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



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

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

Still either way, notwithstanding the tacked on Irishian stuff or his tiny, frail body it's good to at last have a statue of Irish republicanism's best ever adherent in my own town and I'll proudly salute my comrade when I pass. Well, something good had to come out of last year, didn't it?!
keresaspa: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
I rather fear I say this every year but it wants repeating - St Patrick's Day can take a flying leap as far as I'm concerned. Despite my Irish republican tendencies I'm no patriot and as such a day given over to displays of nationalistic fervour is never going to sit too well with me. Still, for the most part I can generally ignore it, pull up the covers and let the mayhem take place but today that certainly wasn't the case.

I have a severely disabled uncle who lives a couple of miles down the road from me. No longer able to walk, his place has fell into severe disrepair to the point where the Fold has ordered a big overhaul or else he's out on his arse. My auld doll is his next of kin so much of it has been dumped in her lap and, in turn, been passed on to me as his only other relative (ignoring all his other nieces, nephews and their offspring, none of whom can be arsed) so these last lot of weeks have involved a load of fannying about on my part, sorting, rearranging, humping heavy loads and various other bits of donkey work that invariably get dumped on you when you are huge like me.

Today however - a three hour wait for a delivery from Argos. Of a bin.

A fucking bin!

I might not care for donkey work but carrying a bin a few streets would have taken me about ten minutes instead of three hours of sitting with sod all to do, having had to battle my way through scenes of unmitigated carnage on the Ormeau Road where seemingly the entire under-25 population of rural Northern Ireland had descended to get royally pissed. Beyond repeating five or six phrases, more or less at random, my uncle (who has had several strokes, the first of which was in 1989) is more or less unable to communicate and I had already done all the sorting I could so there was literally nothing to do for those three hours other than wait for a doorbell to ring. Ordinarily it would have been the responsibility of the person in charge to let the delivery man in but she's wangled herself a few days off so yours truly was in the firing line once again.

It was well after five by the time I got out of there and the buses were running on a skeleton service so once again I was forced to walk up the Ormeau Road, where all the bais had a day's solid drinking behind them and were all the more obnoxious for it. Put it this way, when I first went down the road at just after 1 there were chaps whipping their knobs out on the main road for a pish so four hours later things were a lot worse. One house appeared to be on fire, which was a source of amusement to the assembled morons, some idiot was doing cartwheels before one of his number did us all a favour and belted him and the harassment of the female population had begun in earnest, again to the amusement of the assembled morons (the rabid misogyny of so many young - and not so young - men these days is really disturbing). Hell, that was just the tip of the iceberg as I didn't stick around but suffice to say days like this make the fact that haemochromatosis severely restricts my alcohol intake seem like a blessing rather than a "Celtic curse".

So St. Patrick's Day - you can keep it. Vulgar, drunken idiots supposedly celebrating an accident of birth by living down to every negative stereotype about their kind, the sort so blind with sectarian hatred that they wrap themselves in a made-up green, white and yellow tricolour flag because they're too bigoted to don the colour orange that makes up one third of Thomas Francis Meagher's banner. Future Sinn Fein leaders in other words. The only day of the year that kind of makes me wish I had been born a loyalist, this might have to join the Twelfth as an excuse to quit this backwards dump for a while in future.

2015 thing

Jan. 1st, 2016 09:03 pm
keresaspa: (Lester and Eliza)
Two days running? God, it's been years since that sort of rot. Anyway:

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Left the Atlantic Archipelago (that's British Isles to you imperialists).

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Never do, never will.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Two of the Donegal Celtic mob died - one from cancer, the other took his own life. To be honest though I didn't know either of them that well.

5. What countries did you visit?
France, Scotland and England. I actually visited a personal best of 24 towns and cities this year, with Larne, Newry, Dun Laoghaire, Banbridge, Paris and Dunfermline all new to me.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Cash on demand, same as every year.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm very stereotypically male about remembering dates so none.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Dunno.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Dunno.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Usual haemochromatosis plus my vertigo has kicked into overdrive to the point where massive turns are now a daily occurrence and some can last for several hours. I've started having the odd fall as well.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
As noted recently, Mirel Wagner albums.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Oh, you're all great.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Here's a shock - Sinn Fein. I'm not sure if I mentioned that at any time last year.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Music as ever. Trips and that too I suppose.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Don't be silly.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
"The Road and the Miles to Dundee" by Jim Reid And The Foundry bar Band or "Pasties and Cream" by Brenda Wootton. Neither are available online though so I can't link to them (is it just me or has YouTube removed about half of its music videos in the last week or so?).

