Covid is still a killer and it seeks out the vulnerable.  The avoidable vulnerable are the unvaccinated.  If you haven’t had the jab, get one.  By not doing so, you are being selfish because if you do get Covid you could infect others.  I am involved in both Hospitality and Entertainment, but I’m firmly of the view that for the moment admission indoors should be restricted to vaccine certificate holders.  As for the rest of us, we all need to sharpen up our act and that includes mask wearing and social distancing.  We have made such progress in the battle against the virus it would be a crying shame to see it slip away.  Whilst I am on the subject of jabs, don’t forget that other potential killer, flu.  I’ve had my flu jab as have many people I know.  If you can get it, have it.

Well how about the Late Late Budget, a bit for everyone in the audience.  With so much leaked beforehand, it ended up landing as something of a damp squib.  What does disappoint me is, considering the extremely robust stream of revenue from corporate tax, that the government haven’t been more adventurous or imaginative.  Perhaps with a 3-party coalition it would just be impossible to get a radical policy through but as housing is the biggest structural problem facing the nation it is a shame not to use this opportunity to ramp up the building of public housing.  Fianna Fail should look at its roots and provide the radical leadership that would be required for an initiative of this kind.  It would be transformative and maybe stop Sinn Fein in its tracks.

Now to the North and that damn Protocol.  I do wish Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP would appreciate the unique advantage that the North has by being able to trade with the EU and the rest of the UK. I did have considerable sympathy for Northern Ireland businesses that had to deal with the somewhat onerous rules inflicted on goods travelling to and from mainland UK.  The nonsense over chilled meats and sausages was unhelpful.  Keeping consumers happy is important, particularly in the run-in to Christmas., Well done to the EU for showing flexibility and stretching the rules to try and find a solution to a challenging problem.  The difficulty is with the European Court acting as the final arbiter over trade disputes.  The Brits see this quite naturally as a constitutional issue but they did sign up to the arrangement in the first place.  I have held the view from the beginning that Boris saw Brexit and a Commons majority as the big prizes and if there were some contradictions over  Northern Ireland, we’ll deal with them later.  Now there is no point in hurling abuse and saying you can’t trust them, even if you feel that way.  They are our nearest neighbours and an important trading partner.  I’m not sure what the answer is but at least Lord Frost and the Commission are talking.

Finally I see the Rolling Stones are knocking Brown Sugar off their set-list.  Pity, because I loved that song.

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