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Latest poll October 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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And a very impressive showing for AAA-PBP in the latest RedC/SBP opinion poll as noted by Liberius here. The figures are:

Fianna Fáil 26 (-1)
Fine Gael 25 (no change)
Sinn Féin 13 (-2)
Independents 10 (no change)
AAA-PBP 9 (+3)
Independent Alliance 6 (+2)
Labour 5 (-2)
Social Democrats 3 (-1)
Green Party 3 (+1)

Liberius suggests it’s possibly the Jobstown conviction, and another factor might also be the visibility on Repeal the 8th.

Shakespeare’s collaborator… October 29, 2016

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I’m fond of Shakespeare – though God knows the man has had so much projected on him after the fact in terms of meaning that he must contain multitudes. But perhaps the truth is I’m fond of Marlowe as well – though I didn’t realise it. For while I’m not often surprised by news this strikes me as genuinely newsworthy:

The long-held suggestion that Christopher Marlowe was William Shakespeare is now widely dismissed, along with other authorship theories. But Marlowe is enjoying the next best thing – taking centre stage alongside his great Elizabethan rival with a credit as co-writer of the three Henry VI plays.
The two dramatists will appear jointly on each of the three title pages of the plays within the New Oxford Shakespeare, a landmark project to be published by Oxford University Press this month.
Using old-fashioned scholarship and 21st-century computerised tools to analyse texts, the edition’s international scholars have contended that Shakespeare’s collaboration with other playwrights was far more extensive than has been realised until now.

Anyone else find this kind of remarkable?

John Carpenter redux October 29, 2016

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I saw John Carpenter during the week at Vicar Street and he was great, his band tight, the selection of tracks remarkable. He was also oddly cheery bopping away on the stage flanked by five other musicians including his son. Here’s a man who had a massive influence on synth and synth pop (oh yeah, not least Miami Vice style stuff) and I forgot he directed Dark Star. For that is a remarkable film, a sort of anti-2001:A Space Odyssey. Cynical, knowing, funny in places, it’s great. But then he also did Starman – not so fond of that am I. Christine and a raft of other films. I mentioned last week that my favourite is Assault on Precinct 13, but judging from the clips They Live looks like a pretty great piece of schlocky cinematic social commentary.

Meanwhile from his first solo album…

Space probe blues October 29, 2016

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I was just thinking of the scientists who saw the ESA Mars Lander project end in – well, frankly, a new crater on Mars last weekend. All those years of work and effort and waiting and then in literally seconds it ends. It must be unbelievably frustrating and one would have to have considerable sympathy for them.

That said it is far from a complete loss, the orbiter is still there and then, as noted on the Liftoff podcast, we can even see the crater. Depressing but still a time of wonders.

Meanwhile what of Juno? You may recall I mentioned there were no photographs since a while back. But it transpires that tight orbits that it was meant to commence on October 14 which would offer fantastic new photographs of the planet didn’t start. Problems with the engine valves not working meant that said orbits never took place. Anyhow, things look a bit more positive now.

Almost a Christmas present for the team working on it.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly be Listening to…Malory October 29, 2016

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Here’s a group I’m very fond of, Malory – a German dream pop/shoegaze outfit who were active from the late 1990s through to about 2010. They appear now to be on a near permanent hiatus since then, and it is a real shame because they seem to me to have offered some interesting approaches.

Across four albums they moved on from their influences (Slowdive and groups like that from the earliest period of shoe gaze being foremost amongst them) to produce something genuinely special. Mixed female and vocals by Jordis Marschner and Joerg Kohler set against shimmering guitars, deep basslines provided a familiar template but somehow their inclination to create something a little different saw them at times range far and wide into near Cure-like, or proximate to downtempo and on occasion ambient tracks. One aspect I particularly like was their willingness to use slightly faster tempo’s than a lot of their contemporaries in addition to a more usual dreamy pace – another was their use of electronic beats. Their openness to dance rhythms is a significant positive.

Their second album, for me their joint best with their last album, had some lovely downtempo and electronica inflected tracks including a number of remixes: Lake of Doubts, Xirius Polar Station, Argo Night Shuttle. By the way, is it my imagination or is there a space rock vibe in the titles?

