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That Brexit car crash… September 30, 2021

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This is entertaining… reports that:

Nigel Farage hit by van at roundabout while driving around in search of petrol

The Brexit campaigner said he tried seven petrol stations but was unable to fill up, before having a car crash while sat stationary in his car

Even the fact that he had a car crash while his own car was stationary. The universe is telling us something. 

 

(thanks to JH for the link!)

After the Common Travel Area? September 30, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Anyone read a short but thought-provoking piece in History Ireland over the summer where Aileen Bowe (“writer and correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service an organisation of immigration solicitors in the UK that provides legal aid to forcibly displaced persons”) spoke about the relations between Ireland and Britain. Almost as a throwaway line she mentioned the following:

Although the CTA is still in existence and grants broad freedoms to both UK and Irish citizens, whether such arrangements will continue remains uncertain. The UK’s centre on Constitutional Change recently noted that, despite the Irish government’s commitment to diplomatic cooperation, the UK government has not been so forthcoming. Indeed, the prevailing ideology of ‘taking back control of our borders’ has meant that previously strong relationships are being reconsidered in the light of this new mantra.

I’ve been thinking about that since and while initially sceptical, this after all is an agreement that long predates the AIA and GFA/BA, and in a sense serves to underpin, albeit stand separate from the latter, the point she makes about Britain’s relationships internationally being in a state of significant change is sound.

Of course the reality that the CTA encompasses both of the islands and the only land border the UK has is on this island does complicate mattes. It is that reality that the CTA sought to address, as well as a further reality of extremely close sub/none-state relations between the two islands (in the sense of informal, familial, cultural and other connections).

Yet, we aren’t in Kansas any longer with respect to the UK. The volatility of the current government, the wilful attitude to international norms, while not of a piece with that of the last administration in the US, does suggest that long-established norms are no longer sacrosanct.

Do I expect the CTA to be overturned? Not in the short to medium term, but it would not surprise me if aspects of it were whittled away.

Self promotion racket September 30, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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This is entertaining. I was listening to the QAnon podcast which mentioned some events in Scotland recently. A group of ‘sovereign citizens’ and/or ‘freemen’ decided that they’d occupy Edinburgh Castle. Why, you may ask.

Members of the public were evacuated as the demonstrators entered the grounds of the castle without a ticket. Police Scotland said that officers were dealing with the protest.

Reports emerged at about 5.45pm of an incident close to the entrance to the Museum of The Royal Regiment for Scotland.

The protesters filmed their protest on Facebook Live. In a 13-minute video, a woman says the castle “belongs to the people” and that they are “taking our power back”. She adds the Scottish people have been “lied to all our lives” and that the “building belongs to us, we have taken the castle back” in an effort to “restore the rule of law”.

And:

There’s a problem right there!

Magna Carta – signed by King John in 1215 – has never applied in Scotland as it predates the Act of Union

Now this may strike you as a complete waste of time, and I don’t think you’d be far wrong, but what is this Article 61 lark? 

Well, it appears that there’s some of those involved in the ‘freeman’ stuff who’ve long dabbled in this. This example here outlines the thinking that underpins it.

A woman calling herself Jacquie Phoenix and representing the mother in a bitter child-custody dispute says she has pledged allegiance to a British lord and invoked an article of the Magna Carta that means Canada’s laws and courts do not apply to her and her client. She threatened a judge with “the gallows” if he didn’t comply.

But:

“I can only guess at the scope and kind of misconduct and self-injury that results from (the Magna Carta) belief,” said the Court of Queen’s Bench judge. “But in this case I know that there is a little four-year-old girl whose health, safety, and well-being are being placed in jeopardy by these ideas.”

And:

The aristocrats cited the 1215 Magna Carta, a landmark but largely historical document now that set out the rights of British nobility under the unpopular King John. Specifically, they cited article 61, which allowed a committee of barons to seize castles and other assets of the king if he contravened provisions of the Magna Carta. Others could swear allegiance to the nobles and follow their lead.

The Judge made short shrift of this noting: …the woman has no right to represent the mother, and then dismantled the Magna Carta movement itself.

He notes that article 61 was removed from the document by 1216, and that only three, unrelated clauses remain part of the British constitution today. Meanwhile, Canada repatriated its constitution in 1982, meaning no part of the British supreme law applies here.

