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This week’s percentages: 0%, 0% and less than 33% October 31, 2022

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Telling this:

The Communist party has run China for 70 years, and in that time no woman has ever been a member of China’s Politburo Standing Committee, the small group that runs the country, much less led the party or been made president or premier.

Today under Xi, the CCP took a step back, also eliminating women from the next level of power too, the now 24-member Politburo. The new all-male line-up was revealed the day Xi formally extended his rule for a further five years, after the closing of the 20th Communist party congress in Beijing.


Since 1997, there had always been at least one female Politburo member, and briefly two. A quota system required at least one woman in senior leadership at each level below that, contributing a small but steady stream of candidates.


The CCP has nearly 100 million members, but less than a third of the rank and file are women, and the numbers thin out, the higher up its ranks you climb.

Almost 700 women live in China.

Parity of esteem… 1 October 31, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thanks to Tomboktu for noting this.

A QUEEN’S University law professor has faced “a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment over several years”, it was claimed last night.

The KRW law firm issued a statement relating to a complaint over the use of a university logo on a study.

DUP leader Sir Jeffery Donaldson raised concerns about a pending publication by Professor Colin Harvey with the university’s vice-chancellor Ian Greer.

The Lagan Valley MP is objecting to the inclusion of Queen’s logo in the study by Prof Harvey and barrister Mark Bassett called Making the Case for Irish Unity in the EU.


The statement issued by KRW said approval for the use of the university logo “was explicitly sought in advance and was definitively authorised, by the appropriate authority in QUB”.

It added that: “In particular, and following a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment over several years, we expect the university to issue a definitive public statement in support of Professor Colin Harvey and thus acknowledge his significant contribution to research, education and administration over decades.

It is telling that arguing for a United Ireland – a constitutional outcome entirely as legitimate as arguing for the continuation of the Union is met by a response from political unionism and others that is entirely at odds with the dispensation brought about by the GFA/BA. Look at the examples from various individuals on social media to Professor Harvey’s work. Dispiriting is the best that could be said about them. 

Left Archive: Newsletter, Workers and Unemployed Action, c2014 October 31, 2022

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To download the above please click on the following link:

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to IEL of Irish Election Literature for forwarding this to the Archive.

This is the first document we have posted up from Workers and Unemployed Action. The WUA was established in 1985 by Séamus Healy who is a former member of the League for A Worker’s Republic. He was elected to Clonmel Borough Council in 1985 and in 2000 was elected to Dáil Éireann as a TD for Tipperary South where he topped the poll at a by-election. He was returned there at the 2002 General election but lost his seat in 2007. When the constituency was merged with Tipperary North in the new Tipperary constituency he won in 2011 and 2016, only losing his seat in 2020. The WUA ran and won seats on South Tipperary County Council, Tipperary County Council and Clonmel Borough Council. It currently has one councillor, Pat English, elected to Tipperary County Council. The WUA was part of the United Left Alliance and later Right2Change.

This is very much a constituency oriented leaflet, positioned for the 2014 and announcing three candidates, Pearl Sheehan, Pat English and Martina Maher. The leaflet criticises the then Fine Gael/Labour coalition. It notes dole queues in the constituency. There are pieces on the Post Office network and a focus on South Tipperary General Hospital. The leaflet also makes a direct attack on the Labour Party arguing that it ‘sells out workers’.

There are also quotes from government Ministers, including the Taoiseach and Tánaiste from prior to them joining government criticising taxation of homes and water. Note the colours of the WUA symbol on the last page which are those of County Tipperary.

Fortnightly Culture Thread 30/10/2022 October 30, 2022

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gregtimo proposed in comments recently the idea of a Culture Thread.

It’s a great idea. Currently culture is a bit strange, but people read, listen to music, watch television and film and so on – spread the net wide, sports, activities, interests, all relevant – and any pointers are always welcome. And it’s not just those areas but many more. Suggestions as to new or old things, events that might have been missed, literally anything.

