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Le Gach Dea-Ghuí don Athbhliain December 31, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Another strange year, but one with a bit more hope than 2020. Now, if only 2021 can continue that trend.

Thanks as always to everyone who comments, lurks, reads, helps or writes for the site.

Many thanks – you know who you are and it’s always appreciated. 

Thanks to all those sites – linked to here (some aren’t posting at the moment and are sorely missed), all like minds.

Thanks as always to Tomboktu, Irish Election Literature, YourCousin, Aonrud of the Left Archive, JH, BH and JM (both of them) and other contributors and moderators on the site – and those who send suggestions for pieces to write about.

Anyone who has an idea for a post fire it in and we’ll take a look. In the meantime keep well, safe and left.

Signs of Hope, New Years Eve edition – A continuing series December 31, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

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”.

Okay, it’s New Year’s Eve. Anything for 2022?

Truth in the news… December 31, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thanks to JH for sending this – a ruling from the UK based IPSO.

The ruling itself is well worth a look. It notes:

The headline of an article published on 4 June which reported on a book by the political advisor Ed Husain was amended following publication to remove the suggestion that more than one town visited by the author had residents who reported ‘no-go areas’ for white people. We are happy to set the record straight.

  1. The publication further said that there was no intention on the part of the publication to imply that the experiences of the men interviewed in Blackburn applied to the other towns and cities referenced in the article, and it said it was regrettable if any such inference was taken. Nevertheless, it noted that upon reading the article, it would be clear to readers that the author’s experiences in each town were carefully and individually described, and no assertion was made within the body of the article that the “no-go areas” reference was made in relation to all the referenced towns and cities. It also noted that neither the author of the book the article summarised, or the publisher of the book, had contacted the publication to flag any issues with the accuracy of the article. It also said that the theme of segregation was a running theme of the book, and provided excerpts from the book which it said demonstrated that this was this case; for instance, an individual was quoted within the book as having said that: “They chase out the white English businesses. After the riots in 2001, all the white businesses left. I don’t say they throw stones at us like the white folk say. I say there is racism and reverse racism.” It said that it had not referred to these other examples of segregation due to the length of the article; therefore, only the specific reference to Blackburn was included in the article.


9. The publication also noted that it considered it to be “extremely unlikely that reasonable readers would have taken the impression from the headline that entire towns in Britain are […] entirely inaccessible to white people” and that any such confusion would be quickly resolved by a cursory reading of the article. The publication was therefore satisfied that, while it was happy to amend it, the original headline was not significantly inaccurate nor misleading.

Not sure how I’d interpret “British towns that are no-go areas for white people” as not conveying the impression that “entire towns in Britain are […] entirely inaccessible to white people”. IPSO didn’t agree with the Mail Online either.

Findings of the Committee 15. In this instance, the headline claim that there were “British towns that are no-go areas for white people” was not supported by the article. The article included no reference to a town or towns which were claimed to be off-limits to white people, and only one area within a city was described as a “no-go area” for white people. The publication had sought to support its headline by pointing to extracts from the book on which the article was based, which it considered demonstrated that segregation between white and non-white or Muslim people occurred in multiple towns. However, these extracts had not been included in the article and in any case did not amount to claims that the towns were “no-go areas”. As such, the headline was inaccurate and was not supported by the text of the article, and therefore amounted to a breach of Clause 1 (i).


Any other good examples of this sort of stuff from the year?


Requests for information on the Irish left December 30, 2021

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Uncategorized.

The Left Archive has had a number of requests over the last week or two on information on areas of the Irish left for people conducting research in that area.

One person studying the IRA during the 1950s and 1960s is looking for Eamon Timoneys ‘Quo Vadis Hibernia.’ which was in a copy of the prison paper Saoirse in Belfast Prison published in 1957. 

Another person is researching responses to the Cuban revolution in Ireland and wonders what if any connections there were between the two before or around and immediately after the Revolution. This would include newspapers, political responses, attitudes on the left in particular, and so on. In other words how the revolution was received on the left in Ireland both publicly and otherwise.

Any assistance, advice or thoughts on these areas would be very much appreciated.

A left perspective on Covid restrictions December 30, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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A very good piece here from Europe Solidaire Sans Frontiéres, which I think was originally posted on Tomás Ó Flatharta’s blog which outlines the left case for Covid mandates and restrictions and argues:

I’m bending the stick and splitting from what seems a widely held miscalculation on the international left about immediately responding to this massively lethal pandemic. 

