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Here's How ::: Ireland's Political, Social and Current Affairs Podcast

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Here's How is Ireland's political, social and current affairs phone-in podcast. You can air your views by recording a message on on our voicemail line, and presenter William Campbell will play the best calls in the show each week.

Contribute your views to the Here's How Podcast - dial +353 76 603 5060 and leave a message, or email your recording to podcast@HeresHow.ie. All views are welcome, and two- to three-minute with a single clearly-argued point are preferred.

Find full details and t… Continue Reading >>
Here's How is Ireland's political, social and current affairs phone-in podcast. You can air your views by recording a message on on our voicemail line, and presenter William Campbell will play the best calls in the show each week.

Contribute your views to the Here's How Podcast - dial +353 76 603 5060 and leave a message, or email your recording to podcast@HeresHow.ie. All views are welcome, and two- to three-minute with a single clearly-argued point are preferred.

Find full details and tips on how to leave a good message at www.HeresHow.ie/call << Show Less
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Here's How 140 – German Divisions Part II Jessica Berlin is a commentator at Deutsche Welle News, and she has worked for 15 years working with in security policy, transatlantic affairs, sustainable business and technology, and aid industry reform across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. She founded the Berlin-based strategy consultancy CoStruct, she holds an MSc in Political Economy of Emerging Markets from King's College London, and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University.






She responds to the call from many prominent Germans, including Professor Julian Nida-Rümelin from Tuesday's podcast, published in Die Zeit newspaper under the headline Ceasefire Now.
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Here's How 140 – German Divisions Part II Jessica Berlin is a commentator at Deutsche Welle News, and she has worked for 15 years working with in security policy, transatlantic affairs, sustainable business and technology, and aid industry reform across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. She founded the Berlin-based strategy consultancy CoStruct, she holds an MSc in Political Economy of Emerging Markets from King's College London, and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University.






She responds to the call from many prominent Germans, including Professor Julian Nida-Rümelin from Tuesday's podcast, published in Die Zeit newspaper under the headline Ceasefire Now.
Here's How 139 – German Divisions Part I Professor Julian Nida-Rümelin is is a Professor of Philosophy and Political Theory at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He was the State Minister for Culture of the Federal Republic of Germany under Gerhard Schröder.






Professor Nida-Rümelin, along with dozens of other prominent Germans signed a letter in Die Zeit, a leading German newspaper, about the Ukraine's war against the Russian invasion, under the headline Ceasefire Now. In the second part of this series we will hear an opposing point of view from the international relations expert Jessica Berlin, that will go up on Thursday.



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During the 1980s and 1990s, it cost up to 44 pence per minute to make a call from a landline in Ireland to a landline in Britain. I'm going to give you a minute to absorb just how huge that cost was, compared to today. 44 pence, that’s 56 cent in new money, 56 cent per minute.



At the time, you could have bought two ice-creams for that, that would cost you about €2 each now, so in terms of purchasing power, that 44 pence per minute could easily be translated into €4 per minute now, and Britain was the cheapest international destination to call, everywhere else was much more expensive.



In the early 1980s, British Telecom had been privatised, and competition was being brought in, first for businesses and then for home phones, and prices there were dropping sharply. The same was happening across the western world. In one 18-month period, Eircom, as it was, increased their prices three separate times in 18 months.



Think about just how crucifying those costs were for any business trying to export, not to mention to families of people who had emigrated, counting out the seconds that they could afford to talk to their loved ones.



It was nearly 20 years before Ireland to caught up and allowed competition. Eircom had their finger stuck in the dyke, but the floodwaters of competition were lapping ever closer.



At some point, one enterprising business set up a service whereby people in Ireland could dial a Newry number, relatively cheap to call, but across the border and outside the control of Eircom, and then dial in an account number, a password and an international number into an automated system and call internationally much cheaper.



Eircom responded to this glimmer of competition by reprogramming their entire network to block calls to this Newry number, and started a game of cat-and-mouse whereby the service tried to switch to new access numbers faster than Eircom could block them.



If any private business behaved like this now, they would be lucky to avoid the worst of publicity on Twitter and Liveline, and could well be prosecuted under the Competition Act. And now, calling landlines in Britain or most of the rest of the world is functionally free.



I was reminded of this when I heard the kerfuffle about AIB’s plans, hastily scrapped, to make 70 of their branches cash-free. You could go in and get a mortgage, apply for a loan or whatever but not withdraw or deposit actual notes or coins.



AIB, in case you have forgotten,
Here's How 138 – Market signals Seán Keyes is the finance correspondent for the Currency, a subscription news website.






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I spoke to a Sinn Féin supporter in the years after the Good Friday Belfast agreement, I think it was during one of the interminable negotiations trying to get DUP to participate and have the institutions up and running, and she said one thing about the peace deal that I thought was perceptive, if not very diplomatic.



