Hi everyone, we have completed our second episode of All Things In The Middle, The Podcast.
In this episode we discuss the Irish governments 5 phase plan for getting the Irish economy back to work by the middle of August 2020.
Hi everyone, my apologies for the lack of posts since December 2019 but with the current situation bringing society to a stop, I am sure you understand. As my title suggests, yes, I have gotten lost in the days. Allow me to explain: In late February, my partner and I travelled to the Philippines to visit his family as this was his first return home since arriving in Ireland some 3 years ago. At the point of our departure, there were no reported cases in Ireland of covid-19 and 1 reported case in the Philippines. Due to the lack of cases in the Philippines, we felt it was safe to continue our journey which had been in the planning for months. I will not go into too much detail regarding our stay in the Philippines as I will write about that another time. This piece of writing is more so about how on our return, I personally have begun to lose track of my days. We arrived back in Dublin, Ireland on March 20th and since that date, I have been confined to my apartment. In mid-March, the Health Service Executive (HSE) issued guidelines that all travellers returning to Ireland should enter self-isolation for 14 days. This was not quarantine so much as it was about limiting the number of people I would have met. For 14 days from March 20th I remained at home, only leaving my apartment on two occasions to buy essentials. While I was in public, I would wear a mask to protect myself from people coughing (In Ireland wearing a mask wasn’t a common thing and to this day it still isn’t), I would also carry alcohol wipes and alcohol gel. I used the wipes to clean shopping trolleys and baskets and the gel was used after leaving the store. During these 14 days of isolating at home, I was able to work from home. My employer provided a laptop, a monitor and other tech essentials. The 14 days at home was not too tough, I worked, I cooked, completed chores, slept and so on. Then came the hard part, the Irish government issued stay at home orders for those who can and those not deemed essential workers, this came into effect from midnight March 27th and would last an initial period of 2 weeks until April 12th. I work in financial services which is deemed an essential sector, however, luckily for me, I was able to remain at home while still working. My presence was not required in the office right now, so I continued to work from home. So, at this point, I am one week into isolation and it is ok. As I mentioned, I’m only back from vacation, I just moved into my apartment on March 23rd so I needed to catch up on work, with friends and family so I had lot to do which kept me busy for that first week.
At this point, I am two weeks into the returning traveller isolation (which means I have completed the 2 weeks), and one week into the governments two week ‘lockdown’ still it is not too tough on me or on us. I am trying to keep busy each day, but repetition is starting to frustrate me because what I do is so limited. In my mind I am planning to attend the office one or two days to break up my week and trick my mind into thinking differently. My partner is due back at work April 4th, two weeks after returning home from vacation in the Philippines. The 4th of April is a day shift for him, and he would begin night shift on the 7th. I need to mention, my partner is a nurse at a major hospital in Dublin.
Tuesday the 8th of April my partner was at work, his second night shift out of seven nights. While in work that night, he is made aware that a colleague is positive for covid-19. He knew then that this was the colleague he worked with on the 4th of April and was advised that he could contract the virus and that I must stay in isolation for 14 days. At this point, it is now 18 days I have been in isolation since returning home and I must extend that for another 12 days. As I write this, I have 3 days remaining in isolation and have been inside my apartment for 27 days! During my new 14 days, my partner was told to continue to attend work and avoid people outside of work. We did not have any symptoms, because my partner had no symptoms, they deemed it safe for him to travel. This period was very nerving, we just did not know if we were going to get ill or if we had the virus but no symptoms. As the days went bye, I began to lose track of them. I began to lose my focus and my motivation. I failed to be productive when I was not on my laptop working. It took me a few days to begin to think clearly. To help me get back to being productive, I began operating my blogs twitter account and the Facebook page I created. I started to share news stories, good news stories, statistics and offer some opinion on the current global situation. This is what has helped me through this time. It is now 12 days since my partner was likely in contact with his colleague and we remain healthy and thankful for that. We still have a few days to complete before we are officially out of isolation. However, since April 12th, the original end date of Irelands lockdown, the government extended the lockdown by another 21 days. This means, staying at home is still advised for those who can and those who must as they may be vulnerable to the situation.