But this isn’t just harmless self-promoting stuff (though events like this might make you think it was – not least the stunningly bombastic language used – and the real sense of self-importance on display – btw how do people afford to fly around the planet to show up at events like that?). This account of one murder – that of a former chief justice of the Tax Court of Canada shows the pathology at work.

On foot of the above judgement one of those involved argued ““All evidence has been collected for your trial before the jury, Robert Graesser, and the people will decide your fate,” she says to the judge.”

But as noted:

Lawyer Richard Warman said there’s no indication that Robinson has violent intent. But he said it’s important to take such behaviour seriously given the history of other “sovereign law” adherents – people who claim legal systems are invalid.

He pointed to the 2007 murder of a tax court judge and two others in Ottawa by a man who had earlier threatened to put the adjudicator on trial, and the killing of several police officers in the U.S. by “sovereigns.”

“I’m not alleging that Robinson herself may go out and engage in that kind of action,” said Warman, who has long fought extremist views online. “But the risk is that somebody in the movement who sees it could be inspired to do that.”

Somewhat entertainingly the response was:

…she said Tuesday that the oath she made to a British lord under the Magna Carta does not allow her to do harm, and questioned why her words would be considered threatening.

“These allegations are ludicrous,” the Alberta resident said about Warman’s complaint. “Ask yourself ‘Why are they so scared of a tiny girl with a pen?’ ”

Well, when you suggest that evidence has been collected for a trial and someone’s fate will be decided  – and also mentioning Nuremberg – difficult not to interpret that as pointing in a certain direction.

There’s a Covid connection to this – isn’t there always, as this piece here notes.

The piece sums it up neatly:

And that’s because this document – and the assertions of law that it contains – is pure nonsense. It is a species of what regular attendees at courts will recognise as the pseudo-legal rubbish peddled by self-styled “Freemen on The Land”, a grouping of proselytising individuals who believe that by misquoting Magna Carta and basic tenets of contract law, they can somehow place themselves outside the jurisdiction of the law of England & Wales. By making various incoherent and illogical assertions cloaked in legalese, they profess to be bound by “other” laws, such as the laws of the sea or long-repealed mediaeval treaties, and claim that the legal system has no control over them.

But back to Edinburgh Castle. What exactly did those ‘occupying’ it want? What did they think it would achieve? Clearly said ‘occupation’ and the attendant PR had no effect whatsoever. It’s this gap between the rhetoric and the reality that is truly telling. It has no systemic or structural impact. And in a way it’s not meant to. It’s performative but really to no greater goal than getting screen time on Youtube or at best a fleeting mention in the news media. 

‘Mad’, ‘Crazy’: That frontline bonus idea… September 30, 2021

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Demonstrating that Fine Gael too has the odd outspoken TD like its partner in coalition, this news came last night – from the entirely unleaky Fine Gael weekly parliamentary party virtual meeting. So unleaky, indeed, that this news had hit the front page of the IT by 10pm.

Wexford TD Paul Kehoe told Fine Gael colleagues at its weekly parliamentary part meeting on Wednesday night that he is totally opposed to the bonus.

Albeit in rather stronger terms:

[he] described a proposal being considered by his own Government to give a €500 bonus to front-line workers as “mad” and “crazy” and has called for the idea to be scrapped.

And:

Fine Gael parliamentary party members who logged into the virtual meeting said Mr Kehoe launched a broadside against the bonus on the basis it was unfair and arbitrary. He said that it would set public sector workers against private sector workers, telling colleagues that shopworkers, bus drivers and delivery drivers were as entitled to the bonus as those working in the health service.

That’s an interesting point and one might think of ways to deal with it. For example, those working directly with Covid-19 patients might be given some financial recognition and then those, such as the aforementioned shop workers and so on, who were in  potentially risky areas might be given perhaps somewhat lesser financial recognition.

But that wasn’t his only problem with it. Oh no, it wasn’t just the inequity…

[he]  also argued against the bonus on grounds of cost. He is said to have told colleagues that given the huge amounts of money that had been spent in order to shore up the economy during the lockdown, paying out hundreds of millions of euro in a Covid bonus would make no sense when there were so many other demands on public finances.

But hey, if that’s the case instead of offering tax cuts in the forthcoming budget why not keep tax rates as they are and direct some monies towards those categories outlined above, in both public and private sectors. 

Somehow though I don’t think he’s much appetite for that. 

