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More on 1914, and 1916, 1969 and 2014 too! October 1, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

A fascinating range of letters in the Irish Times about the Home Rule/1916 Rising issue from the last week or so…you’ll find some here, here and here.

What comes through loud and clear is that the events of the 1960s and onwards are central to many of those who are most attached to the Home Rule as a stepping stone to freedom thesis. Time and again we read thoughts such as …

It is exactly the sort of dangerous illogicality that has allowed the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fйin to justify their murderous campaign between 1968 and 1998. The end, in other words, always justifies the means. I am sure that your readers can see where that can lead.


The campaign of violence that began with 1916 ended in the permanent division of this island, while the celebration and mythologising of a brutal War of Independence contributed to 30 years of sectarian slaughter in Northern Ireland at the end of the 20th century.


So long as we celebrate their right to achieve their political ends by violence are we not validating the actions of any other group of idealists who have taken, or may in future take the same course? Is that what we want?

And so on… though one has to almost admire the remarkable, prodigious efforts that manage to arrive at this conclusion. Almost.

People who say it doesn’t matter today need to be reminded that the reason Ireland lost its economic sovereignty in 2010 and is currently still in an economic cul-de-sac is directly linked back to the type of politics that was created in Ireland after independence, with cronyism and localism dominating the decision-making process and an almost violent reaction to anyone who points out flaws or who offers a different opinion to the one agreed on by the cute hoors. This mentality is still evident in the Garda and public sector because it’s the mentality that still applies all across the political class who still in 2014 fight every effort at transparency tooth and nail.

It’s always the public sector, isn’t it, for some?

Diarmaid Ferriter’s piece at the weekend is a salutary response to much of this.
He takes to task aspects of counterfactual history (if indeed it can be termed ‘history’) and points up the way in which it is often distorted. Frankly, though I find many counterfactuals fascinating, in some respects admirable and on occasion useful, I’m always reminded of their limitations by this book here – which seeks to examine counter-factual histories of British Prime Ministers who never were.

The problem being that the further away they drift from actual events the more absurd they become, being rooted not in fact, or the potential of immediate varied decisions but instead building one castle in the air upon the foundations of another and on again until the relation to reality is so tenuous as to be pointless. Indeed, in that respect alternate histories are – arguably – more satisfying because they make no particular claim beyond entertainment and the insights that fiction can offer. In other words, once we move only a short distance beyond the immediate and relatively predictable (where even that is possible) ramifications of acts taken or not taken we are essentially moving beyond history into fiction.

Ferriter puts it particularly well, to my mind.

That is the difference between the use of counterfactual history as a way of enunciating a historical sense about potential alternatives with adequate attention given to context and plausibility, and a counterfactual history driven by a contemporary agenda, where conservatives, in Evans’s words, “rewrite history according to their present day political purposes and prejudices”, chiefly to lament the passing of the great old order, an order sabotaged by liberals and leftist rabbles.

And he continues:

Such assertions are at best speculative. In the December 1910 general election, the last such election before the one in 1918 that destroyed the IPP, it won 84 seats in the Westminster parliament, but unopposed IPP candidates in that election numbered 53. This was a time when the Irish electorate consisted of a minority of wealthy, male voters; “national” self-determination did not exist. As historian LP Curtis observed: “The extent of uncontested elections makes it well-nigh impossible to calculate the popular support enjoyed by the Redmondite party”.

I’ve noted before the remarkably limited extent of democratic legitimation in Ireland pre-independence. Ferriter himself has argued that 1918, flawed as it was, was perhaps the first instance of a vote that was genuinely moving toward what we could reasonably describe as a democratic franchise. But Ferriter is not unwilling to point to other contextual issues, ‘Britain’s imperial priorities, its governments’ inept and dishonest Irish policy, a refusal to contemplate or tolerate Irish nationalist self-determination, and the militancy and militarisation of the era’.

And he notes one other issue. That as Nicholas Mansergh noted in 1975 constitutionalism ‘after a long trial’ had not delivered a portion of Irish independence. This is absolutely crucial to any readings of that period, that violent political responses did not arise from nowhere, or as some gratuitous alternative to successful non-violent processes, but as a direct result of the failure of those non-violent political processes as well as the War pointing up features of Ireland’s position that underscored the democratic deficit in its rule.

All that said, this is going to run and run and…

What you want to say – 1st of October, 2014 October 1, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

Sports Special – what you want to say… 30th September 2014 September 30, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Here’s our weekly thread for people to talk, sound off, discuss, give out, or whatever they want about sport… and by the way, if anyone has posts they think would be appropriate for the site on sport send them in…

DCTU Pre-Budget Rally – 10.10.2014 September 29, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Dublin Council of Trade Unions Flyer 10-10-2014

“Against the Grain: The British Far Left from 1956″ Book Competition September 29, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

The wonderful Hatful of History Blog is running a Competition for a copy of “Against the Grain: The British Far Left from 1956″ which may be of interest.

The questions and competition details are here

A Dalek September 27, 2014

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Seeing as they were mentioned last week… here’s one I saw over the Summer in Cheshire.
Dalek straw sculpture by Snugburys

As the Guardian noted:

A Dalek made of straw created by Snugburys ice cream shop in a field near Nantwich in Cheshire. For over 10 years the owners of the ice cream shop have been building amazing straw sculptures in their field along side Chester Road. This year’s sculpture coincides with the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Malcolm Young September 27, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Uncategorized.
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Last year in Classic Rock (I read it so you don’t have to) there was a surprisingly – well – open overview of AC/DC which noted that rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was in a way the man behind the scenes, particularly but not exclusively in relation to business matters. Indeed in many ways it could be said that it was his band and he appears to have had remarkable control over hiring and firing and so on. Interestingly not a man given to interviews. Be that as it may, a genuinely great musician in his own way, as AC/DC are a genuinely great band in their way.

This week came the sad news that due to a now protracted illness he was leaving AC/DC on a permanent basis. One can only hope that this isn’t entirely accurate and he returns to full health.

We’ve had two This Weekend’s I’ll mostly be Listening to them, one from yours truly and one from IEL which capture different facets of the group. But here’s Young himself doing his thing, one during the Bon Scott era and the other with Brian Johnson on vocals.

Sin City

If You Want Blood


Back in Black

This claims to be the rhythm guitar track to Let There Be Rock. It could well be.

A feminist epiphany… September 27, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Listening to the Accidental Tech Podcast there was a reference – following on from a previous edition which had dealt with sexism in the computer games industry – to this:

The Anita referred to is Anita Sarkeesian of the – to my mind – excellent Feminist Frequency.

Brilliant comment by iestyn lloyd.

Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band No. 2 in Series September 26, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish History, Uncategorized.
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Many thanks to Rebel Cork’s Fighting Story for allowing us to reblog this.
“No.2 in Centenary Year Series of remembering our Band with pride” By Jim Lane.



















Forum and Rally for Education as a Public Good September 25, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Forum_Flyer_D2 (1)

Thanks to the person who forwarded the above, and in the accompanying materials it is noted:

Also attached is the response of the main unions in higher education
to the USI request for support and our own response to the Grant
Thornton report on the state of higher education.

Given that the IUA are to soon to hold an event on the funding crisis
at the Irish university it might be useful to show that there is a
counter-discourse out there.

Best wishes,
Defend the University campaign

defend the irish university

Response to USI


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