1 of indy - Fri May 22, 2020 00:01
Undocumented Code is notoriously error prone and buggy.
Prof Neil Ferguson who was the chief advisor to the UK government in the lead up to the Covid lockdown and was instrumental in bringing it about based his advice the output of his own undocumented computer code he wrote 13 years ago. In the initial stages of the crisis his "model" predicted 500,000 deaths in the UK from Covid. Then a short time later, he revised his figures sharply downward and said his model now predicted to 20,000 deaths. This incidentally is the same number of deaths from flu in the UK in a typical year. So it appears to be the case that the UK has committed economic suicide based on software that no-one else could inspect in advance nor was there any independent verification. To make decisions based on this type of methodology is nothing short of criminal. And we haven't even got to the assumptions used which obviously are on equally shaky ground given one day the model was predicting 500,000 dead and then when obviously some level of correction was done, it was then only 20,000.
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Prof Neil Ferguson who was the chief advisor to the UK government in the lead up to the Covid lockdown and was instrumental in bringing it about based his advice the output of his own undocumented computer code he wrote 13 years ago. In the initial stages of the crisis his "model" predicted 500,000 deaths in the UK from Covid. Then a short time later, he revised his figures sharply downward and said his model now predicted to 20,000 deaths. This incidentally is the same number of deaths from flu in the UK in a typical year. So it appears to be the case that the UK has committed economic suicide based on software that no-one else could inspect in advance nor was there any independent verification. To make decisions based on this type of methodology is nothing short of criminal. And we haven't even got to the assumptions used which obviously are on equally shaky ground given one day the model was predicting 500,000 dead and then when obviously some level of correction was done, it was then only 20,000.

Related Links: COVID 19 Is A Statistical Nonsense | The Vaunted ?R Number? the UK Is Destroying Itself Over Is Shamanic Mumbo Jumbo Not only is the data going in weak and uncertain, but even the core assumptions of the model are educated guesses subject to bias | Covid-19: Neil Ferguson, the Liberal Lyssenko | Sweden Has Covid-19 Beat, Leaving Everyone Who Locked Down With Egg on Their Face


Computer models such as Ferguson's one for the spread of disease are really just software wrapped around a few mathematical equations. If the parameters of the equation are wrong then the output will be wrong. Quite often parameters are based on initial guesses and would then ideally be checked whether the values used correspond to reality in real life.

Separately computer code is quite often error prone and simple logical errors can be often very hard to find in the thousands of lines of computer code. All software in industry will typical undergo multiple rows of hundreds of tests to ensure a piece of software is doing what it is supposed to do and even though most companies relying on software they have bought will have maintenance contracts to fix problems as they are found. The Linux software which runs nearly every web-server and back-end industrial scale piece of software is free software that can and is available for the public to see and tens of thousands of software geeks are involved. The same is true for many other common programs used like the Firefox browser.

The internet runs on software and there is an awful out there and many people make it publically available. This allows others to inspect, find and fix problems and is an very effective way of doing things. This is widespread and standard practice. In the software industry and community it is good practice to document the code and in cases where there are not strict commercial considerations, to make it available for other to see.

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Demonstration of sensitivity of exponential to inputs

Model Assumptions Can Make Huge Difference to the Model Output

Regarding the models themselves the public needs to make the effort to understand some basic things about these and that is to be very cautious and skeptical in general. The image here of the two curves is a plot of the output of a very simple exponential mathematical equation except the difference between the two of them is a k factor. All sorts of models used exponential equations in them and ones that track "growth" and "death" dynamics would also have their own equivalent of the k factor. They may even have several. These factors represent things like the infection rate or the mortality rate. In this plot we can see there is a huge difference in the output by just a small 20% change in the k factor. When people run models they often take an "educated" guess at the value of these factors because they don't know what the true value is. It is imperative that the true real world value corresponding to it is measured and to high accuracy.

In many ways this is the question that should be asked of all the models because if the assumptions are wrong and they are often are not precise enough then you will get unrealistic outputs and it is simply extremely foolish to make costly decisions based on them. However, assuming for a moment the covid thing is all a big mistake, what we have here is a bunch of academics like Ferguson and his peers who would be in key positions in the World Health Organisation (WHO) that suddenly find themselves on the world stage making decision affecting hundreds to billions of people. This leads to question whether these people were just pawns in a bigger game since once the lockdown was in place the whole thing had a momentum of it's own and there are still many willing enforcers. It is unlikely that this can be rolled back without a huge loss of face by many, reputations tarnished and that of the media too because it has been completely uncritical.

The Undocumented Software and Response by Computer Software pundits

When Neil Ferguson announced his software it clearly came as a shock to people who work professionally in software. His response was to give it to Microsoft to put a fancy web interface on it. This is the exact same as putting lipstick on a pig!. The proper thing to do would be release it to the public immediately. By giving it to Microsoft, they no doubt will be tasked with correcting all the programming errors and putting bells and whistles on it. What the public ought to demand and has a right to know is the actual software that ran when Neil Ferguson used it's output to make Covid death projections and to panic the UK government into shutting down the economy.

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There is a lot at stake here from huge financial losses, millions out of work, tens of thousands of businesses going bust and a host of other equally large knock effects. On the social side, it is now reported that up to 600 people in London alone are dying of heart attacks each week, because they are afraid to go to hospitals when normally they would go. These figures are derived from the massive drop in attendance at emergency departments from cardiac patients in hospital. Given the London population of approximately 10 million or one sixth of the country, this means about 3,600 needless deaths per week just from cardiac problems alone in the UK.

The response to Ferguson has been illuminating and revealing. Who would have thought this is what was behind the "expert" scientific models. Unfortunately the public tends to equate software with science. It is not the same thing and the science is only as good as the real world data. Yet in some ways we have to congratulate him for his honesty and openness, although . For instance here are some of the messages on Twitter but first bear in mind the following. The code was also given to github where some people will be have access to it. But what they see on github will be the modified code -i.e. refactored. It is very important to note this is NOT the original. Due to the large gaff, there is no doubt there will be every attempt to fix it up and then for supporters to chime in at how wonderful it is.

Some of the Twitter Responses


Roko Mijic @RokoMijicUK · Mar 22
(6 months later)

"A bug on line 3471 caused the model to overestimate deaths by a factor of 100. The lockdown was unnecessary

But by being in C we got a 50% performance boost!"


Roko Mijic @RokoMijicUK · Mar 23
Our society very clearly misallocates resources. A serious bug in this code would cost £ trillions yet in the past 13 years there wasn't like a whole team of the absolute best engineers getting it up to a tip-top state. I'm not blaming the researchers. It's just a crazy world.
[Update: Indy Editors note. Even if the code is perfect, the assumptions have to be correct. See image above]

CFD Direct OpenFOAM @CFDdirect Mar 23
Replying to @neil_ferguson
1/19 It is disappointing that critical decisions relating to the #COVID?19 crisis in public health and the economy rely on scientific software containing "thousands of lines of undocumented C" source code, which has never been publicly accessible. THREAD

Julia Walsh @Julia14235 · Mar 22
Replying to @tom_collings_uk and @neil_ferguson
As a systems auditor my stomach did a flip when I read ?thousands of lines of undocumented C?.

Arguably Wrong @arguablywrong Mar 23
Or --- get this --- he could have shared the code 14 years ago when he published the first paper using it.

See new Tweets Conversation 1 more reply
Stefan Karpinski @StefanKarpinski · Mar 23
Why haven?t you just immediately released the code and allowed tbe global community to dissect it and work on it? Now is not the time to be embarrassed about some code. You?re missing the power of open source to accomplish feats, especially when people are highly motivated
18 more replies

@drklausner · Mar 23
Replying to @neil_ferguson
We don?t need your code Neal we need to understand your assumptions and how are you change those assumptions overtime

Jim Rafferty @DrJimRafferty · Mar 23
We do need the code, because otherwise how will we know if the stated assumptions are implemented correctly?
Some of these response have been captured in the screenshots below as it is likely that when knowledge of this grows that it will disappear.

1 of indy - Mon Apr 27, 2020 13:35
Pre-emptive strike on the global economy

Never before in the history of the world has there been such a massive and widespread shutdown of the economy for as long as for this Covid-19 scare. As of today April 21st it has been more or less shutdown for a month and the politicians instead of doing their usual and saying we will be out of this soon are saying we need to continue it indefinitely and even when the lockdown is lifted, it will only be gradual return to normality. Clearly everyone is worried and a lot depends on how long this lockdown continues for. The question is not whether the economy both here in Ireland and globally will be damaged but more by how much. This is an important question because real lives depend on what happens in it


Here we attempt to assess where we are, what has happened and what logic dictates are some of the possible outcomes.
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Some of the scare headlines

Never before in the history of the world has there been such a massive and widespread shutdown of the economy for as long as for this Covid-19 scare. As of today April 21st it has been more or less shutdown for a month and the politicians instead of doing their usual and saying we will be out of this soon are saying we need to continue it indefinitely and even when the lockdown is lifted, it will only be gradual return to normality. Clearly everyone is worried and a lot depends on how long this lockdown continues for. The question is not whether the economy both here in Ireland and globally will be damaged but more by how much. This is an important question because real lives depend on what happens in it


Here we attempt to assess where we are, what has happened and what logic dictates are some of the possible outcomes.

Britain?s 77th Psy Ops Brigade Has Been Activated to Counter Coronavirus ?Disinformation? The British military waging information war on their own population https://www.anti-empire.com/britains-77th-psy-ops-brigade-has-been-activated-...

We?ve been involved with the Cabinet Office Rapid Response Unit, with our 77th Brigade helping to quash rumours from misinformation, but also to counter disinformation. Between three and four thousand of our people have been involved, with around twenty thousand available the whole time at high readiness.

Related Links: In London alone 600 people a week more are now dying from heart attack because they were afraid to go to hospital If Sweden Succeeds, Lockdowns Will All Have Been for Nothing | In Frenzy to Empty Hospitals for Doomsday Model Predictions UK and NY Wreaked Mass Death on Care Homes | American Billionaires Have Gotten $280 Billion Richer Since the Covid Hysteria Pandemic | Coronavirus ? The Aftermath. A Coming Mega-Depression?By Peter Koenig (ex World Bank)


The Lockdown

The lockdown, we are told is of course due to the Covid virus and to "flatten the curve". The curve, according to models using very unreliable data (rubbish in, rubbish out) and very questionable figures on mortality provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (-a corrupt organisation captured by the pharmaceutical industry and exposed in the documentary Trust WHO , -suggested a high number of deaths because of the projected infection and mortality rate and the prediction it would overwhelm the capacity of the health systems in each country. The WHO consistently downplayed any suggestion more people had the virus (and were fine) and the only narrative they pushed is that we should keep our economies in lockdown until a vaccine was found which it is promoting very heavily and pushing to make mandatory. This will no doubt make a fortune for the pharma industry controlling the strings of those making the decisions at the WHO.

These disease models rely on certain assumptions and inputs. If for one of these inputs you enter a given death toll and another figure specifying how many people have been exposed to the virus, it then predicts how many will die if everyone is exposed. If far more people have been exposed than acknowledged then your input is wrong. If the real figure was used, the predicted death would be far far lower. This is why in Sweden where they have almost achieved herd immunity without a lockdown, they are not all dead. However the WHO have knowingly used incorrect values because this way the models (wrongly) predict a huge spike in cases that need to be flattened from the dizzying heights projected and this allows them to justify the lockdown. Governments have followed their narrative via their chief medical officers taking instruction from the WHO. This fraud has worked because unwittingly many people including doctors do not realize how utterly corrupt the WHO are, they follow their advice. Their agenda will be discussed later. The WHO screamed at Sweden via the media to lockdown. Who the heck are the WHO to be trying to order a sovereign state like Sweden around? Thankfully they didn't follow their advice and provided an example that proves the nonesense followed elsewhere.

So far in the case of Ireland Covid-19 has led to a total of 730 deaths (Apr 21st) which is less than the typical 1,100 deaths due to flu per year in Ireland. In the UK a total of 17,337 deaths are recorded which is also less than the number of deaths due to flu in the UK which can be up to 28,000. Similar statistics bear out for other countries. Incidentally because flu deaths were so low last year everywhere and each year the flu sweeps up all the old and vulnerable, it meant this year the Covid virus had a potential population that it could easily kill and the numbers bear this out especially the median age of death which proves this.

The lockdown in the case of Ireland has shutdown first and foremost all the pubs. They are now closed for 28 days. If the pubs closed for 2 days previously, there was a national outcry and hoarding of drink. Practically all the restaurants, cafes, hotels, guest houses, bed & breakfasts, Air BnBs and furniture, clothing, book, accessories, flower, jewellery, bicycle and charity shops; hardwares, DIY stores, barbers and hairdressers, electrical retail, cinemas, threatres, concerts, schools, universities & colleges, libraries, swimming pools, gyms, sports facilities and grounds, building industry, real estate, public transport is empty except to key workers, parts of manufacturing, offices, many trades people out of work too and probably a lot more niche areas normally invisible to us.

Most visible is that air travel is for all intents and purposes shutdown. A quick glance at Flight-Radar-24 website shows that. For instance Ryanair has over 300 aircraft and almost the entire fleet is grounded. How did O' Leary agree to this? Likewise Aer Lingus, British Airways, EasyJet, Lufthansa and a long list of other airlines are grounded. Even for 9/11 this was only for 2 or 3 days. This is going on for a month now and instead of the Taoiseach or the Prime Minister in the case of the other countries saying we hope to end this soon, instead they are saying, this could go on for months and even then we might not allow groups bigger than 10. Well if a typical airplane can hold 200 to 300 people, that looks like they will either still be grounded or working in highly restricted form. This will therefore affect hotels and the entire tourism industry. Because when we are all stung with the taxes to pay for this, will people be able to afford to travel?

Even for the businesses still open, this whole caper is highly disruptive and while tens of thousands are working from home in Ireland -millions worldwide, it is probably not effective for many firms, long term. For the social life the impact is equally greater if not bigger but we will leave that aside for now as we are discussing the economy even though the medical argument of saving lives is countered balanced by the undoubted increases in depression and suicides and the number of extra deaths for all the people who normally visit hospital but are too afraid to now. Figures for Scotland from the start of April already show an additional 500 deaths after subtracting out the Covid ones and these are the people who probably got heart attacks or strokes but never went to hospital as they normally would.

So as you can see it is unprecedented and without doubt very costly in all sorts of ways. The hard bit to take in, is that this scenario is replicated right across the entire EU and much of the USA and it is estimated 2 to 3 billion people are in lockdown. The number of closures is just mind boggling.

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In much of the EU national governments have stepped in to provide special emergency payments to the millions unemployed. As of the start of April -nearly 3 weeks ago, over 200,000 people were unemployed and then within a week of that up to 500,000 and are in receipt of the Covid payment of €350 per week. This means it is costing the government 350 x 500k = 175 million a week which we can safely round up to 200 million since this figure in no way accounts for numerous others costs and doesn't even begin to take account of loss revenue to the state in the form of income tax from these people. By this stage the 500k unemployed is likely higher. The cost then so far is probably several billion. On April 1st KBC Bank (ref 3) put out an estimated cost of €30 billion (Ref 3). It was not clear when they thought the lockdown would lift in their calculation but it would be safe to assume at that point they were thinking by May. It ought to be noted €30 billion is less than half the bailout to the banks after 2008.

The only remaining questions regarding the lockdown are how long it will last and will it be lifted in one go or gradually? The people calling the shots in the WHO advising the chief medical officer in each country who in turn advises the national leadership in each country, appear to have gained a incredible level of authority and power over sovereign states and it is rather odd and surprising that basically the best part of the entire world economy has ground to a halt based on their dictates. Extremely odd in fact. How can a bunch of stuffy bureaucrats have so much power? Maybe even more strange is that our apparently free and purveyors of 'truth' media haven't asked these questions.

The Economy Before Covid-19

Up to early March, the economy in Ireland at least seemed to be doing alright although there were plenty of problems. Fine Gael (FG) through its housing policies driven by right wing ideology had led to 10,000 people homeless of which one third are children. Odd the way they apparently care about people now in this crisis but clearly don't about the homeless. The housing sector had witnessed a rapid increase in vulture fund (i.e. billionaires savings) owned properties and was distorting the housing market with the effect of locking out increasing numbers of the working population from ever buying a house or apartment and pushing them into a life of high rent, screwed by the same people. So other than FG selling all the assets acquired by NAMA and paid for by the tax-payers to vulture funds for pennies on the Euro (-93% of all NAMA property sold at huge discount to them), the top 20% to 30% were doing alright and there was a slight trickle to the bottom. Given the long recession after 2008, it was still welcome. As of the beginning of March 2020 the unemployed rate was 5.4% down from 7.4% in 2017 and the number employed stood at 2.3 million.

The economy in Ireland in terms of GDP is dominated by the multi-nationals that are here primarily for the low to non-existent corporate tax rates, the reliable electricity which tends to be unrecognized but vital in many industries and for the fact the Irish workforce speaks English, is in the EU and reasonably educated. There is little indigenous Irish industry. Irish capitalists tend to invest in property rather than put money into Irish industry. The model has been to attract foreign investment rather than invest in Irish industry and hence explains why successive governments always dance to their tune. Basically Ireland pimps out it's workforce. From Central Statistics Office (CSO) records, in 2017 there were about 279,892 Irish owned businesses in Ireland and 3,352 foreign owned ones most of which were multi-nationals. Figures released for 2019 and reported by the IDA say that multi-nationals account for 229,000 jobs or about 10% of the total. They spend €11.7 billion on payroll. The key areas are in biotech, pharmaceuticals and high tech sector chiefly in software and social media. Their turnover is out of proportion to their size and dominates the economy.

In terms of overall employment the biggest sectors are industry, wholesale & retail trade and health & social work. There are many small enterprises serving the multinationals and it has been said that for every one person employed in them, there could be several more employed in other areas downstream of where people spend their wages.

However as a result of the crash 2008, there was a huge debt overhang in the economy and for the lower half of the working population their pay and conditions have not really recovered when inflation is taken into account. Indeed inflation can be misleading, because if you are spending half your income on rent or mortgage and the inflation statistic doesn't capture that, then it does not give the full picture. What matters once you can eat is the roof over your head. It doesn't matter whether all the trinkets of society are getting cheaper if the cost of the roof over your head is taking up most of your salary. What was laid bare after 2008 for all to see was that the bankers, big investors and developers ultimately got bailed out no matter what spin is put on it and the top 1% and 10% got richer in the years since. The rest of us had to pay for it through higher taxes, direct and indirect, plundering of the national pension fund and stagnant wages for many. In the recent election, late in the day the issue of the pension being only paid out at age 67 (instead of 65) and soon to be 68 years had come to public attention. Two and even three years when you don't get the pension is the same as being robbed of that amount.

