The whole Sinn Fein thing is interesting (and the use of the term Sinn Fein/IRA is telling - it's a Tory/Unionist meme to conflate the two).
Northern Ireland came into being through the threat of anti-constitutional violence. The Asquith government was elected on a promise to grant home rule to the whole of Ireland. This was opposed by, in addition to the votes of Tory peers, the formation of an illegal armed militia (the original UVF) in Ulster and the threatened mutiny of the British Army's officer class.
Subsequently, the Six Counties were separated from Ireland and given their own protestant majority government, which proceeded to repress the majority catholic population.
By the 1960's tolerance for this had evaporated and the catholics, inspired by the US civil rights movement, embarked on initially peaceful protest, which was violently suppressed by the protestant forces. This led to the emergence of the Provisional IRA, of various protestant/unionist terrorist organisations and the introduction of the British Army into the conflict.
All three sides engaged in atrocities, with the overt or covert backing of their political supporters, including the unionist parties and British mainland politicians, as well as Sinn Fein.
After around 30 years, a settlement was reached by which unionist and nationalists share power (mostly) in a devolved government.
Because of this, there is no real moral difference between NI politicians of the unionist/protestant tradition, who have enjoyed the enthusiastic support of various Conservatives and those of the republican/catholic tradition, who it is considered the height of extremism for Labour to engage with.
I think a broad TL;DR on that is that Corbyn isn't a centre right politician, and thus the right don't accept him as a safe pair of hands for a Labour-labelled interregnum between Tory governments.
The problem with Corbyn is that (I guess) he sees the EU as un-reformable and favours a dislocation with it. Either that, or he aligns to the (self-contradicting) fallacy that a 52/48 vote for EU withdrawal is immutable and cannot be opposed (without explaining why a 67/33 vote for EU membership in 1975 did not similarly settle the issue in perpetuity). Apart from anything else, such a view distances him from most of his natural constituency.
"the people" have no role to play in filling single-vacancy public offices
No, I'm saying that they have every role to play. They should elect a parliament, who choose a Prime Minister who commands the confidence of a majority. Given a fair voting system for MPs, this ensures the PM will have the support of MPs representing a majority of the populace.
France and the United States are never going to give up their republican forms of government
The US, probably - they'll keep their 18th century constitution until the nation breaks up.
France has only had a directly elected president since 1958 when it was instituted as a deliberately counter-democratic measure to impose stability on a deeply divided nation.
The Swiss, interestingly, rotate the presidency (and hence their nominal head of state) between the members of a power-sharing Federal Council.
without giving any examples
You need one? Donald Trump. or Vladimir Putin, admittedly accompanied by ballot rigging.
you have at least conceded that conventional instant-runoff STV is "probably the least worst" method of determining who wins single-vacancy elections
There has to be a "least worst" method in every case. If the alternatives were astrological projection or throwing the candidates into the harbour and seeing who remains afloat, I'd opt for the latter.
Also, I'd just point out that Lindsay Perigo (who?) was not the first to suggest a collective presidency for the US, it was unsuccessfully proposed by Edmund Randoph and others in the Federal Convention of 1787.
In the case of Ireland, the president is a mostly ceremonial post, and a "beauty contest" suffices. They could of course abolish the post and have the Taoiseach be head of state as well as government.
The US and France should adopt a parliamentary system, like the vast majority of the worlds democracies. The US has the excuse of being the first large modern state to try democracy, but it's now 2017, not 1776, and we can change and use modern innovations (like MMP and the electric jug).
inevitability of the ascendance of the populist right in France
The Front National's first-round vote has varied between 10% and 17% over the last 25 years, so 21% is not a huge leap - and it's a long way from there to being electable.
The two-round system is a fairly poor way of selecting a single president from multiple candidates (all systems of directly electing a single leader, including NZ mayoral elections, are intrinsically bad, but conventional instant run-off STV is probably the least worst => I'd suspect Le Pen would have been eliminated at the 3rd or 4th round of such a system).
Bringing extremist candidates into power is in many ways an artefact of such unfair voting systems - with MMP, NZF and ACT are effectively corralled -> they may get a coalition ministry but have never moved near to displacing National. (and NZF is constrained from moving further to the right by the possibility of National and Labour working together to exclude them, as has happened in several European states).
Are we seeing the revitalization of the UK Labour Party or its demolition?
The British haven't changed their 2-party structure since the introduction of universal suffrage, which resulted (after a delay) in many of the newly enfranchised voters finding a home in Labour and the Liberals becoming unelectable.
English voters are fairly settled into an approach of voting either for the Conservatives or for their strongest constituency opponent, be that Labour in the North and large cities, or the Lib Dems elsewhere.
I'm picking that Labour won't drop below 200 seats this election.
To me the main issue with Blair is that he paved the way for Brexit, in the same way that Obama paved the way for Trump.
The ordinary working and middle class people have had their living standards and job security steadily eroded since the 80s. Politicians like Blair (Obama, Clark, Little) have a basic platform of being better enablers of capitalism - the concept being that while the 1% get massively wealther, "trickle down" makes ordinary people better off. This hasn't actually happened in the UK or the US, and it's only happened in NZ because (some of) the middle classes have had the benefit of house price inflation to gain an illusion of wealth.
The result of this is a grumpy populace willing to vote for Brexit/Trump.
...there is an ideological fashion that came out of Chicago and other places in the 80s. You just do not find economists or economic writers who challenge this basic theory.
Stiglitz? - he was doing much of his work in the 90's. I think the actual state of affairs was that all academics *in New Zealand* followed a doctrinaire neo-classical approach.
I'm assuming that, rather than paying SBW through a bank payment, he gets handed a kitbag full of banknotes after each game?
Moving 1000 social housing renters into home ownership could produce a net fiscal saving of $11.1 million over 15 years, BERL's data shows.
Why? On a narrow definition, sure, if the renters aren't paying the full costs of their accommodation, then getting them to move into houses that they fully pay for will remove the cost of that subsidy,
But in Real World Economics, they're still living in a house, it still needs work to maintain it, there's the depreciation and the sunk cost of building. Having the house owned by the government or an individual doesn't change that - in fact, it probably means more work is being done to maintain them in the house (no economy of scale, unwork like real estate agency and insurance, higher financing costs through credit risk).
All that's really happening is that the subsidies gone, so the renters get poorer and some non-socially housed rate taxpayers get richer.
(There is of course the popular Thatcherite social engineering concept that making people buy houses transforms them into middle class families with a correct work ethic).