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Sky is blue… sun rises in the east… and other obvious facts… including: Lucinda Creighton ‘won’t rule out possibility of entering coalition’. September 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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From the Independent, no doubt this will surprise absolutely none of us here.

Renua leader Lucinda Creighton has not ruled out entering coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil – and the party hopes to run general election candidates in every constituency in the country.

Well I never.

What if some ‘Independent’ TDs defect to FG after the election… September 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

It’s happened before. This character here was elected as an Independent TD and made the journey. I don’t think it’s implausible that some of those elected under the Independent/Other label might make a similar trip post-2015/2016 – those in RENUA, if they come back in depleted numbers would certainly have to ask certain questions as to the logic of standing separate to the larger party. And without question FG will be looking for people to make up numbers.

Adrian Kavanagh’s latest projections must provide much food for thought for all on the political spectrum – however much we need to question the individual constituency outcomes. That, by the way, is how I treat those projections, useful for the national picture of ebb and flow – much less so for constituency projections. And in fairness Kavanagh himself applies numerous caveats to his figures too.

Fine Gael 28% (NC), Independents and Others 25% (up 1%), Fianna Fail 20% (NC), Sinn Fein 21% (down 2%), Labour Party 8% (up 1%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 31, Fine Gael 56, Sinn Fein 28, Labour Party 7, Independents and Others 36. 

As always, 79/80 is the figure that FG would need to have a majority, a bare majority. On the current set of figures this seems unlikely. Can the SDs or RENUA or the LP make up numbers? Well, 7 and 56 only gives 63. Boost that by, I don’t know, three or four apiece and it still is only 70. Another ten minimum needed. Where do they come from?

More depressingly, given that that is all an FG problem, is the broader percentages. Yes, it’s great that Ind/Others are doing so well – and SF is keeping their flag flying well too. But, pull together the FF/FG/LP vote and they combined get 56% of the vote. Even now. Even after all that has happened. I’m reminded of a friend in SF who after the last election was appalled at how so many had transferred their vote from FF to FG and the LP, and simply avoided voting for the left.

Still, all is not lost. Consider that in 2011 there was 36% for FG, 19.4% for Labour, 17.4% for FF. Grand total? Approximately 73% FPV. In that context a drop of 17% or thereabouts is not bad going. Not enough though.

And in Dublin, as Paddy Healy noted FF/FG/LP are on 46% of the poll. Granted some of the rest is made up of Independent Alliance, etc, and not exactly left-wing, but most of it is. Not bad.

That poll on water charges… doesn’t it seem more than a little problematic? September 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Well, what to make of this, an IT poll that is published today that Stephen Collins argues says:

Almost 80 per cent of people say they will ultimately pay the controversial water charges, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

And how is that figure arrived at?

While the poll shows 37 per cent of households have not yet paid the charge, a significant number say they intend to pay eventually.
The combination of those who have paid and those who say they intend to pay comes to 78 per cent, while the remaining 22 per cent say they will never pay the charge.

Okay, anyone see some fundamental problems in regard to that – say in respect of supposition, unwarranted extrapolation and unanalysed motivation?

For example, let’s take one aspect alone. Some may well believe they’ll wind up paying, but that won’t prevent them not paying for as long as possible. And others will believe that the charge will be modified in some respect…or… well who knows. But meanwhile, in the now, the report has to accept that as it stands at the moment:

…information released by Irish Water earlier this month…showed that at the end of the second billing cycle at least 775,000 homes had now paid their bills, giving a compliance rate of exactly 51 per cent.

That’s a massive political problem – all the more so when one considers how unwillingly and alienated many who have paid the charges actually feel – and all the handwavium in the world isn’t going to change that.

Left Archive: An Analysis of the Significance of the Ulster Workers’ Strike – May 14th-30th, 1974 – A Series of Articles from RED PATRIOT Editorial Staff Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist). September 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist), Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.

