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

But let's anyway )
keresaspa: (Henrietta emo)
You all knew.

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

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

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

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

My sentiments exactly.


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: (Shakuni (Gufi Paintal))
What a thoroughly depressing set of results from the local elections. Leaving aside the inevitable, and well deserved, losses for Clegg's collaborators we are left with a situation where the top party in the most brutal and heartless government in years suffers only moderate losses, the left gets nowhere as usual and, worst of all, a sizeable chunk of the electorate decides that the right people to serve as local councillors in charge of street lights and bins are members of a party whose only policies are at a national level and can be summed up as "wogs begin at Calais".

The continuing collapse of the BNP, something I predicted some years ago you'll remember, is heartening but it is ruined by the fact that so many votes have gone over to their posher, public school-educated cousins in the UK Independence Party. I am on record as being no fan of Boris Johnson and his ways but I can at least understand his appeal to a certain section of people as he represents their fictitious view of what being English is about - bumbling, upper class twits who are endearing and quintessentially English, the sort of people who think queuing is something to be proud of and are obsessed with that bloody "Keep calm and carry on" thing. But Nigel Farage, an oily yuppie of the sort one could easily imagine coming in to asset strip a dying Christmas hamper company, delivering the news that customers will be getting neither money nor wicker baskets full of food this yuletide before awarding himself a £2 million pay-off? What is the appeal of this snaggle-toothed gargoyle? OK, I can see why the chinless vermin who "work" in "The City" might see his appeal but what could anybody else possibly like about this diminutive, self-serving, self-publicising bastard? I'm not a great supporter of the European Union but frankly I really fear the dystopia that will follow Britain's exit as human rights legislation is torn up and right-wing governments do what they like to their citizens in the name of security. The Daily Mail might focus on the odd extreme case (and more often than not, make others up) but if the straight choice is a capitalist UK in the EU or a capitalist UK with internment, constant snooping, unlimited detention on remand and the death penalty then I'll take the EU, thanks. And to those morons who say "you need only worry if you have something to hide" - show me somebody who doesn't have something to hide and I'll show you the most boring man in the world. Do you really want a government that can look into your extra-marital affairs, those Justin Bieber MP3s you keep hidden, your dawdling on sleazy porn sites or the tax-dodging booze and fegs you order from eastern Europe? Thought not.

That the reaction of a significant number of voters to a cuts-happy government is to vote for a party that claims to be completely Thatcherite and is one of the few parties that would probably cut deeper than the Tories says a lot about the sort of lumpen morons who are voting these days. However the failure of the left to provide any real alternative is another huge problem, and one that has existed for several years now. Let's face it, there is no left-wing alternative in British politics. You have a supposed focus whose credibility has been shot to pieces for some time in George Galloway, a man who now seems to divide his time equally between trying to convince himself that something as right wing as Islamic fundamentalism is a basis for a socialist party, that rape isn't a crime if you agree with somebody's politics and that a great way to build unity is to alienate as many people as possible. Then you have a bunch of posh boys waving around their Euston Manifesto who are frankly about as radical as the Women's Institute. Finally you have the groupuscular left up and down the country, convinced that they are about to lead a revolution tomorrow on the basis that their recently joined tenth member has access to a van but who refuse to work with that mob on the other side of town because they have a picture of a beardless Trotsky in their HQ/only active member's bedsit.

I despair of it all really. Xenophobia and monetarism rule the day and the prospect of there being any meaningful change is ever more remote as we lurch towards a nightmarish future where a brutal, uncaring government has its few checks and balances removed and is given free rein to crush at will. Hell in a bloody handbasket.

Still, never mind, eh?!
keresaspa: (Karl Marx laughing)
I once used this little forum of mine to suggest that Jim Allister's baby, the Traditional Unionist Voice, could be considered a fascist party. I was being flippant of course as it is at best a High Tory throwback and at worst an extreme right vanity project but either way it falls some distance short of fascism. Recently however I have got to thinking about how the current flag protest movement and its Ulster People's Forum directors relate to fascism and that proves to be a little less cut and dried.

As the establishment unionism and loyalism have always tended towards the right but whether they have ever produced true fascism (and I'm ignoring any nonsensical attempt to use the term fascism as a synonym for racism, dictatorship or "I don't like it") is highly debatable. If we assume fascism should be ultra-nationalist, radically populist, seek to build a mass movement and be desirous of palingenesis or a complete rebirth of society, then the closest fit seems to be the Ulster Vanguard. Of course when they were formed they were simply conservatives adopting the trappings of militarism and when William Craig had his brain fart and decided that his preferred solution was power-sharing with the SDLP they suddenly became the most moderate of the radical unionist parties (and forget the United Ulster Unionist Party splinter group, who were little more than a TUV forerunner) but during the period when they advocated the establishment of a hard-line independent "Ulster" and were seemingly prepared to advocate violence against any opposition they came as close to fascism as this place ever has seen.

