The Overton Window is a widely held political theory described by Joseph P. Overton, former Vice President of the Mackinac Centre for Public Policy which holds that in any given time and for any given topic there exists a narrow window of politically acceptable policies.

It is worth noting that such policies do not become acceptable because of deeply held beliefs by the politicians themselves. Instead, those policies deemed to be acceptable are those which a politician can safely discuss in public without damaging his/her prospects of re-election. Shifting the window then to include policies outside of the window is reliant on public engagement with ideas that lie on the periphery.

After Alan Kelly’s unveiling of the government Housing Strategy, it would appear that the campaign for the next general election is in full swing and re-invigorating Labour’s fortunes is foremost in his thoughts. Read More

  1. 1.
    a person who provides professional advice or expertise.
    a surrogate tit.

John Tierney is somehow waving, not drowning in Irish Water.

Criticism following the revelations that Irish Water – the semi-state body set up to provide and develop water services throughout Ireland – have spent fifty million euro on consultancy fees alone in the utility’s first twelve months, and ten years before it is due to assume full responsibility for delivery of services, begs an interesting question. 

Has our culture of consultancy replaced the Irish Mammy for good?

In a country noted for eschewing personal responsibility at all costs, Irish men have traditionally been reluctant to extricate themselves from the comfort of the maternal bosom. Cutting themselves free from Mammy’s apron strings was never going to be an easy transition but it appears that as the once ubiquitous overbearing Irish Mammy retreats from public life, save for good old Mrs. Brown and a collection of witty books preserving her wisdom for future generations, a ready surrogate has already been found as chief executives, ministers, and senior management figures alike suckle at the consultant’s willing nipple. Read More

Artist: Dipayan Ghosh

Comment: Charles Saatchi’s brutish bullying must bring the necessary public response to what is all too often considered a ‘private’ matter. 

The latest report into domestic violence from the World Health Organisation (WHO) makes for grim reading. In the most wide reaching study of it’s kind, in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council, it is reported that 1 in 3 women are victims of sexual or physical violence, and that assault at the hands of an intimate partner or ex-partner are by far the most common.

It is not clear if Nick Clegg considers these findings to be ‘fleeting‘ or not but Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO has correctly described the findings as revealing ‘a global health problem of epidemic problems’.  Read More

Robert Burns wrote ‘The Twa Dogs’ in 1785 and in line with much of Burns’ later works, is a social satire on inequality, class and the nature of happiness. The full text of Burns’ work can be found here. The tale became a firm favourite among radical poets, especially in Ulster where it inspired Samuel Thomson’s  ‘To Allan, Damon, Sylvander and Edwin, an Eclogue’ (1799).

This page aims to grant the reader a knee high view of politics.

Luas: So Kaiser, you being the smartest of all the dogs, what’s this permissionary note the owners are getting so excited about?

Kaiser: The promissory note?

Luas: Right. ‘The Man’ calls it the permissionary note ‘cos he says he now has to ask some woman in Germany for permission to go for a piss. Read More


dublin (Photo credit: François F.)

Comment: Our present incumbents within the chambers of power have done much to protect the ‘haves’ while denigrating the ‘have-nots’. Listening occasionally however, might afford them the insight they are seemingly so incapable of.

Without saying too much about my place of employ or the nature of my work, when I am not espousing less than universal truths through this blog, I work within the homeless services sector in a facility that houses some eighty gentlemen presently experiencing ‘rooflessness‘.

The problems faced by these individuals are myriad in scope and the reasons for their predicament are similarly manifold, encompassing addiction, substance abuse, marriage/familial breakdown, mental illness, bereavement, criminality, sexual abuse and increasingly, redundancy, debt and financial fragility. The juxtaposition of so many men, and such a multitudinous array of issues invariably leads to confrontation and manipulation. As one might expect, money – both lending and owing – is an all too frequent catalyst for these incidents. A recent conversation about economics however with a group of these unheard voices I felt was worthy of mention on here, given that it summarised our current plight with a cogency our leaders[sic] might only dream of. Read More

Government’s conscious effort to present public with positive spin on crisis amounts to nothing short of political persiflage and cowardice. 

Michael Noonan, in his Budget 2013 speech to the Dáil declared sagely that, the ‘Irish financial crisis could be summarised in one word – debt’.

I am comforted by the Minister’s pecuniary perspicacity and I am quite sure that the special advisors who afford him such insight are worthy of their six figure salaries, however I have to admit to some misgivings. Given the Minister’s obvious economic acumen, I was surprised that in his speech to the Dáil he failed to mention once in the forty minutes he spoke for, the promissory note that still holds a gun to the nation’s head.

My analogy of a gun being held to the head of the nation is flawed of course, until I add that the gun being held to our heads, is in our own hands. This presents a far more accurate analogy. The insanity of the Anglo Promissory note, and the government’s continued blind obligation to paying it surely merited mention in a budget in which the finance minister had just highlighted debt as being the sole reason for the present penury we find ourselves in. Read More

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