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Laois Local Studies: The Last Days of the Terror November 30, 2022

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The latest from Laois Local Studies and as Terry Dunne, Laois Historian-in-Residence, notes:

on the local news at the time of the Truce – a Hurler turned RIC man, an RIC man turned IRA man, the shooting of suspected spies, imprisonment & torture, and a fella who got a job seemingly by falsely claiming to be one of the workers expelled from Belfast.

This particular post reflect on a dark part of the shared histories on this island but as he notes ‘History is the questions we ask of the past not an unfiltered presentation of the past —it exists in our present. ‘. 


Any old nonsense will do… November 30, 2022

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And so it continues.

Twitter said it has stopped enforcing a policy intended to prevent the spread of Covid misinformation, as new owner Elon Musk, who has clashed previously with US officials over pandemic safety rules, continues to remake its content moderation policies.

The move comes after Mr Musk reinstated a slew of accounts on the social media network that had previously been banned for violating its content rules, such as that of former US president Donald Trump.

“Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the Covid-19 misleading information policy,” read a message posted on a Twitter transparency web page.


The Bruce Dickinson Fallacy… or… Remind us again how that Brexit thing is working out? November 30, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

A couple of straws in the wind. First up, there was this from last week.

The first major free trade agreement signed by Britain after Brexit has been branded a failure after new figures showed exports had fallen since it came into force.

Liz Truss signed a “historic” deal with Japan as trade secretary in October 2020, describing it as a “landmark moment for Britain”. It was claimed it would boost trade by billions of pounds and help the UK recover from the pandemic.


However, figures collated by the Department for International Trade show exports to Japan fell from £12.3bn to £11.9bn in the year to June 2022. Exports in goods fell 4.9% to £6.1bn and services fell 2% to £5.8bn.

Ouch. That’s got to hurt. And as the piece notes, this was meant to mitigate any loss of trade from within the single market. Mind you, the Labour Party response does not instil confidence. 

“The Conservatives have no trade policy worthy of the name and ministers are failing to stand up for UK interests in negotiations.

“This is making the huge economic damage they have caused even worse.”

How does one ‘stand up for UK interests in negotiations’ if those being negotiated with aren’t that interested in those interests? Why would Japan offer a better deal if the UK ‘stood up’ for itself? How has that worked with the EU? It smacks of the same misplaced boosterism that led to Brexit in the first place.

Also worthy of note is the following:

Apart from Russia, [the UK] will be the weakest performer of the world’s big economies next year, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 

Then from this week there’s this:

Most UK businesses have no interest in or understanding of the government’s flagship “Brexit freedoms” plan to scrap EU regulations, according to a survey of bosses.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said almost three-quarters of company directors were either unaware of the government plans or did not know the details. Across all business areas, about half in the survey of almost 1,000 firms said deregulation was either a low priority or not a priority at all.


William Bain, the head of trade policy at the BCC, which represents thousands of firms of all sizes across the country, said: “Businesses did not ask for this bill, and as our survey highlights, they are not clamouring for a bonfire of regulations for the sake of it.

Indeed, if anything quite the opposite:

“They don’t want to see divergence from EU regulations which makes it more difficult, costly or impossible to export their goods and services.”

And the current economic climate makes any such divergence worse for Britain.

The BCC said there was little appetite among firms for UK rules to diverge significantly from EU regulations, warning that too many differences would add to company costs at a time when businesses were already struggling with soaring inflation and other barriers to trade with the EU.

And this supposedly pressing issue?

The BCC said as few as 4% of businesses comprehensively understood the Brexit freedoms bill and its potential impact on them. When asked which regulations they would keep, amend, or remove completely, more than half (58%) said they had no preference.

Speaking of divergence, what to make of this?

Business groups have previously experienced tensions between the views of their members and leadership on Brexit. Ahead of the 2016 referendum, the BCC’s then director general, John Longworth, was suspended after suggesting Britain would be better off outside the EU despite two-thirds of members backing remain. Meanwhile, Lord Bamford, the chair of JCB, withdrew his firm’s membership of the CBI over the lobby group’s anti-Brexit stance.

What’s clear is how much this was an ideological project unhitched to the actual processes that function on a day to day basis. And let us turn to no better authority than Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden to demonstrate this is in miniature. For Dickinson famously (to some) revealed that he had voted for Brexit in 2016. But when it came to the nuts and bolts of his business and cultural pursuits he found that the reality was different to what he had envisaged. 