But if we turn to the current movement it is clear that some, if not all, elements of fascism can be identified. The flag protest movement are possibly the most populist movement to emerge since partition and their rhetoric is increasingly been couched in a highly populist rejection of the existing politicians. Equally a rejection of liberal democracy, seen by the likes of Gentile and Payne (although less so myself, I must admit) as central to fascism, can be detected from the very basis of the initial protests given that the flag was removed from the City Hall due to a democratic vote and the rejection of that decision clearly represents a rejection of that process. Nationalism goes without saying. The assertion of group rights, the prominence of the flag, the insistence that some are members of the "group" (Ulster Protestants) and that there are "the other" who are without the group and therefore enemies are pretty much textbook examples of ultra-nationalism and really need no more discussion. Similarly the mass movement idea is self evident as the flag protests have been the ultimate social movement, seeking to get as many numbers as possible onto the streets and relying on the sheer force of human bodies for intimidation. Indeed involvement has been as important, if not more so, than ideology at levels not seen since the formation of the UDA or the Ulster Workers' Council strike.

Palingenesis is so far largely absent from official policy, such as it is, although at lower levels the virulent strains of anti-Catholicism that run through the membership hint at a desire for a Protestant state. In typical post-modern fashion, this has manifested itself in social network groups attached to the protests advocating the eradication of Catholics. Their apparently preferred constitutional arragnement of direct rule is a fairly non-radical solution although it remains to be seen whether or not this is Willie Frazer's personal opinion or that of the wider movement whilst a desire for a return to a mythical golden age can in itself be seen as palingenetic. The Italian Social Movement, one of the few post-war groups to ever self-identify as fascist and achieve mainstream levels of support, talked of nostalgia dell'avvenire in this context, a backwards look to the future.

Willie Frazer's former involvement in the Ulster Independence Movement, a group whose Ulster Patriot journal frequently featured the thoughts of Romanian fascist leader Codreanu (a favourite of former National Front organiser and UIM big cheese David Kerr), hints at past associations with a group that was at least tolerant of fascism and, whilst it is rather guilt by association, Frazer's prominent role in proceedings suggests that at least the Ulster People's Forum would not immediately recoil at the ideology. A case can be made for the UIM as a fascist movement in the manner of the Nick Griffin wing of the National Front and the International Third Position but I'll not go down that avenue here and now as it is not strictly relevant.

So far the protests have gone through two stages. The first was as a response to a leafleting campaign by the DUP aimed at whipping up opposition to the Alliance as part of their wider attempts to regain control of their bulwark East Belfast seat from that party for Peter Robinson. In this stage it was an old case of an arch conservative establishment figure trying to use latent extreme right sentiments to further their own ends. From Franz von Papen's disastrous attempts to use the Nazi Party to further his own career all the way down to David Cameron mobilising anti-European xenophobia in an attempt to extricate himself from an uncomfortable coalition that is as old as the hills. Somewhere along the line however the DUP lost control of the protests and they entered a new phase, one of bitter resentment, ethnic nationalism and populist right wing politics in which the initial stated aim of returning a piece of cloth to a building has been confused with the introduction of vague demands for social reform and explicit attacks on the minority community, effectively giving birth to an extreme right, but ideologically weak, protest movement whose demands seem increasingly diffuse and uncertain. Conspiracy theories abound with "big lie" propaganda helping to fuel bigotry by arguing that Catholics get all the good things despite the figures still showing unemployment as higher among the Catholic community than the Protestant community. When proletarian resentment, driven by the decline of the heavy industries that the Protestant working classes traditionally dominated, gets turned on an internal out group rather than the system itself we are clearly in right-wing extremism territory.

Politically they have been so far characterised by an immaturity that is perhaps inevitable given that of the leaders only Frazer has any political background and even that has been very much on the fringes. One need only look at the bizarre events of last week when Jamie Bryson announced that the Ulster People's Forum had severed their ties with Frazer only for them to announce a united front later that same day. Had there been the slightest bit of political maturity Fraser and Bryson would surely have conducted their tiff in private. On a wider level however the absence of this maturity has left them without any real ideology. In some ways many of their followers are comparable to the impoverished people who followed the Chartists in the nineteenth century, feeling that in their own mind there was an agenda for social reform even when the stated aims were clearly solely related to the organisation of government. The flag protest and Ulster People's Forum are as yet not a fascist movement as they haven't reached that stage yet and are still stuck in the wider extreme right mode of resentment and bitterness. It's highly possible that they might never exit that mode and indeed their overall basis is weak and conditional for, were there to be a capitulation and the flag was returned tomorrow, it seems likely that Fraser and Bryson would disappear into the background and the general loyalist population would return to their default position of blindly following the major unionist parties. Equally attempts by the Progressive Unionist Party to cash in on the protests by publicly taking a much more hard-line stance than usual seem unlikely to work as Bryson has shown no desire to become a member and Fraser has old associations with the UVF's bitter enemies in the LVF.

If Bryson and Fraser decide to go the whole hog and build a new mass loyalist party from what they have now Northern Ireland might well find itself with its first indigenous truly fascist movement a good 90 or so years after everywhere else but we aren't there yet (and even if we end up there, there are no guarantees it would excite any interest). Instead we have an extreme right protest movement full of people who are very angry about a lot of things, aren't sure just who to blame and so turn their anger on the people in their midst whom they define as being different to them. Not so much a local version of the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento as a local version of the English Defence League then.
keresaspa: (Türkan Şoray)
Just a word of congratulation to England on their success in winning Euro 2012. Well that seemed to be the consensus reached by Gary Lineker and England's Mark Lawrenson after the draw for the group stages. Unquestionably it is an easy draw, so much more so than that of 2010 when powerhouses like Algeria and Slovenia blocked the triumphant march of the Three Lions. Ukraine rely on Shevchenko and he didn't succeed at the boys in blue from the King's Road so they will be pushovers. As for Sweden, well no less an expert than Jeff Powell has already showing that they don't know nuffink about football and the brave boys in white will lick them quicker than you can say smorgasbord. As for the cheese-eating surrender monkeys, what have they over won except a World Cup and two European Championship? Clearly no match for the heroes of 66 and the Rous Cup. Once those three have been with the spirit of Nelson obviously England will then march on to glory as there are no other teams on the continent even close to their level.

