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« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2007, 10:38:24 am »
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I think the aim of producing a potential workforce is a legitimate one. It's quite simply necessary for our economy to function. Literacy and numeracy rates are very high. Over half of our young people now go on to third level education. Advancement through the education system is now reasonably meritocratic. I think these are all positives.

I never said they weren't positive; just that we should aspire to more than that. It depends on whether we wish to see ourselves more as a society driven by ideals or purely by economic concerns; all goverments over the past 150 years or so have chosen the latter.

2 questions:
Who decides what those ideals should be?
What would you like those ideals to be?

Though personality from experience I think it's waste of time to have about half of the student population in education after the age of 14 (to pick a rough estimate).. and if we keep the current situation as it is I don't think employers will complain too much on missing out learning Intregal Calculus or Bismarck's Foreign Policy.

Presumably though those students who would leave at age 14 would (hopefully) enter the workforce. They are likely to find themselves in unskilled employment prone and subject to economic insecurity. Under the current system (whatever the value of the 'education' they are receiving) their future economic prospects increase with every year in the system they complete.

But I don't think have such an industrial like system of Education is good for Children or inevitably for Society as a whole. Also those Literacy and Numeracy statistics you state are very relative; how do you define those terms? (I not saying that Ireland has a bad standard here or anything; but statistics in this tend to vary alot on criteria.)

Certainly the literacy and numeracy stats are relative. I could try and look up the stats and how they're calculated - my assertion is based simply on my own observations in this regard. For want of anything better though, I would suggest that anyone who can pass the Ordinary Level Junior Cert papers in English and Maths easily clear the bar as far as literacy and numeracy are concerned. The vast majority surpass this (completely arbitrary and on the spot) standard.

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I don't think that it's the education system which is responsible for the rise of consumer culture or conspicuous consumption.

Not Directly. But in a much more subtle indirect way I would so say.

Let me put this way, each class in a school has a structure and that structure is pretty unchanged from the age of 4 to 18 in the Irish system. That structure is there is a teacher who is the centre of the class who is supposed to be font of the required curriculum (more on that later..) and then there are the children who rarely speak and "recieve" knowledge from the teacher, who generally rewards them somehow if they do well and absconds them if they don't. Now as this is seen as the "natural" way of teaching it may not be seen as a big deal, but there are assumptions in this method here which are very important to point out and it is this that is most often imparted in school as opposed to the "official" curriculum (Most Children forget roughly 80% iirc of all the content they learn in a class once it's over. But here I refer to is the "Hidden Curriculum" - what is learnt without even being recognized; the sort of training you get sitting in a similiar position for 14 years straight.)

1) Authority Figures, like Parents (Here Teachers) are genuinely seen to be the holders of knowledge, knowledge and education is what the teacher gives you.

Surely though parents and teaches are, in fact, holders of knowledge and they do impart impart knowledge to their students?


2) In schools there are textbooks which give out this knowledge; which creates a division between the learning in "School" and "non-school" learning. Textbooks are useless when learning things outside of the school enviorment

Books contain information/ideas; different books are useful in different contexts. I don't really understand the point being made here either.

3) All Questions have "right" and "wrong" answers which are not to be doubted as they held by the authority figure to be truth; accepting the "right" answer (regardless of whether it is 2+2=4 or to be more nebelous, a good story.) without question is the name of the game. ("The first thing you learn in school is to learn how to lie - HL Mencken) Those who are wrong; perhaps because they are just not interested in the subject or just don't have academic ability in it are often punished - a system where praise (and thus Status; especially towards ones parents who love to have straight A grade child) and derision is often given out by how much you accept what the teacher says. So it's no surprise that the least gifted (or for that matter, the most gifted) get alienated from the system.

Well, I don't think the system instills the idea that there are only right or wrong answers, anymore - though certainly in many cases it is perfectly clear cut that answers are right or wrong (most clearly in maths, for example). Depends on the individual subject and the teacher, the extent to which there is a willingness to accept as valid very different answers.

I don't necessarily disagree with the remainder of your statement here though.

4) Our civilisation, which is based on Questions, is not even taught in schools. It's an Authoritian system of knowledge driven mainly by an industrial set up. (Ever noticed how Schools and Offices are often alike? Or Schools and Prisons for that matter?)

How do you come to the conclusion that our civilisation is based on questions?

(And by the by, I'd acceot similarities between schools and offices - to an extent; but I feel that the school/prison analogy doesn't really hold up.)

Now of course here I'm really referring to the first years of Education which are formative of the rest of Ireland's formal system.

But add to this the Curriculum, We both know about the pointless endavour of Irish and the Cultural\Political reasons behind it. But let's look more closely at how each subject (and that's another thing - that division is totally arbirtary. Another thing you learn in School, History is History, Maths is Maths, English is English, Mechanacial engineering is Mechanacial
engineering. And never the twain shall meet. I'm a believer in the idea to have true understanding of anything you need to understand it's history. But this form of Education I'm referring to how has nothing to do with Understanding) is taught and what is taught.

- Maths: Actually I think in the Irish system the teaching of Maths is one of the better things about it as shows coginitive ability at abstract taught and unlike most another subjects can't really be bluffed at an exam. But here again comes into my point about the division of ideas; in Maths education we never shown why Calculus? The idea of learning is divorced from function; while I'm not a fan of the idea that education should be "relevant" in Mediaspeak (in other words, made fit into a way which suits students who cram for exams) I just think that this is yet another example of the idea the system alienates students; many of whom actually are interested in knowing stuff. Not to mention that Maths must be continued till age 18; against the interests of most students. Even from the functional POV this is mass Stupidity; if Children show no ability at Maths why keep them on after say 12 once numerical ability becomes obvious; will they repent once they hit Algebra and decide to become Engineers? Don't be silly.

Agree with a lot of this.
Essentially forcing students to stick with Maths to the Leaving is a fruitless endeavour. I'd be quite happy to see it become optional post-Junior Cert.

I also think the fact that Maths can't really be bluffed and does require some active problem solving skills that can't fully be by-passed by rote learning to be a good thing - though this is exactly the reason why (IMO) so many students fear Maths exams.
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« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2007, 10:39:05 am »
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- History: This is a particular issue of mine; let's take the Junior Cert History Syllabus I did back in 2003 - or to be more precise the exam itself (The paper is here: http://www.examinations.ie/archive/exampapers/2003/JC004ALP1EV.pdf) to keep things simple I gave I kept to the essay questions:

Example A: Write one of three following personal accounts:
- A lord or lady of a Medevil Castle.
- A farmer in Pre-Christian Ireland
- A named Religious reformer.

