keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
Immediately before the election we had a statement in which the loyalist paramilitaries endorsed the DUP and now we are to be governed by a junta consisting of the Tories and these paramilitary-endorsed fascists with, worse yet, the UK about to leave the European Union and so all checks and balances on this radical right-wing rabble about to be removed. I knew this election was going to be painful but Jesus actual Christ. Happy now leave voters, you complete and absolute bastards?! If the reaction of the so-called "Republican Movement" to the British government openly realigning itself with sectarian paramilitaries is anything but any and every means of opposition then blood will be on their traitorous, collaborationist hands as much as any UVF or UFF death squad.

I'll attempt to console myself with the thought that this fragile alliance with a micro-majority is unlikely to last very long and that the hateful Theresa May is on borrowed time but right now I am about as disgusted as I've ever been.

But deep in the heart of Ireland has sunk the sense of the degradation wrought upon its people – our lost brothers and sisters – so deep and humiliating that no agency less potent than the red tide of war on Irish soil will ever be able to enable the Irish race to recover its self-respect, or establish its national dignity in the face of a world horrified and scandalised by what must seem to them our national apostasy.


James Connolly, Notes on the Front (1916)
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
One of the few half-decent legacies of the outpouring of bollocks that accompanied the centenary of the Easter Rising is the Belfast finally has a statue of James Connolly to call its own. I've passed it plenty of times on the bus on my way to the match but, until today, I hadn't actually viewed it in the flesh. Still, here it is for all to enjoy.



Long overdue. Heck even Chicago has had one for years and the Americans are so right-wing that they label bloodthirsty capitalist monsters like the Clintons as leftists. Still everyone's a critic and I'm no exception. Inevitably it reflects the hobby horses of the modern "republican" movement so there's a whole bit about the Irish language tacked on to make sure it gels with Sinn Fein's only policy these days (seriously, since becoming leader has Michelle O'Neill done anything apart from witter on endlessly about Erse whilst standing around looking like a hot milly?). Given Connolly's at-best lukewarm reception to the Gaelic movement and his actual preference for Esperanto it seems rather irrelevant but I suppose the Sinners aren't going to include expositions of syndicalism while they were busy administering Tory rule. But I digress.

One other thing - is it just me or does the way the statue is modelled make him look like he was about four and a half tall? OK, photographic evidence suggests he was by no means tall (although Jim Larkin was a huge man for his time) but equally he looked about average otherwise and had a stocky build from his years of soldiering whereas the statue has him like a wee scrawny leprechaun. OK, it's in west Belfast and I know blokes are smaller up there (I'm about 6'3" or so but I feel like a seven footer on the Falls sometimes) but let's aim for accuracy. Mind you, I'm sure I could have done a lot better, I don't think.

Still either way, notwithstanding the tacked on Irishian stuff or his tiny, frail body it's good to at last have a statue of Irish republicanism's best ever adherent in my own town and I'll proudly salute my comrade when I pass. Well, something good had to come out of last year, didn't it?!
keresaspa: (James Connolly)
When it comes to the supposed end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland there are a number of people who, regardless of my personal opinion of everything else they have done, can claim a share of the credit for the events. John Hume, Seamus Mallon, Gerry Adams, Father Alec Reid, Rev Roy Magee, Archbishop Robin Eames, Chris Hudson, Albert Reynolds, John Major, Peter Brooke, Mo Mowlam, Gusty Spence, David Ervine, Billy Hutchinson, Gary McMichael, Joe English and Ray Smallwoods can all legitimately claim to have played a role. As admittedly can Martin McGuinness, despite my well-documented hatred for the man. Yet one person who can claim no role whatsoever in Elizabeth Windsor and yet the self-same Martin McGuinness is now praising her for apparently being the leader of the peace process.

