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This news here… September 15, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
6 comments

…surely only serves to underscore the outcomes extant as a result of the almost total aversion to state generated social housing extant amongst policy makers in this state – no?

Dublin City Council is “seriously looking” at building prefabs on derelict sites to house homeless families.

Assistant chief executive and head of housing Dick Brady has also called for rent control and for a stay on banks repossessing buy-to-let homes.

Mr Brady said the number of families becoming homeless keeps growing and must be stabilised. The only form of emergency accommodation for families is hotels in which there are serious child-safety concerns.

This is useful in this regard, as are the comments beneath it demonstrating attitudes amongst some/many(?) to the very idea of social housing.

Irish Left Archive: Focalín, 1980s from supporters of Peoples Democracy, London September 15, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Focalín magazine from supporters of Peoples Democracy (1970s/1980s), Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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FOCALINCOVER

Many thanks to NollaigO for the following: Focalin GO

To go to the Left Archive please click on this link.

Seamus, a friend , recently discovered five editions of Focalín in his attic and has loaned them for copying to the CLR Archive.

Focalín (“A wee word” for the odd reader of CLR who does not understand the First Language) was an Irish political satirical magazine produced in London in the late 1970s /early 1980s. The founders of the magazine were former supporters of the early Peoples Democracy and included an outstanding cartoonist.

Given the nature of the material in the magazine, it had a “sub rosa” flavour about it. Main targets for the magazine were Conor Cruise O’Brien, Charlie Haughey, Irish journalist Mary Kenny who was working in London at the time and legendary Gery (sic) Lawless [and his mythical(!) first lieutenant, Paddy of Cricklewood] to name but a few. One of the magazine’s exposés was the Kincora Boys Home scandal for which they got an informal tribute from Glenn Barr.

Specially recommended in this issue are the articles on the Inflatable Bodhran Kit (p3), Letters to the Editor (p4 &10), cartoon SUPERMICK and the Taxman, in fact every page (including the cover)!

The Cedar Lounge Revolution hopes to publish these five editions over the next few months [Libel laws considered!].

We estimate that at least twenty issues of the magazine were published.
Any of our readers got any further copies in their attics?

Round up of Independence for Scotland opinion polls from this weekend… September 14, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Politics of Scotland.
29 comments

…here at the ever excellent UK Polling Report. The conclusion at this moment being:

Seven of the polls are clearly clustered around a small lead for the NO campaign, with the one exception that rather odd looking ICM online poll with a smaller sample size than their usual online efforts. A lead of just a couple of points in a single poll is within the margin of error, but in this case all but one poll is showing NO ahead, so I think we can reasonably say that the polls are giving NO a genuine but small lead.

But UK Polling Report go on to make the point that significant caveats abound and that the result while seeming to be a close No may indeed diverge from that. Remarkable.

Andrew Rawnsley in today’s Observer offers this:

What was treated as a foregone conclusion for no just a few weeks ago is now on a knife edge. Last weekend’s poll giving the edge to yes triggered frenzy at Westminster and prompted David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to abandon prime minister’s questions to rush north to plead with Scots not to go. It can be argued that the shock poll may ultimately turn out to have saved the union by spurring the UK parties into action and flushing out warnings about the consequences of independence from major businesses. It could also have the effect of mobilising previously reluctant or complacent no voters to the polling stations. You can also argue, as the yes camp do, that a massive turn-out, boosted by people who have been off the electoral register since the poll tax, is going to help the cause of independence. As one sensible Labour figure puts it: “A lot of wise people will tell you there is a silent majority for no and they will also tell you there’s usually a late swing to safety in referendums. But it’s very difficult to poll – so who knows?”

We will know on Friday.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week September 14, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.
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Today’s love letter from Shane Ross to Leo Varadkar is utterly stupid.

Today you are to the cabinet what Jose Mourinho is to the soccer premiership, an uncontrollable genius, a maverick with a following. You are Fine Gael’s Special One.

But not as stupid as Niamh Horan’s love letter to developers, before whose genius and business acumen we must prostrate ourselves.

It takes a certain kind of man to become a successful property developer. The mavericks, the independent thinkers, driven by obsession and a hint of madness, the ones who aren’t afraid to take risks. To dream big and stop at nothing until their vision is realised.

It was them who got the economy going over the last two decades, and them we need to rely on again.

It must be true because, entirely coincidentally, John Waters is saying the same thing.

Most people have gotten over their anger sufficiently to accept that, whatever the immorality of the treatment of small, private debtors, this society needs developers in a way that is different than the way it needs mortgage holders. Most sane people can see that the two categories need to be treated differently.

Most people have reached the point where they understand that there is no point in burying someone like Harry Crosbie. But do those who represent us in these matters understand that this is increasingly the pubic view? Is our jealousy really that potent?