So overall the Irish economy could be summed up as doing alright and it was going in the right direction.

The International Economy Before Covid-19

The economy internationally being a bigger beast is harder to cover in any detail suffice to say that at least it wasn't in recession despite the bit of the trade war between the US and China and Europe pre-occupied with BREXIT. Share prices in Wall Street were at all times high. Much of this was down to the big corporations spending billions on stock buy back schemes whose sole purpose is to keep the share price high and make money for those with lots of stock options and shares, primarily the owners and CEOs. One large elephant has stood over the world economy since 2008 and that has been the constant money printing known as quantitative easing not just by the US (privately owned despite what the name suggests) Federal Reserve, as well as the EU Central Bank, Bank of Japan and others. The point being no matter how many pronouncements we heard over the years of how well the economy was doing, in reality in still needed a constant injection of cash to stay alive. Depending on who you listen to and what you read, the total world debt varies from tens of trillions to quadrillions if you include derivatives. Even mainstream websites (ref 2) put US debt at $24 trillion and the UK at £8 trillion. When you delve into the funny world of financial derivatives and all the other tricks you begin to realize that the size of the financial economy (i.e. paper) compared to the real economy is far bigger. Its near impossible to get accurate statistics probably because there are none. The financial economy is more an abstraction than anything. What it attempts to do is to put a claim on the real economy. So if you hold a million shares of some financial instrument this implies ultimately if you wanted to cash in; you could and buy something real. But if that universe of money is bigger than the real one, then when the music stops and everyone wants to cash in, you will find there are multiple overlapping claims on the same bit of physical real world wealth.

Thus the global economy was tottering along but the financial side of it had becoming increasing absurd and the whole core of it was basically unstable. It could hardly even be called a capitalist system and was more like a global debt system with lots of insider trading, rigging of the market and all sorts of interventions like money printing, buying back debt and bailing out of the too big to fail and so on. Somehow most people with jobs, savings and pensions were probably dimly aware of the chaotic forces within it, but hoped it would stay together -since the market always recovers -and thereby provide them with a means of income.

The Impact of Covid.

Well its going to be massive. The game is to speculate how massive assuming we are released from this medical police state this side of Christmas. As the news broke back in early March, Peter Schiff stock broker and financial commentator had this to say about the economy:

... that the coronavirus is just a pin while the debt bubble is the problem. The virus has not only pricked the stock market bubble and the crypto bubble, but it has also punctured the bond market bubble.

?So, now we have to deal with the consequences of the disease that the Fed inflicted us with. And unfortunately the Fed?s cure for the coronavirus is going to be fatal for the economy.? .... .? fiscal stimulus is going to make the situation worse....?

?The US is broke, there is no money to stimulate the economy, and all we can do is print money? The bond market is imploding because there is too much debt.?

This was in March. One would assume his worst case scenario then was a lockdown for at most a month or so because that's what people were predicting then and China had just come through it's own lockdown of that about a months duration. Before going on a speculative tour it is worth putting some basic numbers on it and lets just stick to the Irish economy.

The impact is hard to predict because the effect is so global and has hit practically every form of economic activity all at once. What we are witnessing has never been seen before and it will set in train all sorts of forces and dynamics.

What we do know is cash flow is going to be the big problem. Every business lives or dies by it. You depend on those you sell to, to give you the cash so that you can pay your suppliers. Often there can be anything from 30 to 90 days before receiving payments. For example, if you are selling goods wholesale which ultimately get sold on in shops, it can take a month or two before you are paid so that you can pay the supplier and you could have many. The supplier in turn is in their own chain of relationships with others. If even a few firms go bust then it can put the others into huge financial stress and it only takes one more knock somewhere else in the chain to bring you down. It will be like dominos falling. Hence the need for banks to extend loans to small business at very favourable rates. A public bank would be in a position to do this, but the private banks just see an opportunity to screw people over and sell on their assets when they fail to collect their money since they will be under pressure too. If the bailout mainly goes to the big firms and that is as sure as tomorrow, then it is the death knell for the smaller firms as the playing field for them will not be level but tilted vertically upwards. Also notice statements from organisastions like the (private) International Bank Of Settlements instructing all banks to stay within certain criteria for stability purposes. What this is code for is selling off at rock bottom prices the assets they steal off failed businesses and pass them on to vulture type funds.

Potential Cost of Covid-19 to the Tax Payer

If it is costing €200 million year a week or €0.8 bn every 4 weeks for the Covid payments or thereabouts, then you may as well round that up to €1.0 billion a month. From CSO data (ref 4) for 2018 government revenue from taxes and social contributions was €60 bn and €13 bn respectively for a total of 73 bn. Lets us assume 25% end up unemployed for 6 months, that works out at a 25% tax revenue reduction or (73*0.25*1/2) €9.1 bn. Add this to the 1.0 bn cost per month and you get 6 + 9.1 = € 15.1 bn. This does not include any other costs. You can now see how KBC very reasonably doubled these figures, and no doubt identified additional costs that the government is incurring and probably had estimated many will not get back to work immediately and so forth, to get their €30 bn cost.

However this rough calculation is for 6 months, but what the Irish government and it seems many other governments, are doing is hanging on every word that comes out of the WHO. And each day the WHO recommendations are more extreme and desperate. They have only one agenda it seems and that is remain in lockdown and wait for the vaccine. If you wanted to crash the world economy, this is exactly how you would do it. If we follow their faulty corrupt advice, we should all stay at home for the rest of our lives in case the virus gets us. They seem to forget we are exposed to billions and trillions of virus every day, all of our lives, so far. How did we get this far? But clearly there is more to this. When and if this is all over they will say they made a "mistake". But it is no mistake. They are pushing their agenda really hard and the media are doing their level best to talk up the numbers and imply young people are dying when consistently when you read on practically all of those who die are very old with underlying conditions and most of the few younger (but really middle aged) people who die also have underlying conditions. They are trying exceedingly hard to scare the pants off us all and unfortunately succeeding.

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Therefore if this were to go on till the end of the the 2020, the conservative cost figure could head towards €100 bn because the damage will accumulate and unemployment will be higher and tax revenue far lower.

What these costs do not account for is the unpredictable and that is the number of business that will fail. Nobody really knows that number but what we do know even if sanity returned in the morning is that the carnage will be huge. A great many pubs, cafes and restaurants, possibly hotels and thousands of numerous unheard of business will go bust and never re-open. Much of it will be due to cash flow problems. When you are so big, the banks don't and can't afford to let you go and generally some mechanism is found to keep you afloat. The bigger you are the more likely there is some kind of bailout paid by the taxpayer. Therefore there is one thing we can predict and that is tens of thousands of small business will fail and most of the big ones will be bailed out and or have enough resources to weather the storm and thus survive. In every single recession this is the general rule of thumb.

What does this mean? Well we know that most of the GDP and wealth is owned by the much fewer but far bigger firms and the bigger ones will be in a position to swoop down vulture like and pick up all the valuable bits of the carnage left over. This will act to further concentrate wealth into the fewer large firms, the biggest of which are multi-nationals.

The Vulture Funds are Coming for Your House

To pay for the damage, whether the final cost is €30bn, €60bn or €100+bn if we remain locked down even longer, we can expect to see an increase in taxes and a re-introduction of the full force of the Universal Social Charge (USC). As per usual the first cuts will be to social welfare, disabilities and all the people at the bottom and largely without say. Many are saying this will be worse than the 2008 crash which means the cuts can only be deeper. Whether this is the case or not remains to be seen. One certainty is that there will be another mortgage crisis. With hundreds of thousands unemployed and no way to keep up the payments we will be back to the mayhem. This time it will be different because now that the vulture funds have taken root here, the banks may well either on their own bat or under instruction from government, hand over all their bad loans to them. This will be presented as a way to solve the problem because the Vulture Funds may offer to step in and "save these people". It will probably be some crafty dishonest scheme where they take over the bad loans and since it is distressed you will be forced into some sort of deal where you have to rent off them for the next 20 years or something. The devil will be in the detail because it will be through the small print they will hoodwink people out of their homes. You can be sure they will have it legally watertight. The aftermath of Covid will offer the chance for vulture funds to feast on distressed property and steal a large chunk of it as just outlined. In many ways they will be like the virus itself and those financially weak will be a highest risk. It would of course be an excellent outcome for the vulture funds if this were to happen and from their perspective the lockdown must be great. The longer it lasts the greater amount they can steal later.

If this pans out and there is no logical reason why it could not, we will have come full circle after a journey of a few hundred years back to where the country is owned by landlords. This time instead of being absentee English ones, they will be absentee corporate vulture funds. The future is so bright indeed. The government will of course be pressed on this and will no doubt on foot of legal advice state they are unable to intervene because it would interfere with existing legal obligations and incur potential liabilities.

The Pension Funds

This is a good question. After the government raided the national pension fund last time, they never really put back the money. This leaves the private pensions or the money working people have saved in various schemes for their retirement. In the last round after 2008, most of these funds halved and took the next ten years to come back to approximately the value they were pre-crash. There will be plenty of workers who only started paying into a pension since 2008 and so will get to experience the medium term pump and dump cycles whereby the well connected elite encourage the middle class to pour money (.i.e their savings) into pensions or some form of institutional investments for relatively calm 10 years. Then there is the inevitable crash and they get cleaned out and it all starts over again. That pension funds will plummet is a safe bet. Only the depth, is the question. Perhaps some folks have been scared sufficiently by "The Bug" to not worry about it but it sill remains an open question of how deep the hole is. One should consider it as yet another cost incurred by many due to the lockdown. The sad fact is that there will be quite a few here where not only will have their pension destroyed but will be jobless and if luck is not going their way, be up to their neck in mortgage debt arrears. This is not the time to get depressed. It is time to wake up to what is going on, ask deep questions you have never asked and to not isolate yourself alone subjected to media lies but to overcome social taboos and discuss what is happening with your fellow frightened citizens and chart your own future together. If you buy into this pre-planned global fraud you will sorely regret because now is the time to act, not later when it is too late and your fate is sealed.

The problem with a pension is that you need to be either paying into one for at least 30 to 40 years and therefore need to have a job of that duration or if you are in the position to do so, pile money in during the last 10 to 20 years of your working life and take advantage of the great tax breaks for it. Losing your job later in life affects that plan and so any discussion of the fate of pensions is linked not just to the loss of value of the funds themselves but to one's employment since that dictates how much money you can put into a pension.

Already we have seen in early April, Debenhams retail chain have closed all their stores with immediate effect and 2,000 jobs lost. (Ref 5). The workers who tried protesting over the lack of any redundancy payment were moved off the streets and ordered to go home. The loss of these jobs illustrates the issues at hand. So consider this. If 500,000 are unemployed now when will they get jobs? What is happening to their existing pensions. Is there enough funds in them for their retirement. Answer: unlikely. And the fund value that is there is probably nose diving. Some of these workers had served 34 years. That means they must be in their mid 50s. What are their prospects now. Have they paid off their mortgages. Will they ever work again?

The Wider International Economy

For no better reason that the fact that airlines are the main way to leave Ireland, we will focus on them. First off if you ground a plane for a month or even far longer which looks to be the case, you can't just round up the crew and fill it up with fuel and passengers and fly off. The flight crew given the long lapse of time they have not being flying will need to brush up on training. Then there is the aircraft maintenance. They will need to go through a full system check. Think of all the lubricants for example that would slowly collect at the bottom of various machine parts and upper parts will have dried out. There will be thousands of other such technical matters. Then as everyone rushes to get this done, there will be a bottleneck because the system is not designed to do this all at once for every aircraft simultaneously. In air traffic control, I'd imagine things have been extremely quite. One would expect that the ramp up there would have to be managed carefully and slowly because it is such a tense, focused and critical job, the air-traffic controllers will need time to get used to and back to their hectic pace. Who then wants to step aboard the first plane brought back to service? [Update: Apparently Ryanair are doing short ghost flights every 4 days for each plane to keep them in working order. That is positive news.]

For hotels many of which are basically either lying empty or running as a skeleton operation, there will be also sorts of maintenance and repairs needed which will have not been done because these service sectors have been in lockdown. The longer this lockdown goes on, the more costs will build up. Surely there are hotels, offices, whatever that have sprung leaks which would be normally promptly spotted and fixed, are now causing havoc and will do so much damage to buildings as to put smaller operators out of businesses.

For the smaller operators and outfits like guest houses and there are 100,000s of these maybe millions all over Europe, the revenue you get in on a given season covers your costs to get to the next. If local councils and authorities are demanding their various charges and taxes despite them having no income, they're gone. Or they may have loans out on the properties or if that is not an issue, it may well be, ongoing maintenance is such a high cost annually that the lack of income will mean they are gone bust.

We are beginning to see the effect of this because in all previous downturns tourism might have slowed and decreased quite a bit but never has the whole tourism industry itself completely stopped for months. The job losses in tourism have to be huge and won't be coming back soon. It could take years to recover if ever.

This scenario has got to be playing out for tens of millions of small businesses throughout the locked-down world. The damage is incalculable. There is without a doubt a huge unemployment wave coming. The only way to get it all working again is through the lubricant of cash. Unfortunately the history of crashes, recessions and depressions, is that the biggest and wealthiest are first at the table and get the most favourable treatment. Usually after some period there is some level of normality but that tends to be from the hard graft of starting out fresh again from the smaller players and due to the fact since they are always more nimble and flexible, they manage to carve out a little space for themselves..

The companies that are doing well and continue to do so, are the giant corporations like all of the Big Tech and the likes of Amazon who will come out of this with even more people buying online who hadn't done so before. This will allow them to literally eat into the mainstream retail sector, everywhere. Purveyors of online working and communications will do well and Zoom Corporation is likely to be bought up by some giant for untold billions.

All the big food retail industries are largely intact and the world's biggest, WalMart will be in a position to buy up whatever competitors it has left. For the suppliers of food -i.e. farmers they are likely to be squeezed further by the small number of big players who they sell to and which is really their only outlet. This will allow the big guys to grab the income of the small guys as they will be on their knees. This will be replicated all across sectors where these types of relationships occur and they occur everywhere. That's partially down to technological changes enabling this process and one of the not-so-cool sides of tech.

National governments everywhere are going to be struggling with finances and having to cope with greatly increased debt burden. Everywhere taxes will go up and services will be cut back. With the Covid virus causing deep wounds in the economy and more damage than the disease itself, it will take a long time to recover because so many business will have disappeared that there will be just this large void where previously it was full of millions of small business employing millions of people.

So here is the scenario for the middle and lower classes. (Technically both of these compose the working class in an economic sense since you are defined as working class if you earn most of your income by selling your time and or skill. This takes in nearly all of the middle class and the so called working class in it's social context but are really lower class in economic terms. Middle class people never refer to themselves as working class but they are by virtue of the criteria just outlined.) Huge numbers will remain unemployed. Those with incomes will face big increases in taxation on the one hand and face pay cuts on the other. Some of these people will be in mortgage and or rent arrears while those unemployed will definitely be in arrears. In this environment, the chances of anyone taking annual holidays abroad or somewhere nice at home will be fairly slim. Therefore prospects for the tourism industry will be dismal with consequent knock on effects in that sector in terms of recovery. This will also affect the airline industry.

There will be a battle by many sectors to recoup their losses counter weighted by the loss of demand. Typically the insurance industry will raise rates and are far more likely to drive more businesses to the wall. They were already doing this just before the crisis. Sometimes you have to wonder are they the secret weapon of bigger businesses as a way to crush smaller ones through insurance premium costs and keep the competition out. For other sectors the inevitable reduction in demand and loss of buying power by the public means usually means closures and consolidation in those areas.

Prior to internet and the widespread use of online shopping, if there was a big downturn in some sector, generally it would come back usually in the form of lots of small startups. This time around the recovery will be different because the likes of Amazon and other Big Tech firms will be able to rapidly ramp up and serve those areas where demand may slowly return. This in some ways prevents a recovery for many small businesses because the big players will hold that space. This in itself, by slowing the recovery, affects future job recovery.

The Effect of Increase in the Concentration of Global Wealth and Final Solution

Global wealth is already highly concentrated as are all of the various industries. In all cases a few large firms dominate for the biggest slice of the pie and the myriad of others nibble on the bits left over after you subtract the total share of say the top 3, 4 or 5 players.

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The small players -i.e. the small business though are key to the survival of the big firms in an indirect way because proportionally the bigger corporations employ fewer people which can be used to argue they are more efficient at bringing goods and services to millions of people, while the small businesses by far employ the most people. The income they earn gives enough people money to buy stuff off the bigger firms to keep going. The structural repercussions on the economy due to the internet and online shopping before the crisis was already upsetting this dynamic. The aftermath could easily accelerate that evolution.

This raises a question then and that is surely for a given industry or sector there is a point where if the top 2 or 3 firms are taking all the businesses or revenue available, it crushes all the smaller players. For example in Ireland the beef industry is dominated by one big processor. There is hardly any competition. The effect of this is that the are very few other processors and they are tiny anyhow and consequently this puts the sellers -i.e. farmers at the mercy of the single processor and they are treated accordingly. If you can wipe out all the competition in your area, that is great for you and tough for everyone else. So far we are only talking about a single sector.

If we examine the total global wealth we know there is a huge concentration of power. The annual Oxfam report says 62 people own half the worlds wealth. Their tentacles spread far and wide and they would have all sorts of holding companies owning shares in thousands of different global and national firms and their representatives acting on their behalf on the boards of all the firms down their chain of ownership. When the approximately 7,000 billionaires are added the share of this tiny group of the global wealth must be far higher. The same dynamic applies here as described for a single dominant firm with no competitors in a given sector.

If the these people own so much wealth and earn vast fortunes each year and the remaining bulk of the population in the world are barely getting by on their low wages and it has progressed to such a state where many (younger) people have no prospect of ever owning their house, are locked into exorbitant rents and chronic debt, this would suggest many of the middle class who thought they were a cut above the rest, are on a downward trajectory. The key problem for the top 7,000 billionaires is as they take more and more of the wealth produced by everyone else, the masses will soon not be able to buy the goods and services which the elite own and sell to them. There is a risk of collapse of purchasing power as it were and that threatens the whole system.

...the Covid payments given by most lockdown countries is just this universal basic income under a different name...

