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The end of the age of austerity and the end of the left-wing independents and SF? They wish. October 21, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

Pat Leahy and Michael Brennan, again writing in the SBP have the following provocative little suggestion:

The truth is that Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin were horrified by the budget – just as Fine Gael and Labour used to be horrified by the Fianna Fáil giveaway budgets of the Showtime era.

And this as well…

Higgins had been an isolated figure on the backbenches after Clare Daly quit the party two years ago. But he is now flanked by Murphy and by Coppinger, who won the Dublin West by-election in May.
What about the prospects of getting Daly back? Murphy said he would like to see a new movement of the left. “It could be a broad party which encompasses different strands of the left, which includes potentially the likes of Clare Daly or Joan Collins or Richard Boyd Barrett,” he said.
We’ll see. If the age of austerity is over, then the age of anti-austerity – so politically profitable for Sinn Féin and the left-wing independents – might also be over.

Hmmm… Cliff Taylor had some thoughts on this in the Irish Times this week. More on that in the next day or so…

But Elaine Byrne in the same edition of the SBP writing about the lack of appetite for reform at this point, as against earlier in the life of the government, had this thought:

The rejection of the Oireachtas inquiries and Seanad referendums was a message in neon lights that the electorate did not trust this government with more power. The anti-establishment shift in voting patterns was corroborated in the recent by-elections.
The combined Fine Gael-Labour vote fell by 46.8 per cent in Dublin South-West and 25 per cent in Roscommon-South Leitrim when compared to their 2011 vote. The local elections saw Fine Gael’s vote drop by 12 per cent and Labour plummeting to a third of the vote it achieved in the 2011 general election. The Sunday Business Post/Red C Poll for September revealed that coalition support is down almost 20 points from the inauguration of the democratic revolution.

The next poll will be useful to assess the impact, if any, of the Budget, but with those water charges still in train it would require quite some degree of optimism to think things are changing substantially on foot of it.

Smart-alecky… October 20, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

…this colour piece here by from the Irish Times really captures the tone of some of Leader’s Questions in the Dáil over the last week or two between Joan Burton and others, including Mary Lou McDonald. I think this last in relation to some of the back and forth over the water charges is spot on:

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald produced a copy of a letter Wicklow County Council sent to households on its rental accommodation scheme telling tenants that a failure to pay their water charges could result in their eviction.


Joan, however, jumped right in.
She said Wicklow County Council was controlled by the Opposition. Warming to her theme, the Tánaiste suggested that when Mary Lou got time in her busy schedule “you might pick up the telephone and make a call to your own public representatives” and have a conversation with the management.
“I am shocked that they would permit a letter to issue like that,” she added.
“It’s a management issue,” shouted Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis. “They don’t have influence.”


Funnily enough outside the Dáil Joan later clarified that she had asked her officials to contact Wicklow County Council to verify the facts of the letter.
In the Dáil bearpit she may have scored points against Sinn Féin but as to scoring votes … that’s another matter entirely.

Free movement of labour inside the EU and the Tories. October 20, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, European Politics.
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I’m no great fan of José Manuel Barroso to put it mildly, but he has a point here when he :

…dismissed possible Conservative plans to impose a cap on EU migrants as an “airy fairy” proposal that would never be accepted.

Britain signed up to agreement after agreement in relation to the free movement of labour inside the EU.

What’s compounds that, and is so palpably hypocritical about the Tory stance is the complete lack of interest as regards capital movement.

But it’s also interesting looking through comments BTL to see how indifferent they are to the one actual land border that Britain has, with the RoI and it’s intriguing, is it not, to wonder how this state would fit in with all these plans (though there are bilateral agreements IIRC since the 1920s).

Some see this as a typical bluff by the British government but I wonder? I don’t believe UKIP will have anywhere near the sort of influence some are suggesting it will have in the next parliament, or even the sort of numbers some are throwing around, but there’s little doubt in my mind from talking to people in the UK in recent times and having been there recently that there’s been a decisive shift in the broader mood. Where this takes them is a troubling question.

Speaking of troubling, what of this from those clowns in UKIP?

a new Ukip calypso theme tune sung [by former DJ Mike Read, FFS, and he has form here having sung songs for Tory conferences] in a fake-Caribbean accent that criticises political leaders for allowing “illegal immigrants in every town”.

Clowns… or..?

Flat screen tv’s and smart phones… October 20, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy.
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The Now Show on BBC Radio is probably an acquired taste, but this I liked from a recent enough show.

