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PBP in Right2Change but the AAA are not , is PBP-AAA gone? October 31, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

Right2Change and the voting pact has been covered before.
However according to Reports
People Before Profit has signed up to a left-wing electoral alliance while its election partner, the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA), has not, according to a Right2Change briefing.

Is PBP-AAA finished?

Reading this… October 31, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

The Handmaid’s Tale received the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. The award is given for the best science fiction novel that was first published in the United Kingdom during the previous year. It was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, and the 1987 Prometheus Award, both science fiction awards.
Atwood has resisted the suggestion that The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake are science fiction, suggesting to The Guardian that they are speculative fiction instead: “Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen.”[17] She told the Book of the Month Club: “Oryx and Crake is a speculative fiction, not a science fiction proper. It contains no intergalactic space travel, no teleportation, no Martians.”[26] On BBC Breakfast she explained that science fiction, as opposed to what she herself wrote, was “talking squids in outer space.” The latter phrase particularly rankled advocates of science fiction and frequently recurs when her writing is discussed.[26]
Atwood has since said that she does at times write social science fiction and that Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake can be designated as such. She clarified her meaning on the difference between speculative and science fiction, admitting that others use the terms interchangeably: “For me, the science fiction label belongs on books with things in them that we can’t yet do…. speculative fiction means a work that employs the means already to hand and that takes place on Planet Earth.” She said that science fiction narratives give a writer the ability to explore themes in ways that realistic fiction cannot.[27]

I was much struck by the term ‘advocates of science fiction’. So I clicked on the link.

Which brought me to this.

Ah. Okay.

Still, got to admit I understand why it might have rankled some while also understanding why Atwood may have felt her work didn’t quite fit into SF. But I think the genre is pretty broad.

From East Wall History Group October 31, 2015

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A ‘Halloween treat …courtesy of Orson Welles’… Kudos to them.

Last week Mars, this week Venus… October 31, 2015

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YouTube, seeing my interest in all things relating to film on Mars offered me this. Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet from 1965.

It’s… well… it is what it is. There’s Basil Rathbone. There’s Faith Domergue. There’s a rocket. There’s Venus.

Except it’s not. You may find the dialogue is… dubbed. For yes, it is. And as the helpful accompanying piece notes:

Astronauts land on Venus and confront all kinds of prehistoric creatures and plants. Roger Corman acquired the Russian science fiction picture, Planeta Bur (Planet of the Storms), cut it, wrote new dialog, dubbed it, and cast Basil Rathbone in some new English language scenes. This version has since fallen into the public domain. The special effects and design are outstanding.

Here’s Planeta Bur.

And indeed the effects aren’t bad for 1962. There’s some bits, particularly the beginning, that makes one wonder if a certain S. Kubrick saw the film. But perhaps form followed function.

And here is another ‘reworking’ of it… Peter Bogdanovich’s Voyage To the Planet of the Prehistoric Women – a re edit and extension of the original and the second version.

2001 it ain’t.

Liftoff podcast October 31, 2015

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This is relatively recent from Relay FM, a podcast from ‘enthusiastic space fans’ Stephen Hackett and the indefatigable Jason Snell (formerly editor of MacWorld and now the creator of a stable of SF, tech and other podcasts). I’ve listened to a couple and found them interesting.

Meanwhile, what an age we live in. There’s so much that human ingenuity can make right, or better, but some things are remarkable.

Halloween events in East Wall October 31, 2015

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More details here, parade, a ‘sky that will blaze to our traditional display’ and haunted house this evening.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Goldie – Timeless October 31, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Well, I’d tentatively lined up another post for today, but the sad news this week that vocalist Diane Charlemagne has died this week and at an appallingly early age seemed to make it fitting to consider Goldie’s album Timeless, twenty years old last month and an album that in some ways brought jungle and drum ’n’ bass to a much wider audience than it had had hitherto. Central to that project was Charlemagne. She contributed some of the key vocals on the album and co-wrote two of the tracks and along with vocalist Lorna Harris provided a link to other areas of dance as well as accentuating the individuality of Goldie’s approach. She was someone with an already broad cv in dance, including being lead singer for Urban Cookie Collective and alter contributed to Netsky and worked with producer High Contrast. Lorna Harris’s provided vocals on State of Mind and You&Me. Her contribution along with that of Charlemagne was essential in providing a distinct character to the album.

