jump to navigation

Switching parties? February 28, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This is intriguing, the story from Belfast about Jeffrey Donaldson, now leader of the DUP, but at one point the losing contender against his colleague Edwin Poots. The history of that leadership is all too well know. Sufficient to say it did not end well for Mr Poots.

But… there’s a wrinkle in the tale, at least an alleged wrinkle.

As the Examiner notes:

Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie has said a meeting he held with Jeffrey Donaldson last year was to discuss the Lagan Valley MP switching parties.

Mr Donaldson, now the DUP leader, has denied claims that he considered joining the UUP after he lost out in an initial leadership battle with Edwin Poots.

But Mr Beattie has now confirmed that he initiated the meeting last June and that he understood it was organised to discuss Mr Donaldson joining his party.

Almost needless to say this has been dismissed by the DUP.

a DUP minister said talk of his party leader rejoining the UUP was “tittle tattle”.

And it has been framed somewhat differently by Mr Donaldson.

Mr Donaldson last week said he was approached by the UUP on the issue but insists he never had any intention of rejoining a party he left in 2003. He has portrayed the exchange with the UUP as more of a conversation on achieving greater co-operation among unionists in Northern Ireland.

Have to suspect people will read into this from their own political perspective, key to the tale is the fact it was Beattie who issued the invitation, which was accepted.

Probably this has little impact on either party. But interesting nonetheless.  

Restrictions over… for the moment February 28, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Well, today is the day almost all restrictions lifted.

What remains?

The requirement to isolate after a positive Covid-19 case remains in place.

Government advice for people over the age of 13, is to wear a medical grade mask or FFP2 for 10 days after positive result, whereas children between the ages nine to 12 should wear a well-fitted standard mask for 10 days.

There is no change to the current measures regarding international travel, including the requirement for a Digital Covid Certificate.

I’ve been out and about a lot more this last month or so but with the necessary caveats for vulnerable family members. At this stage the pandemic is containable, or at a level that suggests that it is nowhere close to overwhelming hospitals and health systems, and that the most severe outcomes have been significantly, massively, blunted by the vaccines.

These are great things. But Andrew Flood mentions one key aspect – those working health who for two years now have been put through the wringer…

Mentioned before, late last year while in for a minor procedure in the Mater I was talking to a nurse who had been on the frontline the previous Winter. The view expressed was deep concern that that would recur. Thankfully it didn’t. But the scope for variants remains, and those in a health system already stretched far too thinly deserve better than the build-up of delayed operations and procedures from the pandemic period.

And keeping in mind that so many are still vulnerable is key, isn’t it? What do people think?

Left Archive: The Irish Republic, The United States and the Iraq War, Allen and Coulter, Irish Anti-War Movement, 2003 February 28, 2022

Posted by leftarchivist in Uncategorized.
add a comment

To download please click on the following link:


Many thanks to the person who scanned and forwarded this to the Archive. It is of considerable significance as the first document from the Irish Anti-War Movement in the Archive. The IAWM was one of the organisations responsible for one of the largest marches held in Ireland in recent times, in February 2003, where over 100,000 people marched against the Iraq War.

This pamphlet by Kieran Allen and Dr. Colin Coulter offers an excoriating analysis of the moves to war and the response by the Irish state to that and its relationship with the United States. It is divided into ten chapters, including ‘Collusion and Cover-Up at Shannon’, ‘Official Explanations for Allowing the US Military to Use Shannon’, ‘The Meanings of Neutrality’ and ‘Absolving the Official Conscience – the Conduct of the War and Its Aftermath’.

The Introduction notes:

In the Irish Republic, in contrast, the realisation that the war on Iraq was spun out of half truths and outright lies has yet to produce a sustained political debate. While Irish journalists have covered extensively the unravelling of the case for war, they have done so in a manner that suggests that it is merely an item of foreign news that has little bearing upon the political life of the twenty six counties. In reality, however, the lies that have poured out of the imperial centres of Washington and London have a significance that is rather closer to home. The ongoing war in Iraq is, after all, one in which
the Irish Republic played a substantial ideological and material role. In spite of its public equivocation, the Irish government actually supported the illegal military assault upon the people of Iraq both in principle – that principle being the right of the United States to act however the hell it likes – and in practice – by ignoring the will of the Irish people and allowing tens of thousands of American troops to pass through Shannon airport. The escalating revelations concerning the fabrication of evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq exposes Irish foreign policy as even more iniquitous than
we had already suspected. In the last few months, the Irish government has not merely supported an illegal war but an illegal war that was manufactured out of barefaced lies.


