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Revisionists gathering July 31, 2017

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Was away so didn’t get to this until today… from Archon of the Southern Star, some thoughts on the West Cork History Festival in advance of that event.

Mocked by the satirical Phoenixmagazine as the ‘West Brit History Fest,’ the forthcoming West Cork History Festival in Skibbereen could turn into an old-fashioned dog fight should umbrage be taken at the obscurantist stance of certain revisionists invited to address the €180-a-skull event.

According to the Dublin magazine, participants include well-known anti-Republican critics who have a habitual liking for historian Peter Hart’s contention that Tom Barry ordered the execution of British soldiers (Auxiliaries) after they surrendered at Kilmichael. It is expected that revisionists will advance their unique and narrow interpretation of the freedom struggle in West Cork.

All this will take place against a background of accusations by the North Cork Aubane Historical Society, which says that the deceased historian, Peter Hart, broke the rules of historical scholarship by blatantly distorting, censoring and misrepresenting historical sources. It maintains he used anonymous interviews – one with a dead participant in the Kilmichael Ambush.

Worse still, ‘by innuendo and insinuation, Hart alleged that sectarianism and ethnic cleansing were the driving forces behind the War of Independence.’

No soft punches in that critique!

Tom Cooper (cathaoirleach, Irish National Congress), set the ball rolling in letters to this newspaper when he drew the attention of readers to the controversial revisionist line likely to be promulgated at the Festival. While welcoming West Cork’s first history festival, he feared efforts would be made to resuscitate the false sectarian notion that a bigoted engagement with Protestantism was a characteristic of the IRA’s activities.

Certainly, accusations relating to the so-called sectarianism of the IRA in West Cork, and to what the organisers provocatively refer to as the Bandon Valley Massacre, have been a feature of the ‘revisionist’ line pushed by media pundits who at one time were prominent in the Workers’ Party.

Generally accepted is the fact that when historian Peter Hart tragically died he left an intellectual mess behind him, particularly with respect to his allegations that sectarianism played a part in the murder of Protestant farmers, and that Tom Barry and his men butchered prisoners at Kilmichael.

Over the years such assertions contributed to irrelevant political sideshows that diminished the value of genuine historical scholarship relating to the armed struggle in West Cork.

Ominously, to judge by the history of bizarre ‘revisionist’ comments made by those pencilled-in to address the Skibbereen event, more allegations of sectarianism may surface as a tool with which to denigrate the achievements of the IRA.

Yet, as Tom Cooper has pointed out in his letters to The Southern Star,‘there is no solid evidence of religion-based targeting’ by the IRA.

Intriguing too is that in the case of Ireland’s premier revisionist who set the standard for others to follow, Hart’s former disciples have drawn a discreet curtain over his controversial opinions, including (it seems) the organisers of the History Festival. They do not mention or include a single session on his work.

The Aubane Historical Society wonders why and asks if his opinions are now those of a non-person, ‘almost unmentionable by his previous admirers.’ To help solve the mystery, they’ve published a contribution to the Festival, ‘The Embers of Revisionism,’ which deals with Hart’s controversial legacy.

However, a possible explanation for the absence of any reference to Hart may well reside in the fact that his type of crude revisionism is out of date, superfluous to current political and propagandistic needs, and manifestly wrong.

After all, he based his claim of butchery at Kilmichael on an alleged conversation that he had with the last surviving member of Barry’s Flying Column, a person who died six days before the interview took place!

Which seems to support the truth of the old adage that ‘all matters of history are matters of rumour and that well-documented history is well-spun rumour’!

Of course, pseudo-historians (mainly Sindo/Indo ‘revisionists’) have a tendency to move furtively at the edges of legitimate historical research, particularly when they try to rewrite the historical record in order to make it ‘fit in’ with contemporary politics (such as supporting Northern Loyalism and condemning Republican aspirations).

In recent years, there were no better practitioners of political chicanery than the Workers Party-Official IRA which was embedded in RTÉ and popular newspapers. The party engaged in mythmaking on a grand scale as it developed a reactionary political agenda, which then was fed with the repetition of wild claims.

In pursuit of a North Korean-style society, they threw logical consistency, relevancy, fairness and honesty out the window. Fortunately, Irish people copped on to their antics and politically gave them the bum’s rush. Thankfully, political action has moved on since the WP infiltration of RTÉ, the Ned Stapleton Cumann, Section 31 and other nefarious activities.