The members of the 7,000 club are generally quite bright people and they have access to the brightest minds and the greatest resources by virtue of their position. Some may have noticed in the last few years discussion in the media about the concept of universal basic income for everyone; see ref 7. The idea is that governments would pay everyone regardless of who they were a basic income to allow them to exist. Anything extra you earn, you keep. At the moment, the Covid payments given by most lockdown countries is just this universal basic income under a different name. The Covid payment -i.e basic income is just the ticket to keep the system going for the 7,000 club and it can't have failed people, to notice it is all the smaller firms that are getting badly hurt in this crisis and most of them could well cease to exist afterwards. The metric is quite simple. Lockdown for 3 months a certain fraction will go bust. Lockdown for 6 months, 9 months or till 2020 as the WHO suggests and I think it is obvious that perhaps the great majority of small firms everywhere, will be gone possibly to never come back.

When you are a member of that special 7,000 club you must get bored with money after awhile and the temptations of the power you have must be more alluring and exciting. Every year the concentration of wealth increases and intensifies. Some people question why these people want so much money but the fact is they do because a smaller fraction have more and more each year. This can only continue perhaps to it's logical point. This point is not really when one person owns it all, the point in fact is when the system has gone through such changes because of the concentration of wealth and thereby power because one controls all the resources, that structurally it has transformed dramatically under the weight of it's own internal forces. We might be seeing the caterpillar to butterfly type of metamorphosis in the global (so called) capitalist system except it may not be so pretty.

Here is another point to take on. If you own your house and are cash rich and all your neighbours are cash poor and have mortgages and they all go bust then you can probably buy all their houses and rent them back to them, indefinitely. The sort of thing ambitious, ruthless people might do and the trait you need to reach the top.

For the 7,000 club if you own most of the worlds wealth and the world's economy happens to completely crash then that's not so bad since you own it. The beauty is that you can buy up all the remaining good stuff. You now will have received a huge jolt in wealth while everyone else is impoverished. You definitely need to make sure they get the basic income. There is just one problem though, you don't want to pay them too much, certainly not enough to go on holidays, fly abroad, eat out regularly, buy furniture, stay in a hotel. In this new economy there would there would be little need for these things and a great portion of the worlds fleet of passenger aircraft could be mothballed. Besides if there is going to be very little demand, it will cost too much to bring a lot of these planes back into service. Luckily for the billionaires they have their own private jets. I hear people say why would they destroy the tourism sector. Well prior to Covid, the millions on pitiful wages were struggling to exist and it is highly unlikely they ever went anywhere fancy. It just that the great bulk of the middle class will be lowered down to this level. If this transformational switch is made globally, its really all about power at that point and your comforts will not feature in the plan.

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This automatically leads to question. Where is the money coming from and whose money is it anyhow? What is money after-all and even what is wealth? Money is just credit on bits of paper. Despite what people think, it is not backed by gold. That link was severed many decades ago. The 7,000 club contains all the bankers, so it is quite likely between themselves they will come to some arrangement between themselves. National governments have given away most of their control to 'independent' central banks which really are private; run by unelected, unaccountable individuals so there is little chance of interference by them. Besides through ownership of the media and internet, they essentially can control any government and use Epstein like people to take down anyone powerful enough to make noises.

To conclude the strange thing is that if you wanted to crash the world economy and bring forth this scenario outlined, then you would do what the WHO are calling for. Keep the global economy locked down for the rest of the year and even until 2022. The other sinister message in this crisis we keep hearing is that there will be a second and even third wave of the virus each more deadly than the previous. You can't have failed to not heard this. They say this confidently too which is actually the scarier part.

Who knows what the vaccine will really contain but you have to ask yourself why is it being pushed so strongly. Surely tne sensible too to do is to promote basic health and ways to build up and strengthen your immune system of which there are many. People really don't understand anything about vaccines, but they can be contaminated and they can be doctored to put a pun on it, to contain literally anything. Take note of this:

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The Gates Foundation has for the last 20 years carried out intensive children vaccination programs in Africa.

In 2014 and 2015 Kenya carried out a massive tetanus vaccination program, sponsored by WHO and UNICEF. The Government administered a vaccine of tetanus toxoid impregnated with beta human chorionic gonadotropin (BhCG) that causes permanent infertility among girls and women, to about 500,000 girls and women between the ages 14 and 49.

An organization called GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) is a public-private partnership; the public part being WHO and UNICEF; the private partners are a series of pharma-giants. GAVI is handing out free vaccines to poor countries, like Kenya.

If a vaccine can be implanted with a sterilization agent, any other health or DNA affecting molecule or protein can be put into a vaccination cocktail. See ref 8 links to these stories of Kenya: Thousands infertile after govt-sponsored vaccination and ?Mass Sterilization?: Kenyan Doctors Find Anti-fertility Agent in UN Tetanus Vaccine?

Conclusion

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We started out trying to figure out what the devastation would be like after Covid-19 but once you look at the figures, take in the scope of the problem and note a few other worldly key facts and figures it is almost impossible to come to any other conclusion other than the whole thing smells of a rat and what we have in play is a global transformative change under way with the "Bug" used as the initiator of events. To put it more militaristic terms you could call it a pre-emptive strike.

The script has still some way to go because they did promise a second and even third virus and it would be far more deadlier. So for those who don't accept this conclusion, I can only assume then that they must accept everything the media is telling them and here is the puzzle. So if several more deadly waves are coming and the economy is going to be pretty wreaked as it is, what is it going to be like after the 2nd and 3rd wave which could last for years? Ah but they are just trying to save lives. Really? And are you quite happy to sheepishly accept everything and see your entire life turned upside down, civil liberties slashed and being ordered into lockdowns ona whim. What we have at present is not life. It's existence. The goverements are treating us like small bold children. It is time people got a backbone, started thinking for themselves and stand up for whats right and being an active participant. So far we have shown ourselves to be more docile than sheep. Already the Swedes who have had no lockdown are being to mock us.

This present lockdown could simply be the first stage in the transformation. If the lockdown was lifted tomorrow frozen markets would resume and this would allow the billionaire class to formerly buy up all the distressed assets. Yet the population will now be fully conditioned to the new norms of wearing masks, isolating from everyone, thereby minimizing the risk of a counter reaction as real face to face discussion is largely eliminated and they would remain fearful and suspicious of each other. Critical thinking is already a distant memory and would remain so. The very top layer of the capitalist elite would know exactly for the next round what works and what are the weak points and the media matrix would be further tuned for maximum effect. Then when the second wave's arrival is announced, lockdown could be in place within hours as the Pavlovian like behaviour indoctrinated successfully in the past few weeks in the population would ensure immediate acquiescence.

Given destruction of peoples livelihoods, businesses, jobs, civil liberties and social norms barely raised a flutter of suspicion in the first round, then it is unlikely to raise suspicions in the second either and this can only increase the dis-regard and contempt for our lives that the elite have for us. In some ways this is symbolized by the instruction to not allow proper funerals / rite of passage -something every civilisation, society, culture and religion has held as a core value and yet on this too we have willingly accepted submissively.


References:

Ref 1:
Foregin Multi-Nationals in Ireland
https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-bii/businessinireland2017/...

Ref 2:
https://www.thebalance.com/the-u-s-debt-and-how-it-got-so-big-3305778

http://www.shadowstats.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_external_debt

Ref 3
Government's Covid-19 costs could hit ?30 billion - KBC
https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2020/0401/1127866-governments-covid-19-costs...

Ref 4
Government Revenue for 2019
https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/giea/governmentincomeandexpe...

Ref 5
Apr 9th: Debenhams to shut all stores in Republic with loss of 2,000 jobs
https://www.irishtimes.com/business/retail-and-services/debenhams-to-shut-all...

Ref 6:
62 people own the same as half the world, reveals Oxfam Davos report
https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/62-people-own-same-half-world-reveals...

Ref 7:
Why we should all have a basic income
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/why-we-should-all-have-a-basic-income

Ref 8:
?Mass Sterilization?: Kenyan Doctors Find Anti-fertility Agent in UN Tetanus Vaccine?
https://www.globalresearch.ca/mass-sterilization-kenyan-doctors-find-anti-fer...

Thousands of teenage girls report feeling seriously ill after routine school cancer vaccination
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/thousands-of-tee...


Additional References
Forbes 2020 World's Billionaires (4MB)
https://cryptome.org/2020/05/forbes-2020-billionaires.pdf

1 of indy - Sat Apr 18, 2020 20:14
In light of the slight interruption to normal life that is going on it is worth reassessing some of the known common knowledge about Big Tech and it's related area Artificial Intelligence (AI). Unless you have been asleep for the past 10 years, everyone will have heard of Edward Snowden who revealed in quite extensive detail the level of ongoing surveillance carried out jointly by the US and UK intelligence agencies, the NSA and GCHQ. Prior to his disclosure any suggestion of widespread spying was met with derision. Overnight the world changed and it was widely accepted as fact by everyone. What's more is that the depth and scale of the programs were far bigger than even the pessimists had imagined. It was this more than anything which has tarnished the reputation of technology as something that was always good to a demonstration of it's dark side. The state as such has dirtied its reputation with regards to technology.

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The rise of data centers and the cloud

In light of the slight interruption to normal life that is going on it is worth reassessing some of the known common knowledge about Big Tech and it's related area Artificial Intelligence (AI). Unless you have been asleep for the past 10 years, everyone will have heard of Edward Snowden who revealed in quite extensive detail the level of ongoing surveillance carried out jointly by the US and UK intelligence agencies, the NSA and GCHQ. Prior to his disclosure any suggestion of widespread spying was met with derision. Overnight the world changed and it was widely accepted as fact by everyone. What's more is that the depth and scale of the programs were far bigger than even the pessimists had imagined. It was this more than anything which has tarnished the reputation of technology as something that was always good to a demonstration of it's dark side. The state as such has dirtied its reputation with regards to technology.

Related Links: Amazon, Google, and Apple have moved past monopoly status to competing directly with governments? and winning |

1 of indy - Sun Apr 05, 2020 23:11

The current shutdown of the economy and lockdown of society all around the world is unprecedented and it is very clear that the media are talking up the number and trying to instil panic and fear in the people. This is true not just in Ireland but everywhere else. What all the media reports have in common is that not a single one of them puts the numbers into perspective. All we see are league tables of infections and deaths for this country and others and how it is all going to get worse.

Update: The common flu causes up to 5 million cases of severe illness worldwide and kills up to 650,000 people every year, according to the World Health Organization


THIS IS HUGE: Stanford?s Antibodies Study Wraps Up, Shows Covid-19 Is 50x More Prevalent and 50x Less Deadly Than Believed
https://youtu.be/jGUgrEfSgaU


The purpose of this article is to introduce some rational discussion of these numbers and show how it all relates to each other.

Regular Yearly and Daily Deaths in Various Countries

So for example in the case of Ireland the headline screams today (Sat 4th Apr) 17 more deaths and 331 new cases for a total of 4,604. Anyone following the news will know this daily death rate has risen over the last week or so and 17 people is quite alot and brings the total so far to 137. So now we will put this in context.

Update: Important Links: The Lockdown-Fueled Covid Panic Is Already Killing More People Than the Actual Virus | Austrian Doctors Warn of Lockdown Cost for Heart Attack and Cancer Patients | There Is Now a Staggering Amount of Evidence That Ventilators Are Killing More COVID Patients Than They Save | Funeral Home Lady Bursts Media?s New York COVID Corpse Porn (VIDEO) | Bill Gates? IHME Covid-19 Model Uses Flawed Methods, Is Without Value and Shouldn?t Guide Anyone?s Policies | Trust WHO documentary - A damming Investigation... Trailer -if you can locate the full version contact us via contact form

Consider a country with a population of 100 million and in it, there are an equal number of people at each age group. And lets assume the number of people born is more or less the same as the number who die. This would mean a growth rate of zero percent. We know most Western countries have a growth of anywhere from 1% to 2%. So now assume most people in this country live on average for 100 years. In fact the average expectancy in Ireland is 81.5. But lets stick with 100 for now. Then if you only last 100 years this would mean in a population of 100 million that each year (which is 1% of 100 years) that 1% of the people die. Well 1% of 100 million is simply one million. Therefore the number of people who die per day is 1,000,000 / 365 or 2,739 people per day. Now applying this logic to the USA with a population of approximately 331 million means 3.3 million die a year or 9,068 deaths a day. Italy has a population of 60m. This would then be 600,000 per year or 1,643 per day and for Ireland with a population of 4.9 million, the above would suggest about 49,000 deaths per year.

Other Coverage Sweden?s Dangerous Experiment (Not Committing Social & Economic Suicide) Is Still Working | Covid Doomsday Cult Said Sweden Would Be Drowning in Bodies. It?s Doing Better Than Lockdown Britain | Ohio Citizens Stage a Spirited Protest Against the Covid Rouge Lockdown (VIDEO) | Irish Independent: (Apr 13th) We have sleepwalked into a police state - it's vital we have right to question State's actions | Slovenia?s Official Antibodies Study Implies COVID Infection Fatality Rate Just 0.15%, Comparable to Seasonal Influenza Infection is far more widespread (and far less lethal) than captured by PCR tests (15 to 58 times more so)


The above 'model' is fairly crude since the shape of the population curve is not uniform and people don't live to 100 on average. However it is surprisingly close to the actual figures and within 20% or so. Here are the normal deaths on a regular year for a sample of countries.

Normal number of deaths per year and day for selected countries
Country Population Deaths / year Deaths per day
Ireland 4.9 million 31,116
(in 2018)
85
U.K. 67.8 million 616,014
(in 2018)
1,688
Italy 60.4 million 610,645 1,673
Spain 46.7 million 474,523
(in 2018)
1,300
USA 331 million 2,813,503
(2017)
7,708
China 1,439 million 10.5 million 28,800

It would be a reasonable bet that few people realized that on average 85 people die every single day in Ireland. When you realize this then the 17 does not seem so catastrophic and earth shattering. But lets dig a bit deeper. In the report from the www.hpsc.ie for Apr 3rd where up to that point there were 113 deaths, here is the breakdown of death by Covid-19 by age. Unfortunately though anyone over 65 is in one age bracket and we have to question why they didn't continue the 10 year age brackets. Is it to hype the numbers and make it seem that the risk at death at 65 or 66 seems higher than it is. From RTE news reports it says the median age of today's reported deaths is 77 -that is of the 17 today. This is quite close to the average life expectancy of 81.5.

Covid-19 Deaths by Age Profile

Update 2: The Italian government has released the percentage of deaths by age group and that works out at 99% over the age of 60 or 83% of all Covid deaths over the age of 70. And please see Important Update below as only 12% of these deaths may actually be cause by Covid since most of these people had other life threatening illnesses
Update 3: Up to 99% of people who died in Italy from Covid had other underlying conditions and very likely many of them would have died if not immediately, very soon afterwards

Age Group Number of Deaths
< 5 0
5 - 14 0
15 - 24 0
25 - 34 2
35 - 44 1
45 - 54 1
55 - 64 6
65 + 103
Percentage of Deaths by Age Group in Italy due to Covid-19*
* see Important Update box below
Age Group Percentage of Deaths
60 - 69 16%
70 - 79 35%
80 - 89 42%
90+ 6%

Yet another point is that the figure of 81.5 for average life expectancy is for both males and females, but the separate figures are 83.4 for females and 79.7 for males and one of the strange things about the virus is that far more men die of it than women. Going back to that media age of 77 this is noticed it is reasonably close to the average age of men. It seems like if you are within a year or two of your average life expectancy for your sex and you came down seriously ill with Covid then you are in real danger.

If one looks at the normal distribution on any given year by age, not all the people who die on a given day are either 83.4 if female and 79.7 if male. The two charts below from the Central Statistics Office show what it looks like. This really means that you have to include deaths of 'younger' people by accidents, suicide and diseases like heart attacks and cancer but you can still see that they still make up a smaller portion of the daily body count.

An interesting question then is of the 17 Covid deaths today who had a median age of 77, should these been added to the regular daily death rate of 85 people or is there some overlap? The chart below suggests overlap. Having said that no-one wants to die even one day before their time.

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In the current climate of fear and panic, people don't like to listen to anyone who questions the official narrative in any way. A common argument put forward when the above facts are presented is that 'yeah but young people are getting it and have died'. Well yes that is true, but so is it true that young people get cancer and die. The argument is really used to just shutdown debate and try make you out to be some sort of callous creature.

Now that these numbers have been put into a bit of context, when we hear for example 700 people died in a single day in Italy which is really broadcast to scare the pants off us, we can see the 700 in comparison to the 1,618 that die on a given day is not so end of the world. It is high though but again the same characteristics of the age profile is likely to occur.

At this point in the discussion, the people who are most frightened and righteous minded are shouting but that's not the point it will go exponential and we have to lock down to stop it.



Important Update 1: Italy

It looks like Italy which is the epicentre of the scare where it is important to hype the numbers to scare us all has massively talked up the numbers on deaths.

According to Prof Walter Ricciardi, scientific adviser to Italy?s minister of health, the country?s mortality rate is far higher due to demographics ? the nation has the second oldest population worldwide ? and the manner in which hospitals record deaths.

?The age of our patients in hospitals is substantially older ? the median is 67, while in China it was 46,? Prof Ricciardi says. ?So essentially the age distribution of our patients is squeezed to an older age and this is substantial in increasing the lethality.? [Note by Indy Editor. Median age is lower in China.]

But Prof Ricciardi added that Italy?s death rate may also appear high because of how doctors record fatalities.

?The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus.

?On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity ? many had two or three.?

So in effect they are re-categorizing all the regular people who die of cancer, heart disease, flu and everything else and saying they are dying of Covid-19. That is why the numbers are closing in on the normal daily rates. What this means is that we have to suspect everything including what are the tests actually testing.

Important Update 2: The Consequence of the Low Number of Flu Deaths Last Year

At any given time there is always a certain fraction of people who are dying of some underlying disease and do not have too long to live maybe of the order of a few days to a several months. Each year when the flu season comes along, it is these people who often succumb and they are swept up by the virus and constitute a vulnerable population in which to take hold. This is because people in that state of health with their immune system very low are especially at risk. However last year the number of flu deaths was down everywhere in both Europe and the US. This means therefore that the pool of vulnerable people that normally die were available this year to the Corona-virus and so this goes along way to explain the legit deaths that did occur and in Northern Italy which has a particularly old population this explains why it appear to affect it so much although the point raised above that probably only 12% should really qualify for death by Covid still stands.




Predictions, the Economy and Human Life

Switching to the UK a few weeks back Neil Ferguson at Imperial College (Ref 1) who was advising the UK government was predicting 500,000 deaths in the UK. A very high figure indeed. Incidentally he has since changed his view and says the NHS will be just about able to cope and reckons the death rate will be around 20,000. Both terrible figures especially when they are not put in context. But they are now. Checking our table above, we see 616,000 deaths by year in the UK. So if Covid-19 is primarily killing those (and not all) who are within a year or two of the end of their live, we can see where this figure of 500k comes from. It is more or less all the deaths of the year compressed into one. What is never stated is whether this is 500,000 extra deaths. It is probably a very significant overlap.