This is a form of biography; but in the end of Trivial biography. Actually that's 80% of Irish schools teach is trivia. When discussing Luther or Pre-Christian Ireland the textbooks usually went into fairly detailed (for 15 year olds) information about personal lives; but they failed to show why these things matterd; why they should be taught; what is their impact today In other words; it created a totally artifical division between history and the present. The fractured nature of the curriculum (inevitable in such a short space of time) makes this issue even worse. In other words, the majority of information students learn about history is school is mainly the gather of trivia; such as say the lives of Lords and ladies - purely an academic interest - without even the idea of context. I believe History matters too much to be divorced from the modern day world like it is in school (and I won't go into how school textbooks often try to justify Irish Nationalism.. it's not that their wrong per se; but rather that they are ideological at all. But then again I'm against textbooks)

Again, don't really disagree a great deal.

Though I would note that on the Leaving Cert History paper, the requirement of a research piece attempts to get around the simple fact regurgitation element to an extent, by requiring the student to actively pursue his own historical research on a subject of their own choosing.

I'd also suggest that writing a non-ideological book on history may well be an effort in futility - or would simply reduce history to a list of facts or figures. The best that might be achievable is to try and openly acknowledge the biases/ideologies at play.

Now I'm running out of space; and I want to watch the Rugby. And I've even explained my starting point. I told you I could bore for Ireland on this topic. If you to learn what I actually stand for and put the above in a much more coherent manner that there is Neil Postman's book Teaching as a subversive activity - 40 years old but still very, very relevant. And to be brief, here is what I am for: The Socratic Method

Ah, the Socratic method. I've had some experience with a newbie law lecturer (recently returned from the States, where I understand this method is widely used in law schools) who tried to operate a class in this manner. He had to give up very quickly, as of course nobody would answer his questions.

Not that I've got anything against the Socratic method itself - indeed I've been known to use it in everyday life and indeed on occasion in this forum - but I'm not sure how workable it would be. It depends upon the class being willing to volunteer effort and answers - and I suspect it would actually help the distinction between students the teacher approves of and disapproves of, much more than the current system.

South Africa won.. Yay!

Now you may be wondering, But Gully what does that have to do with Consumerism?.. Well.. Quite a bit.

The decisions we make as adults are conditioned by the events and surroundings of our childhood; of which School is clearly an important part (but how important is difficult to determine) and as I have shown imo the two most vital things one learns in school is 1) how to adapt to the social structure; a classroom is like an office, an industrial plant, etc in it's hierachial structure those that succeed are often those who play best to the system (not neccesarily the most intelligent; not even always the most book smart) and 2) the distinction between what is important and what is not is based on trivia (such as the lives of Lord and ladies of manors) and not in any way connected to the tangiable world outside.

Therefore this feeds into consumerism and alienation felt often by those of lesser class as well
; okay I don't think it's the main factor for the rise of consumerism or alienation but it does exist. Any system which rewards the ability to think inside the system is almost incestuous; outside ideas are dangerous.. and as schools don't teach the ability to question the world around the students or even engage in it in a serious way then it creates an enviorment of distance between "intellectualism" and "the real world"; which is seen to be highly desirable and whose status in which is often marked by material goods.

I don't see how the conclusion (highlighted in red) follows from the preceeding points (which I largely agree with).

Here I quote Postman twice, as he is more eloquent than me on this topic:

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In order to understand what kind of behaviors classrooms promote, one must become accustomed to observing what, in fact, students actually do in them. What students do in a classroom is what they learn (as Dewey would say), and what they learn to do is the classroom's message (as McLuhan would say). Now, what is it that students do in the classroom? Well, mostly they sit and listen to the teacher. Mostly, they are required to believe in authorities, or at least pretend to such belief when they take tests. Mostly they are required to remember. They are almost never required to make observations, formulate definitions, or perform any intellectual operations that go beyond repeating what someone else says is true. They are rarely encouraged to ask substantive questions, although they are permitted to ask about administrative and technical details. (How long should the paper be? Does spelling count? When is the assignment due?) It is practically unheard of for students to play any role in determining what problems are worth studying or what procedures of inquiry ought to be used. Examine the types of questions teachers ask in classrooms, and you will find that most of them are what might technically be called "convergent questions," but what might more simply be called "Guess what I am thinking " questions.

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In plain, what passes for a curriculum in today's schools is little else than a strategy of distraction... It is largely defined to keep students from knowing themselves and their environment in any realistic sense; which is to say, it does not allow inquiry into most of the critical problems that comprise the content of the world outside the school (...one of the main differences between the "advantaged" student and the "disadvantaged" is that the former has an economic stake in giving his attention to the curriculum while the latter does not. In other words, the only relevance of the curriculum for the "advantaged" student is that, if he does what he is told, there will be a tangible payoff.)

Largely agree with the first quote, disagree with the second.

I don't believe that the school curriculum was designed to misdirect students from some form of higher truth. In fact, I'd suggest that those forming it have the best of intentions (whether or not I agree with their decisions).
I also disagree that the suggestion that some students have an economic stake in the system and that others do not, purely on the basis of their economic status.
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« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2007, 10:39:35 am »
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Our levels of electoral turnout aren't bad. We have free and open elections at multiple levels and regular referenda to boot. We have the rule of law; solid Constitutional protections; and human rights legislation.

Sure, I'm not delighted with the current crop of politicans - but the people giveth and the people can taketh away. I don't think I can agree that our democracy is 'degraded'.

You are making the fatal (and very common) mistake of confusing elections with Democracy; Democracy is about debate and there is almost none of that in Ireland right now. The business of elections is dominated by Media machines and other Financial interests which often try and shy away from what is known as "The issues" and when "The issues" are confronted by any party it usually ends that all the parties nearly speak from the same hymn sheet.

Watch Questions & Answers much? Then you know what a joke "debate" in this democracy consists of. And if we don't have debate and discussion among the populace about where we are going and what is our function as a society and how it should be ordered than all we doing is handing power over to (an often morally bankrupt) Political class which wields power as is it's will. Which is what has happened all over the western world; and is growing more and more Authoritian. And whatever opposition there is tends to come from extremism (of both left and right) and from Waco-type conspiracists.

Actually, completely disagree.
There is a non-ceasing debate of political issues in a media very hungry to fill newspapers/webpages/radio and TV time. Everyone's voice can be heard on all of these platforms, again by a media eager to fill time/space with the opinions of anyone wiling to express them.

While debate is important, I would stand by the assertion that it is elections which are the fundamental. And as I've already stated, you, me or anyone else is free to project a message to the people for it to be judged.

