keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
There's very little left to say about Martin McGuinness that I haven't said already but suffice to say I won't be mourning him. As John Stephenson's stooge and then Provisional IRA Chief of Staff he oversaw indiscriminate bombing campaigns that did nothing to advance the cause of Irish unity but instead brought death to civilians. I don't condemn armed struggle as a motor of revolution but McGuinness's strategy of untargeted mayhem accomplished little or nothing. Then he single-handedly brought the peace process (so the obituaries will claim) and in doing so opened up a glorious future of kowtowing to monarchy whilst continuing to (occasionally) call himself a republican and administering Tory rule in the North to the benefit of himself and his own little coterie (equally true of all the parties here admittedly but Sinn Fein are the self-described republicans). On top of that he happily worked alongside a hate preacher like Ian Paisley and propped up the radical right Democratic Unionist Party in government, while also trying to court the feminist and LGBT vote when it suited him. There is also the small matter of the Fisherman business, the truth of which I really hope will come out now that he's dead (although I doubt it as the myth of McGuinness is still important in ensuring that republicans continue to serve their masters in Westminster).

I've already seen comparisons to Michael Collins and I think they're apt. Both firmly belonged to the old Catholic wing of republicanism and ensured that the left was silenced, despite courting the British left (many of whom are now wringing their hands over a man who happily signed off on Troy welfare reform and bedroom tax plans). Both also did their best to ensure that partition continued as long as they were alright, Jack and in that aim both were highly successful. In the final analysis McGuinness was no more a republican than his great mate Paisley and his major achievement was finishing off Irish republicanism and replacing it with a compliant, fiercely pro-British population in Northern Ireland, one part of which happens to watch silly games with sticks and talk a bit of Goidelic now and then. If the taming of the Taigs and their rebirth as nodding dog soft Unionists are to be celebrated then McGuinness is rightly to be lauded as a hero but a hero of Irish republicanism? About as much as Vidkun Quisling is a hero of Norway.


Feb. 13th, 2017 08:24 pm
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
I've avoided discussing the RHI scandal on here as it's just such a depressing microcosm of what a waste the Northern Ireland Assembly really is. Equally I resisted the temptation to gloat about the political retirement of the utterly detestable Martin McGuinne$$ as we always knew he would be replaced by an equally faceless collaborator who would continue on the same devolutionist-unionist path and sure enough along came Michelle O'Neill who was also up to her neck in the same scandal. Plus ça change!

But with all that having been said, the scandal has brought yet another Assembly election on our heads and the circus rolls on as ever. Well, for most of it does as the way things are looking just now I appear to have been disenfranchised for this particular one. Yet again I will find myself in Scotland on the day of the election and on that basis I requested a postal vote but the other day a normal polling card arrived at my house and, as I'll be off in my spiritual home at the time, it appears that I'm to be denied the chance to vote for a losing candidate. Quel Dommage!

I may get up in arms at the drop of a hat but on this occasion I really don't care if I don't get to vote. Since the Tories took over in England it has been clear that the Northern Ireland Assembly, already a pretty weak institution, has been relegated to the role of talking shop. Certainly, the speed with which the hated welfare reform was forced through by the Secretary of State indicates that any important decisions will always emanate from Westminster and Stormont will just have to grin and bear them (ditto Holyrood and whatever the hell the Welsh chatter-house is called, by the way). Effectively the Assembly has been left somewhere between a glorified council (I shit you not, one of its major decision was changing the layout of bus stops in Belfast city centre) and a bribe to the elites as a way for them to keep their useful idiots in line. It's jobs for the boys up there, be it MLAs or their truly pointless Special Advisers so it will continue even though it has no real function any more in a fine example of sod you Jack, I'm all right. Sacrebleu!

If by some miracle they do decide to give me my postal vote I am faced with a very limited selection of candidates from which to choose, although of that mob I would most likely go for People before Profit. Even if they won a plurality in the Assembly (not going to happen) they would still be able to do sod all but they at least talk the talk about austerity and a few more of them on the hill would be preferable to yet more Sinn Fein and DUP apparatchiks (or indeed UUP, SDLP or Alliance ones for that matter). They haven't a hope of getting a seat in "leafy South Belfast" of course (a cliché that always ignores the pile of loyalist estates we have in this constituency too) but if I get the opportunity they can have my vote anyway. Nice to see that the previously mentioned John Hiddleston is back yet again for another election. Pleased to see my exposé had such a great influence! Mind you in these days of the Azov Brigade, Brexit, Donald Trump and (let's hope not) Marine Le Pen I suppose having a past in the National Front might even help him get elected. Zut alors!

But whatever happens no doubt the same old crap will continue. O'Neill will find a way to work with Arlene Foster or possibly a replacement and the gravy train will rumble on, achieving nothing apart from feathering the nests of those involved. Meanwhile the republicans and loyalists on the ground will continue to suffer but will be content that "our ones" are in charge, despite all the major decisions being dictated by our Der Führer Theresa May (and hi Teesie, seeing as the Investigatory Powers Act means you're reading this now). Brûle en l’enfer!
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
I cock an eye to the Morning Star every now and then, even though it's hardly perfect. On English issues it's generally on the money with its analysis and it does fairly well with the international scene but when it comes to the Celtic fringe it's usually wanting. The soft unionist stance they took with regards to Scottish independence (the logic seemingly being "why should the Jocks get to escape the Tories when we don't?") seemed at odds with the rest of their rhetoric whilst when it comes to this dump they same to slavishly trot out the Sinn Fein line, regardless of how much that party seems to lurch to the right. Heck, were The Hibernian still around it would probably be available in every SF "advice centre" these days.