The Iron Maiden frontman, who previously revealed that he voted for the UK to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, told Sky Newsback in June that the UK government needed to “get your act together” in regards to UK musicians being able to tour in Europe post-Brexit.

His response to criticisms of his later stance are detailed in that link and need concern no-one overly much.

“It’s not us I’m concerned about, it’s the younger bands who don’t have the time to go through all the paperwork and all the nonsense and there should be a way of streamlining those things for all performers. Culturally, we’re all very close, and so I think it’s something that needs to be a work in progress.

“I think it’s people trying to score political points at a high level, disregarding the fact that people still live next door to one another and still want to visit each other. Yes, we will be economically different and yes, we will have a separate independent sovereign political leadership, which is what I voted for, but we still want to get along.”

Suffice it to say that he still seems to suffer from a lack of understanding that the material framework of his interactions would indeed change on foot of his vote and not necessarily in ways that he would find congenial. There was this thing, what was it called, oh yes, mentioned above, called the Single Market, which facilitated less paperwork and ‘all the nonsense’ and remarkably also ‘streamlined those things’ for all ‘performers’. But he can’t quite own up to that.
In a way we could term this the Bruce Dickinson Fallacy. He gets it, at least on one level, that Brexit in practice has driven a coach and four through his ability to play music in the EU, but he continues to state that somehow the outworking of that which he himself wanted is unreasonable.


Dickinson is one person with essentially a single problem in relation to this. Britain is a state with multiple ones. That Bruce Dickinson fallacy is going to continue to be trouble.  

What you want to say – 30th November 2022 November 30, 2022

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

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

Behold a billionaires idea of a ‘centrist’. November 29, 2022

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Ron DeSantis? Really?

SF down: That latest SBP/RedC poll November 29, 2022

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Quite a head scratcher the latest SBP/Red C poll. As noted in comments at the weekend it showed an interesting divergence from previous polls. As RTÉ reported:

Sinn Féin’s support has dropped by four points, after more than a year of strong polling results.

The survey also suggests that Fine Gael has increased its support by three points and is significantly ahead of Fianna Fáil which lies in third place.

The poll puts Sinn Féin on 31%, down four, but Fine Gael on 24%, which is up three.

Fianna Fáil is down one at 15% support.

As Paul Cullotty noted in comments, implausible – surely, that the transfer of support was between SF and FG. But consider the situation of other parties.

Green Party support is up marginally to 5% – up one.

Both Labour Party and the Social Democrats are unchanged at 4%.

People Before Profit / Solidarity is unchanged at 3%, while Aontú is up one at 2%.

Independents are unchanged at 11%.

Bear in mind the MOE is 3%. 

What did the SBP itself have to make of this? Richard Colwell of RedC argues that:

In recent weeks however, press for Sinn Féin has turned more forensic and perhaps more negative. The links between the party and Jonathan Dowdall, charged for his part in the gangland murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel, are constantly in the news at present.

This more negative period of press coverage for the party has dampened Sinn Féin’s first-preference support. After a record high of 36 per cent in early summer 2022, the autumn saw the party drop back slightly and today support has fallen again to 31 per cent of the vote. While this is a drop of five percentage points in just two months, Sinn Féin does remain the most supported party by some distance. However, it does also suggest that the exceptionally high levels seen in recent months may not be sustainable in the run-up to the election.

It seems a bit soon for such a dynamic to take effect. The reports on the trial really came to the fore just before the weekend. But perhaps there’s a broader mood music playing in. Not least the budget which has seemed to on some fronts, though notably not housing, taken some of the heat of the government. Interestingly Colwell argues that there’s no beneficiary of the falling SF support – it’s going to the undecideds. Oddly he notes that FG’s rise might be a result of ‘having benefited from its hardened stance about going into government with Sinn Féin in recent weeks and heavy coverage during the poll of its Ard Fheis.’ But surely that’s implausible too – since the falls are in SF and FG is unlikely to pick up voters from that quarter. More likely is a settling across the parties with some votes going back to FG and some leaving SF. We can, I think, disregard both Aontú and the GP’s increases.

All that said, and it’s been stated here for quite some time, even SF’s very high ratings hitherto do not mean that it is set to lead the next government. And any support it loses in advance of the election has significant implications on government formation both for it and for other parties. So then, the future is clear as mud. As usual. 

