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Not quite the 25th anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality June 24, 2018

Posted by Tomboktu in Bits and Pieces, LGBT.
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My pedantry genes are causing a fierce itch this morning in reaction to some of the various tweets, to Fianna Fáil’s YouTube film, and to the media getting it wrong.

Today is not the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality. It is the 25th anniversary of the final Dáil debate on the bill that decriminalised homosexuality. But that bill was not signed into law until 7 July 1993, and between the Dáil debate on 24 June and that signing, the Seanad dealt with the Bill (on 29 and 30 June 1993).

To prove I’m not a complete crank, here’s an interesting nugget of history from that day 25 years ago.

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 1993 proposed to main changes to Irish law: the decriminalisation of male homosexuality and the criminalisation of male prostitution.

Fine Gael’s parliamentary party had decided to propose an amendment to the Bill to set a higher age of consent for gay sex than for hetero-sex, and an amendment was put on the order paper. Some in that party and in the PDs were not happy with that proposal. There was a fear that if it went to a vote, some FF TDs might break the government whip and cause the bill to be amended to set a higher age of consent.

The debate for the Dáil Report and Final Stages on 24 June was guillotined, meaning that if the Dáil had not dealt with all proposed amendments in the time allocated, the debate would be ended on a single motion by the Minister proposing that the amendments which she agreed with be accepted and that the Bill be amended in line with them.

Some of the FG and PD TDs took advantage of the guillotine and of the second main change in law that the Bill introduced, the criminalisation of male prostitution.

The committee stage of a bill deals with detailed amendments, and the first two amendments to be debated dealt with the prostitution elements of the Bill. The second of these concerned the publication of advertisements for prostitution. Fine Gael TDs Alan Shatter, Nora Owen, Austin Deasy (who had sent a party of school children away first), and Mary Flaherty, with assistance from PDs Mary Harney and Michael McDowell and Labour’s Jim Kemmy, kept the debate on prostitution and advertisements for male prostitution going so long that there was no time left to deal with the Fine Gael amendment on the age of consent. In the context of (male!) prostitution, Mary Flaherty mentioned a gift she had recently received of a free aromatherapy massage with the Bach flower remedies: “I hope I am not in for any major surprise.”

A further twist occurred after the vote on the PD amendment on advertising prostitution was held. The formality of the guillotine then kicked in, and the Minister, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, proposed her catch-all motion to cover the amendments she was accepting, to conclude the Committee, Report and Final stages in one procedure. A vote was called by the independent TD, Johnny Fox, but he could not get a second TD to serve as a teller for the Níl, so a vote was not held and the motion passed.

A proposal for CLR reading… June 24, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Okay, a suggestion. I was at the Central Library a week or so back and borrowed a couple of interesting works. One being Alt Right: From 4chan to the White House by BBC US’s Mike Wendling. Published just this year by Pluto, I’ve just read the Introduction and it struck me it might be useful the next few weeks progressing through it to highlight some of the more intriguing quotes and see if that generates discussion. Even better if some of you get a chance to acquire it yourselves and post up quotes you find equally telling. So, here to get the ball rolling are some of Wendling’s thoughts that seemed to me particularly worthy of comment…

Youth?

So who exactly are the people who make up the alt-right? Here again the nature of the movement and its life online make it extremely hard to pin down he characteristics of the individuals involved. It’s safe to assume that many are men, and most are white, but there are notable exceptions. The conventional wisdom, created in party by alt-right sympathisers, has established that this is a youthful movement, and while there may be an element of truth in that description the movement probably doesn’t skew as young as it thinks it does.

Socioeconomic background (does he mean class?).

Despite their anti-immigrant stance, more than a few alt-righters are immigrants, or children of immigrants. It does seem that a significant cohort are university students or recent students who bear a particular grudge against the forces of political correctness. It’s unclear if any particular socioeconomic backgrounds are particularly over- or under-represented.

Soft power and culture…

But the argument that the alt-right represents a “counter-culture” comes almost entirely from the movement itself and rings hollow when properly examined. It has received little scrutiny in the media – the anonymity of most activists being a key barrier to testing the proportion. In actual fact, the alt-right is quite a culturally sterile space – producing a bunch of Photoshopped images (“memes”), tweets, propaganda videos and in-jokes, sure, but very few original songs, bands, films or other cultural artefact of the type that flourish in real counter-cultural communities. This is a movement with no soft power, and which immediately found Iit hard to keep up oppositional pretence after their hero was elected president.