Returning now to the crisis there are a few key points which we are all aware of and most people will agree;

  • The entire economy in most of Europe, USA and other parts of the world is shutdown indefinitely
  • All schools, colleges, hotels, pubs, cafes, restaurants and non-essential shops are closed
  • In Ireland several 100,000 have lost their jobs and almost everyone else working from home with restrictions to stay within 2km of your residence
  • Ryanair has grounded at least 90% of all it's large fleet of airplanes. As have Aer Lingus, British Airways, Luftansa and basically every other major airline in Europe and the US. During 911, they were grounded for a few days. This is going on for weeks. There has never been anything remotely like this.
  • The economic impact is unprecedented and runs to trillions worldwide and many economists expect if not a world depression certainly a bad recession.
  • Pension funds and investments are being decimated.
  • Social effects are massively disruptive and the suicide rate is probably increasing.
  • Hospitals are more or less empty as regular surgeries are cancelled and people who get mild strokes and heart attacks are reportedly not going to hospital for fear of covid-19 or fear of being a burden. By not doing so, some of these people will die who otherwise might not have. The situation with people attending various other clinic -e.g. cancer treatment is unclear.

Now we are told we had to do this in order to save human life. And it is true human life matters. So why then have most governments underfunded health care for years. Why did the Conservatives in the UK gut the number of beds after the 2008 crisis considering now the UK is at standstill and the costs will far exceed any bailouts to the rich? In the case of Ireland we should ask Fine Gael, why did they let the Vulture Funds in and through other measures ramp up the number of homeless to 10,000 of which about 3,000 are children. Why was people with special needs and those on low income the ones who were hit by huge cutbacks during the crisis since it affected them badly? Why is so much junk food allowed and people's health to grow worse and obesity rates to soar. Why has a sugar tax been resisted and so on.

We hear that in hospitals in Italy and elsewhere doctors have to make tough decisions like giving respirators to young people instead of old people. Does this not contradict things abit. I thought it was mainly old people dying as the stats for Ireland and Italy show. Sure there are many more in ICU than dead. So in essence everyone agrees a young life is more valuable in the sense it is not yet lived. But the evidence clearly shows that they don't really care about the young people as in this country we have just shown 1/3 of homeless people are kids and the rest are probably in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Surely your risk of mental and physical ill health are sky rocket when you are homeless. Do you have to get Covid-19 and then they care. Building social housing for them all would cost a lot less than this crisis is costing. And people forget than literally 10s of thousands of social houses were built in this country where we were dirt poor in place like Crumlin, Kimmage, Finglas, Ballyfermot and all around the country. There are a lot of inconsistencies as you can see. Yet I can still hear the chant in the background 'exponential', 'exponential'.

A few words for the UK and the USA, if human life matters so much why did they knowingly go to war under false pretexts in which hundreds of thousands of died, millions injured in Iraq and so forth and where they wasted trillion which could have been used for health and education for improving the life of people in their own countries. It seems odd they have now stopped their precious economies all of a sudden.

And a few words for India. Population about 1,352 million people. The country is in lockdown because they care too. Yet hundreds of million live in dire poverty anyhow. For example there are slums with millions in them all over Mumbai none of which have proper running water or sewage. The biggest one called Dharavi has 900,000 people living it. No sewers! And the India government is worried about them. It would be interesting to see the life expectancy of those people, child mortality and so forth.

Comparison with Flu numbers

It is therefore time to look at some other similar scaled disasters. First off Covid-19 is NOT the flu and is a new novel strain of a SARS like virus. It should be noted that any comparison with flu is met with anger and people are simply not allowed to discuss it and Covid-19 together. Maybe the reason for that will be clear in a moment.

The flu season normally lasts around 100 days or so and goes from mid-November end of February and by that is meant the bulk of the infections and deaths. This does not rule out that people can get it in the summer. Last year was a good year in UK and Ireland. Flu deaths were way down. When people get the flu and become seriously ill they quite often get pneumonia -the same complication that Covid-19 people are getting. It would appear most cases of pneumonia -up to now -are triggered by the flu. The flu virus itself kills not too many but pneumonia cases are nearly always considered as a result of flu and that is why the national statistics always have a category for influenza related deaths. This means technically people who are said to have died of flu didn't really die of flu but of pneumonia. This is the exact same case for Covid-19. Many are those dying are dying of pneumonia and it is marked as death by Covid-19. That is reasonable enough. This means when counting flu deaths we can include pneumonia because they are counting them in as death by Covid-19 when a Covid-19 patient dies of pneumonia.

So how many people died of flu in Ireland not last year but in other years. Answer according to a press release from HSE (Ref 2) issued on Oct 1st 2016 they say:

The flu vaccine is a lifesaver because flu can be a very serious and sometimes deadly disease, with potentially 1,000 flu related deaths in Ireland during a severe flu season....

They quote this figure because they were trying to get people to take the vaccine. If we go to CSO figures for influenza related deaths these are shown in the table below which were pieced together from the published Excel sheets for death by cause for the years 2015 to 2017. The format was slightly different each year so the tag line is added for each year to show what it was.

Number of Flu Deaths in Ireland
Figures from CSO
Year Influenza Related Deaths
2015 1,199 (Influenza and pneumonia)
2016 1,127 (Influenza and pneumonia)
2017 1,147 (Influenza and pneumonia)

As we can see this tallies with what the HSE said in their press release. The chart below shows the number of flu infections for the given week of the year and this will automatically correspond with the number of deaths. In other words the bulk occur in the flu season. There is one thing which appears to be out of alignment and that is in the Annual Epidemiological Report from http://www.hpsc.ie covering flu, they seem to only count the direct flu deaths and do NOT include the pneumonia caused by flu and therefore come out with lower numbers. Since it was difficult to get a graph of deaths for Ireland, we will use one from the data for the US, which shows the number of deaths per week for the time of the year from 2010 to 2018. All that is being illustrated is the way it peaks and it will be the same everywhere.

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So accepting an average figure of 1,000 death on an average year and if we assume 100 days for the flu season for the sake of simplicity, then that works out at 10 deaths per day. Up to yesterday that was not far off the same death rate as so far from Covid-19. The panic crowd are now praying that the exponential curve kicks in to prove this article wrong.

But to finish up lets dig out the flu death rates for the UK. Again last year they were really low so here they are for previous years taken from the UK government publication called: Surveillance of influenza and other respiratory viruses in the UK Winter 2018 to 2019 and from their Table 7 on page 51. One assumes they are using the influenza related deaths which is flu + pneumonia. If 1,100+ people die in Ireland and UK has a population 67.8 / 4.9 = 13.8 times larger then we would expect around about 15,180 deaths in the UK. It seems all flu deaths are estimates anyhow because not all of the people die in hospital.



Number of Flu Deaths in UK
Season Influenza Related Deaths
2014 / 2015 28,330
2015 / 2016 11,875
2016 / 2017 18,009
2017 / 2018 26,408
2018 / 2019 1,692

The first thing we see is the estimate extrapolated from Irish figures is not far off and second the new estimate for the number of deaths now suggested by the advisor to UK government Neil Ferguson quoted above of 20,000 deaths is very close to normal year of flu deaths.

So if this lower figure pans out in the UK and lets assume the death toll in Ireland goes from the current 137 today to say a massive 500 or half the normal number of flu deaths, does the question not arise why has the world economy been put in shutdown and literally hundreds of thousands of companies around Europe and the rest of the world driven to bankruptcy along with millions of jobs?

To finish off we can say the flu death rate in Italy with a very similar population to the UK must match it. In Ref 3 below which links to a study of flu deaths in Italy over 4 seasons from 2013/2014 to 2016/2017 it estimates 68,000 deaths. That works out at 68,000/4 or 17,000 deaths per year. This is in sync with the UK.

We are finally ready to publish the league tables we have seen so much of except this time, we will put in the flu deaths along side the Covid tallies so far and suddenly the world does not seem so frightening. It does raise the question why have in previous years it's pretty much okay for so many to die of flu but this year it is all out global panic. You can probably hear this: It's a new virus and its exponential and this is only the start of the big curve and a lot worse is to come and young people are dying... or so they say.

There is also something odd about the respirators. We seem to be given the impression that they are need for the younger people like those in the 30s, 40s and 50s but the reality appears to be is that older people are on them given what doctors are saying. The impression that it looks like they are trying to make is that only for the lockdown preventing the surge we would ran out and these younger people who die and they are more like you and me. It is sort of implied if this got out of hand -i.e. no lockdown, then we would all become seriously ill and die. Its implied. The authorities are really working for you and your safety. Funny though the way there are just so many reports in all the affected countries where doctors and health care workers are being sent into the frontline without proper or insufficient protection equipment. Do they really care about them.

Country Covid-19 death tally
so far
Influenza Related Deaths (average)
Ireland 137 1,100+
U.K. 4,932 11,000 to 28,000
depending on year
Italy 15,362 17,000
depending on year
Spain 11,947 No figure but with population of 46m estimate is 13,000 year
USA 8,407 Varies from 3,000 and 49,000
China 3,318 Unknown

So What is Going On ?

The real puzzle is why in China where 10 million people die every year or 900,000 a month and yet in the month of January or so, 3,318 died from Covid-19. That works out at 0.36% of the regular monthly total. Here's the clincher, either:

  • China thought it was under a covert bio-weapon attack as voiced by the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian who claimed US military brought corona virus to Wuhan -see Ref 4.
  • Or a faction in China that opposes Xi Jinping and who are aligned and linked in some way with the 0.01% -i.e. probably the same group of 62 people as widely reported by Oxfam (Ref 5) and others who own half the world's wealth and have immense power. -that this group managed to instigate panic in China before Xi got it under control. The sole intent was to spread panic worldwide and essentially shutdown the global economy for some kind of reset of the global order.

Indeed the amount of financial debt in the world runs to trillion and trillions and if we could derivatives then it is really off the scale in quintillions. Nothing was fixed after the 2008 crisis and the debt has only got bigger. But the richest and most powerful in the world already have so much. In their position money surely does not count and only power does. With the rise of high tech and the surveillance state, the West must surely have been looking jealously at China for the past decade or more admiring their highly effective almost total control of society especially with constant monitoring and awarding of social credits which are sort of the new currency in China and plays a role in determining what you are allowed do.

You see by making use of a real infectious virus that is killing some people but is not Black Death in scale yet until iteration 2 if this round doesn't do the trick, the game plan whatever it is, is global in scale and being rolled out that way. The vast majority in government and authority are just being carried along by the momentum and some are enjoying their new found powers but there are much bigger forces at play and the world media all of which is owned and controlled by the most powerful are the real drivers of the show. A few very frightening things have been learnt so far:

  • People are readily eager to give up all their freedoms, jobs and rights for apparent security
  • People are more than eager to do the work of the authorities and police each other.
  • People will believe absolutely anything they are told by the authorities and will very reluctantly believe other sources unless it matches the official narrative. Fear of being called a nut or conspiracy freak is sky high and the label amounts to social death
  • People will not question anything no matter how little sense it makes and how inconsistent it is

This and more will be teased out in a follow up article.


Don't worry it is just a bad dream. Really people shouldn't worry. It is just like what the authorities everywhere say it is. They are looking after you and when this is all over they are going to clear all your debts and make the world right. There is certainly nothing sinister going on and that is just a crazy conspiracy. So just shut the f**k up and go back to not thinking above your station.

References:

Ref 1a:
Scientist behind 'gold standard' model that predicted 500K deaths in UK (and 2 million in US) admits he was off, now says there will be 20K or fewer in the UK
https://www.theblaze.com/news/scientist-predicted-500k-deaths-now-says-20k

Ref 1b:
Neil Ferguson now says 20,00 death
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2238578-uk-has-enough-intensive-care-uni...

Ref 2:
https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/media/pressrel/annualseasonalfluvaccinat...

Ref 3:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971219303285

Ref 4:
https://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/other/chinese-foreign-ministry-spokesman-tweet...

Ref 5:
https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/62-people-own-same-half-world-reveals...
1 of indy - Fri Sep 20, 2019 00:43
A Strategy for Reducing Emissions, Pollution and Making Cities Liveable
The case is made for the provision of free public transport in every major town and city worldwide for a multitude of reasons. It has always been a good idea and should have been done a long time ago, but now with three major issues of our time; resource depletion, including oil, pollution and the climate crisis; they make it imperative that we move to such a system, both to conserve dwindling supplies of cheap energy, to reduce the use of vast mineral resources to make hundreds of millions of cars and to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions because climate change is happening faster than expected. The Earth's climate has turned out to be more sensitive and complex than anticipated as evidenced by the recent dramatic record breaking summer ice melts in the Arctic1 in 2007, 2008, 2012 and basically every year since then. With such a large change in the albedo or reflectivity over a huge area of the Arctic, this signifies the jump into positive feedback of the climate system, although it is not the only positive feedback. Combined with preliminary reports that frozen methane is beginning to be released from the Arctic sea floor and tundra and given that methane is 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas, it is clear we are probably at the point of things running out of control. Emissions need to be cut drastically, starting about 20 years ago.

An earlier version of this article was written but unpublished back in 2008 and it has now been revised and published to take account of various changes since then.

The case is made for the provision of free public transport in every major town and city worldwide for a multitude of reasons. It has always been a good idea and should have been done a long time ago, but now with three major issues of our time; resource depletion, including oil, pollution and the climate crisis; they make it imperative that we move to such a system, both to conserve dwindling supplies of cheap energy, to reduce the use of vast mineral resources to make hundreds of millions of cars and to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions because climate change is happening faster than expected.

featured image
Are buses the future instead of the electric car? Heresy?

The Earth's climate has turned out to be more sensitive and complex than anticipated as evidenced by the recent dramatic record breaking summer ice melts in the Arcticc1 in 2007, 2008, 2012 and basically every year since then. With such a large change in the albedo or reflectivity over a huge area of the Arctic, this signifies the jump into positive feedback of the climate system, although it is not the only positive feedback. Combined with preliminary reports that frozen methane is beginning to be released from the Arctic sea floor and tundra and given that methane is 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas, it is clear we are probably at the point of things running out of control. Emissions need to be cut drastically, starting about 20 years ago.

featured image
Maybe global warming is happening after all ....
Arctic sea ice, going going,..gone?

Moving to free and well-designed public transport allows society to deal with these problems in the least disruptive manner and to do so in the most equitable way and it would increase the shared sense of everyone working together to cope with what are essentially going to be permanent problems. Free public transport is not the full solution but is definitely an important first step. Switching to public transport has the potential to achieve large scale reductions in fuel use and it can be done immediately without further research or perfection of any technology. The current status quo plan to replace all the petrol and diesel fuelled cars with electric ones still leaves us with the problem of massive resource usage, a replacement of oil wars for lithium wars, traffic congestion, deaths from air pollution , high accident rates and actually high energy use. It does not matter if the heavily promoted so called solution of producing millions of electric cars is run on renewable energy because it would require vastly more wind farms, solar farms and whatever else compared to a transport solution based on highly efficient, globally deployed free public transport system which would only require a fraction of energy and resources of a car based one.


Hasselt, Belgium: A Case Study of a Free Public Transport System

It is not widely known but there were and are a number of small cities in the world that are already running free or partially free public transport systems. The most famous and popular and the one which others strive to as their ideal, is in the city of Hasselt2 (pop. 70k) in Belgium. This system ran from 1997 to 2013 and was extremely popular but was ended when there was a change of political power.

The free public transport system in Hasselt came about as a result of the city council trying to decide what to do about the chronic traffic and whether to build yet another ring road as the existing one was clogged with cars, even though the city was in debt. Indeed at one stage Hasselt had the highest level of car ownership in Belgium and the city itself had only two bus lines operating.

At approximately the same time in middle of 1996, the Flemish transport minister Eddy Baldewijns, had created an integrated transport policy framework in which public transport was allocated a primary role. The city of Hasselt was one of the first cities to adopt the plan. Mayor Steve Stevaert proposed to give absolute primacy on the city's Green Boulevard (ring road) to public transport. The mobility policy in Hasselt developed into an example of cooperation between the bus line, the Flemish government and the city of Hasselt, under the motto "the city guarantees the right of mobility for everyone".

In an example of the foresight that people possess but rarely get to use, the City Council and Mayor realized that just making it free was not enough and that the system needed to be significantly upgraded. And so the number of bus lines was increased from 2 to 9 reaching every part of the city, the frequency of service increased to every 30 minutes and 15 minutes at rush hour. This was done in the 3 months prior to the service being made free. Other changes were made too, such as creating park and ride facilities, moving large city centre carparks further out and adding traffic calming measures elsewhere and significantly increasing bicycle lanes and cycle ways.

Predictably the corporate media went mad and the officials clearly took the heat but stood their ground on the plan and so the system went live on 1st July 1997. For the city it was an immediate success. Life returned to it once again by allowing public spaces to open up and function properly, filled with people rather than cars.

The figures below from the official city records testify to the success of the scheme.

Year No of Passengers % Increase
1996 360,000 (100%)
1997 1,498,088 428%
1998 2,837,975 810%
1999 2,840,924 811%
2000 3,178,548 908%
2001 3,706,638 1,059%
2002 3,640,270 1,040%
2003 3,895,886 1,113%
2004 4,259,008 1,217%
2005 4,257,408 1,216%
2006 4,614,844 1,319%

Tallinn, Estonia: Case 2 of a Free Public Transport System

From Jan 1st 2013, the city of Tallinn made public transport free for residents and was used as an incentive to get people to move back into the city. The most interesting part is they probably have the best financial method because it is paid out of the city taxes. The more people move into the city and use it, the more tax they will get to fund it as costs go up since more people use it. It still requires the political commitment to make the funding available. Tallinn has since gained 11,000 people and an increase of ?11 million in revenue. That suggests each person is paying ?1000 in city taxes and it is highly unlikely all that money goes to transport which suggests they are getting free transport for much less.

Other Cities with Free Public Transport

There are a number of other small cities in the world which have or had limited free public transport. In some cases it is free only for those under 18 and the senior citizens. In other cases, only part of the transport network was or is free such as inner city hubs and some of these limited solutions are not very effective because they don?t illustrate the full potential. In addition many have suffered with the finance methods used to fund them.

Just recently the country of Luxemburg announced it would introduce free public transport throughout the whole country from next year and some cities in Germany and France are now considering free public transport. Hopefully it is designed well and useful enough that it becomes a permanent success.