Or not as the case may be. On a sensible level England got a half decent draw from which they will have a good chance of qualifying but it is (perhaps inevitably given the smaller size of the European Championships and their comparative lack of make-weight teams) a stronger looking group than the one they faced last year and made such hard work of qualifying from. Sweden are probably the least likely to make it but France will fancy their chances and Ukraine have home advantage so it is not a given. Unlike the Republic of Ireland whose fate is already sealed after the group they got. I'll eat my hat if they don't go out in the first round. Group B will obviously be the one to watch and I for one hope that Portugal are one of those to be eliminated as their current crop of preening prima donnas are impossible to like. Mind you the Netherlands team were absolutely hateful too with that scumbag van Bommel wreaking havoc so come on Denmark and Germany. Group D meanwhile looks weak as water and as such I will state here and now that I expect Russia to go very far indeed after easing through that bunch of jabronis, possibly even winning the whole thing. The final issue will be who to support and as yet I have no idea. Normally in these circumstances I declare for somebody in advance but there is no country that is catching my eye, in part because no real underdogs made it and in part because my usual European side of choice hasn't qualified (that being Turkey, of course). Happen I'll just stay neutral for once.

There aren't you glad I was able to duck under the gunfire of this latest DDoS attack in order to get this posted. Well I know how much you all love it when I talk about football.
keresaspa: (Marlene Dietrich)
By God am I ever glad that Virgin Media sorted out whatever problems they had with RTE for the England-Slovenia match as I don't think I could have put up with the BBC's ridiculous coverage. It's no exaggeration to say that the triumvirate of misery made up of Eamon Dunphy, Johnny Giles and Ronnie Whelan was in stitches hearing Gabby Logan going on about England playing without the shackles after watching them labour to a narrow win over a country of 2 million people. Of course to an extent qualifying was all that mattered but any talk of this being a great rebirth for England is clearly nonsense. After throwing away a two goal lead Slovenia, whose best player is so great that even Albion have given him a free transfer, were there to be spanked but instead, a well-taken Defoe goal apart, England looked nervous and out of their depth with the midfield acting like four strangers, Rooney doing his petulant brat routine and only Fabio Capello's whipping-boy John Terry covering himself in anything approaching glory. To be honest were I Terry I would have quit this farcical set-up months ago - Ancelotti recognised his importance and backed his man whilst Capello has consistently treated him like a bitch simply because he doinked somebody. Capello's over the top celebrations and the delusions of Ms. Logan (and, I presume, Lineker, Shearer, Dixon and Brown-noser in the studio) sum up all that is wrong with English football and gives indication, were it needed, that this team has no chance of winning. This group was about as big a gift as England could possibly have been given and yet they could only draw with an Algerian side that needed a play-off to even get here, struggled to breakdown a Slovenia side made up of players that would struggle to get off the bench at Ipswich and even contrived to finish behind the USA. So there was some improvement in this game but there was no way it could have gotten much worse so there are hardly causes for the sudden cockiness. If these are world-beaters I will eat my hat. Incidentally, it was nice of the Football Supporters Federation to send me a free copy of their World Cup special. It wasn't much of a read to be honest, but it is always nice to get something for nothing. One thing did strike me a bit odd about it though. Now I know the English have been occupying my land for some 800 years now but I have yet to come across a geopolitical permutation that includes the territory which they occupy as part of England. Yet on the address label for the free copy it told me that I apparently live in Belfast, England. Must try harder FSF. You do some good work but telling me that I live in England is borderline racist, folks!

