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McCarthy revenant… July 28, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
10 comments

Colm McCarthy is back! Although in truth he’s never gone away. As could be read in the Irish Times last week…something Garibaldy noted in this post.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan announced yesterday that he has appointed economist Colm McCarthy, who led the body that recommended €5 billion in public service cuts last year, to chair the new Review Group on State Assets.
It is charged with looking at the possibility of disposing of public-sector assets, including commercial State companies.
According to a preliminary list published yesterday by the Department of Finance, the organisations it will cover include all major State companies, such as ESB, Bord Gáis, RTÉ, Iarnród Éireann, Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports, (all owned by Dublin Airport Authority) 10 port companies and Bord na Móna.

And check this out…

The group’s work won’t necessarily stop at establishing if the companies can be sold. It will also consider how best they can be used to boost growth and contribute to the State’s own investment plans.
Where appropriate, the group will be able to scrutinise companies’ investment and financing plans, business practices and regulation.
They will also have to examine any liabilities that the State may have as a result of owning these businesses.
For example, many of the companies involved have pension deficits. Bord na Móna said this week that the shortfall in its staff retirement fund was €20 million at the end of last year.

It will be most interesting to see if McCarthy can countenance profitable companies being kept within the public sector. Or as importantly unprofitable ones, because some have social and societal functions above and beyond profitability. Although it was very very slightly heartening to read the following…

Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Energy and Natural Resources, whose department is responsible for many of the companies and assets involved, indicated that he would not like to see energy companies such as the ESB and Bord Gáis sold.
The Minister said he wanted to engage fully with the group, and would both listen to it and make his own views known.
However, he added that he was “loathe to break up business models that were working” in the energy sector, and pointed out that these companies had plans to invest €30 billion between them in Ireland over the next decade.

Mind you, it’s some pass where we’re dependent upon the GP stepping up and stating the bleeding obvious on such matters.

Useful too to read Harry McGee in the Irish Times opining that on foot of last week’s Cabinet meeting in Farmleigh…

Yesterday, Ministers leaving the meeting confirmed that the bulk of the €2 billion savings on the current side will come from cuts rather than new taxes. To that end, some of the more politically tricky cuts identified by “An Bord Snip Nua”, chaired by Colm McCarthy, are now under active consideration. The McCarthy report made recommendations for cuts that came to almost €5 billion, many of which have yet to be implemented.

Although surely this is a story, ‘cuts rather than new taxes’ which has been widely trailed both in the Irish Times prior to this and in other newspaper and media outlets.

So, very much a case of same as it ever was. But what’s striking to me – reconsidering McCarthy – is how little scope there genuinely is for cuts in expenditure, and it’s telling that Harry McGee seems to take it as read that the Report was implementable in full.

I don’t want to seem overly sanguine about this, because cuts there will be and I’m very doubtful about their efficacy as well as being entirely certain about their detrimental impact for the most part. But there are political and practical limitations as to what can be done.

And even the government is congniscent of this…

In the wake of the Croke Park agreement between the Government and public sector unions, the salaries of public employees are protected. Therefore, cuts in departmental budgets will lead to cuts in services. A focus of the continuing discussions will be “politically proofing” cuts to ascertain their effect on the public. The Government wants to avoid, if possible, unpopular and politically damaging budget-day decisions, such as the scrapping of pensioners’ medical cards in 2008.

So we have unleashed a language of equitability:

For its part, the Green Party has said it is fully committed to the €3 billion in cuts, notwithstanding the ambiguity and uncertainty voiced by its finance spokesman Dan Boyle at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties this week. On the record, the party has said that it wants to protect education spending as well as homeless funding.
“There must be cuts but they must be as equitable as possible. That is what we are working towards,” said their spokesman in Government yesterday.

And remember, the Labour Party too is committed to the €3bn cuts.

But take this as an example of how the idea that there’s ‘fat’ in public expenditure is fairly wide of the mark:

On the expenditure side, while each department has been asked to prepare its proposals for cuts and efficiencies, the substantive discussions will begin only from September when bilateral meetings are held between the Department of Finance and individual departments.
An average cut of 5 per cent in each department has been mooted, with the Departments of Social Protection, of Education and Skills and Health and Children expected to bear the brunt of the cuts. It is also expected that one of the key elements of the McCarthy report – the reduction in the number of State agencies or quangos – will be tackled. The Government spokesman said last night that the “McCarthy report is still there to be used as deemed necessary”.

