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It’s getting closer now ….. May 31, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Friendlies out of the way and the squad was announced tonight….
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Shay Given, Kieran Westwood.
Defenders: Seamus Coleman, Cyrus Christie, John O’Shea, Ciaran Clark, Shane Duffy, Richard Keogh, Robbie Brady, Stephen Ward.
Midfielders: Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, Jeff Hendrick, Wes Hoolahan, James McClean, Aiden McGeady, David Meyler, Stephen Quinn, Jon Walters, Wes Hoolahan
Forwards: Shane Long, Daryl Murphy, Robbie Keane

Feel sorry for David Forde especially among those that were left out. Obviously Harry Arter too but that was injury as opposed to not being selected. Amazing the difference in class when Long and Hoolahan came on this evening, we’ll need them both fit.

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Liam Daltun: 50 years after the Easter Rising, a Socialist Republican’s “Reflections on the Easter jamboree May 31, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
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The Irish Republican Marxist History Project has an article appeared in the London monthly of the Irish Workers’ Group, “Irish Militant”, in May 1966 reflecting on the Easter Rising.
It can be read here

Unintended consequence of Brexit for the Tories. May 31, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Reading this the thought came to me that the Remain crew could use the slogan Vote Leave for Prime Minister Johnson. I’m almost astounded that it has come to this, that such a relatively thin political figure may be propelled to both the leadership of the Tory party and the PM position if a Brexit occurs.

A former Minister writes on the poll May 31, 2016

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Chutzpah. That’s the word that comes to mind reading one P. Rabbitte on the SBP/REDC poll. Why you may ask. Well, we’ll come to that in a moment. But first up, he’s not wrong in suggesting that the poll presents:

…a remarkable stability about voter opinion since the general election. Any change is within the MOE. After a particularly unedifying period in Irish politics, some change might reasonably have ben anticipated. Following the prolonged ritual of government formation, we have got a very rickety makeshift minority govt. over which the main opposition party has a veto.

Well, what does he suggest as an alternative? Does he expect voters to flock from FF or to FG or vice versa? And given the combination of forces really what else could we have but a rickety makeshift minority government?

Actually it gets stranger for he writes:

Some government minstrels may hold office, but their hearts (and mouths) are in opposition. FF like a hawk is waiting to pounce after a decent period, but it is hopeful that the govt itself might implode. SF can’t wean itself way from completing with the Trostkyite [sic] left, one of whose leading advocates, Richard Boyd Barrett, has come out in favour of raising the threshold for inheritance tax. And then there is the immediate back drop to this poll in the endless controversy about policing.

Well, let’s unpick some of that. All opposition parties, whether there are minority or majority governments, wait to pounce on governments. It is indeed part of their function, as well as expedient. It is mere pretence to suggest that it is otherwise. Of course the LP too will have to play this role, and indeed will do it to the fullest of its extent if it can. So to berate FF is to miss the point entirely. As for the lash at SF. What does he propose? He, after all, is one of those staunchest in suggesting before the election that SF wasn’t to be trusted, or dealt with. What should SF do, what does he recommend? He doesn’t say.

Oddly, having dismissed the polling data as within the MOE he now suggests that FF will be ‘pleased to have drawn level with FG’ etc, etc. Apparently ‘FG will convince themselves that if they can make the govt. work they can get their noses ahead’. So unlike the LP in the last Dáil. And so on.

He seems puzzled that voters might not have changed their minds since the GE. But I’d think a bigger puzzle would be if they had. And he concludes:

It confirms that the new fashion in Irish politics is to be beware of going into government.

And here comes the chutzpah!

Go into government at your peril. It is a dispiriting conclusion. What is the purpose of politics if not to implement your policies?

And later:

Whereas this reflects diminished confidence in conventional politics, it is also a direct legacy of the perceived political responsibility for the all-embracing bank guarantee, the collapse and horrendously costly recapitalisation of the banks, the bailout and the painful prescription the troika. This is the legacy that above all else shapes our politics and the electorate is not much troubled about distinguishing as between the traditional political parties.