Seven months ago Martin McGuinness appeared in the pages of the aforementioned paper to announce that he wouldn't abandon the vulnerable. Yesterday he did just that, bowing down to Theresa Villiers and accepting the deep and invasive cuts that the Tory government government has already rent on Britain. At a time when poverty and unemployment are on the rise, McGuinness happily signs off on deep cuts to welfare and tax credits, plunging more and more people into deeper and deeper poverty. Still, it'll have no impact on him and his coterie of stooges, whose big money from the Stormont gravy train is now protected for another few years. With the local health service at breaking point and crisis being declared on a weekly basis he happily signs off on big NHS cuts and public sectors redundancies. None of which will apply to the nepotism factory that is Stormont, where money will continue to be blown on "special advisers", whose only expertise appears to be possessing the same DNA as Assembly members. Meanwhile the so-called republican has also signed off on increased spending on police activity against dissidents who, as Martin claims, are a disgrace to the ideology and should be joining him by showing their republicanism through praising the British queen, upholding and celebrating the British soldiers who butchered our people and participating in an arm of the British government and delivering the demands of the Conservatives.

Don't get me wrong, all five parties are as culpable for this but Sinn Fein's crime is the greatest. The Unionist duo make no bones about being right-wing, the Alliance are the local arm of the cuts-happy Liberal Democrats and the SDLP have been trotting out the "business before people" line for so long that their name is a complete joke but Sinn Fein, when it suits them, still claim to be of the Left and indeed down south are campaigning for election on the very basis that they are democratic socialist. Yet in the North they have once again crapped on the very working classes that elected them in the first place and have delivered them to further and deeper crushing poverty just so as they could protect their own interests. Hell this current "fresh start" is actually a much worse deal than the already egregious Stormont House Agreement that McGuinness rejected recently. How this cretin has lasted so long is beyond reason.

Let's face it, the Assembly has been an unmitigated disaster from start to finish, a bloated, toothless talking shop in which a bunch of completely powerless children can spend hours squabbling over flowers and street names but who, when it comes to the crunch, defer to their masters in Westminster at all times. That I personally voted no to the Good Friday Agreement is cold comfort because all of us are now reaping the thorns of that particular surrender. Resistance is the only option, although it has been made all the harder by the headlong rush that McGuinness and that great Pontius Pilate Gerry Adams made to disarm and castrate the IRA, leaving behind only a poorly armed and informer-riddled dissident rump.

In his classic 1978 psychological study of National Front members Fascists (excellent book, horrendously unimaginative title) Michael Billig demonstrates the tendency of one of the NF members he interviewed to what he describes as "meaning-shift". The man in question talks consistently about his support for voluntarily repatriation but when asked to describe what he means unequivocally endorses compulsory repatriation and yet refuses to alter his language, despite clearly stating that participation in the scheme would be mandatory. The phenomenon of meaning-shift has become an increasing part of the mainstream in recent years, where we have "volunteers" who are forced to work for nothing under threat of the withdrawal of social security or we’re told how we're all in austerity together where "all" actually means just those with very little money to begin with. So let it be the same here now as a bleak future looms for us all, apart from the folks on the hill who have pulled up the drawbridge and ensured that, like their Westminster masters, when they say "we're all in this together", they mean all apart from them and the big companies they have chosen to favour. Dark times all round and Irish republicanism as an ideology is on life support right now. I await the rank hypocrisy of the Easter Rising commemorations next year not so much with bated breath but with an air of morose resignation.

And of course there's one other major reason why McGuinness has been so prepared to sell out his supposed principles for thirty pieces of silver and why right-thinking people should detest the slimy bastard with every fibre of their being, but were I to get into that this load of old toot would most likely be closed down and my sorry arse hauled off to Maghaberry. Frankly I Should Hope Every Reader Maybe Already kNows.
keresaspa: (Evil Timbo)
And so it begins as, once again, Sinn Fein got off the mark to fire the first shots of yet another election campaign (well, in my own sordid little burgh at least, happen the rest of you have been getting it for weeks). And what do you know, it's only bloody Millionaire Marty they've chosen as our candidate. Yet again the Sinners decide that we in south Belfast can't be trusted to think for ourselves and so parachute in somebody from their west Belfast base of operations, although they also seem to have come to the conclusion that wee Maskey is a bit too rough for us dazzling cosmopolites and so have ditched him in favour of the transatlantic, jet-setting, media mogul with the big nose. Deirdre Hargey may be a faceless apparatchik of the type that makes up the bulk of the party these days but at least she's from the Market so why she couldn't have contested what is an unwinnable seat for them anyway is a mystery to all bar the Falls Road mafia who run that party. OK, she's to be something on the new council but in the highly unlikely event that SF won South Belfast abstentionism would mean doing the two jobs would be easy anyway. Unless, of course, they're building up to dropping that policy, which wouldn't surprise me a jot after the last few years of public Liz-licking in which they have indulged.

But Millionaire Marty it is and once again Sinn Fein show their commitment to working class politics but saddling us with a candidate who is anything but. But in Northern Ireland that's increasingly the way they're going these days. They may make a song and dance over the border about supposedly being a democratic socialist party but that's certainly not the case here where they now promote a pro-capitalist, anti-welfare agenda combined with a fairly conservative set of social attitudes (well, in a wider context as admittedly they're ultra-liberal by the standards of the SDLP and the two unionist mobs). MM is typical of what they're about these days, a slick, sharp-suited tosspot with plenty of money in the bank who looks to the USA for his inspiration and sees the grassroots of republicanism as a bunch of nodding dogs who exist only to rubberstamp him and his ilk every election (not far wrong there, to be honest). He's already been exposed as a liar who tried to justify Sinn Fein's support for Tory cuts and the bedroom tax by pretending it had trade unionist support but what the hell eh? You could stick Michael Stone in a Sinn Fein rosette and there are plenty who would vote for him these days so lying about enshrining poverty into law is hardly going to cost him anything.