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Is Irish culture dumb?

Anne Enright has just won the Man Booker Prize, just two years after John Banville. Not all that long ago Seamus Heaney won the Nobel for Literature. Of course, I would be writing for quite some time if I was to even just list highly rated Irish writers from times past and indeed present, be they poets, novelists, playrights, etc. We're not lacking in terms of filmmakers, musicians or comedians either. Beyond the arts, we have a strong sporting culture; our own language and our own 'take' on another.

I think as a nation we stand out and this is strongly helped by a strong sense of cultural identity.

You are again making another mistake; using high culture as a barometer. When I meant culture I refererred in general to what the average person does with his life outside of the parameters of work, etc - what does (s)he do, what is his\her reason to be and how is this shown in a mass context?. A book by Jordan outsold all the man Booker entries combined in the UK; should I don't think that Enright entirely defines what I am describing.

What I am describing though is mainly RTE and the tabloids and the aforementioned consumerism, and no I don't try to be some patrician who looks down upon the habits of the plebs as inferior to my own (actually that last bit of that second Postman quote is very relevant here.) and I would not consider myself the most "cultured" person myself; far from it. But there are certain cultures which are compitable with democracy and those that are not; Ireland's present values (or even historical ones; replace consumerism with "The Catholic Church") Imo are not compitable to the true idea of Democracy.

Ah, but then what is there inherently wrong with the culture the 'average man' engages with? Whether it be Jordan's book or whatever - surely one can't decide that one form of culture is more or less valid than any other? And if the man freely chooses Jordan over Enright, or vice versa, what does that have to do with our democracy?

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I do think that changes should be made to second level education in the country in a number of areas, but one stong point in favour of the points system is that it is a completely objective, impartial system. It's nice to know that it doesn't matter who you are in terms of your family background or class or where you're from or whatever - the CAO computer will treat everyone the same. But I'll certainly agree with you on the lack of definitive correlation between points and intelligence, something that I surprised time and again in college.

It's Meritocratic only in theory. Anyone whose ever been to a Rugby school on the Southside of Dublin can tell you this easily. Grind Schools, anyone? (Which I despise as they are the opposite of education; though I'm not complaining about how I got a B in leaving cert Classical studies thanks to attending one. Hey, if the system is there to be abused and you have the means..)

Anyway in terms of Class most of the real problems already begin once the baby is out of the womb; never mind schooling.

Disagree again. While it's certainly not perfectly meritocratic and money can certainly help, I still feel that there is a large meritocratic element to it.

Money doesn't buy you grades, but it can buy you the ability to force your child into a 'school' wherein they will be forced to engage with the material. This doesn't mean that the system still isn't meritocratic, whatever their motives (or maybe more properly the motives of their parents), they will still face the same paper on the same terms as the rest of us. And I can say plainly, that the rest of us are doing better and going further because of this system (and because of free university education) than ever before. Social mobility is more visible than ever.

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Secondly, I don't think many Leaving Cert exam setters would claim that their papers test 'intelligence', they test knowledge in a particular subject area. One's intelligence per se isn't officially tested, but then why should it?

It only tests the ability to regurgitate trivia. Which is sometimes mistaken for intelligence.

Ah, well then the problem is with those who (mistakenly) have that perception, not necessarily with the exam itself.
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« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2007, 11:15:06 am »
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God that take a long time to reply.. Before I begin I want to say one thing:

I hate the Sunday Independent. That is all.

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2 questions:
Who decides what those ideals should be?
What would you like those ideals to be?

Good Questions. Especially the first one; to which I say "us" (whoever we are), my attitude to state education is somewhat ambivilant. On the one hand it creates a near-monopoly of information that is transmitted to future generations; on the other hand it is a guarentee of at least certain standards (at least in theory) of literacy, numeracy, etc which kept. Ideally though schools should be run by parents who each have a collective decision in the running of the school; or at least by committed individuals. Though I admit that achieving this is near impossible in a modern day context.

As for what Ideals I would to see spread; that's simple: Democracy, Debate, an awareness of the world around them, a place where pupils are 'trained' not just in functions but in the art of being human (however you define it) - which is why I am not a fan of this distinction in the first place between "School" and "not School". Should I somehow (There will be a day) out there find a palatable woman to inseminate and have children I hope to home school them.

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Presumably though those students who would leave at age 14 would (hopefully) enter the workforce. They are likely to find themselves in unskilled employment prone and subject to economic insecurity. Under the current system (whatever the value of the 'education' they are receiving) their future economic prospects increase with every year in the system they complete.

No doubt utterly true; just I think I often finds that having late adolscents in schools who simply just don't want to be there just holds everyone back. I don't have a clue how to deal with this though (*NOT* segregrating classes in terms of "intelligence" though, whatever that is.)

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Certainly the literacy and numeracy stats are relative. I could try and look up the stats and how they're calculated - my assertion is based simply on my own observations in this regard. For want of anything better though, I would suggest that anyone who can pass the Ordinary Level Junior Cert papers in English and Maths easily clear the bar as far as literacy and numeracy are concerned. The vast majority surpass this (completely arbitrary and on the spot) standard.

I would agree with that being a very rough guide; but somewhat accurate. Though English in second level education is all about the art of bullshit. Which as you see, I am expert on. Wink

If we must have some sort of standard (and here it's probably a neccesary undesirable) then at least it should be applied by continous assessment and not the old fashioned "one big exam" method.

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Surely though parents and teaches are, in fact, holders of knowledge and they do impart impart knowledge to their students?

Yes sort of; perhaps I didn't make this clear enough. Children are meant to accept what the teacher says as undoubted truth; never learning how to question where that conclussion came from. Not to mention that most of these answers are rather superficial anyway (Why do nouns matter anyway? Grammar is just a function of expressing ideas; not an idea in itself. Though admittely the Irish system has shied away from Grammar recently.)

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Books contain information/ideas; different books are useful in different contexts. I don't really understand the point being made here either

See the above point about unquestioned leaders and where the answer comes from. Textbooks especially need to questioned. How much distortions are in an average school history textbook?

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Well, I don't think the system instills the idea that there are only right or wrong answers, anymore - though certainly in many cases it is perfectly clear cut that answers are right or wrong (most clearly in maths, for example). Depends on the individual subject and the teacher, the extent to which there is a willingness to accept as valid very different answers.

