Saturday, November 24, 2007

Have I heard some of this before?

Interesting to look at what the BBC's man covering the Australian elections has to say about the themes of the election campaign.

"If you’re interested, here are the some possible themes to have emerged this time round.

• The obvious importance of green issues, and their impact, crucially, as vote-shifters. John Howard’s salutary policy announcement during the televised debate focussed on climate change. The all-important seat of Wentworth has almost become a referendum on green issues.

• Housing affordability. Targeting first-time buyers and possibly the parents who are still providing a roof over their heads, Kevin Rudd kicked off his campaign on this very issue.

• Broadband speed is looming larger as a political issue (which is not surprising in Australia, the land of the sluggish internet connection).

• Ditto the availability of hi-tech teaching materials to schoolchildren, like lap-tops (or the “tool box of the future”, as Kevin Rudd calls it).

• Water shortages have featured, but, in this drought-ridden country, not as much as you might have thought.

• This election has been less about big ideas than managerialism: essentially, who is most capable of running the economy, and, arguably, finding practical solutions to meet the challenge of climate change.

• Does Kevin Rudd’s fluency in Mandarin herald the day much later in this century, or perhaps the next, when it’s a much more common diplomatic language?

• This is not Australia’s first internet election but it is its first YouTube election. Is the reason we are seeing politicians ambushed so frequently now because within a few minutes the material can be uploaded onto the web? Political performance art is here to stay.

I am sure there are others, but I had better go. I missed the debate the other day between Treasurer Peter Costello and Labor’s deputy leader Julia Gillard, and I’m hoping to catch the re-run. Honest."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Why someone has to resign - Mary Harney

I'm only following on from the early coverage others have given this as I've been offline for a wee bit with work.

Anyone who would have worked in any work area that looks for problems or defects (such as the software industry or whatever) knows that you write them up and report them as soon as you find them, you don't store them up for weeks until you feel like letting them loose on those who have to deal with them. Yet the HSE do seem to take the view (and it is all the more peculiar when you consider it is actually real life and death issues in which timely intervention is of the essence that they are looking at) that they should wait until they've done with one thing before moving onto another. All that multitasking that we hear might be possible with so many people working in the HSE seems not to be possible. Are members of the HSE still covered by that old civil servant unsackability?

There was a glaring inconsistency yesterday between the comments of the HSE rep John O' Brien to the Dail Committee that surgical revision did not mean mammogram or ultrasound and the HSE local rep from PortLaoise that women being recalled would have new mammograms and ultrasounds as well as possible biopsies. There again that is the same man from PortLaoise who said they were waiting until they had enough of a cohort before starting, starting mind to contact the women concerned. And let's consider for a moment this whole "contacting business" which it appears involves writing to the women affected today (watch the man on RTe), does writing to them today mean those letters will be posted today? And even so is he aware that most places have no post over the weekend, and with the unreliability of the post many of those women will not get the all clear until Tuesday or even Wednesday next. I'll bet if they were cheques to builders for work done that the HSE would have couriered them to their homes. I also would question the value of tomorrow's special clinic which since it won't involve any tests will be working on the visual and consultation assessment of the doctors involved.

To add insult to injury not being contacted by the HSE today or tomorrow does not necessarily mean you are in the all clear as you could be part of the 170 that they haven't got to looking at yet. I wonder if they have been working a straight forward 9-5 on this issue or was any overtime approved in order to expedite their efforts?

The core problem for Mary Harney in all this is pretty simple, she is (just all our other ministers) more than happy to associate herself with any success stories that come out in health services say a reduction in deaths from heart disease for which she is not directly responsible (she isn't the one doing the actual work) for yet when any sort of downside presents itself she is magically immune from any sort responsibility as is everyone else in the HSE.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Light rail in Limerick

A possible alternative route for trams or light rail in Limerick as suggested by me!

Sunday, November 18, 2007