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: (Ben Turpin)
Given that there was a big scare back in 2011, resulting in my backing everything up on Dreamwidth the recent export has resulted in two copies of each entry from 2003 up to the date when I made the first copies. When it comes to things like this I'm rather anal, even OCD, in my approach and as such I've been going back through all my old entries on Dreamwidth and deleting one of the copies for each, as well as smoothing out the tags so as both versions of this blog are in sync. Quite the experience it has been too, and at times an unsettling one come to think of it.

For one thing in the early days I was ludicrously prolific, knocking out up to three entries a day, most of which had little or no purpose. Bear in mind too that those were the days when I didn't have a home internet connection so you couldn't fault my commitment. That dogmatism of youth was present in those early entries, although paradoxically my intractable approach to Sinn Fein had yet to crystallize as I was more a minor critic in the early years and even spoke out loud about possibly voting for them.

I also seemed to have a deep knowledge of the contemporary ins-and-outs of Italian politics and took it very seriously, for some reason considering that developments there were vital to me personally. The number of times I was practically frothing at the mouth with anger about Berlusconi's latest japes or the political career of doe-eyed hate merchant Alessandra Mussolini rather surprised me at this far-removed distance. Mind you, a lot more things seemed to matter to me back then although I suspect, like manys a young person, I felt that I personally could have an impact on politics, something that I have long since given up on.

On the humorous side, I seemed to be under the impression that the word "meme" was pronounced "me-me", leading a lot of attempted puns that now make no sense. On the bleak side, a trigger warning might have been required for some sections. Let's draw a veil over that.

2006 appears to have been the point where Livejournal (or at least my bit of it) went into decline as, having previously had double figure comments as the norm, entries from that period started to show the "no comments" mark that has been standard for me ever since. And yet, reviewing my own writing I was probably at the height of my powers in 2011, having grown from the at-times barely literate boy of 2003 and being some way above the ideas-bereft waffler of now.

The renaissance that has been hinted at as a result of the recent Russian debacle would be a fine thing and I do rather feel the need to try to help revive things (and I've been more prolific this last week than I have in years). Whether it happens or not who knows, but the fact will remain that going back through very old posts is an at-times uncomfortable experience to say the least.

EDIT: And apparently you can't queue posts on here. Bummer.
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.

Murder

Mar. 6th, 2017 10:25 pm
keresaspa: (Default)
*Insert weak joke about visiting Edinburgh lots before waffling for ages about most recent visit*

Therefore )

Priapism

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've never been a member of a political party in my life but, unbelievable as it seems now, there was a time when I would have identified Sinn Fein as "my" party nonetheless. So long ago. As disillusionment set in that honour was handed instead to the Irish Republican Socialist Party but a combination of the INLA's totally pointless surrender (seriously, they have gained absolutely nothing from their ceasefire unlike the Provies, who at least get huge grants from Her Majesty's Government for being good little boys) and the party's gradual drift to moribundity saw me give up on them ages ago. I mean, apart from that wee office on the Falls do they do anything any more? My days of identifying with one party are long over. If I was pushed I would say that these days I most admire the effort of Eirigi but even then I differ from them on several issues and consider them the best of a bad lot rather than my spiritual brothers.

Of course given that I live in leafy South Belfast there is no Eirigi interest in my constituency and so I am left with rather a motley crew to choose from when it comes to voting tomorrow. Sinn Fein or out of course and would have been even if their candidate wasn't the utterly despicable Millionaire Marty, unquestionably my most detested member of the party outside their two leaders. Their cohorts in that vile, Tory-lapdog rabble up on the hill- the DUP - are out of the question too of course and stick their Little Pengelly up their Stalford if they think they're getting my vote (although apparently they don't as they never canvass my area). As ever the Alliance have addressed several pieces of literature to me, apparently believing that I'm their man (or perhaps that I'm a kinsman of one of their candidate) but their support for the current set-up rules them out, as does one of their candidates' pasts as a flag waver for David Cameron. Due to their pro-Assembly and, by extension, pro-austerity stances both the SDLP and Ulster Unionists are out as well.