She said “The Unionists are too thick to realise that they’ve won, and the Shinners are too cute to admit that they lost.”



Mindsets may not have changed for some at least, but I think that calculation may have changed in the years since. First off, there’s peace. In that sense alone, everybody won; that can’t be underestimated. But secondly, the Unionists may have won the war, if you want to call it that, but the nationalists may yet win the peace.



Personally, I don’t think that we will have a border poll in the next couple of years, politics just isn't aligned for that, even if you have Sinn Féin in power on both sides of the border, which is an open question in itself. But I think it’s certain we’ll have a border poll in the next couple of decades, the pattern of political and demographic movement in the north just makes that inevitable.



The one outside factor, underestimated in my view, that could impact this in an unpredictable way is Scottish independence. The SNP have announced their intention to have a referendum in October next year, along with a sophisticated legal strategy to defeat the London Conservative government’s determination to prevent it. That’s almost a no-lose strategy. If the Tories don’t fold immediately, they just demonstrate every more clearly the case for independence.



If you are against independence, you might point to the opinion polls that show support for independence marginally behind, 49 to 51, much less than the margin for error, but still behind. If you were for independence, you might point out that during the last referendum campaign, in 2014, that’s when support for independence really took off, going from 25 per cent to 45 per cent, making the current 49 per cent a good starting position. If you’re against, you could say that well might be dry now, with opinion polarised. And if you’re for, you could say… Boris Johnson.



If Scottish independence comes off, and that’s a very big if, that would effectively leave northern Unionists with nothing to be united with; Scottish independence would most likely have a bigger impact on the lives of people in Derry and Dublin that it would on the lives of people in Dover and Derby.



But that is a very big if, and we should be aware of it, but we can’t sit around waiting for it to happen. Possibly a more important thing to pay attention to is the mess over Roe v Wade being overturned in the US. If you haven't kept up, Roe v Wade was a constitutional ruling from the US Supreme Court 50 years ago. Prior to that, abortion was legal in only a few states; the Roe v Wade decision set aside all those laws at the stroke of a pen and said that abortion was protected by the constitutional right to privacy, making it entirely legal in all 50 states, regardless of state law.



Last month, the now conservative-dominated court said no it isn’t protected, so all those old laws that haven't been repealed, and a bunch of new ones kick in, making abortion entirely illegal, or so restricted as to be impossible, in huge swathes of the US. That’s obviously the opposite direction of travel to what has happened in...
Episode 137 - Ellie O'Byrne Ellie O'Byrne is co-editor of Tripe and Drisheen, a Cork-based local news substack, and we discussed a recent article of hers.






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In talking to Ellie, I mentioned a tweet from Cllr Fiona Ryan of People Before Profit, who claimed that there are 25,000 'Airbnb vacancies' in Ireland. I used the website InsideAirbnb.com to show that these are mostly rooms in occupied houses or regular Bed & Breakfasts, or houses that are normally occupied by residents, and let on Airbnb when they are away.



Of those that remain - about 8,000 throughout the country, of which about 400 are in Dublin - they are concentrated in tourist areas and a number of them are purpose-built tourist accommodation, not suitable for residential use.




But as others have also pointed out, we have 25000+ Airbnb vacancies. What a functional housing market we have! https://t.co/st2cvV1kFs&mdash; Fiona Ryan (@CllrFionaRyan) May 16, 2022




It is clear that the number of units being used for Airbnb that have the capacity of being returned to the rental market is a tiny fraction of the number of vacant properties - 180,000 throughout the country, of which 50,000 are in Dublin (2016 Census), yet the Airbnb issue attracts a disproportionate amount of comment and political energy.



I referred to the Edward Bernays, a founder of the US PR industry, who persuaded 1920s feminists to smoke in public, labelling cigarettes as 'Torches of Freedom', while he was in the pay of the tobacco industry.



I also noted BP's highly successful campaign to frame climate change as the responsibility of 'each individual' by promoting the concept of 'carbon footprint', thus avoiding corporate responsibility.



BP also duped a number of stars including Sandra Bullock, Blake Lively, Lenny Kravitz, Harry Shearer, John Goodman, and the Democratic political consultant James Carville, into supporting a campaign to have the US taxpayer, rather than their corporate funds, pay for the cleanup after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In each of these cases, BP was successful at exploiting an apparently environmentalist message to suit their corporate interests.



I discussed with Ellie the twitter account BanShortTermLet and how it seemed to promote housing justice, but was in fact disrupting any rational discussion of housing needs,
Featuring Mooney on Politics Derek Mooney presents Mooney on Politics. Give it a listen.
Here's How 136 – Pravda or Samizdat Frank Armstrong is the editor of the magazine called Cassandra Voices.






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I got a lot of the ideas for this discussion from an article by Yuriy Gorodnichenko on Berkeley Blog.
Here's How 135 – Anti-nuclear Fallout Reinhard Bütikofer is the senior member of German Green Party delegation to the European Parliament.