Really? And how would one distinguish between the ‘traditional’ parties given that one which was flying high in the polls in advance of GE2016 entered government, promptly ignored its own electoral platform and acted in a manner indistinguishable from the other two ‘traditional’ parties. It takes some lack of self-reflection to ignore that particular history.

That latest poll May 31, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I find it extremely difficult to take any of the analyses of the RedC/SBP poll at all seriously given act all the movements were within the margin of error. The only thing that could be said seriously is that little or nothing has changed since Election 2016. And that’s fair enough. Why would people believe that it would be otherwise at this point, still few months since the contest and with a government that has been conspicuous by its absence?

To say that Labour is reconnecting with its base, as is said in the SBP, doesn’t even make sense given that it gained 7% at the election and is now at 6% having dropped to 4% after the election. It’s just too minor a movement to make any real assessment of it. Or the fact FF and FG are level pegging at 26% each. Well, yeah, but so what? At the GE they were on 26% and 24% respectively. Again, no substantial change. Even where there’s been movement since the GE, as with a drop from 13% to 9% and back to 11% with Independents still suggests no great change.

I’ve put it this way before. For quite some time before the election support for parties and independents was baked in. In broad bands of support it was clear enough that support would be there or thereabouts. The only surprise on the day, perhaps the fact FF did quite so well, perhaps the fact SF did a bit worse than expected. Otherwise nothing much to write home about. And asking people to change their vote once cast anytime soon seems like a fools errand. Because that is effectively the logic of those who would call for a new election. Thinking of it on a personal level – if you were asked to change your vote from the General Election how would you feel?

So the more I think of it the more I think that this administration may be around a little longer than some of the predictions.

Brexit: Claim and counter claim May 31, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I’m following the Brexit issue fairly closely now and what seems most striking is how unmoored from reality so much of the discourse is. In part, I think, this is due to the Exit side being so disparate, albeit numerically tilted hugely to the right. Even in that cohort there are different views – though it is particularly irritating to hear some of them shed crocodile tears for the NHS, etc. Indeed the dissonance between what they say and what one knows they actually believe in relation to social and economic issues is so great that for any with any familiarity with them their current stances seem both cosmetic, hypocritical and self-serving. Not, that the Remain side are tribunes of passionate intensity, it has to be said.

But the lack of an actual plan for what happens on Day One following a Brexit vote is so noticeable that it undercuts most of what is said from those championing that cause. And here’s another example of same – following on from yesterdays post on Brexit and border controls:

Pledges by Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers that a British vote to leave the EU will not lead to Border controls have been rejected as “untenable” by the former PSNI chief constable, Hugh Orde.

This after:

Dismissing the need for any changes if the UK votes to quit the European Union on June 23rd, Ms Villiers last month said that she could see “no reason” why the Irish/UK Common Travel Area, allowing free movement for Irish citizens, would not continue.

Well, it doesn’t take any great insight to recognise that in the event of a Brexit something – and probably something very fundamental – would change. The status quo ante will be replaced with something new, possibly better, possibly worse. Orde is simply stating the obvious. And he goes further:

Rejecting Mrs Villiers’s view that a Brexit vote would have no impact on the peace process, Mr Orde writes: “The vision of Border controls plays into the hands of those who are yet to realise the armed struggle is over. “The removal of the towers along the Border was a significant event in the history of Northern Ireland. It represented a shift to civilian policing, and a recognition that significant political achievements had created the conditions that allowed it to happen.
“Any step backwards is a really bad idea, which is why Villiers’s position on this critical issue is close to untenable.”

That’s a central issue for this island and these islands.

But again, it’s this sense that those on the Brexit side will say any old guff that comes across most clearly. It is certainly revealing as to their attitudes to the British (and indirectly the Irish) electorate.

Where does this end? May 31, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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The news that the Garda Commissioner was not aware of the PAC chairman John McGuinness and her predecessor Martin Callinan is not entirely a surprise. But the entirety of that story is important in regard as to what it suggests about the nature of politics in this state, and not forgetting the fact that McGuinness himself has admitted that:

…his information may have helped the commission’s investigation into whistleblower allegations.

