Archive for March, 2013

Meath East By-election – Why the Same Old ?
March 30, 2013

Ah come on, it’s Ireland. Irish people are stubbornly conservative well beyond the point of idiocy. “That’s the way it’s always been done, don’t rock the boat, keep the head down, say nuttin”. The entire culture right down to vernacular words and phrases is all about no speaking out of turn, playing the game, act like yer not wise, keep things the exact same at all costs – don’t be bringing attention to yourself.

It’s 6 years since property prices started to fall but almost anyone you talk to in Ireland is still pining for the good old days of 2006. The bubble became “normal” and they want it back and nobody is willing to voice, in public, the heresy that the entire bubble was, ummm, a bubble, a fraud, abnormal, unsustainable. You’d be lynched in most parts of the country still if you try to actually voice what “bubble” means, with the clear logical implication that no, 2006 isn’t ever coming back.

90 years later and young fellas involved in FF & FG are still arguing over the civil war even though in every single other respect their political views and policies are identical.

Nearky 20 years after the ceasefires, 15 years after the GFA, in the wake of numerous revelations about what went on, who did what, and who was really pulling various strings, and the bulk of the southern populace remain blissfully ignorant with a cartoonish, ignorant and counter-factual fantasy version of the Troubles in their head. The media are still ranting away as if it was 1974, and the RTE/INM/FFG idiots are now the most politically-unevolved, backward, unsophisticated, bitter, divisive stumbling block on the island. When the DUP seem sane and reasonable shrewd political operators compared to anyone in RTE, the Indo, FF FG or Lab, rational people might step back and reconsider. But nope, they’ll keep on banging their tired old Harrisite drums for decades more yet.

20-odds years of a torrent of filth about what the hypocrites and paedos in the Roman middle-eastern death cult have been getting up to for many many decades, and still 85% of the country self-identify with them, they still control health and education policy, the entire Dail is paralysed and incapable of passing basic legislation to stop young women dying out of terror of a (largely mythical IMO) Bead-rattler Backlash, and there’s no abortion in Ireland even though 4000 or so Irish women a year are flying over to England for abortions. But you can’t mention that.

As I said, stubbornly conservative and clinging to ridiculous ideas long past the point of idiocy.

It’s not the political system that is wrong, it’s the underlying culture which is deeply sick, neurotic, and unfit for purpose. The insane corrupt political system is just a reflection, a symptom, of a deeper and more fundamental malaise.

People can chat all they want about constitutional, institutional or legislative reforms, argue about marxism vs capitalism….it completely misses the point IMO. What southern Ireland needs is fundamental cultural reform and a long-overdue and very difficult honest conversation with itself.

Sidewinder  30 March 2013

Spinning Spun Out
March 26, 2013


For Mulherin
the object is pairing:
no threesomes at all
and more would appall
the despairing


Andrew49 26.3.2013

Some Down Time on PW – So Discussing Red C Poll SBP FG 28% (nc), FF 24% (-2), Lab 13% (+1) SF 14% (-2) Indp 21% (+3) here ….
March 23, 2013

Red C Poll SBP FG 28% (nc), FF 24% (-2), SF 14% (-2) :abour 13% (+1)  Indp 21% (+3)

Republicans Should Not Be Prisoners of the Past
March 22, 2013

Some thoughts.

Republicans, of all hues, need to accept that the republic declared in 1916 is gone. The mandate from the first Dáil is gone. Everyone who sat in it or voted in the elections are dead. It ratified the Proclamation and declared independence yes, but it was then defeated and crushed.The good guys lost, and not for the first time.

Documents such as the Proclamation and the Democratic program of the first Dáil should not be treated as gospel, or things which define or limit republican socialism. The Irish Republic declared in 1916 was not the first one declared. Republics were declared in 1798, 1803 and 1867. These did not utterly dominate and limit subsequent republican revolutionaries – each attempted revolution was a revolution of its day. Not one of a hundred years before, despite the general arguments and ideas being similar. These declarations and assorted documents merely served as inspiration and templates. They were an evolution, and its wrong to treat the documents and writings of the 1916 revolutionary period as the zenith of republican thought. It is forever a work in progress.

1916 was almost a hundred years ago. Todays generation treat it as history, not something which is relevant to their day to day lives today. It doesn’t capture the imagination beyond being a mere tale of heroism, like a film or book. The parallels, unfinished business and echoes of life today in that time should be but footnotes, not the main thrust of argument from revolutionary republicans.

The past should be a reference, a guide, inspiration – the work should be towards building and arguing for a new Republic, a new living, breathing country – one obviously relevant to the struggles the masses of today have, in a language they understand – rather than attempts at resurrecting one which died.

