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This is a reactionary moment. How reactionary? February 14, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Crazed nonsense..., Economy, The Left.

Well, here’s a straw in the wind.

And by the way, oh yeah… WTF…like WTF?

Marriage Equality — Distracting our attention February 6, 2014

Posted by Tomboktu in Crazed nonsense..., Human Rights, Inequality, Irish Politics, LGBT.

Did you see what David Quinn and Senator Rónán Mullen did there?

They’re like bad magicians, trying to distract the audience — in their case from Panti’s critique on RTÉ (transcript here; 3-minute video here) of the ethos of their case against lifting the ban on same-sex marriage.

David Quinn used his column in the Irish Independent on 31 January to ask if we can have a respectful debate on same-sex marriage. He opened his column with extracts from four emails he has received that contained very nasty suggestions about what the sender wanted him to do or to happen to him.

Then on Wednesday of this week, Senator Mullen asked in the Seanad if GLEN (the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) would disassociate itself from Panti’s statement on RTÉ. (Broadsheet’s 50-second video clip of Senator Mullen’s contribution is here.)

While not explicitly naming David Quinn or his Iona colleagues, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte was clearly thinking of them when he said, also on 31 January, that those who enter the arena of public debate cannot expect that Queensbury Rules will always apply. Well, the column by David Quinn and speech by Senator Mullen demonstrate they they, at least, do not in fact play by Queensbury Rules.

Private emails with nasty and unpleasant messages are not part of the debate. Nobody is swayed by them. They are, simply, nasty and unpleasant emails to you from individuals who are angry or sad, or both [1]. Putting them in the public domain makes them part of a debate, but not the debate — on whether the ban on same-sex marriage should be lifted.

GLEN, whom Senator Mullen acknowledged is respectful, did not and does not put into the public domain the nasty emails and letters it receives. Neither does Marriage Equality, and neither does BeLonG To, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth service.

There can be times and ways to draw attention to the nasty underside of — to use Minister Rabbitte’s phrase — entering the arena. But when public opinion has lit up in rage that you have received compensation because a drag queen (oh, the irony — a drag queen!) pulls you up on the basic value you espouse in the actual debate, bringing up the work of sad individuals who oppose you serves to distract.

Sadly, the technique adopted by David Quinn and Senator Mullen is not simply an attempt to distract. It is also distinctly cynical and unpleasant: it attempts bring guilt by association to the case for lifting the ban on same-sex marriage.


[1] If emails go beyond being unpleasant to being genuinely threatening, then the place to bring them is the Gardaí, but in fairness, David Quinn did not suggest any sense of threat to his safety, so it is reasonable to assume that is not relevant to this discussion.

Beyond er… belief September 13, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Crazed nonsense....
1 comment so far

This (journalist is jailed for two hours for refusal to pay parking fines) + This (an article in response to the jailing, which name checks one Vaclav Havel with not the slightest hint of self-consciousness – and raises the thought that Havel is surely more sinned against than sinning given the way his legacy is thrown around by all and sundry) = This (due to entertained/appalled/amused response to first article):

To write for a screen, in the sense of writing for online consumption, is entirely different. Whereas you can whisper or scream on to a page, you can only yell towards a screen. Because everything written specifically for online consumption is written in the expectation of addressing a hostile community, the writing process demands, as a prerequisite, either a defensive or antagonistic demeanour.

Steady on there, John.

Lots of places online where that generalisation is proven demonstrably wrong.

Mind you, when discussing overheated rhetoric one need only return to the Independent report on the jailing to find this:

Mr Waters has previously described Dun Laoghaire’s parking policy as akin to “tyranny”.
Supporters of Mr Waters complained about Dun Laoghaire’s parking regime. “This town has been crucified,” said supporter Anne Joyce.

Tyranny? Crucifixion? Whatever next?

From the left to where…. May 18, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Crazed nonsense..., The Left.

An interesting and not unsympathetic review of Melanie Phillips new memoir. Philips is a strange one. Strange, I remember her output in her ‘left’ phase in the Guardian and it was pretty good. And I saw the shift first hand through its pages, as it were, a shift that was remarkable for its distance. It’s not, to me at least, that she moved from left to right, that’s an old old story and played out all around us. It’s more that the positions she has adopted in that move have been so far right.

Difficult not to feel that her career has been one subsequently of deliberate provocation shot through with utter strangeness. The rhetoric she has adopted, and one need only consult her wiki page to see some good examples of same is deeply dispiriting for its sheer unnecessary belligerence.

But also depressing is the boilerplate nature of her discourse – the alarm bells always start ringing for me when I read the phrase ‘cultural Marxism’ in relation to… well, just about anything to be honest. The last straws? Perhaps what Stonewall and many of us consider to be utterly bigoted behaviour in relation to mentions of LGBT people in various lessons and the absurd cookie cutter rhetoric of her thoughts on Barack Obama.

In a way the above encapsulates her move from reasonable and proper questioning to something entirely different indeed.

“I do not have to prove that I am ‘trans enough’ for anyone” December 7, 2012

Posted by Tomboktu in Crazed nonsense..., Human Rights, Inequality, Irish Politics, Justice, LGBT Rights.

While the country was getting ready for the budget on Wednesday, elsewhere in the Leinster House complex, an Oireachtas committee took evidence on the experience and legal situation of trans people in Ireland.

All of it is worth watching, but I was particularly moved by the evidence of Darrn matthews, from 8:30 into the film:

Darrin Matthews:

Hi. My name is Darrin Matthews. I am a board member of TENI and also run he Cork Peer Trans Support Group.

I am a transgender man.