The papers still talk about people having a ‘flat-screen tv’ as if it’s a thing of unimaginable opulence found only in the pads of millionaires whereas in fact it’s actually been impossible to buy anything except a flat scree tv for at least five years…

True that. And not a million miles from these shores someone made a similarly uninformed crack about mobiles… didn’t they?

Left Archive: Socialist Worker, Issue No. 80, Socialist Workers Movement, August 1991 October 20, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Socialist Workers' Movement, Socialist Workers' Party.
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To download the above please click on the following link. SWM 1991 SW

Click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This edition of Socialist Worker from 1991 partly bridges a gap in the Archive in relation to SWM related material from the 1980s and 1990s. However, more materials from the SWM/SWP would be very welcome.

The contents of this are testament to the particularly eventful period during which it was published. But it is also a factor of a varied mix of articles. There is an article on Socialists and the IRA, another on the break up of Yugoslavia and a front page article lambasting Fianna Fáil, then in government.

The editorial argues that

The Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrat government programme is coming unstuck. Last year the opinion polls showed a 55 per cent plus satisfaction rating with the coalition. Today, however, the government is being rocked by a growing tide of unpopularity.

The recession looks set to continue well into 1991 bringing a dramatic increase in unemployment worldwide.

It continues:

The ESRI has said that job creation between now and the year 2000 will be totally inadequate and states: ‘In our scenario a total of of 230,000 people emigrate between 19991 and 2000, slightly more than emigrated in the period 1983=90’. But this scenario depends on the state of the world economy.

It suggests that:

There is growing anger against FF. This was reflected in the local elections with a shift towards Labour and the Workers Party. Although not as dramatic as the Robinson election, it revealed a significant move to the left.

We welcome this move because it means workers are beginning to vote on the basis of class divisions.

And it concludes.

The move to the Left needs to be built on, but not by concentrating simply on winning more votes. Instead socialists should attempt to build on the struggles that helped to create the left turn.

That requires a different type of party to Labour or the Workers Party. It requires a revolutionary party which focusses on workers self-activity.

One small article with a more contemporary resonance is the piece on how ‘Waterford swings Left’ where it notes that electoral gains were made on Waterford Corporation. It notes that Labour and the Workers’ Party ‘oppos(ed) the (service) charges on principle’.

Dear God, no. Not another attempted ‘launch’ of that neo-PD party? October 19, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

…is the thought that the following reported this evening, raises.

Reform Alliance TD Lucinda Creighton has said that that the idea she is recruiting people to a political party is not true.

Her comments follow reports in today’s Sunday Times newspaper that she is recruiting members for a new alliance.

A ‘new’ alliance?

It’s certainly odd to read this…

Speaking to RTÉ’s The Week in Politics Programme today, she said she is talking to others to try and offer “a new vision” to the Irish electorate in the next General Election.

Is that not this, not entirely new vision, which is put forward by a group of former FG TDs and Senators of which she herself is a member and arguably de facto spokesperson and leader?

Apparently not, for she says…

…she did not wish to be a “sole trader” and was inclined to find a way to offer something different to existing political parties.

Though… simultaneously she…

…denied claims that she is recruiting people for a new political party.


“All I can say is that I am very much inclined to try and find a way to work with others and to put something before the Irish people that they can see as being different from the existing political parties, that they can see as offering them a new vision for the country.

“That takes time. I’m not teasing anybody. It’s simply trying to find the best way to offer people change at the next election,” she said.


Those Easter Rising Commemorations? October 19, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish History.

It appears that they have been put on the long finger by the government for:

Dr Maurice Manning said the expert advisory group had been impatient for a while about the failure to bring forward a blueprint for marking the centenary of the Easter Rising which occurs in just 18 months time. “It is time for things to happen,” he said.
Historian Professor Diarmaid Ferriter, who is also on the committee, wrote in his Irish Times column yesterday about complaints from relatives of the 1916 combatants who said they were being kept in the dark about plans for the Rising centenary.

This, in a way, is no surprise. There’s been a remarkable hesitancy – remarkable, if not entirely unexpected, about all these matters. Part of that is, as the piece, notes funding, part of it is – one suspects – political – the question being who will oversee these events come the time. If this government does last out its term it could just about be in pole position to take the lead, if not, well, who knows where we will stand. So perhaps there’s a wish to try to constrain them in some way – perhaps to, as it were, depoliticise them, as best as is possible in advance. Whether that is tenable is open to question.