The third – The Third Face – was perhaps in parts a little too polished, in parts a little too shoe gaze by numbers. And tellingly the vocals were too much to the forefront, it’s a little hard to tell but I think Daniela Neuhäuser took over from Jordis Marschner, along with the lyrics. And yet I can’t listen to it and tracks like She has gone or Take me down, the latter with an oddly funky bassline in parts, or the overtly dance pop Track II, without finding them hugely enjoyable. It’s as if they chafed against the restrictions of shoe gaze at almost all times – some of the latter tracks on the album seem to nod towards IDM territory, at least in their bass and rhythm components.

The fourth – Pearl, like the second, is a further revelation – opening with a female spoken word section over restrained instrumentation on Floating before going right into reverberating guitar chords. It reminds me of the Cocteau’s but with a harder edge, a sense that they were rediscovering rock. Of course that’s a nonsense, it still is situated well within the territory of shoe gaze. But there’s something there, a grit that adds to the enjoyment of the songs. Even the hint of dub step style sub-bass on, say, The Signs or Caché, seems oddly in keeping with their previous experimentation. It’s louder, brasher, more confident than anything they’ve done before. And if the album calms subsequently it never abandons that initial rush of energy entirely. And the slower paced tracks – Water in My Hands is a good example, seem to be pushing somewhere new (listen to the phrasing of the vocals).

I listen to probably more than my fair share of shoe gaze. It’s a curious genre, one which depends so much on textural qualities in the music. Sometimes this can dip into a sort of tweeness that can be hugely off-putting, at other times it can lend groups and tracks an abrasive quality. Too often, like metal, it can see groups simply emulating the achievements of the past and others.

In their own way at their best Malory neatly managed to avoid that.

Lake of Doubts (from Outerbeats)

Xirius Polar Station (from Outerbeats)

Argo Night Shuttle (from Outerbeats)

Painted Dreams (from Outerbeats)

Take Me Down (from Outerbeats)

Falling (from The Third Face)

Spring (from Not Here – Not Now)

The Signs

Caché

Dragon in You

Archives October 28, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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With the Mary Robinson Archive currently in the news (and discussed here already) it brings the wider theme of what to do with archives. Sell them (and there are plenty of Universities abroad with deep pockets for this type of thing) , donate them to the State or donate them to the state with conditions attached (i.e. there be a Museum in Mayo) .
Although having watched Prime Time last night, There may well be some further questions around the housing of the Robinson archive.
It seems that Robinson wants to start a new pattern along the lines of US Presidents who donate their archives and have buildings named after them to house the collections.
In the realm of Political Archives much of it tends to be donated to Universities, The National Library or other State institutions. In a few cases private collections such as the Jackie Clarke collection in Ballina have led to Museums being established. The Clarke Collection was suggested as a venue for the Robinson archive but I gather The Clarke Museum doesn’t have room to store all of its own material never mind the Robinson stuff too. Some of the agenda is I imagine to try and ultimately make Ballina some kind of archive hub …. The Enda Kenny archive, a Pee Flynn one etc to follow. All of which would have some merit for there to be a decent archives hub outside of Dublin. That said Ballina is not the easiest place to get to on Public Transport.
I’d be regularly contacted and I’m sure it’s the same with wbs and The Left Archive, by students or scholars looking for particular material. I hear tales of appointments to view particular archives that would put some of the Hospital waiting lists to shame, someone contacted me recently who had managed to secure access to a certain parties papers in 2029! (I hope that it was due to the 20 year rule) Not much good if your course is well over by then. Indeed it’s a pity that whole collections rather than individual items tend to be covered by the 20 year rule.
Some Parties have donated material but resources are scarce and most institutions are underfunded. Due to these lack of resources within the various institutions some Parties ended up having send their own staff in for a year or two to catalogue it. Other donations I’m told have yet to be cataloged, never mind digitised.
I get given material as people want it out there and viewable, they know at some stage it will be scanned and put online and if it’s particularly good exhibited in the flesh. There’s a feeling that donations to some institutions can tend to disappear into storage, may take years before they are catalogued, digitised (if they are ever done) and may never see the light of a display case. Which is an awful pity.
It was suggested to me last night that I should get my collection valued should I ever want to write off some Tax!