I support mandatory and legally enforceable public health measures and restrictions when necessary, just like I support workplace safety legislation.

No more dithering about personal freedoms, human rights, state powers, bodily integrity, rights to gather, and discrimination against spreaders of disease. 

The logic of this super libertarianism is that we oppose for example the requirement for face coverings on public transport. Even though bus unions have asked for reductions in passenger numbers and bus workers enforce mask wearing? 

This does seem perverse. And the slippery slope argument seems a bit awry given the seriousness of the situation we face, as he notes:

Of course the state and the police might enforce new powers discriminately. They always do. It is up to us to expose and oppose that. Because most fines for lockdown breaches were imposed in Ballyfermot or similar areas is an argument for fair and universal enforcement not for shopping without a mask or holding house parties.

In fact with the arrival of Omicron and indeed the near inevitability of variants appearing, some of the aforementioned dithering seems opportunistic at worst, and positively uninformed or unaware at best. One would have to be very well insulated from the information coming from public health and others on this. Indeed key to keep in mind that it is public health – state health in other words, that has been holding the line here and elsewhere against lobbyists and so on. That their proscriptions have been weaker than might have been hoped for merely shows the pressures they have been under. And that some of those in health services refuse to be vaccinated is no great surprise. In a time of confusion siren voices will always sway a cohort here or there. One can understand that dynamic without having to support those in that cohort. Health systems have to remain intact, the health of all has to take precedence. There’s no wishing away this virus.

The material reality is an viral pandemic that impacts on all workers and those near to them. Arguing that it is otherwise is delusionary.

State papers… December 30, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

It’s that time of year again, when the papers – or some of them, root through the newly released state papers. To judge from RTÉs overview, not a lot of great interest – at least in their ’12 things we learned from State Papers: Day one’.

But there’s greater substance in this piece on the papers released this year which sees the ROI following the UKs release time of 20 years after an event. So now papers have been released from 1992 through the 1990s. That’s a lot of papers so presumably the more significant ones – or those the media deem more significant, will filter through across this week. Perhaps most interesting, at least so far, is that the British were ‘shocked’ by the scale of Libyan support for PIRA. But what is particularly telling is that it was the Libyans, in the wake of Lockerbie and subsequent sanctions, who shared this information with London.

Gaddafi was desperate to repair relations with Britain. He therefore decided to reveal details of his support for the IRA, details which the British immediately shared with the Irish government.

At two secret meetings – in Geneva in June 1992, and in Cairo two months later – the Libyans admitted that contact with the IRA, arranged through the Soviet Union, began in 1973. This led to one arms shipment, aboard the MV Claudia in March 1973, and significant cash payments.

Albeit there were reservations on the part of the British about some of the information;

The Libyans also gave the British the names of a number of IRA members they had trained. But apart from former chief of staff Seamus Twomey, who died in 1989, the rest of the names “would appear to be nom de plumes which were assumed by PIRA personnel to disguise their travel to Libya”.

The British felt the Libyans “have told us only what they suspect we already know”, and were withholding certain information, but even so, the new intelligence was “generally sound” and was “likely to give opportunities to take action against PIRA”.

A further thought, perhaps both the Republic and the United Kingdom were particularly fortunate in the leaders they had throughout this period of the 1990s. It’s difficult to see matters unfolding in quite the way they did with others at the helm. Certainly Major seems to have had a bit more vision than might be expected:

…the Prime Minister did have suggestions of his own.

While he said any new approach must be backed by Unionists, and by Westminster, he thought there could be movement on a number of issues: new institutions in Northern Ireland, for instance; measures to reconcile the two traditions, end discrimination and improve North-South relations; and, in that context, consideration of a Council of Ireland, and even “some form of enhanced Anglo-Irish Agreement”.

The second day brought more substantive stuff. For example the belief amongst police and military in Britain and Northern Ireland that “insistence on prior decommissioning was unnecessary.”

Given how the governments forced themselves into a corner on the issue it is remarkable to read that:

Ronnie Flanagan, then an acting deputy chief constable of the RUC, but already widely tipped for promotion to the top job, privately told an Irish official that the British Government had “foolishly impaled itself on a hook” with its three Washington conditions.

He believed that “there was never any hope of the paramilitaries agreeing to hand over even a small quantity of arms in advance of political negotiations”.

