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Wow… just…wow… April 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

will be the response to most of us in relation to this piece in the Belfast Telegraph on election posters in the North. Slugger has a piece on it too (and hat tip to LookLeft for linking to that).

Civil unions… April 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Irish Politics.

…I wonder if that would have been better ground for the No camp to base their critique on the marriage equality referendum on – which they sort of do with one poster. It’s not particularly pleasant but it would be quite logical. As the SBP notes:

Analysis by a team of political scientists, who are collaborating with The Sunday Business Post on polling research for the duration of the campaign, suggests that the contest is likely to be much closer that the voting intention polls suggest.
Some 46 per cent of voters feel that, as gay couples have access to civil partnerships, there is “no need to go further and completely change the definition of marriage”.
The poll was carried out among more than 1,000 voters nationwide last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The details of the research by Professor David Farrell (UCD), Dr Jane Suiter (DCU) and Dr Theresa Reidy (UCC) are fascinating. The study asked for responses to the following contentions:

• Change is welcome, but we are going too far nowadays and undermining traditional society.
• Same-sex couples can enter state-recognised civil partnerships. There is no need to go further and completely change the definition of marriage.
• Children have always been central to marriage. It is inappropriate for children to be raised by gay couples.


There is no doubt that a large swathe of the population who agree with these statements will be voting No on May 22. But what about those who say they’re going to vote Yes? What do they think?

The results are:

The data reveals that 37 per cent of those in favour of marriage equality think that it is inappropriate for children to be raised by gay couples; 54 per cent of those voting Yes think that change has gone far enough; and 51 per cent of those who favour marriage equality actually feel that there is no need to change the definition of marriage!

There is clearly some cognitive dissonance. And yet, this doesn’t spell disaster, it is entirely possible for people to hold contradictory views on matters. Or to think that there is an element of truth to some of the above contentions without feeling that they are bound or limited by them. For example, change on these issues has occurred in the context of broader societal changes, very rapidly.
Or not to have fully thought through them. The authors of the report are very cautious, and rightly so, as to the outcome. My own feeling is it should pass, given the polls. But…

Suggestions for the Resources tab on the CLR? April 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Apologies, after raising the issue last year it never went anywhere. Any suggestions for resources, whether Unions, organisations and so on for those on the Left would be very welcome.

An Phoblacht out now April 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.



  • Every vote counts . . . Sinn Féin contesting all 18 Westminster constituencies – ‘Equality, not austerity’
  • Kathleen Funchion – We can win Phil ‘Water Charges’ Hogan’s seat
  • Narrow marriage equality vote at Assembly
  • 22 May – Vote ‘Yes’ for equality
  • ‘I joined the British Army to fight the IRA’ – Glenn Bradley writes in ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’ on making peace
  • Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin’s hysterical attacks on Sinn Féin
  • Brigadier Frank Kitson faces writs over role in North
  • Dóchas do na hImircigh Éireannacha sna Stáit Aontaithe
  • O’Devaney Gardens – A decade of broken promises
  • Arder Carson, first Mayor of new Belfast ‘super council’
  • The media and the 1916 ‘problem’ – A dangerous message to future generations
  • Veterans for Peace – IRA and British Army former combatants meet in London
  • Scannal na gcomharthaí bhóthair
  • A taste of Ireland – Boxty and champ make a comeback
  • Palestine Marathon – Derryman runs for freedom

The Man who broke the music business April 30, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Culture.

Fascinating article in The New Yorker on the dawn of online piracy.

A sign of the times… April 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Obviously it’s probably best not to discuss the central alleged exchange directly, but more broadly given the times that are in it what do people think of a certain focus on supposed ‘left wing political extremism in Ireland’ on the part of state institutions?

Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan denies asking a senior garda about his views on “left wing political extremism in Ireland” during interviews for the position of Deputy Commissioner, the High Court has heard.

I’m always sceptical about the interest of the state in such matters, given the marginal nature of such activity. But what also strikes me is that the definition of ‘left wing political extremism’ is possibly drawn considerably wider in this state than in others i.e. that events that elsewhere would be pretty much run of the mill are here treated – particularly by the media, but also by the political circles and the establishment, such as it is – with a sort of appalled horror. Not quiet lèse-majesté – but getting there.

Whatever happened to ‘The Campaign for Labour Policies’ ? April 29, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics, The Left.

Whatever happened to The Campaign for Labour Policies , “a campaign of grassroots Labour party members and supporters for an alternative political programme to the one now being pursued by government.” that began mid 2012 ?
Did they leave or just give up the ghost? No activity for over a year on their twitter or their website.
I’m genuinely curious as opposed to wanting to just slag off Labour.

Walter Clarke R.I.P. April 29, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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“Walter Clarke, died Saturday April 18, 2015 New Hampshire,USA. Walter was a piper with the Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band in the early 1960’s and he assisted me in recent times in connection with the Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band centenary 1914-2014 project”. We, former members of the band, will miss him”. Jim Lane.