Political action?

As a creature born and raised on the internet, it values trolling and internet pranks not just as sideshows or light diversions but as key forms of political actions

A Foundation TV series… June 24, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Only learned about this the other day on MacWorld… Apple TV, a TV service from …er…Apple has a raft of shows it intends to host. Including the following:

Last year, Skydance Television landed the rights to make a TV series adaptation of Foundation from the Asimov estate. David S. Goyer (who has writing credits on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) and Josh Friedman (who is working with James Cameron on his Avatar sequel and a Terminator reboot) will serve as executive producers and showrunners.
According to a scoop from Deadline, Apple landed a straight-to-series deal for the show, but we don’t know much more about it yet. 
Foundation does not yet have a release date.

I’m fond of Foundation, it’s flat stuff, like most of Asimov’s output (always found The End of Eternity to be his best along with the Caves of Steel), but it does have some curious power to it. How it could be adapted, well, that’s another issue entirely. But here’s hoping it’s at least halfway decent.

Asimov hasn’t been well served by adaptations of his work (I, Robot was so so and really went off the rails at the end).

Sunday and the Week’s Media and other Stupid Statements… June 24, 2018

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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Could it be this:

In truth most Irish and English people have always had a high regard for each other but it seems that in every generation Tory ultras and extreme Irish republicans have done their best to poison the relationship.

Or could it be this?

Rees Mogg is a Catholic but one of the misapprehensions about him is that he comes from an old English Catholic landed family who refused to conform during the Reformation. In fact his religion comes from his devout Catholic grandmother who was an Irish American from New York.
It is a nice irony that his Catholicism is of the “Irish papist” variety, most likely passed down from impoverished peasants who fled the Famine, rather than the exclusive version practiced by aristocratic recusants.

Meanwhile…

A West Point cadet who wore a Che Guevara T-shirt to his graduation and posted a message online saying “communism will win” has been discharged from the US army.

“He was an honors student, an athlete, a model citizen who volunteered in the community,” recalled Altmire, a Democrat. “During the interview, he expressed patriotism and looked just like a top-notch candidate. There were no red flags of any kind.”

I see what he did there…

Don’t forget… Refusing to fight in World War I: Resistance to military conscription in First World War Britain and Ireland. Conference June 23, 2018

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This is tomorrow. Was at the East Wall History Group “Belfast, Boston, Bristol : Ireland and the African slave trade – Third Sarah Lundberg Summer School, this Saturday’ and it was excellent with a broad and fascinating range of speakers about a very difficult range of issues, great interaction from the crowd (which for a sunny June day was well attended) and kudos for the lunch too. Tomorrow’s event looks great too.

We are familiar with how Irish people responded to the threat of conscription during the First World War , with a mass campaign of resistance which prevented it’s introduction here. This event will look in detail at how the same threat was faced in Britain, by individuals and organisations who showed great courage in resisting, while faced not just with propaganda, harassment and violence , but also the legal threat of imprisonment and even the death penalty.
Come and hear two excellent speakers, who will also talk about the ‘underground railway’ to Ireland and the Irish anti-conscription movement.

“Resistance to Military Conscription in First World War Britain: The Case of the Conscientious Objectors”
This talk by Lois S. Bibbings will give an overview of the legal regime which oversaw volunteerism and conscription. It will look at conventional ideas about objectors alongside an exploration of who these men (and women) were, what they did and why, what happened to them and how they were viewed. A complex picture emerges which takes us a long way from stereotypical images of objectors as simply, for example, despised, rejected, unmanly, lacking courage and/or devotedly religious.

‘On the run –and the matter of Ireland’
This talk by Cyril Pearce will explore a largely ignored aspect of anti military resistance.From the introduction of conscription in 1916 to the end of the war each year at least 80,000 men were reported missing as deserters or absentees from the British army’s home forces. Among them was an unquantifiable number of men who identified themselves as Conscientious Objectors. Some of their stories involved Ireland as a Conscription-free place of refuge. They also involved collaboration with Irish rebels in obtaining passage to America. Their stories of temporary or permanent escape are a part of the history of Britain’s 1914-18 war resisters which has been largely ignored.

