Saturday, October 25, 2008


Grey Matters

I was on Q102 radio on Monday afternoon to talk about price differentials between Ireland and England. In advance, I did a bit of research over last weekend. Here are some comparisons.

Big Mac: £2.09 in London compared to €3.70 in Ashbourne - 50% higher when you take account of the exchange rate.

Sub of the Day: £1.99 in London compared to €2.99 in Ashbourne - 20% higher wen you take account of the exchange rate.

Other stores were also a lot higher: some goods I checked in Tesco were 20% cheaper in London, taking account of the exchange rate and some stores like New Look and Argos were also charging 20% more than in the UK.

Rip-off Pricing in Ireland
£25 in Islington but €40 in Ashbourne - 60% higher!

Why is this? Transport costs? Cost of Wages? Is it just profiteering? I can't be sure about that, but it's clear that they have a case to answer!

On Wednesday outside Leinster House I experienced what was one of the strangest sights I have seen. Tens of thousands of our elderly took to the streets to defend their hard-earned rights.

I went out to join them. I could hardly move through the crowds, they were so big. It was actually a bit frightening, and I know from talking to people that some of the elderly marchers people were beginning to feel a bit crushed, particularly in the centre of the crowd.

Is this government so short of brains that they failed to see the furore that they were going to cause by withdrawing universality for medical cards? You would have to wonder. Last week saw scenes on our streets not experienced since the foundation of the state.

What's more, some of the government seem to think that we were orchestrating pensioners to come up to Dublin and protest, a point I tried to debunk during the Order of Business in the Seanad on Wednesday. These people are the salt and earth of Ireland, not some cabal of Trots that have been hiding in the woodlands of Tipperary, waiting for the right time to start the revolution.

Pensioners 2
"After 60 years of planning for global revolution, the Borrisokane branch of the Lev Davidovich Trotsky Party sensed their time was coming" -----NOT!

The continued presence of The Greens in government is surprising, given that they seem to be getting so little of their agenda onto the statue books, something I took up with the Leader in the Seanad on Thursday.

Pensioner 1
This man seems to know where to put the blame

Next week sees the turn of the teachers to come up to Dublin. My phone has been hopping on the subject for the last few days. I would have little doubt but that the crowd will be huge. The Labour Party has a motion down on the Order of Business seeking to reverse the cuts in education. The question now is whether the government is forced into another u-turn - losing whatever is left of their shattered credibility in the process.

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