It was against this particular backdrop that the steering committee of the Irish Anti- War Movement convened in early June to discuss how events had unfolded over the previous few weeks. It was agreed that the IAWM should seek to spark a public debate that would hopefully ensure that the Irish government would at last be called to account for the appalling manner in which it had handled the crisis over Iraq. One of the means towards this particular end that was devised was the compilation of a dossier that would chronicle the evasions, ambivalence and hypocrisy that have become the
hallmark of contemporary Irish foreign policy. Although the dossier was originally conceived as a fairly concise document, the body of evidence damning the Irish government turned out to be so substantial that it quickly grew and eventually weighed in at a hefty 15.000 words.

It concludes:

It is our view that most Irish people aspire to play an independent and progressive role in the world. The tens of thousands who turned out on February 15th this year provide as compelling proof of this as one could imagine. The authors of a genuinely antiimperialist Irish foreign policy will not course be the political class or the corporate media but rather the ordinary people living on this island. If Ireland is to play a part in the creation of a just and sustainable world we need a popular, vibrant and diverse movement implacably opposed to imperialism and war. It is hoped that the production of this pamphlet will make a small contribution to the life of that movement.

The various sections of the pamphlet analyse the issue in great detail, but of particular note is the Appendix with Summary of Key Recommendations:

■ the government apologises to the Dail and the Irish people for having misled them on the
scale and nature of US military activity at Shannon airport
■ the Dail foreign affairs committee thoroughly investigate the use of Shannon by the US military
and that it should call before it the Taoiseach and the Minster for Foreign Affairs
■ the Attorney General investigate immediately the breaches of domestic law that resulted
from the use of Shannon by the US military
■ the advice that the Attorney General gave the government on the legality of the Iraqi war
should be published in full and put before the Dail foreign affairs committee
■ the government immediately demands an explanation and apology from the US and UK governments
in relation to the fabrication of evidence of weapons of mass destruction
■ the government apologises to the Dail and the Irish people for having, inadvertently or otherwise,
misled them on the matter of weapons of mass destruction
■ the tradition of neutrality should be given legal status and enshrined in the Constitution
■ the government condemns the abuse of human rights laws by the US and UK military in Iraq
■ the government drops immediately all charges against those involved in direct actions at
Shannon airport and awards them full legal costs.

Latest RedC/Sunday Business Post poll February 27, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

A lot of news at the moment, and will get back to this during the week, but here’s the headline figures from RTÉ:

Fianna Fáil is enjoying an increase in support, a Business Post/Red C opinion poll has suggested.

The research indicates the party’s support has risen by two points to 17% since the last comparable poll on 30 January.

Sinn Féin is unchanged at 33%.

The poll suggests Fine Gael is down one point to 20%.

It was carried out online between the 18 and 23 February, sampled 1,001 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

The Business Post/Red C poll indicates Independents are unchanged at 11%, Labour is unchanged at 4% and the Social Democrats is down one at 4%.

The Green Party is down one at 5% while People Before Profit-Solidarity is up one at 3%.

Aontú is unchanged at 2%, others are unchanged at 1%.

Paddy Murray February 27, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Sorry to hear of the death of Paddy Murray, journalist, former editor of the Sunday Tribune (2003-2005) and columnist in the IT in more recent years. I never met the man, but enjoyed his columns in the IT particularly when they gave an insight into some extremely serious health conditions, including Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and COPD (it was striking how when he reflected on the danger to him from Covid-19 in the comments section below the line there would be dogs abuse. Shameful stuff). And it was very moving to see the affection he had for his family. There’s an overview of his life here.

Sunday and other stupid media statements of this week February 27, 2022

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

From this mornings Sunday Independent…

Some people like to pretend there was no real hardship associated with mandated masks and other Covid-related restrictions, and that getting bored from watching too much Netflix wasn’t comparable to the horrors previous generations have suffered.

Who are the some who believe there were no real hardship associated with at least some ‘Covid-related restrictions’ though opinions over masks differed?

From the same stable during the week, consider the framing of the following headline:

Half a century on, the sheer senselessness of IRA’s Aldershot massacre hasn’t faded


Today is the 50th anniversary of the IRA bomb at the Aldershot base of the British Paratroopers in Hampshire, just 50 kilometres from London.

And in a week where SF called for the expulsion of the Russian ambassador, Lucinda Creighton can’t help but also frame matters in a certain way:

The hard left in Europe continuously and provocatively speak of alleged “Nato expansionism”. We have heard it in Ireland from Sinn Féin and People Before Profit, and from Mick Wallace and Clare Daly the MEPs who, in a previous life, were advocates for transparency and accountability.

All other contributions welcome.