Germany-Ghana was chosen as the next match and the first half proved to be the very definition of rubbish. It seems clear why Cacau sought out citizenship of a country other than that of his birth because there is no way he would ever have got near a Brazil side. Ghana for their part were tight enough but clearly second class. Things picked up immeasurably in the second half as it suddenly dawned on the Germans that elimination was a very real possibility. As for the boy Özil's goal it was a thing of beauty which, like Keaton cheating death, Kim Kardashian's backside or Boris Yeltsin dancing, could never be adequately described in words so if you can find it watch it! I saw virtually none of the Australia-Serbia match but it was unquestionably to the credit of Oz that they made such a go of it considering it would take a series of events so ludicrous than even a Greek playwright wouldn't have written it for them to go through. In the end I'm sure they were value for their win (he said, guessing) and besides Serbia's win over Germany had too much to do with poor refereeing for them to go through. The tournament needed an African side in the second round and, whilst Ghana were no great shakes, I'm still glad that they qualified and helped to ensure a couple of interesting second round ties. Their tie with the United States looks a tough one to call as the USA are probably the better side but part of me suspects that Ghana have one great performance in them. Meanwhile according to the (English) pundits England are a better team than Germany, a view that seems to be based on nationalism rather than anything shown on the pitch. Kevin Keegan reckons that England will beat Germany so I guess that means they have no hope. Germany have played great in one game which is one more than England so, whilst nobody can really know how the game will pan out, assuming that victory is a given seems ludicrous on the face of the evidence presented so far. I hope against hope that RTE is still broadcasting in my home when it comes around as the xenophobia scale will probably explode with the snarling invective that will be spewed forth.
keresaspa: (Beatrice smoking)
Before I start on today's action there is one thing I need to get off my chest - this enmity between Ireland and France has to stop. Listening to Jim Beglin ripping into the French because of a single football match made the bile rise in me. There can be few countries in the world that Ireland owes more of a debt to than France be it for providing gainful employment to the Jacobite armies of Ireland when King Billy sought vengeance after the Williamite wars or being in through the inspiration they gave to Wolfe Tone in establishing independence as a real goal. Indeed I would argue that, were it not for the positive influence of France, there might not be an Ireland, or even a concept of Ireland, today so let's stop the hatred over a simple football match. Too much of it has been constructed by the English media and the sympathisers in the Irish press in a post-imperialist attempt at imposing English prejudices so let's turn away from it now and remember that the French have been Ireland's friends for longer than anybody. Apart from all that there is no evidence that Ireland would have won a penalty shootout (especially as the team was nearly all brought up the English way and so would never have practiced penalties) and do we seriously believe if it had been Robbie Keane or Kevin Doyle doing the handling that they would have come over all George Washington and admitted it? And pigs will fly.

Apologies for that little rant there; I shall now resume normal service (you'll be thrilled to hear). I found myself sympathising with Raymond Domenech when today's "festivities" began. I've always thought him a bit of a merde tête but he has been beaten from pillar to post in this tournament and has been badly let down by a number of his players. As usual trouble emanates from Nicolas Anelka, a man who has always been a wrong one ever since his days at Arsenal when he threw all manners of tantrums and made all manner of threats to get to Real Madrid. Tosser! Adrian Chiles' opening gambit was horrible to watch, filled with vile xenophobia against the French and I swear he was just a whisker away from calling them "frogs". This revolting human being, his unfunny attempts at comedy, his twisted ugly face and his revolting racist opinions have been an absolute blight on this World Cup and I call a pox on him. Not far behind him has been Jon Champion, who opened his commentary with a rant about how France have an inflated opinion of themselves. From an Englishman this was the biggest joke of all, given that he and his colleagues insist that they are favourites for every tournament going despite the fact that they have only won one of them (compared to France's three). The game itself proved to be an oddly sombre affair, despite the reasonable performance by South Africa, and had a whiff of the last rites about it given that neither team had much hope of qualification. Gourcuff's red card, which appeared to be for jumping whilst being in possession of a pair of arms, set alarms bells ringing as I started to fear the dreaded FIFA nurse the hosts trick, although the 2-0 half-time score was only to be expected. After all it was what the healer told Lebo would be the half-time score in compellingly awful Soccer City Live on Eurosport. By this point I had lost interest in what I was beginning to think was a bought game and so I switched over in time to see Uruguay score against Mexico and make me even more suspicious. In fairness however Uruguay are a better team than Mexico and the goal scored by France, which was a nice bit of play and the sort of thing they should have been doing since the start, restored a bit of credibility. Absolutely no offence to South Africa, who were a game bunch, but they were clearly the weakest team in this group and it would have been a farce to see them in the second round. Their point in the opening game was as much to do with Mexico's chronic inability to put the ball in the net as anything else whilst their win today clearly came about due to France falling apart. The game against Uruguay was the real Bafana Bafana who would not have qualified for these finals were they not host - an indisputable fact in this case. As for the other two Uruguay are a neat side with good strikers (particularly Forlan, who has been excellent) and a solid defence who should at least make the quarter finals whilst Mexico, who play pretty stuff but just can't finish, should be easy pickings for Argentina to say the least.