To download the above please click on the following link. REDPATRIOTUWC1974GO

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

This is a fascinating document published in the aftermath of the Ulster Workers Council Strike. It is drawn from articles produced by RED PATRIOT staff (see Archive here) and takes a very distinctive line on the strike. The articles include an overview of the strike which takes up most of the 70 plus pages document, A ‘reference article’ on the Northern Ireland Economy. Another on Sectarianism in Northern Ireland. A further piece on how ‘The ‘Council of Ireland’ is an Attempt to Further Unite the Irish Comprador Bourgeoisie against the Irish People. Finally there are two pieces comprising a Statement of the Dublin Branch of the CPI (M-L) on how ‘Anti-Sunningdale Strike Reveals the Strength of the Irish Working Class’ and one one entitled ‘Down With British Imperialism’s Latest White Paper’.

It argues strongly in favour of the strike ‘[where] Ulster workers dealt a severe blow to the British monopoly capitalist class, as well as to the Irish comprador bourgeoisie north and south. it was also a great step forward of the working class in Ulster, and strengthened their class consciousness, unity and revolutionary sentiment’.

It further proposes that:

At the beginning of the strike Craig, Paisley and West were the last people to appalled the workers because what they fear more than anything else is the workers taking the question of political power into their own hands, organising themselves and having done with the bourgeoisie. During the strike they were literally told on what basis the workers would have anything to do with them and were forced to accept…

It is not a matter whether Craig, Paisley and West have agreed to this but that they have no choice but to make definite concessions to the workers if they wish to retain any political credence.

And it continues:

Even this minimal use which the workers are putting them to will definitely be done away with before long as more and more workers see the necessity to join with the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist), the only party based uncompromisingly on the interests of the proletariat.

The document has harsh words for many different groups, including the Unionists, Loyalists, the SDLP and indeed both Official and Provisional Sinn Féin. Notably, however, is the hostility of its analysis in regard to the British and Irish Communist Organisation who also regarded the strike as a positive manifestation of working class unity.

A most interesting addition to the Archive and to the stock of documents from the CPI (M-L) [for more see here in the Archive].

From My Spam Folder ……. September 27, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

Dear Friend,

The Labour Party has always led the way in changing Ireland for the better. We’ve always fought for social progress, and always will. Many of the most progressive steps Ireland has taken in recent decades wouldn’t have happened, or would have happened much more slowly, without us. Marriage equality is an obvious and powerful example, the X Case legislation another. A more compassionate and egalitarian Constitution has always been absolutely central to our vision.

Ahead of today’s March for Choice, then, I just want to make clear the party’s position on the 8th Amendment. Put simply, it is one of the most retrograde parts of the Constitution, and cannot be changed soon enough. As a woman, it horrifies me to think of the dreadful situations fellow women and their families have been placed in because of this provision. But pledging to repeal the 8th is the straightforward bit – replacing it with a humane, compassionate, and legislatively sound approach is the complex part. It is absolutely essential that we get this right.

That is why I have asked Labour Women, under the stewardship of Ivana Bacik and Sinead Ahern, to bring forward a credible and detailed solution that will form the basis of our manifesto commitment. That commitment will be very clear – to repeal the 8th amendment and ensure it is replaced appropriately.

In any subsequent programme for government negotiations, a referendum to repeal the 8th would be a priority for Labour. We have a very successful history of negotiating for social change in government – including the legalisation of contraception, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the divorce referendum, and most recently in this Government, the aforementioned X Case legislation and marriage equality as well as the gender recognition legislation. All of this was achieved through negotiation and ensuring a clear political pathway to achieve the desired reform. That is precisely how we would seek to deliver repeal of the 8th amendment.

Other parties will shy away from it in the election, because they don’t want to deal with this very difficult and sensitive issue. That’s why anybody who wishes to see the 8th repealed should vote Labour. If returned to government, we will ensure that referendum – and fight for the right outcome.

Yours sincerely,


Joan Burton TD
Tánaiste & Leader of the Labour Party

Dress codes… September 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Tellingly imprecise, I thought, this, from the IT a week or two back.

Consultants hired to review the Department of Social Protection (DSP) have brought attention to concerns employees have about the “scruffy” appearance of their colleagues, and a reluctance to tackle underperformance.

