Meanwhile, in North West… The Chairman is busy… May 31, 2009Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics.
Many thanks to the contributor who sent this my way… He noted that:
“FARMER: James, Longford” is James Reynolds, former default chairman of the Longford IFA, associate of Justin Barrett at the last European election and long-term [word deleted for unkindness to an associate of Justin Barrett - no, wait, that can't be right... wbs ]…
No idea who the others are.
It’s good to know that Decko has “explained… his ideas on how to solve” the economy to Michelle of Oranmore. E’er a chance that he might enlighten the rest of us?
I’m sure that’s hugely unfair to the Chairman… no doubt even as we read he is preparing a mammoth volume of policies and ideas that will arrive before Friday. Well before Friday.
If not I’d be shocked. Shocked I tell you!
The following comes from a story by Jim Cusack in today’s web edition of the Sunday Independent.
One of the key incidents in the outset of the Troubles in 1969 was the sectarian murder of a Protestant man, Billy King, who was kicked to death by Catholic rioters outside his home in the Fountain area of Derry.
Billy King, who was killed in September 1969, and Kevin McDaid, who was kicked to death last Sunday, were both aged 49 and both the fathers of four children. Neither was involved in any form of militancy and both were killed merely because of their religious backgrounds.
The killing of Billy King and several other Protestants by Catholics prompted the retaliatory violence by Protestants, who invaded Catholic areas of Belfast, leading to the British government’s decision to call in the British army as the then under-strength Royal Ulster Constabulary was on the verge of collapse.
Leaving aside the fact that the final paragraph makes no sense due to a grammatical error, this is utter nonsense. The British Army was sent onto the streets of Northern Ireland in August 1969 in response to attacks by loyalist and state forces on the Bogside and subsequent rioting elsewhere in the North, especially Belfast and Armagh. Cusack has a very bad track record on factual accuracy, but this version of events is so grossly wrong as to completely misrepresent reality, and in essence blames northern Catholics for the bigoted and vicious behaviour of reactionary unionism in this period. Frankly, someone who claims to be an expert on Northern Ireland who writes this nonsense ought to be sacked.
The Dublin Central Local Elections and byelection Promotional Material – Ivana Bacik of the Labour Party… Part 16 of a continuing series. May 30, 2009Posted by WorldbyStorm in Dublin Central Local Election and By-Election Promotional Material.
I’ve been surprised by how little material I’ve received from Ivana Bacik during this campaign. I don’t know why that is. I will say that after x number of weeks of posters and flyers ever I who has more than a usual interest in such things really would like a bit of a break from it. So roll on next Friday and Saturday [BTW, my thoughts such as they are on the latest poll I'll post up over the next day or two, all I'll say now is that it's great that the left in all its shapes and forms is doing so well in Dublin]. And I’ll bet the candidates are counting down the days. Nah, strike that, I know they are. And the canvassers.
Still, the weather’s good, the anger at the doors is probably manageable (depending on who you are) and really, what better things do politicians and entourages have to be doing? Perhaps better to keep them on the streets…
My Da would beat your Da in a fight May 30, 2009Posted by Garibaldy in Complete nonsense.
Gotta love the Yanks. This story will raise memories among those who heard it of a joke doing the rounds in Belfast during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
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Stoner rock. Stoner rock. I still have a very faint hiss in my right ear in very quiet environments for which I can thank Hermano last year.
But, let’s ignore Hermano and listen to something a little more boundary breaking, a little more, shall we say experimental. I talk of course of California’s Yawning Man, a band of near brilliant obscurity. I try to keep up with these things I actually hadn’t heard their music before last weekend. But I got a hold of their album Rock Formations… and… you know what, I like it.
It’s a curious mix, instrumental, a curious surf like twang, something a bit prog. Something a bit Felt-like as well in the guitar sound. More driven though, perhaps a more metallic edge. But only slightly. And is that a theramin I hear on Perpetual Oyster?
The music was composed from the late 1980s onwards. One member went on to play with Kyuss who, as some will know, was a precursor of both Queens of the Stone Age and Hermano. Others went on to play what I see is described as a “dark / freeform jazz punk sound”. Hmmm… not so sure about that. Didn’t John Zorn plough that field back in the day? Although…
Anyhow, here is the music… no videos. Of course not. Just fan based clips.