He also condemns the moralism inherent in the punishment of developers. Moralism is fine for the bedroom but not for the boardroom it seems. Because two men or two women getting married would be much more damaging to society than the consequences of the unchecked power of developers and their cheerleaders. Yep.

And I never even read the stuff on Big Ian. Nor the stuff on Scottish independence. If it’s a Yes vote, I expect unprecedented heights of stupidity next week.

November SOCIALIST VOICE from THE CPOI September 14, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
3 comments

Many thanks to EMC for the following:

Comrades
The September Socialist Voice is now available online.

Apologies for the delay.

List of contents:

Illusions of recovery

In early September the minister for public expenditure, Brendan Howlin, claimed that the Government’s economic strategy was so successful that “we’re not going back to boom and bust.” But he is not the first social democrat, and no doubt will not be the last, to make that grandiose claim.
Slump and boom are inherent in the capitalist system, and recurrent crises cannot be prevented within capitalism but only by defeating capitalism itself.
Capitalism is prone to sequences of slump and boom, coupled with wild financial speculation and property and asset bubbles. It simply cannot exist otherwise.

Guests of the nation

Being a theoretical journal with an unambiguous world view, Socialist Voice places less emphasis on the type of investigative journalism that features prominently in more commercially inclined publications. Nevertheless there is a role for this method of news-gathering and especially when an intriguing rumour is begging for authentication.

Suffer little children

The United States is one of three countries that have failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In this it finds itself in the august company of Somalia and South Sudan. Somalia, however, has committed itself to ratifying, and South Sudan’s parliament has passed a bill to do so.
To be fair, it has to be said that the United States played an active role in the drafting of the bill, and has actually signed, though not ratified, it. Among the reasons given is the fear of a backlash from the religious right, who see the bill as an assault on their rights.


The Republican Congress eighty years on: A relevant or redundant concept?

Like any organisation, the Republican Congress was a product of its time and place; therefore we need to understand it on its own terms and in the historical conditions of the time.
Ireland eighty years later is a different place from the Ireland of the 1920s and 30s. The world is different, and the balance of forces has shifted.
We need to consider such factors as the deep economic crisis of the system at the time, which had a huge impact on Ireland. Unemployment in the South stood at more than a quarter of a million; there was mass emigration, widespread poverty, and evictions from farms and homes.

A stark class divide

A recent report from the Higher Education Authority reveals a stark class divide in Dublin when it comes to access to higher education. The report confirms what all socialists already knew: that teenagers from the leafy middle-class suburbs are far more likely to go on to third-level education than those from less privileged areas of the city.


Lance Armstrong should keep his jerseys

In July, RTE featured a documentary on Paul Kimmage, the sports journalist. He was portrayed as the journalist who exposed Lance Armstrong as a cheat, and was one of the main journalists who campaigned about the use of drugs in professional cycling.
There is no doubt that Kimmage is a unique journalist, and in fact he is one of the small number of people—never mind journalists—who actually completed a Tour de France when he was a professional cyclist. He could have completed a second Tour but withdrew. This still seems to be a source of regret to him.

Political statement
National Executive Committee, Communist Party of Ireland

The National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland expresses its solidarity with workers now engaged in industrial struggles to defend their livelihood.
Iarnród Éireann workers are struggling to prevent a cut in wages arising out of Government policy, which is to to run down the rail service, and public transport in general, in the interests of privately owned companies, to shift the burden of running public transport onto the workers and travelling public, and to remove the state from any meaningful social responsibility for providing a comprehensive public transport service.


Whoop it up for freedom!

René González, the first of the Cuban Five to be released, was due to speak at meetings in Liverpool and London to mark the sixteenth anniversary of their arrest.

Who really owns us?

It was announced last month that the value of Government bonds at the end of last May was €113.216 billion—120 per cent of the value of the country’s annual economic output. 53 per cent of these bonds are held by foreign individuals and institutions.
Along with Portugal, Ireland is one of the EU’s most indebted countries, and it has recently taken to share-switching to stave off an inability to pay its creditors. Short-term bonds due to be cashed in in 2016 are swapped for ten-year bonds, and so the evil day is postponed.

O’Flaherty Summer School a huge success

Féile na bhFlaitheartach, 2014—the Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Society’s August summer school—was a fantastic weekend, richly rewarding for all who made it to Árainn.
The school opened with a talk by Theo Dorgan on the horrific industrial slaughter that was the First World War, making the point that if it were not for the literary records of the brutality and horrors of this war in books such as Liam O’Flaherty’s Return of the Brute later generations could be more easily duped by politicians and the the media into believing there was something heroic in it.

