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This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… the Creatures (Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie) April 19, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie kept the Creatures as a sort of the dancier, albeit experimental and therefore more clattery sounding or if you prefer the more percussion oriented iteration of the Banshees, and why not? Though truth is that the Banshees for all their ability to craft pop hits were a curiously gritty operation. Siouxsie is in a way beyond analysis, being such an iconic figure both musically and in terms of aesthetic throughout the 1980s and beyond. But that grit has, I’ve always felt, anchored her close to her punk roots which has curiously afforded the baroque elements a more convincing aspect.

And with the Banshees as the main project the Creatures appeared but intermittently, with only three albums between 1983 and 1999. ‘Miss the Girl’ from 1983′s Feast is probably their best known track and very fine it is too.

But, I have to admit to a fondness for Anima Animus from 1999. It’s as good as anything the Banshees put out in years prior to its release and yet has a nicely electronic inflected aspect that positions it neatly in the last part of the 1990s. Granted Siouxsie has one of the most distinctive voices in music – with an ability to shift from whispers to great sheets of sound with perhaps disturbing ease, and one would expect it to be good, but tracks like 2nd Floor with its insistent dance gothisms (perhaps even a touch of electroclash in there too) work perfectly.

Prettiest Thing has a nicely sinister/cynical approach set to a pulsating electronic bass. Say is a bit of a dance/electronic classic, perhaps as close to a ballad as Siouxsie was ever likely to present us with (is that an hint of the melody from Jealous Guy in there?), and yet executed effortlessly. And Another Planet is, like almost all the tracks, dripping with atmospheric menace.

Well, well worth a listen.

Miss the Girl (from 1983 and live on Top of the Pops)

2nd Floor

Another Planet


Prettiest Thing

Say [the music in this is pretty low in volume, but you get the idea]

Paul Murphy European Elections Poster April 18, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.

Just got this picture of Paul Murphys European Elections poster. I quite like it.

Incomes and inequality April 18, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy.
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Two pieces in the Guardian recently raise a number of useful questions. The first is a breakdown of UK incomes.

The figures paint a picture of what average incomes are in the UK for different household types. It may come as a surprise to some people that an income for a single adult of less than £39,800 is enough to be among the top 20% of earners for that group.


The median income for a single adult in the fifth decile is £17,600, but for a couple with two children it is £44,200, which may take them into the 40% tax bracket, helping to explain why so many families on average incomes feel they are in the “squeezed middle”. However, the figures do not distinguish between couples made up of two earners and those where just one is working.

There’s some reasonably good explanations as to what this means in comments below the piece… as one commentor says ‘what the chart really shows is the minimum income required to be in the top 5%, or top 15%, or top 25%, and so on’.

Meanwhile, what of this? An argument against inherited wealth. It does seem to me that inherited wealth, or the promise of same, is one of the great bulwarks raised up against progressive political approaches. It generates pools of inequality and privilege. And yet I cannot see how this can easily be addressed in a context where for example in the UK:

The “nil-rate threshold” – the value under which inherited wealth is untouched by tax – currently stands at £325,000, frozen since April 2009. But that’s only half the story. Since 2007, it has been possible for spouses to transfer their unused nil-rate band allowance to their surviving partner. This has lifted many estates in the £300-500,000 band out of inheritance tax altogether: at this point we are beginning to talk about substantial, indeed life-altering, sums of money.

In the Republic the situation appears to be as follows:

If you are a surviving spouse OR surviving civil partners taking an inheritance from your deceased spouse or civil partner, the inheritance is completely exempt and, no matter how valuable, will not be liable to Inheritance Tax.

And a variety of thresholds apply where tax is applicable.

Anyhow the Guardian piece makes the following point:

Why do we permit this? The transfer of wealth between generations is an injustice: it is a reward for no work, and a form of access to privileges that are otherwise beyond reach. Professor Thomas Piketty, in his new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, makes the argument that, after a social-democratic blip in the middle of the last century, inheritance is once again becoming the key route to wealth. Piketty argues that if wealth is concentrated and the return on capital is higher than the economy’s growth rate, inherited wealth will grow more rapidly than that stemming from work.

The idea of a ‘social-democratic blip’ is well worth considering. The essential rout of social democracy (or not even a rout, because that suggests that at least some fight was put up where it might be better to see it as a stealing away in the night) shows how even under fairly weak SD approaches it was possible to start tilting the societal direction leftwards whereas now in the absence of that it is now becoming possible to strip away the residual elements of that dispensation.

You may have missed this earlier: From the selection in the Left Archive…The Coffee Circle Papers (Papers and responses from the series of political forums organised during 1998 by Democratic Left): Paper 6 – Northern Ireland April 18, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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As part of getting people acquainted and used to the extended Left Archive we’re going to link every week to previous documents that have been posted there that may be of interest. This week The Coffee Circle Papers (Papers and responses from the series of political forums organised during 1998 by Democratic Left): Paper 6 – Northern Ireland.


Many thanks to Catherine Murphy TD for donating this document to the Left Archive. Due to its length it will be posted up in individual sections over the next twelve months.

As noted late last year:

This document [published on foot of a series of meetings] is unusual in respect of the Irish left in that it sought to challenge fairly directly the assumptions held by a political formation. That formation, Democratic Left, less than a decade old had recently left government after Fianna Fáil had won the 1997 General Election. It had also shed two seats from its complement of six Tds.

