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Belief and non-belief. July 1, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Nick Cohen’s piece here refuting silly and unfair stuff about Christopher Hitchens having a ‘deathbed conversion’ to religion is perfectly on the nose. That said Cohen appears to believe that all who are ‘believers’ believe the same. A bit too much broad brush strokes, I’d have said.

It reminds me of my own father who was strongly atheistic across his life but who when in the last bout of the illness that killed him seemed to waver and dip towards anam cara style ‘Celtic’ spirituality. With my father, who was an Irish speaker and strongly republican (and an active member of SF in the 50s when as he said it was neither popular nor profitable), I felt that made a certain sense. With my own agnostic theism I would never have had the temerity or simple bad manners to demand, expect, or want him to do other than he wanted to do himself. And he did. And if he had taken another route either to full blown religion or remained staunchly atheist that would have been for him and him alone to do. But I can’t pretend it didn’t come as a bit of a surprise.

How they lost the referendum… July 1, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Good piece here on politico.eu. The Tory Remainers are described as seasoned, who decided to follow the Scottish independence referendum.

One aspect that in all the news and events of the last few days has been perhaps under-remarked is the murder of Labour MP and Remain campaigner Jo Cox.

The killing stopped the campaign in its tracks, when Brexit appeared to be gaining momentum in the polls. Some believed Cox’s killing would change the course of the entire referendum. Yet while shocking, the shooting appears to have had little impact on the final result.

Divorce…Irish style  July 1, 2016

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I’ve got to admit to great sympathy for the following:

A private members’ Bill will be brought to the the Dáil next week by Fine Gael TD Josepha Madigan and is likely to be debated in the autumn.

The Bill has the blessing of both the Taoiseach and Minister for Justice, according to Ms Madigan.

Basically the referendum in 1996 saw a four year period of separation necessary to have  divorce granted. Many of us would consider that four year period grossly unfair. I know from people who have been through the process just how intrusive it is, how it puts their lives on hold for a prolonged period. If it were up to me I’d knock it down to six months or a year.

Madigan is looking at two years which I still think inadequate.

Anyhow, all this would have to go to a referendum.

If the Bill passes, a constitutional referendum would then be necessary to reduce the waiting time for a divorce.

A 1996 amendment which deleted the long-standing constitutional ban on divorce replaced it with detailed restrictions on when divorce could be available to estranged couples.

If it comes to this it will be interesting to see who contests the proposal (for being too liberal).

Speaking of re-running referendums…  July 1, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.



First up I’m not in favour of running referendums in less than 5 to 10 years. We’ve suffered in this state twice with such processes and it is one of the reasons I’m so euro-critiical at this point. That said the ambiguity of the Leave campaign might be such that a referendum would be justified on whether the outcome of negotiations following the two year period were acceptable to the British people. But such a situation could – I feel – only be in regard to accepting a change in the current status quo, in other words framed by Brexit, and only over the nature of the Exit. Ten, fifteen years down the line time would have passed and it would be acceptable to run an in or out referendum.

Still, here’s one character who was an unlikely proponent of a second referendum. Step forward. Nigel Farage! On 16th May he argued in the Mirror:

The Ukip leader said a small defeat for his leave camp would be “unfinished business” and predicted pressure would grow for a re-run of the 23 June ballot.

Farage told the Mirror: “In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way. If the remain campaign win two-thirds to one-third that ends it.”

The threat by a veteran of the Europhobic struggle to pull Britain out of the European Union illustrates why David Cameron is desperate for a decisive result to avoid “neverendum” uncertainty in the country and Tory ranks.

To which one can only say, be careful what you wish for.

“Transitional arrangements” for Scotland if it gains independence? July 1, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.



Where the day before yesterday there seemed to be sympathy but something of a rebuff for the SNP from the EU in relation to it remaining a part once the UK – whatever that may be departs, yesterday we had this:

Discussions on transitional arrangements for an independent Scotland to remain in the European Union (EU) after the UK leaves are taking place in Brussels, a former senior adviser to the European Commission (EC) has disclosed.

As the Press Association reports, Dr Kirsty Hughes told MSPs discussions are taking place about putting Scotland in a “transitional holding pen” after Brexit to avoid “an absurd out and then in process”.

There’s more:

She urged MSPs to hold a second independence referendum by summer 2017 at the latest, if it is judged to be in the best interests of Scotland, to allow the EU to start work on these transitional arrangements.

However, she warned the EU “does not want a mini-UK” and said Scotland is unlikely to keep the UK’s “awkward squad” opt-outs of the euro, justice and home affairs and the UK budget rebate.