Consider these thoughts of Michael Taft’s soon after the release of the McCarthy Report.

The point is that many of these changes, many of these ‘reforms’ that were so loudly trumpeted are either demonstrably less revenue rich than was proposed or would require structural changes that would take many years to implement (the merging of certain third level institutions is a perfect example of that – at its most rapid such a merger would take two, three, perhaps five years). And that is to put aside the pernicious effects of many of them.

That’s not to say that everything in McCarthy was a bad idea. I’ve noted before that in the report there are some good and sensible suggestions. Progressives should never be afraid of increased efficiency in service provision, particularly as we want to extend such services, but by the same token neither should we be blind to practicalities or constraints (moreover taking public sector pensions and the levy as an instance – and McCarthy mentioned them despite them being beyond his remit – I’ve never personally been against that as long as it was part of a serious reworking of all pension provision – sadly the enthusiasm to rework the PS pension has not been matched by any similar enthusiasm to deal with the abysmal lack of stability to the public pension or the private sector pensions area, which is a clear indication of the limits of genuine ‘radicalism’ this government, and any feasible successor might offer).

And what about this extremely pertinent observation by Conor at Dublin Opinion on the child benefit ‘debate’. The ‘unfair and problematic’ excuse seems somewhat implausible given the complexities of the tax system apparent to those of us who have to file returns outside PAYE [paying tax ahead of time during the tax year – nice!]. He’s not far wrong, this is popular with the self-described middle classes and presumably constitutes yet another ‘third rail’ of Irish politics which politicians touch at their peril. The pity is that child benefit is an excellent example of a universal benefit which no more needs means testing or direct taxing but could, as it should be (and strictly speaking is – despite the benefit being cut), funded through general taxation and specifically increased higher taxation on higher earners.

Again, I’ve more thoughts on this example of the limits of the possible which I’ll post up soon.

A’social occasion’… FF in the North July 28, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
8 comments

I missed this, but MS didn’t – for which many thanks. A Brian Cowen incursion into the North, which took him to Crossmaglen last week. To open an FF office (natch!). Well, well, well. How interesting.

It’s all show, with little substance, albeit read the list of attendees and while it doesn’t quite put an NSMC meeting to shame there’s some strength in numbers there.

But read the throwaway comment about being the first Taoiseach to go to Crossmaglen… and what about the other where they say ‘there is no question of us contesting elections in the immediate future’.

Great stuff, no doubt. But what on earth do they think is the medium to long term plan?

What Planet Are These People On? Part the Second. July 27, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in Capitalism, media, The Right.
6 comments

Interesting, and depressing, article in the Guardian about the latest idea from the US economist Paul Romer. So what is this idea? Charter cities. And what are those? Simple.

Charter cities offer a truly global win-win solution. These cities address global poverty by giving people the chance to escape from precarious and harmful subsistence agriculture or dangerous urban slums. Charter cities let people move to a place with rules that provide security, economic opportunity, and improved quality of life. Charter cities also give leaders more options for improving governance and investors more opportunities to finance socially beneficial infrastructure projects.
All it takes to grow a charter city is an unoccupied piece of land and a charter. The human, material, and financial resources needed to build a new city will follow, attracted by the chance to work together under the good rules that the charter specifies.
Action by one or more existing governments can provide the essentials. One government provides land and one or more governments grant the charter and stand ready to enforce it.

This idea of one ruler ceding territory to another government that then preceeds to build its own city there according to its own rules sounds vaguely familiar. I think it used to be called colonialism. As the Guardian article describes it,

What they need to do, he argues, is give up a big chunk of their land to a rich country. Policy experts from Washington can take over a patch of Rwanda, and invite along GM and Microsoft and Gap to come and set up factories. Poor countries give up their sovereignty in return for the promise of greater prosperity.

They’ve made such a success of this tactic in Iraq and Afghanistan that I can see why Romer wants more of it. Ah, but he has an historical example of his own. Hong Kong.