Timeless was immediate, a rush of sound and melody and something like pop, but paradoxically languorous – with no track shorter than four and a half minutes, and some like the title track stretching to a good 20 minutes or so. Goldie, who had already a name as a graffiti artist, had been producing and appearing on tracks from the early 1990s a process that eventually led to the establishment of the Metalheadz label. His profile sort of mushroomed from there – fairly sharpish he was in television and film and so on.

I always loved the sound he achieved, the clatter of breakbeats, the none so deep basslines, the synth sweeps, even – perhaps particularly – when, as at times there was, something endearingly plastic about it, I’m not sure exactly why. I think it had an oddly nostalgic feel even when it first came out – perhaps that was driven by the almost over abundantly lush high pitched keyboard strings, the genuine emotiveness of the vocals, the sense that everything including the kitchen sink had been thrown in. And it worked!

Let’s not ignore the sheer experimental heft of the sounds on the album (again look at the soundscapes created on Timeless itself) which are breathtaking, even at this remove. The choppy and chopped up approach (weirdly reminiscent of prog) wasn’t one suspects necessarily an easy listen for some. That this proved chart-topping was nothing short of astounding. I suppose the pop finish of some tracks – State of Mind with its joyous unspooling chorus comes to mind, helped the medicine to go down.

Worth noting some of the names of others involved, Dego, Marc Mac, Howie B and Photek amongst them. Rob Playfords production and programming holds the whole show together. But this is unquestionably Goldie’s vision ably aided and abetted by Charlemagne and Harris.

Inner City Life

State of Mind

Sea of Tears


Also here’s Charlemagne with Urban Cookie Collective – The Key, The Secret

Dublin Central again October 30, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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The Herald picked up on Noel Gregory backing Christy Burke rather than Maureen O’Sullivan.
Any thoughts on how this impacts the chances of Burke or O’Sullivan or will it have any impact on what is likely to be a close race.

The why rather than the what… October 30, 2015

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Perhaps the most illuminating element of the RedC/SBP poll at the weekend comes not in the electoral material but the attitudinal stats. Richard Colwell draws attention to these in an article which probes the question as to why economic growth – of sorts – and a ‘giveaway’ budget isn’t translating into support for the government. Now many of us would contest the use of both those terms. There may be growth but it is weighted to the eastern seaboard in the main and elsewhere it doesn’t exist. Furthermore it is only growth in a limited range of areas. And as to the budget, well, many would hardly characterise it as ‘giveaway’ particularly given that it comes on top of years of cumulatively takeaway budgets.

Still, ignoring Colwell’s language one faces further problems. He notes that while 56% of those polled agreed that the budget was generally fair, only 42% agreed with the proposition it would make them more likely to vote for the government parties. Worse again, 57% agreed with the proposition that they hadn’t benefited from the economic recovery, and 55% agreed with the line that they did not trust this government to stand up for ordinary people.

Colwell suggests that it even goes beyond the lack of personal sense of increased wellbeing – though surely that fact alone suggests that talk of a recovery is overdone:

It is clear that many of those that switched away from FG and the LP feel rightly or wrongly ‘let down’ to various degrees by their decision to put them into power in 2011 and that there is an underlying lack of trust that needs to be addressed if they are to win them back.

And he notes somewhat tellingly that:

This ranges in veracity from those who have switched away from FG to ‘undecided’ using language such as being ‘let down’ to the middle ground of those who believe the government parties have ‘broken promises’ to the extremes of those who have left Labour for SF using language such as ‘betrayal’ of promises.

Not, some would think, a very broad range of the spectrum on display there between broken promises and betrayal, but let it pass.

He notes that:

An extra €10 a week in your pay packet does little to counter the potentially massive debt of pre-recession mortgages.