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? about the same
b) thinner or fatter? ditto
c) richer or poorer? ditto

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Nothing in particular.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Again, nothing springs to mind.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
It's already over so....

21. What was your favourite month of 2015?
No idea. August maybe.

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Don't be daft.

23. How many one-night stands?
Mind your own business.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
I've pretty much given up on TV these days. I don't even bother watching the football on Saturday nights sometimes any more.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't think so, although my opinion of Simon Danczuk is really starting to harden.

26. What was the best book you read?
No idea. Been mostly short stories and non-fiction this year. Of the former William Beckford's "Vathek" was probably the best.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Mirel Wagner, as discussed yesterday.

28. What did you want and get?
A new article to get published in When Saturday Comes (in shops 14th January).

29. What did you want and not get?
The new Extreme Noise Terror album, although a copy is winging its way to me from Germany. I'll believe it when I get it and not before as it's fast becoming the new "Things may Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes on for Ever" for me.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
I think I saw a total of two films on TV this year (Midnight Run on ITV Four one night and Despicable Me dubbed into French in Paris) and none in the cinema. Any interest I ever had in films has long since died off.

31. What did you do on your birthday?
Watched Nortel defeat Mossley 4-2 at the Mossley playing fields in the second round of the Border Regiment Cup. It was even less glamorous than it sounds.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
As ever, isn't this essentially the same as question six?

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
I wouldn't. I haven't changed a lick of my image in years but to call it a "fashion concept" would be completely ludicrous. If pushed I'll go with "man who looks a lot older than he is dressing to his wrongly assumed age".

34. What kept you sane?
Assuming I am sane, then the match.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Demi Lovato. I may have the makings of a dirty old man. But come on, eh?!

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The quiet death of Irish republicanism and its rebirth as Tory collaborationism, all with the tacit approval of the victims of this development.

37. Who did you miss?
Cigs as ever.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Can't think of anyone. I've not really met anyone new this year.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
No.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Poor old horse, he must die".
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: (Starry Plough)
I've mentioned the loyalist camp at Twaddell Avenue before on here. For months now Ardoyne has been greeted with a sea of loyalist flags and emblems where gangs of thugs gather every night to wave their triumphalist reactionary shit in peoples' faces, frequently augmented by visits from battalions of illegal loyalist paramilitary movements. The camp is intimidatory, bigoted, disruptive, aggressive, threatening, has featured clashes with police and has frequently seen protesters burn Irish flags (something I personally couldn't care less about but which others find very offensive). Reaction - none.

Finally, after meekly accepting being reminded of their status as untermensch for nearly a year a few Fenians decided enough was enough and went over and tore some of the offensive crap down. Reaction - arrested for hate crimes. This place would be hilarious if it wasn't so bloody sickening.

The next time a loyalist makes the claim that the PSNI is pro-republican I hope they'll be reminded of this. Fenians are expected to put up with paramilitary-led provocation and a constant threatening presence facing their homes but if they dare to reacted they're committing hate crimes? Words cannot express just how ridiculous and one-sided this place is sometimes. For the loyalists there is complete freedom to disrupt the city in whatever way they see fit without fear of arrest but for the Fenians the slightest protest back is a hate crime. Where the right to resist is removed you have dictatorship and when you have dictatorship the only answer is uprising. No doubt Sinn Fein will condemn the three for their actions but for my part I can't commend them enough. The more you accept bigotry, aggression and hatred the more they will flourish so well done to somebody, anybody for finally taking a proactive stand against the creeping return to second class citizenship. One of the watchwords of republicanism has always been "they have rights who dare defend them" and it is heartening to see that that spirit remains alive, even if the movement's current leaders are determined to stamp it out. Long overdue.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
There are few characteristics more becoming in humanity than compassion. One of the side-effects of Thatcherism has been the gradual elimination of compassion in many people, leaving behind a bunch of warmongering nimbys, turning their hatred on the poor and the immigrant simply because they're weak and can't fight back, the sort of people who will say with a straight face that an odious little bastard like Nigel Farage "seems like a good bloke". One of the very few people in public life to demonstrate compassion as a matter of course was Tony Benn and as such his death is a huge blow to the increasingly quaint notion that it is possible to enter politics without being a total piece of vermin. We may not have agreed on everything (his ideal of democratic socialism would never have been an end in itself to my mind, rather a staging point on the way to proper communism) but I can think of no figure in British politics that I admired more, a man of the utmost principle, a tireless friend of the republican community at a time when many of his countrymen viewed us as untermensch to be repressed as brutally as possible and above all somebody whose thought processes were always informed, not by concerns for himself or his powerful chums, but by what would help the people most.

