stereochrome

Inklings in May 2013

Know Thy Complexities!

Good algorithmic complexity reference!

Irish political parties: how complex are things?

Contrary to what seems to be opinion elsewhere, the Republic of Ireland has a pretty straightforward set of political parties these days. Here’s a breakdown for the interested and bored. Links will be to the Wikipedia pages on the parties because I don’t endorse any of them.

Fianna Fáil (FF)

These days, Fianna Fáil is your bog-average vaguely centre-right, populist/big-tent party. Nominally republican, they haven’t been ideologically so since the late 1980s in any meaningful sense. They see themselves as the natural party of government, and their ideological rhetoric shifts so as to maintain that status.

They can be said to be slightly to the left of Fine Gael, but being a big tent and given their tendency to shift their rhetoric to suit the current situation, it’s almost meaningless to ascribe any particular position to them.

Fine Gael (FG)

The other centre-right party in the country. They differ from Fianna Fáil in that they’re a christian democratic and liberal conservative party, thus are easier to pin down ideologically, though they did flirt with a very mild form of social democracy in the 1980s.

The only interesting twist to all this is that due to a century-old grudge between FF and FG dating back to the foundation of the state, neither party will contemplate going into coalition with one another. Thus rather than having a single conservative party with two separate wings, one populist, the other christian democratic, we have two parties filling those roles. Aside from a lingering hate for FF, FG haven’t been anything other than nominally republican for decades. Even the ‘Christian’ bit is moderating these days.

Labour

A bog-average centre-left social democratic party.

They tend to end up in government to make up the numbers with either FF or FG. They’d likely be bigger if it weren’t for FF’s big-tent approach to organisation which keeps people whose ideological home might be more naturally Labour than a centre-right party like FF.

Greens

A bog-average centre-left progressive green party. About the only remarkable thing about them is that they’re slightly eurosceptic.

They were recently blown out of the water after being part of a disastrous coalition government with FF and the Progressive Democrats, a free-market liberal party that completely imploded over the course of 2008 and 2009. They ended up losing support due to a perception that they were too willing to bend to FF’s natural populism.

Sinn Féin

The only meaningfully nationalist/republican party in the state. They’re a secular democratic socialist party with a Trotskyist bent that’s giving way to pragmatism where necessary. I’m not sure I’d describe them as having ever really been sectarian, at least not under Gerry Adams anyway: any Catholic chauvinism was more of a fringe within them compared to their republican and democratic socialist core.


And that’s it: aside from Sinn Féin (who are turning into just another left-wing party anyway) and lingering political animosity between FF and FG. There’s really very little that can be said to be odd the structure of Irish politics.

A Python Love Story: Virtualenv and Hudson

I’m going to take a look at using Jenkins for CI at work.

Syncing a fork on GitHub

I can never remember this.

A Gentle Introduction to Making HTML5 Canvas Interactive

Hexagonal Grids

Schema evolution in Avro, Protocol Buffers and Thrift

PyPI Shields/Pins

PyPI Shields/Pins are shields for you GitHub repo, documentation or website that show your many times your project has been downloaded from PyPI or it’s latest version.

Falsehoods programmers believe about addresses

Omitted from this list is one that’s a big deal if you’re Irish: not every country uses postcodes.