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Sunday Independent Stupid Statement[s] of the Week… May 30, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left, Uncategorized.

I’m filling in for Garibaldy this week, who is unavoidably delayed somewhere in Ireland, so apologies if this isn’t quite as succinct as his usual piece on the topic. What to choose?

An article by Colum Kenny which doesn’t blame the ‘State’ for failings in childcare – the headline being ‘It’s all too easy to blame the State for our own failures
The HSE is a handy scapegoat for the death of Daniel McAnaspie, but we all bear some responsibility,’.
Except it does. Sort of. Just like it also blames Fergus Finlay. Except it doesn’t. Sort of.

In a report last week, Amnesty International pointed out that the Irish State is failing children. It is a message that is being heard more and more, partly due to the fact that the children’s charity Barnardo’s has employed the former Labour Party guru and PR agent Fergus Finlay as its chief executive. Well-placed on the inner circle of RTE’s favoured liberal programme panellists, Finlay has irked some frontline practitioners who know more about the needs of children at risk than he knows but who are seldom sought out for their opinions.

But there is no doubting Finlay’s commitment to social change. His articulation of a need that has been neglected by society for too long is helping to create circumstances in which there may be fewer children dying when their families fail them.

Let’s go abroad for a moment and contemplate the idea – raised by Eilish O’Hanlon, that Sex and the City 2 is a brave step forward for feminism and in particular the rights of women in the context of Islam. So a trip to Abu Dhabi by the foursome is no longer… well… a trip to Abu Dhabi (actually Morocco is the location) by the foursome but is instead … a means of reinforcing the point that women don’t enjoy lives of blissful, enlightened liberation under fundamentalist Islam.

But who isn’t standing up for those rights? Why the National Women’s Council. Yes, that’s right. The Irish National Women’s Council. That colossus which will implement change across the Islamic world (and, if O’Hanlon is to be believed should go easy on Ryanair for ‘pictures of scantily clad women on its charity calendars’ or ‘one golf club in north Dublin’). Throw in a gratuitous – albeit currently fashionable for the Sunday Independent – reference to famous Marxists of the 20th century and we’re away:

They’re the feminist equivalent of Lenin’s “useful idiots”, smugly imagining they’re contributing to some nuanced understanding of cultural diversity when all they’re really doing is unwittingly providing cover to Islamic extremists to subtly chip away at Western freedoms.

That the clue is in the name National Women’s Council appears to escape her. But speaking of smug, here’s something on the provenance of the phrase ‘useful idiots’.

Finally, I’m not sure if this is the editorial – it’s unsigned, and I’m having to access the web edition, but it’s a doozy.

In a one-size-fits all piece that argues that somehow that a ‘rights agenda’ although…

…rooted in good faith — Ireland’s past is littered with horrendous abuse and violations of basic human rights — but it soon spiralled out of control. Society is now weakened by an obsession with rights and an abrogation of responsibilities. Too many people expect the State or its agencies to sort out problems that they themselves would have taken responsibility for just a generation earlier.

And what example [rhetorical or otherwise] of how we might take responsibility for problems does it offer us?

Our recovery must start from the ground up, with individual communities determining to retake control of their streets, their neighbourhoods and their lives. We are each responsible for where we live, for what happens around us and for those who live near us. Above all, we have a responsibility to each other. We can expect the State to clear the rubbish from the streets, but if it does not, then we can choose to do something about it (organising locally to clear up an area) or we can sit back and moan about the failure of the State while the rubbish piles higher. We can talk about our rights, or we can meet our responsibilities.

Rubbish clearing? Rubbish clearing? I don’t recall us having to take responsibility for that a generation ago. Unless they know something we don’t about just how bad the cuts are going to be…

I’m sure there’s more, any contributions gratefully accepted…and I’ve discovered there’s an art to picking out single sentences which I haven’t got. 🙂


1. Starkadder - May 30, 2010

Eilis O’Hanlon has been attacking the feminist movement since the mid-90s at least. But this stood out “The fact that it’s also said to be a monumentally awful piece of work probably doesn’t help either.”

Has Eilis even seen the film? How does she know if it challenges
Islamic fundamentalism’s treatment of women?


WorldbyStorm - May 30, 2010

Well, that’s a pretty good point. Sort of cuts to the heart of her article.