Q: Are there historical precedents for a charter city?
A: Hong Kong is one obvious example in which two countries worked together to create a new city. In effect, China supplied the land and the people; Britain supplied the rules for a market-based economy together with basic rules such as sanitation, building codes, and civil codes that made the place where the market operated livable. Of course, this did not arise from a voluntary agreement between the Chinese and the British. But looking back, it turned out so well that a country wishing to follow China’s lead might well want to start by cooperating with a foreign country to build a Hong Kong.
The British established the legal and social system in Hong Kong long before most Chinese moved there, but they did not codify this system in a formal charter. A better example of a newly created region with a clear charter is Pennsylvania. William Penn was given Pennsylvania as a dominion. He wrote a charter that included a legal guarantee of freedom of religion. For many migrants, this made Pennsylvania more attractive than other more restrictive colonies in North America.

Romer managed to persuade the former leader of Madagascar to run with his idea, but his being overthrown put a stop to that. Romer’s response?

“Anything that involves land can be manipulated by people who want to rise up against a leader,” he began. “You have to find a place where there’s a strong enough leader with enough legitimacy to do this knowing that he’s going to get attacked. It narrows the options quite a bit. But we shouldn’t give up without trying a few more places.”

Anything that involves a cession of terrritory to a foreign power and/or corporation can upset people. All you need is a leader with enough legitimacy to do this – does legitimacy in this case mean the Weberian take on the state – the unique ability to exercise force? I suspect that it might.

Romer’s big thing is the importance of rules – he seems to be convinced that the right rules can produce prosperity. So build the city, have the right rules, and prosperity will follow, people will move there, and hey presto – global poverty is well on its way to being solved. To say that this seems incredibly simplistic is an understatement. One of the rules that is certainly missing from his account his politics – are these places to be democracies? It certainly doesn’t seem so. And how could they be? The example he likes to use to support his case is a photo of a bunch of teenagers in Guinea doing their homework underneath street lights as there is no electricity at home. His explanation of this?

Q: What kinds of rules keep people from having light in their homes?
A: Here are some simple examples of rules that can keep people in the dark:
Electricity is provided only by a government-owned firm.
Government employees can’t be fired, regardless of how poorly they do their jobs.
The low subsidized price of electricity for the lucky consumers who have access is determined by political considerations.
Under good governance, the people who want electricity in their homes can easily match up with the utilities that want to provide it to them.

Except, of course, if you read the news report he has taken the photo from, you will find that none of these things are the reasons why there is no electricity in the homes of these teenagers. The real reason is in fact something else entirely.

The change is due to the deterioration of power supplies, which started in 2003 when the country’s economy went into freefall.

Anyway, to return to Aditya Chakrabortty in the Guardian.

With a bit more history, Romer might acknowledge that mainland China had other areas that were so dominated by foreigners they too might be described as Charter Cities. Shanghai in the early 20th century had signs reading: No Dogs, No Chinese – and yet it didn’t boom like Hong Kong did. He might also agree that there remains a big debate about how China has got so rich, with World Bank economists recently arguing that it is farming that has done most to reduce poverty, rather than industry.
One result of the great economic crisis is that academic practitioners are finally acknowledging that economic policy is not just a series of equations applied to the real world, but questions that ultimately have a political answer. Yet the old pseudo- scientific blank slate-ism still survives, as Paul Romer’s latest project demonstrates.

Quite. And now that I think about it, I’ve seen how a charter city works, in a Detroit ruled by OmniConsumer Products. And we know how well that turned out.

Parties and rumours of new(ish) parties… July 27, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
7 comments

So, what of the news that Michael McDowell at the MacGill Summer School was ‘coy’ about rumours that he was setting up some sort of political party with Pat Cox and unnamed others? Because such a beast, designed by a committee of 2 + x is hardly fit for serious purpose at this point in time, so close to an election, with even the wiseacres arguing that Labour hasn’t the ability to put together sufficient candidates to take advantage of the coming soon to an election near you and me Gilmore… ahem… tide.

And perhaps those behind these (supposed) moves might look at another effort to start a party, and man, these are the times for parties to be started – aren’t they?

I dislike rumour intensely, what’s its value? But, for what it’s worth, I’m told by pretty good sources that there have been rumours afoot of serious alienation amongst some FGers and FFers at the turn of events recently. Enough to propel them to start a new formation? Well, given the disastrous poll ratings for the latter and the nowhere near stellar ratings of the former who can tell? If I were an FF TD of a certain sort looking at the pronouncements that they may not return a second TD in most constituencies the thought might strike me that something, anything would be worth a go. If I were FG, youngish and ambitious and facing the prospect that my chosen Junior Ministers position was about to be occupied by some noname Labour Party TD then I too might be viewing the political horizon with something less than full-blooded enthusiasm. Enough to propel me to join a PD redux? One never knows.

