Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

And now for some good news...

by Frank Schnittger Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 03:01:38 PM EST

Covid-19 is still creating chaos on the island of Ireland with a third wave gathering momentum and the death rate in Northern Ireland particularly severe. Hospitals there are full to capacity and patients have had to be treated in ambulances as they queue outside hospitals.

Meanwhile the Republic, in common with some other European countries, has instituted a travel ban with the UK, as concern rises about an even more infectious strain of Covid-19 spreading in south east England. The land-bridge through Britain is closed with France no longer accepting goods traffic from Britain, so plans for increased direct sea routes from Ireland to mainland Europe have been fast-tracked.

In some ways the situation now is so severe that if a no-deal Brexit were to happen on January 1st. people would hardly notice. So where is the good news, I hear you ask?


Firstly, the EU has finally approved the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine which means that inoculation can begin as soon as the EU Commission has approved it and we can hopefully end the cycle of lockdowns and travel bans some time in 2021. It hasn't come a moment too soon...

Third wave of Covid-19 gathering momentum in Ireland

Secondly, the independent Economic and Social Research institute is predicting that the Irish economy has grown in 2020 despite all the lockdowns.

The Economic and Social Research Institute has forecast that the economy will end up growing this year by 3.4%, despite record unemployment.


In its latest Quarterly Economic Commentary, the think-tank said exports by pharmaceutical and IT companies have remained strong but the shock of Covid-19 will impact the domestic economy for some time to come.

The ESRI described its forecast as "somewhat surprising" and it comes as official government projections are for a decline in GDP of 2.4%.

Buoyed by exports of pharmaceuticals and IT services, the economy has continued to grow and spending by consumers has bounced back.

But it is an uneven picture.

The ESRI believes unemployment will end this year at 20%. Even with a post-Brexit trade deal, it will average 14.5% next year.

That is because sectors such as accommodation, the arts and parts of retail continue to struggle and are unlikely to recover until the second half of next year.

The ESRI also warned the incoming Biden administration in the US may herald changes to international corporate tax rules. This could reduce the tax take here.

Pharmaceuticals and chemicals, taken together, account for just over two thirds of the value of Ireland's exports of goods.

Demand for these products is up 18% compared to last year.

Thirdly, the UN has ranked Ireland as second in the world in human development index behind only Norway in the rankings.

Overall Ireland's Human Development score has increased 23.5 per cent since 1990, a much faster rate of improvement than comparable countries, according to the measure.


Pedro Conceição, the lead author of the report, said Ireland's improved ranking was due above all to advances in education.

"The Irish economy has almost doubled since 1990, but the biggest driver was actually education. That was the indicator that made relatively more progress since 1990," Mr Conceição said.

Average life expectancy at birth was 74.8 in Ireland in 1990 and has risen to 82.3, while average years of schooling were 9.7 and are now 12.7.

---<snip>---

When adjusted for inequality within the country, Ireland drops three places in the index to be overtaken by Iceland and Finland. However, the level of inequality in Ireland is lower than the average among comparable countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Measures of GDP in Ireland are distorted by the activities of Global corporates, and Human Development Indices are imperfect measures of societal development, at best. But at least Ireland is in a relatively good place as it addresses a perfect storm of continuing Covid-19 related lockdowns, a hard Brexit, global corporate tax reform and growing instability in Northern Ireland, where political divisions are preventing a coherent Covid-19 response.

If Brexit is as chaotic and disastrous for the UK as I expect, Scottish independence and increased pressures for a united Ireland are likely in the medium term. With the current deficit in Government spending estimated to be about €20 Billion in 2020 (6% GDP), Ireland is currently ill equipped to absorb the  £10 Billion p.a. British exchequer subsidy for N. Ireland. The real question is how much of that subsidy would be required in the context of a united Ireland, a subject of much debate here, here , and here; a subject to which I plan to return when time allows.

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Due to border closures the DUP'ers are going to get their internal Irish border.

Your call if that is Good or Bad news.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 05:52:18 PM EST
There aren't any cross border closures, only "advice not to travel".  The ban on travel applies to Britain only.