Starkadder - June 2, 2010

I’m dreading what the Likudniks at the Sindo will say about
the people on the “Rachel Corrie”…


2. sonofstan - May 30, 2010

I read it up in the local Spar, but had to check it when I came home: and yes, there it was – the lead story on the front page of the Sindo, and the first para could be lifted from theSocialist Worker anytime over the last year:

The National Asset Management Agency (Nama), which was set up to cleanse the banking system of toxic debts, has been revealed to be solely a bailout for builders and developers.

Will there be an award for disarmingly sensible statement in the Sindo?


Tim Johnston - May 31, 2010

Yes. A statement of breathtaking obviousness award!


sonofstan - May 31, 2010

What’s funny about the whole piece is the breathless ‘Sunday Independent Reveals Pope Catholic!’ tone of it all.


3. WorldbyStorm - May 30, 2010

No. Most likely not.


WorldbyStorm - May 31, 2010

There was meant to be a 🙂 with my response #3 🙂


4. Garibaldy - June 3, 2010

This is very tardy, but firstly thanks to WBS for doing this. And secondly, I just wanted to point people in the direction of Eamonn Sweeney’s riposte to the idea that supporting England in the World Cup would somehow be an example of maturity, an assertion of independence etc.

“Enough is enough. I like to think I’m as open-minded as the next man but this kind of behaviour just isn’t natural.
If they want to do it in the privacy of their own homes, with the curtains drawn, fair enough. Though they should be aware that this lifestyle choice of theirs transgresses against sacred traditions which have served this country well for many years.
But it’s not enough for them just to behave in an unnatural and immoral fashion. They have to start promoting their decision to do so in the media, trying to recruit impressionable young people by suggesting that there is something superior about the choice they’ve made. If you listened to them for too long, you’d think we were the abnormal ones.”



LeftAtTheCross - June 3, 2010

Football, more important than life or death, hmm.

More nonsense from the Indo.

It’s wrong to support England in the World Cup, not because of historical baggage, but because as a neutral they are simply not good enough to justify supporting. The football they play is mediocre. They have some decent players, as a Chelsea fan I would single out Frank Lampard as a stylish and intelligent midfielder, and though it pains me to say it Wayne Rooney is one of the most impressive forwards around. And apart from that, mediocre.

As a neutral, I will be supporting Cote d’Ivorie, not because their flag is green white and orange, but because of the Chelsea connection through Didier Drogba (the most impressive centre forward around, when he stays on his two feet) and Saloman Kalou.

And I will be supporting France because, just because.

And I will hope and pray that Italy win through, and I will cry if they do not, because in 1982 I fell head over heals for the beautiful game as played by Rossi and Conti, and yes, Gentile.

More important than life or death, and no place for nonsense.


ejh - June 3, 2010

because as a neutral they are simply not good enough to justify supporting

What sort of criterion is that?


sonofstan - June 3, 2010

but because as a neutral they are simply not good enough to justify supporting.

With that sort of criterion it’s easy to see why you’re a Chelsea fan : ). Next time Bohs slip below halfway in the table I’m going to switch my allegiance to a team worthy of my support……. or forget about this poxy league altogether, and pick an English team.


LeftAtTheCross - June 3, 2010

It’s the criterion of an Irish person born in south London, who has supported Chelsea since they won the FA Cup in 1970, who was at the Italy-Ireland game in Rome in ’90, and who applauded the Italians for being the better team. In sport the best should win, it’s no place for populist political antagonisms to be played out. Football transcends all of that, it is the beautiful game…


LeftAtTheCross - June 3, 2010

SoS, as I live in north Meath I occasionally bring my son over to support the Drogs, our local team. Believe me I have measured the mileages and tried to justify an extended local loyalty to Bohs 🙂


ejh - June 3, 2010

In sport the team you want to win is the team you want to win. There’s no “better” team anyway except insofar as the team that wins can be said to be the better one – and even if it were otherwise, it’s a pretty limited criterion. There are many others, from liking the colour of the shirt to admiring the team that wins despite being under the cosh all game to…anything really.


LeftAtTheCross - June 3, 2010

EJH, ok, I hear what you’re saying.

Let me re-phrase my rationale then. I won’t be supporting England because I have no vested interest in doing so, there’s no tribalism at play which would motivate me to support them. Equally I don’t feel it necessary to cheer their opponents just because of an anti-English sentiment. I am neutral towards the English football team in that regard. And in other regards, they do not impress me with their competence, so even as a neutral I find no compelling reason to support them. That’s what I meant.