In any event, he said, “the ability to develop and manufacture new types of explosives and weaponry is of much greater concern than the material currently hidden in IRA caches”.


General Officer Commanding the British Army in Northern Ireland, Sir Roger Wheeler, made strikingly similar comments.

He told the same Irish official, David Donoghue, that “the security forces neither expect, nor are they particularly pressing for, the handover of any weapons in advance of political talks… the ability of the paramilitaries to manufacture their own weapons and explosives is at least as important as the actual weaponry in their possession”.

He added that the demand for decommissioning “makes sense only at the level of symbolism”.

Speaking of which:

Hugh Annesley was worried. Speaking to an Irish diplomat in March 1996, the RUC chief constable predicted that the forthcoming marching season would be difficult, with no signs of compromise between the Orange Order and residents’ groups, particularly in Drumcree….[Later] as 50,000 people were expected to show up and attempt to force their way down the road, Annesley reversed course, and allowed the march to go ahead.

And an interesting exchange between Bruton and Major on that.

The taoiseach was furious that negotiations involving clergymen had been “swept aside” by the RUC U-turn.

But Major hit back, claiming that one of the problems was “that the churchmen and others have been trying to get the Garvaghy Road residents to put up someone to negotiate other than a convicted terrorist…”.

Major was referring to the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Coalition spokesman, Brendan McKenna, who had been convicted and jailed in the early 1980s for his role in an IRA bombing in Portadown. As a result, Orangemen refused to talk to him.

Bruton replied: “He served his sentence”. After the prime minister said that nobody would talk to him, the taoiseach said: “David Ervine [the leader of the Progressive Unionist Party, and a key player in all-party talks] was a terrorist too.”

Bruton continued: “I don’t think it is reasonable to use the excuse that this man was convicted. If he was convicted, he served his sentence and he has been released. A number of people in politics in this country on both sides of the border and on both sides of the political divide were in jail at some time or other.

“I’m in Government with a man who was in jail. The Minister for Social Welfare was interned for a lengthy period.”


By the by, John Bowman in the IT notes one crucial line that Haughey held (and which others unfortunately sought to rub out entirely) – that being an unwillingness to ‘unilaterally abandon Articles 2 and 3’.

More to come this morning.

Anything jump out from these files for other people?


Lights in the sky over NI December 29, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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The Guardian had a piece the other day about reported sightings of UFOs in the North in the last year. Apparently sightings were on the up.

Police received eight sightings in Northern Ireland during 2021, an increase from six such reports in 2020 and four in 2019.

These included a report of a spaceship and flashing lights in the Downpatrick area on 17 January.

Would be interesting to dig deeper into some of them, such as the first one here.

In May police received two sightings reports, one of white lights after a helicopter in the Maghaberry area and an odd disc seen in the sky in the Slemish area of County Antrim at the end of the month.

Tellingly, and I’m a sceptic about any non-terrestrial explanation of these phenomena:

The final report of the year was of “unusual bright lights in the sky” in November.

UFO sighting reports on the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) database include unidentified flying objects (UFOs); aerial phenomena; unidentified aerial phenomena; lights in the sky; and aliens and extraterrestrials.

A PSNI spokesperson said no investigations had been carried out in relation to these incidents.

What always strikes me is how given society is now saturated with people wielding cameras on smartphones there’s not any great sense of better photos of these sort of things. Indeed evidence, tangible evidence, remains as scant as it ever has. Which doesn’t make this any less fascinating, indeed in some ways – well, for me at least, I find it more so.

Some tracks and music from 2021 December 29, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Please feel free to add your own lists of music that you liked from this year – obviously every fortnight we have the Culture thread, but what was it that you really enjoyed and returned to again throughout the year. And no limits on whether it was produced this year or not.

For myself here’s some more or less restricted to the year. I still have an eMusic account which is now at least fifteen years old and although eMusic has long since dropped off the edge of the world in terms of mainstream or even off mainstream music there’s still enough of interest to have me downloading material. Otherwise it’s stuff from old reliables on bandcamp or infrequently CDs (one great thing about ambient and techno is that if one avoids the album form it’s really inexpensive to get an EP or even album here and there).

Anyhow, an interesting year with much to recommend it in terms of music. Enjoyable even. Could be that was psychological after the constriction of 2020. But a slew of releases from new and old. The Go! Team released an excellent album for example. Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy likewise. But I wonder if I’ll be listening to them in five years time. Maybe. As always any recommendations welcome.