Details of speakers –
(Lois S. Bibbings is Professor of Law, Gender and History at the University of Bristol. She began research WW1 conscientious objectors in Britain nearly 30 years ago. She has delivered numerous talks as well as writing articles and a book Telling Tales about Men: Conceptions of Conscientious Objectors to Military Service During the First World War (MUP, 2009) on the subject. She is one of the curators of the ‘Refusing to Kill: Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors’ exhibition (which moves to Bristol Records Office in the summer) and a member of Remembering the Real WW1 (https://network23.org/realww1/about/). She is also helping to put together a national WW1 festival in 2019, Commemoration, Conflict and Conscience, which focuses on telling lesser known and hidden stories of the war, including a focus on conscientious objection, war resistance, mutinies, strikes, military executions, women’s roles, commonwealth experiences, views from outside the UK as well as looking at commemoration, remembrance and reflecting on what has happened in the intervening 100 years (https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk/ccc/).)

(Cyril Pearce is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History,University of Leeds. His current research interest is British war resisters in World War 1. His book, Comrades in Conscience: The story of an English community’s opposition to the Great War (First published 2001, new edition, 2014) was based or the study of the anti-war movement in his home town of Huddersfield. The search for other places like Huddersfield is what has driven his last twenty years work. A central part of that work has been the compilation of the Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors, a database of more than 19,000 COs which is currently on-line as part of the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ project. A new book with the working title Communities of Resistance : Patterns of Dissent in Britain, 1914 – 1918, is in preparation.)

(All welcome to this FREE event , part of a weekend of collaboration between The Stoneybatter & Smithfield Peoples History Project ,East Wall History Group, and the Bristol Radical History Group)
Date: Sunday 24th June
Time: 3pm
Venue: The Generator, Smithfield Square, Dublin 7

https://www.facebook.com/events/1659999080780518/

Food and Drink: Meal prep June 23, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Exciting the examples of lunches prepared at home in this article on the Guardian. Though I thought it struck an oddly churlish tone talking about how this is yet another area of performative competitiveness between those folk who are really into it and blog and tweet about it. What is the harm?

That said, and you have to realise I’m a lazy, lazy, man, it does seem like a lot of hard work.

I think I’ll stick with my apples, banana, cups of tea and cheese and tomato sandwiches.

That said I’m hugely impressed by those who do go to this trouble. The food looks fantastic, healthy and very very edible.

Depressing musician… June 23, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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And so the old question, the artist or the art, comes back into play. The musician or the music. The song or the… okay, you get the drift.

A snippet in the Phoenix mentions UK far right ‘activist’ Anne Marie Waters (originally from Stoneybatter) and her travels through various parties, including UKIP (deselected for being too extreme and accused of Neo-Racism by one UKIP MEP), the BLP (‘jettisoned’ for being anti-immigration) and so on. She formed For Britain, and as the Phoenix notes she has an ally in Tommy Robinson (already his imprisonment is seeing far-right forces in the UK combine to protest).

But what’s this, who else is a fan of Waters and For Britain?

Cult musician, Morrissey, another controversialist with Dublin roots (Crumlin). The outspoken singer, who recently lamented Robinson’s jailing says Anne Marie believes in British heritage, freedom of speech” and that ‘she is absolute leadership’. He describes are as a “humane version of Thatcher – if such a concept could be”.

And the Phoenix notes:

Is this the same man who once remarked: “The sorrow of the IRA Brighton bombing is that Thatcher escaped unscathed”.

The For Britain wiki page notes that Morrissey has ‘declared his support for For Britain’. Lovely.

Though perhaps unsurprising that:

“London is debased,” Morrissey said, criticising the city’s South London-born mayor, Sadiq Kahn, for speaking with a South London accent. “I saw an interview where he was discussing mental health, and he repeatedly said ‘men’el’…  The Mayor of London! Civilisation is over!”

And:

As evidence of the city’s decline, he pointed to a recent surge in acid attacks. “All of the attacks are non-white,” he said, inaccurately; a recent study drawing on 15 years of data showed around half of victims and a third of suspects for acid attacks in the capital are white Europeans.

And:

Amid other factually suspect statements, he said: “Labour are no different from the Conservatives in that they do not object to FGM,” referring to female genital mutilation – an illegal practice which the Conservative government has repeatedly condemned.
In an aside, he added: “Nothing I say is provocative. They are just facts.”