Perception, Preparation and Service are very important

Making a proposal to introduce free public transport will go down differently in different cities and towns depending on how good or bad the transport system is in each place. A bad transport system can turn public opinion against it and for those who would oppose the scheme that is their aim. Should a free public transport system, especially in a high profile city, get close to fruition, the opponents would try to sabotage it through bureaucratic channels and politically, lobby against it, and negate it in the media and at the very least try to at least make it ineffective. It would be full spectrum opposition. Make no mistake this is serious business and it would challenge some very powerful players ?e.g. auto, oil industry & car insurance. It is well documented how at the start of the car age, when many US cities had very effective trams and trolley systems, that the growing car companies secretly bought up these entities through front companies and then set about neglecting maintenance, restricting finance and destroying them whilst at the same time heavily promoting the new 'better' alternative -the private motor car. In effect what they did and what the opponents today would do is to try and change the public perception of the concept of free travel and turn it into a negative. And once that idea is planted in people?s heads, it can be hard to dislodge it.

Therefore a free transport system has to been well designed so that people actually use it not because it is just free but because it is useable and effective and releases time previously wasted on the act of driving. The free part is more about making it equitable across all social classes and encouraging uptake.

Taking the case of Hasselt again, they did the smart thing and prepared the system well in advance of the launch date for free travel. When you look at public transport networks of any major city, you find that most of the routes form a radial pattern with all routes heading to the city centre and only a few traversing non central areas. Yet many people on their daily commutes do not follow this radial pattern, but travel to areas on the periphery of the city, e.g. to places of employment like business parks. It therefore makes sense to add and modify routes so that the network resembles more a spider?s web or mesh with multiple routes in concentric circles to allow these other directions of travel. This may not seem important but it is crucial, because if you travel by car to work to some part of the outer rim of a city, you will drive across rather than take the bus in and then back out of the city centre to your workplace which is going to take longer. And whether the bus is free or not, if a more direct route is not offered, then you won't have the time or inclination to make use of it. Practicalities matter

The other thing they did in Hasselt was increase the service to every half hour during the day and every 15 minutes during rush hour. This is just as important. To be useful, the service must be regular, predictable and timely. The service has to be made good enough so that you can depend on it, and gets you to your destination comfortably. Creating a public transport system that involves waiting for ages and then standing in a crowded bus will not work. This means bus shelters to protect from rain, signage, clear maps, timetables and real-time information & apps that are accurate.

Unfortunately the car has taught us to be impatient with the slightest imperfection with public transport but strangely not with cars and that mode of travelling itself. So while people complain a lot publically about waiting for buses for more than 10 minutes, they tend to be less vocal and more accepting of being stuck in traffic at near standstill for 30 minutes or more a day. This must be something to do with the constants adverts over the years showing cars driving along empty roads in beautiful countryside and trying to equate it with freedom. The adverts seem to have been a success in that regard.

Probably one of the most important reasons for the popularity of a car is that you can depart whenever you want and since it is your car, this is equivalent to a 24 hour service. Thus for public transport, reducing the wait time brings it closer to the idea of leaving when you are ready and having a good network that penetrates every area of the city means it brings it as close as possible. The car-centric rosy view of the world of course breaks down when the cars meet up in their thousands on the same busy main roads, namely chronic traffic, resulting in longer travel times, increased costs on fuel and of course stress. In cities, this is where buses can do better and move masses of people quickly so long as buses, trams and trains are given priority and kept clean and pleasant. It can be a lot less stressful to sit back and have a read or listen to music on a bus than to spend a hour gripping the steering wheel focused on the car in front, especially when you know that you could be doing better things with your precious free time. And all the better if Wi-Fi is available on all buses, trams and trains.

Do People Want This?

Most certainly yes. In Hasselt, people absolutely loved their free fare system. In Ireland where if you are over 66 years of age, public transport is free7 on bus and rail countrywide, the scheme is very popular. Polls everywhere consistently show that people are overwhelming in favour of free public transport. For example a nationwide survey8 of Australians revealed two-thirds want free travel on buses, trains and ferries, funded from Federal Government surpluses. There are other towns in the world with free public transport9 but none implemented as well or on the same scale of Hasselt (during the time it was running), but even in these places it is still very popular.

What is often not realized is that most people have incredible common sense but you would never know it from the media which tends to reinforce the false belief that we are too ignorant for thinking about how we should run society and instead we should leave it to the experts that have given us endless wars, waste, and exploitation of the land and oceans. For example polls consistently show that an overwhelming number of people (both on the right and left) are in support of clean water, clean air and protecting the environment. Given the awful state of these resources worldwide you would never suspect that is the case. Actually what it does prove is what an excellent job PR spin and disinformation by various vested interests have done to distort the public "debate".

The key point in all of this is that since the media is owned by vested interests they control what gets debated and the views aired and thereby can shape public opinion through distortions, misdirection and disinformation. In the last few years, it has got worse and most of the fake news is now coming from the same vested interests. Then on an individual basis all of us who are exposed to this daily, make the assumption that everyone has the same opinion as what is presented in the media through print, radio, TV and Internet/social media. This works because humans have an ingrained sense of the wisdom of the (diverse) crowd.10 This probably worked very well for the previous 50,000 years or so of human history, but today the crowd has now largely been substituted with the corporate media and we swim in that 24x7 hrs. And since it does not inform us with true facts, but instead the ones spun by them and an endless stream of distraction, then it becomes harder to make an informed decision. For the great span of time in which the last part of our intelligence evolved, people would have had diverse experiences and survival knowledge and so everyone?s view counted because it would have taken real intelligence to get through life and this is why our minds implicitly seek and go along with the opinions of others because those people opinions counted but today that innate mechanism is the leverage by which PR, propaganda and marketing completely distort our reality.

In general everyone will want something that is free. It?s hard to think of a reason you would want to pay given the choice of paying nothing. Those opposing it will always set out their argument on the basis that we can't make it free because it will harm us, whether it be through increased taxation, job losses, lower sales of cars or increased inconvenience, not that traffic congestion, road deaths, pollution and climate change are ever presented as any kind of problem. There is always talk about costs but the external negative costs just mentioned are never allowed to appear on any balance sheet. Really the argument needs to be viewed from a different perspective which is that transport, currently dominated by the private car is actually costing us all a lot and denying us of other choices. That does not get discussed in any meaningful way.

The core principle behind free transport is simply that by sharing resources (i.e. buses, trams) and costs (fuel, insurance, car tax), we lower the cost for everyone. In fact that is the principle behind any large economic organisation, which is about being able to do things through economies of scale. This is another reason why it is important to make public transport free at least at the point of use but being paid through taxation, because when you have to pay for these shared resources on an individual basis then they do not get shared equally.

What does it Cost and How to Pay for It

Obviously there are costs to running any public transport system and it is worth doing some analysis here to see what they are and what are the tax options since, if it is going to be free at end use then it has got to be paid through taxes of some sort or another.

For the case of Hasselt, figures4 for 2006 give a total cost of ?3.4 million to run the service per year. The city paid 25% of this and the Flemish government 75%. Taking this total and dividing by the population of Hasselt (70k) works out at just under ?50 per person for a year of free travel. Anyone would agree that is an outstanding bargain. Yet in the end the regional government didn?t want to pay it.

The problem with tax is that people don?t have a clear view of where the money is spent and it has been frequently cited for many a country (ref subsidy), how large direct and indirect subsidies are paid out to various vested industries such as the fossil fuel one. In the case of Ireland it was discovered that this amounts to ?4,000m in potentially environmentally damaging subsidies every year. Further on, it is shown that for the case of Dublin with over 1 million people, free public transport could be provided for less than a fraction of this value. This should be borne in mind when the media shouts out how awful free transport would be because it would raise our taxes. We are already spending enormous amount of our tax on truly harmful things. Let?s just divert the tax.

Throughout the world, countries use different schemes for funding public services. Prior to the Thatcher-Reagan right-wing revolution in the 1980s, they were mostly funded out of taxes and back then the rich paid much higher taxes. At the same time the rise of the use of tax havens by multi-national corporations has diverted trillions per year collectively away from national governments and which has resulted in increased taxes at point of use like sales and VAT taxes to partially make up the shortfall. Incidentally the billionaire class produced by this revolution now use their new found wealth through the mechanism of vulture funds to price the present generation out of buying a home and screw them continually for high rent.

From the 1980s to the present, the trend has been to privatise public services and get the public to pay directly. Generally the wealthier part of society has little need for public service, particularly public transport, but health and education too. However this sort of mechanism is one of the least equitable and ends up denying the people who need it, a decent service. Because of the lack of political will (or is it that private security firms and intelligence agency / one percenters nexus have the dirt on most key politicians and thereby own them and control what they legislate for) to fund public transport, it has largely got worse and less useful over the decades. This dynamic has contributed to the huge increase in car ownership since then and all the associated problems. Coincidently higher car sales enriches the already rich.

The types and amount of taxes levied vary considerably from country to country. In some, taxes are raised nationally and city councils are funded from the central exchequer. In others, the councils or cities have limited tax raising abilities ranging from a sales tax to perhaps just a commercial rates tax. Into this mix should be added the equally diverse politics for how the allocation is organised and where decision making and power lies. The balance of power and of finance can have a significant bearing on how easy or difficult it might be for a city or region to implement free public transport. The capitalist class has tried to lock down these choices by legalisation at EU level over running of services and how they should go out to tender and declaring illegal and anti-competitive ?government? subsidies. Essentially they are directives to permanently keep public services, including public transport, privatised. Other incentives waiting in the wings like investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms of free trade agreements would permanently transfer all control to corporations since most of these agreements are to do with not trade but services which include things like education, health and transport.

Therefore to bring in free transport, there are political obstacles, at local, regional, state and even EU level in the case of Europe and no doubt federal in the case of USA. Financial ones would parallel this to some degree.

Clearly the specifics of each city would mean the costs would vary to some degree and it would be very important that the plan on how to fund free public transport is made clear and transparent, otherwise it would be too easy for detractors to raise fears that it would cost everybody more and at the same time use criticism of existing public transport system as a means to demonstrate that it wouldn't work. This could easily cast doubt in people's mind and result in lack lustre public support. And in cities where public transport is worst and likely to have high car usage, it would be harder to make the argument just where it is needed most.

Without a clear example of a working free public transport system and all the benefits it brings, it is hard to imagine what a well-designed, useful free system would be like. As an analogy, imagine if the Internet was not free how that would stifle and kill so many of the positive aspects of it ?that is if they are any remaining left now that social media corporations have seized considerable control of it, through dominance. Would you want to use it then and would you explore it in the same carefree manner? If you had to pay 0.1 cent for every site you visited, wouldn't it dramatically change the whole feel of it? It is still not free since most of us pay an internet provider but after that it feels free and essentially is. One can of course make the argument, especially with regards social media, that it is not free, because we give away all our privacy since that is the product sold onwards.

The underlying principle in all of this is that sharing resources amongst people will always be cheaper than people individually trying to go it alone. As an example taking a conservative figure, lets assume that 20 people started taking the (free) bus for the work commute ?assuming the service is improved to make that possible. Then if each person was spending ?500 to ?1,000 a year on petrol just on driving to work and this is a realistic figure, then for 20 people, this ranges from 20 x ?500 = ?10,000 to 20 x ?1,000 = ?20,000. If say half of those people either got rid of the cars or did not purchase a replacement because they were satisfied with public transport and could function with it, doing short term car rental instead for those cases a few times a year when a car is needed, then the scheme would divert the capital cost of purchase to other more productive uses. For 10 cars this could easily amount to 10 x ?20,000 = ?200,000 available to the economy. And that is just for 10. Scaling this up to a city of a million people, with 1 car per 3 people or 300,000 cars, then whether you have a deferred purchase of 10%, 20% or 50% of cars, the savings of capital for other uses would be enormous besides the savings on fuel. And that money is available to each household. The savings are probably more than would be needed for each of those same households to retrofit them for energy savings or installation of solar panels because heating is one of the other really big users of energy and thereby emissions.

Scaling that up to city size and then to say all the cities in the UK and then to all the cities in Europe and from there to the rest of the world, the savings would be enormous. Collectively maybe the savings would even match or exceed the size of the USA military budget of ?7,000+ million! And maybe the USA and it?s vassals could reduce their military budget as the urge to fight oil wars would be less. Unlikely.

As we can see it would be wrong to focus on the tax cost per person, without also looking at the savings per person and the environmental savings in health, pollution, road traffic accidents and climate change because these are real costs too and not as abstract as we have been led to believe.

The Cost for Dublin Bus Serving 1 million+ People

The original version of this article used 2006 figures and a check of 2014 Dublin Bus accounts show costs and outlays have changed very little so they are still valid.

To help put some numbers on this, the case is taken for the city of Dublin with a population of 1 million approximately. The annual accounts from Dublin Bus for 200612 shows it cost ?260 million a year to run the fleet of 1,100 buses on 189 routes and it carried 146 million passengers (Note: They have since reduced the number of buses, leading to more cars on the road.) The total fuel costs were only ?17 million, whilst salaries made up the biggest fraction at roughly 60%. It is difficult to determine the cost of fare collection and associated administration but it could be anywhere from 1% to 10%. The existing operating budget already includes a government subsidy of ?69 million (27%), so to make the existing service free would require an additional ?191m to the subsidy for the running total of ?260 million. But let?s assume the number of buses is increased by 27% from 1,100 to 1,400, this would give a huge boost to the service in both its geographical coverage and frequency and allow new routes to be established. So taking the figure of ?260m and adding 27% extra costs for the extra buses gives a total of ?330m. Dividing by the greater Dublin population of 1 million, it gives ?330 per person. This does NOT mean everyone would need to be taxed extra by this amount. No one can really give a true and precise cost because there would be so many interacting effects. It would be like trying to predict the effects of widespread internet access 10 years before it happened.

To put this ?330m in perspective, the Irish health budget alone in 2018 was ?15,300m which means for 2.1% of that cost, we could have had free public transport for about 1 million plus people in Dublin. The health benefit cost savings from it probably would have been greater than 2% when you take into account less accidents and chronic health from air pollution.

Back in 2007, Ireland in its then budget put aside ?270m to pay for carbon emission penalities.13 By 2018 estimates for them had risen to ?600m for 2020. Surely introducing free public transport would go some way to reduce the country's carbon emissions and thereby penalty cost. In 2017, the total for all greenhouse gas emissions was 60m tonnes of which transport accounts for 20% for a total of 12m tonnes.

The Hasselt free transport experiment may have been too small because while it was successful and popular it did not put much of a dent on reducing the number of commute to work car journeys. In a large city like Dublin at present the radial network is useless for inter suburban work commute trips and reforming it into a grid like structure (more on this later) would have a chance of making it an attractive and viable alternative than driving to work.

Assuming this was accomplished then if we now take into account the cost to insure and tax a car and get a service done once a year, then for those households currently with 2 cars, the extra car would certainly become redundant under a free travel scheme and the savings that could be made by getting rid of these overhead costs would easily add up to more than ?1,000 a year. Until an useful and successful free transport system is running for a few years, people are unlikely to get rid of their cars altogether and will at least hold onto one. In other words the release of capital allocated to private car ownership would not be released over night but within a few years probably would. Again the savings would be enormous. Right wing politicians ?the same ones who favour large corporations like Apple paying basically no tax (which the EU ruled they should pay the Irish govt. ?13,000m in tax they were let off by it), like to talk about reducing tax to put money back in your pocket. Well introducing free transport could certainly do it. Most people have cars to solve their transport problems. If they can be solved in other ways then they won?t need them. Why else are there so many car adverts ?because they are trying to convince us we actually want these things. We don?t. We want solutions to transport.

The Direct Benefits and Savings

For Hasselt the result was it saved millions on not having to build extra road infrastructure and this has allowed it to reduce city taxes overall so when you start adding in these benefits and many others the cost just gets cheaper and cheaper.

The benefits and savings are many. There are all the obvious ones and then the not so obvious ones and again referring to the case of Hasselt, it seems that the return of city civic life with people back on the streets and squares was the most unexpected and the most rewarding. It brought back the sense of human scale and made it pleasant again to live, work and visit the city centre making it a place where people wanted to hangout and meet up. When you can just hop on a bus for free, it becomes so much easier to meet up with friends and do things. Suddenly the whole city is within your domain.

In some parts of the world, where there is huge opiate problem because people are depressed and live in non walkable cities where all sense of community has vanished, a return to real human interaction might well be part of the antidote.

On an operational level, one of the non-obvious benefits is the cost savings by not having to collect fares and all the associated administration, ticketing and sales. Even getting on the bus is easier because there is no fumbling with coins or tickets, making for faster loading time or put another way, time spent stopped. It?s also safer, because drivers can concentrate on driving and do not have to think about fares or carry out money transactions with passengers.

There are other indirect benefits such as; with people spending less on petrol they have more financial resources for other things. Expenditure on fuel represents a net flow of money out of the country, so it can only improve the balance of payments. As total mileage is reduced, so too does the total number of accidents. It is not widely recognised that accidents impose a significant drain on resources. Estimates for road accidents range from 2% to 3% of GDP due to costs through medical care, loss of work and productivity and various other knock on effects. In developing countries, a serious accident causing death or permanent incapacitation can result in the loss of the main earner for a family with the resultant effect of plunging them straight into abject poverty. In the West what tends to happen is that insurance pay outs are large in order to make it possible to continue existence in these expensive places. That leads to higher insurance premiums which results in the collective burden of cost on the population.

In the case of Hasselt, the experience was that the number of road accidents and consequently road deaths decreased about 80% following the introduction of free public transport. This resulted in significant savings to the health system and emergency services. The savings to the health budget alone more than offset the cost of providing free public transport. And as anyone who has lost someone in an accident knows, terrible grief and pain. For example, in 2013 there were 1.24 million traffic accidents deaths globally according to the World Health Organisation.

That is slightly more than the number killed by terrorist related attacks by a wide margin, but considerably less than the number killed in humanitarian bombing campaigns to bring democracy to far off countries led by the most car dependent countries in the world.

Another significant factor associated with mass automobile use that was realized through research and monitoring during the late 80s and 90s is the levels in the urban atmosphere of tiny dust particles called PM10 particles. In the UK alone, it was estimated by World Health Organisation (WHO) that these particles, mostly caused by combustion, were and still are responsible for at least 12,500 deaths a year due to the range of respiratory problems and other disorders they cause. However recent research for Ireland which has a population approximately 14 times smaller than the UK, gives a death count of around 2,500 per year in Ireland, which therefore suggests the real figure for the UK is probably closer to 30,000 than 12,500. These body counts can be reduced by less cars. Therefore the global number of deaths due to this type of cause is probably far higher than the number killed in road accidents, thereby increasing the total body count further. But hey they are not on the balance sheet so none of it gets counted or matters at least in official discussions about car policy.