Perhaps not Right or wrong in a concrete sense but it still makes a distinction between "good" and "bad" answers and the role of role learning in all this. This is at it's at worst in Honours Irish where students just learn off essays (and pretty much do the same in English) except with varations for certain question wording, etc. Anyway, Getting back to Postman - "All answer should lead to another Question" and perhaps more pointedly "Children start school as Question marks and leave as full stops". Knowing that the Battle of Hastings happened in 1066 between the armies of William of Normandy and Harold Godwission is just trivia when not provided with sufficient context; the question that must asked is why? Why is event X important today; what does it mean for my life. That's the most important thing here; not achieving some abstract academic standard but achieving understanding on how to understand.

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How do you come to the conclusion that our civilisation is based on questions?

The Scientific method is based upon questioning; and that is the basis of our modern society (That is the technology discovered by said method.) and the same can be extended for the social sciences aswell - especially since the start of the last century. Which is about providing understanding and causes much more than the old victorian methods based upon bogus ideas like Evolutionism and the Great men theory. Which were clearly societal prejudices.

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(And by the by, I'd acceot similarities between schools and offices - to an extent; but I feel that the school/prison analogy doesn't really hold up.)

Slight Hyperbole. But one does learn to accept authority of sorts in schools.

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Though I would note that on the Leaving Cert History paper, the requirement of a research piece attempts to get around the simple fact regurgitation element to an extent, by requiring the student to actively pursue his own historical research on a subject of their own choosing.

I'd also suggest that writing a non-ideological book on history may well be an effort in futility - or would simply reduce history to a list of facts or figures. The best that might be achievable is to try and openly acknowledge the biases/ideologies at play.

I agree; though here I should point out as a member of the class of 2006 I was the first to pass the new history syllabus with it's research project to be completed as an outside assignment to be finished by easter. So Ha-Ha. Tongue

Strongly, Strongly agree on that last bit about ideology though. Though having an ideology should not remove ambiguity from the replace; a common pet habit among certain left-wing historians I can think of.

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Ah, the Socratic method. I've had some experience with a newbie law lecturer (recently returned from the States, where I understand this method is widely used in law schools) who tried to operate a class in this manner. He had to give up very quickly, as of course nobody would answer his questions.

Not that I've got anything against the Socratic method itself - indeed I've been known to use it in everyday life and indeed on occasion in this forum - but I'm not sure how workable it would be. It depends upon the class being willing to volunteer effort and answers - and I suspect it would actually help the distinction between students the teacher approves of and disapproves of, much more than the current system.

Anyone who has ever education in Ireland (and I imagine elsewhere) has seen the following scene: End of lecture\class, Lecturer\teachers says "Any Questions?", Silence for two minutes, Everybody leaves, afterwards you meet people who ask you questions which could have been answered earlier. I suspect this is a learned behaviour; not just in school but the way move people from a very early age live very passive lives (especially us; I mean I've spend nearly a month on this forum and I joined 11 months ago.) and can only be tackled in the early stages of education; A method of continous questioning ala the Socratic Method from a very early age would be a solution to defeating stage fright imo.

I'll continue my reply in due time..
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
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« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2007, 11:34:48 am »
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I don't see how the conclusion (highlighted in red) follows from the preceeding points (which I largely agree with).

Because:
1) School as it is trains you for the patterns of life you will gain as an adult
2) School as it is, is based around not questioning but accepting said ideas (and fitting it into examinations.)

Right now in Ireland the dominant way of thinking is Consumerism; especially in certain areas near where I live (Ever been to Dundrum? It's hell) while it used to be the Catholic Church. By accepting certain ideas as fact it doesn't prepare to pupils to challenge the accepted order of things around the world. Which is why the school system supports consumerism, at least in an indirect manner (not too dissimiliar to way even secular schools managed in a way to support the Catholic church during it's hegemony; The Church's apparent popular collapse though is quite an interesting case study on how attitudes change and why. But that would need a post all to it's self.)

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I don't believe that the school curriculum was designed to misdirect students from some form of higher truth. In fact, I'd suggest that those forming it have the best of intentions (whether or not I agree with their decisions).
I also disagree that the suggestion that some students have an economic stake in the system and that others do not, purely on the basis of their economic status.

Not from a higher truth as such as trying to make one pupil seek a higher truth - of course I don't expect that students at the age of 18 should be all knowing and ready to be the next Voltaire but a sufficient competence in questioning is what I ask for. Plus on the second half of that quote is still relevant on how pupils see themselves; the attitude of "I will be a burger flipper forever" (not too uncommon) is not exactly conjusive to a good education in the current system. Not too mention that among certain (especially working) classes it was traditional to value work above education (which in the long term was not hugely beneficial for their children, and retarded any attempt at social mobility.)

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Actually, completely disagree.
There is a non-ceasing debate of political issues in a media very hungry to fill newspapers/webpages/radio and TV time. Everyone's voice can be heard on all of these platforms, again by a media eager to fill time/space with the opinions of anyone wiling to express them.

While debate is important, I would stand by the assertion that it is elections which are the fundamental. And as I've already stated, you, me or anyone else is free to project a message to the people for it to be judged.

The existence of Debate and the standard of Debate are too very different things. Unless you've lived in a cave during the election campaign I don't think you would have been free of the good old "meaningless soundbite" (Indah I found was surprisingly good at them; if only he didn't remind people of a dodgy country lawyer with a strange accent (at least around here).) That's not debate.

The Sunday Independant - It's arguements are mostly irrelevant and if not, are fantastic constructors of "left"\"Right" Strawmen. The only paper worth a damn is the Irish Times. (Surprised?) Though I admit I need to read more of the Examiner before making a judgement.

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Ah, but then what is there inherently wrong with the culture the 'average man' engages with? Whether it be Jordan's book or whatever - surely one can't decide that one form of culture is more or less valid than any other? And if the man freely chooses Jordan over Enright, or vice versa, what does that have to do with our democracy?

Well I won't comment on Enright (whose book I haven't read but smacks me as the sort of fashionable literature which is based upon almost pornographic misery, read mainly by smug intellectuals but that's another matter.) or on Jordan; my point relates that in order for democracy - that is, work by the people - to work then there needs to be an active debate involving a vast majority of citizens in their country\county\town\vicinity and show that they have a stake in their own govermental destiny which goes beyond voting for some Seamus Brennan every five years. If Popular culture is filled with things not even remotely connected to people's lives then it can't serve as a functioning part of democracy. (So choosing between Enright and Jordan is not undemocratic either way; it's when such discourse dominates the media does it become an issue. Read Brave New World or 1984 much?)

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Disagree again. While it's certainly not perfectly meritocratic and money can certainly help, I still feel that there is a large meritocratic element to it.