I wouldn't ever claim that there aren't decent individuals active within Sinn Fein but unfortunately in Northern Ireland it is very much under the thumb of the party's right-wing, as typified by the likes MM, Mitchel McLaughlin, John O'Dowd and of course McGuinne$$ himself. Even their recent decision to repudiate the massive cuts they agreed to seems to be motivated solely by self-interest as they must have realised it would cost them some votes as surely not EVERY republican voter can be a total idiot. It'll probably work too, even though after the election they will most likely sign up to pretty much the same thing but as George W. Bush so rightly said "there's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again".

Still, if, as I suspect, they're hoping that by leaving it this late they can delay any renegotiation until after the election in the hope that the Tories will be gone then they're playing a very dangerous game. I wouldn't like to call this election for various reasons but if they've judged wrongly and the Tories get back in they can expect them to seek revenge in any future negotiations and demand even more stringent cuts. These last five years of Tory rule have been absolutely horrible, with people's lives shattered in the name of repulsive ideological monetarism and that's with the supposed break being put on their vile excesses by the Liberal Democrats. To see an even more extreme version of that brought to Northern Ireland to teach us a lesson doesn't bear thinking about but it might well prove the outcome of SF's half-arsed attempt at politicking. Were that to be the case, and bearing in mind that Northern Ireland has far too few MPs to make even the remotest difference to anything a Westminster government does, open armed rebellion would be the only answer but of course Sinn Fein has spent the last decade or so making that impossible by surrendering their arms to the enemy and helping to turn the Provies into an unarmed bunch of old alcoholics who either drive black taxis or are on the DLA (which they soon won't be thanks to David Cameron's war on the weak and the vulnerable). And don't even bother thinking about the so-called "New IRA" as it's a real chocolate fire-guard thanks to its archaic structure and the fact that it has so many grasses that their gatherings end up looking like the pitch at the Hawthorns. Things could be set to get a lot bleaker in the not to distant future barring a minor miracle.

But to return to my original point, Sinn Fein posters have gone up on my road, the candidate is multi-millionaire with no links to the constituency and he has about as much chance of getting my vote as he has of winning Miss World. Having looked at the provisional list of candidates on the always reliable Wikipedia I suspect my vote will go in the direction of the hitherto unknown (to Me) Lily Kerr of the Sticks and I can keep up my record of always backing the losing candidate. Given that the unionist pact didn't extend to us McDonnell will probably hold the seat and we will retain an MP whose absence from Westminster can be put down to the fact that he's too busy making money elsewhere rather than any ideological reasons. Ye Gods, what a shower of bastards.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
I already gave my assessment of Ian Paisley when he retired and I stand by it now that he's dead so I'm not going to waste any words on him here, especially when the Socialist Worker has it covered for me. Equally I'm sure you can guess my reaction to Martin McGuinness's inevitable gushing tribute so I'll waste no words on that ball-licking fuckpot either. The sooner he joins him in Hell the better.
keresaspa: (Brigitte Bardot)
Despite appearances to the contrary I remain very much alive, just rather too involved to update much on here due to a combination of the continuing World Cup (which has unfortunately tailed off a bit after a blistering opening round), a return to live matches and a recent visit from [ profile] queenmartina who came bearing cake made by [ profile] burkesworks, renovation projects and arse whippings at Trivial Pursuit. Jolly fun all round, barring the continuing success of the Dutch at the World Cup as they have quite possibly edged ahead of England to become my most hated of all the national teams.

In the interim I have allowed the formalisation of a new unification between mainstream unionism and illegal loyalist paramilitarism, the possible collapse of the Assembly, more genocide against the Palestinians, the end of Rolf Harris and the possible beginning of the end of a cadre of perverts at the heart of the establishment to pass without comment. So to correct those oversights I'll just say hardly a surprise with the legacy of Edward Carson, Ian Paisley and Ulster Resistance but the two-facedness of the whole "Sinn Fein/IRA" shite is exposed for the hypocrisy it is, it'll never happen as Robbo and Martie love the money too much but by God am I glad I'm getting out of this shitehole over the Twelfth, as ever the world will fiddle whilst Palestine burns, slap it into you ya nonce and Knox Cunningham holds the key.

That's me bang up to date then. Nothing to this blogging lark.
keresaspa: (J Wellington Wimpy)
Peter Robinson, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, has never hid the fact that he comes from the "pray for Catholics but hate Catholicism" school of Evangelical Protestantism. That he believes whole-heartedly in his personal interpretation of the Bible is something that he has never sought to hide and so, like all religious fundamentalists, he must, as a matter of course, be an unreconstructed bigot against all other religious belief systems. After all, who thinks he has the indisputable truth but is happy to accept all wrong viewpoints as equal? Robbo has a long history of attacking the Roman Catholic Church and other more moderate Protestant churches who seek to reach some form of rapprochement with what he personally once termed "the evils of Romish worship" so can we really be surprised with his recent Islamophobic outburst? Apparently those Muslims who believe in Sharia are unacceptable to Robbo, which kind of strikes me as saying you don't have a problem with Christians, apart from those who hold the Ten Commandments. The inevitable backtrack has followed although I don't personally think he needs to bother as Northern Ireland lives by its own rules and public expressions of hate by leading political figures are pretty much the norm. Had it happened in England he would be today's fish supper paper already but here he can say what he wants, especially given how ingrained anti-Islamic sentiments are in Northern Ireland, despite the fact that Muslims are a very small minority here and there have been no attacks whatsoever.

