Though Broadsheet is – alas – gone, I am pleased to present my latest Annual Summer Political Reading List. (My first one was back in 2017). These are books/kindle texts, mainly non-fiction, which you may care to take away with you on holidays.
All bar one of the books I have selected this year are non-fiction – and while none of those could be reasonably described as a light read, they are all is informative, well-written and/or entertaining.
As in previous years, these books represent nothing other than my personal preference and taste. I did ask a few friends for recommendations, but the final selection is mine.
You do really have to wonder if the Taoiseach and Tánaiste understand politics at all?
Their immediate and absolute refusal to accede to calls for a mid-point review of the Programme for Government, coming from senior representatives in their two parties, is an example of this.
What is so wrong with agreeing to a mid-point review, a political stock-take, of the programme so painstaking negotiated back in June 2020?
Why shouldn’t the moment at which the two leaders switch roles also involve an appraisal of how effective this government has been at implementing the lengthy programme announced just over two years ago?
I can understand neither side wishing to have a complete and total renegotiation of the programme, but surely it is political common sense to examine what areas are ahead of target and which ones are behind and in need of additional attention… it is not as if things have not changed dramatically since the deal was negotiated?
Earlier this week, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, accompanied by ministers Simon Coveney and Eamon Ryan headed to McKee barracks, beside the Phoenix Park, to launch the overdue and long anticipated government’s action plan response to the Report of the Commission on the Defence Forces, entitled: “Building for the future – change from within.”
It is a good document. It commits the government to moving the State’s level of defence capability to Level of Ambition 2 (LOA) over a period of six years between now and 2028. In terms of cash and people, this means growing the annual Defence budget to €1.5 billion by 2028 (in 2022 prices) plus expanding the defence establishment by 2,000 personnel (civil and military).