And then, of course, there was this, which surely, surely, constituted a cry in the wilderness for something…

Although for all the heat remarkably little light, or action, has been evident.

In Kilkenny a former FG and GP member was ‘disappointed’ to get 50 people together for the launch of the Irish Independents Party. That many some of us might say, reflecting on our own political histories. But truth is it’s hardly earth shaking stuff.

And yet an interesting question asked by Leo Armstrong, that former FG/GPer…

The meeting, held in a pub in Kilkenny, was organised by Leo Armstrong, a former member of Fine Gael and the Green Party, who had appealed in letters to newspapers for people to join him in the “setting up of a new Irish political party to replace Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael”.
He claimed that “the people of Ireland, have no confidence in their ability to solve the present economic crisis” and expected strong interest in forming a new party “if people are as angry as they appear to be when they are on The Frontline or on the Joe Duffy show”.

That’s the thing isn’t it? All that anger, all that anger. Funny thing is that even at the height of the boom there was also anger if one cared to listen to Joe Duffy, or the sainted Marian. So much of it that if it were possible to spoon it out of the ether you’d fill oceans. But… all of it dissipated.

You could argue that we’re far from angry enough, or that the anger curiously as it seems cannot survive the transition from expression to action.

And that’s why on a rainy evening (Armstrong’s rationale for ‘only’ 50 people turning up to see the launch of the new leviathan) only… er… 50 turned up.

There’s another thing. Anger, and again of that fifty it sounds like there was plenty of it as…

A succession of speakers angrily denounced “corruption”, “cronyism” and other alleged failings of the current political Establishment.

…only takes one so far in political projects. What’s new? And there isn’t anything, or at least nothing much more than, as Armstrong put it, “setting up of a new Irish political party to replace Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael”. Nor is it as if the Irish electorate is lacking in options, although in truth those we champion get less of a look in than we might hope.

Is this the constrained and unarticulated (supposedly) energy that McDowell and Cox hope to tap into? Are they that cynical or that naive? Could be. For them too it may be a case of that most contemporary of political tropes ‘something, anything’ coming to the fore.

This fun new [somewhat delayed] democracy… July 27, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
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So, no elections for Mayor of Dublin before the Spring, at least according to the Irish Times. And no by-elections before the Budget. Our own version of Dick Whittington should turn home now, and the cat with him [I know, I know, there is a Mayor of Dublin, but not by direct popular election].

Chairman of the Green Party Senator Dan Boyle told The Irish Times yesterday that, once the Bill [legislating Mayor of Dublin] had been approved by the Cabinet, it would have to join the normal “queue” of legislation due to be examined by the Attorney General’s office.
Consequently, the legislation was unlikely to be enacted in time to hold the elections before the end of this year.
“At this stage, it is looking less likely it can be fully prepared and processed by the Oireachtas in time for an autumn election and it’s more likely to be done in time for a spring election,” he said.
He stressed that there was no question of backing away from the proposal: “We want the legislation to be passed and we want it to be the right legislation.”

And…

It was likely that byelections to fill the current vacancies in three Dáil constituencies would be held on the same day as the Dublin mayoral poll.

So.

Under the Programme for Government, the Coalition partners are committed to “introduce a directly-elected mayor for Dublin, with executive powers, by 2011”.

It will be informative to see whether this comes to pass by then. On the other hand, it’s another brick built in the wall being used to shore up the government’s longevity. If they can keep those byelections (which frankly are far more important, although only two of them are of particular importance) then their chances of surviving some way into 2011 increase. And what they want, above all, presumably is time.

Left Archive: IRIS – The Republican Magazine, November 1983, Number 7, Provisional Sinn Féin July 26, 2010

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
30 comments

IRIS83

Many thanks to Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland, for donating this document to the Archive. Apologies for the size of the PDF [19mbs].

This document from Sinn Féin is perhaps most notable for the way in which it emulates the style of then-contemporary current affairs magazines like Magill. The overall layout is near-identical. In general terms it is a lavish production, with 60 pages. It contains cartoons, a six page report on an IRA training camp, and the contents is divided into various subjects from ‘Features’, ‘The Armed Struggle’, ‘Poetry’, ‘Book Reviews’ and ‘Foreign Affairs’.