James McConnell, the "pastor" behind the hate speech and the head buck cat up at the oddball fundamentalist freakshow that is Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle (formerly Robbo's church of choice) is hardly a stranger to hatred. He's a lover of Enoch Powell (he might want to re-read "Rivers of Blood" - it doesn't mention Islam), considers Barack Obama a Muslim (he might want to re-read the Books of Ezekiel and Zechariah - they don't mention Islam or Russia) and of course belongs to the aforementioned anti-Catholic tradition. Homophobia, of course, looms large in his discourse but when Iris Robinson was bonking for Britain a blind eye was turned. Again, anywhere else (apart from the Deep South, I suppose) he would have had his chips years ago but not here.

Let's face it, the DUP repositioning itself as some sort of moderate group has always had the whiff of nonsense about it. The likes of Ivan Foster may be gone, but creationist nutjobs like Edwin Poots and Nelson McCausland remain in leading positions, the embarrassment that is the Singing Nun William McCrea remains in office as MP for South Antrim and a new generation of enlightened young fundamentalists headed by David McIlveen fils waits in the wings, ready to assume power when the original dinosaurs finally go. Robinson is simply expressing the hate-infused opinions rife within his party and indeed Northern Irish society as a whole (on both sides I hasten to add - where in the past anybody killing British soldiers was feted by republicans they have joined the tabloid-led hysteria against Muslims as readily as their loyalist counterparts). In a civilised society he would be out on his ear but in a civilised society he would have gone years ago and he hardly looks out of place in the new UKIP-loving, Muslim-hating Britain anyway. Religious intolerance, bigotry and hatred have never been considered problems in Northern Ireland and they're not about to become problems. Robbo will continue as boss, McGuinness, for all his big talk, will continue as his stooge and McConnell will continue to spew his vile invective every Sunday unenlightening his captive audience on the Shore Road. If it's tolerance you want, you're in the wrong place. What a horrid little shitehole this place can be sometimes.
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: (Trotsky)
Whilst there are those amongst us who crave above the new, the different and the strange, many of us are, to varying degrees, creatures of habit. For some of you out there a week in which egg and chips is not consumed on a Tuesday evening is a week you would rather not live, a frightening prospect that brings a shudder even at the very thought. Routine is for the most part an enemy but there are inevitably occurrences when I too feel the name to conform to a sort of pattern.

Saturday afternoon is, of course, one such time as that is the time I must be at a football match regardless of the teams in action. A spell of diluvian rain today ensured that Donegal Celtic's intended match against Ballyclare Comrades was ixnayed but, undaunted, I spent the day at Seaview watching a drab affair in which Newington YC lost by the single goal to Portstewart. A crowd of around twenty was all the match could garner, making Seaview an eerier experience than normal (and next time I bemoan the poor crowds at DC I'll remember this match), although I spent it in the company of a slightly bonkers old West Bromwich Albion fan who had got a boat over to Belfast on the off-chance of attending any live match. I doff my hat to such hardcore anorak-ism.

Saturday may be my day for football but for others routine on a Saturday means only one thing - standing outside the City Hall bleating about a flag no longer being a permanent fixture on the building. Yes, that's right after nearly a year and two months they are still gathering outside the City Hall griping about that bloody flag with the usual line-up of spides, the elderly, children and people not from Belfast (just what does it matter to "Loyalist Lisburn" is Belfast City Council doesn't fly a flag?).

With regards to all of this crap about flags and Orange marches Martin McGuinne$$ made a valid comment recently (well, there's a first time for everything) suggesting a grand coalition for bigotry between the Orange Order, the UVF and their PUP political arm being behind all this. Were I Curly I would have added the West Belfast Ulster Political Research Group and their associated UDA dissidents who have been prominent up at Twaddell Avenue, but otherwise the point is a valid one. The Regressive Unionists, and the increasingly Strasserite weltanschauung they have adopted under the führung of Billy Hutchinson, have their eyes on doing something at the council elections and, given that their previous flirtations with more normal social democracy got them nowhere, what better way to make the breakthrough than by marrying a message of being a persecuted underclass to one of ultra-nationalism, whilst seeking a direct alliance with the main organisation of right-wing middle-class backlash.

David McKittrick has characterised the work of the Loyalist Association of Workers and the Ulster Workers Council as a form of "sectarian socialism" and it was a policy followed to an extent by the UDA's lead spokesman in the '70s Sammy Smyth, a man who combined agitation on behalf of the Protestant working class with calls for ethnic cleansing and extreme anti-Catholic conspiracy theories and whose pronouncements became so extreme that in the end he was given a punishment beating and expelled from the UDA. It's along this path that the Regressives are now going, offering a vague version of socialism for one community whilst seeking to blame other working class people for their ills rather than capitalism. Socialism that purposefully seeks to divide the working classes and instead looks to class enemies as its natural allies? That's Strasserism in my book and no mistake. And I'm not even touching on their willingness to co-operate closely with dyed-in-the-wool right-extremists like Jim Dowson and Willie Frazer in their flag protests when I say that.