Due to the length of this document it has been broken up into sections, and will be posted non-sequentially over the next year or so. This chapter engages with the issue of Irish politics in the aftermath of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement and the referendum on foot of that. There are two contributors, Dr. Paul Bew of Queens University, Belfast and a response by Fergus Finally, formerly Special Advisor to Dick Spring, leader of the Labour Party. That both were advisors to different parties at various stages during the peace process their contributions are of some interest.

The summation is made by Paddy Gillan, then editor of Times Change.

All are short and remarkably undetailed, one might even say they were vague. The focus is on unionism, to an almost remarkable degree. And largely the theme of the papers is not addressed. Nor is it clear what the implications, as then perceived, for the left are.

The summation is arguably more interesting, with Dr. John McManus of DL arguing that the agreement ‘marked a ‘full stop’ to nationalism. Proinsias De Rossa argued that ‘Sinn Féin had a long road to travel. There was not just a time difference but a very large ideological gap. He felt that we must challenge the idea of SF being the guardians of equality agenda; there is a need to recover the equality project for the left – we can’t let them demean equality the way they demeaned republicanism.’

Perhaps tellingly there is no mention that Democratic Left organised and had elected representatives in the Northern Ireland.

This Week At Irish Election Literature April 18, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Election Literature Blog.

Starting off this week with a leaflet from Declan McCool running for United Left in Swords

Then a flyer from Cieran Perry who is running in Cabra Finglas

Then a leaflet from Martin Grehan of People Before Profit in Maynooth

Then one from Lorraine Hennessey of The Workers Party in Clondalkin

One from Gino Kenny of People Before Profit in Clondalkin

Then a Newsletter from Dermot Looney who is running in in Templeogue Terenue

Then a leaflet from the youngest looking candidate I’ve seen to date Stephen Cunningham of Sinn Fein in Cork City North East

Finally the index of 2014 Local Election Leaflets

No Quiz today….

Also There is a crowd called “Meath Centre Left” contesting the Local Elections. Anyone any information on them?

Pathé Archives April 17, 2014

Posted by doctorfive in Irish History.
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Pathé have put their entire Archive on youtube, or 85,000 clips at least. Lots to sift through but here are few from early on.


Bishop Supports SF on Abortion – Or Does He? April 17, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Choice, Sinn Féin.
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Fascinating report on the BBC website about a row between the Catholic bishop of Dromore and elements of SF over a letter distributed in west Belfast claiming he supported its position on abortion. The BBC quotes the bishop as saying

When I became aware of party political literature which was jointly issued in the names of Sue Ramsey MLA and Councillor Matt Garrett of Sinn Féin, which stated that I ‘share’ their position on the ‘termination’ of unborn human life, I was appalled

The Deputy First Minister and Paul Maskey MP (West Belfast) both acted to get the letter removed. The BBC quotes Paul Maskey as saying

Sinn Féin accepts that references in the letter to Bishop McAreavey were inaccurate.

“These letters should have not gone out.

“I apologise unreservedly to the bishop for any hurt and distress caused.

“I can assure the bishop that all reference to him on this issue has now been removed from all print and electronic literature. Sinn Féin has also removed the offending comments from Facebook.

A very revealing story as well as a fascinating one.

Neo-liberalism and the Irish polity April 17, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Just noticed this from Vincent Brown’s column in the Irish Times.

Joining the euro, the single currency, was a momentous change, for it involved the surrender of a large chunk of what remained of our sovereignty. It opened the floodgates to cheap money, the property bubble and the financial crash. But, most crucially, it required the incorporation into our political culture and public policy of the ideology of neoliberalism – the supremacy of markets, light touch or no touch regulation, privatisation and all the attendant inequalities that such policies ordain.

Not that there were not pressures domestically to go with that infection. Mary Harney (more Boston that Berlin) was perhaps the foremost apostle of neoliberalism but she had ardent disciples in Bertie Ahern, Charlie McCreevy, Richard Bruton and some silent ones in the Labour Party

It’s an interesting assessment overall and quite persuasive, certainly the EU project appears to have ever more tightly embedded us and other member states in a very specific definition of the orthodoxy, but what about the last line in it?

I’ve always felt the 2007 LP election platform, and in particular the attitude to personal taxation, was worthy of much greater consideration than it was perhaps afforded in terms of what it represented in respect of the positioning of that party and how it saw itself as much as critiques from beyond it. But the term ‘silent ones’ is genuinely fascinating for what it implies.

Out of sight, out of mind… April 17, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish History, Uncategorized, United States History.
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this piece on Irish Central by John Fay brings to light a gift from the United States of the battle flag of the Fighting 69th from the Civil War to the Irish people. And where is it?

Hanging in Leinster House, the building that hosts Ireland’s parliament, is the battle flag of the Fighting 69th from the American Civil War. The flag has hung in the building ever since President John F Kennedy unveiled it as a gift from the American people back in June 1963.

It makes a great wall-hanging. It’s very impressive. I saw it once years ago and, if I remember correctly, it hangs just at the bottom of a staircase. I’m not sure now because, well, I have only been able to see it once. And that’s the problem.

As Fay continues:

President Kennedy did not offer the flag to Ireland’s parliamentarians. He did not say:
“You elected officials are a cut above the common people of Ireland. So be sure to keep this flag where you can admire it regularly, but where few of the unwashed masses will ever feast their eyes upon it. After all, what is it to them that tens of thousands of their kin, their forefathers’ and their forefathers’ brothers fought, bled and died for the honor of that beautiful flag?”

More Left Unity Transfers …… People Before Profit urging a vote for ‘Ming’ April 17, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.

Spotted in a leaflet from Alan Lawes who is running for People Before Profit in Navan….


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