Sunday and Other Media Stupid Statements from this Week… October 30, 2022

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

Banging a certain drum… 

The Hate Crime Bill, which was finally published last week, looks set to be Helen McEntee’s legacy, as the smoking ban was Micheál Martin’s. The real question is whether it’s a legacy worth having. History rarely remembers those who criminalise free speech as the good guys.

Steady on there, Simon Jenkins (from the Guardian)…

Britain has spent six months tormenting itself in full worldview. History may now pause its judgment. All democracies make mistakes, not least one currently enjoying Britain’s discomfort, the United States. The test of a democracy is not that it avoids mistakes but that it can correct them. The discrediting of Johnson and the downfall of Truss have taken little more than a year. It took the US four to rid itself of Donald Trump.



Stephen Collins in the IT is far too generous to the Tories:

Sanity prevailed in the Conservative Party with the election of Rishi Sunak as the new prime minister in place of Liz Truss. The big question is whether a similar outbreak of common sense will manifest itself on the arguably more fundamental issue of the UK’s relations with the EU.

After Johnson and Truss, Britain gets Sunak? That is the definition of ‘sanity prevailing’? 


Speaking of the Tories, Finn Redmond in the IT has this:

The United Kingdom cannot rid itself of its fascination with the nation’s prodigal son. So the question — what makes Boris Johnson tick? — will be interrogated, teased apart, obsessed over in the history books for years to come. But there are some impossible-to-ignore qualities that underpin his curious political immortality.He owes much to his obsession with the classics, something that gives way to his unique capacity for rhetorical grandstanding. His mode of communication is informed by his lodestar, the Athenian general Pericles; his words echo the Republican orator Cicero, stripped of all the genuine virtue; the literary symbol of Roman destiny, Aeneas, must arouse something in him too.

Is that a fact? 



Looks like a SBP/RedC poll out this evening October 29, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

To judge from this post on the SBP website today which one presumes was posted early in error. And it would appear to mirror the recent IT/Ipsos poll to judge from the following:

While Fine Gael has rebounded by 3 percentage points in this poll, no similar gains were seen for either Fianna Fáil or the Green Party, both of whom record marginal declines in support of one percentage point each. This means overall the government parties have seen a small increase in support, while at the same time Sinn Féin retains a near-record share of support despite unprecedented handouts by the government in the budget.

Anyhow, this is perhaps less than it seems since it would bring the FG figures into line with other polls from other sources in the recent past. Useful to see the full poll though.

Eventually everyone in Iceland will write a Nordic noir… October 29, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…to judge from the latest news.

Reykjavík, published to promising reviews in Iceland this week, is a crime novel with a difference – it was written by the prime minister, albeit with the help of one of the country’s international bestselling authors.

“I think every politician needs to have something to take his or her mind from the daily business of politics,” said Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who is on her second term as Iceland’s prime minister. “And I’ve been reading crime fiction all my life, so it’s kind of in my DNA.”

And the piece notes that it’s far from alone in terms of thrillers written by political leaders.

Bill Clinton teamed up with James Patterson to co-write The President is Missing in 2018, followed by The President’s Daughter.

In Norway the former justice minister Anne Holt successfully channelled her experiences into a crime series translated into 25 languages, while in the UK the peers Jeffrey Archer and Michael Dobbs have both made fortunes from their literary endeavours.

I read the Clinton/Patterson opus. I don’t want to read another. Archer wrote amazingly flat thrillers – I remember reading one and wondering how he was so popular. Dobbs was a different kettle of fish. 

Not all are rooted in crime. 


In France, nine members of Emmanuel Macron’s first cabinet were published authors. Not all politicians’ books do well, though. Winston Churchill’s only novel, Savrola: A Tale of the Revolution in Laurania, garnered poor reviewsnot least from the author. “I have consistently urged my friends to abstain from reading it,” he wrote in his 1930 autobiography.

But the political thriller – something discussed on the CLR is of particular interest when written by politicians. Any good examples out there people can think of?