Or the LPT, or water charges, or… well, add as applicable. Though he doesn’t mention those items – oddly enough.

He concludes by suggesting that:

The government parties will be pinning their hopes on the fact that the economic benefits seen in January will be enough, coupled with a possible fear factor that a change of government may have on the economy.

Interesting. But what if the electorate decides that there’s not that much to fear, that when push comes to shove FF and FG could work together and that a vote for the opposition might be worth it whether just as a protest or as a means of pushing them (the opposition) towards power.

Which makes me wonder whether the left in all its variegated forms shouldn’t be pushing that line, that if FG wants to keep power it can always work with the other right of centre party FF and to hell with the talk of instability. Because that’s the reality.

Doesn’t really bring the left closer to power this next time out, but perhaps after that. And that line happens to have one absolutely fundamental virtue. It is true.

By the by, an extremely, some might say curiously, optimistic Pat Rabbitte in the SBP at the weekend opining on the Red C poll. He argues that the poll is an unpleasant surprise for the coalition. Really? Really? Though he is correct that it’s a bad one for the LP – at least it’s a bad poll for the LP.

He clings to the notion that it as poll respondents ‘not responding as voters but as citizens’. That’s a new one on me, but he parses it out as ‘what will be the impact of having to commit themselves in the polling booths across the country when the time comes?’

We’ll see is the only adequate answer to that. He argues that a share of the middle ground will come back ‘very disproportionately’ to Fine Gael. Can’t disagree with that.

Still he looks at the LP polling data and concludes rightly that getting to a government is a problem. Well it is if you think that a government can only be formed with the LP. But if you don’t… well that’s quite another matter.

He has to admit that the only real option is an FG/FF government, at least on the poll results. Though he doesn’t mention minority government, which is curious given that it is in fact even more likely as an option. He rightly in my opinion argues that after last week SF participation in government is unlikely in the extreme. As he notes FG’s ‘law and order DNA would not permit it’ and FF is for reasons of survival not going to admit to the possibility this side of the election result. And possibly not then. He believes, and again I think he’s right, that support for the Independents, and he means independents here, will contract during the campaign proper. That said it’s at such high levels that one way or another there’s going to be lorry loads of them elected, barring some entirely unforeseen problem. And intriguingly he agrees that half a dozen supporting an FG government would be workable. After that he sees problems. Well, there you are now. What about half a dozen and two small parties of 3 or more TDs apiece? Is that ‘infinitely more difficult’? He doesn’t say. I’d think if there was a Minister apiece representing those smaller parties it might just work.

Thing is I don’t think the numbers come good for that. Again, Adrian Kavanagh’s projections, already discussed seem to require many more TDs again to get to the majority, let alone across it.

So what does he envisage? A second election no less. ‘In rapid succession’ no less.

Realistically it can only be ruled out if Labour performs better than today’s poll suggests.

Remember I mentioned optimism?

Candidate reports from being out and about are convinced that they will.

Really? I’ve spoken to some who have only recently left the LP and even accounting for intrinsic antipathy of sorts their reports from the ground are that there’s massive anger against that party. And worse still a sort of irrelevance. I’d love to know where Rabbitte is getting his reports from… anyhow, he continues:

Clearly the people are not telling the pollsters as much. All of which adds up to the conclusion that Labour was correct not to go with a November election.


Though… a thought strikes. He says the LP should do better, indeed must do better, for FG’s sake in relation to forming the next government. Okay. So what are the figures like for good results. Take May this year when a more favourable poll for the LP, though not quite as good for FG saw the following:

Fine Gael 28% (up 3%), Independents and Others 22% (down 4%), Sinn Fein 21% (down 1%), Fianna Fail 19% (NC), Labour Party 10% (up 2%). 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 34, Fine Gael 52, Sinn Fein 32, Labour Party 12, Independents and Others 28. 

Very good. But the combined number of TDs would be lower than this weekend which was as follows!