It was hard to pick an evening match as in theory both or neither could have turned out crucial. But in the end I plumped for Greece-Argentina, hopeful that Maradona's mob would turn on the style. That was, to quote a phrase doing the rounds, a big mistake. Greece, who needed the result lest we forget, reverted to how they were against South Korea and defended constantly whilst Argentina seemed a bit disinterested. It says it all that the first 45 minutes was all about watching the Cosmic Kite's reactions rather than what was happening on the pitch. Meanwhile the Nigerians and Koreans were trading goals but the slow-coach BBC was only telling us a good five minutes afterwards so as there was no chance to turn over and catch the replays. Sloppy, Auntie, very sloppy! I grimly persevered with part of the second half before finally deciding that nothing was going to happen and turning to the other match, by this time 2-1. I turned over just in time too as by the time I was five minutes in Yakubu had missed an absolute sitter, scored a penalty and thrown a tantrum upon being substituted. "Finally some action" I thought, but of course that was it and the whole thing went decidedly flat and before long word came through that I had missed yet another goal as Argentina finally took the lead. Fortunately the finish to the Argentina match, which I returned to, was pretty exciting and their second goal was a sight to behold with a sublime run by Messi and an emotional strike for Palermo. The Argentineans were worthy winners in the end and if they can keep playing to their strengths and covering their defensive frailties could go all the way. South Korea, on the other hand, shouldn't give Uruguay too many problems as they looked very average in their game against Argentina. As for the two eliminated I'm a little disappointed to see Nigeria leave although they were poor at times whilst I'm glad to see the back of boring old Greece. One other thing I will be glad to see the back off is these simultaneous matches. I appreciate the reason for them given the Austro-German carve up of 1982 but they give us all the unhappy prospect of match selection which for me invariably means a wrong choice. Still, only three more days and the real stuff starts.
keresaspa: (Ray Meagher)
Yesterday I suggested that the 32 team monstrosity that is the modern World Cup had a propensity to throw up too many pointless games between also-rans. As if to prove my point we were treated to the dubious delights of Slovenia-Algeria today. Two teams already with seemingly nothing to play for kicking a ball around, one a complete mess of nervous energy (Algeria) and the other so deathly dull that they recalled the horrific Romania side of Euro 2008 (Slovenia). It says it all that a sending off actually improved this snoozefest, although to be fair Ghezzal deserved to go for sporting that awful short wide mohican style so favoured of spides. Indeed, with peroxide hair dye and masses of gunk the Algerians had the worst collective hair of the tournament so far to my eyes, not least that keeper who went out of his way to take the heat off Robert Green. Nice for Robert Koren to score and I for one will miss him at Albion next season but I sure as Hell won't miss either of these two when they suffer their inevitable first round exits.

Things picked up a bit with Ghana-Serbia and a win was a deserved result for a spirited Ghanaian side who made fairly short work of a Serbian team that failed to live up to their inevitable billing as dark horses (is there ever a tournament where a team from the former Yugoslavia is not labelled as gloomy nags?). It was a shame that Ghana had to win by a penalty but the award was fair and a good spot by the referee. Indeed, without wanting to tempt fate, the standard of refereeing has been damn near excellent so far as I can think of no howlers and number of spot-on closes decisions so good work for a change. All in all a good result for Ghana who now look a fair bet to advance to the next round again. Mind you, as pleased as I was with the result by this time I was finding myself thinking "my kingdom for some goals".

Germany-Australia had an all together nastier start. I hate to sound obsessed but Adrian Chiles really is the pits and his God awful presenting made the build up to this game a complete chore. Nobody gives a flying duck how much the English hate the Germans and the Australians and his introductions are increasingly straying into very tasteless xenophobia. He also needs to accept that he is not funny and thus needs to drop his constant hesitant attempts at comedy. Good God, where's Steve Ryder when you need him? However credit must go to Edgar Davids for playing the role of angry Dutchman to a tee as the contempt he showed for Chiles' attempts at humour was a thing of beauty in itself. As for the game, well at least the Germans were listening to my pleas for some goals as they well and truly put Australia to the sword. The Aussies are a tad unlucky as a good generation has got just a little too old together and they were always likely to struggle when they were reduced to picking Craig Moore, despite the fact that he doesn't even have a club side. Cahill's dismissal, unfortunate but warranted, has also robbed them of their only class player meaning a first round exit seems inevitable. As for Germany, as usual they are written off by supposedly knowledgeable critics and as usual they turn the goods out anyway. In fact I would say that theirs was the first genuinely top notch performance of the tournament and if they keep it up they could go a long way.
keresaspa: (Evil Timbo)
Very inconsiderate of the organisers to begin the early kick-offs on a Saturday but needs must as there can be nothing more important than seeing the mighty Greece against the titanic South Korea. In truth it was difficult to get terribly excited about this game. There is no rivalry between the two countries and neither of them have a hope in Hell of winning. There were plenty of empty seats and it is little surprise as who outside of the two competing countries could really care about this game (even if there were some nifty Korean sorts in the front rows to enjoy)? Indeed it is due to the determination of both Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter to expand the World Cup constantly that we end up with a number of these filler games. Still in Otto Rehhagel Greece did at least boast the oldest manager in World Cup, although Jon Champion's attempt to balance that factoid with a dreadful attempt at rehashing the awful "who's on first" routine as a pun on Huh Jung-Moo's name was ill-advised to say the least. As to the game itself there was equally little to get excited about. The Koreans (except the keeper who looked a flapper on the screen) were nippy, although I still find them distasteful after the naked cheating of 2002, whilst Greece were just awful and were epitomised by their defenders lining up like statues for the opening goal. The Greeks only method of attack seemed to be from corners but as a weapon the corner has been pretty much decommissioned these days as everybody knows how to defend them. Hard to believe that this awful Greece side qualified and even harder to believe that it is only six years from their fluke European Championship.