Their alliance with sections of the unionist establishment is inevitable and inevitably it will get them nowhere as they will be used by the Orange Order until they get tired of them, just as the LAW and UWC were by the Ian Paisley and William Craig. By continuing in their usual role as running dogs for the unionists, the Regressives have blown any hope of effecting change and indeed it leaves one with little conclusion to draw other than the fact the, far from wanting anything to change, Hutchinson just wants to get his and a few of his mates snouts in the trough alongside the rest of them. Given that he happily stands by whilst the UVF he represents peddles drugs and inflicts terror on the loyalist communities he claims to speak for then I can't see what else he has in mind. I'm sure plenty will be fooled and Hutchinson will get his wishes and this place will once again back bigotry and put a few more horse pedlars on the councils but let's not expect anything to improve by enshrining a divided proletariat. Same old Northern Ireland, forever and ever, Amen.
keresaspa: (Mikado)
So, once again on Saturday the centre of Belfast is to be off limits to all as it is taken over by loyalist marchers, this time an outfit calling itself Loyal Peaceful Protesters, essentially the UVF, sundry hangers-on and a bunch of young junkies threatened with having their drug debts called in if they don't march.

As leader of the Progressive Unionist Party and nominal leader of the protest Billy Hutchinson argued that yet another unwarranted disruption of people's lives over a piece of cloth and the right of sectarian bigots to celebrate UVF murderers in front of their victims "is legitimate and lawful and will also highlight the other issues that are impacting on working class Protestant communities, including increasing poverty." The most depressing possible thought is that Hutchinson actually believes that although I suspect it is just what he has to tell himself to get through the night.

At heart I suspect Hutchinson is a genuine man of working class politics but he has completely painted himself into a corner down the years and is now flailing around in a desperate attempt to justify to himself his decision to crawl into bead with the extreme right. The protests are about flags on City Hall and the fact that republicans don't want Orange Order and paramilitary flute bands passing their houses and have sod all to do with increasing poverty, an issue that impacts upon both communities equally and which is being ignored by the major parties and the British government overlords to which Hutchinson is avowedly loyal. If he really believes that poverty can only be solved by a sectarian approach then maybe Hutch has willingly gone over to the extreme right and is seeking to position himself as the Otto Strasser of loyalism.

In a way his options are limited. There was a time when Hutchinson was a big cheese in the UVF but these days he is cocky on the biscuit tin, flailing around desperately trying to gain some influence but increasingly ignored by the true leaders. He preaches working class politics and the fact that loyalists (and no one else) are suffering poverty but yet he happily hitches himself to the UVF and its drug dealing empire and intimidation of the same loyalists, counting UVF commanders like Winkie Irvine amongst his party colleagues. Billy can soothe his conscience all he wants with fantasy stuff about flag and march protests being about social issues but he knows fine well they aren't and that they amount to nothing more than nakedly sectarian shows of strength by the UVF.

The increasingly irrelevant Martin McGuinness recently broke his silence on the affair by suggesting that the protest was being orchestrated by the UVF before adding that he had heard rumours about Francis I being a member of the Catholic Church, but frankly his opinion is of no consequence as he has happily allowed it to go on. The same goes for the execrable Teresa Villiers - if Belfast is indeed open for business then how about you put in an appearance on North Street on Saturday afternoon, Teesy? Thought not. Interesting too that what is increasingly taking on all the trappings of fascism and has the vocal support of the BNP, National Front and other fringe extremist groups is being totally ignored by Anti-Fascist Action and the rest of the self-declared hard men. But that's the way it always has been here - a privileged group sees aspects of its dominant position eroded and it screams no fair and rises up, completely unopposed by the republicans who, as usual, are satisfied with the merest of scraps from the master's table.

Is there poverty in loyalist areas? Yes, but how is that going to be addressed by stupid and pointless rabid nationalism and flag waving? Poverty didn't suddenly appear the day the union jack came down from city hall and if it went back up tomorrow it wouldn't suddenly disappear, no matter what cloud cuckoo land ideas Billy Hutchinson might be trying to convince himself of. Take your concerns to the DUP, disrupt their lives and above all stop voting for them and stop welcoming a rabid monetarist like Nelson McCausland to your protests when his stated desire to copy the frankly evil policies of Iain Duncan Smith will only push those already in poverty further down instead of wasting all your energies on bigotry. And above all stop attempting to make poverty a sectarian issue and instead reach across the religious divide to the underprivileged of Ballymurphy, Turf Lodge and the rest of the republican sink estates instead of emphasising the constructed differences that your masters made to keep us all down in the first place. Or to put it in more simple language, fuck flags and fuck marches, stop being such lumpenproletariat idiots and then you might start to see poverty being tackled.

The whole "shared future" argument is a load of old bollocks, an attempt by Peter Robinson to neutralise the Irish unity argument by downplaying the sectarian aspects of the British dimension. Yet it's somewhat ironic that the loyalists, who, after all, are the ones who trumpet the importance of Britishness the loudest, are the only ones to vocally object whilst Sinn Fein continue to buy into the whole farce, despite the clear contradiction that a future cannot be shared by two communities who want diametrically opposed conclusions to their situations. On Saturday, once again, Loyal Peaceful Protesters will assert their ethnocentrist identity and I'm sure they'll live up to their name as the event will no doubt pass off peacefully as it is difficult to initiate clashes when you are completely unopposed.

Edmund Burke may have, for the most part, talked wall to wall crap but he was onto something when he opined "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing". Now, by no stretch of the imagination is McGuinness a good man but alas it seems that the few good men republicanism has left are happy to follow his lead in doing absolutely nothing in the face of rabid sectarian hatred. The bigotry and hatred is something you get used to - it's always been there and always will be. But when resistance dies what is left? Sickening.