A further saving is in the cost to the environment. There are over 1,000 million cars in existence and when you consider all the metal, plastic, oils, paints, fabrics, tyres, glass, rubber, used tyres and so on ?whether these cars are petrol/diesel or electric, the quantity is enormous. Now think that the life span of cars is getting shorter ?not longer and these are generally all replaced every 15 years, the impacts to environment, wildlife and people in the mining and processing of these materials is huge. On the disposal side, the toxic waste dumps are equally devastating. Some might argue or think that cars are recycled. Sadly much is not. If through free transport worldwide that car count was reduced to say 500 million, then that would at least halve the problem thereby reducing the pressure. This all goes to show it is not just about a climate problem, it can be a solution to multiple important issues.

Yet another positive consideration is on tourism and travel in general. Imagine that you are taking a holiday somewhere, anywhere and you have decided to go (by rail) to London, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Munich, Zurich, Rome, Barcelona, Sydney, Tokyo, Mumbai, Bangkok, Mexico, Seattle, Chicago, Toronto, or any other interesting place and when you get there you discover they have what you already have in your own home town ? free public transport. Suddenly the benefits multiply in ways you never think of. This is the stuff of dreams where humanity moves to the next level of maturity and gets its act together. What this actually represents is an increase in wealth for all of humanity. Its a bit like email or mobile phones; if you are the only one using it or owning it, its no use, but when everyone is using it, it increases its utility. Likewise being able to travel freely in any major town or city in the world would enormously increase the scope for sociability for everyone, and this would be so even under the circumstances where we begin to make the first serious efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions

Imagining Free Public Transport Globally

The motorcar is pretty much engrained in our wasteful way of life because it grew up, first in America with the expansion of the suburbs. It helped enable the structure of suburban which led to the development of big shopping malls and wasteful driving. Long ago when you went to the local store it might have been on foot, now that is replaced by hundreds of millions of people driving a few miles each at least once a week, often more, in addition to their daily work commute. On the flip side, compact inner parts of cities, like New York, London, Tokyo, Paris etc where living density is high, finding a place to park a car is problematic and it is quite easy to get by without a car. Free transport would be perfect in those sorts of locations.

So we can see the very physical structure of a public transport system depends on the urban environment. Traditionally many transport networks are radial with everything focused on passing through the centre and does not map well to work commutes. To deal with the outer suburban parts of cities, the transport network needs to be more grid like, so that you can get anywhere easily taking a much shorter route. For a grid, it is vital that the switch over to other bus lines as you cross the grid is seamless and without delay. This means frequent service is ultra important and delays needs to be kept to a minimum. It would also make sense to ensure it was easy to get to the places where people generally drive ?i.e. the big box stores, although maybe internet shopping is beginning to chip away at them.

The public transport network does not have to follow old patterns and styles and can introduce services like local feeder buses to high speed, high capacity backbone hubs. The whole point is to get you from A to B rather than the older model which tended to get you to somewhere in the city centre. As the system gets betters, then over time the restructuring of cities can occur and the public transport system should aim as much as it can, to give as much versatility as did the car for most of your journeys. The system could be constantly refined through the use of frequency mapping that tracks where people are going and makes small adjustments to the network over time to optimize for that.

Assuming for a moment, this was achieved in one large city, then there is no reason it could not be replicated with local modifications in cities all over the world. It would be transformative. Imagine no matter what major town or city that you travelled to in the world, you could either downloaded an App or check the network map at the nearest transport point and just hop on a bus or tram and go anywhere in the city with ease and efficiency, using it as often as you like. It would free up so much. Combine this with things like the now popular and widespread city bike schemes, these would help link up the final parts of journeys. With the reduced traffic, it would be possible to pedestrianize more parts of the cities and introduce much more cycling infrastructure. It is well known from experience especially in places like the Netherlands, as you introduce cycling infrastructure and make it safer, there is a huge increase in people cycling.

It is likely that widespread free public transport would encourage more people to take intercity trains and could reduce the need for short haul flights, since they effectively directly interconnect with transport systems in the heart of most cities. If flying is to be used, it makes more sense to use it when other options are not really viable and that would favour longer distances rather than short city hops.

In some ways there is no need to stop at making transport free in the cities and why not extend it to intercity (land based travel). That is debateable for the moment, but the bulk of the people and the journeys are actually within the cities so it makes sense to tackle them first and the objectives are not just about reducing emissions and associated pollution and health problems, but to reduce congestion and actually enable one to travel on average within the city quicker than people on average do today and also to make this transport facility available to all. Reducing total expenditure by a given country on fuel could also be added to the list of objectives. We hardly all want to collectively use more fuel just for the sake of it. Only the oil companies want that.

China?s Option

China?s doesn?t really do suburbs in the US/European sense and while once largely rural, in the last three decades hundreds of millions have moved to cities and live in densely populated tower blocks. The density in Chinese cities is perfect for public transport. However the number of cars has soared in China and it is probably because they are simply trying to emulate the West when in fact there is no need. With a stroke of the pen, the Communist Party could introduce free public transport and in one single go, change the entire trajectory of the country to a more sustainable footing which they simply have to do anyhow in the long run. They would greatly solve their emissions problems and the worry of energy dependency by reducing it and the famous chronic pollution could be tackled in a major way. China has very significant pollution problems. Staying on their current path can only make it worse.

City Structure: Now, in the Past and the Future

For centuries towns and cities were largely walkable and people centric places and their structure reflected that in terms of their layout with a maze of streets, alleyways creating shortcuts, market squares, public spaces all inter connecting the city core together in interesting non-linear ways which happened to give more character to a place.

If you look at any town or city today particularly in Europe they all have an old tightly woven inner core and are then surrounded by concentric urban circles with each later one being more car dependent than the previous. See for example the Google Earth image of Milan, Brno, Czech Republic, or even Hasselt itself. In some cities the car culture, over time has completely taken over and gutted the old city centres. In the US, the older cities on the East Coast have some residual element of this European model, but the bulk of growth and expansion in the US, took off at the same time the car took off and with the result that the structure of most US towns and cities reflect this influence of Car Utopia. Los Angeles and Houston are two very good examples. As a consequence most US towns and cities are awful and characterless places devoid of life, everywhere looks the same and it is quickly becoming evident that not only are they not very functional, but they are becoming a huge liability because of ongoing unsustainable energy and resource use. Indeed the sprawling relatively low density of cities in the US pose quite a challenge to any form of public transport system, precisely because they are spread out and any return on transport investment will be problematic. The current car centric transport system is largely bankrupt as we push up against the limits to growth. It certainly won?t be around in a 1,000 years whereas the great cities of the world are far older than that.

It is important to step back and consider the span of time of the last few hundred years or so. In that time most of the main capital cities of the world were already well established by then and managed to function for centuries without the car! It is only natural that we should look the same distance into the future for all our cities and towns and to question whether the current car centric, socially excluding form of living will continue, can continue or would even be desirable. The answer is probably no.

 
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Is this the future -except with electric engines?
One hopes not!
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The Dutch use bicycles a lot. And buses, trams and trains too!
Why? -because they are all integrated.

It?s a reasonable bet to say that most people's vision would hope for something a lot better and definitely more progressive especially since an underlying and widespread view is that somehow humanity's lot is one of general improvement and progress according to the narrative of progress. The actual progress will cease if we destroy the place and mentally destroy ourselves by living in soulless places and ceasing any form of community. Humans are deep down social creatures and need to be immersed in real communities for their own mental happiness. Online communities are not a viable substitute as most people have come to realize. The environment you live in has to foster communities and car centric ones do not. It is a simple as fish need to live in water. Humans need to live in places where they meet other people and not just see them distantly through car windows.

Therefore an actual desirable modern city of the future and this does not exclude the slow transformation of your own city over say the next 20 years, would have an overlay of free public transport reaching every corner ?that is used, so that traffic is considerably reduced overall so that more of the existing road infrastructure is switched over to obviously public transport whether bus, tram or rail but also to bicycle arteries and more pedestrianised streets around urban centres. Perhaps even some reasonable fraction of the excessive amount of space devoted to car parks is converted to real parks or housing or something else.

Consider how today we waste vast areas of land to car transport. Compare the width of a single track railway ?probably a few meters to the width of a standard motorway with 2 lanes and a hard shoulder for each direction which is at least 10 times wider and yet they both probably have similar capacity to move people and goods. One is highly efficient in land use and fuel use and the other is highly inefficient in the same categories. It is not exactly progress despite we been led to believe it is. Likewise regular streets in ?modern? cities are much wider because they are built to allow car travel in both directions and in many cases parking on both sides. So percentage wise it is a certainty that cities today devote a much higher percentage of their total area to ?transport? than cities prior to cars. That is just wasteful. Imagine if our oxygen transport system ?i.e. our blood system took up 5 times more space in us that it does. It wouldn?t be very elegant and would no doubt impose all sorts of constraints on our abilities. Well we are constrained by car centric cities and do not even realize it. Go to cities in Netherlands or Switzerland which have really good public transport or the inner part of some old medieval city and one will get some kind of inkling to it.

Conclusion

It should be clear then that the only real obstacle to bringing in free public transport are the political will and the strength to face up to the opponents of such a scheme. On a straight monetary level the numbers look right, and for all the other reasons the justifications to do it are even more compelling. At the end of the day each town and city will only do it because it is of immediate benefit to them.

The total energy required for such a system will always be far less than one where every journey is done separately in a car. With the car, we are in a sense creating the overheads of the vehicle and the engine for every person. Since a bus or tram can be used by 40 to 100 people and then the same bus or tram used by a different set of people a little while later, we are therefore reducing the transport overheads by a factor well in excess of 100. Looked at this way the amount of mining for metals and other minerals is greatly reduced. If everyone had an electric car, would there be enough lithium in the world to build the batteries? And if they were powered by wind power, how many turbines would that be? Is there even time, resources or capital to do this? And would we want to despoil the landscape even more?

Clearly making public transport the central means of transport drastically reduces all these demands because it means the scale of the energy problem and simultaneously environmental problem is smaller the less energy and resources you need. Besides do people really think that they will be driving their kids to school in 200 years time and themselves to work? Not only will this car future not come to pass, but its a complete unimaginative and regressive vision and everyone knows it.

References and Links

1a. Arctic Sea Ice Shatters All Previous Record Lows http://www.nsidc.org/news/press/2007_seaiceminimum/20071001_pressrelease.html

1b. The Methane Time Bomb http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/exclusive-the-methane...

2. Hasselt Free Transport Zero-fare public transport http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-fare and See also podcast interview: Tyee Interview: Kathryn Gretsinger interviews Dave Olsen about the reasons for making transit free https://thetyee.ca/Views/2007/07/05/Dave_Olsen.mp3

3. Dublin Annual Reports: http://www.dublinbus.ie/About-Us/Reports/Annual-Reports/

4. PM10 particles are particular matter of 10 microns size or less. PM10's are readily inhalable and because of their small size are not filtered and penetrate deeply into the cardiovascular system where they cause damage. More at: www.smfrancis.demon.co.uk/airwolvs/23healthpm10.html which gives the estimate for 12,500 deaths in the UK a year due to PM10s. A similiar estimate can be found in this article: A Cleaner, Quieter Britain Will be a Healthier One | 10 Jan 2008

5. See New Era Hi-Tech Buses

6. See the book The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. For more info see www.randomhouse.com/features/wisdomofcrowds/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wisdom_of_Crowds

7. ?4.1bn spent on environmentally damaging subsidies - Central Statistics Office https://www.rte.ie/news/environment/2019/0604/1053483-damaging-subsidies/

8. European cities consider making public transport free to tackle air pollution at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/25/paris-mayor-mulls-making-public-t...

9. Blog on Free Public Transit Success at https://fptsuccess.blogspot.com/

1 of indy - Thu May 23, 2019 22:18
Case Study: Dundrum - Sandyford Area.
These local elections on Fri 24th May are more important than ever. The reason is that up and down the country Fine Gael with help from Fianna Fail have allowed corporate vulture funds through various government breaks to them to buy up valuable tracts of land and to buy up thousands and thousands of apartments and homes. And the result is they are screwing people for rent.
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These local elections on Fri 24th May are more important than ever. The reason is that up and down the country Fine Gael with help from Fianna Fail have allowed corporate vulture funds through various government breaks to them to buy up valuable tracts of land and to buy up thousands and thousands of apartments and homes. And the result is they are screwing people for rent. In this feature a case study for South Dublin of how they corporate takeover has occurred and driven prices sky high and priced out ordinary people from ever buying a house or apartment. Found out what is happening in your council area and how FG and FF councillors encourage this madness because it is happening in towns and cities all over the country.


On councils up and down the country, FG and FF councillors in coherts with FG government policy to hand over valuable assets to corporate vulture funds at knock down prices -have allowed this situation to occur all in the name of solving the housing problem. The result is the housing crisis is worse than ever, homelessness is at all time high and young people are being forced to buy houses in towns way beyond Dublin forcing them into long commutes, contributing to our greenhouse emissions, long hours and stressful lifestyles. Many young people now see no hope of ever affording a home and while they are paying huge rents it prevents them from saving any money for a deposit. And house prices themselves are sky high, driving up costs for employers and employess alike.

This is all thanks to FG and FF and it has to stop and must be reversed. If people have any sense they must not vote in any FF or FG candidates or any Independent candidates who are pseudo FF or FG candidates.

To illustrate this crisis the excellent work done by Brian Lesson, Eirigi in the Dundrum Sandyford area to highlight the corporate take-over in that area is described below. People Before Profit have also been active in the area too high-lighting the corporate takeover in the area including pointing out the reluctance of the council to give go-ahead for building social housing on public land in Cherrywood. This is because the councillors want to keep prices high for a private development nearby and having cheaper public housing built at the same time would take away the imperative for people to rent at absurd prices in corporate owned apartments.

1 of indy - Wed May 22, 2019 00:13
A Vote for FG / FF is a vote against your best interests
The European elections are this Friday on May 24th and there are good reasons to consider your vote very carefully because it does make a difference because practically every bit of law passed in the EU has to be adopted by Ireland at some point. It is a great way for politicans here to say the "EU forced us to..."
They said that one about the attempt to privatise water during that campaign.

It can be safely assumed that most people are for internet freedom, protection of the environment and in particular to live in places with unpolluted water, clean air and safe from exposure to toxic chemicals. These are all no brainers. In the area of military we have seen how years of bringing democracy to the Middle East by bombing them has resulted in devastation and huge waves of human refugees and immigration and time and time again the nefarious activities of the intellegence agencies of the big powers like USA, UK, France and NATO show them to be heavily linked to the various terrorist groups, via training, funding and weapons supply through third party countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar in order to disrupt and overthrown regimes they don't like. So do people really want Ireland to drop it's neutrality and get aboard these very costly military adventures and volunteer it's soldiers for basically ordained mass murder? At a guess, the answer is probably no.

So what have the present MEPs done in their last term in the European Parliament?

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Well for one the Fine Gael MEPs are consistently backed the corporate, pro-military, anti environment and internet censorship agenda whilst all the Left leaning and Sinn Fein MEPs have consistently been against corporate control, anti-military, pro-environment and for internet freedom. The only FF MEP managed to be absent for most of the votes mentioned here and it would seem, has been playing the line of being non-committal until the party gains more strength and can then openly go back to supporting the status quo. And least anyone is in doubt, the status quo is anti democractic and pro corporate domination of society. The sections below will give some examples but it should be clear that it by voting for FG you are voting against your own interests. The only reason anyone has ever voted for them or will is because the election marketing machine is so effective and marketing works extremely well. Just think of all the junk people constantly buy that they do not actually need.


The Issues

In general the purpose of the mainstream media is to pretend to discuss the issues and they often do discuss what appear to be the issues but the main point is to prevent any mention of the ones that really affect your life, especially the overall economic sea that you swim in. Hence in the past few days the Irish media has focused heavily on corruption and expenses and there is no doubt that these are legit to a degree but what they do allow is then for each of the candidates especially from the pro-corporate parties (i.e. FG and FF) to come along with a series of platitudes how they plan to be more transparent -very vague indeed, or honest politics or to be responsible etc. The other one they all love to support is measures to prevent global warming. So how many of them back free public transport which requires no new research and could be implemented overnight and would lead to a rapid reduction in CO-2 ? The answer is none except the Left candidates!

Below the box here listing the current MEPs and the candidates for each reason, we go into some of the real issues that unfortunately are behind the scenes but should be center stage.

Box 1: Euro election 2019 basics

There were 11 MEPs seats last time around, but with UK leaving, this will increase to 13. The extra two MEPs will then take their seats if and when Brexit goes through.