With that done and dusted it was quick as a flash over to the Beeb now that the games are coming thick and fast. BBC cuts seem to be biting in the coverage of this tournament as, every time Lineker queues a piece up, you just know it is going to go wrong. Gabby Logan's bit on England yesterday went tits-up whilst today an interview with Kanu saw his voice altered to incorporate nails on a blackboard. Pleasant! During the handshakes for the actual game the first thing I noticed was how much the Nigerians were dwarfing their opposite numbers. Some of those chaps seemed absolutely huge and you suspect, had an upset been on the cards, that the Argentineans would not have reacted the way they did against Germany in 2006. Nice to see Newcastle's Jonas Gutierrez going from the Championship to the Argentina starting line-up, even if he was in the odd position of right back. Howay the lad! Of course, following my earlier musings Argentina went and scored from a corner but, like the game yesterday, they will wonder how they managed only one goal. Obviously much of the credit has to go to Vincent Enyeama, who was a colossus between the sticks and will surely be playing at a bigger club than Hapoel Tel Aviv next season. Mind you, he needed to on top form as the Nigerian defence was a bit poor, although it was great to see them resurrect the foul throw, something I assumed players grew out of at about seven. Messi gave flashes of what he is capable of but you have to hope that there is better to come from him. The game also confirmed one of my other long-held beliefs about football i.e. whenever a free kick is delayed for a long time it is always a huge anti-climax when taken, as demonstrated by the otherwise nifty Veron in this game. As for how the group will play out comparison between South Korea and Nigeria is difficult on the basis of these games (assuming Argentina will win the group and Greece will finish bottom). The Koreans handily beat a rotten team whilst Nigeria avoided disgrace against a better team so it's hard to know how they will match up with each other. One thing is sure however - Maradona needs to sack his tailor and his hairdresser as both his shiny grey suit and his less shiny grey mullet were far too big for him. Not sure that the beard is quite him either.

Finally apparently England were in action, although you wouldn't have known from the quiet understatement adopted by the media. The build-up coverage provided by ITV had me switching over in disgust at the xenophobia, no mean feat considering my own distaste for much of the American way. What way was that to go on about your masters?! As for the game itself what I saw of it was a decent encounter between an overconfident side that had some of their weaknesses exposed and a half-decent outfit who will definitely fancy a second round spot. My own view of the game was curtailed somewhat by being dragged into attempts to fight the latest infestation to hit my house, this time a slew of bees or wasps (still to be determined) flying into a gap above the kitchen door. In my attempts to kill them by hand one of the bastards decided to fight back and stung me full force in the foot, unleashing a world of hurt for a good few hours afterwards. As a result I was hardly fully focused on Jay DeMerit and the like but still, it was good to see the smug look wiped off Adrian Chiles' arse/face, even if Green was unlucky. That being said I still expect England to win the group as the USA are a pretty good side and they were always going to be a bit of a challenge.

Anyway that ends today's late communication as I must go and nurse my upset foot. Until tomorrow pop-pickers.
keresaspa: (Maurice Bishop)
As Tom Petty so rightly observed the waiting is indeed the hardest part and for sheer drag there are few things that can beat the week before a World Cup. The hype has been cranked up to ludicrous levels but, now that saturation point has been reached, there is still more blasted hype to wade through. Just get on with it!

Still I do have a tendency to make outlandish predictions about these sort of things so this time need not be any different. And so, to collective yawns of indifference, I present:

Keresaspa's World Cup )

And if you believe that you'll believe anything!
keresaspa: (Eric Sykes)
It looks like Sammy Wilson is at it again, this time blaming them darned immigents on economic trouble. It's no surprise to hear the man the press once dubbed "Red Sammy", largely because he wanted a couple of minor improvements to a handful of loyalist estates (a pretty loose definition of red), revealing his true colours. Yes, Sammy the entire EU system of freedom of movement and equal employment rights can be suspended because your little corner of the earth is suffering a bit from nasty old credit crunch. Get real, you idiot. The Official National Front and Ulster Independence Movement are dead and gone so any plans of an independent, non-EU, "Cruthin" only, skint Northern Ireland are dead too, outside of one corner of the Shankill. How this buffoon has the gall to continue showing his face after pictures of his bare arse and jokes about his tiny knob were splashed all over the Sunday World is beyond me. In fact it is a testament to how daft the loyalists are when they continue to vote in a candidate for a Protestant fundamentalist party who happily took a naturist holiday with a woman other than his wife. Just goes to show how Mickey Mouse politics here really is when this tin pot fascist is still around to waffle his xenophobic tripe. Sammy, you're as big an arsehole as the one the whole of Northern Ireland saw that fateful day!

Elsewhere I have nothing to say about this result. You know it's going to be painful but still nothing can prepare you for when it finally happens.
keresaspa: (Alice)
You know who is really starting to get on my wick? Rio Ferdinand. It's the sheer hypocrisy of the man that gets me. He seems to like to paint himself as some sort of role model but his actions hardly back up his claims, be it the missed drugs test, the drink driving or the kicking of female stewards. Now, having been overlooked for the England captaincy, he seems to making himself some sort of self-appointed rentagob with the same daft results. His recent condemnation of FIFA's response to racism was perfectly correct, but I have two issues with what he says to say. Stopping games for homophobic chants is all well and good, Rio, but you are the one who called Chris Moyles a "faggot". Yes, you said you are not a homophobe but you still said it and you're not going to admit being a homophobe, are you?! Plus stopping for racist chants is a good thing but does that include xenophobia, such as the routine booing of every opponent's national anthem, the constant references to the war thrown at Germany, the recourse to offensive nicknames when playing Germany, France and others or the naked hatred when playing Turkey? Or in Rioland is discrimination against people based on nationality acceptable? By all means attack FIFA's lack of effective response to racism as it deserves a hammering but people in glass houses and all that. Now we have Rio at it again, this time attacking the celebrity culture around the England team. Yes, that's the host of execrable TV shows and record company CEO and rapper (OM and indeed G) attacking celebrity culture. My God, but the man is a moron!