Driven by principle above all, Benn sacrificed the easy life of the House of Lords for the simple reason that he didn't agree with its existence. There are plenty of posh boys who like to play at being lefties but fall into line when the time comes but not Wedgie, who told them where they could shove it and devoted much of his energies to attacking patronage, the monarchy and the whole corrupt lot of them. A tireless opponent of monetarism, which he rightly warned would lead not to greater freedom but to greater authoritarianism from the right, it's just a crying shame that his warnings were ignored and instead petty selfishness and an anti-humanity outlook was adopted as the norm. Equally shameful has been the increasing lurch towards militarism but that didn't for a second stop Benn from opposing war and the suffering it engenders with all his might. As the man so rightly said "if you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people".

That the very fact he was a man of principle was used against him during his life (and no doubt will be in the right-wing press tomorrow) is a sure sign of just how cancerous British society has become. That someone should ever face criticism for putting the welfare of the people, not one group, not certain sections, but ALL the people, above money and capitalism is a revolting reality to have to face. The passing of one of the true greats and I look around and see no one even close to him who can take his place. Rest in peace Tony, we'll never see your like again and that's the greatest shame of all.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
It is fast becoming a tradition in Belfast that whenever some or other of our masters deign to put in an appearance the dissident republicans take to Black Mountain in order to set up a brief protest that will be visible to the whole of the city (presuming that the population of Belfast outside of the Falls is made up entirely of eagles and other birds of prey that is). Fair play to them as those setting up these statements will often run afoul of the loyalist inhabitants of Highfield and Lyndhurst and fisticuffs have often ensued although as yet I've heard nothing to suggest today's example ended with any claret being tapped. Either way however today's effort was certainly one of the more eye-catching examples:



Now it says more about the amount of time I've wasted watching cheesy wrestling programmes rather than reading the works of Pat Robertson and David Icke but I must confess my first thought on seeing the above was "I know Hogan and Nash were past masters at the backstage politics games but calling them war criminals is coming it a bit". But still, I suppose at least it makes something of a visible statement of defiance, even if it is one that the G8 leaders will struggle to see from some 90 miles away in Enniskillen. Perhaps something at the Lough Erne resort itself would have been more noticeable but I suppose that would be impossible, given that the dissident republicans are so riddled with informers that the security forces know when they took their last shites. Word of advice, chaps - if you're going to ape extreme right concepts like the New World Order have a wee duke at leaderless resistance while you're at it and maybe you will finally see an end to the constant round of arrests after every pointless graveyard rally.

But never mind eh? At least Saint Barack still loves us so we can all rest easily in our beds now.
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: (What do you think of it so far)
Three faces of republicanism )

But enough about that )
keresaspa: (James Connolly)
Look before you leap )

Why not

Jul. 29th, 2011 07:13 pm
keresaspa: (Captain Mainwaring)
Pointing those who are interested, if any, in the direction of this petition for the release of Brendan Lillis. I'm not personally a fan of petitions but I am a fan of humane treatment of prisoners so why not. I happened to be up the Falls at the start of this week and passed the supporters of Lillis staging a hunger strike for his release and my immediate thought was "wouldn't it be great if there was a republican in a position of influence who could bring the apply pressure to secure Lillis' freedom without all this? Somebody like a Deputy First Minister, perhaps". So far Fra McCann seems to have been the only Sinn Feiner to take an interest. Martin's too worried about his salary to involve himself in the little stuff I suppose.

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