It is one of the paradoxes of Ulster loyalism that it is based on blind obedience to the United Kingdom and yet is equally based on the deliberate flouting of that country's legal system. The way most loyalists reconcile this paradox is to insist that their loyalty is purely to the Queen and not to any of her governments and therefore they can be hardcore Brits but reject every British administration. As such the Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Freedom Fighters effectively existed at Her Majesty's pleasure and yet in near thirty years of loyalist activity never once did Lizzie speak out and say "I'd rather you didn't kill Fenians in my name, thanks lads". Say all you want about her having to stay above politics but innocent people were being killed by her devotees and if there was a way to influence that anybody with a shred of humanity would have spoken up instead of the deafening silence the old bat always maintained. And yet McGuinness, a man who still occasionally claims to be a republican, has the unmitigated gall to make his recent comments.

It doesn't take a genius to see where all this gradual shift towards monarchism is leading - Sinn Fein taking the oath of allegiance at Westminster. It would hardly be a shock given that they are already junior partners in a collaborationist government but it would be the final nail in the coffin of Sinn Fein as any sort of Irish republican party and the final part of their conversion into a long-term reunification, right-leaning nationalistic party that is happy to work with the same people they labelled occupiers not so long ago. The bitterest pill to swallow is that McGuinness' Petain-esque behaviour no longer causes any ripples and, far from inspiring outrage in the republican grass-roots, will probably see Sinn Fein top the polls in the European and local elections next month.

I guess I'm the one who has the problem as everybody else seems perfectly happy for Irish republicanism to be dead and collaborationism to be the order of the day but it's a sorry state of affairs when history is rewritten and principle negated just to ensure a very greedy man can continue to get his big money and his little bit of power. What's that rumble? James Connolly turning over in his grave.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
So in the biggest shock since Barney Bear grabbed a roll of Andrex and said "I'm just off to the woods for a bit" it seems that Martin McGuinne$$ has agreed to shake the hand of his paymaster, no doubt doing his usual grinning like a ninny act the whole time. About as inevitable as it is possible to be that the former leader of the Provisional IRA, a man who made his name in seeking by force of arms to drive the British out of Ireland (through blowing up bus station patrons and other dangerous hard cases), is now happy to shake hands with the titular head of the war machine he once opposed. We're told that it's great, that we have this marvellous shared future to look forward to of swingeing cuts, rampant unemployment and what little money there is being blown on vanity projects but pardon me if I am unimpressed by it all. The implication of McGuinness and his Sinn Fein cohorts is that everything that went before in republicanism is now null and void and that, in the ultimate expression of a Whig interpretation of history, the revolutionary actions of his antecedents were all leading to the glorious present where we can bask in the glory of a coalition of idiots ballsing the place up and so-called republicans endorsing the rule of loyalist supporters like Peter Robinson and Nelson McCausland and idiots like Edwin Poots. It's as if McGuinness and his ilk are saying that the action undertaken from Wolfe Tone to the ceasefire was simply immaturity and that all they need to do is sit around in a permanent, money-spinning rightist coalition with the DUP waiting on one side breeding enough to make it 50%+1 and then we can slip quietly into a unification with the Irish Republic and swap The Tories for Fine Gael. Whoop-de-doo! Surely the point of republicanism was a radical new Ireland in the grand traditions of James Connolly, not endorsing monarchy for years until there are enough Fenians that we can switch over to being part of a failed capitalist state that is effectively owned by the European Union. The time has come for Sinn Fein to take their seats in Westminster because they way they are acting now they might as well declare themselves as the same monarchist party that they were when Arthur Griffith established them in 1905. Were people to turn against them as a result I would say it is worth it but unfortunately Sinn Fein have done such a number on the republican lumpen that if anything it will probably boost their support. Hell, Martin McGuinness could slip on Geri Halliwell's dress, Big Daddy's waistcoat and some prat's knickers and start singing "rebellious Scots to crush" and the Fenians would still vote for the bastard en bloc. Sickening.

But enough about that. I suppose I really should say something about that little football tournament that is going on. I did declare my support for Greece and they were eliminated but I must confess I didn't particularly care that they were as I still can't get into this tournament the way I usually do. Germany looked excellent and the 4-2 score flattered the Greeks enormously but I still feel that the Germans will blow it. If Joachim Löw was going to win a tournament he would have done it by now and let's face it the Greeks, who were surely the hairiest faced team to reach a finals tournament since Hungary and Canada's woolly cheeked squads of 1986, were really no challenge anyway. I've been saying it for a while in person so I will declare on here - whoever wins the game between England and Italy will at very least be finalists and might well be winners. You heard it here first.
keresaspa: (James Connolly)
Look before you leap )

ACAB

May. 27th, 2011 07:00 pm
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
If it's Friday and it's the big junction near the bottom of York Road it must be a bomb alert. I'm not sure what it is that makes that area ever so attractive to "suspect devices", bar the possible proximity to the Alexandra Bar, formerly the favourite hangout of the Shoukri brothers, but once again the area round Yorkgate shopping centre, where the careful shopper can stock up on cheap salmon, has attracted the supposed bombs.





Around 1974 a series of letters were sent to the press, purportedly from the Ulster Citizens Army, in which this supposed loyalist group claimed to have endorsed left-wing beliefs on paper headed with the starry plough emblem favoured by our own James Connolly. Rumours circulated that the Ulster Citizens Army was in fact the UVF under a different name and that they had adopted communism, a dirty word in the right-wing world of unionism and loyalism. Despite the fact that this was one of those rare occasions that the National Front had made the UVF their best mates over here (instead of their usual pals in the UDA) the rumours stuck and the UVF's attempts to organise their own Volunteer Political Party floundered before they had got off the ground. It subsequently turned out that the Ulster Citizens Army never existed and that the letters were the work of the dirty tricks department of the British Army as at that point a politicised UVF did not suit the government's agenda.

I mention all this because my own belief in the veracity of these bomb scares that keep cropping up is not really registering with me. At a time when Northern Ireland is preparing for the full brunt of the malevolent cuts from their DUP and Sinn Fein masters one would think that an easy way to save money would be to ditch some of the thousands and thousands of cops that the Troubles saddled this place with. If they need a place to start might I suggest the short-arsed little shit who stopped me entering Dock Street today. The sort of little turd who reckons himself a hard man because he is carrying a machine gun but whom you could destroy in a bar fight in ten seconds.

But what better way to keep these thugs in uniform in work than a slew of suspect devices, none of which has so far turned out to be an actual bomb? I'm not suggesting that the dissident republicans are nothing more than an establishment canard (although I do wonder for some of them) but isn't it also convenient that the same day the wife of our great dictator Peter Robinson is cleared of all shady dealings (despite the fact that the dogs in the street know she gave public money to her young lover) a bunch of "bombs" suddenly take top spot in the news? Another way to save money - stop all these pointless inquiries when the outcomes are decided in advance. If the state wasn't involved in the deaths of Rosemary Nelson and, as much as I was glad to see the back of him, Billy Wright then I'll eat my hat. A little bit too much nonsense going on to keep the establishment in work at the expense of everybody else if you ask me.
keresaspa: (Ivy the Terrible)
There is an old saying about living by the sword (no shit, Sherlock) so permit me if I shed no tears at the death of Eugène Terre'Blanche. He's had it coming for a long time so no sympathy from me!

However there are more important things than one less fascist in the world, as satisfying as that is, like Albion's seemingly inexorable charge to promotion. Despite some questionable recent results Leicester are the very definition of "no mugs" so to duff them up 3-0 remained a smashing result, with credit again due to Robert Koren on another of his superhuman performances. A shame for poor old Nigel Pearson, who made the best of a bad hand in his brief spell as caretaker after the glorious day when Bryan Robson was kicked out, but them's the breaks Nige and good luck in the play-offs anyway. Nice work by Bristol City too on taking a point from that wee git Billy Davies and his mob of tree huggers to leave Albion looking almost dead certs. Of course the title is almost definitely the property of Newcastle United but who cares really as the reward for second is the same and I want the comedy club to get promoted too, just for a laugh.

Fingers crossed that if and when Albion do go up they will do better than Burnley. I happened to catch their match yesterday and by God were they ever abysmal. I suppose it's to be expected when you build your defence around a dufus like Albion reject Brian Jensen but I can't remember seeing a team look so out of their depth in the top flight as Burnley did in the first half against City. OK one City player cost more than the entire Burnley squad but that is no excuse for complete capitulation. I should also point out that, whilst I suggested the Clarets looked a decent prospect to stay up in my annual predictions post, I was referring to Owen Coyle's Burnley rather than the current shamble under that mouth-breather Brian Laws. Coyle is a decent manager and I have no doubt that he will keep up a Bolton Wanderers side who were heading down hard under Gary (no longer 'the Ginger Mourinho') Megson but without him Burnley were always going to struggle whilst appointing a man who had just taken Sheffield Wednesday into the relegation zone of the division below and who is only known for brawling with Ivano Bonetti was suicidal. For me Laws, like Megson, is one of those crappy little managers in the Stan Ternent mould whose only tactic is a good smack in the eye, the sort who should have been driven out of the game long ago. As for Burnley, it is tough on their supporters who gave a good account of themselves, but under Laws there is only one way they can go.

And finally this being the time of year, let us take a minute to remember the gallant men of 1916 and the true message of Connolly.



And to all a happy Easter.
keresaspa: (Cynthia of Witching Hour fame)
Never being one to ignore a bandwagon I will now present that five questions meme that is doing the rounds, the questions in question having been donated by [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks:

1) Do you think there's still a place for a Marxist approach to economics?

Obviously to my mind there is and I personally think a lot less has changed between now and then. The only difference between capitalism in Marx's time and capitalism now is that the exploiter is less likely to be some local patrician factory owner lording it over his people and more likely to be a faceless multinational acting like a country. Admittedly there is a lot less actual industry and a lot more fairly pointless work these days but it still boils down to the same thing - exploitation, alienation and the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. Heck compare the money Katie Price has for doing nothing to the poor mares forced into sex slavery because of their status as illegal immigrants and tell me a radical overhaul of the whole rotten system is not a priority.

As to whether anybody will be able to convince the wider electorate of the need for a Marxist approach to economics I am fairly doubtful. If people didn't turn to Marxism after the whole banking fiasco then there is little hope that they will in the near future.

2) Who's your greatest hero from Irish history?

There are a number of names that could potentially be offered as the person I most admire from Irish history. They would include Wolfe Tone for recognising that the independence struggle was about real change rather than just changing government, Roger Casement for sacrificing his own fairly cushy position for his beliefs, Constance Markiewicz for being an inspiration to Irish women, James Larkin for his efforts in building a cross-community socialist unity, Liam Mellows for taking a final stand against the conservatism that was engulfing post-treaty Ireland, Frank Ryan for combining real leftist convictions with the knockabout adventurism that has endeared the Irish to the world, Seamus Costello for the last attempt at a revolutionary Ireland and the Ten for making the ultimate sacrifice against possibly the most fundamentally wicked British government in history. However the title of the greatest belongs to James Connolly as he combines great attributes of those already mentioned and more. He has left behind real attempts to develop a coherent Irish strand to Marxism and combined that with the grand old Irish tradition of glorious defeat and stoicism in the face of British brutality. No question, he is the top Irish hero for my money - what a shame that modern Ireland has moved so far away from the vision that he died for.

3) What is your favourite Edwige Fenech film?

Given that the plots in most of her films range from dire to non-existent I can only choose by other means. As such it is a tie between Samoa, Queen of the Jungle in which Edwige is the eponymous wild woman but still manages to inexplicably carry off a perfect late 60s hairdo or Case Of The Bloody Iris in which Edwige bears a passing facial resemblance to Nigella Lawson, a thought that will probably mean I never sleep again!

4) Bomber Brown or Super Bob Taylor?

Tough one. The Super One coincided with my teenage years when I was the only Albion fan in my school so he has a special place for me as a supporter given that he was about the only player recognised as being any good by other people. He also deserves a lot of credit for his second spell at the club when he helped Albion into the play-offs and helped to begin their conversion from second level also-rans to a yo-yo team (hey, progress is progress). However for the sheer length of service he gave to the club, for the number of goals he scored, for the fact that the played in Albion sides that were actually half decent and for teaming a perm with a Hulk Hogan moustache Bomber just about shades it.

5) Any new old prog-rock discoveries this year?

I'll take this year to mean the last 12 months as I haven't discovered any new prog in the last four days ;D Over the last year though I've lost track of the number of bands I have encountered for the first time, including within prog. I'm not going to list them all as we'll be here all night but instead I'll name the best prog discoveries of the last twelve months as Harvest Flight (what's not to like about Christian psychedelic folk), Sarolta Zalatnay (debatably prog but brilliant nonetheless), Turkey's Ersen, some crazy Dutch outfits like Earth & Fire, Alquin and the Fool and Window who were described previously. Yup, been a load of great discoveries in the last year.

You all know the drill: if there is anybody left who hasn't done this and wants to feel free to ask me for five questions. Goodnight all.
keresaspa: (Only Me!)
That nice Nigel Farage really seems determined to force his misshapen head into the news right now, doesn't he? Yesterday's news really captures the measure of the man - he is to run against the speaker, ostensibly because Bercow "represents the worst". Now, God knows I'm no fan of the good Mr Bercow but let's not try to dress something up as public service when it is motivated purely by self-interest, Nigel. You have tried proper general elections before and on each occasion you have taken a bath so you are targeting Bercow's seat purely because you'll be the only other candidate that anybody has heard of and you might finally have a chance. Bullshitting about your reasons will fool no one. Still he's in good company I suppose as in 1970 Horace King had to face the National Democratic Party in Southampton Itchen in the same circumstances. Given that the National Democratic Party were an off-shoot of those lovely people in the Racial Preservation Society and differed only from the National Front in that individual members did not like each other it seems fit that Farage is following in their footsteps. That and the fact that Piers Merchant was a member - don't let anybody tell you UKIP have no racist problem. Funnily enough Betty "she was a Tiller girl, you know" Boothroyd also faced the National Democrats in the same circumstances in 1992, although that was Ian "not the one in Jethro Tull" Anderson's mob, in fact Steve Edwards, later of the BNP and more recently the unlamented Freedom Party. Nice to see those grand schemes of a British Front National turned out so well, Stevie lad. All in all as much Nigel's kind of people as old women who spent their time roasting crisp packets were Michael Barrymore's. Still it seems he didn't get enough attention from all of this and so he is now taking his toys and going home. Does diddums need a hug? Busy little boy all round is Nige but they do say these things always come in threes. So I wait with baited breath for the third story to break tomorrow - I wonder what the odds are on it being him coming out of the closet?! Well if that tank driving stunt wasn't a massive clue then I don't know what is!

Meanwhile, and speaking of posturing right-wing barmpots who you suspect are a bit that way, it seems Nick Griffin is on his non-whites in the BNP hobby horse again. We had this suggestion before, of course, when the Vlaams Blok were effectively banned only to return a few days later as the Vlaams Belang with the exact same membership and policies. It annoyed the hell out of John Tyndall (always a good thing) and sent a number of his followers scurrying to the hugely successful Nationalist Alliance and British Peoples Party where they had the much more sensible leadership of Eddy Morrison. In the long term it probably will happen but I doubt that any self-respecting non-white would want to join and any that did would no doubt be met with a slew of racial abuse and violence from the knuckle draggers that make up the BNP membership, the like of which Lawrence Rustem has long since gotten used to. Besides they've already had their first black member and the fragrant Ms. Ebanks was kicked out on the slightly odd charge of anti-Semitism, which is rather like being excluded from New Labour for being self-satisfied. So all in all happen it probably will but, apart from a few die-hards nicking off to form three men and a dog parties that sink without trace, it will have no effect and the BNP will continue as ever.

Still, just to show that there are still a few people of principle in politics, a tip of the hat to Domhnall O Cobhthaigh for putting ideology ahead of position by ditching Sinn Fein for the Socialist Party. The Sinners might nominally continue to pay lip-service to socialism but they have long since abandoned anything practical that way and have instead happily bought into the spending cuts, rates rises and water charges guff that has defined the slap-dash economic policy of this arch-conservative Assembly. A pity O Cobhthaigh's gesture will have no impact and republican idiots will continue to slavishly vote Sinn Fein despite their Janus-faced failure but credit to the man for putting his arse on the line. A pity there weren't more who realised that James Connolly was more than somebody to name buildings after.

But anyway, that's about all I have to say for now (more than enough, you windbag) so I'll get out of your collective hair for a while. Cheery-bye!
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
Relegation for the Albion is all but confirmed. Southend and Plymouth next season! I've been expecting it since the end of January and the sudden appearance of dodgy money at Portsmouth so I've been resigned to it for a while now. Still, bum and poo!

Beyond that, I can't go without a mention to a glorious Irish failure, the Easter Rising, which occurred 90 years ago to this day. Who would have thought that the noble intentions of the men who gave their lives would have led to the rubbish that all Ireland has become now. Remember the Proclamation and the supreme sacrifice of the dead, rather than Bertie Ahern and Mary McAleese besmirching their memory for cheap political point-scoring. Connolly go brách.

EDIT: A meme type thing from [livejournal.com profile] vulcanlolita

This is how it works: Comment on this entry and get a letter.
Write ten words beginning with that letter, including an explanation what the words mean to you and why.

J for me, apparently )
keresaspa: (Default)
So, I followed a bit of old Bushy's State of the Union address last night, in between lulls in the frighteningly addictive children's English test programmes that were polluting BBC Two. Pretty much what was to be expected: democracy great except where it turns up something I don't like then you're in for it; disarm or I'll bomb you; axis of evil; terrorism, terrorism, terrorism. Ho-hum. Nothing more to say on the matter, other than don't you just wish he stood up and said something like "I've made an arse of this, goodbye" or even "free mushy peas for everybody". Anything other than the same old ramble.

I notice this lark about Asians with beards getting it in the neck. What a farce! So it seems if you're not a westernized metrosexual you are automatically a terrorist! I swear, this country gets worse every day. What next, a Peter the Great style beard tax (I can see a twinkle Gordon Brown's one eye already) or will Blair just follow Saparmurat Niyazov and ban them outright before sending Jack Straw on to tell people that it is what Muslims want. Typical narrow-minded bollocks. I'm tempted to grow my own back in sympathy.

Got so bored by the telly last night that I set about trying to do some form of cataloguing of my book collection. I've been building them up over the years to the point where I've well and truly lost track of what I've got. Going through them last night I wondered what the rozzers would make of it all if they ever raided my house (as used to be a common occurrence in Belfast in the old days). Amongst the authors featured are Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Ho Chi Minh, Stalin, Dimitrov, Mao, Hoxha, Hitler, Mussolini, Oswald Mosley, John Tyndall, Saddam Hussein, Qaddafi, Nyerere, Khomeini, Castro, James Connolly, Gerry Adams, the Romanian Communist Party and whatever moron wrote The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I may shelve said cataloguing plans, lest I end up in the hoosegow for my trouble.

Well, that's all for now. I really must get on and do a bit of work. Lamtumirë.

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