Oct. 1st, 2008 05:13 pm
keresaspa: (Revolution!)
I'm on record as being no fan of the British Army and that aint going to change anytime soon but one thing that seems only just to me is that if you choose to lay your life on the line by joining said army then you are automatically British. As such I'm glad to see the recent ruling in favour of the Gurkhas. The purpose of the Gurkhas is somewhat debatable as it strikes me as little more than good old-fashioned imperialism that a sovereign country should be providing Britain with soldiers but that is for another day. Instead I think the important issue here is that if people are good enough to die for a country then they are good enough to live in that country when they have completed their service and xenophobic anachronisms preventing them, or the countless Jamaicans, Fijians and Ghanaians who have also served, from doing so should be swept away. After all, if you can serve in Her Majesty's armed forces then it's only fair that you should be able to live in the old tart's manor. Always good to see justice done.

Anyway, all for now. Once again time has beaten me as the draconian new rules continue to prove a pain in the arse so until tomrrow, bye.
keresaspa: (Marlene Dietrich)
I once used this forum to suggest that Stardust, with its combination of guy deliberately junks exams, gets girlfriend in the club and then leaves her to fend for herself on the off-chance that he might become a rockstar morally bankrupt storyline and smirk annoyingly whilst giving mockney cue-card delivery ability bankrupt acting of its lead was perhaps the worst film I have ever seen. Alert the judges, we have a tie as BBC Two decided to inflict on us the jaw-droppingly awful The Adventures of Barry McKenzie last night. In fairness I approached it from a negative standpoint as to me Barry Humphries has always been a talentless idiot trading off colonial stereotypes that were tired even in the sixties and building a fifty year career on the twin pillars of being in drag and slobbering. Hilarious! But, by God, did he plumb the depths with that film, a ghastly marriage of all that horrible ooh saucy, flash a bit of Bazooka and make ever-so hilarious references to spanking that kept shitfaces like Robin Askwith and Tony Blair's da-in-law in work in the 70s to all manner of horrendously crass stereotypes of both Australians and English. Add in some hippies as written by middle-aged men a la the son in Sid James' nadir Bless This House and a quick glimpse of a quite offensive Indian character and you quickly see why this was so bad. A shame that Dick Bentley had to lower himself to such rot. The past is always held up as something great, when everything was rosy in the garden, but when you see the sort of bilge that passed for entertainment you quickly realise that some things never change. Plus UKGold decided to screen Carry on England over Easter. Gah!

Anyway, enough venting of the old spleen for a while. I'll end with this book lark wot I swiped from [ profile] clytemenstra. I seem to recall doing something along these lines here before but, sod it, it was a long time ago and I fancy another pop so nyah!

*bold those you've read
*underline those you own but haven't gotten to yet
*italicize those you haven't read but plan to some day
*add three of your own
*post to your livejournal

Read any good books lately )
keresaspa: (Karl Marx laughing)
Well the dirty deed is done and I voted along the lines that I said I would I would yesterday. I must say this was a poorly campaigned election with only the SDLP and Sinn Fein bothering to come to my door whereas last time a whole squad of them turned up. Still no word from Geoffrey Wilson, although buzz has it that he's a power hungry nobody who went to tosspot-factory Grosvenor. Not a sniff of a vote from me, dear heart. No sign of good old Procapitalism either and I was dying for him to come to my house and receive a verbal or physical (depending on my mood at the time) battering. Outside the polling station itself only a mother and daughter Ulster Unionist team bothered to do any hand-billing and I refused their kind offer of a picture of Michael McGimpsey by telling them I was a Marxist. Suffice to say, they didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Just the predictable results and lack of progress to wait on now.

Elsewhere I see that lovely man John Reid is getting tough with the immigrants. What a delightful soul he is. Let's stop people getting health care and politicize the NHS even further than it already is. No money and no chance of work. And whilst we're at it, lets sneak ID cards for foreigners in too. Never mind what they might be fleeing, we don't want them here. The British Brothers League is never dead with the likes of good old Doctor John around. Bastard!
keresaspa: (Trotsky)
I don't usually describe dreams on here (he said repeating the riff that opened the entry on the 28th of November last year) but the one I had the other night, which time constraints prevented me from sharing yesterday, could well turn out to be prophecy so I want it on record. The whole thing ran like a documentary highlights package, which was weird enough, and began with the general election in 2009. There was no winner like February 1974's effort so, after a lot of faffing around another one was held a year and a half later, with Cameron beating Brown by four seats. The Tory government didn't last long after a few by-election defeats and another election came three years later with Labour winning by about 30 seats under John Reid (perish the thought) and the Tories replacing Cameron with William Hague. Not long in to his premiership Reid took a heart attack in the Commons. He refused to stand down but had another one a few months later and so was replaced by Ed Balls. Well, that's who it was in the dream, although Ed Balls is actually just a name to me in real life. Balls won the next two elections quite handily before losing to a Conservative Party led by some guy who is not yet known. Labour ditched Balls in favour of an equally unknown woman and then I woke up. Not the most exciting dream in the world but if it comes true I expect to be venerated as a soothsayer.

Speaking of balls, I thought it was a load of them when I read that hitherto unknown (well, to me anyway) ballerina Simone Clarke was in the BNP*. Quite ironic that the daft mare has joined the party over immigration when her husband is a Cuban of Chinese ethnicity. A hell of a lot of immigration needed to take place for him to wind up in the English National Ballet. Daft tart!

