Saturday, December 22, 2007

Looking ahead

A very Merry Christmas to all my readers, and I hope 2008 is good to you.
I'll be back in January, and I'd like to start the year with something a bit different by moving away from 100% reactionary content, i.e. "Look what happened today. Is't it great/crap ...", etc.
I'd like to give you my views on subjects you want to hear about - bigger issues which transcend the daily newsflow. If you've ever thought I've been vague on where I stand on an issue, now's your chance to give me a subject, and I'll post my thoughts on it. The only limitation is that it should bear relevance to political or cultural life on the Emerald Isle. Over to you!
I'll collate the comments from this post in January and get my thinking cap on. Leaves time for a Guinness or two over the festive season. Have a good one!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


What's the difference between William Joyce, alias Lord Haw-Haw, and Gordon Brown, British prime minister? Today Brown will do it whereas Joyce only talked about it.

Before the sun sets today, the EU heads of government will have signed away much of their nations' sovereignty in the so-called Treaty of Lisbon, a document retaining over 90% of the text of the failed EU Constitution so roundly rejected by France and the Netherlands, the only two nations asked.

When we joined the European Economic Community we voted for free movement of goods, capital and people between member states, not for political union. And as successive governments have been pissing ever-increasing volumes of national sovereignty up the grey concrete walls of Brussels the British people weren't consulted once.

Thank God for Éire. Its constitution demands that all matters of national sovereignty be put before the people, and so it will (I think) be the only EU state to hold a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon. And if Éire rejects it, the treaty is null and void.

In fact, Bunreacht na hÉireann (text here) is one of the finest national constitutions I've read, well structured and with specific guarantees of religious and social freedoms - the kind of constitution I could live under and feel very protected. So much better than the UK where there's no written constitution, just hazy thoughts about Magna Carta and Habeus Corpus. Of course, the absence of a written constitution is just what corrupt politicians want.

So I'm counting on the people of Éire to kick this Lisbon thing into touch. When they do, no Euro-trash politician in his/her right mind will try to resurrect an issue trounced by three independent nations on three separate occasions.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

They haven't gone away, you know

Gerry Adams' famous words some years ago, and they're still true. Although the weapons are gone (or most of them, in my opinion), the Provisional IRA's command structures are still firmly in place, and it exists ready for action.
When is the IRA not the IRA? Answer: when its members kill without being asked. The PSNI Chief Constable has now confirmed that IRA members were involved in the killing of Paul Quinn, but he sees no indication that it was authorised by the IRA leadership. Whether it's Robert McCartney, hacked to a lingering death in Belfast, or Paul Quinn who was beaten to a pulp by 20 men and took 30 long minutes to go screaming, then whimpering, into a death that must have seemed so welcoming, the Republican terrorists are still at large and are a massive threat to democracy and, hence, our newly-won devolved government.
If there was ever any justification for the IRA fighting against a repressive Dublin Castle régime a hundred years ago, that has long evaporated. Across the western world blind nationalism has given way to inclusive democracy, and the only suppressed people in Ireland today are the victims of paramilitaries in the hardline parts of South Armagh, Belfast and East Antrim.
The next step in the "peace process" is for the IRA to disband. It has no more reason to exist, and while it remains in place it's a threat to democracy, weakening Sinn Féin's credibility north and south.
Democracies have no place for private armies.

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's my party ...

I see disaffected ex-DUP man Jim Allister is to launch his very own new party aimed at those few unionists still stuck in the 1950s who think our Catholic neighbours should be denied a say in how the joint is run. Apparently the party is to be called the "Traditional Unionist Moan" or something.
As much as I criticise Sinn Féin (and others) when I think they deserve it, it's right and proper that they should hold some of the reins of power, because that's what democracy is about, duh. And let them stand or fall on their actions in the eyes of their electorate.
For too long, Unionists ruled the roost here in an unaccountable manner during days that are, thank God, long behind us. Some people will always want to turn the clock back for their own selfish ends, but what interest could Jim or anyone else have in disaffecting 20+% of our electorate by denying them a say in government? What does he want to do? Drive them to the arms of the Real IRA? And, yes, the pun is intended.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

One size fits awl

So Caitríona Ruane, a minister for education whose accent isn't even Northern Irish (although she sends her kids across the border to our schools here), reckons all kids should go to grammar schools. Or to "secondary moderns". Whatever. Main thing is: everybody's the same in Sinn Féin's Leninist world, so we should be putting tomorrow's master cabinetmakers in the same classrooms as budding astrophysicists and cardinals: one type of post-primary school only. But what type? And how? She published a 7-page wonder today, but it's handsomely devoid of specifics.

I'm shocked but not surprised. For decades Ruane and Sinn Féin have had the luxury of not having to create anything, just shoot it down. She and her party colleagues in the Exec are going to have it tough now because it's no longer enough just to moan, they have to get on and create something. And that something has to be better than what we've got. Sure it can be improved on, but if she wants to bin everything and start from a clean sheet of paper she's got her work cut out, and in my mind this paper shows she's nowhere near up to the job.

Whatever kind of school she went to isn't the kind she should be advocating for the rest of us. She's written seven pages of rhetoric with transfixing helium like "My intention is to mobilise and co-ordinate the resources at my disposal to build a modern and flexible education system" and the prize-winning non-statement "I am an advocate for dynamic and effective change" Goodness, what a wonderful person you think you are! And, by the way, it's an advocate of, Caitríona, not "for". Get some English lessons.

A propos, she seems to have a great penchant for an Gaeilge though. Loves rubbing in it. Get this (one of several token nods): "Tá an Dréacht Clár Rialtais soiléir sa mhéid seo i ndearbhú go mbeidh na focail 'cothroime' 'cuimsiú' agus 'comhionannas' mar focail in ag an fheidhmeannas i solathrú polasaithe agus clár an fheidhmeannas". I, a mere subhuman Protestant, get the odd word, but they're bullshit words as well. Can any of my Gaeltacht readers tell me if this statement contains any specifics of which she's deliberately starving the English-speaking majority? (By which I mean people who can speak proper English, had she but deigned to use such).

She goes on to decry "an unequal two-tier system that was borne sixty years ago". Good Lord. Where? Whither was it so carried? To where was it thus transported? BORN, Caitríona. Like children. Gimme strength.

It goes on. "We now have an opportunity to truly transform our system into a world class system fit for the 21st century". Oh dear, Caitríona. A split infinitive and a missing hyphen all in one sentence. I could laugh, but it'd be cruel.

Knock me for being a pedantic fart if you will, but - my - she's easy meat. Laugh and mock, but it still leaves us with a hot-air, post-modernist PR merchant at the head of our education system who managed to dominate today's news with no news at all.

Some Minister for Education. Some advertisement for unitary schooling. Some class.