I had a woman from the Disability Allowance Office ring me and she wanted to know why my name had changed from a female name to a male name, and when I told her it was because I was transgender, she laughed at me and hung up the phone.

When I go out and I get asked for my passport as identification to get in, I sometimes get turned away because my gender marker still says “F” and I have both my birth certificate name and my current name Darrin printed.

Everybody has a right to a private life. I would just like that my right would be recognized. Issuing new birth certificates and can easily do this and prevent embarrassment and harassment and potentially dangerous situations.

My experience of being transgender doesn’t just affect me, it also affects my family. I have an amazingly supportive and loving family. My mother put herself into almost €12,000 worth of debt so she could send me to a private school because I was bullied for 2 years in my state school. My mother took out a loan to send me to a school where I could be called Darrin, not wear a girl’s uniform and be happy and every member of staff and every student called me Darrin instead of derogatory and cruel names.

I have many friends who are straight, gay and transgender. In this day and age if a gay friend of mine come to me and told me they had gotten their official diagnosis of “homosexual”, I would be shocked and appalled. Nineteen years ago homosexuality was decriminalized and people now cannot imagine a time when homosexuality was illegal. Most people don’t know that transgender people must be diagnosed with a psychiatric illness to access treatment in this country because this is such an inconceivable and ridiculous notion and is discriminatory in its nature.

I do not feel that because I was born in the wrong body that that automatically means I have a mental illness. There is still stigmatization attached to having a mental health issue in this country and to force a psychiatric condition onto another human being can have detrimental effects on a person’s self-image and self-esteem.

When a couple applies for a civil partnership, they are not asked for their gay diagnosis to prove their homosexuality. I had to prove to many people I was happier as the man I should have always been, to my mother, my siblings, to my friends. And I had to prove that I had a psychiatric illness. But I should not have to prove anything to a complete stranger and seek their acceptance. I do not have to prove that I am ‘trans enough’ for anyone.

My mother once asked if I was sure, and if I was really sure that being Darrin was what I wanted. When I told her I couldn’t go go back and be happy, she just said to me ‘Well then we can only go forward, my son’.

I always knew transitioning would never be easy but please don’t make it any harder than it already is. All I want is to be treated as an equal. To be treated with respect and dignity as much as a non-transgender person would be. Nothing more and nothing less. Thank you.

Just to Lower the Tone July 26, 2012

Posted by Garibaldy in Crazed nonsense..., Culture.

So, as noted by Eamonncork, one of the good things about CLR is its ability to stimulate discussion about interesting cultural matters, whether it’s Gramsci, music, or bits and pieces. However, just to lower the tone, while simultaneously demonstrating that we on the Irish left have our fingers on the pulse of popular culture, I offer this

A peculiar tax break May 2, 2012

Posted by Tomboktu in Crazed nonsense..., Inequality, Taxation Policy.

The May issue of Alive! was delivered to my house today. I am not happy to see that it is a registered charity. They advertise the fact because

  • If you pay PAYE and your total donation to Alive! was €250 or more in 2011 we can reclaim your tax.

Please ask us for a for or Tel 01 4048187 for more info.

  • If you are self-assessed or a company and your donation to Aive! was €250 or more in 2011 you can clain tax releief on your donation.

How can an organisation that is so overtly political have been granted charitable status?

The week in disability – three random notes March 16, 2012

Posted by Tomboktu in Crazed nonsense....

The last week saw me come into contact with disability issues a few times. In among the sadly still-routine points about the need for changes in policy and practice were three WTF moments.

First the mildest WTF moment: at a conference on Thursday, Dr Anne Lodge summarised research that found that academics dismiss the attainments of students in third level who are provided with resaonable disabilities.

Second, I had a meeting with a woman who has a mobility disability. She told me that sometimes when she is asked what happened to her, she pretends that she had an accident. She notices that when she does that, she is treated differently, less patronised, as if she were less disabled, than when she says she has had her disability since birth. [The latter is true].

And then somebody drew my attention to the new organisation chart for the Department of Education and Skills, required in part by the promotion of one of the Assistant Secretaries in the last few weeks. In the small print is a new title for Special Education Section: “Special Education Including Special Education Litigation”. Seriously guys, you need to provide the services at a level and in a way so there is no need for a section that needs to have “Special Education Litigation” in its title.

Enda Kenny = Adolf Hitler. Apparently. July 28, 2011

Posted by Garibaldy in Crazed nonsense....

The last European leader to make such a blistering attack on the Pope was the ruthless German dictator Adolf Hitler.

No comment needed

A United Right Alliance ? January 16, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Crazed nonsense..., Irish Politics.

So Shane Ross has declared that he will run as an Independent in Dublin South. Which throws a cat amongst the pigeons there electorally, but possibly more importantly he’s got off the fence.

In the past year we’ve seen these constant calls to arms for a new party, a new PDs to emerge. A vehicle for McDowell, Pat Cox and Declan Ganley et al to come riding in to our rescue.
All of them must have thought of running ‘for the good of the country‘ , which ‘needs a radical shake up‘ but were waiting for the right vehicle to come along.
So maybe Ross getting off the fence provides the opportunity for like minded Independents to form a United Right Alliance?

You sign a pledge on certain policies.
-Scrap The Croke Park Agreement
-Reduction of Public Sector numbers and pay.
-Reduction of Social Welfare.
and so on…. and you’re in.

Its not a party but what would become a technical group in The Dail. Maybe The National Forum (National Alliance?) could provide the impetus?

(Incidentally Paul Sommerville in Dublin South East and David McWilliams in Dun Laoghaire are also rumoured to be standing as Independents. Even Eddie Hobbs is being mentioned )


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