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)
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: (Ivy the Terrible)
And so we have it, after all the hot air expelled (mainly be me, admittedly) the dirty deed is finally done. As I intimated I went for the Anna Lo of the Alliance in the European election as a personal endorsement of the lady herself as an individual rather than because of any love for chosen political party. Either way, I'll offer her my commiserations in advance for her failure to get elected as I have yet to vote for a winning candidate in my life and that run is sure to continue. When it came to the local elections I looked at the paltry selection of limp lettuce leaves placed in front of me and decided "sod the lot of them" and destroyed the ballot by drawing a hammer and sickle and writing "none of the above" in block capitals, thus paying homage to my two great loves in life - communism and Brewster's Millions. Well, one great love and one don't mind and will watch if it's on and I've nothing better to do. Nonetheless the nastiness has been completed and I can now sit back and await the grim and depressing spectacle of the results trickling in. You know it will be bad but you can never prepare for just how bad.
keresaspa: (James Connolly)
D-Day )

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: (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: (Tijuana toad)
I happened to come across a copy of yesterday's Daily Mirror whilst waiting for my most recent physiotherapy appointment today. Apparently on Friday between 6 and 7 PM we are to be treated to something called "Operation Standstill" where the queen's highways are to be blocked by hordes of angry flag wavers hell-bent on preventing anybody from going anywhere. Apparently the reason for this is because loyalists are sick of how they are being treated. Really? This place is being brought to a standstill because a majority of representatives that you helped to elect came to a decision within the rules of liberal democracy and you are the ones who are sick of how you are being treated. Well, everybody else is sick to the back teeth of you lot and the pointless disruption you are bringing but never mind as I suppose democracy means "give me what I want or else" in loyalist circles. Also noticed Peter Robinson is asking people not to attend protests any more. Too late now Robbo, like Ian Paisley before you you have climbed into bed with the paramilitaries to get them to do your bidding but unlike Paisley you don't know how to play them properly and they are now outside your control. It seems strange that Paisley has played no part whatsoever in all this. Happen he really is on death's door or maybe he is just that little bit shrewder than Robinson and decided not to get tangled up in the whole mess.

Elsewhere as part of these despicable protests about a piece of cloth it seems that one group of loyalists intends to protest in Dublin in a few Saturday's time. Good idea I suppose as a decision that can only be taken by Belfast City Council should have been protested in an unrelated city since the start. And who is behind this lark - why "victims rights protester" Willie Frazer of course, the who demands justice for "republican atrocities" whilst declaring his support for LVF leader Billy Wright. That's the LVF that killed 18 people, 13 of whom were civilians, and the same Billy Wright that was Brigadier of the Mid-Ulster UVF, one of the most active and notorious units of the Troubles.

It's interesting to wonder why someone who was a candidate for the late and unlamented Ulster Independence Movement even cares about a union jack flying when his membership of that party suggests that he wants to separate from the UK altogether and establish once and for all the legendary Protestant state for a Protestant people. Far be it from me to suggest that Willie just likes to cause trouble and draw attention to himself regardless of how much bullshit he is talking but the only other conclusion I can draw is that Willie's UIM membership was simply due to the fact that pro-LVF leaders like Clifford Peeples and Kenny McClinton dominated that worthless party in its death throes.

The last time WIllie took his merry band down to Dublin for a little bit of intimidation his then hobby horse "Love Ulster" got seven shades of shite knocked out of it by the local hoods. If there is still any cojones left down there the same thing needs to happen again, just so as finally some sense might be knocked in to Frazer's mixed-up head.

And whilst we are at it the flag is flying from City Hall today, apparently because it is the birthday of the fragrant and beatific Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and the Alliance insisted that this day be protected as a union jack day to pay homage to our new saviour. Good to see the republicans out protesting about such a shameful and triumphalist attack on their sensibilities. Oh.
keresaspa: (Tijuana toad)
Once again conflagration has broken out in Northern Ireland. Let the Assembly conspire with their masters in Westminster to dismantle the welfare state, punish the poor, wipe out the DLA that supports the ex-paramilitaries and slowly but surely kill off the NHS and the boys will happily sit on their hands (a criticism equally relevant to both sides, admittedly). But pass a law saying the symbol of one side should not fly permanently over the council chambers of the capital and once again the loyalist hordes come out in force, channelling the spirit of Ulster Day, the Ulster Workers Council and the Ulster Clubs by bringing intimidation, violence and disruption to all until their intransigent demands are met. I mean it's not as if the council has voted to hoist the starry plough from the City Hall but still the usual fascist response ensues as the working class Protestant hordes, stoked on by their upper middle class master in the Unionist parties, take to the streets to bully their way to what they want. Where but Northern Ireland would people take to the streets and attack political offices for something so bloody conformist as flying the union flag? Other countries get their "springs" we get an uprising in favour of hierarchy and dominance with a section of the working class unleashing violence in order that they might now their place a little bit more.