Sonny Bono Memorial Freeway
Split Tooth Thunder
Sectarian Murder, Community Relations, and Policing May 29, 2009Posted by Garibaldy in Northern Ireland, Sectarianism.
Yesterday nine men were charged in connection with the brutal gang attack that resulted in the murder of local community worker Kevin McDaid and the attempted murder of another man. In the aftermath of the conclusion of the Scottish Premier League season that saw Rangers take the title from Celtic on the last day, a loyalist gang mounted an attack on a predominantly Catholic area of Coleraine, and Mr. McDaid, his wife and at least one other man were brutally beaten. It seems that tensions in the area had already been raised by a planned loyalist band parade and the flying of tricolours in the area. There are a number of important strands to this story that go beyond the immediate tragedy of the death and injuries. The first is that this is a brutal reminder that despite the Good Friday Agreement and power-sharing, sectarianism remains the defining reality of life in Northern Ireland. It is especially virulent in many small towns where violent clashes and intimidation remain rife.
Beyond these obvious signs, we should not forget that the overwhelming majority continue to live lives completely separated from one another, and of course we now will have a private Catholic and a private Protestant transfer test for those wishing to go to grammar schools, which add class to religious segregation.
The murder of Mr. McDaid raises other issues. The first is that of paramilitary involvement. The police have specifically said that the attack was not an organised action carried out by the UDA. However, of the nine people charged, several are members of the local loyalist band whose parade has been a source of contention, and one is an ex-member of the UDP. This suggests very strongly that the people involved in the attack were linked to the UDA. This does not necessarily mean that the attack was a sanctioned UDA operation. There are parallels with other murders over the last number of years believed to have been carried out by members of paramilitary groups but where the organisation itself has been absolved of responsibility. This is probably the case, but the unpleasant reality is that the overall interests of the political process mean that the boat would probably not be rocked by membership charges in such cases even if it weren’t. It is a reminder as to why the structures of paramilitary organisations must be dismantled, something which has largely happened with the Provisionals but hardly at all with loyalist paramilitaries.
The response of unionist politicians has once again come under justified scrutiny. Newton Emerson in the Irish News hits the nail on the head
Responding to the murder of Kevin McDaid in Coleraine, DUP councillor Adrian McQuillan said: “What reason can you see for there being tricolours up yesterday afternoon, a Sunday afternoon? None other than for to get a reaction from the loyalist community and they certainly got a reaction this time, which is very sad.”
This statement stinks of equivocation. To equate flying a line of scruffy bunting with taking a man’s life is absolutely jaw-dropping. The eventual absent-minded description of the murder as “very sad” only adds to the insult.
Depersonalising acts of visceral violence is a standard evasive manoeuvre in Northern Ireland. First the act is characterised as “a reaction”, transforming the perpetrators into mere parts of a mechanism.
Then the consequences are imbued with some abstract property, like sadness, as if concrete human decisions played no part.
He also quotes Ulster Unionist MLA David McClarty on the allegation of UDA involvement in the murder. “We have to moderate our language and not go throwing blame where no proof has been given as to who was responsible for this incident.” This type of equivocal language is familiar across the decades of the Troubles, where unionist politicians have often been ambiguous in their attitudes to loyalist paramilitaries to say the least. The inherently sectarian nature of NI politics is evident here – we must extend understanding to “our side” who ultimately have their hearts in the right place unlike the other side. While such attitudes persist, there will always be a climate that enables day-to-day sectarianism and confrontation to flourish.
The McDaids have raised a number of concerns about police actions on the day in question. Firstly it was claimed that the police had stood by during the attack, something denied by the police themselves, who claimed that the initial officers on the scene had to withdraw due to weight of hostile numbers. Then today the family have released a statement questioning the police’s involvement in negotiations with loyalists over tensions in the area in the period before the attack. This from the family’s statement
The family wish to make it clear that they are concerned that the PSNI were involved in negotiations with a number of persons perceived to be from the Loyalist community on Sunday the 24th of May 2009.
“The family are concerned regarding the nature of these negotiations and the attendant claim that threats were made by individuals from this background to police that violence would ensue unless certain demands made by them were met.
“It is a fundamental tenet of a civilised society that individuals such as these should not dictate the terms of law and order.