Which leaves me, as ever, scraping around in the bottom of the barrel to pick which losing candidate I'll be blowing my vote on. Well UKIP are running for starters. Not bloody likely. The Progressive Unionist Party are having another tilt but they can hit the road too, having lazily sent me the exact same sectarian manifesto as last time with the bit about Protestant boys bad performance at school being priority ahead of Irish Travellers and Roma, both of whom perform worse. Bigots and racists it seems. As previously covered at some length Hiddleston is running for traditional Unionist Voice but I don't vote for apartheid supporters. Ben Manton is, as ever, running for the Tories but, also as ever, he can go swive himself.

There are a couple of loyalist independents running too. Ex-DUP extremist Ruth Patterson is one option although, given that her campaign manager is fleg moron Jamie Bryson, I rather suspect she isn't really aimed at me. Indeed she seems an ideal candidate for the Protestant Coalition, our local attempt at a loyalist arm of the extreme right Britain First, but that seems to be pretty much dead these days. There's also Billy Dickson of course although his manifesto left me rather cold. A former Belfast City councillor, Dickson was a veteran of the dark days of Paisleyism, a staunch opponent of civil rights and a paramilitary on the Donegall Road. He's been through various other parties since, including the Tories and the TUV, but now claims to be leading his own party called the South Belfast Unionists. His literature stated that it was imperative south Belfast has its own unionist party but offered no reason why that was so. I'm sure it's important to him as no other party will offer him a candidacy but it can't be that important as his South Belfast Unionists are unregistered and he is competing as an independent. Next!

It's South Belfast so there are no dissident republican candidates and instead I'm left to pick amongst the debris of the lefty also-rans. There's an independent named Brigitte Anton, one of several running across the place as part of the Northern Ireland Labour Representation Committee, but I've never been a fan of the British parties setting up shop here so, whilst I still respect Jeremy Corbyn, I reckon I'll give her a swerve, not least because she didn't bother sending me any bumf so I don't know what she wants. I find the Green party generally a bit wishy-washy but Bailey will probably find her way onto the ballot, most likely in third place. That leaves me a straight choice between Seán Burns and Lily Kerr. Burns in running as an independent, although his posters say he is Cross-Community Labour Alternative whilst he is actually from the Socialist Party. Confused yet? Normally he would be nailed on but his campaign has left me rather cold. Both he and his East Belfast counterpart Courtney Robinson are mere babies and this has been a big part of their campaign but the whole "vote for youth because it means progressive" thing has never really worked for me. As I've said before Tony Benn is the classic example, given how for much of his political career he was a fairly standard Labour Party apparatchik before emerging in his older years as a radical dissident of the first water so that younger = better jazz doesn't wash with me. Also for me this election is about austerity Burns seems much more interest in other issues such as abortion and gay marriage, neither of which strike me as priorities given the "Fresh Start" agreement is about to turn this place Third World. He is the only candidate with a moustache admittedly but I'm rejecting that as a criterion, along with picking on the basis of best looking (Clare Bailey, who has a bit of a mumsy Carly Rae Jepsen thing going on). As such I'll be going with the Workers Party again, the only ones in this constituency to really hammer home the anti-austerity line as the priority it deserves to be. Burns can take second and Bailey third so commiserations in advance to all three on their inevitable defeat.

For whatever its worth (sod all), that's how I'll be going but I fully expect the same old sectarian shite to rule the day and us to be faced with another five years of money-hungry Sinn Fein and DUP scumbags doing whatever the Tories order them so long as they can protect their own interests. Meanwhile their potless voters will be much worse off, having once again followed the same old "keep the other side out" line regardless. Heck, there's so little between the five main parties that they might as well all merge as their all cheeks of the same (admittedly very deformed, given there are five of them) arse. As ever grim prospects lie ahead thanks to England and their propensity for forcing the Tories on us.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
In the latest revelation to cast further light on just how dirty the so-called Troubles really were it now seems that the British security forces were forewarned about the 1993 Shankill bombing by a prominent Provo tout but decided to do sod all about it. Another one for the list then, although a rare example of an incident where the victims were those declaring their loyalty to the crown, a loyalty that once again is demonstrated to be one way.