No cases of the new virus strain have been identified in Ireland yet, although it is most probably [resent at least in the North as they have not instituted a travel ban and asthere were 20 flights from Britain to the North today.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 06:12:50 PM EST
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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 09:33:02 PM EST
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by Oui on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 06:44:27 PM EST
Covid-19 or Brexit-21, spot the difference...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 09:34:07 PM EST
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They'll be able to blame the COVID (and the bloody Continentals, of course).
by Bernard on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 02:38:40 PM EST
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The stranded truck drivers stuck in the Farage Garage got hot meals courtesy of... an Indian Sikh charity.

Kent's Sikh Community comes to the Aid of Truckers

A group of Sikh volunteers in Kent have come to the aid of stranded lorry drivers by producing hundreds of meals for them.

Hundreds of truckers have been left trapped because of the closure at Dover port.

France had announced a UK travel ban due to concerns over the more infectious strain of Coronavirus. As a result, truckers are stuck waiting and unsure of what is going to happen.

With no immediate end to the crisis in sight, Kent's Sikh community decided to offer free hot meals to the stranded drivers.

Sikhs from Guru Nanak Darbar, a gurdwara in Gravesend, helped cook over 800 meals.

by Bernard on Wed Dec 23rd, 2020 at 07:24:25 PM EST
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A knight in shining armour ... 🎭

by Oui on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 06:47:52 PM EST
Scottish independence: Labour will 'passionately' oppose indyref2, says Sir Keir Starmer | Scotsman |

While First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already said she wants to hold another vote on the future of the UK "early" in the next Holyrood term, Sir Keir insisted that no responsible Prime Minister would give the go-ahead for such a ballot.

With ongoing uncertainty about the impact of the coronavirus crisis and Brexit, he said holding a second Scottish referendum would be "entirely the wrong priority", dismissing Ms Sturgeon's calls for another ballot as "misguided".

by Oui on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 09:11:22 PM EST
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Not only has Keir Starmer lost the opportunity to ensure that the Tories own Brexit, and particularly the form it will ultimately take, but now he is ensuring that the Scots nationalists will have a clear run at owning all Scottish independence/devolution sentiment and generalised resentment at the Tories.

Precisely what is the point of voting for Labour under Keir Starmer? He is acting as Boris lite.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 09:25:36 PM EST
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Indeed good news past 14 days Frank!

  • my daughter is doing well after "health" scare 18 mos ago  
  • my drivers license renewed for another 5 yrs 😄 accident free for last 60 yrs 😓
  • very last date with oncologist ... full remission  
  • last 12 months 3x in court family law 🙃 definitely settled as grandparents we'll have grandson visit us every month and extra days during 🏫 holidays ... win for grandson 🥰    
  • So very fortunate all has worked out fine ... have my life back ... going back into retirement now 🤣 🌵 🎭

    Have been fortunate as US citizen living in a Socialist state in the EU. Shame on the Tories, chief BoJo and Brexiteers. People be damned! 😡

    by Oui on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 10:03:04 AM EST
    Great news! I'm v. happy things have worked out well for you.

    Index of Frank's Diaries
    by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 05:44:25 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    A piece of good news over here as well (quoted by Cat):

    COVID: France fast-tracks citizenship for frontline workers

    by Bernard on Wed Dec 23rd, 2020 at 09:35:45 PM EST
    2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣1️⃣ 1st day of the New Year ...

    Quite a long wait ... lifespan of a turtle is 150 years 😉🤣

    by Oui on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 02:51:53 PM EST
    Solid Evidence That This Giant Softshell Turtle Isn't Extinct! (VIDEO)

    In Vietnamese mythology, the Yangtze giant softshell turtle is also the living representative of the Great Turtle God, Kim Qui. The story goes something like this: Kim Qui's master, a deity called the Dragon King, gave Emperor Lê Lợi his legendary sword, known as "Heaven's Will." With it, Lê Lợi freed Vietnam from a thousand-year rule by the Chinese. After his success, he was approached by Kim Qui, who asked for the sword back for the Dragon King. Lê Lợi handed over the legendary sword to the Turtle God and named the spot "The Lake of the Returned Sword," or Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

    While the last turtle god of Hoan Kiem perished in 2016 ("It was like losing part of our culture," Hoang Van Ha, a conservationist with the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) told The New Yorker, the species is not wholly gone -- just almost.

    by Oui on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 05:07:51 PM EST
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