Maybe the ‘revisionist’ leopard at last has changed spots even if some of its former media stars, including those likely to speak in Skibbereen, remain caught in a time warp?

The North now is entering a new political phase, unification in the Brexit context makes sense for pragmatic unionists and hardline unionism is decaying. All of which is a challenge for our beached ‘Southern Ireland revisionists’ who have to make a greater effort if they want to be intellectually consistent with the historical record. Hence, possibly, the reason for the history festival in Skibbereen.

Tempora mutantur (the times change) and, with change in the air, who trusts in ancient revisionist myths fabricated by the Workers Party and the Indo/Sindo? To believe the fabricators would be like swallowing the myth that once involved the killing of Michael Collins at Béal na mBláth.

He is supposed to have said with his last breath: “Let the Dublin Brigade bury me”. (Forensic medicine can show that having had most of his skull blown away it would have been particularly difficult for him to have said anything).

And let’s not forget the myths concerning Sonny O’Neill’s elephant gun that did the trick for Collins and the myth that, no, Jim Hurley wasn’t responsible. And the story that Collins was shot by one of his own men (Emmet Dalton)!

Fact is that in a time of political flux, people believe anything; but in today’s Ireland the myths currently manufactured by Indo/Sindo revisionists have run their course. And although sometimes such myths are grist to the folklore mill, they have as much indisputable veracity as the tale of IRA ethnic-cleansing in West Cork.

So, with a feeling of expectation and a desire for something important to happen, is there a possibility that Skibbereen’s history festival will clean up revisionism’s political junk, its mythmaking, so that tall tales are no longer confused with fair-minded historical commentary? We await the outcome with bated breath!

Well that didn’t take long…  July 31, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting the comments BTL on the piece about Myers on Slugger. Holocaust deniers, anti Semites, et al all making an appearance.


Eating a pension July 31, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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It’s odd, Philip Hammond when questioned recently about whether he had said public sector workers are ‘overpaid’ at Cabinet answered in a way that shows up just how problematic this area is…

Hammond said that while public-sector pay had formerly “raced ahead” of private salaries, the gap had now closed. But, he added, public-sector pensions skewed the picture. “When you take into account the very generous contributions that public-sector employers have to pay in for their workers’ very generous pensions, they are still about 10% ahead,” he said.

“And I don’t for a moment deny that there are areas in the public service where recruitment and retention is becoming an issue, that there are areas of the country where public-sector wages and private-sector wages are getting out of kilter in the other direction. We have to look at these things and we have to discuss them.”

And then:

Asked whether he thus did believe public-sector workforce was overpaid, Hammond said it was “a relative question”.

He said: “This is about the relationship between public- and private-sector pay. And it is a simple fact – independent figures show that public-sector workers, on average, are paid about 10% more than private-sector workers.

“You can’t eat your pension, you can’t feed your kids with your pension contribution, I understand that. I understand all the issues that public-sector workers are facing.”

And that’s a basic truth. A pension is indeed an asset but it has near enough no impact on daily life. But as always in these discussions there’s the basic point that the private sector (and this is true here too) does not offer most workers occupational pensions. It is not even at the races. Complaining that the PS has pensions (or some workers in it do) is essentially an evasion in this larger debate.

Working class rep July 31, 2017

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Quite an interesting review with British Labour’s Angela Rayner in the Guardian.

As someone from a distinctly and distinctively working class background she’s unusual, isn’t she? Which tells its own story. She’s also interesting in relation to Corbyn.

Rayner has been loyal to Corbyn, but she does not define herself as a Corbynista and backed Andy Burnham in the 2015 leadership election: “I’m Labour through and through, and I wouldn’t define myself by a particular leader.” She is a socialist, but less ideological one than some of her colleagues. “Ideology never put food on my table,” she says.

Not quite sure I’d agree with that last but her pragmatism seems of a left inclined sort which is refreshing. Still, what of this?

She has successfully scuppered Theresa May’s flagship policy to build a new generation of grammar schools, but doesn’t propose abolishing existing ones because that would mean destroying good schools.

Perhaps I’m misinterpreting that last but surely it is possible to change the nature of the school without destroying it.




Left Archive: Communism in Ireland, British and Irish Communist Organisation, c.1977 July 31, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.