The subject matter within each subject area is broad-ranging. An article by Paddy Bolger examines the strategies possible in the ‘Free State’. The issue of censorship is addressed by Bernadette Quinn. There is a clear identification with liberation struggles, ranging from feminism to anti-imperialism. Eibhlin Ni Gabhann considers womens groups in Belfast and Dublin. And Margaret Ward, who wrote Unmanageable Revolutionaries, expands upon the necessity for Republicans ‘to develop a non-elitist attitude of support for the feminist movement as an integral part of the liberation struggle’. This anti-imperialist approach is exemplified by an article on the West Bank with eye-witness account of the camp at Dheisheh.

The leading ‘Viewpoint’ article considers the 26 counties ‘A state but not a nation’ and argues that ‘the relation of a closed confessional state – in direct negation of all the principles of republicanism – has played a very significant role in turning the 26-county state inwards on itself’. It continues that the 26 counties ‘does however lack an essential ingredient for totally solidifying that stability – the ability to portray itself as something more than an apparently independent state, in short – to portray itself as a nation’.

It is an interesting thesis which is expanded upon further. ‘… the distinctive culture – a keystone of any nation – including the Irish language, is deliberately neglected and allowed to wither. Instead an alien mish-mash of mid-Atlantic culture is imported.’

It continues…

‘Equally, social values of the most conservative type, in keeping not with the historical spirit of the people, but rather with the objectives of the economic system, are sued as shackles to development.

And economically, following the logic of this inability to create a truncated nation, the solutions are not sought within the state itself in the development of resources, but are sought from outside in attempts to attract multinationals or to beg from Brussels.’

And notably it suggests that…

Politically, all of this trend can easily be seen in the most recent developments.

The so-called abortion referendum – which ignored the social problems surrounding abortion – was a reflex action of a long socially-repressed people, which in its underlining of the confessional state could not have caused any great dismay to the Free State upholders of partition, whatever their public position on that issue.

That issue, as the question of divorce now is, was deliberately put into a fallacious context of ‘concession to the Northern Protestants’ rather than an examination of an actual social problem in the Free State, with the inevitable partitionist result’.

It continues later with the argument that:

In pursuing a strategy in the 26 counties, SF, which is a revolutionary party, therefore has to consider two major aspects. First.. it has to retain its republican analysis of partition as the major block to the development of a nation which can achieve political, economic, social and cultural justice. It therefore has to campaign against the present negations of that justice and attempt to build a revolutionary awareness of cultural pride and development…

Secondly it has to communicate with the audience it wishes to reach in a way which that audience can, in today’s context, trust and understand. The proposition then that, somehow, republicans are bent on plunging the 26 counties into an armed revolution must be totally scotched. And the habit of republicans of isolating themselves in their political campaigning must be reversed.

And it concludes with the following:

The republican view of the elected institutions is not an excuse to stand aside from the political discussion altogether.

All told another fascinating addition to the Archive.

What planet are these people on? July 25, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in Capitalism, European Union, The Right.
11 comments

Two recent stories make it still clearer just what an alternate universe those who control financial institutions and governments of the world live in. The first is the recent “stress tests” carried out on 91 banks by the Committee of European Banking Supervisors. 7 banks failed – 5 Spanish, 1 German and 1 Greek. Amazingly, AIB was passed as healthy, as well as the Bank of Ireland, the only two Irish banks included. The summary report is available here. The 7 banks that failed the test needed 3.5bn euro of new capital to meet the standards required.

In AIB’s case, passing the test assumes that it would succeed in a €7.4 billion plan to raise further capital by the end of the year.

I wonder where they got the idea it would be able to raise whatever extra capital it needed?

Let’s call this stress test what it was – an attempt by the European financial elite to con the public into believing that the capitalist system has resolved the contradictions that led to the recent crisis. They must think we are stupid, and that throwing a few sacrifical lambs to the wolves will give it added credibility. Nonsense. See the RTÉ report for Lenihan’s attempt at spin.

