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Le Gach Dea-Ghuí don Athbhliain December 31, 2018 December 31, 2018

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…to everyone who comments, lurks, reads, helps or writes for the site. Also, a word for similar minded sites such as An Sionnach Fionn, Workers’ Playtime, Ben’s site, Phil’s NZ site, Come Here to Me, East Wall etc, and so on keeping on keeping on. Somehow the CLR are entering our twelfth year and that’s down to input from all of you (oh and a shout out to Aonghus on the Left Archive without who… and that’s sincerely meant. BTW if you have docs you think might fit the Left Archive all welcome). Thanks a million – you know who you are and it’s always appreciated. Roll on 2019.

Womens View, Number 10, The Workers’ Party, 1983 December 31, 2018

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To download the above please click on the following link. AP 1970

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Aine Mannion for forwarding this to the Archive.

This edition of Wome’s View from The Workers’ Party is an useful addition to the others in the Archive. Dating from 1983 it has a wide range of articles – one notes the recent 8th Amendment campaign. Another considers the British Labour Conference of the same year and notes that various motions were defeated which called for ‘separate and positive discrimination’ for women members of the BLP. It looks ahead to the deliberations of the Dáil Committee on Marital Breakdown. There’s also a long piece on the then recent dispute at Clery’s.

There’s an overview of women’s prisons and an article on the Pill and where next for contraception. There’s a review of the TUC Guide and Workplace Programme for Trade Unionists which covers sexual harassment in workplaces.

Go-Between memoir December 30, 2018

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Was given a copy of Grant and I by Robert Forster over Christmas… it’s a very readable book – a memoir of how Forster and Grant McLennan formed the Go-Betweens. Some interesting material in their backgrounds. McLennan came from a rural family, Forster from an urban working class background (‘workers, but not union’ as he notes wryly). As an insight into life in Australia in the 60s when he was a teenager and after it’s fascinating.

Written here and here and here about them amongst other pieces on this site. After McLennan’s death I found it impossible to listen to their last album, or Forster’s solo album made at that time, though their earlier material remained high on the playlists.

Working until 70? December 30, 2018

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Jason O’Toole has a piece today on the upping of the (voluntary) age of retirement until 70. Mixed feelings about this. Ruth Coppinger is quoted in the piece:

“As Socialists, we oppose pushing up the retirement age.

“This was a right fought for by trade unions for centuries. Governments worldwide are seeking to raise the age and slash pensions.

“Although the Bill proposed it as voluntary to breach age 65, it sets a dangerous precedent for the entire public sector and thus for all workers in general.

“The government and some union leaders pose this as an individual right for those who wish to work beyond 65.

“However, the breaching of the retirement age is what is significant. This also has implications for job creation for younger people.”

Some fairly stupid statements from the year… December 30, 2018

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A few selected from the last twelve months or so.

I think this one may be close to the top of the pile…

The hubris of our age is the idea that moral progress has tracked technological progress, so that our behaviour becomes the criterion by reference to which church teaching is to be judged, rather than the other way around.
Those who, in their arrogance and pride, believe themselves to be above God’s law are never far from abuse. This is what allowed abuses – clearly contrary to the law of the church – to be perpetrated and facilitated in the past.

But this is close behind it from the same week:

The Government wants to reduce the average alcohol intake of each Irish person from 11 litres to 9.1 litres by 2020. Such thorough authoritarianism!

Yesteryear’s religious moralists were never this ambitious in the policing of people’s lifestyles.

Speaking of matters religious and secular…

Meanwhile John McGuirk, communications director for Save the 8th and master of the counter-productive taunt, was tweeting at length about “angry repealers”. “Once all the ‘oppression’ is gone, they’ll have to confront the fact that their misery is their own.”

Or not. Probably not.

Still this exercised some no end:

The debate is not about maternal healthcare in Ireland, do not be fooled. It is an ideological question: do you really want abortion on demand at least up to 12 weeks? Do you really want to give carte blanche to your Government for abortions up to 6 months’ gestation? Legalising abortion will inevitably and inexorably create a general malaise in Irish society, at every level, in every family, between neighbours, in medical facilities, everywhere.

And it would be simply unfair to ignore this person… and wonder at their predictive powers!

The President’s attachment to a left-wing agenda, which manifested itself in his tribute to Fidel Castro and his consistent criticism of the free-market philosophy which has underpinned the economic policies of successive governments might expose him to attack from a more mainstream opponent.