Of course the RUC will never go against their own, no matter what they call themselves these days. In England peaceful protesters with genuine grievances are treated like dirt, corralled like cattle and baton charged into a bloody pulp whilst if the Fenians went around smashing up buildings and attacking the filth the plastic bullets would be out quicker than you can say "Robert Hamill" but loyalist mobs are, as usual, free to do what they please when they please. Meanwhile the response of homophobic young earth creationist and hospital closer-in-chief Edwin Poots? Punish the violence by giving them their precious butcher's apron flying from Stormont too. Christ, if he worked for free his wages would be too high! If all those Egyptian protesters still haven't worked out that the difference between dictatorship and democracy is that in the latter you get to pick which inept, corrupt, power-hungry idiots get to order you about then let them look to Poots for confirmation.

In the interest of balance however I will give a rare bit of credit to Peter Robinson for at least attempting to offer a moderate, reasoned response. However I noticed he stopped short of condemning it, no doubt mindful of the votes he'll be seeking in East Belfast in 2015. Good to see that Hilary Clinton has condemned the violence though. Yup, nothing better than some bigshot American breezing in to pat us on the head and tell us how we should all get along with one hand, whilst giving a thumbs up to Israeli genocide with the other. Bugger off home, Hil, you're input is not needed and you've had your run in the pity job that Obama gifted you after wiping the floor with you in the Democratic primaries.

I must admit my sympathy for the Alliance is limited in this issue. They have followed the lonely path of well-heeled moderation previously followed by the Ulster Liberal Party and the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland but, as Humpty-Dumpty so succinctly demonstrated, when you spend all your time sitting in the fence (or wall in the Eggman's case) you will eventually have a great fall. Naomi Long might be seeking to portray herself as a great heroine but, whether by choice or not, she owes her seat in Westminster to the UVF as, without the endorsement of Stephen Matthews at the last election she would still be parking her ample rump on the cold benches of the City Hall rather than the plush loungers of the Palaces of Westminster. Matthews could just as easily have roused his supporters and stooges on the Newtownards Road, Sydenham, Dundonald and the rest to vote for Trevor Ringland or David Vance in order to force Robbo out but he anointed Long and obviously in return it was expected that she and her party would play ball. They haven't and so the special relationship is over. David Ford's decision to leave Marian Price to her fate means that the Alliance have already made republicanism their enemy so by falling foul of the loyalists they have painted themselves into a corner. But them's the breaks. They've been as complicit in the cuts-happy cosiness of the Assembly as anybody else so sorry about your damn luck.

So, plus ça change really as some silly little concession is made, loyalists react like mindless animals and bugger all is done to stop them. It would be funny if the whole thing wasn't so depressingly interminable.

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Mar. 9th, 2012 07:34 pm
keresaspa: (Default)
Well, whoda thunk it? Tom Elliott has followed Reg Empey onto the scrapheap of history already. As shocks go it is up there with stepping in bear crap whilst strolling through the forest. Whatever angle you come at it from there is just no point to the Ulster Unionist Party any more. When Peter Robinson is sitting in government with the IRA (well, Sinn Fein/IRA was his favoured term until recently so to his mind they are obviously identical) it is difficult to present yourself as a moderate unionist alternative whilst for those Ballyhackamore snobs who still think the DUP is a bit working class, based on the fact that they had factory workers and taxi drivers as candidates thirty years ago, there is always the Alliance, which makes no bones about being a unionist party. No, at the ripe old age of 107 the UUP has reached the end of its natural life and the time has come for it to follow the lead of the Vanguard of old and meekly disappear. If they insist on soldiering on (which they will - we all know how pig-headed unionist are) then the next leader will have to be Mike Nesbitt as a man who many moons ago tried to make it as a comedian is surely the only choice for a group that is fast becoming a joke.