The Rest of the obituary here


That last poll in the SBP April 29, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

Some interesting analysis in the SBP at the weekend over the poll. Refreshing our memories the figures were as follows:

FG 25% [-2%]. LP 8% [-2%], SF 22% [+5%], FF 19% [+1%], Ind/Small Parties 26% [-2%].

Clearly the most significant element is the rise in SF… again! But this runs counter to a narrative that emerged in recent months that somehow the ‘green shoots’ of recovery are sweeping FG and LP forward. And what does that suggest? Perhaps that the green shoots narrative is entirely overstated – that’s addressed elsewhere on the site this week.

But what does the SBP make of all this? Richard Colwell of RedC writes:

…why has momentum failed to materialise for the government parties?
The first reason is the new reality of Sinn Féin.
Sinn Féin now appears able to swat away losses on the back of any controversy just a month later, the like of which hasn’t been seen since Bertie Ahern was nicknamed the Teflon taoiseach.
Last month, the party lost 4 per cent support on the back of a significant controversy surrounding its handling of alleged sex abusers within its ranks. Just a month later, that support has returned, leaving Sinn Féin with 22 per cent of the first preference vote. This is a recurring theme for the party, where it appears any scandals or misdemeanours are quickly forgotten by supporters.

Again, as also suggested this week, part of that recovery for SF from criticism and worse, is perhaps due to a compartmentalisation the electorate have about the North – as well, ironically, as a sort of partitionist mentality. Simply put, my sense is that the North and the events of the Troubles are regarded as both geographically and historically distant. It’s not quite that the SF line is accepted as the single defining truth – anything but, but rather the processes of the GFA/BA were such that by corralling SF into constitutional politics they are regarded as being sufficient in addition to time passing to allow SF to become a viable alternative. Now obviously this is inchoate, perhaps a subconscious attitude, and one not shared universally (to put it mildly). But I’d hesitantly suggest that it is shared widely enough. And certainly widely enough for up to one in five or one in four voters to support that party.
Colwell continues:

The second fact to bear in mind is the speed of gains.
Last month, we saw quite rapid gains for government parties, perhaps even a little bit quicker than we had expected. It appears part of this was the government doing better, but the gains were bolstered by the fact that Sinn Féin was losing support at the same time. This has now been corrected, and perhaps the much smaller gains for the government parties are a more realistic rate of gain that the government needs to get used to.

That’s intriguing, I take it that he’s arguing that the fall in SF support masked the underlying weakness in government party support.
Finally he points to the obvious:

The third factor is water charges.
It doesn’t matter how much credit the government parties get for an improving economic situation: anything to do with the water charges remains toxic. The past month has seen actual bills finally being sent to households.
Without question, this will have done the government no favours in the poll, as it serves as a very real reminder of the costs of the charges, and the voters’ anger about this issue. There has been much talk on social media of people sending the bills back with “unpaid” written on the envelope.

And it’s not just water charges but all and any charges. There’s remarkable levels of resentment out there towards the government over this. Just talking to non-politically involved people at the weekend I was struck by the depth of their animosity – in some ways I felt it was greater than my own, and I’ll explain that as follows. I’ve no sense of betrayal by FG, or FF or the LP because I’ve never invested a moments energy or faith in them (just to be clear I’ve known and know good people in the latter party but the party itself, nope). To me, and I’ll bet to most of us on the CLR, those parties are in one way or another profound political and ideological opponents and we have no expectations at all for them. But for those who have voted for them, who do have expectations of how they would behave – that they would keep the ship of state upright, that they would look after the finances, would do more than pay rhetorical obeisance to notions of stability, fairness, etc, well, that’s a different matter. For them those bills are a constant and very material indication of rupture.

I wonder do the government parties and FF quite get this? Do they realise that the situation is now (truly) radically different from what it was even seven or eight years ago?

And while jumping to SF is a step too far for many of them, some will make that journey. Just as they make a similar journey to independents or whoever. Colwell suggests that the choices are sharpening up, between the government parties and SF (tellingly he doesn’t see FF in that equation) and with the Independents losing some steam. Though just on that last let’s not overstate that. Ind/Small Parties are much much further ahead of where they were in 2011. They can lose significant chunks of support and still return historically high numbers.

With Sinn Féin securing support at relatively high levels, and independent support low, one conclusion is that those now unsure of how they vote are being torn between voting independent or voting for government parties. This is based on the fact that such a large cohort of those that have been suggesting they would vote for independent candidates previously voted for the government parties.

Nor does he see this as entirely bad news for the government:

So maybe losses for the government parties this month are not quite as bad when taken into context of the water bills delivery. There is potential to win those undecided voters back.

But in a way that merely brings us back to the point where the government bets the house on stability over all else. Not much of a pitch. As noted before a lot depends on how angry people are out there.

“We only want the Earth…” Songs of the workers and the rebels, with Diarmuid Breatnach and friends. Sunday 3rd May @ 2pm April 29, 2015

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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We only want the Earth

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