Fine Gael 30% (up 2%), Independents and Others 27% (down 1%), Fianna Fail 20% (down 2%), Sinn Fein 16% (NC), Labour Party 7% (down 3%). 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 33, Fine Gael 63, Sinn Fein 22, Labour Party 2, Independents and Others 38. 

What’s interesting is to look back at the projections Kavanagh has made and try to see what the figures for FG and LP on higher numbers would be. It seems to me that 2013 was the pivotal year where both parties support really went south, though the outcome of these trends wasn’t visible for some time. January 2013 brought a dip for FG beneath 30%, while the LP remained fairly strong (note that Independents were the ones who were weaker then).

Fine Gael 29% (down 3%), Labour 13% (NC), Fianna Fail 21% (up 3%), Sinn Fein 16% (down 4%), Green Party 3%/Independents, United Left Alliance and Others 18% (combined levels up 4%). 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: Fine Gael 56, Labour 18, Fianna Fail 37, Sinn Fein 23, Green Party 1, United Left Alliance 4, Independents and Others 19. 

March 2013 saw worse news with the LP sinking, and pulling the prospects of a majority under.

Fine Gael 28% (NC), Fianna Fail 25% (up 1%), Sinn Fein 16% (up 2%), Labour 11% (down 2%), Green Party, Independents and Others 20% (down 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: Fine Gael 57, Fianna Fail 43, Sinn Fein 22, Labour 13, Green Party, Independents and Others 22.

Worse again in June with RedC/Paddy Power (note the previous two quote were RedC/SBP) where FG was up, but the LP was down but higher than where it is today:

Fine Gael 30% (up 4%), Fianna Fail 24% (down 2%), Sinn Fein 16% (NC), Labour 10% (down 1%), Green Party, Independents and Others 20% (down 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: Fine Gael 59, Fianna Fail 44, Sinn Fein 21, Labour 11, Green Party, Independents and Others 22.

But then the variables elsewhere were different with FF up, SF up Independents and others down.

With such variability it is difficult to realistically say what will be the situation in four months time. What seems reasonable to suggest is that the underlying hostility to the government will remain. Some will come back – probably from the Ind/Other category. But even if it does the figures above suggest that that alone doesn’t offer any guarantee of success that a government can be elected – not least because the sort of Ind/Others who return may simply not be there.

Inda’s woes October 30, 2015

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Thanks to the person who forwarded this written by Archon of the Southern Star…

POOR ole Inda! He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. For months he was beating around the bush, wondering if the time was right for a pre-Christmas general election. Then, when he eventually cobbled together a sort of a giveaway budget, the punters thought his moment had arrived. ‘This is it; the election is on the way,’ they cried with relief. But the dream was not to be!

A panicky Joan Burton, fearful of the inevitable loss of her seat and anxious to postpone the dreadful day of reckoning for as long as possible, managed to twist Inda’s arm and force him to postpone the election until spring.

Immediately, the Indo/Sindo’s stable of pundits, gurus and wonks accused Inda of wasting the Budget ‘feelgood factor’ that they said was essential for success in a general election. Accusations abounded of flip-flopping, indecision and of changing his mind. Worst of all was the implication that he surrendered without a fight to Burton’s wheedling and cajolery.

Mercilessly, the reptiles savaged his postponement of the election, considering it to be an error of judgement and the harbinger of a political tragedy that would lead to Inda’s downfall and to ever-lasting chaos for Fine Gael.

Sloshed customers (with literary aspirations) at the Roaring Donkey saw a parallel in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth between the Scottish politico who gave in too easily to the Weird Sisters and the Mayoman’s lethargic surrender to Burton.

After Macbeth encouraged the powers of darkness to grant him the ability to do extraordinary things, his onetime pal Macduff took umbrage and proceeded to chop off Macbeth’s head. Having presented the noggin to the heir apparent, the new leader promptly invited everyone to a party that celebrated the establishment of a more up-to-date political order.

There’s a message in that for Inda. Is it possible that a Shakespearean-style tragedy is coming down the tracks, but of course without the decapitation bit? Certainly Inda would do well to ‘beware the Ides of March,’ should he be thinking of that particular month as a date for a general election. Julius Caesar didn’t heed the warnings, and we all know what happened to him: stabbed by his political rivals in the forum (painful) and in the back (fatal)!