Money doesn't buy you grades, but it can buy you the ability to force your child into a 'school' wherein they will be forced to engage with the material. This doesn't mean that the system still isn't meritocratic, whatever their motives (or maybe more properly the motives of their parents), they will still face the same paper on the same terms as the rest of us. And I can say plainly, that the rest of us are doing better and going further because of this system (and because of free university education) than ever before. Social mobility is more visible than ever.

I was merely pointing out that it's not purely meritocratic. Though you are right in some ways. It's actually quite funny how Social mobility is almost never mentioned as an issue around here. IMO it was the aspirational classes which re-elected Bertie Ahern.
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
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« Reply #55 on: October 21, 2007, 11:43:37 am »
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OK, well I agree with most of that, especially...

I hate the Sunday Independent.

You're not alone.
Otherwise, I've just got one (very) tangential question.

See the above point about unquestioned leaders and where the answer comes from. Textbooks especially need to questioned. How much distortions are in an average school history textbook?

Well, unless the book is covering matters of which I have personal experience, then it's very difficult for me to say that just about anything therein is a distortion unless the book directly contradicts itself; or, someone else (preferably many other people with some evidence) asserts that there is a distortion.
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« Reply #56 on: October 21, 2007, 11:49:28 am »
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Well, unless the book is covering matters of which I have personal experience, then it's very difficult for me to say that just about anything therein is a distortion unless the book directly contradicts itself; or, someone else (preferably many other people with some evidence) asserts that there is a distortion.

Which is why the Socratic method is desirable as with a certain number of people one is likely to note a distortion. Especially the teacher. Plus I don't to teach pupils certain facts per se as how to gain facts or how facts should be viewed. I think this is time for Postman again:

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If every college teacher taught his courses in the manner we have suggested, there would be no needs for a methods course. Every course would be a course in methods of learning and, therefore, in methods of teaching. For example, a "literature" course would be a course in the process of learning how to read. A history course would be a course in the process of learning how to do history. And so on. But this is the most farfetched possibility of all since college teachers, generally speaking, are more fixated on the Trivia game, than any group of teachers in the educational hierarchy. Thus we are left with the hope that, if methods courses could be redesigned to be model learning environments, the educational revolution might begin. In other words, it will begin as soon as there are enough young teachers who sufficiently despise the crippling environments they are employed to supervise to want to subvert them.

Though I must say I'm somewhat dissapointed by the shortness of your reply. Perhaps I want to be questioned in this manner; even the socratic method must go under the socratic method too. I though must leave with this comment.

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You're not alone.

Worst. Paper. Ever.

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« Reply #57 on: October 21, 2007, 12:05:29 pm »
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I don't see how the conclusion (highlighted in red) follows from the preceeding points (which I largely agree with).

Because:
1) School as it is trains you for the patterns of life you will gain as an adult
2) School as it is, is based around not questioning but accepting said ideas (and fitting it into examinations.)

Right now in Ireland the dominant way of thinking is Consumerism; especially in certain areas near where I live (Ever been to Dundrum? It's hell) while it used to be the Catholic Church. By accepting certain ideas as fact it doesn't prepare to pupils to challenge the accepted order of things around the world. Which is why the school system supports consumerism, at least in an indirect manner (not too dissimiliar to way even secular schools managed in a way to support the Catholic church during it's hegemony; The Church's apparent popular collapse though is quite an interesting case study on how attitudes change and why. But that would need a post all to it's self.)

Well, I would have thought that the fact that the hegemony has changed from Catholicism to Consumerism is evidence in itself against the theory that schools produce persons effectively indoctrinated into accepting the system as is; and indeed that it's not possible for those very same students may not change the system.


Plus on the second half of that quote is still relevant on how pupils see themselves; the attitude of "I will be a burger flipper forever" (not too uncommon) is not exactly conjusive to a good education in the current system. Not too mention that among certain (especially working) classes it was traditional to value work above education (which in the long term was not hugely beneficial for their children, and retarded any attempt at social mobility.)

Ah, but I don't accept that that attitude (resignation to dead-endedness) is pervasive, or at the very least is nowhere near as pervasive as it once was.

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Actually, completely disagree.
There is a non-ceasing debate of political issues in a media very hungry to fill newspapers/webpages/radio and TV time. Everyone's voice can be heard on all of these platforms, again by a media eager to fill time/space with the opinions of anyone wiling to express them.

While debate is important, I would stand by the assertion that it is elections which are the fundamental. And as I've already stated, you, me or anyone else is free to project a message to the people for it to be judged.

The existence of Debate and the standard of Debate are too very different things. Unless you've lived in a cave during the election campaign I don't think you would have been free of the good old "meaningless soundbite" (Indah I found was surprisingly good at them; if only he didn't remind people of a dodgy country lawyer with a strange accent (at least around here).) That's not debate.

The Sunday Independant - It's arguements are mostly irrelevant and if not, are fantastic constructors of "left"\"Right" Strawmen. The only paper worth a damn is the Irish Times. (Surprised?) Though I admit I need to read more of the Examiner before making a judgement.

Ah, but I would suggest people largely get the level or standard of debate they want to receive and the media would accommodate them. It's as easy to fill up newspaper with commentary on and debate regarding political issues as it is with footballing ones; or celebrity ones. The people, particularly through the newspaper market (but also through the TV market) choose the source of news they feel most comfortable with.

If the market suddenly shifted this week and The Irish Times circulation figures soared while The Irish Sun withered and we saw similar shifts in radio and TV, we'd quickly see the market saturated with debate of a different standard.

(Personally, The Irish Times is my paper of choice. I don't have much time for any of the rest.)

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Ah, but then what is there inherently wrong with the culture the 'average man' engages with? Whether it be Jordan's book or whatever - surely one can't decide that one form of culture is more or less valid than any other? And if the man freely chooses Jordan over Enright, or vice versa, what does that have to do with our democracy?

Well I won't comment on Enright (whose book I haven't read but smacks me as the sort of fashionable literature which is based upon almost pornographic misery, read mainly by smug intellectuals but that's another matter.) or on Jordan; my point relates that in order for democracy - that is, work by the people - to work then there needs to be an active debate involving a vast majority of citizens in their country\county\town\vicinity and show that they have a stake in their own govermental destiny which goes beyond voting for some Seamus Brennan every five years.

And what form should this debate take?

If Popular culture is filled with things not even remotely connected to people's lives then it can't serve as a functioning part of democracy.

But simply by the act of choosing to involve themselves with pop culture, it becomes connected to their lives. And if they freely choose to connect with this culture in whatever form, then what right does anyone have to object to it?

(So choosing between Enright and Jordan is not undemocratic either way; it's when such discourse dominates the media does it become an issue. Read Brave New World or 1984 much?)