Oct. 14th, 2013 08:59 pm
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
For the past several weeks a loyalist bivouac has existed at Twaddell Avenue, a street that links the Crumlin Road to the Woodvale Road near the top of the Shankill. Twaddell and its encampment face the republican Ardoyne area which has been the sight of a number of controversies regarding loyalist marches recently. The Parades Commission has determined that triumphalist loyalist marches past the republican area are not acceptable, which seems perfectly reasonable, and the response has been to have a round the clock presence right in the faces of the Ardoyne residents, to remind that we are the people and this is our turf.

The Progressive Unionist Party showing plenty of progressive thinking there as usual. But I digress. Time was the Ardoyne yahoos would have been on that rubbish like a tom-tit on a horse-turd but the response now? Nothing. Nothing whatsoever. Just take a moment to drink that in. A naked display of extreme nationalism, hatred and provocation right in your face dressed up as civil rights (I'm not sure where it is an enshrined civil right to intimidate and threaten people with extreme right political marches glorifying UVF murderers but you can't expect logic from these idiots) and the response is nothing. I wouldn't mind but this is Ardoyne, an area that has always prided itself on its reputation for resistance and yet their response to this sort of provocation is to stand around like a bunch of gongoozlers. Hell, can you imagine if a republican flute band wanted to have a parade commemorating Lawrence Montgomery and Frankie Donnelly past the Woodvale? The UVF would have Ardoyne set alight before they could beat one tattoo out.

I passed this latter-day Blackshirt rally the other week and there was two old men in charge of it and today there was nobody and yet nothing was done, it was left untouched without a single hood going over and tearing stuff down or writing a bit of graffiti. Hell, even if they're prepared to tolerate such hatred then what is stopping them replying in kind by sticking a bunch of republican insignia on the Ardoyne shops facing Woodvale? Sauce for the goose and all that. But still nothing.

I was pretty surprised by the lack of response but not as amazed as I might have been as the grubby hand of Sinn Fein is clearly at work again. They know that if they show even the slightest bit of balls then their big money appointments in Stormont will go for a Burton and the green of the scrouse is all that Martin McGuinne$$ and his cronies care about these days. What is disappointing is that the republican people on the ground are happy to be cast in the role of helots who will happily accept anything thrown at them so long as their masters get their thirty pieces of silver from the Westminster overlords that they claim to oppose so much. As much as the loyalists are increasingly sickening me with their lurch to the extreme right I have to admit that they suit themselves no matter what the consequences for the unionist politicians. It's a real shame that the republicans are happy to live on their knees rather than treat their self-proclaimed masters with the same disregard. A proud tradition of defiance and a refusal to bend to masters lies in tatters today.
keresaspa: (Chaplin Modern Times)
As everybody knows Sinn Fein are a staunchly working class party and to prove that the current incumbent as Lord Mayor of Belfast is their man Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, a newspaper owner with extensive business interests in the United States and a former director of that stupendously well-run conglomerate Northern Ireland Water. As part of his duties in the sainted office of mayor Marty (let's dispense with all that Irishian crap, shall we) paid a visit to the newly reopened Woodvale Park, a bit of ground up the top of the Shankill that long-term readers will recall as a favourite haunt of my good self but which has been "improved" as part of the ongoing haussmannisation of this old town. However whilst there Marty, a representative of the political wing of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, got terribly upset after a bunch of loyalist protesters (pretty much a tautology these days) gave him a few wee slaps round the bap as part of their commitment to the values of their being only one queen, only one crown and not having Fenians in this town.

Well, forgive me for going against consensus, but hard cheese, Marty. I may disagree with the vast majority of ideas associated with loyalism but they hate republicanism and as far as I'm concerned all credit to them for demonstrating that. Millionaires like Marty and his head-buck cat McGuinness might be spouting a load of old crap about "shared futures" but as usual they're thinking of naught but their own money. The crisis in republicanism that has come about since Sinn Fein replaced the SDLP as the biggest pro-Paddy party may have emasculated republicans but the abject failure of political loyalism has meant the same thing has not been replicated on their side. Marty and his lads need to realise that there is a significant group here that detests them and no amount of brown-nosing Elizabeth Windsor or any other form of sell-out will change that.

As someone whose sympathies lie with true republicanism the most depressing thing is that if a bigot like, let's say, Nelson McCausland were to arrive on the Falls he would face little or no hostility. Hell, Nelson could probably roll up in his limo and hack up a phlegm ball onto the front door of St. Peter's and the locals would still tug the forelock. Within their hearts I know that a lot of grassroots republicans are very dissatisfied with the way things are here. The Assembly may have ensured a vastly improved standard of living for the elite within Sinn Fein and some of their favourites but it has done next to nothing for the virtually abandoned bedrock in places like Ballymurphy, Turf Lodge and Twinbrook where the reaction to unemployment, soaring suicide rates, child poverty and increasing alienation seems to have been a shrug of the shoulders. There is only so long people can survive on the fact that their self-described leaders have their snouts in the trough before they finally demand real change.