The country is divided into three regions and the break down of seats is:

>
Year Dublin South Midlands-North-West Total Seats
2014 3 4 4 11
2019 4 5 4 13

Current MEPs

Current MEPs Party Affliated Political Grouping
Lynn Boylan Sinn Fein Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left
Matt Carthy Sinn Fein Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left
Liadh Ni Riada Sinn Fein Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left
Luke Ming Flanagan Ind Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left
Nessa Childers Ind Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
Marian Harkin Ind Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Mairead McGuinness FG Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
Deirdre Clune FG Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
Brian Hayes FG Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
Seán Kelly FG Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
Brian Crowley FF European Conservatives and Reformists Group

For the political groupings see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_groups_of_the_European_Parliament

Current MEP Candidates for all 3 regions


Ireland Dublin candidates (19)
=========================
Clare Daly (Independents for Change)
Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin)*
Gillen Brien (Solidarity-People Before Profit)
Rita Harrold (Solidarity-People Before Profit)

Eilis Ryan (The Workers Party)
Gary Gannon (Social Democrats)
Ciarán Cuffe (Green Party)
Barry Andrews (Fianna Fáil)
Mark Durkan (Fine Gael)
Frances Fitzgerald (Fine Gael)
Ben Gilroy (Independent)
Alice Mary Higgins (Independent)
Hermann Kelly (Independent, but part of the Irexit movement)
Tony Bosco Lowth (Independent)
Aisling McNiffe (Independent)
Mark Mullan (Independent)
Eamonn Murphy (Independent)
Gemma O?Doherty (Independent)
Alex White (Labour)

Ireland South candidates (23)
========================
Sinn Féin: Liadh Ní Riada, Co Chorcaí, MEP
Independents 4 Change: Mick Wallace, Co Wexford, TD
Green Party: Grace O?Sullivan, Co Waterford, Senator
Solidarity - People Before Profit: Adrienne Wallace,Co Carlow, Office Administrator

Fianna Fáil: Billy Kelleher, Co Cork, TD
Fianna Fáil: Malcolm Byrne, Co Wexford, Head of Communications, HEA
Fine Gael: Deirdre Clune, Cork, MEP
Fine Gael: Seán Kelly,Co Kerry, MEP
Fine Gael: Andrew Doyle, Co Wicklow, TD
Labour: Sheila Nunan, Kilternan, Dublin 18, Teacher
Direct Democracy Ireland: Jan Van De Ven, Co Wexford, Entrepreneur
Non Party: Diarmuid Patrick O?Flynn, Co Cork, European Parliament Accredited Parliamentary Assistant
Non Party: Paddy Fitzgerald, Co Tipperary, Retired Farmer
Non Party: Walter Ryan-Purcell, Co Kerry, Tour Operator
Identity Ireland: Peter O?Loughlin, Cork,Teacher
Non Party: Liam Minehan, Co Tipperary, Farmer
Non Party: Theresa Heaney, Co Cork, Homemaker
Non Party: Dolores J Cahill, Co Tipperary, Professor
Non Party: Maurice Joseph Sexton, Cork City, Scientist
Non Party: Breda Patricia Gardner, Co Kilkenny, Complementary Health Therapist
Non Party: Allan J Brennan, Co Wicklow, Project Manager
Non Party: Colleen Worthington, Cork, Homemaker
Non Party: Peter Madden, Co Tipperary, Environmental Educator


Midlands North-West Candidates (17)
==============================
Cyril Brennan (Solidarity-People Before Profit)
Matt Carthy (Sinn Féin)*

Luke ?Ming? Flanagan (Independent)*
Saoirse McHugh (Green Party)
Patrick Greene (Direct Democracy Ireland)
Dominic Hannigan (Labour)
Peter Casey (Independent)
Fidelma Healy Eames (Independent)
Dilip Mahapatra (Independent)
James Miller (Independent)
Diarmaid Mulcahy (Independent)
Olive O?Connor (Independent)
Michael O?Dowd (Renua)
Anne Rabbitte (Fianna Fáil)
Brendan Smith (Fianna Fáil)
Mairéad McGuinness (Fine Gael)*
Maria Walsh (Fine Gael)

1. Our Neutrality and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) -aka a Military pact that the Dail voted 75 to 42 to join in Dec 2017

While this is article is about MEPs, whereas the Dail voted us in, behind the scenes both were working together towards this goal.

In Dec 2017 during a Dail debate, Simon Coveney said PESCO has nothing to do with an EU army. It does!

One should take note that the FG MEPs, in particular Brian Hayes voted for "Establishing the European Defence Fund" on 12th Dec 2018 and then recently in April for the European Defense Fund with a planned budget of €13 billion.

In addition under PESCO and FG strongly support it, Ireland's defence spending would have to increase from €946m (2018) to € 3,000 milliion by 2020. That is over €2 billion increase! It is more money than collected by the Property Tax and the Water Tax if the latter had succeeded. Where is that money going to come from. Why of course from health and social services. And we will be told that under PESCO the EU made us do it. But make no mistake FG/FF are fully aware of this. And remember both FG and FF voted for PESCO.

BTW, this is what Jean Claude Juncker had to say about PESCO
?I want us to dedicate further efforts to defence matters. A new European Defence Fund is in the offing, as is a Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of defence. By 2025 we need a fully-fledged European Defence Union. We need it. And NATO wants it.? Jean Claude Juncker, September 2017

And here is what the German Defence (or Offence??) Minister had to say:

?[With PESCO] We made a huge step forward because for the very first time since the European Union has existed we have a legal frame around the European Defence Union. The beginning of the European Defence Union is here.? - German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, February 2018

According to the analysis by People's News: "Ireland can get out of PESCO by simply informing the Commission of its desire to do so ? under the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty. And that is our demand!" For more on PESCO, People's News has produced a fine booklet and a pdf copy can be downloaded here. https://www.people.ie/peace/pesco.pdf

And if you want to keep track of it see: https://www.pesco.ie/ireland

2. The European Defense Fund (EDF) -€13 billion on War Making.

If you listen to those for this, they are generally patronising against those who oppose it and these very same people who would claim to abhor violence and righteous about huge sums of money that will be used for research to purchase and produce weapons that will ultimately be blowing people to bits in faraway-ish places.

The research community itself recognises as always happens when you fund defence research it actually takes money away from real useful civilian research. See for example the report: 1,000 researchers called on EU Parliament to vote against the European Defence Fund

So which way did Irish MEPs vote for the European Defence Fund on 18th Apr 2019

For:
Brian Hayes (FG)


Aganist:
Matt Carthy (Indep)
Luke Ming Flanagan (Indep)
Marian Harkin (Indep)


The rest were absent and Sean Kelly (FG) abstained.

But here is the real chilling effect. The dead hand of the military working their effective ways in the shadows and it is as People's News reported: Ominously, MEPs surrendered parliamentary scrutiny over the fund. Effectively, after the vote MEPs will have no veto right over projects funded by the EDF.

But just so one thinks FF has no role in this, they do. Again People's News:

Fianna Fail is fighting the 2019 EU Parliament elections as a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). This means that FF is in favour of the introduction of decision ? making by Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in military and foreign affairs matters in the EU. Whereas Ireland currently has a veto, with 0.8% of voting power in Council, FF (and FG ) would effectively hand over decision ? making to the larger belligerent countries.

Adherence to NATO/PESCO finally sees the Republican Party sign off on any pretence to support neutrality.

The decision of the FG / Independent Government supported by FF to actively support the integration of the Irish Army into the emerging EU Army via PESCO is a clear decision to restore the values of John Redmond. Except this time the Irish will be expected to kill and die for the Army of the European Union instead of the Army of the British Union. It will also mean massive cuts in expenditure in health, housing and social welfare as our military expenditure increases from ?946 million to something like ?3 billion. If you have not joined PANA by now, it is time you did.

3. Internet Freedom and The new EU Copyright Directive

If you missed this over the past few months, it is simply the most backward and regressive bit of legisalation ever to have passed as it puts the freedom on the Internet into a permanent strait jacket. Ever since the Internet rapidly came into existence the established media and power brokers -i.e mainly the 1% or even 0.01% have been caught off guard with people getting access to all sorts of information and they don't like it. This is what all the hooha is about regarding fake news. It is not about Trump and fake news. It is about you being an informed citizen and they don't like it one bit. So this recent EU Directive "corrects" that. It is an extremely effective means to shutdown all websites except the very largest and well funded and since these are usually owned by billionaries and fellow travellers of the 0.01% it means you won't be informed of much from them.

The most repressive parts are in Article 13 (renamed to Article 17) apparently and require all websites to automatically have "upload" filters that check everything loaded (pictures, video, text, audio) to have no copyright material in them. Fair use is gone. And it requires license arrangements to be put in place between all parties to allow it along with payment. So who has the resources to do this? Virtually no one. So goodbye to forums, alternative news sites and probably most of those sites you have read over the last 10+ years that actually informed you of anything and didn't just distract you.

Here is what one of the Internet's Found farthers has said of it:
Article 13 means the ?transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.? That?s a feature, not a bug. Keeping out small platforms that could challenge the monopolies that have shown they?re willing to work with governments certainly makes life easier for those governments. The internet once held the promise to liberate humanity. The European Parliament believes that?s too big a risk to take.

So how did Irish MEPS vote for this repressive Directive that basically handed back control of the Internet to large corporates. Why it was FG !

Irish MEPs on the Final Vote (Apr 2019)
For:
Marian Harkin (Ind)
Brian Hayes (FG)
Sean Kelly (FG)
Mairead McGuinness (FG)

Against:
Luke Ming Flanagan (Ind)
Lynn Boylan (Sinn Fein)
Matt Carthy (Sinn Fein)
Nessa Childers (Ind)

Absent:
Liadh Ni Riada (Sinn Fein)
Brian Crowley (FF)
Deirdre Clune (FG)

Source: https://saveyourinternet.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/EP-2019-Plenary-Vote-O...
There is some coverage of the Directive at: Stop the European Parliament from Destroying the Internet - The #SaveYourInternet fight against Article 13 continues

And on the previous vote in July 2018 that helped get the Directive along the process the votes were:

For: Brian Hayes (FG), Deirdre Clune (FG), Sean Kelly (FG)

Against: Luke Ming Flanagan (Ind), Lynn Boylan (Sinn Fein), Matt Carthy (Sinn Fein), Liadh Ni Riada (Sinn Fein), Nessa Childers (Ind), Marian Harkin (Ind)

Absent: Brian Crowley (FF), Mairead McGuinness (FG)

Source: https://www.siliconrepublic.com/enterprise/eu-copyright-vote-meps

4. Corporate TakeOver and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms

You never heard of ISDS? So what is it? Again from People's News

ISDS allows multinational companies access to an obscure, parallel justice system closed to the rest of us. Calling it a court system for the 1% would be generous. It is really a court system for the 0.01%.

ISDS has allowed corporate interests to trump those of the public time and time again. Countries have been threatened for passing pollution regulations, approving health and safety measures and for halting or banning fracking. It has been used to defend land grabs, environmental destruction and lock in privatisation of key public services.

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms ? like the investment court system in CETA (the so-called free trade agreement between the Canada and the EU) ? enable big corporations to sideline domestic and EU courts and directly sue governments whose environmental or social policies may affect their investment.

So in Canada where ISDS is already in effect and causing havoc, the corporate world has argued because it is part of the CETA agreement it should apply in the EU and they went to the European court where clearly they had pulled the right strings in advance because -

In a very disappointing judgement, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has ruled that the investment court system in the Canadian EU trade agreement (CETA) is compatible with EU law. Unfortunately for campaigners fighting hard against the corporate stitch-up that is CETA, the court decided that the ISDS part of the deal was in fact compatible with EU law.

The opinion is a surprising turn of events as only last year?s Achmea ruling wiped out investment arbitration between EU countries because it undermines the EU judicial system.

Source: https://thepeoplesnews.home.blog/2019/05/06/ecj-cjeu-fails-to-protect-democra...

Again how does this relate to our MEPs. Well back on Feb 15th 2017 there was the concluding vote to a motion put before the European Parliament (a few months earlier in Nov 2016) with several objections to the then recent (Oct 2016) signing of CETA because the more democratic MEPs realized it was a trojan horse for ISDS and this is a sense of it:

Motion of Resolution was: Conclusion of the EU-Canada CETA-Motions for resolutions

Part of the Motion was:

  • whereas the forced implementation of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) procedures remains a serious problem as it gives rise to a system of parallel justice, allowing powerful enterprises to attack one of the fundamental pillars of Member States? sovereignty: the rule of law;
  • Strongly emphasises the need for public debate prior to the opening of any further trade negotiations, together with a clear definition of undisputable standards, of which the precautionary principle is but one example;
  • Considers NOT to give its consent to CETA;
  • Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, and the parliament and government of Canada.
Full details of the motion and voting on it at https://www.votewatch.eu/en/term8-conclusion-of-the-eu-canada-ceta-motions-fo...
So what way did the pro-corporate FG vote. Why they voted against the resolution as expected. Surprisenly Childers did too as it was a bit out of character for her. The vote is shown below and speaks for itself. It demonstrates quite clearly why they should not be trusted.

Against:
Brian Hayes (FG)
Sean Kelly (FG)
Mairead McGuinness (FG)
Deirdre Clune (FG)
Nessa Childers (Ind)
Marian Harkin (Ind)

For:
Luke Ming Flanagan (Ind)
Lynn Boylan (Sinn Fein)
Liadh Ni Riada (Sinn Fein)
Matt Carthy (Sinn Fein)

Absent:
Brian Crowley (FF)

5. The Corporate Genetically Modified (GM) Food Agenda and Your MEPs Role

Firstly we hear the constant line in the mainstream media that GM foods are harmless and are going to feed the planet. Both parts of that statement are untrue. They are harmful, indeed can be very harmful and the little testing that has been done, has been carried out by the companies themselves with generally revolving there swapping of officials in the relevant supposed over-sight agencies. The second point is that companies making, promoting and selling GM crops and foods are doing it for no other reason to save the world and prevent us all from starving. If they were so concerned then they would advise us to cut back on meat, because to grow each kilo of animal requires at least 10 kilos of plants -thus eating vegetarian even one or two days a week would reduce the amount of plant material diverted to farm animals and therefore greatly ease any shortages.

The key point to note though about GM crops is that they are genetically modified so that they can apply more weed-killier, pesticides and herbicides in general and the reason is simple. If you douse plants in these chemicals they are so overburden with trying to process them that it reduces their yield. By inserting a particular genetic modification, it can make the plants much more tolerant and so maintain the yield. This means you can apply more chemicals and farmers do and are encouraged to do so. Now these companies tell you this is safe. It isn't. Both common sense and the pre-cautionary principle would strongly suggest you should be using less not more weed-killers and herbicides.

And then there is the vested interest. One of the biggest companies in the world selling GM seeds is Monsanto and they are also one of the biggest companies selling weed-killer in particular their RoundUp Ready which is the highest selling one in the world.

Fine Gael and their fellow travellers and suprisently Maried McGuinness (FG) has consistently backed the GM lobby. The GM companes have fought long and hard to get GM crops into Europe and FG is behind them all the day. The other MEPs from Sinn Fein, and Luke MIng Flanagan and some independents have opposed this.

GM crops are a sinsiter monopoly, dangerous and highly polluting technology. The have resulted in ruin for many farmers around the world, they have resulted in much higher amounts of chemicals used, more pollution, water contamination, damage to wildlife and especially insects which play a vital role in the eco-system, and have given immense power to corporations.

What is really sinsiter is that GM crops are licensed and so the farmer is forced to license them every year. For the past 7,000+ years farming was a shared thing when seeds were freely exchanged and farmers could re-use, save and replant from them. Now they have been fined and brought to court for not paying licenses on their own seeds because the likes of Monsanto and other similar corporations own the patents on them.

In the so called free trade talks called TIPP between US and USA and that Trump subsequently cancelled, thankfully, EU officials have already caved into what is called GM 2.0 -this simply stated that if TIPP had gone through there would be no more testing of any GM plant, animal, bacteria or virus that these companies came up with and they would be allowed in Europe. And the reason is because their scientists had said GM technology is safe, even future stuff not yet carried out and NO further testing would be carried out. These are the sort of 'free trade' agreements which FG and FF are for because during the TIPP negoations FG were constantly promoting it as a good thing.

Box 2: Stopping ISDS

So if you are interested in doing something about ISDS then go to https://stopisds.org/

Here is their stated objectives from the website:

Stop ISDS

ISDS ? short for ?Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement? is an obscure parallel justice system only accessible to the super-rich.

Multinational companies have used this system to threaten governments that dare to stand up to them with claims of up to billions of euros.

Government policies that have been challenged using ISDS include:

  • Regulating pollution levels on a coal power station
  • Introducing health warnings on cigarettes
  • Declaring a moratorium on fracking
  • Halting a mine that would have destroyed whole communities
  • Raising the minimum wage
  • Freezing water tariffs to help the poor
  • Stopping health insurers from making huge profit

And they don?t always have to win a case to get their way. For many countries, the mere threat of a huge claim can be enough to persuade them to back down and let the corporate fatcats win.

When millions of people across Europe rejected the EU-US trade agreement TTIP, many people learned about ISDS (which was part of the deal) and were very angry.

Now there are plans to scale-up ISDS by creating a permanent global court where corporations can sue states. The EU and member state governments want to do this by inserting it into new trade agreements. Their support for such an unfair toxic system must be challenged.

In order to stop ISDS we need to oppose these new deals and get rid of existing ones. Corporations and the super-rich do not need a separate system to protect their rights.

Human beings need more rights, corporations do not.

End Corporate Impunity

They destroy the planet. They ruin lives. They can even get away with murder.

But instead of punishment, they get more power and impunity. Over the past decades, the extent of corporate power has become overwhelming.

If you were to steal so much as a loaf of bread, you could be held accountable in a court of law. But corporations hide behind complicated and opaque ownership structures to avoid legal responsibility. This means that they regularly get away with perpetrating serious human rights and environmental abuses including:

  • Land grabs
  • Murder
  • Ecocide and mass pollution
  • Climate change
  • Forced labour
  • Violence

This is why campaigners and social movements from across the world have united to push for a global system that punishes multinationals for human rights abuses.

A new system for holding corporations to account could be a real game changer in fighting the global power of corporations. It could mean:

  • Local communities from the global south winning the right to take corporations to court in places like France, Germany and the UK.
  • A UN Binding Treaty on multinational corporations and human rights. This will give people an international guarantee that corporations will be held to account.
  • More national and EU-level laws like the French Duty of Vigilance legislation. This forces corporations to take responsibility for ensuring that human rights are not being violated anywhere in their global supply chains.

But there is a big problem. Rich countries ? like the US, and most European governments ? are fighting tooth and nail to stop it. The very same governments who think that global corporations need special rights and a separate ISDS court system, don?t want to give ordinary people the right to hold multinationals to account.

This is why we need to fight hard to make sure our politicians wake up. They need to recognise: Rights are for people. What corporations need are rules.

1 of indy - Fri Apr 12, 2019 21:53
Wikileaks had revealed President Lenin Moreno involved in corruption scandal and now the revenge
Julian Assange who helped setup Wikileaks and in one of the first set of leaks revealed the murderous campaign of the US military against innocent civilians in Iraq amongst many other leaks showing the systematic criminality and inhumanity of the US government was betrayed this morning by the right wing corrupt president Lenin Moreno of Ecuador. Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa ? whose government granted Assange asylum in 2012 ? branded his more pro-US successor Lenin Moreno the ?greatest traitor in Ecuadorian history? for rescinding the asylum claim and allowing British officers to enter his country?s embassy.

At the moment in a damage limitation exercise to try and shutdown support for Assange the corporate press is saying if charged, he could face up to 5 years in prison. This is to make it not so bad, but we can be 100% sure if deported to the USA, they will have a long list of dubious charges and most likely will give him a prison sentence that will more than easily cover the rest of his lifespan for that is the way of such regimes.
featured image
Julian Assange being dragged out of Ecuadorian Embassy

Julian Assange who helped setup Wikileaks and in one of the first set of leaks revealed the murderous campaign of the US military against innocent civilians in Iraq amongst many other leaks showing the systematic criminality and inhumanity of the US government was betrayed this morning by the right wing corrupt president Lenin Moreno of Ecuador. Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa ? whose government granted Assange asylum in 2012 ? branded his more pro-US successor Lenin Moreno the ?greatest traitor in Ecuadorian history? for rescinding the asylum claim and allowing British officers to enter his country?s embassy.

At the moment in a damage limitation exercise to try and shutdown support for Assange the corporate press is saying if charged, he could face up to 5 years in prison. This is to make it not so bad, but we can be 100% sure if deported to the USA, they will have a long list of dubious charges and most likely will give him a prison sentence that will more than easily cover the rest of his lifespan for that is the way of such regimes.