SOFIA observatory October 29, 2022

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Leafing through Airliner World (I do it so you don’t have to) I was much taken by an article on the SOFIA Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy project which came to an end this last month. This was an infrared telescope mounted within a specially modified 747SP jet which was in use from 2010 to this year. A collaborative effort between NASA and the German Aerospace Centre it really is a quite remarkable operation.

On December 18, 2009, the SOFIA aircraft performed the first test flight in which the telescope door was fully opened. This phase lasted for two minutes of the 79-minute flight. SOFIA’s telescope saw first light on May 26, 2010, returning images showing M82‘s core and heat from Jupiter‘s formation escaping through its cloud cover.[31] Initial “routine” science observation flights began in December 2010[14] and the observatory was slated for full capability by 2014 with about 100 flights per year.[8][30]

Since 2011, SOFIA missions were chosen amongst several proposals. Successful missions were scheduled according to yearly cycles, with the first cycle corresponding to 2013. During each cycle, the aircraft and instruments were shared between a few different missions.[32]

The astrophysics decadal survey for the 2020’s recommended that NASA end SOFIA operations by 2023. “The survey committee has significant concerns about SOFIA, given its high cost and modest scientific productivity,” the report stated.[33]

A pity that last. 

There’s something undeniably impressive about a 747SP with a square section taken out of the side of the aircraft. 

This Weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… The Three Johns October 29, 2022

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About seventeen years ago I first dipped my toes online – deciding to sign up on Politics.ie. Whether that was a good idea, given that led to here – well, as the old saying goes, still too soon to tell. But anyhow, the first issue was what username would I take. While I remember vividly the whole process, it was one Saturday afternoon, I’ve no particular memory of whether I took long to fix on a username. I tend to think not because I can’t think of any alternatives – WorldbyStorm, the name of a song and an album by English group The Three Johns (at least in its full title World By Storm), I think came to me almost immediately. Ironic, I mean have you met me? I’m not likely to take the world by storm – but it was still intrinsically political. Additionally through the Three Johns link also positioned, albeit a bit anonymously, in the general left libertarian political area. Perfect. I’ve never had reason to stop using that username, and as this thread here from 2007 notes, consistency of use is as good in my book as using one’s actual name.

The Three Johns were named for their three members: vocalist John Hyatt, guitarist Jon Langford and bassist Phillip ‘John’ Brennan (for drums they used a drum machine).

Mal, sometimes of this parish, pointed me in the direction of an entertaining book by John Robb of the Membranes, entitled Death to Trad Rock, which makes a pretty convincing argument that one can bring together a disparate range of groups in Britain and Ireland – for Stump are included, into a category of post-post-punk. These include luminaries such as The Wedding Present, A Witness, Bogshed and Big Flame. And in amongst this scene are The Three Johns (coincidentally I was very active in the SU of a certain Dublin based academic institution and we brought Robb and the Membranes in to headline a gig in the Cathedral club around 1988. Very impressive they were too. I recall meeting Robb in passing. What was clear at the time, and ever after, has been his almost single minded fascination with and dedication to music. I can’t say I loved the Membranes on record, though registering to them recently I found them entertaining, but live they were superb. Anyhow I’ve been enjoying reading up about groups I had a hazy knowledge of, if at all, and some of them are something else).

I’m not sure how I heard of the group first. I’ve an idea it was on the late lamented Capital Radio which definitely played Death of the European and Torches of Liberty regularly. Then I borrowed a couple of EP’s – I vividly recollect hearing Lucy in the Rain and Pink Headed Bug on vinyl. What impressed me as much as the music was that these guys were political. And in a way that I really liked.