With the proliferation of informers at the top level of the paramilitaries (seriously, there was a time in the 1980s when the heads of the UVF, UFF and IRA were all in the pockets of the security forces) and the realisation that so much of what went on was known in advance to the powers that be it becomes increasingly clear that, far from being the great war of liberation/defence that it was sold to young republicans and loyalists as, it was yet another example of the good old divide-and-rule tactic that has been the British Empire's stock in trade for centuries. How many hundreds, thousands even, died with the foreknowledge of a state that made no attempt whatsoever to save those lives? The Stevens Inquiries may have revealed a fraction of the collusion that went on between the UDA and the British but it was the tip of the iceberg, and a process hamstrung from the start by being instigated by the same British state that was involved in the dodgy deals. Like the supposed investigations into Westminster paedophile rings, can we really expect the establishment to condemn itself? Really the more you hear about the Troubles the gloomier it becomes - all that bloodshed for what? So as a tout can get big money for himself and his cronies by sitting in government, toasting his queen and doing the bidding of the people that have been paying him for decades.

A dirty war, dirtier than we could ever imagine, with communities on both sides put to the rack for the supposed forces of order to pursue their own twisted agenda. It's no wonder that any deal on "legacy" has been consistently tossed out as every man-jack of them is up to their necks in filth with their hands soaked in blood. Meanwhile Sinn Fein will continue to use the names of Bobby Sands and the others during their forthcoming election campaign to the collaborationist institution up at Stormont and the useful idiots will tramp out and put them back in to continue cosying up to the same state that oversaw the butchering their relatives. By fuck, this place is disgusting.

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: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
Nothing quite like this time of year to bring the vermin out is there, be it the drunken scum littering the streets from the early afternoon or the filthy politicians rewarding their cronies with their plastic "honours". Pah, they can stuff this particular arbitrary date in the calendar where the sun doesn't shine as far as I'm concerned. But I've established my own tradition for this specific date and I must keep it going regardless so:

Keresaspa's top 100 artists of the year )
keresaspa: (J Wellington Wimpy)
Several years ago I already expounded at some length my opinions on Peter Robinson so I have little to add about him now that his time as First Minister is up and indeed I stand by what I said back in my (relative) youth. Still, I will add that today's little pantomime by the blood-sucking bastards in Stormont is yet more proof of just how much Sinn Fein are now part of the British-controlled establishment and, furthermore, is a slap in the face to the homosexual and Islamic minorities that Robinson has treated so appallingly during his tenure. Once again money goes ahead of principle for $inn £ein.
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: (Jimmy Edwards)
When the history of the Troubles is written some days get more attention than others and, perhaps inevitably, some that were notorious at the time become forgotten in retrospect. Thursday 2 October 1975, forty years ago today, is one of those days, now largely forgotten in the wider consciousness despite the destruction and mayhem unleashed. In Northern Ireland: A Political Directory, W.D. Flackes and Sydney Elliott cover it in one sentence - "In a series of UVF attacks twelve people killed, including three women and four UVF men, and forty-six injured". As descriptions go its inadequacy is as undeniable as its accuracy.

In what to that point had been an unprecedented move by the group, the UVF went on an orgy of bloodshed, the death toll of which could easily have been much higher. In an attack carried out by Lenny Murphy and other members of the Shankill Butchers, a raid was carried out on Casey's bottling plant in the Millfield area at the bottom of the Falls Road. Four employees were shot and killed in the attack, sisters Frances Donnelly (35) and Marie McGrattan (47) and Gerard Grogan (18) dying that day, with a fourth, Thomas Osborne (18), dying of his wounds three weeks later. The group had entered the premises by pretending to have an order to be filled before launching the attack, Murphy personally shooting all except Donnelly who was killed by his accomplice William Green.