My new goals are to progress my WordPress blog by posting more and discussing with friends about them taking on certain categories to expand the blogs content and readership. Alongside the blog I will increase the content and engagement both on twitter and Facebook. My newest goal is to begin a podcast, it will be the voice of All Things In The Middle where I plan to discuss ‘all things in the middle’ with friends and guests. The topics will be like my blog. Politics, current affairs, sports, art and whatever else comes to mind. The podcast will be wide ranging, I will not restrict myself to specifics topics. I welcome advice on how to begin a podcast, I welcome guests’ suggestions and topic recommendations.
Until the next post, stay home, stay safe.
2016 was the year of two major events that would change two nations and the world as we knew it. In Britain, just over 50 percent of voters, in a referendum, voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The Vote Leave camp used blatant lies and fear as a tool to persuade people to their side, garnering huge media coverage with their divisive slogans and divisive characters. The Remain side lacked energy, slogans and the characters that would be required to rally the public to their side and keep Britain within the European Project. The main underlying problem for the remain campaign, was it’s refusal to accept how frustrated Britons had become at the EU and how years of austerity had created a hunger for change.
Europe has been rocked by the referendum in Britain and soon enough we will know if a deal is agreed in the House of Commons (British Parliament) as we await Theresa May to put the Brexit Agreement to a vote. An earlier vote was pulled in December 2018 as the Prime Minister did not have enough support within her own party or in Parliament to win. Britain will crash out of Europe on March 29th if a deal is not reached or an extension is not granted. A no deal scenario could be bad news for the European Union and other Global economies and even worst news for the Island of Ireland as a possible hard border could be erected, in breach of the good Friday agreement. The Good Friday Agreement brought peace to the island following decades of the violence in Northern Ireland. This period in Northern Ireland, known as The Troubles is extremely complicated and embedded in the history of those who live there.
On the other side of the pond, in the United States, Donald Trump was elected to the office of President. Trump had beaten Hilary Clinton. Clinton, simply as a name, is one of the most famous political names in the United States. The differences between Trump and Clinton are; Trump lacks the capabilities, knowledge, temperament and political experience that Clinton has. During the 2016 election, Trump lost the popular vote but The United States has a system in which the popular vote means nothing in terms of being elected, therefor Trump won the election because he won enough States which had the most electoral colleges. and reached the magic number of 270.
Trump has imposed tariffs on China and other goods from other nations. He had pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, rescinded on the Iran Nuclear Deal (The JCPOA) and continues to fire staff while also being under the spotlight of special Counsel Robert Mueller for collusion with Russia in the 2016 Presidential campaign. Trump and the Republican Party continue to undo much of what Barack Obama spent his 2 terms implementing. The only thing the Republicans stands for is nominating a sexual predator to the Supreme Court and undoing Obama policies, other than that, they have become the self serving party driving by deep ideology. On the other hand, the Democrats are in disarray, trying to understand themselves and what the heck they represent. The Democrats, like Labour in the UK are divided between the new era of left wing politics as a challenge to the far right and the old centre ground politics that Hilary Clinton and Tony Blair represented. The sooner the Democrats get their house in order the sooner they can be effective in the House of Representatives.
2019 will be a year in which the pendulum swings back, how far? only time will tell. The fight against nationalism and far right extremism is building as the resurgence of a united liberal front is taking place around the globe.
By Jonathan Myers.
Donald Trump has suggested that he now believes the United States should begin unilateral action, not only against North Korea but possibly against Bashar Al Assad following more despicable chemical attacks in Syria. What we are beginning to see are nations acting in self interest. Russia in Ukraine may be one example.
Trump today said that the chemical attack in Syria crossed “many lines” in response to a reporters question which had a reference to Obama’s red line in 2013. He failed to offer any real details on the possible unilateral action the United States would take but his comments have set the US up in such a way that action is now required and expected.
The conflict in Syria will never end unless someone steps in and finds a way to bring it to an end. Civilian deaths should no longer be accepted and safe zones should now be established and protected with no fly zones. Full access given to the United Nations to give the necessary care to the population. A ceasefire should be implemented with areas of influence remaining for a short time until dialogue can be agreed by those involved. The removal of Assad and the establishment of a cooperation council which should include Assad forces and the moderate opposition but not limited to them. An end to the blood shed should be priority number 1 from today. Too many have suffered and a stable middle east is in the interest of everyone.