And in other, related news (in the sense that all human beings are at some level related to one another) it has come to my attention that, in the annual parade of pap and poop that is the Eurovision Song Contest, Bulgaria is this year to be represented by none other than Sofi Marinova. What do you mean "who"? Sofi Marinova - you know "Stiga Nomera", "Obicham", the Romani nightingale. Around this time last year I revealed my occasional taste for the horrendous Bulgarian chav music known as Chalga, as well its Serbian equivalent Turbofolk, and I often wondered why neither country looked to these partially indigenous forms of noise pollution when entering the Eurovision Song Contest. OK, Serbia's 2010 entry Milan Stankovic dabbles in Turbofolk but as I also revealed a year ago this is, like Japanese garage rock or American punk, one of those genres where only the female contributions interest me. Glad to see that my words are finally holding weight in the Balkans, although perhaps inevitably the song itself has been somewhat de-Chalgaed and given a more westernised sound. Don't be ashamed of your own sound, you Bulgars. Were it up to me Preslava would represent Bulgaria and Stoja would represent Serbia and we would all live happily ever after. But it's not up to me so instead we get the defrosting of Engelbert Humperdinck and those pasty-faced, Max Headroom-haired, hellspawned Irish bastards who join Paul McCartney's ex-wife on the list of people I refuse to name so as not to give them even a modicum of publicity.

And yes it all does sound bloody terrible and I am a man devoid of all taste and discernment but if you didn't know that by now then you never will. Now enjoy some classic Desi Slava before the blonde spiral-perm took over and ask yourself where else you would get a death sentence on the Ulster Unionist Party combined with some choice cuts of awful eastern European bilge. There'll never be another.
keresaspa: (Default)
Yup the dirty deed has been done and my little thing has been put into the slot. I've voted, you pervs! As previously stated I voted no to AV for purely anti-Clegg reasons. On the council ballot I went 1-2-3 for the Workers Party, Socialist Party and People Before Profit, reasoning that Paddy Lynn already is a community worker of sorts and so would be the most valuable addition to the council. 1-2-3 on the Assembly as well, albeit with one and two reversed as I reckon the Socialists would make a bigger impact at Stormont if elected. Mind you, no chance of that happening so in all probability my vote there will be transferred to my fourth choice. Yes, once again I put the bloody Alliance in fourth despite hating the bones of the buggers. To be fair I have gone on record as respecting Anna Lo for her dignified stance against racism and she pulled a power play on me by being outside the polling station and proving to be a charming little person in real person so my fourth preference was for her as an individual rather than her party. So all in all five minutes spent doing something that will undoubtedly prove to make bugger all difference to anything. Still, it gets me out of the house.

Oh and let's not forget (which I nearly did) the anniversary of Bobby Sands who died because of the brutal stupidtiy of imperialism thirty years ago today. A rebel I came and I died just the same, it's on the cold wind at night that you'll find me.
keresaspa: (Reiko Ike)
When Lenin wrote One Step Forward, Two Steps Back Northern Ireland was nothing but a twinkle in James Craig's eye but here we are facing the age old problem of pointless left-wing division. With the Socialist Party and People Before Profit operating in the same strong anti-cuts milieu I am left to wonder what purpose is served by them opposing each other and splitting what little of the vote they can expect to receive in good old tribal NI. For my own part I am torn in three directions between both of them and the Workers Party, who are preaching a similar brand of gospel. Of the bumf I have seen Paddy Meehan makes probably the strongest case to my mind but the Stiff Little Finger makes good arguments as well whilst the only one I have ever had personal dealings with is Paddy Lynn and I've found him to be a decent sort who will always cut you a fair deal when you buy from his market stall. The rest of them can suck it of course - the SDLP are so bourgeois that it's not even funny any more and the Alliance's fence-sitting "we're so nice but we're really Unionists" act wore out years ago whilst their public endorsement of water charges and their associations with Clagknot's bastards make them beyond the pale. As for Sinn Fein it is amazing how quickly they slipped into being the party of the establishment and how easily some previously admirable community workers became grey-suited, double-dealing, lying politicians whilst they too have made it clear that water charges are their preferred destination. Indeed the way the big five are all tied in to their incestuous Swiss-style permanent coalition with its pro-capitalist and cuts-happy agenda makes a vote for any one of them pointless. Unless you like that sort of thing, of course, in which case you might as well vote for all five of them as they are effectively the same. Which I suppose leaves the Green Party but I’ll be in the cold ground before I vote for that shower. Lovely to see as well that South Belfast is to have two joke candidates with UKIP's Nico Torregrosa having a go here and Charles Smyth awakening Väinämöinen-like from his slumber to unleash the Ayn Rand-loving juggernaut that is Procapitalism upon us once more. Good luck with that lads but I can't see an anti-immigration candidate with a Spanish name and a chap who secured a whopping 22 votes last time worrying McDonnell, Spratt and Maskey too much.