Socialists, albeit not aligned with parties, and with a very strong dash of anarchism in there. Reading an interview with Hyatt in Death to Trad Rock the strands are multiple, from family backgrounds, Marxist and other influences at college and the general political weather of the early to mid-1980s. And their music was infused by their political stance. Songs like Torches of Liberty, Death of the European and Atom Drum Bop were infused by political commentary. Funnily enough I always thought ‘Pink Headed Bug’, sample lyric – ‘I was a pink headed bug crawling up the side of the civic hall’, came from a 1980s protest. Not a bit of it, the lyric is from Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely. The last video below is from a CND/NME video put out in 1989 to raise funds for CND and the campaign against Trident. And also included is an interview with them and the Redskins. This is characteristic of their approach – one where they participated in and supported campaigns and protests – the Miners strike in particular.

They weren’t alone – at least on the political side. The Redskins, Easterhouse and others were avowedly political. And many groups nodded towards the times during that period. But for me it was and remains The Three Johns whose music really managed to cohere as a political group.

Yet while grimly ironic they were never humourless. And the sound, a joyous clattering – heavy basslines, sharply treble guitars, keening vocals and insistent percussion. And a sound that was perhaps unexpectedly tuneful despite the angularity of the music. Robert Christgau once ventured the opinion that they might be envious of the Sisters of Mercy, who were contemporaries and who I believe they gigged with early on. It’s odd, I do think there was a certain hint of goth in there and it’s not simply the use of the drum machine. But they took it in a starkly different direction. Andrew Eldritch’s political referencing in his lyrics, particularly on the second and third Sisters albums were on point but abstracted and detached. Von Eldritch was a cynical observer loftily above the fray. The Three Johns by contrast collided lyrics and concepts – pushing together the personal and the political in ways that placed them and their thoughts as active participants in the struggles they described. That they could write a genuinely soulful verse and chorus was perhaps partly a function of the Mekons influence at one remove. Or perhaps just the way the three of them worked together. Lucy in the Rain has that goth adjacent sound down perfectly. Perhaps this is Robb’s post-post-punk. Then again Teenage Nightingales To Wax has a fair bit of Birthday Party in its DNA.

What’s intriguing to me is that I’ve never been overly fond of shambolic music of this sort. The Birthday Party, for example, always left me a bit cold. But perhaps it was the use of samples (or sample like sounds), the overtly political stance and the fact it was one I could identify with so strongly, the humour, or the sheer tunefulness of the songs. They were never afraid of melody even if you had to dig to find it. And one just knows that in a parallel universe they would be having hits aplenty. But the body of work they have left is its own justification (and as far as I know they’re still gigging sporadically).

Pink Headed Bug

Lucy in the Rain

The World By Storm

Atom Drum Bop

Teenage Nightingales to Wax

Death of the European

Torches of Liberty

English White Boy Engineer

King Car

Dr. Freedom

Never and Always

Whistle Test 1984: The Redskins and The Three Johns

John Halstead Memorial Lecture  October 28, 2022

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Dr Emmet O’Connor will deliver the John Halstead Memorial Lecture on the topic of Jim Larkin, the Irish socialist and trade union leader

Sat, 29 October 2022, 14:30 – 15:30 BST

Dr Emmet O’Connor will deliver the annual lecture of the Society for the Study of Labour History (SSLH) in honour of John Halstead (1936- 2021).  For the majority of attendees this will be an online event. A Zoom link will be circulate a few days before the event.

John Halstead was one of the earliest members of the Society for the Study of Labour History. For over six decades John occupied nearly every post within the Society, contributing his time and expertise to serve as editor, chair, secretary and latterly vice-president. He was much admired and the Society misses his smiling face, institutional memory of Society matters and his encyclopaedic knowledge .

Dr Emmet O’Connor is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ulster. He has written extensively on Irish labour history and recent publications include: ‘Greater son: James Larkin Junior, 1904-1969′ (2020); ‘In Spanish Trenches’: The Mind and Deeds of the Irish Who Fought for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War (co-authored with Barry McLoughlin, 2020) and the first full length biography of Jim Larkin, ‘Big Jim Larkin: Hero or Wrecker’ (2015). Emmet was a personal friend of John’s and the Society is delighted he has agreed to deliver this memorial lecture.

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