Whereas Italy do impress me, and have done for decades, even when they’re shite, because they have a passion for the game and a technical brilliance that I find inspiring. Or pehaps that I found sufficiently inspiring many years ago, which nurtured an internationalist passion for them and which has grown within me as the years have passed.

Or to adopt your phrase, I do not want England to win, I want Italy to win. I have tried to describe the reasons behind those statements and if you’re not happy with my criteria then so be it.


5. Garibaldy - June 3, 2010

I meant to say I was linking Eamonn’s piece because it seemed to me (a) correct and (b) to be partly a riposte to something that had been singled out as a Stupid Statement of the Week the week before.

As for England. I think it’s about time the England fans and English media got it into their heads that they in fact over-achieved under Sven, and that no matter how good a manager Capello is, he can’t perform miracles with such a poor squad, and such a squad of bottlers on the international stage.


ejh - June 3, 2010

Another view would be that without inflated expectations, there’s no football in the first place – you have two sets of fans whose expectations can’t possibly be compatible, and therefore there’s necessarily a large lack of realism. Good.

One might also add two points:

a. the expectations of English fans who actually go to games regularly and know the game are likely to be rather lower than those of people who don’t ;

b. the views of the less salubrious sections of the English media should not be taken as representative of either group.


neilcaff - June 3, 2010

Dunno about that Garibaldy. I have this dreadful feeling they just might nick it. They look pretty efficent and stubborn in the big games and that goes a long way in the World Cup.

If they do win it they’ll be insufferable for another 30 years or so. Mind you if they were playing France or Italy in the final I’d be seriously conflicted.

Here’s hoping Spain or the deformed workers state of the DPRK will do the business.

(Btw will the Workers Party be sending best wishes to the Red Mosquito’s before they jet off to South Africa? They’re in a tough group. Every little helps!)


Garibaldy - June 4, 2010

Can’t see it Neil. They just aren’t good enough at the highest level. The central defence looks dodgy with Ferdinand semi-injured and Terry slow and a crude tackler. The midfield is not up to the highest level either. I’m hoping for an early elimination just for the fun of watching the ensuing post mortem in the media.

Not sure if messages of support have been sent as yet; should have added an emergency motion at the Ard Fheis last weekend.


6. sonofstan - June 3, 2010

Don’t mind me, LATC, I’m a LoI fan which makes me bitter and a Bohs fan which makes me the bitterest of the bitter. (See EC on this in his canonical tome…) It’s badge we wear with (bitter) pride.

As it happens, those epic cup final games of 1970 is the first football I can really remember, and I could probably still name most of that Chelsea team. i supported them for about a week, until my mother sternly informed me that her father (dead before I was born) had supported Arsenal from back when they were Woolwich Arsenal and would be turning in his grave ….


LeftAtTheCross - June 3, 2010

Yes, I was almost 6 years old at the time, the details are sketchy but it’s there as a memory. I picked up a DVD of the FA Cup finals in the sales after Christmas and watched it with my son. What a battle, twice.

You’re right, the players from that era still seem familiar. Charlie Cooke was a favourite alter-ego of mine for years while playing 3-and-in on the road. As an Arsenal fan you would have your day later on on the 70s of course. My best pal when I was 12 was Liam Brady or Frank Stapleton, depending on where he was on the pitch at the time 🙂


Crocodile - June 4, 2010

Roddy Doyle wrote a great piece about Charlie Cooke some time ago. He (Doyle) is another Chelsea fan of the original vintage.


ejh - June 4, 2010

Claim to fame – Doyle and I both contributed chapters to a football anthology about fifteen years ago. (Naturally my piece is much better than his.)


LeftAtTheCross - June 5, 2010


Sounds good, can you give a pointer to that anthology?

Joe Strummer was a Chelsea fan also.

Alan Hudson’s biography “Working Man’s Ballet” gives an insight into that era, the glamour years and yet how different it is to today’s huge industry.


ejh - June 5, 2010
7. Ciaran O'Brien - June 3, 2010

Agree with Eamon Sweeney’s article. He hits the nail on the head about rivalry. Mind you the Irish tabloids are doing their best to emulate the Brits with the anti-French stuff.


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