Manus O’Riordain September 29, 2021

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Thanks to JM for the photograph.

Manus’ wake will be held tomorrow, Thursday September 30th, at his home, 13 Finglas Rd, Glasnevin, D11C7DY, from 6pm. 
Family, friends and comrades all welcome. Some parking available next door at No 11, Glasnevin Family Practice.

All also welcome to pay respects at funeral procession at 10.10am, Friday morning, from 13 Finglas Rd to Glasnevin crematorium. 
However, due to current Covid-19 restrictions, only family and close friends can attend the ceremony inside the crematorium. 

We will adjourn to Hedigans (The Brian Boru), Prospect Road, after the funeral. All welcome in line with Covid-19 restrictions: You will need a Covid certificate to eat or drink inside, and groups sitting inside together can be of no more than six per table. 


A further night to properly celebrate Manus’ life will be held when restrictions ease in the future.

Movie Mirth on foot of lifting of restrictions in the North September 29, 2021

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This from the Irish News today (thanks to JH):

A BELFAST cinema owner has suggested customers could buy an extra ticket for a show to ensure they are social distanced from others.

Michael McAdam, owner of Movie House Cinemas, said while it would be “bit more costly” for the customer, it would “ensure there will be nobody sitting beside them”.

It comes after the Executive announced changes to social distancing requirements, removing the one-metre distance requirement for the retail sector, indoor attractions and seated indoor venues.

It will also be removed for shops, cinemas, theatres and many other indoor settings from 6pm on September 30.

Nice to see the serious concern for health:

Mr McAdam said the one-metre rule had had a massive impact on cinemas with most operating at a significantly lower capacity.

He told the BBC: “We will aim when you go to the box office to ensure that we keep at least a seat beside you free.

“If you are booking online, we can’t guarantee that because we can’t control that.

“But people have a choice – it may be a bit more costly but they can book the seat either side of them if they want to ensure there will be nobody sitting beside them.”

Yeah, sure, after you… 

Lie detector September 29, 2021

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Meant to mention this before now, from last Friday, and a remarkable, I mean genuinely remarkable political story.

Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan has dismissed suggestions that he should take a polygraph test, following allegations that he was behind a sting operation to identify an individual who was leaking from Cabinet.

Minister O’Donovan told Limerick’s Live 95 that the proposal from Senator Rónán Mullen that both he and the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, should undergo a polygraph test was not a reasonable one.

That it has come to this is incredible. And the fact that suggestions about polygraphs are being bandied about surely puts the complaints by Fine Gael about Matt Carthy, the SF TD, using Dáil privilege to suggest the idea that Minister Harris was apparently leaking from Cabinet (something that had been it seems alluded in the media to long before Carthy raised the idea) some what in the shade.

But there’s a deeper point, which is that Fine Gael for all that it is riding reasonably buoyantly in the polls has the appearance of a party that is unmoored in some ways. Across a range of areas feet keep being planted firmly in mouths and that raises questions. Why now? The obvious answer is that it has been in power, in one form or another, for a decade or so. And perhaps even the nature of that period, as part of a coalition with FF, confidence and supply from FF, coalition with the LP, is such that it has in some sense integrated the idea that it is now the natural party of government. 

In fairness with FF becalmed in the polls at 15% or so, and with Sinn Féin it’s clear rival, that makes considerable sense. There is a pool of Independents who while external to the government appear to be supportive of keeping it in power, for the moment. The Green Party, and others no doubt, have demonstrated their willingness to support it. Perhaps it is betting on the proposition that no plausible government can be formed without its participation. And yet, I wonder. If this haphazard approach it has taken continues there are multiple options for coalitions to be formed to keep it out of power. Is that likely? Perhaps not today. But it’s not impossible further down the line. 

Podcast- Franklin Dee September 29, 2021

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Independent ex Fianna Fáil candidates in the 1937 General Election "The Others" The Alan Kinsella Podcast

In the 1937 General Election there were seven candidates running as Independents that had left Fianna Fáil in the previous six months. Three were outgoing TD's. Some had been selected at a Selection Convention but rejected by The National Executive, others rejected at a Convention and others had left the party in a disagreement over policy.
  1. Independent ex Fianna Fáil candidates in the 1937 General Election
  2. Youth Defence and the 1992 General Election
  3. Franklin Dee -Episode 67
  4. National Association of Tenants Organisations running in Drogheda 1991 and 1994
  5. The National Legal Justice Action Group -Episode 65

A look at the 1979 Local Elections Campaign of DJ Franklin Dee who ran in Navan UDC and for Meath Co. Council. Has a bit of a twist in it and a brief look at Show business and politics.