Ah, but in 1984 the state determined the news. In the real world, the people/market determines what is news (as I've went through above).
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« Reply #58 on: October 21, 2007, 12:09:09 pm »
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Though I must say I'm somewhat dissapointed by the shortness of your reply. Perhaps I want to be questioned in this manner; even the socratic method must go under the socratic method too. I though must leave with this comment.

You can take it that anything I didn't reply to there I either agree with or only disagree on what are minor points.
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« Reply #59 on: October 21, 2007, 01:31:58 pm »
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Well, I would have thought that the fact that the hegemony has changed from Catholicism to Consumerism is evidence in itself against the theory that schools produce persons effectively indoctrinated into accepting the system as is; and indeed that it's not possible for those very same students may not change the system.

Ah, I left out that word "Hegemony" for a reason (and not being a Marxist is one of them). When I saw "dominant" I mean pervasive and common - of course in Ireland there are different levels of what can be considered Culture dependant on Race, Class, Location, etc. Consumerism is more dominant among certain groups (of course you will always find individual expections but in general..) than others. Often I find the media debate on it to be either a) Shrill (OMG WE R A HORRIBLE NATION, SHOPPING=NEW GOD!111 type crapola common among the "liberal" press) or b) Complacent and celebratory (The Tabloids and the Sunday Independant).. Eventually due to a varient of factors such as Economic Growth, exposure to new ideas from abroad, increased tourism, a more "liberal" viewpoint taken among the younger generation which eventually seeped into the media - the Catholic Church's power collapsed. (Arrange those causes in which ever order you think relevant; or add your own.)

Consumerism is though quite a different thing to the Church - for a start it has no obvious figurehead. One thing that is common throughout Irish History is that there is a tendency to blame the events or power brokers of the past for the problems of the present; usually for legitimate reasons but often completely overboard and never takes into account our own actions - For Example: Since Independance it was the British Empire, now it's the Church soon I imagine Neo-liberalism will be the scapegoat, as it's never our fault. My ideas do not imo indicate "brainwashing" or anything as obviously manipulative as that, rather I think School system breeds a sort of Intellectual laziness; which is at the heart of the problem of our society.

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Ah, but I don't accept that that attitude (resignation to dead-endedness) is pervasive, or at the very least is nowhere near as pervasive as it once was.

True. But it certainly exists. As we can see by the amount of people who seem to be relishing the upcoming recession. Twats.

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Ah, but I would suggest people largely get the level or standard of debate they want to receive and the media would accommodate them. It's as easy to fill up newspaper with commentary on and debate regarding political issues as it is with footballing ones; or celebrity ones. The people, particularly through the newspaper market (but also through the TV market) choose the source of news they feel most comfortable with.

If the market suddenly shifted this week and The Irish Times circulation figures soared while The Irish Sun withered and we saw similar shifts in radio and TV, we'd quickly see the market saturated with debate of a different standard

I agree; but why is the Market as it is? Unlike the Libertarians you can't see the Market as some sort of independent body free from Society. (see all my above points)

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And what form should this debate take?

Good Question; and may I say that this should be reached by a Democratic decision.

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But simply by the act of choosing to involve themselves with pop culture, it becomes connected to their lives. And if they freely choose to connect with this culture in whatever form, then what right does anyone have to object to it?

Well that might depend on how one define "lives". No I don't wish to sound like a snob who wishes the plebs would drop their silly bread and circuses. I'm more curious to why the bread and circuses are so popular in the first place.

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Ah, but in 1984 the state determined the news. In the real world, the people/market determines what is news (as I've went through above).

The idea I was mentioning was how the Media dominated discourse often to pursue agendas; in both books it was promoting one way of life which happened to be version of life put out by the state above "subversive" alternative ideas. If we just accept everything as it is, then it is an intellectual failure on our part. And I'm not just talking about tinkering with how the state governs things; which is what most of the debates on this forum are about in reality.

(Whatever you post next; I probably won't be able to reply to it for at least another week. But I look forward to it none the less.)
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« Reply #60 on: October 22, 2007, 10:13:24 am »
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Consumerism is though quite a different thing to the Church - for a start it has no obvious figurehead.

I'd argue that it does have figureheads - lots of them, just like the church has a whole series of 'figureheads' (priests, bishops, etc.), so does Consumerism (Hilton; Beckham; Moss; etc. etc.).

One thing that is common throughout Irish History is that there is a tendency to blame the events or power brokers of the past for the problems of the present; usually for legitimate reasons but often completely overboard and never takes into account our own actions

True, but it's almost a natural human reaction to avoid blame (see John Delaney). Nor as a nation are we alone when it comes to pointing elsewhere when a problem arises. (Not that this is the right thing to do, of course.)

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Ah, but I don't accept that that attitude (resignation to dead-endedness) is pervasive, or at the very least is nowhere near as pervasive as it once was.

True. But it certainly exists. As we can see by the amount of people who seem to be relishing the upcoming recession. Twats.

Careful now Gully, you're dangerously close to Bertie Ahern's line here. Wink

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Ah, but I would suggest people largely get the level or standard of debate they want to receive and the media would accommodate them. It's as easy to fill up newspaper with commentary on and debate regarding political issues as it is with footballing ones; or celebrity ones. The people, particularly through the newspaper market (but also through the TV market) choose the source of news they feel most comfortable with.

If the market suddenly shifted this week and The Irish Times circulation figures soared while The Irish Sun withered and we saw similar shifts in radio and TV, we'd quickly see the market saturated with debate of a different standard

I agree; but why is the Market as it is? Unlike the Libertarians you can't see the Market as some sort of independent body free from Society. (see all my above points)

It's unfortunately beyond my meagre talents to explain why the market is as it is - but this is one area where I think the market is very responsive, very quickly to the shifting demands of the public. While I agree that the various elements of the media have their own agendas which they will push - these agendas don't necessarily coalese and indeed often work against one another.

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And what form should this debate take?

Good Question; and may I say that this should be reached by a Democratic decision.

Ah, but given that currently you feel that society is dominated by 'intellectual laziness', is a Democratic decision (as you define it) even theoretically possible?

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But simply by the act of choosing to involve themselves with pop culture, it becomes connected to their lives. And if they freely choose to connect with this culture in whatever form, then what right does anyone have to object to it?

Well that might depend on how one define "lives". No I don't wish to sound like a snob who wishes the plebs would drop their silly bread and circuses. I'm more curious to why the bread and circuses are so popular in the first place.

That I can't explain. But then I'm not sure anyone adequately can. This might appear a silly question, but why do you want to find out the origins of their popularity?

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Ah, but in 1984 the state determined the news. In the real world, the people/market determines what is news (as I've went through above).

