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D-Day landings were less hassle than switching bank account

Ulster Bank has been fined €3.5m by the Central Bank for its humiliating IT failure.

It's a record fine, but a pittance compared to what it could have suffered. In a normal consumer market, the bank would have haemorrhaged customers. But that doesn't happen in banking. Because you can't change your bank the way you change your broadband or car insurance.

With banking, switching supplier takes two proofs of identity, forms, overdraft and rate negotiations, a visit to the branch, notification to your employer, and swapping of direct debits.

The D-Day landings were less hassle.

Customers are generally a pretty inert bunch. When you add the layers of complexity in shifting from bank to bank the end result is punters so sedentary as to be ossified.

If the Central Bank really wanted to give Ulster Bank a kicking they should forget the fine, and expose them to the true rigors of the free market.

All it would take would be a way where we consumers can say: "Hey Bank A, you're fired. Hey Bank B? You're hired."

Then we'd see a real cost for customer-service failures.

Why can TDs

libel citizens?

The Deputy Secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has said that the system of privilege in Dail Eireann should be reformed, as it allows TD's to make 'unfounded, unsubstantiated or malicious allegations'.

You can sing that.

The AGSI's John Jacob raised his concerns following allegations about a garda made by TD Mick Wallace.

Frankly, whether or not there is anything wrong with Mick Wallace's statements is irrelevant to the wider point - we legally permit TDs and Senators to defame and libel citizens. Which is nuts.

Across the floor of the house, in the Seanad, and (to a slightly lesser extent) in committee rooms, our elected representatives can say anything they like while being protected from laws.

Before Oireachtas TV and the internet, this may have been excusable, as sensible newspaper editors and broadcasters could choose not to publicise pointless and vindictive attacks, but those days are long gone.

Now, a TD or Senator who wants to score points or do harm to a well-earned reputation can do so. In public. With absolute protection.

Most elected representatives don't do that. But most elected representatives aren't the problem.

The problem is the few who use parliamentary privilege as a battering ram, who portray cowardly attack as courageous challenge.

As long as the system allows that to happen, then John Jacob is right, the system needs to be changed.

Kim's rear is a natural wonder

Kim Kardashian (right) has presented her nude backside to the world on the front page of Paper magazine.

It's remarkable - in the literal sense - and very similar to Ayers Rock or the Grand Canyon - a truly enormous natural feature that at first sight, stuns you. That doesn't mean you find it attractive.

It's more that you'd want to tick it off the list of Sights Everyone Must See Once.

Because of this strange appeal, we must assume Kim's next move will be to have an interpretive centre built.

Buses will then deposit tourists to observe the epic posterior from a specially designed viewing platform, before they visit the gift shop to buy souvenirs saying, "I saw Kim Kardashian's giant a*se and all I got was this lousy t-shirt".


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