Ronald Winters (26), a Protestant who managed the London Bar in east Belfast (an occasional haunt of UVF members) was killed whilst visiting his parents' house close to the bar. Winters' killing remained unsolved and no motive was ever advanced, with those who knew him claiming he had no paramilitary involvement. Thomas Murphy, a 29 year old Catholic photographer, was the next UVF victim that day, was killed when two gunmen entered his premises on Carlisle Circus (close to both the loyalist Shankill and republican New Lodge areas) and shot him in the chest, before planting a bomb in his shop. The resulting explosion saw a female passer-by lose her leg. The next target was the Catholic-owned McKenna's bar in Aldergrove, County Antrim, where shots were fired and a bomb thrown from a car. John Stewart, a 35 year old Catholic merchant seaman, was killed and several others injured. In Killyleagh, County Down a no-warning bomb was exploded outside another Catholic-owned bar, the Anchor Inn. Irene Nicholson, a 37 year old Protestant woman, was killed as she was passing by in an attack that the perpetrators later claimed was supposed to be "a small one to scare them".

The final deaths of the day were to be four UVF members, Fred Aubrey Reid and Samuel Swanson, both 28, and Andrew Freeman and Mark Dodd, both 17, who were killed close to Coleraine when a bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely. Three loaded guns were also found in the wreckage of their car. Reid, from Belfast, was later named in court as having been involved in the murder of Brendan Doherty, a Catholic shot and killed in Derry in February 1974, with Reid named as the driver in the attack.

That there weren't more deaths was a near miracle however. Pubs in Leeson Street, Belfast, Ardmore, County Derry and Annaghmore, County Armagh were targeted in bomb attacks, along with a seamen's hostel in Sailortown and a sweet shop on the Antrim Road, both in Belfast. In all the UVF detonated thirteen bombs in that single day.

Returning to Flackes and Elliott the following day is summed up even more succinctly with the words "UVF declared illegal". Yes, all of this had been carried out by an organisation that was completely legal. In a move supposedly aimed at turning it towards politics, Northern Ireland Secretary Merlyn Rees had unbanned the UVF in May 1974 (the same day Sinn Fein were unbanned, a move never extended to the IRA). In between, this legal organisation had killed 33 civilians in Dublin and Monaghan thanks to a series of car-bombings, launched the notorious murders of the Miami Showband, killed dozens of Catholics in random gun and bomb attacks and even turned their guns on members of both the RUC and the UDA, all whilst recognised by the British government as being fully in compliance with the law. Indeed the ban was only brought in after the UVF leaders held a meeting with senior NIO officials, at which they were again asked to slow down on the killings. No chance of that – the Shankill Butchers would unleash the brutal killings that made their names soon afterwards.

Despite the bloodshed, 2nd October 1975 has been relegated to the status of a mere footnote in the history of Northern Ireland, rarely recalled at all, let alone discussed in any depth. But forty years on it's worth remembering just what a nightmare scenario the Troubles really were when 11 innocent people losing their lives could be seen as just another day. That those days are gone is a good thing but the people whose lives were stolen should not be forgotten. With the still extant UVF increasingly seeking to exploit its own supposed anniversaries by emphasising the Edward Carson incarnation (a completely different, albeit equally sectarian, organisation that just happened to have the same name, but that's for another day) as an attempt to minimise what it did in the Troubles it also serves us well to remember of what they were capable.
keresaspa: (Heckle and Jeckle)
During the Troubles the Provies looked around for international comparisons for their struggle and the two groups they seized on for parallels were the ANC and the PLO. Before long images of Mandela and the Palestinian struggle were appearing on walls and in Sinn Fein literature and that continues to this day. In part as a reaction to this and also because of their own similarities the loyalists latched on to South Africa and Israel as their models and articles in support of the two states appeared in UDA and UVF magazines from the mid 70s onwards. Direct contact was even established by Ulster Resistance, who got their arms from both countries.