Or marvel at their analytical powers!

One of the problems is that the lessons of the crash were never fully absorbed at political level, never mind in consciousness of the public, and that means politicians find it hard to resist the temptation of repeating the mistakes of the past.
For instance, the widely accepted view that the crash was caused solely by the banks has allowed politicians of all parties to shirk the fundamental truth that “austerity” measures were necessitated by the fact that public spending and tax revenue went completely out of kilter.
On the spending side the rapid rise in public-service pay to unsustainable levels due to benchmarking was an important factor. This was accompanied by a narrowing of the tax base with almost half the workforce removed from the income tax net.
When tax revenue suddenly collapsed the money was simply not there to pay the public salary levels agreed and hence the emergency legislation to control the public pay bill and the rapid rise in income tax to help narrow the gap between revenue and expenditure.

Still, let us end on this more entertaining note – from April:

Finally in a different category all its own, in the paper of record, an interview with a ‘specialist’ in ‘astrocartography’ (a “form” of “astrology” that “helps people choose where to live”) now relocated to the US.

How did your move to Boston come about?
After two years in Italy, I reluctantly returned to Ireland to continue my astrology studying and to develop and extend my client base there, which included starting to teach astrology.

And this is priceless…

In January 2017, I learned of Norwegian airline’s proposed new low cost routes between Ireland and the US, consulted my own astrologer and saw that Mars (which rules passion, drive and inspired action) was strong in my chart in Boston.
So I booked my flight in June 2017, and put it out there in a Boston women’s Facebook group that I was looking for a holistic shop to work out of. I got several replies, contacted ZuZus Healing Arts Shop outside of Boston, who were happy to have me work from their shop one day a week.

Chriss Foss and Black Mirror December 29, 2018

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Apparently Chris Foss did the cover art for the book at the heart of this latest interactive ‘event’ from Black Mirror. I’ve mixed feelings about Black Mirror in general – but like the way they integrated a Foss cover, whose art those who read SF in the mid-1980s will recall was everywhere.

Christmas present/past December 29, 2018

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I was given this during the week. It’s a neat spoof of the rub-down transfers of illustrations which were one side of Letraset’s output in the 1970s.

If you go looking you’ll find more work by the artist.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… music from 2018 December 29, 2018

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A lot of music this year – been digging deep on the downloads service I use, and still foreswearing streaming. It’s kind of good because it provides a means of getting a sense of what’s out there. I’ve found myself listening to the output of labels a lot – Kompakt for techno, Sonic Cathedral for shoegaze, Heavy Psych Sounds for… well, heavy psych sounds. I kind of wonder is that a reversion to the days when Factory or 4AD were not quite but almost guarantors of quality, or at least listenability.

Honourable Mentions – first up Yawning Man’s excellent The Revolt Against Tired Noises and Half Man Half Biscuit’s new ‘No One Cares About Your Creative Hub so Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut’ album, Vibravoid’s live ‘Vibrations from the Cosmic Void’, Nik Turner and Youth had an interesting album of jazz/electronica, The Prids, VNV Nation, The Go! Team, Moon Duo, Fire Down Below, Hawklords, High Priestess, Marijannah, Fennesz, Tim Burgess, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Joy O and Windhand all deserve mention and there’ll be more on some of them during the new year.

Mixed bag here, some individual songs, others whole albums.

I Came Back to Bitch – L7
A stellar single from a group with a new album in the offing.

Xanadu – Juliana Hatfield
Quite some facility for pop displayed by Juliana Hatfield on an album of covers from the 1970s.

We’re So Nice – The Damned
A very solid album this year and a great scathing anti-war song.

Overload – Gui Boratto & Truelove Music feat Luciana Villanova
I like the album this is taken from a lot, here Gui Boratto seems to almost channel electroclash.

The Truth is in the Post – Black Dog
Not one but two albums this year from Black Dog and a flurry of other releases. Concept albums too about the contemporary world with the usual sceptical IDM inflected take by BD.

Working the Root – Anii
Really like this, it builds and builds, but slowly.


Signs of Hope – 2018 retrospective December 28, 2018

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When Gewerkschaftler suggested this they wrote:

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”.

It has been a long 2018. So any thoughts on signs of hope this year?

Political surprises in 2018 December 28, 2018

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Good podcast from the IT last week which considered political surprises – one was the fact SF ran a Presidential election candidate, another was the lack of an election, another was the remarkable majority on the 8th. Any others people can think of?

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