Some or all of the above may be an issue. A lot depends. But that such views are being articulated publicly…. remarkable.

A few words on the #Brexit Campaign July 1, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

One of the things about the UK is that there is no arguement over the plural or Referendum ..is it Referenda or Referendums. Mainly because they aren’t really used to them. …… whilst we are.
The various European Treaty Referendums here have thrown up all sorts of reasons to oppose them including Neutrality, European Armies, Conscription, Divorce, Abortion, Destroying our Christian Heritage, CAP, Vetos, Austerity, Vat and Structural Funds. Although Nice 1 and Lisbon 1 were defeated turnouts were relatively low.
What struck me about the Brexit Referendum was that the arguments put forward by the Leave side were ones that have been used in British politics for years. You had an excellent slogan in “Take Back Control” along with various History lessons regarding the Magna Carta and How great the United Kingdom was pre joining the EEC and then these main four points….
In the above there were no surprises, nothing new, just a rehash of stuff produced for years by the Tories themselves. … and you can see how they could easily convince people . That’s whats incredible that rather than tackle the points above , the Remain campaign and others wishing to stay in the EU assumed it was The Scottish Independence Referendum over again and just went with an economic message. A bit like Fine Gaels ‘Keep The Recovery Going’…
Vote Leave also had some interesting Campaigns like the 50million.uk site

50million.uk, a competition to win £50 million – the amount of money we hand over to the EU every single day. All you have to do is predict the result of each game of the European Football Championships this summer.

Every day we spend at least £50 million on the EU – that’s £350 million a week, enough to build a brand new NHS hospital. After we Vote Leave, we can spend this money on our priorities.

On the Remain side a lot of the material was personal attacks on Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage…..
Then material like this about how beneficial the EU was to the UK.

Amazingly this was the main Vote Remain communication
Yes a leaflet mainly quoting ‘Experts’ and Celebrities with Martin Lewis (a financial journalist that I had to look up to see who he was) saying “On the balance of probability, it is more likely …..” …. Not exactly convincing when its opposing the seeming certainty of “Take Back Control”.

*Thanks to the person who sent these leaflets on rather than rip them to shreds!

Meanwhile, back in London…  June 30, 2016

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Yet further indication that the concerns of this island were low low low on the list of priorities of those in the Tories. Theresa May (who by the way is hardly much better than Gove and/or Johnson)… 

Q: What would you do about the border with Ireland?

May says there is a common travel area in Ireland. The government is speaking to the Irish government about this.

That’s not an answer. That’s a description of the status quo ante.

One slightly better answer.

Q: [From my colleague Rowena Mason] Are you still committed to pulling out of the European convention on human rights?

May says she set our her views on this in a speech. But there is no parliamentary majority for leaving the ECHR, and so she will not be pursuing it.


Charley’s War and the Somme June 30, 2016

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From Joe Mooney.  A reflection on how Charley’s War in Battle , illustrated by Joe Colquhoun an written by Pat Mills was a real effort to move beyond the jingoism of most stories in comics that had war as their subject. Charley’s War was a class conscious, hard-headed and cold-eyed appraisal of the reality. A world away from the pious stuff we’re going to be subjected to.

Contingency June 30, 2016

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Again, to underscore the points made earlier in the week in relation to the Border and the Good Friday Agreement on here, Noel Dorr writing in the Irish Times makes the point that whatever people may say about the relationships on this island the reality is that there is simply no assurances that what emerges may be to our liking. The logic of Schengen and Irish membership of the EU in the context of a British departure, even one – perhaps – to EEA or EEA plus status, is that:

At best, like Norway, the UK, though outside the EU, might negotiate full access to the single market. But even so, there would still be customs posts and “rules of origin” procedures for goods moving between the EU and the UK, as there are between Norway and Sweden.

Dorr hopes that the GFA/BA can be used to leverage a more satisfactory arrangement, but he has to admit that although there are precedents (including the period 1940-1952 where all travel between the island of Ireland Britain involved passport/identity checks), are ‘matters for detailed negotiations’.

Cynicism? Nah, business as usual. June 30, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.


Can the Irish Times be right when it notes that:

…surprise, surprise, Vote Leave has pressed delete on its website’s “history” of speeches and pledges.

It appears so.


What is most astounding is that supposed insurgent campaigns of the right (I exclude left forces pushing for a Lexit from this) built in some part about the duplicity of political discourse act as badly or worse. Is it that they literally don’t care?


But then this is the crew who can deliver this, a naked jostling and bargaining for position  amongst the main protagonists.

You couldn’t make it up.


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