Eventually the South Africa links were sidelined a bit as it's hard t get any positive press out of backing an apartheid regime but the Israeli motif has continued. In the last few years, with Netnayahu's regime unleashing swathes of destruction, the public displays of support have, if anything, got even stronger as it is a fine way to wind up the Fenians. This reached a crescendo in the last few weeks with the appearance of this on the Shankill end of Northumberland Street, close to the peaceline gate.



Ostensibly a tribute to John Henry Patterson, the mural has inevitably raised the hackles of some republicans, not least because the aforementioned Netanyahu is quoted at the far end.

Oddly though, this has also had an angry reaction from a lot of Unionists. The other big thing that Unionism and Loyalism hammer home now is how great the British Army is and how everything it has ever done is to be celebrated (something Sinn Fein seem to agree with now, although complaining about that now seems rather pointless). Yet here stands a mural endorsing the IDF, a group that has its origins in the insurgents who fought against the British Mandate of Palestine and sent several members of the selfsame British Army to their graves. And so as part of the points scoring exercises that now seem de rigeur since the whole flag protests nonsense the muralists have not only managed to annoy the Taigs but also to upset a bunch of their militarists into the bargain. Job well done there, boys. Not only that but yet again it is a bunch of photos screen-printed and bolted to the wall with no artistic merit whatsoever. Can nobody on the Shankill paint any more?!

Overall typical of the embarrassing pettiness that characterises this place nowadays. These sort of "let's wind the other lot up" things have been going on for a while but this has to be the first that has backfired so spectacularly.
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: (Salvador Allende)
Given how the mass media has lined up against it, the very desire for self-determination has been consistently likened to the genocide of six million people and the fact that they're a queer bunch who never vote Tory but nevertheless like to suffer under them every few years I doubt very much that Scotland will be taking her place amongst the states of the world next month. But just in case something earth-shattering does happen on the day before my birthday and Scotland does take on partial dominion status (which, as I previously expounded upon, is all Sandy Salmond is offering) it does rather raise the question of what impact it will have on Northern Ireland.

Just as Sinn Fein's rhetoric in recent years has become a lot more identitaire in nature, so too that of unionism and loyalism has for some time sought to underline their own small-n nationalist credentials by pretending that they constitute an ethnie. Be it through the means of the Ulster-Scots "language" (a combination of dialect, construct and fantasy that lies somewhere between Scouse, Volapük and Klingon in the credibility stakes) or Ian Adamson's "Cruthin" fantasies the idea has been to state that the Protestants in Northern Ireland are an ethnic group and that said ethnic group is virtually identical with the Scots. Leaving aside how ludicrous this notion is (the Protestants in Northern Ireland are about as pure blooded as the Catholics and we're all a big ethnic muddle of each other and several other groups of interlopers, like it or not) it does mean that a big part of the identity is tied to Scotland. Go into any loyalist area, or mixed area where the Catholics are too chicken shit to resist as pictured, and you'll see the saltire everywhere but nowhere will you see the Cross of St. George. Beyond the very top levels of the Unionist establishment England and the English aren't very popular here on any side and, whilst it might be very easy to construct a pro-UK agenda based on keeping tight with our brothers in Scotland, it will be a lot harder to do so based on keeping tight with our distant cousins in England. Happen there will be attempts to play up the English dimension in the plantations but surely even the loyalists wouldn't be gullible enough to swallow that over night.

The Cruthin and Ulster Scots has very occasionally been utilised by those who espoused the minority pro-independence view and I know both Doctor Doctor Kenny McClinton and the Reverend Clifford Peeples (both very occasional readers round these parts - hai guise) used those arguments to support it. It could well prove that were Scotland to go its own way loyalism might be forced to re-evaluate its position and instead call for some of the same, resurrecting the ideas that elements within the UDA dabbled with in the 70s and 80s. Certainly I've yet to hear Salmond suggest that he wants to take this place with him (although I would put nothing past him) so a rethought of position by some might well have to follow. Inevitably there will be those die-hards who never relent but an independent Scotland could potentially divide the unionist-loyalist side to such an extent that this place ends up having three sides, with the republican side the largest by default.