The idea I was mentioning was how the Media dominated discourse often to pursue agendas; in both books it was promoting one way of life which happened to be version of life put out by the state above "subversive" alternative ideas.

Again, I'd undelrine that the media, of course, is no monolith persuing a singular objective/agenda. The agendas of The Irish Times and the Irish Daily Star for example are more often than not counterpoints - throw in the Financial Times, Heat, Village, FHM and I dare anyone to come up with anything they all agree on, never mind push as an agenda. Similarly re: books and other media. Different messages all.

And what's more there is no obligation, or necessarily any implication that the audience of any particular media will agree or go along with the agenda they are presented with.

If we just accept everything as it is, then it is an intellectual failure on our part. And I'm not just talking about tinkering with how the state governs things; which is what most of the debates on this forum are about in reality.

Ah, but for someone like myself, I must say that speaking in terms of the big picture, I'm reasonably content with the broad approach to running to the country taken by Irish governments - a social democratic model (public provision of healthcare; education; transport; welfare safety net; etc), with good human right protections. Of course, when one considers the detail of governmental approach to the many issues of concern, then I find myself very often in disagreement with the way in which things are done. It is in effect tinkering with the way things are done (a lot of tinkering, but nonetheless...) is how I feel about most matters under government control.

(Whatever you post next; I probably won't be able to reply to it for at least another week. But I look forward to it none the less.)

Are you living in Maynooth these days so? - No access to the interwebs, or no doubt any electronics/black magic wizardry. (No doubt, of course, stuck in a dark room, scribe like, working through the great tomes in candlelight - ah, the good old days... Wink)
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« Reply #61 on: October 23, 2007, 08:54:13 am »
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New Constituency Commission report released!

Links to the report and maps are available from their website here. (Though at the moment, the report itself is refusing to open up.)



Dublin County:


Dublin City:


Comment when I've had a chance to examine it properly. The standout decision though from the maps is there solution to the Kerry-Limerick problem. General disregard for county boundaries.

Initial inspection seems to be that Louth and Dublin West gain a seat each; Dún Laoghaire and Limerick lose a seat each. IIRC, the contenders for the extra Louth seat are FG and the Greens; in Dublin West - Joe Higgins (Socialist) would be in a strong position to re-enter the Dáil. The loss of a seat in Dún Laoghaire is not good news for FG or the Greens; and the Limerick seat will hugely dent the chances of PD recovery there and threaten a FG or Lab seat.
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« Reply #62 on: October 23, 2007, 09:20:46 am »
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Some stats...
No change to seat total (166) or constituency total (43).

Number of 5-seaters: 11 (-1)
Number of 4-seaters: 15 (+2)
Number of 3-seaters: 17 (-1)

3 new breaches of county boundaries:
Kerry North-West Limerick
Louth (now includes chunk of Meath)
Tipperary North (now includes south Offaly)

Average Representation: 25,541 people/TD
Least Represented: Carlow-Kilkenny 26,749 (4.73% above average)
Most Represented: Cavan-Monaghan 24,000 (6.03% below average)
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« Reply #63 on: October 23, 2007, 09:23:35 am »
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Oh joy we get Foxrock added to our lot. I suspect that would favour FG as would the other areas added (though this is just educated guessing really.)

Can someone tell me what's going on in Meath West? (And why oh why do the Commuter belt seats remain as 3 seaters - that just benefits FF.)

I'll get back to the comments on education once I'm back at home (next Monday; I'm here in Maynooth now and then going down to Offaly at the weekend where there is no Internets. Yay!) and not trying to hurry at a computer which all the 3rd years wish to use. Though that candlelight idea sounds like fun

Btw, the constitution needs to be changed to make seats fit into electorates not population.
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« Reply #64 on: October 23, 2007, 09:43:30 am »
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I hope somebody decides to do the same in France soon, it's way overdue with our 1986 constituencies... and the subsequent growth of the 9-3 and etc.
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« Reply #65 on: October 23, 2007, 09:49:22 am »
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Oh joy we get Foxrock added to our lot. I suspect that would favour FG as would the other areas added (though this is just educated guessing really.)

Can someone tell me what's going on in Meath West? (And why oh why do the Commuter belt seats remain as 3 seaters - that just benefits FF.)

The maintenance of two three seaters in Meath and the lack of change in the north of Dublin City would seem to hurt Sinn Féin most.

Btw, the constitution needs to be changed to make seats fit into electorates not population.

OK, heres something I'm not prone to saying... but think of the children!
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« Reply #66 on: October 23, 2007, 02:07:52 pm »
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Oh joy we get Foxrock added to our lot. I suspect that would favour FG as would the other areas added (though this is just educated guessing really.)

Can someone tell me what's going on in Meath West? (And why oh why do the Commuter belt seats remain as 3 seaters - that just benefits FF.)

The maintenance of two three seaters in Meath and the lack of change in the north of Dublin City would seem to hurt Sinn Féin most.

Btw, the constitution needs to be changed to make seats fit into electorates not population.

OK, heres something I'm not prone to saying... but think of the children!

The issue here is really non-nationals (of course if they give the vote to non-nations then I wouldn't complain.)

You're right though about this really screwing SF in North Dublin and.. The socialist party; whose partizans (yes they are real!) are raging as Clare Daly's major base in Dublin North (Ie. Around the Airport area and South Swords) has been moved into Dublin West - Joe Higgins' hunting ground. So any chance of two seats is pretty much screwed. Funny, I never considered the Airport to be in West Dublin. Funny what you learn, eh?
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« Reply #67 on: October 24, 2007, 03:33:41 am »
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Oh joy we get Foxrock added to our lot. I suspect that would favour FG as would the other areas added (though this is just educated guessing really.)

Can someone tell me what's going on in Meath West? (And why oh why do the Commuter belt seats remain as 3 seaters - that just benefits FF.)

The maintenance of two three seaters in Meath and the lack of change in the north of Dublin City would seem to hurt Sinn Féin most.

Btw, the constitution needs to be changed to make seats fit into electorates not population.

OK, heres something I'm not prone to saying... but think of the children!

The issue here is really non-nationals (of course if they give the vote to non-nations then I wouldn't complain.)

I see. As I understand it, non-nationals can vote in the locals, EU citizens in the Europeans and Brits in the General.

You're right though about this really screwing SF in North Dublin and.. The socialist party; whose partizans (yes they are real!) are raging as Clare Daly's major base in Dublin North (Ie. Around the Airport area and South Swords) has been moved into Dublin West - Joe Higgins' hunting ground. So any chance of two seats is pretty much screwed. Funny, I never considered the Airport to be in West Dublin. Funny what you learn, eh?