Thus for me council and assembly will both be a 1-2-3 involving the Sticks, the Stiffs and the Socialists with the final order still to be determined (although given that there are ten candidates going after five seats in the council election it really isn't worth my while whatever permutation I go for). As for the referendum I have to say I really couldn't give a monkey's toss one way or the other. I have little to no faith in the whole system of representative democracy anyway so it is no skin off my nose how they choose to arrange the whole charade of choosing sheep to fill the seats. Be it first past the post, alternative vote or any other system isn't it funny how they always end up electing politicians rather than actual human beings? Apart from anything the arguments from both sides have been so childish and lacking in relevance that they might as well have been delivered by Rebecca Black through the medium of "leetspeak". Being the petty, small man that I am deep down I suspect I will vote no simply because this whole referendum is Clagknot's baby and anything that discomforts that smug fucker in the slightest gives me pleasure. And yes I feel so strongly about him that I have decided to use only my second f-word since this old gubbins began. Makes angry face.

And as an odd aside I see that Sinn Fein are standing a candidate for the council elections in the Court electoral area. OK there is a pocket of Fenians on the Crumlin Road, nestling in between the Woodvale and Lower Ardoyne but the chances of Sinn Fein building a support base amongst the residents of Highfield, Glencairn and the rest of the grotty estates that make up the "Greater Shankill" seem about as likely as Neil Lennon being welcome for a jar at the previously mentioned Mountainview tavern. Still they have all that Assembly money sloshing about so I suppose they can afford to waste bits here and there. Heck they even have posters on the Cregagh Road this time around - I wonder what idiot brave soul put those up and was he the same character who "improved" a nearby YCV mural?

So there you have it - on May 5th do yourself a favour and vote for somebody a bit different as we really need a change from the same old rabble that it always is. But I won't be holding my breath.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
I was going to bemoan the fact that the electorate in Northern Ireland are a bunch of idiots for voting an idiot as sleazy as Ian Paisley Jr in as member for North Antrim but then the good (and bloody awful) people of East Belfast turn round and ditch old gunman Robbo in favour of big, flame-haired media whore Naomi Long. Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs. And wonders will never cease that this dump is actually among the first to get its counts finished. In for a crazy one by the looks of things!
keresaspa: (Sea Captain)
The election campaign has been going on God knows how long now (it seems like years to me) and only today did I finally get my first election leaflet. I should qualify that really as it is the first election leaflet actually addressed to me as a person. A couple of through the door efforts aimed at no one in particular have already arrived whilst the Alliance leaflet came along last week. However, for whatever reason, the Alliance have long since floccinaucinihilipilificated my vote and as such all their literature arrives addressed personally to everybody under the roof except yours truly. The reverse was true today however as apparently the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists New Force for Change and General Newness have targeted me as the go-to guy in our house, labelling their leaflet with my name and mine alone. Nice of them to send me a picture of a grinning ninny who bares a remarkable resemblance to Rosie Webster out of Coronation Street but I'm afraid Paula that policies about business rates and the "national interest" (a phrase with about as much meaning as the average Lady GaGa chorus) will not sway this little black duck, the personal touch notwithstanding. As such said document has been filed away in the circular file marked "bin" but very nice of you to get in touch.

Today also saw the death of the final goldfish to inhabit our place and as such the burden fell upon yours truly to inter the bones of the unfortunately named Perky (having been previously part of a pair with the equally late Pinky, an unfortunate combination of names in which I had no part). For some reason I decided to document this process and as such a photo montage follows under the cut. So if you like looking at dead fish read on.

Not for the squeamish, perhaps )

Well, haemochromatosis demands it's fortnightly blood sacrifice tomorrow so I'll take my leave and contemplate the weakness, heavy bruising and liberal use of the phrase "sharp scratch" that awaits me tomorrow.
keresaspa: (Robb Wilton)
I don't know about you but I'm sick of this election rubbish already. It's bound to be such a lot of fuss and will inevitably end up having no real effect as there is little difference between the main parties and the way in which the world has fallen to ruin these last few years is really much too big a problem for a comparative backwater like Britain to have any impact on. It doesn't help that in El Gordo and Dainty Davy we are saddled with two thoroughly despicable excuses for human beings grubbing desperately for power and in Clagknot we have a third thoroughly despicable excuse for a human being grubbing for whatever little scrap of influence he can claw away from the big boys. Any one of the three of them could end up Prime Minister and things will still be crap all over, so it's little odds who wins in my book. Shameful shower of shites the lot of them!

