Britain, the world’s former workshop, is now a beggar – The Irish Times

Welcome to this week’s IT Sunday, a selection of the best journalism from The Irish Times for our subscribers.

Unprecedented unrest in Westminster earlier this week saw Liz Truss resign after just 44 days in Downing Street, the shortest prime minister in Britain’s history. Another leadership race is now underway with Rishi Sunak as the favorite this weekend.

Fintan O’Toole’s Last Column examines events across the water and why and how Truss came to power in the first place: “Karl Marx said that everything in history happens twice, the first time as a tragedy, the second like a prank. So what about the third time and the fourth time? The third time, in the revolving door of British Prime Ministers since 2016, was Boris Johnson’s 24-hour nonstop vaudeville. The fourth was Liz Truss’ demolition derby, a thrilling crash-bang-wallop spectacle that does doesn’t last long and leaves the land littered with wreckage. Johnson turned British politics into a form of entertainment. In this, at least, Truss was a worthy successor: she was making a show of herself and her country. So why did she become prime minister?

David McWilliams, in his weekend column, also turns his pen to the mess on the other side of the pond and examines how a once strong, forward-thinking and innovative economy has fallen to such a low point: “Innovation is the most important factor for propel an economy forward. For many years Britain was pre-eminent in its ability to nurture and nurture creative scientific minds, through universities and public institutes, and this also included commercial support. The City of London took risks, betting on new businesses and new household products, from vacuum cleaners to cars and washing machines, products that sometimes changed the world. Innovations may not have been born there, but Britain produced industrial champions, it employed engineers, scientists and assorted tinkerers, the people who – through a process of trial and error – update, reshape and operate the economy. . . It’s tragic, and it’s hard to see how Britain will get out of the mess that successive governments have created. It is also difficult to digest the enormity of disgrace. A country that was once the workshop of the world is a beggar.

The fallout of the Irish football team singing Up the ‘Ra the day after they beat Scotland continued to rumble this week. Fintan O’Toole, however, wrote his own full, unredacted version. “I’m all for people singing Up the ‘Ra. As long as it’s the full version the artists intended rather than the radio-friendly edit. The original version is a real work of art: even cutting off the legs of young women who buy wedding dresses. Until torturing children with Black & Decker drills through their kneecaps. Up to 36 children under the age of 18 subjected to “punitive beatings” in the 1990s alone. Until burying the body of a widow in a secret place and telling her 10 children that their mother ran away with a man and left them.

Elsewhere, the Central Bank changed its mortgage rules this week so first-time buyers can now take out a loan four times their salary. TDs increasingly nervous about housing – and they’re right, says Cliff Taylor. “The Central Bank had reason to change its mortgage rules. Right now many are forced to pay more in rent than a mortgage would cost – lending rules mean they can’t get a loan, but there are no such rules in the rental market . The decision will have some impact on the market, but not a fundamental impact. It is just another sticky plaster in a housing policy puzzle that does not fit together and where drastic rental market problems remain central. This will help some potential buyers cross the line in the short term – and, in turn, this temporary increase in demand will help some developers secure financing to complete projects. But, as interest rates rise, fewer will be able to meet the stress test rules that banks are forced to apply to mortgage borrowers – to ensure they can repay if rates rise. interest increase further – and will remain blocked.

With fall in the air once again, third-tier colleges across the state have returned to their lecture halls. For parents, this is an expensive time, so early preparation can pay off. In her personal finance section this weekFiona Reddan looks at how parents and guardians should approach saving for their children’s educational future – starting, it is advised, from birth.

Why do men allow themselves to be demeaned as willful sex maniacs? This was the question posted by Justine McCarthy in her weekly column, in the light of events in Iran, even of the daily life of girls and women. “Girls are marked from birth because they are brought into the world inside a package commonly called the body, stamped ‘public good’. . . .As men watched a bareheaded Iranian rock climbing champion Elnaz Rekabi scale a competition wall in Seoul with dizzying skillful moves, weren’t they admiring her physical and mental strength rather than taking the fast track to hell at the mere sight of her ponytail? Twisted thinking has a ruinous history. Yet it keeps repeating itself. In Rekabi country, ‘morality police’ punish girls and women for the transgression of letting a fringe of hair escape from under their headscarves as Iranian leaders send drones to invading army of Vladimir Putin to mass murder innocent civilians in Ukraine.

In his column, Gerry Thornley writes that declining attendance is a major concern for rugby. “Rugby kept the show going during the dark days of the pandemic, although, as Leo Cullen observed, games without crowds really took all the fun out of it. But sport is still feeling the effects and perhaps even paying the price. . . Add to that the rising cost of petrol/diesel and travel, and the cost of the modern matchday experience, and it’s no wonder that much of the rugby industry finds games harder to sell lately. Maybe they should start looking at other examples to reduce the cost of games, as evidenced by the Atlanta Falcons NFL franchise in their new Mercedez-Benz stadium, which caps the price at 50% of their food and drinks over the past two years has proven to be a huge hit with supporters.

Earlier this week, Trish Murphy advised a person in their 60s who is in a relationship with a man 10 years older than her. The reader has asked for advice because they fear that I will end up caring for him like I did for my mother and I don’t want to go through that again”. You can read Trish’s advice, here.

And finally, in his chronicle, Roe McDermott advises a reader who writes: “Four years after a difficult breakup, I still think of my ex every day. My friends think I still have a chance with her. She ended things four years ago, why should she keep asserting her position? But hope is eternal and all that. What do you think?”

As always, there’s plenty more on and there are many more articles exclusively available to Irish Times subscribers here.

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