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Here's How 134 – Inside Russia Sarah Hurst is a journalist who has been reporting on Russia for thirty years - her interview starts at 15:00.







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Sharon Keogan is an independent member of Seanad Éireann, she’s one of those independent politicians who discovered her deeply-held belief in independent politics, just after she discovered that she had failed to get a nomination to run as a Fianna Fáil candidate, despite being on that party’s national executive.



She’s made a career of gaining publicity off the back of baiting public outrage with ludicrous statements targeting vulnerable members of society, such as when she said that disabled children should be microchipped. She’s cute enough to couch her trolling in terms of concern, while dog-whistling to the lowest instincts in society.



She hit the news again recently when she was criticised for saying to witnesses before the Joint Committee on International Surrogacy – a married gay couple who had adopted a child via surrogacy – that surrogacy was "harmful, exploitative and unethical" and "not in the best interest of the child". She went on, "I don't believe it is everyone's right to have a child. It is a privilege to give birth."



The Committee chair, Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion suspended the meeting after Senator Lynn Ruane complained that a personal attack on witnesses was not appropriate, and asked for an apology, which Keogan refused.



Keogan later resigned from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, in an email with the subject line “Unsafe Working Environment/ Resignation”, she wrote “I no longer feel safe or protected as a member of the committee and have made this difficult decision as a result of that.”



I don’t want to talk about surrogacy here, I more want to talk about Keogan’s excuse, particularly this guff about being safe or protected as a member of the committee – she is clearly trying to draw a link between perfectly valid criticism of her – and her not being safe. And let’s be clear here, Senator Keogan is not behind the door when it comes to dishing it out, the incident started when she made a personalised attack, not on a political opponent, but on witnesses who came to a private committee meeting to tell their personal story. A political opponent criticised her for doing that, and she resigned in a huff saying that she wasn’t safe because of that criticism. Leinster House is not exactly the place you go if you want to avoid hearing nonsense on stilts, but even by those standards, the notion that she might be in physical danger in literally the most secure building in the country is really a special kind of stupid.



Except she didn’t quite say that, she left herself a little escape hatch. She said that she didn’t feel safe, leaving open the possibility that she actually was safe, but was just wrong about her feelings. This is a cheap and nasty trick,
Here's How 133 – Broken Homes Michael Doherty is the PRO of the Mica Action Group.



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I was talking to Billy Kelleher in the last podcast about Ukraine, and the west’s reaction, and in particular the attitude of MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace.







Naomi O’Leary started and epic Twitter discussion over Easter about the contrasting attitude of Wallace and Daly to authoritarian regimes and to the west. My attitude to this is pretty simple, it’s that two separate things can be true at the same time. It can be true that the west is responsible for gross human rights abuses, resource extraction, environmental destruction in other parts of the world, it can be possible to condemn that, while still acknowledging that there are totalitarian regimes in different parts of the world that are worthy of being condemned, and that are, in fact, much, much worse. Saying that they are worse doesn’t undermine condemnations of actions by western governments that are bad, just not on the whole as bad. And condemning the abuses by western governments doesn’t undermine criticism of authoritarian governments elsewhere.







Any attempt to calculate a hierarchy of inhumanity leads straight to nonsense.



But what I'm concerned about today, and what cropped up on many of the negative replies to Naomi O’Leary’s article on Twitter was a cohort of people who seem to think that they had some special insight into Vladimir Putin’s inner thoughts, that they were in some way his councillor or therapist, that they could peer into his psyche, and know what really was going on in his poor, troubled soul.



And with this special insight that they magically have, they can tell us what Ukraine could have done that would have avoided the war, or what the west could do now that would end the conflict. If only the west would dot dot dot; if only Ukraine had dot dot dot … a striking number of these comments came from Twitter accounts that had a fake, or no profile picture, no discernible name in the bio or Twitter handle, and a vast amount of Twitter activity for a very new account. These are fairly obviously coming from bot farms, located who-knows-where, and have very recently switched their obsession from sending dozens of tweets per day pushing a hard-line antivax, anti-mask positions to being instant experts on foreign policy, and the motivations of Vladimir Putin in particular.



But this line also comes from what seem to be genuine accounts and genuine people. These are people who, for whatever reason, believe that however bad Putin is, the best way to prevent him from doing harm is to give him what he wants. There is a whole argument about whether that is true – are we in a Chamberlin letting Hitler dismember Czechoslovakia in a vain hope of avoiding war situation, or are we in a Cuba missile crisis situation, where statecraft can avoid a war that is possible but not certain. I'm not going to get into it here.



I'm more interested in what Putin actually wants. Daly and Wallace, just days before the invasion in February said that the massive build-up of Russian troops and military hardware on the border with Ukraine was ‘clearly defensive’.
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