Free speech November 29, 2022

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Funny to see the self-professed ‘free speech absolutist’ all but demanding that Apple advertise on Twitter. For yes:

“Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?,” Mr Musk said in a tweet. He later tagged Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook’s Twitter account in another tweet, asking “what’s going on here?”

But if free speech means anything at all surely the right not to exercise it on a, let’s not forget, commercial platform is as important as the right to exercise it. Not that Apple is some paragon of virtue in this or any other area. But it is amusing to see the absolutist unable to understand what actual freedom of speech is. Or as one commentor noted on RTÉ:


Sarah Roberts, an information studies expert at University of California, Los Angeles, said that “Musk didn’t understand that Twitter itself was a brand, had cachet”.

“Now companies don’t even want to be associated with it. It’s not even that they worry about the content. Twitter is a tainted brand, a brand non grata companies don’t want to be associated with,” she added.


An armed force? November 28, 2022

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Our beloved Taoiseach to be has offered another dog whistle/gaffe… as reported in the Examiner.

Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have ruled out arming rank-and-file gardaí after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he would back an armed force if Garda Commissioner Drew Harris requested it.

Weekend comments by Mr Varadkar have drawn opposition from his fellow Government leaders, coalition TDs, and Garda representative associations, who made it clear there is no appetite for such a move.

In the wake of a spate of attacks on gardaí, including a vicious assault on two officers in Dublin, the Tánaiste was asked if he thought the State needs an armed force. He said he would say “absolutely yes” and would not block a move to arm gardaí if asked by Mr Harris.

What of Garda representatives? 

Brendan O’Connor, president of the Garda Representative Association, said that while his organisation is not in favour of routine arming of uniformed gardaí, it has consistently called for greater availability of armed personnel to be called upon when required.

“We believe there should be a capability to deploy armed personnel from within existing district and divisional resources to complement the current armed support unit model in order to help us protect ourselves and the public without having to resort to a fully-armed force,” he said.

So presumably just a rhetorical feint in a direction no-one actually wishes to go and yet sends a message to certain pools of FG voter support. 

On Ukraine November 28, 2022

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Noted on Tomás O Flaharta the audio is now available from the Irish Left With Ukraine public meeting held last week. You can hear it here on Independent Left or here too.

As noted by Conor Kostick:

On 21 November 2022 Irish Left With Ukraine – a campaign of anarchists, socialists and trade unionists united in support of the left in Ukraine – organised a solidarity meeting at the Teachers Club in Dublin. The chair of the meeting was Nóirín Greene, former executive member of the ICTU and the speakers were (in order of how they appear in this Irish socialist podcast version of the event) David Joyce, ICTU International Officer; Seamus Dooley (NUJ, guest speaker) and Yulia Yurchenko, Ukrainian socialist.

So much of the left in Ireland and internationally has a blind spot when it comes to listening to the voice of the left in Ukraine. But not to do so is to violate a fundamental principal of activism from below: nothing about us, without us. Taking a position on the war in Ukraine without listening to what the left in Ukraine are saying would be like taking a position on a strike without listening to any of the strikers. Here’s a chance to listen to an English language account of a socialist who is part of Sotsіalniy Rukh (SR; The Social Movement).

When did meeting avowed white supremacists become acceptable… November 28, 2022

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Apparently it’s a-ok when it’s a certain D. Trump. Indeed the media notes that he ‘shied away from criticising’ one N. Fuentes.

Donald Trump repeatedly refused to disavow the outspoken antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes after they spoke over dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort, rejecting the advice from advisers over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said.”

The former US president was urged publicly and privately to denounce Fuentes in the aftermath of the dinner, which included the performer Ye, previously known as Kanye West, who has also recently been propagating antisemitic remarks.


But Trump eschewed making outright disavowals of Fuentes, the people said, and none of the statements from the campaign or on his Truth Social account included criticism of Fuentes, despite efforts from advisers who reached Trump over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Then we are treated to this analysis, which given its subject tells us much.


Trump ultimately made clear that he fundamentally did not want to criticise Fuentes – a product of his dislike of confrontation and his anxiety that it might antagonise a devoted part of his base – and became more entrenched in his obstinance the more he was urged to do so.

Who you may ask is Fuentes? And what does he believe? This sort of stuff.

How it is that any of those at this ‘dinner’ are considered at all seriously is a mystery.

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