No, there'll be no condemnation of the loyalists on this one from me. Their anger should equally be directed towards their unionist masters but at least they have the guts to show their disaffection with the system at some level. The sooner the republican people on the ground remember where they left their balls and start making their own disaffection heard as well the better as far as I'm concerned.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
Regardless of how one chooses to remember Thatcher (and to be honest I reckon I've heard enough about that to last me a lifetime these last few days - as far as I'm concerned she was a hateful fucking bastard, if you can't deal with my opinion on that then do us all a favour and piss right off) one thing cannot be denied - she was the staunchest enemy of Irish republicanism to come out of the mainland for the entirety of the Troubles. The hunger strikers, collusion, the shoot to kill policy, the broadcast ban on Sinn Fein, the Thatcher government did it all. When one's sternest enemy dies one is entitled to celebrate that fact. Who begrudged the Americans their vitriolic reaction to Osama bin Laden's death? I didn't hear any of the naysayers rabbiting on about "every death cheapens us" or "think about his family" when old dyed beard bought the farm. So who do we hear denying republicans their chance to celebrate the death of their staunchest foe? Why Martin McGuinne$$, of course. God almighty, he would be funny if he wasn't such a repulsive, sell-out, hypocritical bastard. Considering they tried to blow her to bits when he was the boss of the Provos he hasn't a leg to stand on. I rejoiced at Thatcher's death and make no apologies for it; come to think of it, I'll do the same when he joins her. Gerry Adams was able to criticise her as too was Gerry Kelly but as usual McGuinne$$ can only represent the views of his paymasters and criticise his own people. Frankly he's worse than Thatcher ever was, for she made no bones about being a Tory and a monetarist and so we could expect no better from her than we could from her children Blair and Cameron but McGuinne$$ still claims the title "republican" when it suits him and, laughably, even claims to belong the left when he wants. Vermin.
keresaspa: (Edwige Fenech)
More proof, were it ever needed, that the game's not straight in Northern Ireland with the announcement that the Apprentice Boys of Derry's punishment for all their recent shenanigans is to be handed two million kicker. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose. There was a time I would get terribly upset about this but these days what's the point as the decisions made here become more ludicrous by the day. When the new centre opens I fully expect the ribbon to be cut by a grinning duo of Martin McGuinne$$ and his paymaster Lizzie Windsor.

Still at least we're not alone in the ridiculous decisions department as I see slimy Salmond and his mob have decided to become pro-NATO. Again I'm not hugely surprised as there are no depths to which the Terry Duckworth lookalike will not sink in his relentless quest for personal power. I am on record as being a strong supporter of an independent Scotland but the future Salmond is mapping out for the proposed country is increasingly making me wonder what the point will be. Getting out of the constant war-zone was one of the gangplanks in the argument for independence but without that it looks increasingly like Salmond is advocating independence just for the sake of it, rather than because he wants genuine change for Scotland. In other words he's following the current Sinn Fein policy of swapping one load of crap for another for reasons of narrow nationalism. Shame on you, Salmond. I remain resolutely pro-independence but a pro-NATO Scotland would be as well staying under the English yoke. Mind you, given that the referendum looks almost certain to end in rejection it's little odds anyway.

Still why should I worry when I can look forward to the brutal ballet that will be Cliftonville versus Dungannon Swifts at Solitude tomorrow. Given my record so far the Reds will have to be happy if they get even a point against the Tyrone hillbillies. Should be fun anyroad, although I had best check the Parades Commission website less the Apprentice Boys of Derry are on the prowl tomorrow again, blocking all access to north Belfast. Better throw some more scrouse at them just in case. Here's to our next merry meeting.
keresaspa: (Meg)
Every year the stretch of the Ormeau Road (where I live) that runs from the south bank of the River Lagan up to the Good Shepherd Church is dressed for the Twelfth with a flag draped from each lamppost, a Union Jack from one, an Ulster banner from the next and so on up and down that whole stretch of road. The same thing happens on other loyalist roads in Belfast, albeit with the inclusion of UVF or UDA flags (depending on who controls the area), so what's the problem? Well, quite simply the Ormeau Road is by no stretch of the imagination a loyalist road. The whole area is mixed and, whilst traditionally it has been more Protestant, the demographics have shifted markedly in recent years to the point where there are now two shops openly selling First Holy Communion gifts (unthinkable in the past) and the only bar that could be identified as one side of the other is the Parador, which is firmly Catholic. OK, Annadale flats and the surrounding streets remain loyalist but these are some distance back from the main road and the streets in between are definitely mixed and always have been (I lived there as a kid and my ma's cousin lived there until her recent death).

So with all this in mind why ever year do these triumphalist reminders have to be rammed down our throats? We keep hearing the same old rhetoric from Peter Robinson about shared futures (there speaks a man worried about the fecund Fenians breeding him out of office) and yet the same old crap continues. You can call it Orangefest and show as many pictures of happy, smiling Orange children as you want but the Twelfth is still the definition of "know your place" in which said Fenians are reminded of their role by the streets being taken over by thousands or noisy bigots waving flags in their faces with the air still heavy with the polluting stench of immolated tyres smouldering from the night before.

The supposed leader of republicanism in the north makes a public display of deference and fealty to the British monarch and yet none of this superannuated bigoted crap changes. Shared future my arse. If it is truly to be a shared future triumphalist symbols need to come down from roads that are already "shared". What with this, the fact that the Village looks more and more like a war-zone every time I go through it and all hell set to break loose once more at Ardoyne I am very glad that I had the foresight to book my annual trip to London for next week as quite frankly I couldn't stand another round of the same old "Derry's Walls", Whiterock Flute Band and sham fights crap that destroys every summer. On top of that I have it on good authority (from a member of the Pride of the Lagan Valley Flute Band no less) that the vans at the field charge all the morons eight quid for a lousy burger. Enjoy your BSE, I'll be glad to be away from it!
keresaspa: (What do you think of it so far)
Three faces of republicanism )

But enough about that )
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: (Starry Plough)
The Diamond Jubilee is a pub near the bottom of the Shankill Road in Belfast. As part of a bloody history the bar, which faces the horrific slum known locally as Beirut, became the centre of activity for Johnny Adair and his gang in the 1990s and beyond and, amongst other things hosted the annual loyalist of the year awards where the top hitman for the UDA's West Belfast Brigade was awarded said honour. Stevie McKeag was the usual winner, although if not him you could bet your house on the winner being a spide anyway. A glass collector there by the name of Noel Cardwell, who suffered from severe learning difficulties, had his drink spiked with ecstasy by Adair and his cronies "for a laugh". When Cardwell accidentally mentioned to police from his hospital bed that he knew Adair he found himself abducted, tortured, shot and left to bleed to death.