So anything that strikes me? Electronica and dance I’m detaching from in terms of getting a real sense of what is popular or not – some online outlets that were very useful in that regard vanished in the last couple of years and I’ve little patience in hunting down stuff. But perhaps that’s true of all music – and particularly in a time when gigs aren’t really an option.

Anyhow, this has a random number of tracks from all the areas I like, ambient, techno, spacerock, a smattering of pop and rock and near-goth and in addition a few (maybe) surprises down the end of the post.

Starting with Amyl and the Sniffers, and a track from what for me is a contender for one of, if not the, best albums of the year, a song about… well… capital.

Schnauss who didn’t release a solo album this year continues a fruitful collaboration with Jonas Munk. The album this is taken from is particularly strong.

All India Radio’s Afterworld album is equally a thing of beauty from which this is taken. Ambient rock or so it is said.

And this too, Beautify Junkyards from Portugal IIRC (who are loosely associated with Ghostbox label et al) and this feat. Nina Miranda. I listened to the album a couple of times before I listened to the album.

Chilean Miners from Land Trance.

Mentioned during the year – this from Ann Margaret Hogan ft Jarboe.

And coincidentally Ann Margaret Hogan is on Regis’s label.

From the ever reliable De:Tuned, Nuron with Burnenville.

Iridiscence from Artefakt. The way it changes a minute in…

Really like this.

And this.

Humanoid with Truc.

I toyed with putting the Armed in here. But then thought, nah. Interesting album, but do I like it? I do not.

Just a really nicely composed traditional pop song. Nothing more, nothing less. Liverpool, I think.

This from The Letrasets reminds me of Bawl.

The Circular from Firestations. Loved their songs last year, and this year too.

Drive from Where We Sleep with additional guitars by Debbie Smith. It’s a great slice of goth/industrial/something….

Saw You Am I supporting The Vines a million years ago. I know which band I’m still listening to. This is a song about an actual Waterboy from Scotland. The accompanying album is excellent – kind of Wilcoish.

An interesting pairing, Liminanas with Laurant Garnier. Plays to the strength of both sides of the collaboration.

Hawklords, back with a new album and this slice of ambient.

People have too much money for videos these days – eh? This duo are fans of Rush. Huge fans. Say no more.

Elegiac. Appropriately so.

From an album of covers – one of their best albums, and that’s no slight on the band, here’s Monster Magnet with Welcome to the Void.

And to end not quite where this started, here’s this fantastic collaboration from Sleaford Mods and Amy Taylor of Amyl and the Sniffers.

And while not quite in the category of new music in the above 25 here’s some older material I’ve been listening to. Been listening to a lot of jazz on the original albums which is kind of revelatory for some after Bluenote artist compilations.

And this from Richard Groove Holmes – Groove’s Groove…

And to round this up here’s some tracks from a genre that I am subjected to on a daily basis whether I like it or not. That’s right… K-Pop.

A few, a precious few, have caught my attention. These, I think, are kind of good…

Living with… December 29, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thought it telling the news on Christmas Day about airlines suffering significant shortages of pilots and other staff due to them being infected with Covid or close contacts of others with the virus. The effect was the cancellation of thousands of flights. This came after similar news from the NHS about an attrition rate amongst staff due to the same reason. I also heard about pubs here that have had to close because staff have been laid low by the virus. Not a lot a bar can do at this point in the year if everyone working in it is off sick, and it struck me this points to the reason why ‘living with’ Covid is an illusion. Simply put the virus continues to spread infecting people.

Moreover there is no respite from it. One can be reinfected and relatively rapidly after an initial bout. In other words there’s no actual immunity and consequently maintains some restrictions is necessary. As Tomboktu noted in comments there is a further problem with Omicron in that the scope for widespread numbers of infections brings with it the increased potential for yet further variations. Add in the evidence of a necessity for fourth shots as seen in Israel.

So, what does that imply for the future. that for the foreseeable restrictions will continue albeit varying. Perhaps very much looser in late Spring, Summer and Autumn and more rigid in Winter. That vaccination programmes will likewise continue with six monthly boosters. And an end in sight? I can’t see it short of a mild and highly transmissible variant developing or a genuine international push on vaccines, but I’d be interested in whether others can.

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

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

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

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