To download the above please click on the following link. communism-in-ireland

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This is an interesting addition to the collection of publications from BICO in the Left Archive. Sixteen pages long, it provides an overview of the history of the Communist Party of Ireland from the perspective of the British and Irish Communist Organisation.

It is reasonable to argue that this perspective is deeply critical. Some flavour of this is evident from the opening words of the introduction:

The Communist Party of Ireland has constantly placed itself in a rearguard position, fighting at every stage of the development of Irish society to prevent the society form abandoning ideals which it was outgrowing…

The effect of this ideology has been to shackle the small section of the Irish working class that fell under community influence to the reactionary and unreliable ideals of national self-sufficiency, ‘national’ unification and defence of the small producer. Basically the CPI has been powerless to retard social development. Realising its impotence the CPI has sought alliances in strange quarters. These have included the republican movement and the most reactionary sections of the Catholic Church.

The remainder of the work is divided into various chapters addressing the development of the CPI.

Couldn’t happen to a… July 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

as noted by Michael Carley and others in comments Kevin Myers has run into a spot of trouble so great that… well… read on…

The Sunday Times press office has confirmed that columnist Kevin Myers will not write again for the Sunday Times Ireland after an article on gender pay gap sparked controversy.The Sunday Times apologised and said it abhors anti-Semitism after Mr Myers provoked controversy with comments on high-profile women working at the BBC.


A spokesperson for The Sunday Times said: “Further to our earlier statement we can confirm that Kevin Myers will not write again for The Sunday Times Ireland. A printed apology will appear in next week’s paper.

“The Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens has also apologised personally to Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz for these unacceptable comments both to Jewish people and to women in the workplace,” added the spokesperson.

This one is a long time coming I feel.

What Happened to the Mouse? July 30, 2017

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Watching Sing – the children’s film recently, something struck me as pretty strange. A character went missing at the end. We never are told what happened to that character. It’s not relevant to the overall plot, it won’t disrupt your enjoyment or otherwise of the film, but following that I discovered that this is actually a trope… check out TV Tropes on ‘What Happened to the Mouse?’. 

Obviously a lot of this is simple lack of attention. But kind of fascinating to see the films where it’s become a thing.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week July 30, 2017

Posted by Garibaldy in Uncategorized.

Not much online but hard to see beyond this anyway. The Sindo has found environmentalism, with an editorial about climate change. Water conservation is an important issue for them.

Irish Water reckons it needs to spend €5.5bn up to 2021, but where is the money to come from? It could have come from water charges but there was a popular revolt by those who pay little or no tax and so won’t be affected if it comes out of general taxation. 

Unsurprisingly, it has found the type of water regulation practised in the recent Mad Max film, where the best of have as much as they want while the less well off rely on trickle-down theories (see what we did there?). Anything but raise taxes in a progressive fashion to solve a problem. 

Volcanic Winter July 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I’m not sure I have heard of this before – the ‘year without a Summer’, – 1816, a year where due to volcanic activity and an eruption of Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies there was a volcanic winter. So bad were effects that global temperatures plummeted during the year with famines ensuing across much of the world. Ireland was particularly severely hit. A further aspect of this was that it took place at the tail end of the ‘Little Ice Age’ which is dated from the 16th to 19th centuries.

The effects of the 1816 eruption persisted for a number of years after (assisted by other eruptions during the same period).

Still, here’s another curiosity. In 1808/1809 there was an eruption thought to have taken place in the Pacific, likely between Indonesia and Tonga, though no actual location has been determined which is likely to have contributed to an earlier decline in global temperatures. It’s fascinating to think of a world in which this lack of knowledge could occur – though as the wiki page notes… “Adding to the mystery was the expectation that any eruptions of that magnitude should have been noticed at the time.’

If Jupiter became a second sun… July 29, 2017

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…as occurred at the end of 2010: Odyssey Two, a film which despite its limitations I have a particular fondness for, would it be as bright as the cinema depiction suggested. It would not, as this thread here demonstrates. Indeed Jupiter’s mass is generally regarded as being too low to kick of the reactions needed for it to become a star – though I guess Arthur C. Clarke could wave that away as a product of the intervention of the monoliths.

But… were they to add mass to Jupiter in some fashion, the necessary mass as it were, then that would require 80 masses more than Jupiter currently has. And that would have significant impacts on the orbits of the planets in the solar system, particularly Mercury, Venus, Mars and…er… Earth.

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