“We are further concerned that given the prior knowledge of the threat, neither we and nor our neighbours were not properly protected by police.
“We want the community to support the police, but equally police must also support the community.
Hugh Orde has responded to the family by stating that there had been negotiations in the area between loyalists and the residents of the area attacked, in which Mr. McDaid had been involved, to try and reduce tensions. He also said that the police dictated their activities and no-one else. Except that’s not really true, is it? On first glance, the idea of the police negotiating with loyalists seems very problematic, especially in light of what followed. However, the reality is that in interface areas the police negotiate with all sides on a regular basis. And the reality also is that these negotiations can be and have been extremely useful in preventing and containing violence in many areas, including during controversial marches. Politicians and people from all sides praise the police when such tactics work. I doubt that this was the first time that the police in this area had been involved in discussions with the local residents, and I also suspect that such negotiations have had positive effects. The tragic death of Mr. McDaid should not blind us to this fact, nor should there be a knee-jerk response that assumes the police were automatically in the wrong to have become involved in negotiations. Clearly the police response to the mounting tensions and the violence must be examined for mistakes or negligence, but we need to keep things in perspective.
Overall then this murder should not be viewed as an isolated incident. It is the direct result of the type of society and politics we have Northern Ireland. Sectarian attitudes, and ambiguous attitudes to incidents of sectarian violence, permeate our society. They are a cancer, as is the presence of paramilitary groups. Until we root out these diseases, the symptoms will continue to break out. In the current circumstances, with peace and power-sharing, added to the economic crisis, we – north and south, as well as Westminster – have taken our eye off this vital issue. The binning of the Shared Future strategy almost as soon as the DUP and PSF assumed power was one such sign. There are many others. Sectarianism still has the capacity to kill workers. It still poisons and destroys their lives. Progressives must step up their campaign against it.
And so it continues… that latest poll… part 1 May 29, 2009Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
I’ll parse this out in greater detail over the day, but that’s a mighty fine poll we see in the Irish Times this morning. And mighty intriguing given that I’ve been hearing that on the ground that there is something of a (whisper it) swing in sentiment back to Fianna Fáil.
Well, it sure isn’t reflected in the headline figures from Fianna Fáil et al…
That party remains mired at 20% – down 1%. Fine Gael is on 36% – down 2%, the Labour Party is on 23% up 3%, Sinn Féin is on 8% – down 1%, the Green party is on 3% – holding steady and Independents are on 10% – up 1%.
What to say?
Well, look at the satisfaction for the Government and the Taoiseach.
There is some consolation for the coalition in the fact that the satisfaction rating for the Government and the Taoiseach has risen a little over the past two weeks after plummeting to record lows in the last poll.
The Government’s rating is up 2 points to 12 per cent while Mr Cowen’s is up 3 points to 21 per cent. Green Party leader, John Gormley is also up 2 points to 27 per cent.
12% for the Government. I wouldn’t be breaking out the champagne. At least not quite yet.
And yet… look also at the following:
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny sees his rating drop by 2 points to 31 per cent. Labour leader Eamon Gilmore remains the most popular political figure although he has dropped 2 points to 49 per cent while Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is down 1 point to 33 per cent.
Interesting that as we draw closer to actual voting the trend is very slightly downwards.
This isn’t going to save the governments bacon, this isn’t chickens coming home to… er… roost…not at all, but… perhaps those reports I’m hearing aren’t so far off the mark. It’s going to be disastrous for Fianna Fáil, and the Greens will do well to see only minor losses. But, is it going to be utterly or only somewhat disastrous?
For Labour this may well be quite good news, something to break their run of less good luck since the announcement that George Lee was contesting Dublin South.
Let’s see some more raw data…
The Dublin Central Local Elections and byelection Promotional Material – Emer Costello, Labour Party… Part 15 of a continuing series. May 29, 2009Posted by WorldbyStorm in Dublin Central Local Election and By-Election Promotional Material.
Another leaflet from Emer Costello, who is putting considerable effort into the campaign, this time provided courtesy of Wednesday. There’s a small spelling error on it. Can anyone discover it?
As ever I’ll gladly post up any literature from left and center-left candidates/parties as I get it or as it is sent to me… usual address see email on right hand column.