All pointless speculation of course, given that the Scots seem poised to turn down this opportunity (and let me hear one Scot moan about poor treatment from Westminster in the future as it will be your own faults) but were the miracle to happen the knock-on effects for this place could be wide-ranging. The thought of an independent "Ulster" under the dictatorship of former Ulster nationalist Willie Frazer is just too dire to contemplate!
keresaspa: (Cartman)
I've been desperately trying to take some crumb of comfort from these election but I can't. Swept on by the biased "reporting" of the BBC and all the tabloids bar the Mirror, those hateful shits of the UK Independence Party have come top in the European elections and done fairly well in the council elections (although their head cheerleader Nick Robinson is talking shite by calling 163 councillors out of 2,101 an "earthquake"). If there's any justice they will follow the lead of the now virtually irrelevant (outside Pendle at least) BNP and become victims of their own success. After all the BNP's brief period of success in the early to mid 00s led to to them splitting into several little factions and saw their thuggish, frequently barely literate, councillors make total prats of themselves at every opportunity. Mind you, the BNP were fighting against a cordon sanitaire, something UKIP won't have to worry about given that they had the sense to get in some tokens in advance. I swear if I see Nigel Farage's hateful, smug, buck-toothed, squinty-eyed, batrachian face once more I'm a gonna kick this screen in! And an especial boo to all the Rangers-supporting knuckle draggers in Scotland and all the forelock tuggers in AndWales for following their English masters in electing that rabble too. Pish on the lot of you.

Elsewhere Little Miss Le Pen has come top in France to show that the British lurch to the extreme right is not unique. Given France's unusual history with right-wing extremists (along with Italy, it's the only Western European country where being a self-declared neo-fascist is no bar to a leading role in public life, as the likes of Alain de Benoist and Dominique Venner have demonstrated) and the mess both major parties have made of government it's no surprise but still a real shame. Meanwhile in Finland the rightist Finns Party have added an extra seat, the Poles have returned their usual quota of hardcore Catholic racists who claim the label "centre-right" with straight faces and even in Greece a left-wing victory has tempered by three seats for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn. Stygian gloom the continent over.

Locally we are still waiting on the final results of an election held last Thursday but so far, as I predicted, Sinn Fein have topped the poll and Anderson is back in, with Diane Dodds likely to follow soon. Ho-hum. beyond that it's pick-a-dick between Jim Nicholson, Alex Attwood and Jim Allister for third place with Anna Lo not in the running and bloody UKIP even managing twenty odd thousand votes here. In the local elections the Sinn Fein vote pretty much held and, whilst the DUP shed support, it all seems to have gone to the Ulster Unionists (for reasons unknown) or rewarded the bigoted Strasserism of the Progressive Unionist Party or the reactionary High Toryism of the Traditional Unionist Voice. In among all that the dissident republican campaign got nowhere, with Eirigi, Republican Network for Unity and various independents getting almost nothing (OK, one exception but I'm not much of a 32 County Sovereignty Movement fan personally). Hell even bloody UKIP managed to get three seats here and the total mess that is NI21 took one. If I am to finally take that one crumb of comfort I spoke of earlier it will be from the good people of Black Mountain electing Gerry Carroll, a man I very vaguely know, to Belfast City Council instead of yet another faceless Sinn Fein nobody. On his own and stacked up against the cabal of the big five I can't see him being able to make any real impact on the new council when it finally splutters into life next year (that's right, the old council is continuing for another year in a colossal waste of money) but the fact that somebody, somewhere was prepared to vote against oppression and for the people is heartening anyway.

Now if you'll excuse me I think I'd like to find a pile of coats to hide under for a while.

