Hello and welcome to my first blog post! Thanks for dropping by! I hope you enjoy my musings on politics and the world at large!
Here we go with post number one!
Last weekend I arrived back from a wonderful 45 hours in sunny Dublin. I say that with not a murmuring of irony as it was actually a trip full of sunshine, a rarity in the Emerald Isle I’m told!
I’ve always been curious about Ireland and having finally ventured the short distance across the Irish Sea, I was not disappointed. Dublin is a modern, thrusting and cosmopolitan European city. On the way into Dublin city centre I got trapped in a rare but pretty awful traffic jam. The time was not a waste however, as with little coaxing I might add, the driver and I discussed politics. He pointed out that an election is due next Spring and a budget this autumn. All sorts of juicy pre election giveaways are up for grabs and this explained the traffic as a new tramway is being constructed, necessitating the digging up of various streets.
To cut a long story short he stated that a plethora of parties are due to compete and it’s anybody’s guess as to who will come out on top. He did make a rather rash prediction I thought, and that is that the current PM, or Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, will not be returned. An interesting prediction I thought, given that Ireland, according to Eurostat, has the fastest Eurozone GDP growth rate at a hare’s pace of 1.4%. Ok, not exactly Chinese style growth but not bad considering Ireland’s inglorious position 5 years ago. Still he predicted the nationalist Sinn Fein will end up with a sizeable chunk of seats but like every good political puzzle it ain’t so simple, cause nobody wants to touch Sinn Fein with a barge pole! My money is still on Mr Kenny and he has certainly been a star pupil amongst Angela Merkel, the seemingly omnipotent Chancellor of Germany, and the Eurocrats at the Commission in Brussels and the ECB in Frankfurt. However, this is politics, and like his fellow conservative and Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, (who also faces tricky elections this year) that is no insulation from the whims of an increasingly battered but still resilient electorate.
Next year also marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, which heralded the beginning of the end for British colonial rule, and the liberation of Ireland. That’s something to celebrate I think. My hotel was adjacent to the General Post Office, the site of much resistance fighting during this period in 1916, the columns outside are still pockmarked with bullet holes, but this famous site was not what I wanted to draw your attention to. Up the road, just in front of the literati haunt that is the Dublin Writers Museum, is the Garden of Remembrance. A beautifully tranquil spot, far removed from the noise of traffic, where one can sit and contemplate this tragic period in Irish history. It is still undergoing some renovation work but should be ready for the centenary in 2016 but even now amongst the hustle and bustle of fair Dublin it is a gem and well worth a visit should you find yourself in town.
I will now draw a rather hasty veil over this particular entry about Ireland and leave you dear reader, as I think this is rapidly becoming an essay( those who know me will not be surprised) but I’m gonna quit will I’m still ahead I think! Next topic might be Spain and the predicament of Senor Rajoy! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy lives to read this (I’m afraid you can’t get this part of your life back now!) and until the next time if you are brave enough!