Brexit and the North and whose problem is it really? October 28, 2016

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There’s a not bad point at the heart of this from Newton Emerson on the issue of potential breaches of human rights agreements due to Brexit. He dismisses the idea – but I’m not entirely heartened by the detail of his dismissal. For example:

The Belfast Agreement only requires the British government to put the European Convention on Human Rights into Northern Ireland law, not UK law.
In the event, the European convention was enacted across the whole UK by the 1998 Human Rights Act – but the North’s separate legal system means the Act can be left on the statute book when it is repealed in Britain. If a British bill of rights is extended to Northern Ireland, it will be supplementary to the Human Rights Act.

And:

The Belfast Agreement also requires “direct access to the courts, and remedies for breach of the Convention”.
This would remain unaffected. People could still bring a case under the 1998 Act in Belfast and appeal it to the UK’s supreme court, which has primacy over Northern Ireland law.
The Act created this role for the supreme court, replacing the need to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, although the supreme court can still refer a case up to Strasbourg for further consideration.

So:

While campaigning to become prime minister last June, Theresa May said she will not withdraw the UK from the European Convention when she enacts Britain’s bill of rights. In other words, the UK will still be signatory to the treaty, so the supreme court will still be able to refer Northern Ireland cases to Strasbourg.

Is that all clear now? I’m not sure it is. I’d love to see how this would work in practice – I’m not convinced that there wouldn’t be considerable tension between parallel and overlapping and arguably competing ‘supplementary’ bills and acts outlining rights. We’ll see.

And, of course, the pragmatist in me recoils entirely from the sheer cack-handed stupidity that we now face in this instance – the pointless complexity and room for problems.

Still, that not bad point is as follows:

There is a fascinating contrast here with the 2014 merger of Ireland’s human rights and equality bodies. The Belfast Agreement required Ireland to establish a Human Rights Commission “with a mandate and remit equivalent to that within Northern Ireland.”
The merger breached this requirement, as Dublin was repeatedly warned. Nor was this breach a mere technicality. Cross-Border institutional equivalence in rights protection is a specific aim of the Belfast Agreement, and was seen as important by nationalists. Yet apart from those who lost their jobs at both quangos, nobody gave a hoot. It is tempting to see a cultural difference in this, with the British cynically following the letter of the law while the Irish observe a spirit they make up as they go along.

Or perhaps it’s not so much cultural as a function of the power relationships at play.
Though it would be interesting to hear a defence from the government of this state in relation to that… wouldn’t it?

Emerson, though, to his credit notes the key dynamic in play here:

A more objective explanation is that the Irish see rights as something only Britain breaks, at least in a Northern context. Meanwhile, the British are just not thinking of Ireland at all.

It is only by accident that the human rights protections of the Belfast Agreement are not about to be sabotaged. Discussions on the proposed bill of rights reached a ludicrously advanced stage without the effect on Northern Ireland ever being raised. Ministers and senior officials in London appeared oblivious.
The real threat to the peace process is not a legal breach, but this toxic combination of British apathy and Irish mistrust. The same damage can be witnessed around Brexit, which is also almost certainly not a contravention of the Belfast Agreement. Such a slippery problem will be hard to address, but a good start would be not making up more problems than we have already.

I’m not entirely convinced. Let’s be honest, this is a process that was initiated and is being sustained by the British government. British indifference – indeed outright ignorance – of the situation relation to Northern Ireland is almost appallingly bad. No, it is appallingly bad. For those of us who are nationalists and republicans and republican socialists this isn’t news. This is precisely why we believe that matters on this island are best dealt with on this island by those on this island whatever links are retained eastward over time.

What’s perhaps striking is how peripheral despite all else, despite a conflict of thirty years, despite the enormous political capital invested in bringing that to a halt and establishing structures that would move beyond it, despite the fact it continues to have a power and sway, the British genuinely appear at best laissez-faire about it all. Sure, we can say that these are Tories (though that holds a lesson as to what the character of this actual Brexit is and is going to be) but that’s not quite enough by way of explanation. The unpleasant truth that Brexit points up in almost an exaggerated way is that is that Ireland is hardly even an afterthought in British thinking and any talk of cultural, social and political ties – well, for the most part the latter, is belied by what is actually taking place as against occasional rhetoric in the past (on this let me recommend another BBC disUnited Kingdom podcast, this on Scotland where the narrator, herself Scottish, opens with the line ‘here people actually voted to stay in the EU against the tide in the rest of the UK’ – no mention of the North there – and it is framed as ‘it was a reminder that Scotland’s relationship with the UK has often been difficult’ which is also telling).