Borderlands

May. 1st, 2014 09:25 pm
keresaspa: (Lester and Eliza)
The headquarters of the Alliance Party in east Belfast, and as such the constituency office of local MP Naomi Long, sit on the corner of the Newtownards Road and Grampian Avenue. In many ways the location is a metaphor for the Alliance in east Belfast and the oul' house they have brought upon their own heads by virtue of their recent attempts to play with fire. Up the road one finds the Upper Newtownards Road and Ballyhackamore, middle class, even upper middle class, largely Protestant areas of the sort where the Alliance has usually been able to find fertile ground. Down the road however lies the lower Newtownards Road, an impoverished, drug-riddled, working class loyalist area where the UVF rules with a rod of iron (notwithstanding the UDA murals that remain as a hangover of Jim Gray's time in charge) and where Naomi Long went cap in hand at the last election in order to secure her surprise ousting of Peter Robinson from the East Belfast parliamentary seat that he held since 1979. It's widely documented that Stephen "the Beast from the East" Matthews, the UVF hetman in the area, had grown tired of Robbo's constant sleaze and had anointed Long as his chosen one to take the seat he effectively controls. For her part Longy played the game shrewdly, keeping the anti-UVF rhetoric to one side as she waged her ultimately successful campaign. But of course such behaviour meant that she was effectively in the uve's pocket and they would expect her and her party to play ball from then on.

The fact that they haven't means that the recent slew of attacks on the pictured building is both unsurprising and difficult to feel any sympathy about. The Alliance's decision to propose a reduction in the days on which the Union Jack was flown from the City Hall immediately put them at odds with the UVF and allowed that organisation to stage a massive comeback as they took over the interminable round of protests that have gone on since then. With their fence-sitting compromise about the flag the Alliance were of course playing to type, given that they have always been in favour of half-arsed non-solutions that suit neither side, but by climbing into bed with the UVF they had placed certain expectations upon themselves and their failure to fulfil those meant they were effectively pulling the tiger's tail. I certainly don't condone the attacks but they're about as predictable as smugness from Nigel Farage and the Alliance must have known that pissing off the uve in east Belfast was always going to be a very bad idea. Still, on the plus side Long gets five years of big money at Westminster and the chance to parley it into a cushy research fellowship somewhere when she inevitably loses the seat in 2015 so she can be happy at least.

And as if that isn't enough we also have Gerry Adams being arrested. Let's make one thing clear - along with Bloody Friday, the plight of the Disappeared in general, and the murder of Jean McConville in particular, represent some of the darkest moments in the history of Irish republicanism. The vile allegations of informing levelled against the woman were simply made up and in the end Jean McConville was killed because her face didn't fit in Divis and some of the local bigots didn't like the thought of a woman born Protestant living in their midst. Simply because of the narrow minds and wicked tongues of some Fenian lumpen an innocent widow was slain, ten children were made orphans and her family didn't even have a body to bury. That somebody should see the inside of a jail for that crime goes without saying. That that somebody should be Gerry Adams also goes without saying. Brendan Hughes knew that Adams was responsible and said as such, Dolours Price (who admitted her own involvement so can hardly be blamed on passing the buck) knew that Adams was responsible and said as such and Billy McKee knows (how can he still be alive) that Adams was responsible and has said as such. Heck, despite the denials of his party and Adams' own ridiculous claims that he was never even a member of the IRA, I think even most Sinn Fein supporters know that Adams was responsible for the crime. None of which however is likely to mean that he will ever be brought to justice. His arrest looks little more than a publicity stunt intended to show that nobody is above the law. I seriously doubt he will be brought to trial but in the unlikely event that he is a conviction will never happen. Ultimately somebody might be convicted but you can bet it will be a patsy, some sacrificial lamb offered up to do about a year's easy stir and then come out to a massive bung as a thank you payment for taking the rap. Adams' guilt for ordering the murder (no way he did it personally, too high up the ladder in the IRA for that) will go unpunished and Sinn Fein's collaboration with the British government upon which they once made war will continue unabated. Nothing to see here, so move along.

Eurotrash

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: (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.

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