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Stupid statements from this weekend and the week… February 10, 2019

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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From today in the Independent [behind the paywall], someone we haven’t heard of in a while:

Never again will I ask rhetorically how Germany went mad in the 1930s. Because of the past few months I have watched the Irish people being worked up into a frenzied green fever whose evil effects will go on leaking poison into the body politic long after May and Corbyn have done a deal for the UK to stay in the customs union.

The Government and a posse of craven public intellectuals fostered the Anglophobia that surfaced in the Sky poll by peddling a higher form of hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy because far from our backstop stand protecting ‘the peace process’ it has destroyed the real peace that lives in minds and hearts. by inciting our antipathy against Northern unionist in a way common in my youth but which was dying away until the Government played the green card.

Though perhaps this is even worse – having moved from Brexit to ‘the centenaries of the War of Independence [which come along to] create a perfect storm of self-pity and green flaggery’…

We are not told that the last 40 years of British rule in Ireland were regarded by many who lived through them as possibly the most prosperous and happy time in Irish history.

Meanwhile, during the week, guess who:

Proponents of the Occupied Territories Bill strongly deny it is anti-Semitic but there is surely something odd about the level of outrage generated in Ireland by Israel’s illegal actions and the general indifference to massacres and war crimes carried out by a variety of States around the world.

The upshot was that the Irish Ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly, was called in to the foreign ministry there for a dressing down and warned of serious consequences if the Bill became law. The Israeli government described the Bill as “hypocritical and anti-Semitic”, comparing the Irish reaction to the slaughter in Syria and human rights violations in Turkey to its criticism of Israel.

Comments»

1. 6/5against - February 10, 2019

both of these are great examples of the hectoring tone adopted by much of the Irish media over the last 15 years or so. When Irish print media finally dies (and I imagine it will, though hope it won’t) their remaining online opinion writers will no doubt lambast the Irish public for our failure to pay for and support quality local journalism.

And they will remain silent on the fact that for at least 20 years most of the media outlets in Ireland have been scornful of that public, and have argued positions at odd with their interests.

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WorldbyStorm - February 10, 2019

Yeah, agreed, and on tone, isn’t it remarkable how EH for example uses the unnuanced term ‘we’ in his pieces – ‘we’ do this, that, feel this that. It’s terrible terrible stuff. There’s no agency afforded or credited to people or any sense that there are actually many views, not just his and the ones he opposes.

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2. EWI - February 10, 2019

comparing the Irish reaction to the slaughter in Syria and human rights violations in Turkey to its criticism of Israel.

Interesting that the Israelis are accusing the Irish government of exactly the same things that they’ve been doing to the Palestinians for seventy years.

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WorldbyStorm - February 10, 2019

Wasn’t that a truly weird thing of them to say?

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3. Phil - February 10, 2019

EH is an awful warning, isn’t he? Here’s someone who was quite genuinely on the Left, who chose to stand firm on one particular cluster of issues and damn the consequences… and just look at the consequences. (See also CCOB, Hitchens…)

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WorldbyStorm - February 10, 2019

Agreed. It’s as you say, a fixation on one thing and suddenly everything else falls away. Cohen is a bit like that too unfortunately for he was once very good in my book. There’s a narrowness of vision, an unwillingness to accept nuance or context, a sort of heartlessness too in a way, not accepting that people make mistakes sincerely, and not willing to accept that mistakes don’t necessarily define everything that comes after.

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yourcousin - February 10, 2019
WorldbyStorm - February 10, 2019

I like it.

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Dermot O Connor - February 10, 2019

It’s questionable that EH was ever truly ‘left’ or held any views with foundation. He began as a campaigner for a christian/catholic party:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eoghan_Harris#Early_career

In the Cork Mid by-election in March 1965 he campaigned for Sylvester Cotter, who was standing for Poblacht Chríostúil. …The aim of the party was “to base the social and economic policies of our country on Christian social reform, as elaborated by the last six Popes.”

I assume this is the same Cotter who went into FG subsequently, so I doubt this particular ‘christian’ party was motivated by any leftist / distributist motives.

