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2016 and 1916? December 29, 2016

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Any thoughts now that the year has finally drawn to a close about what it all means. I have three tentative questions about this.

1: Was there a political or other benefit for anyone in the commemorations that were held during the year?

2: I was involved myself in one small national institution in its commemorative programme and felt that it was handled in an appropriate way, but looking at the broader picture could that be said of everywhere – good and bad examples perhaps?

3: And given that we’ve got a fair raft of dates coming down the line ahead what is the sense that matters will proceed usefully with them?

Signs of Hope – A continuing series – 2016 roundup December 29, 2016

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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Well, it was a difficult year. But we have managed to have a few signs of hope. Any in particular from the year that was in it that struck people as having a lasting effect?

Welcome Britain? Now goodbye. December 28, 2016

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This is pretty disturbing, and perhaps points to a broader dynamic that will become more apparent in the UK as Brexit hardens.

A Dutch woman who has lived in the UK for 24 years, and has two children with her British husband, has been told by the Home Office that she should make arrangements to leave the country after she applied for citizenship after the EU referendum.

And:

Hawkins said the Home Office had overlooked vital information in her submission – she was unable to supply an original of her Dutch passport because her father had recently died and she needed her passport to continue to travel to the Netherlands to support her mother.

However, the department not only rejected her application but sent her a letter which took no account of her right to be in the country irrespective of their decision. “As you appear to have no alternative basis of stay in the United Kingdom you should now make arrangements to leave,” the letter said.

It gets, if possible, even worse. The HO wouldn’t communicate with her but would with her MP. She was told she could not discuss her case publicly. Forms which were entirely valid were dismissed as not. Etcetera etcetera.

A broader dynamic that may become apparent? Actually it may be here already:

Hawkins’s case is just one of many similar experiences of EU citizens panicked into applying for permanent residency.

Your links to subjects that may be of interest to the left in general and resources– Week 3 December 28, 2016

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Starkadder made the point recently that:

Maybe it’s time we set aside specific threads for collecting links on subjects that may of interest to the left in general? Things like water charges, Irish trade unions, Israel-Palestine, etc.

I think that’s a great idea. It’s more focussed than What You Want to Say, more of a resource. So I’ll post that up every week and see how it goes from there. We do have a resources tab above and perhaps we could populate it with material from these threads?

Those last poll projections of the year and what of 2017? December 28, 2016

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Hats off to Adrian Kavanagh for a lonely job of providing projections on foot of polls across the year. It’s not that those are forensically accurate – how could they be? And he himself always says as much. But they are useful as offering a broad impression of where party strengths lie. And the last one earlier this month I find particularly interesting.

This was on foot of an Irish Times poll carried out then. The projections?

The 8th December Irish Times/Ipsos-MRBI opinion poll estimates party support levels as follows: Fianna Fail 30% (up 4% relative to the previous Ipsos-MRBI opinion poll), Fine Gael 27% (up 1%), Independents and Others 20% (down 4%) – including Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit 3%, Social Democrats 2%, Green Party 3%, Independents 11%, Others 2% – Sinn Fein 17% (down 2%), Labour Party 6% (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 55, Fine Gael 49, Sinn Fein 27, Labour Party 3, Anti Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit 3, Social Democrats 2, Green Party 1, Independents 18.

A couple of thoughts. How accurate were the IT polls pre-2016? This page on wiki provides food for thought. Not bad is the answer. SF was overstated bu 1%, likewise FG by closer to 2.5%, others very slightly understated. This is no guarantee, but was considerably more accurate than the SBP/RedC poll (which I tend to think is better for determining the broader shifts in public opinion).

So assuming some drift it would seem that FF is consolidating some strength, FG there or thereabouts, smaller groups are remaining well within their usual bands of support, SF still stubbornly fixed in the mid-teens as usual.

Takeaways? SF should do slightly better on a good day, but might not. The LP is not going to be completely wiped out. AAA-PBP might be under pressure from an FF that pulls in a lot of transfers. The SDs are static. The GP may retain a foothold. Independents remain relatively strong.

None of this is guaranteed. All may change as the New Year develops. But given the aversion to decision making of this government, and the palpable aversion to pulling the plug on the part of FF as well as the limited scope for campaigns it is not difficult to envisage a continuation of the status quo albeit with FF gaining marginal levels of support.

I still think we’re not looking at an election any time soon – that being imminently. I’d almost put money on us reaching the Budget with the current government. But after that… well, we’ll see.

What you want to say – 28th December 2016 December 28, 2016

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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

A musical publication for the New Year… December 27, 2016

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It’s been over 12 months in the making but we have finally released In Concert, Favourite Gigs of Ireland’s Music Community.
When we first saw the heartbreaking pictures from Aleppo we reached out to those people we know best, our friends in the music community. Six months ago Hope *2 came out and this featured those in the punk community in an effort to raise money for pikpa lesvos centre. We held back on many contributions from the Irish music scene as we felt it would be nice for this group to extend their support. The results are In Concert and whilst there are many more who could and deserve to be included we feel this can help form part of a ‘secret history’ of the irish music scene. People like Ted Carroll who founded Chiswick Records, Pete Holidai from Radiators, Cáit O’Riordan from the Pogues, Pat Clafferty of Mexican Pets, Deko Dachau from Paranoid Visions to more recent luminaries like Constance Keane from M(h)aol or Rob Flynn from Winter Passing. 105 contributors altogether speaking of showbands, leonard cohen, the clash, theatre of hate, golden horde, therapy? and so many more including U2.

The book is a benefit for Irish Red Cross specifically in their efforts to assist people forced to flee their homes in Syria.

In the main Republican and left wing? December 27, 2016

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Thanks to the person who forwarded this… interesting how it is phrased in the text.

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That settlements resolution December 27, 2016

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Too little too late, perhaps. Certainly it shows up the lack of movement by the US government across decades. And telling how appalled is the response from the Israeli government. But this is striking – an analysis from Slate:

The resolution doesn’t include sanctions against Israel so it doesn’t really translate into any practical effects on the ground. Still, there is plenty of symbolic value as it means the international community has now officially condemned the settlement activity and that is highly unlikely to be reversed. After all, a reversal of the resolution would require it pass the Security Council without the veto of any of its permanent members, which needless to say is a highly unlikely scenario.

Trump can huff and puff about all changed utterly in January 2017 but for those, like myself, still clinging to a two state solution this is some small comfort. There’s a benchmark in the international context set by that vote. Far too little. But not entirely unimportant.

CLR Book Club – Week 17 December 27, 2016

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The last Book Club of the year – and perhaps a round up of people’s views on this and how we can proceed next year? I’ve a few ideas which I’ll post up first thing next week.

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