But beyond all that it merely adds to a sense of a sort of systemic malaise. Not that one would feel that there appears to be any great urgency on the part of – shall we say – the traditional parts of the political world to address it. Yet, this story continues to run and run.

Godwin’s Law and Trump May 30, 2016

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Listening Peter Sagal, the host of NPR’s ‘Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me’ on Slate’s Trumpcast podcast he made the point, half-jokingly, that in the context of Trump Godwin’s Law had been suspended. There’s something in that.

Of course, as noted here already, Trump isn’t programatically a fascist. But…

Speaking of which, I’m fast coming to the conclusion that Jamelle Bouie is one of the most interesting political observers around in regard to US politics. And on another Trumpcast he made a fantastic point. Discussing how the Republican nomination process was different to the national one he suggested that if a demagogue attempted to use racist tropes in the context of a Democratic primary s/he wouldn’t succeed because there’d be push back within that party due to – what, 40 per cent of its support being from African-Americans and Hispanic Americans. Whereas in the structurally hollowed out Republican Party there simply was, and this is very striking, no push back at all against the rhetoric Trump used during the campaign. Think about all those passive ‘moderate’ Republicans who sat on their hands, seemingly overawed by the fact he was saying what he was saying who refused to engage with it.

His further point was that it was one thing for Trump in that contest, but in the context of a national contest he has to face those the very groups who he was willing to berate, heckle and insult, whether directly or indirectly. It’s a whole different game. It’s not that Bouie says there’s no path for victory for him, it’s just about conceivable in the context, as the podcast suggested, of exogenous shocks, but it’s not really feasible. Here’s hoping.

Interview with Archbishop Eamon Martin May 30, 2016

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…from Hot Press and a welcome return from political and other interviewer Jason O’Toole. It covers some ground in the interview with the Primate of All Ireland, and here’s just a few samples:

The Peace Process:

You previously told me the Peace Process was still a big concern for you. Do you believe that we can’t take peace for granted?
Very definitely. We see this out there in people who want to drag us back, who feel that you can still bomb people into a united Ireland. There are still people in our communities who think that the peace was a lie, and that it was too early to make peace. I don’t agree. I think it was too late. I think far too many people lost their lives, and far too many people were maimed and injured for life – and that’s only talking about the physical injuries, not to mention the psychological injuries. Why else would it be that there’s still much higher levels of anxiety and trauma in Northern Ireland than in Europe. There is a legacy. I don’t want to be moaning on like, “Poor Us”. I think it falls to us to try to help ourselves to gradually walk out of this nightmare that was our past.

On social issues:

Would you see homosexuality as a sin?
To be a homosexual person is not a sin. The church really speaks in terms of our sexuality as something that is open to creation and open to the creation of life. The church sees the proper place for the fullness of the expression of sexuality, that is in terms of sexual intercourse, as something that should happen within marriage.

And the 8th? Amongst other thoughts he says:

Personally, I can’t understand why Ireland, having voted so strongly for what was termed a marriage equality referendum, would now be seeking the views and the people of Ireland to vote for life inequality, when it is human life. And, quite simply, the 8th Amendment expresses that. It expresses the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child.

Those FF Seanad picks May 30, 2016

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Well, that was new, the sight of an FF leader having the leeway to select three of the Taoiseach’s nominees for the Seanad. And clever too in going non-FF in doing so.

Yet not without controversy in and of itself. The news over the weekend that Fine Gael TDs weren’t aware of the deal that led to Martin being gifted this selection may well have people (and those same FG TDs) wondering what other little surprises there are in store for them, what else was agreed..? It’s certainly the thought that would be uppermost in my mind if I were they.

That said, is this a sign that the government may last a year or two more than current predictions (8 months to 18 months seems to be the consensus)? Because will Martin want to pull the plug having put those three into the Seanad? Other questions arise. What loyalty will they have to the Fine Gael government or to Fianna Fáil. How, indeed, does all this work or not?

Strange times.

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