I'm not sure when nominations close but I would hope there would be a few additions to the pitiable lot in my neck of the woods. I tend to vote in every election just for the sake of it but I would be struggling to pick one of that lot. I would have been tempted to vote Anna Lo as she seems a decent enough sort and a principled opponent of racism but, their cross-community rhetoric notwithstanding, the Alliance are by conviction a unionist party and as such will never get my vote. As such I suspect, barring a late candidacy for some far-left no-hoper like Eamonn McCann's mob or the Sticks, I will have to end up holding my nose and voting Sinn Fein. Their snouts in the trough approach to that waste of money that is the Assembly sickens me but the choice I'm being given is a narrow one to say the least so the Provies it will most likely be.

Now if you'll excuse me I reckon I shall stick my fingers in my ears and shout "na na na na not listening" over and over again for the next month.
keresaspa: (All cops are not nice)
Not long to go until we have to endure another election to the pointless waste of space that is the Northern Ireland Assembly. A right motley bunch of candidates it is too. Nothing in particular speaks to me there although, barring the appearance of a last minute left-wing nutjob, I'm considering breaking the habit of a lifetime and plumping for the Alliance. They're quite a dull bunch, really, a bit on the bourgeoisie side and have unspeakable links to Ming the Merciless' mob so they're starting from way back in my book. However I can't deny that Anna Lo has been a strong and dignified representative for her community in the face of largely ignored persecution. Plus, God knows politics here couldn't get much whiter, so it's about time there were some representatives from the growing ethnic communities.

Speaking of largely ignored persecution it's good to see Sinn Fein's great mates the PSNI doing important work. God forbid the middle class sensibilities of NuBelfast should be offended by having to put up with beggars, because, of course, they're all bone idle and only beg because they're greedy. Why should hard working middle managers subsidise these foreigners? Those wonderful people have families, which, of course, is the greatest achievement in the world. I mean, "selling copies of the Irish Issue magazine without the correct authorisation". I ask you! How long before we see licences for begging which, no doubt, will have to be bought on-line like everything else nowadays. The existence of beggars is a shame on society so what purpose does it serve getting the cops involved? People can say no if they don't want to give, it's hardly rocket science. Bloody cops!

Finally, I hear that Anna Nicole Smith is dead. Poor daft cow!

All for now, mes eleves. See you all next week.

And so on

Nov. 16th, 2006 05:22 pm
keresaspa: (Mr. Grainger)
So, today's meeting with the honcho proved fairly productive and we managed to get through a lot of stuff without me running out of things to say. On the downside I do have a new chapter to get going from scratch for the middle of next month but I suppose I can't complain as I've been going doolally having nothing to do.

Elsewhere, what catches my eye? Well, I did see that the biggest waste of space walking (OK, it doesn't actually walk but that's how we express things in this part of the world), the Northern Ireland Assembly, is to have another election which smacks of desperation more than a little. Plus, even though I stopped supporting Sinn Fein years ago, I still think it would be a sell-out too far, even by their own shaky standards, to actually go in to a government as the junior partners to the DUP. Never mind Paisley and his mob bleating about the Provo connection, their own close involvement in Ulster Resistance and the like as well as the involvement of individuals such as Ulster-Scots inventing bushface Nelson McCausland in collusion should make them untouchable for any republican movement. Still, I do so enjoy a nice election, even though I have yet to vote for a candidate who won as it gives me the chance to drive woolly liberals like the Alliance from my door and feel ever so worthy by voting for some no-hoper pedalling a socialist line. Yes, these are the things that keep me happy.
keresaspa: (Mrs Mack)
Feeling none too chipper, my peeps. Sleep was completely shot last night by a strange numbness that overcame my left arm and leg. In the wee hours of the morning things like that get your mind racing to all sorts. I might even be forced to break my own code of ethics by going to the doctor. Whoop-de-doo! Fifteen minutes of being talked down to by a boringly obsessed health-freak who tells you how overweight you are and tries to order you what to do. Should be fun, I don't think. With any luck I'll be able to get an appointment before I scoot off to Edinburgh on Friday. I just hope it's not that painfully skinny bird with the thinning hair again who insisted on massaging my shoulders when I went in with bad feet. There was a bit of sexual harassment I could have done without!

Finally seen the list of candidates for South Belfast at the election. What an unimpressive shower they are. I briefly toyed with voting Alliance but their manifesto is just too bourgeoisie for me. I'm in two minds now over whether to waste my vote on the Sticks or on the joke party. Neither has a chance of winning but then I dont think I've ever voted for a candidate with a chance of winning. Be a case of deciding on the day most likely. God forbid Jimmy Spratt wins it, but come to think of it McDonnell or McGimpsey would be just as duff. Damned if you do and all that.

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