Well, no, not really, as evidenced by yet another gem:

Morrissey added: “As far as racism goes, the modern Loony Left seem to forget that Hitler was Left wing!”

For those of us who have long felt that we’ve been watching a bear with little brain these comments are no surprise. What I’ve always been struck by is the almost credulous worship displayed by some. I wonder have attitudes changed in light of this? Because as early as the early 1990s it was clear to me, and some others, that some very toxic attitudes were at work.

And then by contrast there’s Johnny Marr who by all accounts is a genuinely sound and good person. Great guitarist too.

Ah, and just on For Britain, at the Lewisham East by-election Waters received 266 votes which came in just over 1%. 1% too many but… nonetheless…

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Stella Chiweshe June 23, 2018

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Stumbled upon Stella Chiweshe recently and the music is really enjoyable listening. From Zimbabwe she plays the Traditional instrument the Mbira dzavadzimu .

Signs of Hope – A continuing series June 22, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

Refusing to fight in World War I: Resistance to military conscription in First World War Britain and Ireland. Conference June 22, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
add a comment

We are familiar with how Irish people responded to the threat of conscription during the First World War , with a mass campaign of resistance which prevented it’s introduction here. This event will look in detail at how the same threat was faced in Britain, by individuals and organisations who showed great courage in resisting, while faced not just with propaganda, harassment and violence , but also the legal threat of imprisonment and even the death penalty.
Come and hear two excellent speakers, who will also talk about the ‘underground railway’ to Ireland and the Irish anti-conscription movement.

“Resistance to Military Conscription in First World War Britain: The Case of the Conscientious Objectors”
This talk by Lois S. Bibbings will give an overview of the legal regime which oversaw volunteerism and conscription. It will look at conventional ideas about objectors alongside an exploration of who these men (and women) were, what they did and why, what happened to them and how they were viewed. A complex picture emerges which takes us a long way from stereotypical images of objectors as simply, for example, despised, rejected, unmanly, lacking courage and/or devotedly religious.

‘On the run –and the matter of Ireland’
This talk by Cyril Pearce will explore a largely ignored aspect of anti military resistance.From the introduction of conscription in 1916 to the end of the war each year at least 80,000 men were reported missing as deserters or absentees from the British army’s home forces. Among them was an unquantifiable number of men who identified themselves as Conscientious Objectors. Some of their stories involved Ireland as a Conscription-free place of refuge. They also involved collaboration with Irish rebels in obtaining passage to America. Their stories of temporary or permanent escape are a part of the history of Britain’s 1914-18 war resisters which has been largely ignored.

Details of speakers –
(Lois S. Bibbings is Professor of Law, Gender and History at the University of Bristol. She began research WW1 conscientious objectors in Britain nearly 30 years ago. She has delivered numerous talks as well as writing articles and a book Telling Tales about Men: Conceptions of Conscientious Objectors to Military Service During the First World War (MUP, 2009) on the subject. She is one of the curators of the ‘Refusing to Kill: Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors’ exhibition (which moves to Bristol Records Office in the summer) and a member of Remembering the Real WW1 (https://network23.org/realww1/about/). She is also helping to put together a national WW1 festival in 2019, Commemoration, Conflict and Conscience, which focuses on telling lesser known and hidden stories of the war, including a focus on conscientious objection, war resistance, mutinies, strikes, military executions, women’s roles, commonwealth experiences, views from outside the UK as well as looking at commemoration, remembrance and reflecting on what has happened in the intervening 100 years (https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk/ccc/).)

(Cyril Pearce is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History,University of Leeds. His current research interest is British war resisters in World War 1. His book, Comrades in Conscience: The story of an English community’s opposition to the Great War (First published 2001, new edition, 2014) was based or the study of the anti-war movement in his home town of Huddersfield. The search for other places like Huddersfield is what has driven his last twenty years work. A central part of that work has been the compilation of the Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors, a database of more than 19,000 COs which is currently on-line as part of the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ project. A new book with the working title Communities of Resistance : Patterns of Dissent in Britain, 1914 – 1918, is in preparation.)

(All welcome to this FREE event , part of a weekend of collaboration between The Stoneybatter & Smithfield Peoples History Project ,East Wall History Group, and the Bristol Radical History Group)
Date: Sunday 24th June
Time: 3pm
Venue: The Generator, Smithfield Square, Dublin 7

https://www.facebook.com/events/1659999080780518/

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