Given the dizzying ease with which Harris has moved around the political spectrum, I wouldn’t put too much weight behind whatever political views he has at this moment in time. They’ll probably be different on Thursday. And again on Friday. Or whenever another Damascene conversion will (coincidentally of course) benefit his career. He’s like an iron filing in a magnetic field.

You don’t have to be a fan of Trotsky to appreciate this quote:

How many times have we met a smug centrist who reckons himself a “realist” merely because he sets out to swim without any ideological baggage whatever and is tossed by every vagrant current? He is unable to understand that principles are not dead ballast but a lifeline for a revolutionary swimmer.

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WorldbyStorm - February 10, 2019

I think Harris did for a fairly long period believe – or convince himself – he was a revolutionary. Certainly in the 1970s through to the early 1980s. then again like a lot of people associated with OSF and shading into the WP in that period he also got infected by the idea of continual change. And eventually change for its own sake was his thing. The problem is that that leaves very little time for consolidation. In a way his winding up as a newspaper columnist in the 90s and after was telling.

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4. CL - February 10, 2019

“If Northern Ireland leaves the EU’s customs union, or diverges from single market regulations in matters affecting trade in goods, the Irish government will obviously have to reintroduce border controls….

The EU has no incentive to blink: Ireland is a member, the border issue speaks to Europe’s understanding of what it is all about, and the UK is on its way out…

As for Ireland, no deal means a border, but that is hardly the end of the story. Sooner or later someone in the UK will decide that it is time to “sort things out”, and that will mean further negotiations.
Abandon the principle that a backstop is required and any border that emerges will be permanent. Retain it and the border may only be temporary. There is still the possibility that the UK will, after all, keep its promises. And Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, will be eviscerated by the opposition if he backs down.” Kevin O’Rourke.
https://www.ft.com/content/0021aaa8-2602-11e9-b20d-5376ca5216eb

Tony Connelly review O’Rourke’s ‘A Short History of Brexit’
‘What is so disconcerting reading O’Rourke’s book is the recurring dilemma of geography and empire, and how it still dominates the Brexit debate”
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/a-short-history-of-brexit-by-kevin-o-rourke-erudite-and-highly-readable-1.3778807

Connelly and O’Rourke attempt a reasoned analysis; Harris is merely a cheerleader for unionist tribalism.

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WorldbyStorm - February 10, 2019

And he’s factually wrong about a lot of stuff in his column. For example he says ‘Remember who came to our aid [during the financial crisis] Not the EU. It was England which helped us with a £250m loan’. This is a Brexiteer trope. Unfortunately it’s nonsense. The loan was £3.2bn, raised by the UK by borrowing itself and given at a higher interest rate than it (the UK) was having to pay – we’ve already paid about 3.5m in interest to the UK. No harm there but not done from the goodness of their heart since the UK itself didn’t want the system to crash in the ROI. But then so did Sweden and Denmark loan money. So it’s difficult to know what point Harris is making (though I know the one he wants to make). Still I’ve read some say that the collapse in sterling post-referendum has shaved some of the cost off the loan repayments. Is that true?

BTW, I know this is the Express but check out comments BTL on this article. The anti-Irishness expressed by some commenters really puts in perspective how wide of the mark Harris is in the above linked piece in regard to anti-‘Englishness’. https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1035274/Brexit-news-Leo-Varadkar-twitter-ireland-uk-border-latest

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - February 10, 2019

Actually what struck me was the passage describing Vlad as the President of Ireland. Still,as you say, that’s the Express for ye. It is surprising that none of their bloggers has styled him High King or, perhaps Pope.

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WorldbyStorm - February 11, 2019

Now there’s a thesis waiting to be written! Others combining, correctly or incorrectly, religion and Irishness in their anti-Irish sentiment – is it a phenomenon in the English (I use the word deliberately) consciousness as regards Ireland. I haven’t made a forensic search of the comments but I didn’t see any sectarian ones, just fairly unvarnished anti-Irishness.

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