Musical preferences February 26, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I find this deeply unconvincing. A study from University of Cambridge on musical preferences which argues ‘music could play a greater role in overcoming social division’. It claims:

Research involving more than 350,000 participants from over 50 countries and six continents has found that links between musical preferences and personality are universal.

And here’s more:

Ed Sheeran’s song Shivers is as likely to appeal to extraverts living in the UK as those living in Argentina or India.

Those with neurotic traits in the US are as likely to be into Nirvana’s Smells like Teen Spirit as people with a similar personality living in Denmark or South Africa.

Agreeable people the world over will tend to like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, or Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Shallow.

National borders cannot stop open people from replaying David Bowie’s Space Oddity or Nina Simone.

It does not matter where a conscientious person lives, they are unlikely to enjoy Rage Against the Machine …


Across the world, without significant variation, the researchers found the same positive correlations between extraversion and contemporary music; between conscientiousness and unpretentious music; between agreeableness and mellow and unpretentious music; and between openness and mellow, contemporary, intense and sophisticated music.

Don’t all these labels seem deeply subjective?

Here’s the methodology:

How the study worked

Greenberg and his colleagues used two different musical preference assessment methods to assess an unprecedented number of participants living in more than 50 countries.

The first required people to self-report the extent to which they liked listening to 23 genres of music as well as completing the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) and providing demographic information.

The second used a more advanced approach and asked participants to listen to short audio clips from 16 genres and subgenres of Western music on the musicaluniverse.io website and then give their preferential reactions to each.

The researchers focused on Western music primarily because it is the most listened to globally and results based on Western music offer the strongest potential to be applied in real-world and therapeutic settings globally.

The researchers used the MUSIC model, a widely accepted framework for conceptualizing musical preferences, which identifies five key musical styles:

  • Mellow’ (featuring romantic, slow, and quiet attributes as heard in soft rock, R&B, and adult contemporary genres)
  • Unpretentious’ (uncomplicated, relaxing, and unaggressive attributes as heard in country genres)
  • Sophisticated’ (inspiring, complex, and dynamic features as heard in classical, operatic, avant-garde, and traditional jazz genres)
  • Intense’ (distorted, loud, and aggressive attributes as heard in classic rock, punk, heavy metal, and power pop genres)
  • Contemporary’ (rhythmic, upbeat, and electronic attributes as heard in the rap, electronica, Latin, and Euro-pop genres)

I’m no great fan of Barbara Ellen in the Guardian but she does make a solid point here.

While the study doesn’t claim to be definitive, how strange to be allotted only one personality trait/genre each. It sounds like Colour Me Beautiful for music. “What sound best goes with my personality? Did you bring along swatches?” Certainly, back when I worked for the New Musical Express, journalists, musicians and readers alike resisted being wrangled into such rigid categories.


Most half-serious music fans would consider their tastes eclectic. Which seems more feasible than a distinct personality type exclusively cleaving to one genre, and this being faithfully replicated across the globe. The idea of, say, an English person, an Argentinian and a South African, separately thinking: “I feel alienated. I will signal that by performatively listening to Nirvana’s Nevermind. For ever!” To me, this is not how people are. This is not how music works.

I think that’s about right. Most people I know who are into music seem to like a range of genres. I’ve always enjoyed talking to outwardly strong heavy metal fans about the intricacies of Goth or some other genre that would seem to be clearly distinct from metal. And similarly with other fans who might like Jazz and Henry Rollins or whatever. It’s that  dislocation/unity of taste that makes for interest. It’s precisely why comments under the This Weekends I’ll Mostly Be Listening posts are so informative – because it widens the musical map.

And there’s so many factors above and beyond the music itself to consider. Ellen notes age, sex, background. Let’s throw in class, environment, access to music, broader context and whether local/folk styles are dominant or not and so on and so on.

There’s just so much. And in fairness to Ellen she notes another truth. Some people just don’t like music, aren’t interested in it and that’s entirely okay.

I’m all for analysis of music, the more the better, but rather than reductive approaches what I suspect are most useful are those that broaden the engagement.

2000 AD – 45 years ago today the first issue was published. February 26, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I didn’t get it, but friends of mine did and it had some currency in the weeks and months and years to come. Wonder whatever happened to it?

I’ve got to admit my favourite was Starlord, which later folded into it. And Action was amazing in its own way too. Genuinely subversive.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Augustus Pablo February 26, 2022

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
1 comment so far

Probably best known for his “King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown” album, Jamacian Dub Artist, Producer and Melodica player Augustus Pablo. What drew me to him was my son telling me how for everyone one of his college assignments , a particular lecturer also recommends music to listen to when doing it. I gather it’s always Reggae of some sort. The most recent project had “King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown” as the recommended listening!

Another response to the Russian attack… February 25, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

%d bloggers like this: