Oct. 8th, 2016 12:33 pm
keresaspa: (Gus Goose)
Such is the regularity with which I go to Edinburgh these days that it hardly seems worth mentioning.

But let's anyway )
keresaspa: (Diggory)
The short version of this is that London was rather good apart from the going and the coming, which were hell on earth. On the off-chance that anybody is still reading this (and I note in my extended absence that I am now down to one person submitting regular updates on my friends list) I shall expand at some length about what took place.

The Austrian stork nurtures the kites )
keresaspa: (Reiko Ike)
Cast your mind back if you will to 4th March 2006. A battle in more ways than one at the Hawthorns with a Chelsea side at the height of gittery (King of Divers Arjen Robben red carded for a two-footed assault on the mighty Jonathan Greening, Didier Drogba in his original incarnation before his rebirth as a modern saint) nicking a 2-1 win off the home side. Jose Mourinho also clashed with his hapless opposite number Bryan Robson although to be fair there was little actual clashing with Robson meekly backing down from the strutting Portuguese. Two things happened that day for me: (1) it confirmed in my mind that the mythical "Great Escape" had been an aberration and Robson's side were going down (2) Mourinho was a complete tosser. Up to that point I must admit I had rather enjoyed his antics in a love-to-hate kind of way. Sure, he had the devil about him but the devil in question was Mephistopheles, twirling his moustache, tipping his top hat and seducing cygnine maidens with his rakish ways. From then on he became Beelzebub, a buzzing, fussy annoyance no longer amusing on any level but rather deeply irritating.

As such the travails he now finds himself in fill me with more glee than is perhaps healthy. Not since the chaotic Leeds United side of 1992-93 have I witnessed champions make such an unholy mess of their defence of the league. Even then it doesn't really compare as Howard Wilkinson's title winners had always been rather a shock, a collection of odds and sods that somehow, against all wisdom, nicked a league title (not a million miles away from Claudio Ranieri's knockabout Leicester side, a team to whom I must doff the hat despite my personal distaste as an anti-racist and a Japanophile at Vardy) and who were undone the following year by a certain maverick's taste for a certain team-mate's certain (pre-trout) wife. No names, no pack drill. Certainly they weren't comparable to the current Chelsea side, upon which a king's ransom has been lavished by a cartoon supervillain in pursuit of kudos.

All poetic justice, of course, for his treatment of the daphnean Eva Carneiro, a woman hung out to dry by the ever hubristic Mourinho who at the same time sent the message to his players that the possibility of a permanent brain injury for one of their number was of less import to him than a result in a routine league match. That in the course of doing what she was there for a woman should be so publicly humiliated by Mourinho means that he deserves all he has coming to him. With her untamed hair and dark eyes she may look the sort of lady to draw a dagger from her garter and plunge it into the weasel's black heart, her bosom burning with a fiery passion that no mere man can cool (steady on, old chap, you're getting carried away) but back in the real world she was always within her rights and her treatment appears to have dampened morale considerably in an already out of sorts squad.

Beyond that remains the éminence grise of John Terry, a figure every bit as malevolent as Mourinho but possibly even more influential than the self-appointed Special One. In times gone by when Terry was at Mourinho's shoulder it all went swimmingly but now that he is slowly being sidelined he re-emerges as a dangerous internal check to Mourinho's power, filling the last days of Steven Gerrard role to Mourinho's Brendan Rodgers. With players out of sorts, frustrated and disinterested, Mourinho no longer has his captain to call upon in order to do his dirty work, leaving him looking increasingly lost. Mourinho has defended the indefensible manys a time where Terry was concerned but now the relationship looks dead in the water and in the power struggle that ensues Mourinho might well prove the casualty. And it couldn't happen to a nicer fellow.

Despite their plastic nature, that putrid core of National Front and Combat 18 boneheads that have always infested their support, the loyalist connections, Abramovich, Terry and the rest I don't necessarily hate Chelsea as an entity. When erudite lounge lizard Carlo Ancelotti took them to the double I had no issue with their success and indeed was glad to see Ferguson's lot being put in their place for a change. But with Mourinho in charge they just tip over into the realms of pure diabolical evil and as such I wish them all the failure in the world. As such, to witness the crumbling of the empire as Mourinho enters his Romulus Augustus phase is a joy indeed, with the Special One left looking terribly normal and his expensively assembled rabble of individuals being made to look as nothing. Joy of joys and long may it continue.
keresaspa: (J Wellington Wimpy)
And another thing about Sinn Fein.... No, even I'm sick of me going on about them.

I'll not waste any words over the upcoming bombing of Syria either. I'm sure you can all guess my opinion on that score and I'm equally sure that it will carry about as much weight as Sarah Jessica Parker during Oscars week.

Instead I intend to turn my insights on the local press.

Something of an institution in Belfast (or not), South Side Advertiser is your one stop shop for local business adverts masquerading as stories, local school news masquerading as stories and public domain human interest nonsense stolen from the internet. And ads obviously. If you want a plasterer or a chimney sweep in Belfast it's the place to go but an august work of quality journalism it is not. In the most recent issue one of the filler pieces was as follows:

All very interesting stuff, even if its blighted by a glaring error in the title (the area they are describing is where the numbers begin on the Ormeau Road and so is actually "Bottom O' the Ormeau" with the top up at the junction with the Saintfield Road about three and a half miles away). One big problem however - it's actually a word for word copy of this bit of Wikipedia. Yup, in what is meant to be a "Belfast is great, isn't it" bit of airy-fairy nonsense they even left in the bit about the pass being a racist hellhole! I know journalists have come in for grief in recent years for becoming over-reliant on Wikipedia but (assuming the SSA counts as journalism) just copying it entirely with no changes whatsoever - the very definition of lazy, right there.

Of course I probably wouldn't have noticed it all were it not for the fact that the Wikipedia piece they copied is almost entirely the product of my own fair hands. Yup, one of mine immortalised for the ages in one of the finest press organs in the world and I didn't even get any credit for it. South Side Advertiser, I swear to God if you have a slow week and end up reprinting my UDA South Belfast Brigade article in full I'm coming round your houses and sorting you out. Cheeky buggers!
keresaspa: (Jimmy Edwards)
Yesterday was spent on a wild goose chase of sorts, trawling out to Twinbrook on the off-chance of catching a match. When I got there, sure enough Glaston were indeed playing Sandy Row in the Brooke Activity Centre as promised (albeit with kick off fifteen minutes earlier than promised), but there was no access for spectators and so I was forced to watch it through a fence. Five minutes of that did me until I thought "swive this" and buggered off, content in the knowledge that even I'm not desperate enough to endure 90 minutes of the second tier of the South Antrim League. As such I must face the crushing reality that for me the football season is most likely over.

Still, I can't really complain I suppose because it has been a thrill ride if you like that sort of thing (which I do). 54 matches in all was a slight drop on last season's probably unmatchable total of 58 but it still represented a good haul of live football, starting on 28th June 2014 with Crusaders playing Airbus UK Broughton in a friendly and ending last Saturday with Brantwood wrapping up the Ballymena and Provincial League campaign with a 4-3 win over Newtowne. During the course of the season I witnessed 187 goals (give or take one or two when I got distracted) and visited 28 grounds including first ever trips to Holm Park in Armagh, Inver Park in Larne, Celtic Park in Glasgow, Dennyfield in Bradford, Imperial Fields in London and New Victoria Park in Newtongrange as I endeavoured to spread my tentacles into Britain a bit more.

There were good times and bad times. For the bad times I will do well to forget: a Monday night hammering for Donegal Celtic up in the mountains of Knockbreda in the League Cup in August; an undeserved 1-0 defeat at Harland & Wolff Welders soon afterwards (the first of many matches where DC played well but still lost); the horrors of Islandmagee the following Saturday where the crowd have to be the biggest load of agrestic, ugly, bigoted, small-minded shitkickers I've ever had the misfortune to encounter; the futile attempt to get a bus from Celtic Park whilst having to wait with all the drunks in Glasgow; the near funeral atmosphere at Seaview whenever Newington were playing and their three supporters turned up; and hearing a home side committee member refer to their only black player as "the N*gger" at Shankill United a few weeks ago. But then there are always the highs: the aforementioned Crusaders-Airbus match when anything would have done to break the monotony of no football but where they contrived to serve up a 3-3 thrill-ride; the 3-1 win at Newforge Lane the day after my birthday when a DC promotion challenge seemed a possibility; being the last man standing at Dundela when the rest of the travelling support deserted a 3-1 defeat during which DC were forced to play in a late 90s Carrick Rangers away kit; the crazy atmosphere at Armagh City, again despite defeat; the traditional ball-freezing conditions at the annual post-Boxing Day beano that is the Border Regiment Cup final; my annual day out to Paisley Park to see Albert Foundry; getting fed like a fighting cock in the boardroom at Bangor; my annual day out to The Diamond to see Rathcoole; seeing Colin Valley destroy 18th Newtownabbey OB 8-1 at Valley Park having attended the reverse fixture earlier in the season and been unimpressed by the toxic atmosphere 18th had created at their ground; and of course, above all, the final day at Lakeview Park, Loughgall when, against the odds, DC stayed up.

So, barring a minor miracle (rumours abound of a match next week in Portadown, although I'm not sure I want to shell out the fare just for a Mid Ulster League match, whilst there may be play-offs) the football season is now over in terms of my live attendance. Until the final week in June (hopefully) or the first week in July (hope not) I am forced to find something else to fill in the gaping maw of ennui that is Saturday afternoon, something made all the worse by the year ending in an odd number. If I really start to lose the thread I may have to bite the bullet and take in a couple of Wednesday night Women's League matches at Seaview and/or Solitude but we'll cross that bridge when we can to it. Until then, so many memories and roll on next year.
keresaspa: (Jimmy Edwards)
It was hardly Tony Turner against Alexander Raven Thomson at Kensington Town Hall in '46, was it? Heck, it wasn't even the Duchess of Atholl demolishing Lord Queenborough's Bolshevik plot theories ten years earlier after her sudden, temporary, lurch to the left. No, this generation's great left-right debate ends up being a bunch of common room sparring between a greasy snake oil salesman who seems to have won over the lumpenproletariat by showing them nothing but contempt and a painfully unfunny "comedian" with a Messiah complex. A typical episode of the increasingly execrable Question Time in other words.

The sudden rebirth of Russell Brand as the self-appointed leader of the revolution has been one of the most disheartening things I've witnessed in years and is further proof of just how low the stock of the British left is these days. He might have the beard, the hair and the smouldering good looks (apparently - don't see it myself) but it takes more than that to make one into Che Guevara. Whatever they may say about Che he practised what he preached. He called for direct revolutionary action, so he carried it out, getting himself dirty and placing himself in the firing line in Cuba, Angola or wherever else it was going on. It's a far cry from turning up at the occasional protest for a photo opportunity in between harassing old men or cosying up to right-wing tossers like Adam Sandler.

Brand may have recycled the odd half-decent, fourth-hand idea in his most recent booky-wook but that that is supposed to suddenly make him a spokesman of resistance for a generation shows just how devoid of inspiration this generation really is. When even the notion of revolution is turned into yet another arm of celebrity culture then it really is a sad indictment. Blame Tariq Ali if you will, but even he paid his dues once upon a time before disappearing up his own hole. As for Brand's supposedly amazing line that Farage is a "pound shop Powell" - a) he already used the alliterative reference to pound shops when singing the praises of the unlamented racist bully Jade Goody and b) as much I hold Enoch Powell in the utmost contempt he was in other ways an intellectual giant and much more sophisticated than a cretin like Farage. Powell's racism slots into the academic strain running from Hans F. K. Günther to Richard Lynn, Farage's racism is the pub bore line trotted out by street corner loudmouths like John Tyndall based solely on their own illiterate prejudices and the constructed misconceptions they have derived from the gutter press.

Let's face it, Brand is every bit as self-publicising and arrogant as Farage. Both men practically achieve orgasm whenever they look in the mirror and they are both in their respective games for the same reason - me, me, me. Russell Brand is no more the future of the revolutionary left than Bernard Youens is the future of the Bolshoi Ballet and if anything his ill-thought out, soundbite-driven take on the left makes it that much easier for the gutter rags to bash otherwise sound ideas as the ravings of a self-absorbed, subnormal, wannabe rockstar, hippy bastard. Charlie Brooker is hardly an intellectual heavyweight and, as far as I'm aware, is not right-wing but even he had Brand on toast when they both appeared on Have I Got News For You so how can that be embraced as the one to bring deliverance?

Farage will go eventually, the same way all his extreme right predecessors have gone before him and if anything the wheels already seem to be starting to come off the UKIP juggernaut. Certainly I don't expect them to do anywhere near as well as they have suggested at the general election. But when he does go can he take Brand with him, please? The left needs its guiding lights but a sixth-form narcissist like Brand is not, cannot and should never be one of them.
keresaspa: (Colonel Blink)
When you actually think about it, the riddle of the Sphinx was pretty obvious really. It makes you wonder what sort of hicks must have lived in Thebes that so many of them died due to that and they made Oedipus king for something that simple. There again, perhaps the sight of a giant winged lion with a woman's face and boobs swooping down asking them about what walks on three at night scrambled their brains, who can say?

Perhaps the Thebans would feel at home amongst the UKIP-voting helots that are coming to dominate Britain these days. From the party that told us the National Front was left of centre in the late 70s* we now have secret plans to destroy the NHS from their oleaginous leader. Given that a lot of their voters are working class people, quite possibly with long-term illnesses, such information should be an anathema to them but unfortunately it will be ignored yet again. The stubborn idiocy of the lumpenproletariat who seem determined to vote in these chancers will not be altered by appeals to logic and indeed UKIP could announce that all people who earn less than £50,000 a year are to be executed and they would still vote for them. After all a lot of these people are the same ones who voted National Front and BNP in the past so sense is not something we can expect from them.

Nevertheless as somebody who suffers from a condition that needs regular treatment and which is not caused by anything I've done I am up in arms at the thought of these thick English oiks forcing me and my kind into crippling debt in order to avoid being poisoned by our own blood. That people who could never afford long-term treatments are fast becoming the backbone of this hateful party is the real tragedy. New IRA - get us away from these bastards whilst there's still time. Heck, I'm coming to the bit where even Ulster nationalism is seeming a more attractive prospect than life under a UKIP coalition.

* Sample quotes from the NF in the late 70s include: "The National Front completely opposes majority rule in Rhodesia and supports the present position of the White Rhodesians" (Britain: World Power or Pauper State?) and "The NF advocates the repeal of the Race Relations Act on the grounds that it is an infringement of our traditional rights of free free speech and free association and that it treats immigrants as a privileged class" (National Front Statement of Policy)

This was also a time when John Tyndall was Chairman of the NF, a man whose earlier words include: "The Greater Britain Movement will uphold, and preach, pure National Socialism" (National Socialist Movement internal bulletin, 1964). "Only those of British and kindred Aryan blood should be members of the nation....The removal of the Jews from Britain must be a cardinal aim of the new order" (Official Programme of the Greater Britain Movement). Tyndall's personal organ Spearhead continued to give vent to his biological racism and rabid anti-Semitism throughout the 1970s and beyond. Not to mention the fact that Spearhead was edited by Richard Verrall in the late 70s who, as well as serving as NF Deputy Chairman at the time, also wrote a bunch of pseudo-academic claptrap comparing "negros" to orang-utans biologically and denying the Holocaust (Verrall, under the name of Richard E. Harwood, was author of the historical revisionist "classic" Did Six Million Really Die? in 1974). So the UKIP definition of "left-of-centre" is legalising racism, apartheid, Holocaust denial and comparing Black people to monkeys? Still, you'll vote for them anyway, won't you?

Rebel songs

Jul. 7th, 2014 08:36 pm
keresaspa: (Maurice Bishop)
One story that did catch my eye during my barely noticed extended absence was the minor fuss locally over the Ku Klux Klan. For those unfamiliar, Island Street is a back street off a back street off the lower Newtownards Road. Made up of 80s style redeveloped Housing Executive houses, it is one of the more soul-destroying parts of east Belfast, saying something given what a bigoted little dump that side of town is. The walls proclaim allegiance to the UDA although, as is the case throughout the east, it is the UVF that largely holds sway with the UDA only existing with their permission and fulfilling little role beyond dealing drugs.

For years 81 Island Street has been a particular carbuncle in the gloom. With a front door festooned with racist and Islamophobic stickers, not to mention a bunch of stuff about Rangers, a Confederate flag flying on a pole and a window filled with KKK memorabilia, as well as UDA flags, it stands as a beacon of hatred. Action taken to address this? None. In an area of low-grade housing, towards which immigrants are likely to gravitate, a public display of racial hatred and xenophobia has for years been ignored. So recently a KKK flag went on a nearby lamppost and a fuss was kicked up but Belfast's own Braunes Haus continues happily in a part of the town already notorious for its racism. The flag was subsequently taken down "following discussions" (rather than torn down with its owner prosecuted under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006) but when I passed that way today it had been replaced by a pair of Southern crosses. Well, that's much better as the flag of a racist state is a lot less offensive than the flag of a racist organisation.

Radio Ulster's decision to interview the local KKK boss-cocky is a dodgy one as it gives him much more importance than he deserves (although is very much in keeping with the ever rightwards drift of the BBC as whole). Given that we have a strongly anti-Catholic organisation in which members are expected to dress like prats and take part in bizarre rites in the Orange Order then it hardly seems surprising that the KKK could come here (although to be fair a few token Africans have found their way into the Orange Order) but it's also probably the main reason that they are an irrelevance. Extreme right organisations have found their openings within loyalism locally but they have never fully taken off nor are they likely to unless the loyalist paramilitaries ever come out unequivocally against racism and start punishing the racists in their own community. However the fuss over the flying of the flag is a little like suddenly becoming appalled about the Cerne Abbas Giant's tumescence - it's been that way years and nobody has batted an eyelid. To think that they're actually sinking money into promoting east Belfast as a tourist destination. God help any tourist who goes over that way and God help even more any poor immigrant who gets housed in Island Street. What an absolute shithole this place really is sometimes.
keresaspa: (Henrietta emo)
You all knew.

You all knew about the racism. You all knew about the homophobia. You all knew about the misogyny. You all knew about the massive expenses claims, the corruption, the xenophobia, the sheer bloody lunacy of the whole shower of them.

And yet you still voted for them. You still made the choice that these maniacs were the people you wanted to represent you locally and on the European stage. No longer can Britain claim to be an oasis of tolerance and no longer can it sneer at continental Europe for it has now given a sizeable mandate to a party whose entire basis is intolerance. Even Alan Sked has recognized that the UKIP monster he created has abandoned its sole purpose as an anti-EU party to make a landgrab from the BNP and yet the British electorate happily endorsed that shift. Never mind the hatred, feel the protest. All the scandals, all the warnings, all the evidence that this is a party of bitter, hate-filled extremists counted for nothing in the end a nation of bigots played its hand and demonstrated that the radical right is what it wants.

We've been forced to endure four years of brutal monetarism and now something even worse is being endorsed by the voters. A future of a Conservative-UKIP coalition looms, with the NHS gone, human rights abolished, the police given a free hand to discriminate at will and unemployment an imprisonable offence, all because you can't stand the immigrants.

The need for a united Ireland and a path away from this unfeeling cruelty has never been greater. The thought of Northern Ireland under a Cameron-Farage alliance is too grim to countenance. A Union Jack flying from every building, the Stormont Parliament restored, Fenian enfranchisement scaled back and every republican area subject to permanent curfew with army bases a fixture. If this is the future then it's time to rise up and reclaim our destiny by any means. Scotland, take your chance and run from these lunatics while you can.

My sentiments exactly.
keresaspa: (Giant Haystacks pissed as a frt!)
Well, that's the Premiership season done and dusted for another year and for my part I was rather glad to see Manchester City winning it. I'm no fan of their lavish ways or their close ties to Middle Eastern despotates but the sudden anointing of Liverpool as the "neutral's favourite" (is anybody really neutral when it comes to football, apart from those who just aren't interested?) did start to grate very quickly. Suarez's racism may have been forgotten by most but I still remember and there is just something about that diminutive, narcissistic, management-speak spouting little tosser Brendan Rodgers that really rubs me up the wrong way so I was glad to see them fail. Certainly their re-emergence reminded me just how tedious I found their earlier dominance and the hollow claims that their success would have been something different rang rather hollow to those of us over 30 who recall their depressing period of endless success. A shame Arsenal didn't win it really, as I've developed a rather grudging respect for old Wenger and they're probably the "Big Five" team I can tolerate most now. "Big Six"? Spurs wish!

Theoretically, though, it was the best season in terms of excitement in some time and yet I can't recall a season that I took less interest in since my period in the early 90s when I was a teenage pseud who pretended not to like football as it wasn't intellectual (what a painful little shit I was). Manys a Saturday night this term I sat down in front of Match of the Day only to find myself wandering from the room for extended periods or on occasion even turning over to something else, an action I don't remember ever doing previously. I think my personal odyssey around east Ulster watching a more grass roots version of the game has something to do with it, seeing the young lads putting it all out there for nothing making it a bit more difficult to accept multi-millionaire prima donnas diving and bleating.

There again if Albion had had a better season I might perhaps have been better disposed towards it all. But they didn't. In fact this season for Albion was, undeniably, a pile of absolute tits. Had Albion been relegated after a crap season on the pitch it would have been a disappointment but I could have taken it on the chin nevertheless. Norwich City's relegation will have vexed their support but nothing major went wrong with the club and they'll probably be back in a year or two with the minimum of fuss. Albion on the other hand - sheesh. Anelka was a toe-curling farce from start to finish and left me ashamed by the whole club but beyond that so much went wrong that it's hard to know where to start.

Clarke's sacking was unfortunate but the insistence that any replacement had to keep all the existing coaching staff despite Keith Downing's rotten run as caretaker just made it all rather daft and ensured that Pepe Mel was only ever going to be a yes man. Inevitably the results during his tenure were crap and in the end Albion only survived because other teams were so poor. One of the few bright spots was the emergence of Saido Berahino but even that was naused up when James Morrison was allowed to get away with beating the bake of him in the dressing room scot free. If Berahino wants to leave in the summer I for one wouldn't blame him. Meanwhile ten first teamers are out of contract (although of the list only Chris Brunt looks worth keeping) and the manager might be on his way, although that would be little odds really. His spell in charge has been characterised by poor results on the pitch and he is hamstrung by the increasingly dictatorial presence of chairman Jeremy Peace, whose megalomaniac tendencies might even end up with him doing a Ron Noades and installing himself as manager. A lot needs to change at Albion or else relegation next season will be almost guaranteed but with Peace in charge that won't happen and it's becoming increasingly clear that his time needs to come to an end. Dark days ahead I fear as a saturnine pall descends on the Hawthorns.

So that was the season that was. Money triumphed, it became easy to hate Liverpool again, it became even easier to laugh at Manchester United again, Vincent Tan got his comeuppance for buggering up a proud old club in Cardiff City but Assem Allam didn't get his despite doing his best to bugger up Hull City AFC, we still had to endure the same old grind of Stoke City, Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew, Jose Mourinho came back a bigger tosser than ever but thankfully a less successful one, Roberto Martinez made us all smile with his pretty football and watery eyes and Felix Magath looked a bit like Penfold. There'll never be another. Well, as an Albion supporter, I certainly hope there weren't be another.


Apr. 24th, 2014 09:04 pm
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Just so as we can be clear about this the UK Independence Party are not racist, just their policies, their rhetoric and their members. One of the faces of their election campaign, Andre Lampitt, is now the latest to join the long-line of UKIP racists and is the latest to join the huge list of those suspended by the party for publicly endorsing hatred. In any civilised society this sort of hatred would see people deserting this bigoted rabble in their droves but Britain gave up on civilisation a long time ago and I fully expect these vile vermin will still sweep the polls next month. The media have already anointed them as big cheeses and have convinced the sheep that xenophobia is the way to go so even were Nigel Farage, who is nothing like the Westminster lot don't forget, to be hauled in as part of Operation Yewtree I still doubt it would make a blind bit of difference. How shitty and British really - racism, xenophobia, bigotry, hatred, misogyny, the whole kit and kaboodle, are all fine as long as the person spreading them has a posh accent. The difference between tut-tutting at tattooed, h-dropping National Front yobs but chuckling gently at the latest bit of racist bile from Philip Mountbatten. Wankers.

Well, I suppose at least I can rely on one thing - Henry Reilly, the candidate for the UK Independence Party (and enthusiast for made-up languages, God help us) will not be getting a seat in the European Parliament. With the candidate list finalised this may well be the first election since 2001 when I don't bother voting*. My days of voting Sinn Fein are well and truly over and even, if I would have considered it, Martina Anderson is the kind of faceless, nodding-dog apparatchik that that party is stuffed with nowadays. The SDLP are out too as, during his time as a Stormont minister, Alex Attwood was single-handedly responsible for laying waste to this city, allowing the developers to tear down every and any historic building with impunity. I probably would have voted for Anna Lo as I respect her on a personal level as a brave and feisty opponent of racism and bigotry and admired her decision to nail her colours to the mast as an anti-imperialist despite being in a pro-British party but it is said party that means I can't. Their affiliation to the Liberal Democrats means that the Alliance are effectively supporting this filthy government and there's also the issue that they are the ones who ensured that the City Hall still flies the butcher's apron on "designated days" rather than taking the rag down altogether so that, along with their general bourgeois crapulence, rules them out. Similarly bourgeois crapulence rules out the Green Party and NI21, with the latter too unionist and too much of a vanity project for its two leaders to be worth consideration. The rest are all avowedly unionist and right-wing, even radical right in Jim Allister and Henry Reilly's cases, and so are not worth wasting words over.

All in all an evil crop, with nobody to remotely attract my attention. I might still change my mind but as things stand a destroyed ballot looks the only viable option. Interesting that after spouting so much crap about how he reckoned he could win the election Billy Hutchinson's name isn't on the ballot, nor indeed that of the UVF's Jamie Bryson (I guess the money ran out once he was caught doing the double) who made a song and dance all winter about how he too would be a candidate. A shame though that the menagerie of dissident republican parties are all giving the election a miss too, as at very least their presence might have made inroads into the Sinn Fein vote, with PSF now virtually guaranteed top spot. Either way, nothing for me here so I think I'll sit this one out.

* For future reference my voting history is as follows:
1998 Good Friday Agreement referendum - no;
1998 Assembly election - Sinn Fein (Sean Hayes);
1999 European election - Sinn Fein (Mitchell McLaughlin);
2001 general election - destroyed the ballot;
2001 local election - Sinn Fein (Alex Maskey);
2003 Assembly election - Socialist Party (Jim Barbour);
2004 European election - Socialist Environmental Alliance (Eamonn McCann);
2005 general election - Workers Party (Paddy Lynn);
2005 local election - Socialist Party (James Barbour);
2007 Assembly election - Socialist Party (James Barbour);
2009 European election - SDLP (Alban McGuinness);
2010 general election - Alliance (Anna Lo);
2011 local election - Workers Party (Paddy Lynn);
2011 Assembly election - Socialist Party (Paddy Meehan);
2011 Alternative Vote referendum - no.
keresaspa: (Henrietta emo)
When we examined the Twaddell Avenue protests recently you will remember that they included banners with the command "respect our culture" thereon. Leaving aside the benefits of occasional iconoclasm and the fact that not so long ago this, this, this and this could all be termed culture but are now thankfully condemned to the scrapheap where they belong the order was there - whatever we do is culture so love it or leave it.

In that case I presume the same courtesy must be extended to the other side. Apparently not:

Yup, a recently painted mural celebrating the league success for the traditionally republican Cliftonville club as well as their (non-existent) communist heritage is defaced with a dose of nakedly sectarian graffiti expressing fairly irrelevant disapproval for the pontificate of Francis I. So I suppose it's a case of "respect our culture but we reserve the right to crap on everybody else's". Good to know where you stand I suppose - special treatment for a chosen people and the Fenians must know their place as the second class citizens they once were. And I'll resist the temptation to end with some bitter rebuke to the concept of "shared future" as even I'm getting tired of that sign-off.
keresaspa: (Idi Amin)
So moving on from the only topic than anybody - myself included - has spoken about in the last lot of days (there may be nuclear war soon but never mind, an 87 year old died of natural causes) I see Charles Green has been acting like a typical Rangers supporter. What, really? Even if somebody was your best friend in the world and you were such great mates that you happily hurled all the ethnic slurs of the day at each other would you really be stupid enough to share that with the rest of the world when you are in the public eye? Good God man, have you not the sense you were born with to keep idiocy like that to yourself? Notwithstanding the fact that his justification is not only one of the limpest I have ever heard but also includes an attack on anti-racists for bringing it up (does he expect them to ignore racism when their raison d'etre is to oppose racism) can there be a more monotonous mantra than somebody brought to book for racism trumpeting how much of a non-racist they are? Like Green, or anybody else in a similar situation, is going to say "yeah, you caught me, I'm a racist". Given some of the dodgy characters at the SFA I imagine his subsequent apology will be enough for them.

Frankly Green has been a little wizzika-woo since he arrived, seeking to wash his hands of all the debts and obligations of the old Rangers but at the same time claiming his Sevco Franchise is the same club and demanding special treatment as a result so this latest nonsense is very much the mettle of the man. Football club owners are a rum lot at the best of times but in terms of that motley crew the teds long time owner David Murray seemed OK, tackling the sectarianism that existed in the boardroom, but Green is every bit as much a wideboy as Craig Whyte and this latest nonsense comes as no surprise.
keresaspa: (Karl Liebknecht)
Just to be clear Benito Mussolini once opined that Italians should leave racism to the blondes (as he called the Nazi Party), Jewish figures such as Giuseppe Volpi and Aldo Finzi held high office in Fascist Italy until a Hitler-inspired change of law in 1938, a Libyan Arab Fascist Party was established in that country after Mussolini invaded and so-called "Lictor Youth" groups were established in both Libya and Ethiopia by the Italian occupation forces. Thus when new Sunderland manager Paolo di Canio made those claims about being a fascist but not a racist that he is now claiming he didn't make I don't see any particular contradiction. We are too stuck in the mindset that fascism and Nazism are mere synonyms when rather Nazism is a particular strand of fascism that emphasised above all a racial element to its ultranationalism.

But having said all that as a fascist di Canio was declaring his support for violent extreme nationalism, social Darwinism, the subjugation of individuality to a mass movement, the persecution of dissidents, the denial of freedom of thought, extreme misogyny, totalitarianism, the destruction of an independent labour movement and class consciousness, extreme elitism and aggressive imperialism and a foreign policy dominated by violence and bullying. Is he a racist? I don't know, I can't go inside his head and read his every thought about everyone of a different ethnicity that he encounters. However even if he isn't he is on record as a fascist, despite his latest claims to the contrary, and frankly there is more than enough about that that is reprehensible for this latest appointment to be denounced by all right thinking people.

My only hope is that justice is served and Sunderland get relegated in a blaze of histrionics and in-fighting and Martin O'Neill allows himself a bit of a chuckle when it happens for the shoddy treatment he has received from the club he has supported all his life. I'm on record as not being O'Neill's biggest fan but that's only because his public persona grates on me a little, not because he expresses support for a murderous, hate-filled ideology, offers an open-handed salute to Lazio ultras or bears the Latin spelling of Il Duce on his forearm. Frankly di Canio needs to be hounded, the left-wing community associated with the club need to decamp to Sunderland Ryhope Community Association and other local non-league clubs until he is gone and a few other board members need to follow the lead of David Miliband by resigning in protest. A dark time for a hitherto proud football club and no mistake.
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Well I don't often write on here at any length any more but thanks to the timely intervention of [ profile] bombardiette I am about to. Finally a meme that has allowed, nay forced, me to think deeply and even allowed me the opportunity to get all ideological on your arses. Corking stuff. So anyway -

The rules: "Comment to this post and I will list seven things I want you to talk about. They might make sense or they might be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself."

The seven topics I have been given are as follows:

1. The Irish Diaspora
2. America
3. The Catholic Church
4. The EU
5. Literature
6. War
7. Look at the city from an outsider's perspective. What do you see?

Very long-winded and pretentious waffle herein )

That's one from the golden days of livejournal when people used this as a forum for extended free form essays before Twitter and Facebook killed off brain cells and reduced communication to a couple of half-formed sentences. Well, I certainly enjoyed doing it even if you didn't enjoy reading a little of it before thinking "sod this" and playing Angry Birds instead. O tempora o mores!
keresaspa: (Anti-Nazi)
So the parade of foolishness that is the Olympics is but a day old and already it has its first big controversy with Greece being forced to send home thrice leaper Voula Papachristou after she took to idiot magnet Twitter to trot out some hackneyed racist joke. What a classy bird. For me the bigger controversy is not so much a very poor taste joke but rather the fact that the Greek Olympic selectors decided to pick somebody who had publicly declared her support for the Golden Dawn, a party which until recently made no bones about being neo-Nazi and which, despite its growth into a major force in Greek politics, still contains a significant Nazi element. Imagine a self-declared November 9th Society supporter in "Team GB", much less a BNP supporter - it would never happen.

Nice also to see a measured response from the Daily Mail - never mind that she's a racist (well, they all are too so why worry?) let's illustrate it with twelve pictures of the cow in various Perfumed Garden poses because she's totty. Well, if you're into giant ladies with washboard stomachs I suppose she is but I'll pass thanks and instead roll my eyes at the Daily Mail being ridiculous yet again. God, when is this Olympics crap over, I'm bored of it already!
keresaspa: (Maurice Bishop)
I suppose it would be opportune to give my thoughts on Euro 2012, even though I'm not sure what precisely they are. As winners Spain were fitful and at times not as pleasing on the eye as they should have been but when it mattered they suddenly became rampant and as such you can't really begrudge them yet another triumph. I did eventually get into Italy but unfortunately the final proved a game too much for them as their semi-final demolition of a much fancied German side was very much their zenith, with the final an enormous drop off. A win would have been a fine sign-off for Andrea Pirlo (assuming he doesn't appear again in two years time in another of those veteran-heavy first round casualty Italy sides) but, whilst it wasn't to be, his performances will live long in the memory.