Frank Connolly, Tom Gilmartin: The Man Who Brought Down a Taoiseach and Exposed the Corruption and Greed at the Heart of Irish Politics (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 2014); ISBN 978-0-7171-6047-1; €16.99 / £14.99.
Níl siad imithe uainn fós, bíodh a fhios agat—polaiteoirí, baincéirí, lucht forbartha, agus infheisteoirí cama, ná na fórsaí taobh thiar díobh. Ná níl scéal Bhinse Flood/Mahon thart go fóill, mar a mheabhraigh cúis George Redmond sa Chúirt Uachtarach dúinn i mí Iúil.

Bratacha Bána
Gabriel Rosenstock

The pigs are back!

Tomás Mac Síomóin, Is Stacey Pregnant? Notes from the Irish Dystopia (Nuascéalta, 2014; ISBN 978-1-4992-1354-6; $10.75). Available from Amazon, Connolly Books, and general booksellers.

Anybody familiar with Orwell’s Animal Farm will be amused by Tomás Mac Síomóin’s rebirth of the pig as the “Smilin’ Porky” in his newly published novel Is Stacey Pregnant?—although the amusement will not last long as this novel gradually unfolds its horror!


The first expressionist play in Irish

Expressionism is an art form that developed fully in Germany in the years before the First World War (in painting, poetry and drama) and after the war in German cinema. It arose from a sense of existential fear and a world going out of control.
Its themes are very often psychological struggle, insanity, and unfathomable forces controlling people’s lives. Mainstream bourgeois aesthetics of outward objectivity are rejected in favour of the aesthetics of ugliness as the way these artists perceived their reality in the build-up for war and following it, right through the 1920s.

Latest RedC/SBP poll… September 13, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
22 comments

…and…


Fine Gael 28% (+3%)

Labour 8% (+1%)

Fianna Fáil party 18% (NC)

Sinn Féin 23% (+1%)

Independents and Others are also on 23% (-5%)

And what of this?

61% now say the country is generally on the right track [economically], while 39% disagree.

Almost six out of ten voters (58%) believe that the Government’s austerity policies were necessary, with 41% disagreeing and 1% said they did not know.

Asked if Government should use extra resources to fund public services, rather than cutting taxes, 64% agreed and 34% did not.

More during week…

Maron and Mould September 13, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
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…WTF of Marc Maron interviewing Bob Mould. Well worth a listen – fair to say Mould comes across in a particularly impressive way. BTW Maron is an interesting character in his own right, the bit at the start about festivals is almost worth the price of admission, so to speak, just as an insight into what it’s like on comedy circuits in the early 21st century.

Science and not science. Really not science. September 13, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Crazed nonsense..., Science.
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This is fairly annoying, even by the standards of the British tabloid press. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy notes how the Express has run a series of articles with only a tangential relation to astronomy. Tangential, as in none.

“I used to hate the water… “: Jaws – 1975 September 13, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Uncategorized.
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Been continuing with watching a succession of 1970s films, so far The French Connection, The Long Goodbye, The Taking of Pelham 123, Network and Jaws.

Deeply impressive, I hadn’t seen it in perhaps twenty years. Lots of problems, perhaps most obviously it’s gendered in the way of things circa 1975, which is irritating. But, some considerable strengths, no CGI, and while a lot of the outdoor stuff is shot on different days with consequent changes in weather that oddly isn’t too instrusive and overall the work is remarkably strong. It’s bloody, visceral, tactile, funny and a sense of realism pervades. Some see it as a tipping point, pointing towards the blockbuster films that would dominate subsequently, but if so it is not quite of them.

Scheider excellent, Dreyfuss likewise, and Shaw a revelation. Lorraine Gary is under used, to put it mildly but puts in a neatly convincing performance.

And it’s worth mentioning one element of the film that I had either completely forgotten or not noticed. When Scheider, Dreyfuss and Shaw are out on the boat a remarkable thing happens in the background, not once but twice. Genuine magical realism.

Independence for Scotland… those polls… September 13, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…remain incredibly close. The Guardian/ICM poll ” found support for the no campaign on 51% and with yes on 49%, once don’t knows were excluded.”

I find it hard to believe, as the Guardian appears to when referencing ‘unionists’ big guns fail to halt yes bandwagon’ in the subhead that the dynamic is that closely linked to those sort of events. Though let me pivot 180 degrees, because it will be interesting if there’s any effect from the Orange Order intervention. I doubt it, to be honest. It would seem more likely, wouldn’t it, that hearts and minds are being changed by broader and longer term processes. Whatever, what is of genuinely remarkable note is the way in which pro-Yes sentiment has changed so drastically across the last decade and more. But even in the last two years, the figures have gone from 32 – 38% support for it to closer to 48%. Those are fairly stunning jumps, whatever way one cuts it.

All depends on turnout.

Wonder if there’ll be any polls for the RoI given that the Dáil returns this coming week.

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