Perhaps part of the problem in relation to Emerson’s analyses is that they seem to be made from a position that all is fine, even if it’s not it will be okay and underlying that a sense that the status quo and the relationships are fundamentally sound, as well as strenuous efforts to try to paint London and Dublin as largely equals in the overall relationships (with Dublin all too often slipping into atavistic behaviours – or rather he paints its responses or behaviours in general as atavistic before hedging somewhat). He did something very similar in his last column on the topic which sought to portray the efforts for an all-Island forum as pointless and suggest that the only proper structures within which to engage with the issues was through the GFA/BA institutions. Which is – on paper – fine. But what of the reality – is the DUP willing to engage through those institutions and secondly what of the voices of those who aren’t represented through the GFA/BA institutions – that is non-political or other actors in all this? The first proposition is nowhere near as clear as he attempts to present it, the second is clearly an issue.

Beyond that the ‘problems’ Emerson details in relation to Brexit are almost entirely of British making. The Irish government should have its feet held to the fire in relation to any breaches of the GFA/BA, but those breaches are of markedly less weight by contrast with near existential threats such as those facing the current dispensation. And it is those current threats that have to be tackled now and in the near to medium term.

BTW, it has to be said that whoever wrote the headline should think again about the day job. They wrote ‘Irish mistrust is the real threat to North’s peace’
But as can be seen Emerson’s argument is a bit more complex than that.

This Week At Irish Election Literature October 28, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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Some posters 33 years apart….

A “Show Your Solidarity with Korean Women – Decriminalization of Abortion” leaflet picked up at the Dublin Protest during the week.

A “Government Block Repeal of The 8th , but women wont wait -Referendum Now!” leaflet from the AAA

From 1982…”The Role of Officers in Sinn Féin” published by The Sinn Féin Education Department as part of the ‘Republican lecture series’

From the 1992 General Election a leaflet from Marian White who was running for Democratic Left in Dublin South

Then two old Fianna Fail booklets

From 1951 a Booklet produced to mark a celebration of 25 years of Fianna Fail which was held at The Capitol Theatre (formerly the La Scale Theatre)

and finally From 1981 a Booklet produced by Fianna Fail, “Campaign Manual- Notes for Canvassers and Speakers”

Time Flies …… October 27, 2016

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sgallagher1

It was this day five years ago that we went to the polls to elect Michael D. Higgins (Campaign leaflets here) . What a Campaign it was and one of the dirtiest too. Did we ever think we’d see the day where Fianna Fail wouldn’t contest the Presidency? (officially at least!). I wonder did Mary Davis , Dana and David Norris relaise what they were letting themselves in for. The very late swing away from Sean Gallagher due to the final debate on RTE’s Frontline , which was one of the most amazing evenings television I’ve witnessed. This captures a part of the action..

The whole “entrepreneur” narrative from Gallagher that reflected where we were at the time. Here’s Sean Gallagher with hair from a 1984 Ogra FF booklet
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Indeed I met him canvassing the night Rovers won the league out in Belfield and he kindly posted me a T-Shirt and Baseball cap and some other material from his campaign. I also met Mary Davis during the campaign where she sat in my section in Croke Park, seemed a very nice lady but ill suited to such an election campaign.
The total collapse in Gay Mitchell’s vote when he lost his deposit (and showed the hardcore FG vote to be 6.4%).
It really was a spectacle and I think we’re glad with the result we ultimately got.

His inability to speak in anything but hyperbole… October 27, 2016

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Fantastic point made on KCRW’s Left Right and Centre podcast – where one contributor noted the above about Donald Trump and how where issues of seriousness and substance simply can’t be addressed by him at all except in an overheated fashion. And how this doesn’t actually play as well with many conservatives as might be expected.

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