"That's when i started to see the social implications," he said "If you are going to start a regulatory regime from scratch, you'd design it to protect middle and lower-middle income people, because the opportunity for them to get ripped off was so high.  Instead what we had was a regime where those were the people who were protected the least", in: Michael Lewis, The Big Short
If states cannot let banks fails, as it would be 'inconceivable' to take the risk that they bring down the banking system of a state, how can any state ever hope to control their potential excesses?  This is more than moral hazard there is no big picture imperative to protect society from excessive risk taking of financial institutions.  When this is compounded by an ideological stance which is deeply committed to 'regulation light', how then can societies prevent low and middle income households getting exploited, and then having to fund the socialisation of bank losses, in order to 'protect' the integrity of the system which exploited them in the first place?

How can a government determined to protect lower and middle income families design a system of financial regulation that works?

Gender Equality

“Many women do not recognize themselves as discriminated against; no better proof could be found of the totality of their conditioning” - Kate Millet

I was 23 before it occurred to me to ask whether modern Irish society is gendered.  Having got married at the tender age of 22 (for reasons best explained elsewhere), I had to make enquiries with the tax office during my first Irish job, I was informed that they did not have an 'Anna Visser' in their system and my PPS number brought up another name... I explained that there was no such person as 'Anna Gillanders' as I had not changed my name when I got married, the nonchalant reply came "oh, we automatically update your records".  Ahem?! 

When I made further enquiries it did transpire that this was not Revenue Commissioner policy, and I received a thoughtful and well crafted apology from the Revenue Commissioner herself.  You can change law and policy, but mindset and instinct is a whole other ball game.

Since having my two children, I have come to ask myself whether shared maternity/paternity leave, as in the Scandinavian model, is not one of the most important policy decisions which we could take to overcome not only gender discrimination, but the web of deep-seated attitudes and assumptions about the roles of women and men that pervade our society.

Me? A Feminist? Well I guess so, though I am pretty embarrassed to admit that if you had asked me ten years ago, this young female politics student probably would not have known how to answer that question.