But being involved in an institution with a tangential link to this it seems to me that there’s a broad range of events and suchlike already in motion whatever about the more/most official manifestations of commemoration, and which may – in the long run, have a greater impact. It’s certainly generating enormous interest and a sense that ‘everyone’ on the cultural/historical spectrum intends to link in in some way to the overall commemoration process.

Mark Bell of LFO October 19, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
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Mark Bell of LFO died earlier this month. LFO was – to put it simply – a great group and Bell’s contribution to the duo ( Gez Varley being the other half ) fundamental. Acid house, techno, a nod to ambient, IDM or proto-IDM and there they were. And those LFO albums still get a regular airing in this neck of the woods. I also find the cover of the debut album, Frequencies, amazingly evocative, it was on Warp and had that those large sans serif initials with a stylised figure set against them. But listen to Nurture which surely was the track that helped launched a thousand IDM tracks subsequently all. Bell went on to produce a broad range of people, and LFO themselves produced a second album as a duo and then with Bell as the sole member remaining released another well received one in the early 2000s.

Here’s the eponymous classic from them, all the way from 1990/1991.

And here’s Nurture:

And to round it off… Freak from much much later…which filled many a dance floor in its time.

He’ll be missed.

Peoples Democracy Member 1969 – by Peter Cosgrove Part Two October 19, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics, The Left.
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Peter Cosgrove a former Peoples Democracy member sen’t a history of the events of 1969 and the early Peoples Democracy to The Irish Republican & Marxist History Project. Its a fascinating read and another voice on that tumultuous period.
As Noted by NollaigO in the comments to the first piece

While the Belfast to Derry January march of 1969 (often described as the Burntollet march) has been much commented on then and ever since*, other parts of Peter Cosgrove’s memoir describe events which are less well recorded: The Peoples Democracy [PD] participation in the 1969 Stormont election; Bernadette’s election for Mid Ulster; Peter’s experiences trying to work in the Northern Ireland schools where he fell foul of the Catholic hierarchy; August 1969 behind the barricades** and the PD’s launch of Radio Free Belfast where they experienced the heavy hand of a political censor sent up by the Dublin Republican leadership (Shorely Editor?!); again the role of the Catholic Church is recorded where their antics in the areas behind the barricades is described.
This historical record has been available for some time but is only now being made publically available on the net.
Long overdue!

Peoples Democracy Member 1969 – by Peter Cosgrove – Part One

Peoples Democracy Member 1969 – by Peter Cosgrove Part Two

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week October 19, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.

The Sindo’s account of the complaints taken against the Independent Group by Gerry Adams makes not unentertaining reading, with the paper denying it has been curbed.

Dan O’Brien, in an article on Jean Tirole, who won the Nobel prize for the dismal science, assures us of the following

Today, on a broad swathe of issues around regulation, we live in a post-ideological world in which markets, states and a mixture of both are used to deliver desired outcome. As former British prime minister Tony Blair famously put it just before he took office “what matters is what works”.

Yep, we live in a world where economic regulation is in no way shaped by economic ideology. That’s why it works so well, as seen in the 2008 crash, the Libor scandal, tax-evasion etc etc etc.

Carol Hunt thinks ideology is a problem – an ideology and a culture that hates the self-employed.

Dempsey was talking about the people at the very bottom of Irish society, for whom there are no safety nets, no redundancy payments, Christmas bonuses, pensions, holiday pay or unemployment benefit; he was talking about the people who come into his office crying, desperate, embarrassed because they literally have no-one else to turn to for help. He was talking about the self-employed.

I’d have more sympathy for this argument if she was thinking not of middle-class people or even the poor property speculators, but of the likes of the striking JJ Rhatigan workers, forced into bogus self-employment so that they can be paid well beneath the minimum wage. But such matters appear to be beneath the notice of the Sindo.

In second place this week, with a classic of its type, is Eoghan Harris, reflecting on the problems with ideologues and the recent Budget.

As I said, I am no longer a republican socialist. But I still retain the sharp sense of social justice that brought me into the Workers Party – and out of it again. Reflecting on the Budget I was struck by the blatant bias of its class politics.

The Budget boosts those who already have too much. The only big group to come through the recession in comparative comfort was spared any cuts. I refer to the well-padded public sector.

The NYU findings mean I have no hope of changing the cold hearts of the Labour Party, Sinn Fein, Joe Higgins, or other protectors of the public sector. But as some of them are brazen enough to posture as socialists, let me ask them two simple questions.

And this week’s winner? Eoghan Harris.

Here’s one they might ask Minister Alex White. Why does RTE seem to give Sinn Fein, the public sector and Hamas such a soft ride?

You gotta love a mind that can think like that.


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