Best of the Web - Geoff McGimpsey

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BIG issue on the blogs this week? Corporation tax and the general election in the Republic of Ireland. But first to corporation tax…

The secretary of state has said that the assembly should have a decision-making role on whether those tax powers are devolved.

A breakthrough? Not really. Jeff Peel’s Diary cannot see Sinn Fein or the DUP “agreeing to breaks for companies at the expense of the block grant”.

He added: “The stumbling block is always going to be lack of vision on the part of our nanny-dependent politicians.”

Unlike Jeff Peel’s Diary, A Tangled Web isn’t convinced of the case for lower corporation tax. However, both agree that the critical problem associated with the proposal is Stormont. Set the economic implications to one side, the political implications are too terrible to consider.

The blog noted: “If corporation tax is reduced, it also means the Assembly has tax-varying capability. Give their track record, would YOU trust them to set your tax rate?”

Why ever not? It’s not as though one of the major parties of government here is led by a man who has no grasp of economics. No, wait. It is.

The newly appointed Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, made headlines in the Republic of Ireland this week by not knowing the VAT rate.

As one commenter on Mark Devenport’s blog wrote: “Gerrys latest contribution to the economic debate was that he admitted he did not know the VAT rate in the South but that it was far too high. Keep them coming Baron, we love it.”

Quite. One twitterer considered that: “Listening to Gerry Adams discussing economics is a bit like imagining a Paul O’Connell interview on ballet.”

For the record, Paul O’Connell is a terrifying 18 stone second row forward from Limerick. He has no track record in the medium of dance.

Out on the stump, reporter @AislingNiCTV3 tweeted: “Gerry Adams door knocking in castlebellingham mixed reaction! one man refusing to shake his hand, another complimenting his beard!”

So it’s been a bit of a mixed bag for Gerry Adams’ body parts. His economics brain is a figure of fun, his hand isn’t being well-received, but at least the beard is going down well.

On Adams’ deficiencies, Ultonia asked: “How come it has taken the RoI media a few weeks to highlight this basic ignorance and ineptitude yet the NI media was incapable of it for decades?”

Well, I suspect it’s largely self-inflicted. For many in the twitterverse, Adams’ campaign in Louth is beginning to feel like open mic night in The Pavilion. Or in other words, a comedy of errors.

Between the corporation tax issue and Gerry Adams’ misfiring election campaign et al, blogs are fulminating over the ability of politicians to get the job done.

Eye on The Hill blogged: “… why do our MLAs, even when it is not election season, seem determined to obscure the solid pieces of legislation that they and their officials undertake with shows of obdurate daftness when a microphone is waved before them?”


And finally, Google has launched its Art Project – virtual online access to the world’s great museums and exhibitions. Even if you’re not a culture vulture, @EamonnMallie suggests one possible reason to log on.

He tweeted: “Don’t tell me guys you didn’t lust after poster pin up girl Farrah Fawcett in that bronze swim suit. Suit now in Smithsonian Museum.”

Go culture! To recap, that’s Just in case you’re interested.