And Inda has another problem. The newspaper omens! In the unstable political climate in which ‘the earth is feverous and doth shake,’ British soothsayers published a creepy warning relating to Kenny. According to the latest Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes opinion poll, Fine Gael suffered a three-percentage point decrease in support levels. Party support was down to 24% and Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s mishandling of the timing of the general election was the reason.

The unpleasant information was in sharp contrast to the golden days when times were good and opinion polls brimmed with reassuring news for Enda and Fine Gael. For example, in the run-up to the 2011 general election, FG returned a consistent 36% to 39% poll rating. Hot stuff indeed that put a bounce of confidence into every Blueshirt politico.

Indeed, Kenny’s celebrity-status was so huge and his belief in the effectiveness of his party’s abilities so strong that nobody was surprised when he secured a whopping seventy-six seats, which made his party the largest in the Dáil.

The 2011 election was the highpoint of his career and the world his oyster. But he’s failed to copper-fasten his popularity and FG approval ratings have continued to drop, sometimes edging close to 20%. Nor has it gone unnoticed that Fine Gael at 24% (the Sunday Times poll) is just two points above the vote that produced the catastrophic election result in 2002 when the party returned 31 seats.

That was the election when Fine Gael almost went into meltdown. The previous year FG dumped the scary John Bruton, replacing him with the even spookier Michael Noonan who dramatically resigned on the night of the terrible 2002 election-result. Tourism minister Enda Kenny in turn replaced Noonan in the subsequent leadership election, amid serious questions as to whether the Blueshirts had any future.

To his credit, Kenny put the party into recovery mode and, five years later, in the 2007 general election he secured another 20 seats, bringing FG to a total of 51 seats and 27.32% of the vote. Four years after that, in the 2011 general election, he hit the historic 76 seat-jackpot and 41.6% of the vote.

He was the man of the moment: a safely-ensconced Taoiseach, albeit with Labour as a mudguard on which to jump up and down.

Banquo’s ghost

And now, things again have turned sour. Just as Banquo’s ghost came back to haunt Macbeth, the spectre of the 2002 election is rising up before Dame Inda like a tormenting bogeyman. The horror … oh, the horror!

How our Dear Leader’s hands must tremble, his colour change, his eyes fix and glaze as he recalls those chilling times in 2002, when high-octane Blueshirts crashed ignobly on failing to get re-elected. Ah, the piteous farewells from the ghosts of good guys past, such as Alan Dukes, Jim Mitchell, Nora Owen, Jim Higgins, Alan Shatter, Deirdre Clune, Michael Creed and Frances Fitzgerald! (Some, such as Shatter, Creed and Fitzgerald, later managed to crawl back into the Dáil fold).

But now, as matters get worse for Fine Gael and as the phantoms wander hither and thither in restless haste, a pathetic complaint can be heard as they pass by: ‘It is Fine Gael, Enda, that must take responsibility for the arrival of a large number of independent candidates in 2002 and for the emergence of that pestilential Sinn Féin, which increased its seat number from one to five. And look at how the republicans have prospered ever since!’

No doubt the misery of it all comes back to haunt Inda. Yes, the 2002 general election was Fine Gael’s second-worst electoral result ever (after the 1948 general election), but in the shadows recently cast by the Sunday Times poll, a strange, inexplicable dread must make Inda’s blood run cold. Is he due for a repeat of 2002 when he exercises his exclusive prerogative to call a general election next spring?

If the polls are right – and up to this they have been – a hammering is on the cards. What then for the warrior caste to which Inda belongs, the 76 Dáil Blueshirts? Will those gladiators of electoral triumph become castaways from the rights and privileges of Dáil Eireann and be plunged into a political netherworld, expelled from their comfort zone and ending up in the street on their very own ear holes? After what Inda has achieved, such a calamity, well, just wouldn’t be fair!

So pass the onion, please. We feel the tears coming on!

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