Other Coverage Worldwide outrage over arrest of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange | Former UK ambassador Craig Murray denounces arrest and conviction of Julian Assange | Amid corruption scandals and deals with IMF and Washington, Ecuador?s government betrays Assange | Exposing ?collateral murder? and mass surveillance: Why the world should be grateful to Assange | Every charge against Julian Assange, explained | Ecuador SITREP: How Corrupt History Repeats Itself | 'Our property now': (Most) US lawmakers rejoice over Assange arrest | Roaming Charges: Tongue-Tied and Twisted | Hillary Clinton shows signature style as she chuckles over Assange?s arrest | Toe the line or go to jail: Tulsi Gabbard (2020 candidate) says Assange arrest is a message to Americans | The Martyrdom of Julian Assange | Daniel Ellsberg on the Importance of Julian Assange | Citing Assange's Work Exposing US 'Atrocities,' UK Labour Leaders Speak Out Against Extradition Effort | Why Julian Assange?s Extradition Must Be Opposed at All Costs | The Assange Arrest is a Warning From History
Some previous Indymedia coverage: OCCUPY MEDIA VID (14 mins) solidarity with Julian Assange at Supreme Court | LONDON - Julian Assange speaks from balcony of Ecuadoran embassy marking 6 months. | Julian Assange Has Been Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize of 2019 | We Will Not Be Gagged: Wikileaks |


To help put some background on this story, here is some reportage from the WSWS.org coverage:

On Thursday morning, the regime of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno illegally terminated Julian Assange?s political asylum, inviting British police into the country?s London embassy to arrest him.

Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy by a group of British police officers. Even as he was being brutally manhandled into a police van, Assange challenged his persecutors, ?The UK must resist this attempt by the Trump administration? The UK must resist!?

?Assange?s expulsion from the embassy and his arrest are unprecedented crimes,? said James Cogan, the national secretary of the SEP (Australia). ?A journalist and publisher, who has committed no crime, has had his asylum terminated and has been dragged off to prison in violation of repeated UN rulings upholding his status as a political refugee.?

?The attack on Assange is directed against the democratic rights of the working class. It is aimed at creating a precedent for the suppression of mass opposition to war, austerity and dictatorship,? Cogan added.

?The arrest of Julian Assange by a Metropolitan Police snatch squad is a political crime for which the Conservative government of Theresa May and the Ecuadorian government of Lenin Moreno are politically responsible,? said Chris Marsden, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Britain.

?The arrest took place after police were invited into the Ecuadorian embassy by the ambassador and following what UK Foreign Minister Sir Alan Duncan said was ?extensive dialogue between our two countries.? Behind the scenes the Trump administration in the United States is orchestrating events.

?The Socialist Equality Party denounces this conspiracy. We will do everything in our power to mobilise the broadest protest movement by workers and youth against what are preparatory moves to extradite the Wikileaks founder to the US in clear violation of international law.?

At around 5:37 a.m. US Eastern time, WikiLeaks confirmed Assange?s arrest, tweeting: ?URGENT: Ecuador has illegally terminated Assange?s political asylum in violation of international law. He was arrested by the British police inside the Ecuadorian embassy minutes ago.?

Several minutes later, WikiLeaks tweeted: ?URGENT: Julian Assange did not ?walk out of the embassy.? The Ecuadorian ambassador invited British police into the embassy and he was immediately arrested.?

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid immediately took to Twitter to declare: ?Nearly seven years after entering the Ecuadorian embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation & @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law.?

The bail charges against Assange are politically motivated and were resolved years ago.

The transparent purpose of the WikiLeaks founder?s detention by the British authorities is to facilitate his extradition to the US. This was confirmed by Assange?s lawyers, who stated that he was arrested not only for the bogus bail violations, but also after an extradition request from the US on fabricated conspiracy charges.

The Trump administration, with the support of the Democrats, is seeking to prosecute Assange for his role in WikiLeaks? exposure of war crimes, mass surveillance and illegal diplomatic intrigues
.

Full article at https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/11/arre-a11.html

Collateral Murder -Why the thugs in USA/UK wanted Assange. Crime for revealing shocking video of what these governments do -murder innocent people in faraway countries

Frame from the Collateral Murder video a moment before the US military blasts these un-armed civilians away. For the crime of revealing this, the thugs behind the levers of power want to put him away for the rest of his life and send out the message to us all that we should never dare to oppose but instead lap up their lies and spin.
featured image
Short version of Collateral Murder video
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Full length version of Collateral Murder video
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Here is a list of the leaked files from Wikileaks from just their War & Military section and it documents very well the systematic butchery of peoples in Iraq and Afghanistan by the US military and thereby government and their fellow travellers in power

  • Dealmaker: Al Yousef - 28 Sept 2018
  • Detainee Policies - 03 Dec 2012
  • Guantanamo Files -25 Apr 2011 And yes the White House knew very early 90+ % were completetly innocent
  • Iraq War Logs -22 Oct 2010
  • Afghan War Logs -25 July 2010
  • Collateral Murder -5 April 2010
  • US Military Equipment in Iraq -8 Nov 2007
  • Military Dictionary -17 Sept 2007
  • US Military Equipment in Afghanistan -9 Sept 2007

A short message from Julian Assange?s mother to the President of Ecuador

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Former UK ambassador Craig Murray denounces arrest and conviction of Julian Assange

Source: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/12/murr-a12.html

Outside Westminster Magistrates court in central London supporters of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange rallied to his defence. Assange appeared at the court Thursday afternoon after he was arrested and dragged from his place of political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Judge Michael Snow found Assange guilty of bail charges that date back to 2012, ordering him to appear at Southwark Crown Court at an unknown date. He could face a sentence of 12 months.

Supporters of WikiLeaks demanded that the UK government reject US demands for Assange?s extradition.

The UK government has confirmed Assange was arrested on behalf of US law enforcement authorities. The US has charged Assange with computer crime over documents published by WikiLeaks. If Assange is extradited to the US, he will undoubtedly face more serious charges under the Espionage Act, threatening life in prison or the death penalty.

During a brief hearing Judge Snow gave voice to the state vendetta against Assange, attacking the award-winning journalist as a ?narcissist?, telling him to ?get over the US? and ?get on with your life? and describing as ?laughable? his claim he had not received a fair hearing.

Among the supporters of Assange outside the court was former British diplomat, whistle-blower and human rights activist Craig Murray. A long-time supporter and friend of Assange, Murray spoke to the World Socialist Web Site after witnessing proceedings inside the court.

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What we have seen today is extraordinary. It?s amazing that you can be dragged out of somewhere by armed police and within three hours brought up before a judge and found guilty of a crime involving a serious jail sentence. There was no jury and no chance to mount a proper defence or have a proper hearing.

It is clear the judge was extremely prejudiced. It was very short hearing today and he cannot possibly have formed during that time his judgement that Julian Assange is a ?narcissistic personality?.

That plainly shows that he must have formed his judgement from what he had read in the media before he ever came into the court. That judgement could not possibly be formed in the few minutes in the court. There are serious reasons to question Judge Snow and about the quality of justice that has gone on here. It is a case of extreme prejudice. There is no way anyone could call what has happened a fair trial.

Julian Assange has provided an important service. There is no evidence of anybody?s life being in danger. If there had been, we would have told about it by now.

Then there is the truly appalling behaviour of Ecuador?s dreadful President Moreno. He has not only curried favour with the United States and UK but sold Julian out.

One good thing, if you wish, that has come out of this is that now we are talking about extradition. We can now see what all of this is really about. It is about freedom of the press, about Julian being charged with publishing the revelations made by Chelsea Manning. From day one this has been about the United States wishing to lock Julian up for the Chelsea Manning leak exposing serious American war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The whole Sweden case has been a charade. It has always been about whether a journalist should be punished for publishing leaked documents showing a government offending against international law.

I am hoping, maybe a long-shot, that the media pundits of a liberal disposition will realise that this is a fundamental threat to press freedom. If anyone who publishes a US leaked document wherever they are in the world can be dragged to the US and imprisoned, then the American government is going to have impunity for its crimes for ever more. All journalists must decide where they stand on this fundamental test of media freedom.

W - Thu Feb 14, 2019 19:57
Press Release - Workers Party Feb 7th 2019
The Workers? Party have accused Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney of prioritising Donald Trump?s foreign policy ahead of Irish neutrality. Cllr. Éilis Ryan, the Workers? Party candidate in May?s European Parliament elections, said:

?Simon Coveney has, for the first time in our history, given formal backing to United States overseas aggression. Successive governments under Fianna Fáil, Labour and the Green Party have facilitated US overseas aggression by allowing the use of Shannon Airport, but this move marks a new departure, leaving behind even the facade of neutrality.

?It flies in the face of the values of anti-colonialism and sovereignty which Irish people are so rightly proud of.?
Yet again the United States is brazenly pushing for the overthrow of an elected president -in an election which former US president Jimmy Carter said was extremely fair -to be replaced by an unaccountable, un-elected business man who is clearly the pawn of the 1% of Venezuela and the elite and intelligence apparatus of US capital. And regrettably most of the leaders of the EU and our own lackeys have no minds of their own, and acting as the true vassels they are, following the US line. So it is in this vein, that the press release from the workers party brings focus to this completely undemocratic move by the US and Irish government ostensibly for democratic motives!
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The Workers? Party have accused Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney of prioritising Donald Trump?s foreign policy ahead of Irish neutrality. Cllr. Éilis Ryan, the Workers? Party candidate in May?s European Parliament elections, said:

?Simon Coveney has, for the first time in our history, given formal backing to United States overseas aggression. Successive governments under Fianna Fáil, Labour and the Green Party have facilitated US overseas aggression by allowing the use of Shannon Airport, but this move marks a new departure, leaving behind even the facade of neutrality.

?It flies in the face of the values of anti-colonialism and sovereignty which Irish people are so rightly proud of.?

Related Links: Can Venezuela and its neighbours survive the coming war? |
Former world bank employee Peter Koenig gives his perspective on Venezuela situation | Medialink analysis of biased Venezuela coverage by BBC, Guardian and others | the making of Guaido - Max Blumenthal interview | Why must Venezuela be destroyed? | What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela ? A Case of News-Suppression | The Saker interviews Jorge Valero, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela | Trump?s Venezuela gamble is turning out to be a beaten docket by Finian Cunningham


Cllr. Ryan said the move would endanger tens of thousands of lives and destabilise a region:

?There is nothing remotely democratic about this power grab. Guiadó comes from a party deeply embedded in the worst violent excesses of right-wing politics in Latin America, and his self-proclaimed ?transitional programme,? for Venezuela makes an explicit commitment to sell Venezuela?s national oil reserves to the highest bidder.

?Coveney has given his backing to a puppet of Donald Trump, who will ensure American oil companies make plenty money from Venezuela?s natural resources. This is a moment of great shame for our country.?

The candidate for the European elections concluded:

?Ireland has positioned itself within an unsavoury minority of countries. Only 25% of countries around the globe have recognised Guiadó, and these are led by the United States, Israel, right-wing governments in rich European countries, and the United States? unsavoury allies in Latin America ? led by Brazil?s Bolsonaro. Many of these have a shameful history of warmongering.

?Two Latin American governments, Uruguay and Mexico, have offered to act as mediator. This has the backing of the United Nations. It is astounding that any Irish government would ignore such a possibility, in favour of siding with Donald Trump.?

pbp - Sat Aug 11, 2018 23:39
The National Transport Agency (NTA) wants to redesign all Dublin Bus routes. They promise a faster, more efficient bus service with more buses and better frequency for Dubliners. They also promise a more environmentally friendly transport system for the capital. If this was delivered it would mark a major step forward for life in the city. But the reality is not that simple. The plan hinges on 16 new radial bus corridors on the busiest routes ? primarily linking outer suburbs with the city centre. At a future (non-defined) date, they also promise orbital routes to link the outer parts of the city together.
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The National Transport Agency (NTA) wants to redesign all Dublin Bus routes. They promise a faster, more efficient bus service with more buses and better frequency for Dubliners. They also promise a more environmentally friendly transport system for the capital. If this was delivered it would mark a major step forward for life in the city. But the reality is not that simple. The plan hinges on 16 new radial bus corridors on the busiest routes ? primarily linking outer suburbs with the city centre. At a future (non-defined) date, they also promise orbital routes to link the outer parts of the city together.

Related Links: Government campaign to sabotage Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann bus services through privatisation has begun | The Privatisation Agenda of Bus Connects Will Lead To Bus Disconnects>/a> | Dublin Bus Area Network Redesign
Submission details to NTA to object to Bus Connects do not rely on the online survey. It will be ignored. Make a postal submission


There are positive aspects to the plan. Three stand out in particular.

The plan envisages 230 kilometres of continuous bus priority. This would make it easier to get into the city on public transport reducing congestion, travel times and the carbon footprint.
The plan promises 200 kilometres of cycle lanes to make it easier and safer to move by bicycle. Again this is a welcome development in a city that currently lacks proper cycle infrastructure.
The plan envisages a new low emissions fleet of buses to further reduce the environmental impact of travelling around the city.

Public Investment not Privatisation

All of this sounds extremely positive, but to implement it properly, there will need to be significant investment. Unfortunately the National Transport Authority and successive governments have severely reduced the funding that has gone to Dublin Bus. Here are some important facts.

Public investment is falling. In 2008, Dublin Bus got ?85 million to operate its services ? a figure which represented one of the lowest subsidies in Europe at the time. This was then cut every year until 2015, when ?57.7 million was invested. Last year, even as the traffic chaos increased and more people travelled by bus, the subsidy was reduced again to just ?47 million.
The number of buses has been reduced. In 2009, there were almost 1,200 buses in the Dublin Bus fleet. This fell to 914 in 2013, and has only recovered to 1,016 this year ?despite the fact that there are more people travelling on the system than ever before. Even if the promised increases in buses materialise under the Bus Connects plan, Dublin Bus will still have less buses than it had in 2009.
The NTA are privatising routes. This year over 10% of Dublin Bus routes have been given to a private company from England (Go Ahead) with an appalling record in providing train and bus services. More shocking still, is the fact that Dublin Bus made a cheaper offer to provide these service but the NTA took the more expensive option to increase competition, and, in the long run, reduce terms and conditions in the public service.
The NTA have increased traffic congestion. The NTA have increased traffic chaos with the Luas cross city. Figures released by Bus Connect confirm that Dublin Bus carries 67% of all Dublin passengers with only 18% taking the Luas. Despite this, some bus services have been diverted away from College Green to facilitate the Luas. The NTA knew the Luas line would have a dramatic effect on bus users but went ahead with the project anyway.

The Current Plan

There are also problems with the plan as it is envisaged. Below we outline some of the most important ones.

The plan will not benefit all passengers as is claimed. The new plan promises to replace infrequent bus services with local services which bring people to high frequency services into the city centre. But this is only partially true. In many cases an infrequent service to the city centre is simply replaced with an equally infrequent service that links to a route that continues onto the city centre. For example ? The plan replaces the 27a that travels into the city from Dublin?s Northside every 30 minutes with a new route, 279, that operates every 30 minutes. However, this will just link the area to the Malahide road where people will have to transfer to another bus to get into the city.
The plan will create hardship for vulnerable service users. Bus Connect promise a more efficient system, but in many cases the new plan will mean great hardship for people with mobility problems. Jarrett Walker, the consultant who devised this plan, admitted that many people, including older passengers might lose out.

[Box] He previously stated ? How will this affect older people and people with disabilities? There is an unavoidable tension between senior and disabled needs ? which are much more inconvenienced by interchange ? and everyone else, and a network designed solely around senior/disabled preferences for minimum walk and interchange is simply too slow to be useful for the rest of the population. Again, attention is being given to making interchanges as convenient as possible, including for people with limited mobility, but a balance must be struck.

The plan may not reduce journey times. Bus Connect claim that, overall, people will get to their destination quicker as they transfer to higher frequency routes. But again this is only true in some cases. In many others, the transfers may be to less frequent routes or to routes that don?t go the way the old network did. This means passengers will need to transfer to two or more routes to get to where they want, disadvantaging less mobile users. For example the current route 122 service from Drimnagh via the South Circular Road is scrapped completely. A lot of elderly people currently rely on this route. To access a bus service under the new plan, passengers will need to walk to the Crumlin Road and take a service to Dolphins Barn where they will need to transfer to another service to access the South Circular Road. If they wish to travel to Wexford St like the current route, they will need to transfer again.
The plan often just renames existing routes. Bus Connect have hyped seven new ?Spines? routes on which they claim buses will arrive every 5 minutes. But in most cases these ?Spines? are simply a renaming of existing high frequency bus corridors. So, for example, the new ?D? route simple renames the existing service that sees a number of high frequency routes such as the 27, 15, and other services using the Malahide road. Similarly the new ?A? route already has high frequency services on it like the 41, 16, and 13. In other cases the plan merely diverts existing services out of estates and keeps them on main roads. For example, the 79 route is renamed the ?G? route and is taken out of the lower end of Ballyfermot. People here will have to walk for 10/15 minutes to access the bus service that use to take them to the city centre.
Major working class areas will not have direct access to the city centre. Mass population areas like Tallaght and Clondalkin will not be included in the 16 radical routes meaning that the people who live there will not get the priority bus corridors or cycle lanes.
There is no planned reduction in fares. In order to make public transport attractive the new plan should cut fares dramatically. In our last pre-budget submission, People Before Profit advocated cutting fares by 50% in a bid to reduce the dependency on cars and the amount of traffic congestion. This is an important step, but one that will not be taken by the current plan.

Our Alternative

The government backed plan promises some important benefits, but insists that older people, people with disabilities and some communities may have to lose out for the city to get a modern, efficient bus service. This is nonsense. A clever redesign of the bus network is not going to solve problems caused by years of underinvestment and past cuts in services. Forcing old people to make multiple transfers will not mean a better service for others. The cause of existing delays and traffic chaos is too few buses on congested roads and fares that are too expensive. Much of this has been the result of the actions and inactions of the NTA and the Government.

We need and should campaign for;


The new orbital routes planned for in Bus Connects.
The new bus lanes and new bus priority measures planned for in Bus Connects
A massive increase in the Dublin Bus fleet to at least 1500 buses; this is well beyond any number planned for in Bus Connects , which only plans for a 10% increase in the existing bus numbers.
Reduced fares by 50% to encourage people to use buses.
The retention of all existing bus routes and services; No community should lose an existing service.
An end to the policy of privatising bus routes and competitive tendering. This only lowers wages and conditions of workers and does nothing to improve services.

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