Yep, Daly is a busted flush - she had her chances in the last 2 elections, but failed both times to live up to expectations (well, my expectations anyway).

And you're not the only one who doesn't consider the Airport to be in west Dublin - until yesterday, nobody else did either.
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« Reply #68 on: October 24, 2007, 04:57:23 am »
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Some more comments on the Dáil constituency changes...

Kerry South:
Now an effective 2 seater (Ceann Comhaire O'Donoghe being automatically elected, assuming he completes the full term). In which case living legend Jackie Healy-Rae (Ind-Kerry S) is done for. It's pretty much inconcievable that he could reach the new quota which will rise from 25% to 33%. I presume he'll retire rather than run again. He has natural successors, at least 2 of his sons are county councillors and one of them, Michael (I think) has groomed himself for the role - the challenge though will be too much.

Kerry North-West Limerick:
Niall Collins's (FF-Limerick West) natural territory, Abbeyfeale, becomes part of the expanded Kerry North having been extricated from Limerick. He faces a very tough decision as to where to try and chase a seat, here or Limerick County.

Louth:
Thomas Byrne (FF-Meath East) also faces a tough call. A large part of his natural base (and I think maybe his own home) has been moved into the new Louth constituency. Ther's now an extra Louth seat, but FF aren't best placed to take it, even with the new territory. Mairead McGuinnes MEP (FG-East) is best placed to take that.

Dublin North
Changes hurt Clare Daly (Socialist) and also Trevor Sargent (Green-Dublin N) - though unless there's a very significant anti-government or anti-Green backlash, Sargent should be fine.

Dublin South & Dún Laoighaire:
The N11 (main road from Dublin towards the Southeast) is the new dividing line between these 2 constituencies as land shifts from DL to Dublin South. A seat also disappears from DL. While FF aren't happy at this transfer, the most obvious casualty is likely to be Ciaran Cuffe (Green-DL).

The change also means that wannabe PD leader Senator Fiona O'Malley really doesn't stand a chance of winning a seat here. O'Malley would naturally look at the PD homeland of Limerick next, however it's exceedingly slim pickings there for her as well. It seems the Gods have conspired against her.

Dublin North Central:
Notably Finian McGrath (Ind-Dublin NC) welcomed the relatively minor changes here which involved the  movement of Edenmore estate into the constituency.

Leitrim:
The area over which the Constituency Commission recieved the most submissions was County Leitrim. The Save Leitrim campaign failed to get the county reunited in a single constituency though, much to their consternation.

It should be noted though that these constituency changes might never see an election. Though they will almost certainly pass into law without amendment, as is the norm, the next Census is due out before the next election and due to judgments handed down earlier this year, it's entirely possible that there will have to be a constituency re-draw before another election. Something the politicans will probably deem undesirable. It's been a while since a Dáil hasn't lasted a full term (the last 3 effectively have) and given the size and nature of the current government, there should be the stability there to last a full term, however the prospect of unknown boundary changes close to a general election might be enough to provoke a slightly earlier election than normal.
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« Reply #69 on: October 24, 2007, 05:19:50 am »
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Front page story in today's Irish Times:
Irish will need passports to visit Britain from 2009

The Common Travel Area which has existed between Britain and Ireland since independence (and I suppose long before it) is coming to an end. The British wish to set up an e-border system to track terror suspects; criminals; and illegal immigrants.

"The British e-border system is designed to operate by electronically collecting and analysing passenger information in advance of travel to or from the country. This procedure will result in an "alert" if the person travelling is on a watch-list."

"Free movement of people between Ireland and Britain has existed for hundreds of years and the Common Travel Area survived Irish independence in 1922 and the declaration of a Republic in 1949. Throughout the period since independence, even during the second World War and the IRA terrorist campaign, travel has been possible without any identity document between the two states."

The system won't apply to the land border with the North.
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« Reply #70 on: October 24, 2007, 01:59:50 pm »
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Gully, what's the collective noun for members of Sinn Fein? Obviously it's not "Sinners"...
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Tetro Kornbluth
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« Reply #71 on: October 24, 2007, 02:02:48 pm »
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Gully, what's the collective noun for members of Sinn Fein? Obviously it's not "Sinners"...

While I prefer "Terrorists" or even "Judean People Frontists" the correct name is actually "Shinners". (As it make it looks Irish, putting a h after the first letter in a word is common in certain gaelic constructions.)
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
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« Reply #72 on: October 24, 2007, 02:04:32 pm »
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Gully, what's the collective noun for members of Sinn Fein? Obviously it's not "Sinners"...

While I prefer "Terrorists" or even "Judean People Frontists" the correct name is actually "Shinners". (As it make it looks Irish, putting a h after the first letter in a word is common in certain gaelic constructions.)

Thank you.
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Јas
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« Reply #73 on: October 25, 2007, 03:08:35 am »
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Gully, what's the collective noun for members of Sinn Fein? Obviously it's not "Sinners"...

While I prefer "Terrorists" or even "Judean People Frontists" the correct name is actually "Shinners". (As it make it looks Irish, putting a h after the first letter in a word is common in certain gaelic constructions.)

Though commonly used, 'shinners' is pejorative.
There is no official or nuetral term that I'm aware of that applies.
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Funny 'cause it's true:
Very few people seriously allow facts to affect their opinions.

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« Reply #74 on: October 28, 2007, 05:49:50 am »
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New poll out today by RedC in the Sunday Business Post.
Below are the headline figures of the new poll plus the previous one a month ago and the General Election figures and the last RedC poll published prior to the election.

In the last month, the most significant news stories of political interest here have included the:
  • Controversial move to change the rules regarding learner drivers
  • The new electoral constituency recommendations
  • The never ending saga over the Aer Lingus/Shannon fiasco - including the government being reduced to a single vote majority in a vote on the issue
  • Potential split between the Greens and the Taoiseach emerged regarding the building of new incinerators to deal with waste
  • Economic reports indicate that we our growth rates are contracting quite quickly
  • A brutal murder in Co. Monaghan is blamed on members of the Provisional IRA by the family of the victim - which if proves to be true could seriously destabilise the Northern exectuive

And with all that, this poll tells us that nothing has really changed at all in the public's opinion of the parties.

23 May24 May23 Sept28 Oct
RedCElectionRedCRedC
Fianna Fáil3841.64039
Fine Gael2627.32727
Labour1110.11110
Green64.777
Sinn Féin96.968
PD32.732
Other76.667
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Funny 'cause it's true:
Very few people seriously allow facts to affect their opinions.

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