Overall it was an OK tournament, but not as good as it should have been. There was some excellent stuff on the pitch (alongside a lot of rubbish) but for whatever reason I didn't really get into like I should have. I got into Italy near the end but for the majority of the tournament I had no team, which didn't help, whilst the racism that kept rearing its head cast a long shadow over proceedings and the reactions of UEFA in general and Michel Platini in particular really didn't help either (racist chanting less of an offence than having Paddy Power on your knickers?!). There was a time I hoped Platini might be a new broom at UEFA who could finally challenge the dominance of the old boys at FIFA but he has proven a massive disappointment and his non-reaction to vile racist abuse means he is now tainted with the same stench as Sepp Blatter, Lennart Johansson and the rest of the old colonials that have always dominated football administration. Meanwhile looking at the performances of the likes of Poland and the Republic of Ireland it wasn't hard to get the impression that, like the last World Cup, the whole thing is a little too big for its own good. I dread to think what the 2016 version, which is to be expanded to 24 teams, will be like when real rubbish start to qualify, as who outside of Portugal will actually get any enjoyment out of watching the Portuguese trounce Finland 7-0?

As to the actual participants, for once the best two teams made the final. Germany looked an excellent attacking unit at times but, as they always do now, choked on the big stage. Amazing to think that a team once known for winning with dully efficient football is fast garnering a reputation for playing great football but blowing it, but that looks to be the pattern and as long as they continue with Joachim Löw it probably will be for some time. Portugal had their moments but Cristiano Ronaldo is no Diego Maradona and there was no way he could carry a whole team to victory like the Cosmic Kite did in '86. Other than that it just seemed to be bunch of let downs as, to varying degrees, England, France, Russia, Croatia and above all the Netherlands, let themselves down with ropey performances and shoddy play.

Other than that, it was just another tournament really, and as such was preferable to the black-outs of odd-numbered summers. Still never fear as, after all, Linfield play some Faeroese outfit tomorrow night and that promises to be a barn-burner. Close season, what close season?
keresaspa: (Max Miller)
At last. For the good of the Premier League it was imperative that somebody other than Manchester United won the title this season as there is only so long you can keep interest going in a league that only one club wins (witness Donegal Celtic struggling to break three figures in their crowds in a competition that Linfield have won six times out of seven). After all if the same club wins every year what is the incentive for people who don't support that club to bother? Variety is the spice of life and Manchester City's win is still new enough to be welcome. So let's review.

Premiership 2011-12 Club by Club )

A satisfying finish all round for the most part. Nice one, City.
keresaspa: (Daffney)
If there is one thing guaranteed to get royally on my tit-end it is one of those patrician old English Catholics. Typified by the Dukes of Norfolk, these are stuck-up old monarchist boot-lickers who wedge their lips permanently to E2R's arsehole despite the fact that Crown of England is by its very nature an anti-Catholic institution. The sort who spend their Mass praying for the queen and would never dream of sharing a church with the sort of rowdy Irish immigrant Catholics whose very presence has helped to secure the strong reputation of Liverpudlian weddings as the world's most violent.

Well it seems that one of the main exponents of that thankfully decaying stereotype has bit the dust, in the shape of Norman St. John Stevas. For some reason the man of straw that was the fiercely heterosexual Baron Stevas always rubbed me seriously up the wrong way. OK he was of the old English Catholic stock that by its nature vexes and he was a Tory which is a big enough sin but there was something less tangible that pushed to a level of annoyance which at times nagged at me. Leaving aside his racist comment that the Irish are "not known for their cleanliness"1 I can think of no one who so encapsulated that almost paradoxical combination of supreme self-satisfied arrogance with Uriah Heep2 levels of toadying that sums up a snob who is also a staunch monarchist. Gyles Brandreth is perhaps the only one to come close and, surprise surprise, he's an old English Catholic.

I rather suspect that the root of my extreme distaste for the upper class English Catholic set is the fact that, despite enjoying a degree of influence, they were happy to stand by and let their supposed faith brothers in my neck of the woods be denied their civil rights and thus indirectly played their part in causing the Troubles. Either that or it is just that Norman "he loves the ladies" St. John Stevas was just a hateful little bugger in his own right. No tears here, folks.

1 OK, so we're a dirty shower of tinker hillbilly dirtbags but that's not his place to say and there are plenty of English soap dodgers out there too.

2That's Uriah Heep as in David Copperfield not Uriah Heep as in Dreammare. And come to think of it that's David Copperfield as in Betsey Trotwood and Clara Peggotty not David Copperfield as in the plastic-faced, leather-trousered, Claudia Schiffer-bonking thaumaturge.


keresaspa: (Default)

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