Speaking of fascist women, good to see that there is finally a warrant out for Isabel Peron It's time she was brought to book for what she did to Hector Aldo Fagetti Gallego and if they can nail the bitch for the support that her and her louse of a husband gave to the US-backed butcher commies and bolster fascists Operation Condor then so much the better. Would be nice, but given the esteem that Peron is mystifyingly held in down Argentina I am probably only dreaming.

Speaking of dreaming ... whoops, I'm back where I started.

* One cannot ignore the irony of the Mail on Sunday having a pop at the BNP for their "knee-jerk hatred of foreigners". The pot calls the kettle black-arse, as they said in coarser times.
keresaspa: (Seagull)
Can you guess what my tirade is going to be about today? That's right - Conservative family policy. Just kidding. Nope, the death of Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte of course. What can we say about the old bastard who was arguably the worst thing to hit the world since Hitler? By force of arms he overthrew the democratically elected Marxist government of Salvador Allende and replaced it with a praetorian regime based on fear, violence, clientelism and the feathering of his own nest. He killed over 3,000 people, tortured countless others and set up a regime of assassinations that saw government murder become the norm. He instituted a completely unsuitable neo-liberal economic system that polarised the country completely and created a massive impoverished underclass, despite what the West might say about economic miracles. In 1974 he brought Italian neo-fascist terrorist Stefano delle Chiaie to Chile (fresh off the back of a bombing campaign in Rome) and set him loose in Latin America, securing work for him with Roberto d'Aubuisson's death squads in El Salvador, the Contras in Nicaragua and alongside Klaus Barbie in the 'Cocaine Coup' in Bolivia in 1980. He funded Spain's biggest bunch of neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers in CEDADE and also the careers of Blas Piñar, who was too extreme even for Franco, and his stooge Jaime Alonso. He allowed that clut-leading nutter Sun Myung Moon to set up his anti-communist CAUSA group in Chile, leading to hundreds of deaths across Latin America. That there should even be an attempt to re-appraise this bastard because he backed Thatcher in a pointless war over a couple of rocks in the South Atlantic that should have been decolonized years ago shows what a sick country we live in. Mind you, the fact that America backed the old bugger for so long shows what a sick world we live in.

Anyway, I'll quit gloating about that for a minute and gloat about something. Xenophobic tosspot Alan Pardew has been sacked by his Icelandic employers. Ah, sweet irony. Plus I managed to get my fees reduced from 3 grand odds to a nice round £220. Ah, a day to remember and no mistake!
keresaspa: (Bhishma (Mukesh Khanna))
Despite being very much from an Irish republican base I've never been a fan of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. They've always struck as me as little more than a green Orange Order and a bastion of the sort of 1950s Catholic conservatism that tossers like de Valera stood for. So I was hardly surprised to see in this month's Searchlight that the 'Third Position' fascists are making a play to take them over. It seems there's a magazine doing the rounds called The Hibernian that not only involves that Provo turncoat Gerry McGeough, he who once sat on the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle and now gives his time over to anti-immigration rants, but also long standing nutter Justin Barrett. There again, to go from where they are now into the sort of far-right rubbish that Barrett is known for is hardly that big a step for the AOH. It's time they did the decent thing and buggered off. As for The Hibernian, I really fear that crap like this will find an audience in Ireland these days. If headcases spouting Forza Nuova style crap make in-roads into Ireland they could easily exploit the latent right-wing tendencies, especially over immigration. I don't think for one moment that the north would be immune to this either. For all Sinn Fein's talk, you hear as much racism coming from republicans as you do from loyalists. All in all, I don't like the look of it.
keresaspa: (Cassidy says...)
Work, work, work. All I've been doing all day. I swear I must have had a go at that first chapter about ten times already and every time I do there is something else to go back and rejig. Bloody nuisance but such is life.

I didn't see much of the England-Hungary game last night so I can't really offer any comment on it. Still, it is only Hungary who haven't qualified for anything since 1986 so no need to get carried away, folks. I have been following a show called World Cup Heaven and Hell on ITV. Seemed like an interesting idea - a show about the best and worst bits of past World Cups. A pity really that it was spoilt by talking heads spouting racist, stereotyping, xenophobic claptrap. Clichéd background music, as many references to the Second World War as possible, saying things like 'Argies' and 'Krauts'. I fail to see how they can be acceptable whilst the likes of 'Paki' are, quite rightly, reviled. The argument that they are white is not relevant. It is still using perceived difference as a means of belittlement. Plus that tosser Tony Livesey had the gall to call the Dutch 'cheeseheads'. This from the home of Cheddar, Double Gloucester, Red Leicester, Stilton and umpteen others?! I remember now what I hate about the World Cup - all the bloody washed-up bigots getting a chance to air their clapped-out rubbish. I believe I'll be following the tournament on RTE. Plus Eamon Dunphy and Johnny Giles have forgotten more about insightful punditry than Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson will ever know.

By the way, I mentioned something yesterday about photos. Well a rather nifty one of [ profile] pinkiemcpinkie and myself has already turned up. I think we look quite well, even if I do appear a little drunk. OK, that'll do for today. It's back to work I must go.


keresaspa: (Default)

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