What is the BLP for? September 29, 2021

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Many of us have wondered about this in recent days during the British Labour Party conference. For some of us, myself included, having been a member briefly, though never attending a conference, it is a party I have some time and affection for. Frustrating yes, but broadly a force for some good. And the last decade has been tough, firstly seeing Labour ejected from power, even given the manner in which it approached the 2000s, then seeing it unable to regain power. Like many the return to a somewhat more traditional policy approach under Corbyn was something that seemed sensible – even if his Shadow Chancellor was someone I’d have preferred as leader. And to jettison that policy mix, mild and all as it was (as noted here many times, it would have been of a piece with Jim Callaghan’s LP of the late 1970s – hardly red revolution) was something that seemed implausible even a year or two back.

But then I, and suspect many, reckoned with Keir Starmer’s leadership. Thanks to JH for the the link to this, a piece by former advisor to Starmer, Corbyn and Ed Miliband – Simon Fletcher, and his softly worded but effective critique and criticism of the current leadership.

He notes that Starmer presented himself as someone who could retain the best of the Corbyn period and move matters forward.

During his leadership election, Starmer sold himself as the unity candidate and said the party would not “oversteer” from many of the best elements of the Corbyn era. “We are not going to trash the last Labour government … nor are we going to trash the last four years”, was the line, and the 2017 manifesto was to be treated as a “foundational” document.

These promises were backed by the extending of an olive branch to the left. So when I was approached to join Starmer’s campaign after working for left campaigns and politicians including Jeremy Corbyn, I saw the commitment to policies I strongly support as clear common ground between the two eras.

But… 

Unfortunately, the shortfall between what was promised and what has happened since raises some very big questions for thousands on the left and soft left who voted for Starmer to be leader.

It is very hard for me to say this because in politics people aren’t supposed to admit they got something wrong. But while the unifying pitch that Starmer put to the membership was open, conciliatory and correct – and explains the big vote he secured – it has not been delivered. It sadly proved to be the wrong thing, for me at least, to have supported that leadership campaign. From my own perspective it was a mistake and ultimately a political dead end. Starmer’s leadership constructed an alliance and then unravelled it. You cannot promise unity then deliberately pick fights and expect people to say that is OK. It’s not.

It is worse than that, for it is an exercise in bad faith. 

And the problem is that this is not something that can be concealed from people, be they members of the BLP, or indeed voters. It’s one thing to pick fights with sections of the party one leads, quite another to have explicitly said one will not pick fights with those sections of the party one leads. 

And add to all this a real sense that Starmer appears out of his depth. But then the manner in which he has sought to build his leadership is one that is suggestive of weakness, not strength. There’s a brittleness and discomfort that is evident on almost all occasions. And the effort to politically cosplay the 1980s and after merely underscores certain realities. The BLP is not the BLP of that period, the ideological gulfs are actually smaller, and in some ways less potent. Or would be, under another leadership.

Fletcher notes:

There is plenty of good work being done by people at all levels of the Labour party: great metro mayors, the leadership of Wales, councillors, fantastic forward-thinking trade unionists, activists, members, organisers, shadow cabinet members. An effective, modern left is more likely to emerge from that than from old playbooks at the party conference.

And others think that all this is pretty dismal. And tellingly that Starmer’s time is limited.

That is the real reason why the conference has felt detached from the daily news. The leader might think he is treading the road to government, but he is surrounded by people mapping routes for his replacement.

The slow-motion contest is well under way. Any Labour figure with a high profile, or even a low one, is presumed to be a candidate: Angela Rayner, Rachel Reeves, David Lammy, Wes Streeting, Andy Burnham (always), Yvette Cooper (again). The roster changes. Names rise and fall in the speculative race – painted wooden horses on a rumour carousel spinning jauntily on the Brighton beachfront, with a queasy-looking Starmer carried along for the ride. And all that the public hears is the repetitive strains of the hurdy-gurdy, reminding them of a faded attraction, somewhere off in the distance, going round in circles.

Circling to the right would be more accurate. 

What you want to say – 29th September 2021 September 29, 2021

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

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