Speaking of whom, the second story that shows how the political elite remains trapped in the failed ideology of neo-liberalism is the planned privitisation of public assets such as the ESB, CIE, An Post, and Bord Gáis, with the “stock-taking” under the chairmanship of Colm McCarthy. This has been aptly described by WP President Mick Finnegan as “a firesale of the people’s assets”. The market has failed disastrously. So what is the answer these people propose? Take the semi-state companies that have been working well, and hand them over – cheaply of course – to the market, so that customer service standards can fall, the workers can see their working conditions devestated, and multi-nationals can make still more profits. This money can then be used to avoid increasing taxation on those best able to pay, and will also realise cash to throw into the black hole of the banks and property speculators should they need it. Awesome. Back to Mick Finnegan.

Having near bankrupted the country with reckless economic policies and crippled the next generation of our people with debt through the banking bailout, the government is now intent on selling the family silver. These state and semi-state companies were built over many years of public investment and hard work. They must not be sold off by a deranged government and there is an onus on the trade union movement, the left and anyone who believes in the future of this country to stand up and oppose this madness.

Exactly.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week July 25, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in media.
20 comments

I think John Drennan needs to spend a little bit of time reading the likes of this. Maybe then we can all be spared the likes of this.

Critics of the concept of a Stalinist quango which would buy loans our idiot banks had given to developers for more than their value and sell the same land at a profit in a collapsing property market were dismissed.

Shane Ross, praising Michael O’Leary’s attitude towards trade unions is, frankly, sickening.

Michael dealt firmly with the prospect of unions. He has done everything to root them out short of forcing passengers and crew to remove beards when boarding the aircraft. Do not be surprised if there is a surcharge on both beards and baggage if profits dip.

Marc Coleman fails to top last week’s spectacular effort but is still the runaway winner, even without quoting his reference to “the gombeen Left”.

More than any other sectors of our economy, the State and semi-state sector wrecked economic stability by failing to regulate banking, control building land, control public spending and ensure light and efficient taxation.

The Death of Peter Hart July 24, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in History.
102 comments

Today’s Irish Times reports the sad news of the early death of the historian Peter Hart at the age of just 46. Peter Hart’s first book, The IRA and its Enemies, about the IRA in county Cork in the years 1916 to 1923 has largely shaped the countours of historical writing on the period ever since. His other works include British Intelligence in Ireland: The Final Reports, The IRA at War 1916-1923 and Mick, a biography of Michael Collins. His webpage at Memorial University also refers to a forthcoming book called Guerilla Days in the UK: Revolution in Ireland and Britain.

Peter Hart’s work made him one of the finest historians working on Irish history. It is also, as is well known to readers here at CLR, highly controversial, with detailed arguments emerging over his account of the Kilmichael ambush as well as the Dunmanaway killings, and the general argument about the importance of sectarianism in the IRA campaign in county Cork. The title of the forthcoming book – and let’s hope that it appears posthumously – looks very much like a reference to Tom Barry’s Guerilla Days in Ireland, and one likely to rile up those who see themselves as the guardians of Barry’s legacy. It is possible to be sceptical of many of Peter Hart’s arguments and still recognise the quality of his work, and I think that that is how many of us on CLR would feel. He outlined his thoughts on the writing of Irish history in a response to a review of one of his books. It is well worth reading.

Peter Hart was himself part of the community at CLR. He may have been attracted here by WBS’ outstanding series of posts on Coolacrease but who knows? He commented here, on issues ranging from history to Christmas presents to his support for keeping open the swimming pools under threat in Dublin.

His death represents a great loss then to the writing of history in Ireland, and a human tragedy for his family and friends. All our sympathies are with them.

The Dude Abides, or this weekend I’ll be listening to…Townes Van Zandt July 24, 2010

Posted by guestposter in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
13 comments

Many thanks to yourcousin for taking up the offer last week…made on foot of the comments here

Okay so here’s my one shot [you sure about that? 🙂 – wbs] at introducing some decent mainstream music (you kind of had to read the last post to get it). Well if not mainstream then at least accessible to the vast majority of folks (hopefully). I don’t remember where I came across Townes Vans Zandt. Like so many other greats he just appeared in my life (thanks dad). The fewer words the words the better, but suffice to say I view him as an Orwellian figure in a scare crow kind of sense whose success destroyed him. Or to quote a more inciteful figure, “Why do we reward our men of genius, our suicides, our madmen, and the generally maladjusted with the melancholy honours of the post humous curiosity? Because we know it is our society which has condemned these men to death” (Cyril Connolly). So without further ado…

Written by yourcousin

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