Note the elision of the two issues. And:

A staff dress code “merits investigation”, the report states. “There is only a vague dress code in DSP and many members of staff are concerned that the lack of a consistent and appropriate dress code creates an unprofessional image and sets the wrong tone for engaging clients, employers and other external stakeholders.”

And yet, given that there’s only a ‘vague’ dress code one has to wonder how much one could read too much into it, particularly the idea that some staff thought it might ‘impact on [the scruffy ones] personal sense of professionalism and pride’. I’m profoundly suspicious of employments – we know them by repute – where casual is all the rage, and yet their work practices are curiously authoritarian, so I don’t think there’s a simple relationship of dress codes necessarily equalling repressive. Indeed what is a proper dress code in this day and age? Should those staff who interact with the public be sprucer than those who don’t? How does all this work?

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week September 27, 2015

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.

Richard Curran reveals the problem with attracting sufficient inward investment in the hi-tech sector

We don’t have the right tax system in place because we actually penalise entrepreneurs in the tax code.

Eoghan Harris reveals his continuing adherence to a dialectical approach to politics before rounding off his column with this gem on what the government should do to address the crisis sparked by the McGuigan murder.

Accordingly, it should signal its support for both by appointing a new Assistant Commissioner, with extensive experience in combating subversion.
This AC should head up a new and well-resourced section with sole responsibility for tackling IRA crime.
Such a move would do something to protect those who have what is the most difficult job in Irish journalism: security correspondents.

Just when you thought the Sindo couldn’t get any more surreal.

Once upon a time… A Labour TD going ‘Independent’… September 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…would be a remarkable event. Not so long ago either. But now?


Join the back of the queue, there Deputy Maloney (a man who, by the by, kept his heterodoxy to himself hitherto).

Who would people put money on being next?

She’s having a laugh, isn’t she? September 26, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Joan Burton has said it has been a skill of the Labour Party to find political pathways through issues once considered very difficult such as abortion. 

She said her party will include repealing the 8th in its election manifesto.

Ms Burton said that there was no particular commitment on the X case legislation four and a half years ago.

She said that there were not many public advocates in Fine Gael or other parties in respect of marriage equality or the ABC case but that Labour found a pathway and that has been their contribution to Irish politics. 

She said that she would be totally confident they will be able to address the 8th amendment issue as well.

This on foot of today’s well attended march.


Rotating flying saucers September 26, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Here’s a thought. Why in films and on television do flying saucers rotate about their axis? It doesn’t actually make any sense, as this piece notes, and my presumption is that it is simply because it looks better. Ray Harryhausen, by the by, did the effects in the film above. And this continued into the 70s with UFO and other series…

One of the first widely reported sightings, that by Kenneth Arnold (and to my shame I didn’t have to check up on the name, though a complete sceptic on the issue I’ve read more on the topic than is good for me) in 1947 close to Mount Rainier offers the following description:

Starting June 26 and June 27, newspapers first began using the terms “flying saucer” and “flying disk” (or “disc”) to describe the sighted objects. Thus the Arnold sighting is credited with giving rise to these popular terms. The actual origin of the terms is somewhat controversial and complicated. Jerome Clark cites a 1970 study by Herbert Strentz, who reviewed U.S. newspaper accounts of the Arnold UFO sighting, and concluded that the term was probably due to an editor or headline writer: the body of the early Arnold news stories did not use the term “flying saucer” or “flying disc.”[17] However, earlier stories did in fact credit Arnold with using terms such as “saucer”, “disk”, and “pie-pan” in describing the shape. (see quotations further below)

The actual shape Arnold claimed he saw was slightly different to a saucer – being circular at the front but with a convex point at the rear, and did not rotate.

Still, the term flying saucer clearly caught the public imagination and that became, as it were, the trope. And tellingly in the floods of sightings subsequently the disc or saucer was the predominant object shape seen. The sceptical side of me thinks that that suggests that there is a psychological reason for the sightings – much like the rash of sightings in the 1990s on foot of the X-Files, or those at the height of the Cold War, and particularly following the release of Close Encounters.

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