All of this has little or nothing to do with Elizabeth Windsor's own diamond jubilee, not least because the bar is named after her great-great-grandmother Victoria. To be honest I just thought I would mention it as we could all do with a story that involves the words "diamond" and "jubilee" and isn't about what a grand boon to the nation the fragrant and beautiful Elizabeth has been with her serene ability to go on holiday and have arsehole wiped for her after every shite. Isn't it great that the same sponge has been leeching for sixty years? God save her and all who sail in her. Well the Stoop Down Low Party certainly think that way, the bourgeois scumdogs that they are. To be honest the only thing that surprises me about that is that Martin McGuinness didn't join in the chorus of cheers for his paymaster. Let's face it, the fact that one person has been in the same position for sixty years due entirely to the fact that they inherited it should never be a cause for celebration in a fair and just society. As a figurehead her reign has been of benefit to nobody apart from her and her mooching offspring (and don't give me that tourism crap - Versailles continues to attract plenty of tourists even without some fat oaf with a standard poodle on his head sitting on a throne). No celebrations from me - the sooner her and the rest of these mediaeval anomalies go the way Nepal the better as far as I'm concerned.

And don't get me started on the Olympics or all this Titanic crap. 2012 is shaping up to be one of the most irritatingly over-hyped years in history.
keresaspa: (Squidward losing it)
"Long run the fox 'til he gets caught" was a favourite saying of my old granny in her day and it is apt on this day that the fox has finally been caught and Alfredo Astiz has finally got his. One of a plethora of absolutely repulsive human beings to during the Cold War and be given free rein to murder at will on the basis that all communists deserve death, he stood alongside a number of other South Americans as a shining example of why the United States government should hang its head in shame at the awful murderous regimes it openly supported back then under Operation Condor. As part of Task Force 332 Astiz was involved in as many as 30,000 deaths during the Dirty War and it is horrendous that he has evaded justice until now. Nothing will ever bring back the thousands of people ruthlessly slaughtered by the Secretaría de Inteligencia and their Peronist lackeys in the Alianza Anticomunista Argentina but the more of these scum are brought to justice the more their memories can finally be honoured. Hell won't be full until he's in it.

And speaking of people that Hell won't be full without the Republic of Ireland presidential election. Despite Martin McGuinness complaining to the contrary (probably because he imagines everybody here would vote for him) those of us registered only in Northern Ireland do not get to vote so I'm unable to cast a vote against the curly headed bastard. In fairness there is nobody amongst the candidates who particularly appeals to me although if I had a vote I would have cast it for either Michael D. Higgins, who has at least done some decent work for civil rights in Latin America, or David Norris, who would bring a much needed pair of cojones to the castrated office of President. It's little odds who wins really as the President of Ireland is little more than a glorified diplomat but at least it will be good to see the back of the chinless wonder Mary McAleese, who will no doubt walk into a bunch of well-paid, one-day a month company directorships, possibly involving her great mate and UDA chief Jackie McDonald. Never trust anybody from Ardoyne. As for McGuinness I'm in two minds - in the unlikely event that he does win I will be glad to see the back of him but another part of me wants him to lose hard so as I can see the smug grin wiped off his face and witness the wheels finally come off Sinn Fein's Irishian collaborationist juggernaut. Yes I am a petty man but he's been riding for a fall for years now.
keresaspa: (James Connolly)
Dear voters,

On 27 October 2011 you will be called upon to make an important decision that will impact on the future of your state when you vote for a new President. Although seen by some as a mere figurehead the President of Ireland (Uachtarán na hÉireann) is a vital figure who presents the public face of your great nation to the rest of the world. Whilst Taoiseachs come and go the President remains as the representative of Ireland to the world for seven or fourteen years and carries with him or her the joyous burden of spreading the love for Ireland globally. As a result it is imperative that you make the right decision on election day and choose a candidate who will embody all the best qualities that make the Irish welcome everywhere. As such there can be no better choice for the Presidency of Ireland that Martin McGuinness, surely one of the pre-eminent Irish men of this or any age. By taking a leading role in a devolved government that has overseen the collapse of the Northern Irish economy he has shown himself to be a leading economic thinker. By spending the early part of his life waging war on Britain only to end up a paid member of a British devolved government he has shown himself to be a man of principle. By actively involving himself in the random bombing campaigns of Seán Mac Stíofáin whilst continuing to identify himself as a devout member of the Catholic Church and Pioneer Total Abstinence Association he demonstrated his hatred of hypocrisy and duplicity. Throughout his career in public service Martin McGuinness has been the model of the grand Irish ideals of saying one thing and doing another whilst making sure that you feather your own nest along the way. There can be no better man to represent Ireland internationally so use your vote well and elected Martin McGuinness as President on 27 October.

Or if none of that works for you at least think of your oppressed brethren in the occupied six counties and vote for the clown without make-up to take him off our bloody hands. We have suffered more than enough so please do like you did with Gerry Adams and take him away.

Yours hopefully

Keresaspa at all, at all


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