Republicans also need to accept that they have lost the struggle of the past half century or so – militarily and propaganda wise too. The “Brits Out” aspiration, while an admirable, worthy goal should not be the main thrust of argument – people are conditioned to be repelled at that. Instead of briefly mentioning the IMF, Troika and other associated capitalist colonial and imperialist tools as a footnote and parallel to British imperialism it should be the main thrust of argument as it is clear to the general public the damage and wrongs they are doing today. There is not the same moralistic clouds of hand-wringing over that as there is about British imperialism. Continuing the way things are going will mean that by and large only the initiated – a few supporters of broadly nationalist parties will ever be persuaded to support, or at least see the need for, a revolution. Focusing on the IMF and the forces that are ruling Europe and how to combat against this will widen the gene pool. Once initiated it can easily be explained to them how British imperialism in Ireland is the exact same and must be removed also. Make the easy sell first.

Saoirse go Deo  22.3.2013

The Sexual Repression of the Irish People
March 22, 2013

“Lock them up and don’t let them see the cold light of day” more than likely was a thought that ran through the head of the nuns as they threw single mothers back into their rooms after a long day at the laundry working tirelessly to make a quick bucks for the holy orders that ran such kips. Single mothers were placed in these institutions because they had a child outside of marriage, children were given up for adoption or sent into some industrial school and the mothers looked upon with disgrace, daring to have sex outside of marriage. Even at that, it was not only single mothers whom were sent but women whom may have been single but seen to have been too beautiful for how she may tempt man to “partake of her flesh”. Women from society of all types were sent against their will to the laundries. The last of these institutions only closed in 1996, closing its doors never again to be opened thankfully. Ireland however has still held itself back all these years, the closing of the last Magdalene laundry marked a delineation in the role of Irish society perhaps not frowning upon the sexual being that is inside all of us but to think it was a complete delineation is far from the truth.

The Ryan report unmasked the level at which child abuse was prevalent all through the schools run by the Irish church and to what extent the abuse was perpetrated. Priests, most of whom were placed under an obligation to stay celibate, were shown to have been abusing children to satiate some sort of urge they had which can be attributed partially to the twisting of norms at the time at what was accepted and what was not. Sexually you only had sex to procreate and sex for any other reason was seen as a sin except in households where the wife was expected to grit her teeth, spread her legs and think of Ireland in what became a societal norm and not seen as it should have been, an abuse of women’s rights , a violation of her own body.

Donal Fallon’s article recently on on the rise to prominence of the Irish sex shop ( illustrates in parallels the acceptance gradually of the rise of the acceptance of some aspects of our sexuality and the decline in catholic faith as the 90’s came and went so did more sex shops to the point they are now a feature very much of the Irish landscape. When Peter Stringfellow opened his strip club in the mid 2000’s, the old dears of the Legion of Mary (LOM) sought to close down the establishment for lap dances (

Ireland however is still trapped in a mire of sexual repression. Speaking to a friend last night from Boston he told me he was amazed at a recent trip to a gay sauna where men would only ‘play’ with him in the dark room, they would not give him the time of day but in the dark anything was fair game, sex with the lights off common enough I’m sure with Irish people ashamed at the thoughts of making love. Typically the Irish male is at complete odds with the Irish female in the bedroom, the woman likes to be held while the Irish man upholds the stereotype of being masculine and being afraid to cuddle, show me an Irish man who wears his heart on his sleeve and I will buy you a pint (perhaps). Where does this come from this cold heart? A mix of Catholic guilt, pressure to conform to male stereotypes and a lack of emotion from parents perhaps all conspire to create this cold shameful sexual Irish being.

Abortion and homosexuality aside, issues discussed to death on the corridors of Ireland, lets face it, are sexually constrained. Our youth are only now being thought about contraception, years after Nell Mc Cafferty and others went on the pill train and young men could not buy condoms in the Virgin Megastore on Aston Quay. Online young men are afraid to come out to express their sexual preference as are young lesbians. Cast of your shackles Ireland, we are but a nation economically screwed, morale is low and we have no money to spend but we do have one and other Ireland.

Make love, not war!

fluffybiscuits 21.3.2013

How and Why Ming Flanagan Came a Cropper
March 17, 2013

This week the love him or loathe him Libertarian Lefty rural hero-villain Luke Ming Flanagan came a cropper. Seemingly hoist by his own petard, after being exposed as having committed the very same corrupt act that he himself had railed against. His excuses ringing hollow and naive at best. Serves him right is fair comment and he was quite rightly exposed for his hypocrisy. Off with his hypocritical little head, came the cry from the establishment and media. Of course what they really meant was, get that little mouthy git and get him good. Not for the crime of having his points wiped. For them, Luke’s biggest crime was telling on the system, naming names and breaking the conspiracy of silence.

There are 60,000 or so more cases of point wiping, all potentially as bad or worse than Ming’s offence. When these were brought up, the desire to shoot the messenger was palpable and there was ZERO official outrage at the implications of those 60,000 wipings. Comparing the muted establishment reaction that greeted the new Lowry revelations to the hysteria over Ming tells you all you need to know.

Ming has been taken out and shot with outrage by those who couldn’t have cared less about the other cases or about the identites of other not-named Oireachtas members. Ming’s fall from grace has proven that points can be improperly wiped and are wiped. The outrage is that Ming is a hypocrite and not that there are thousands of others in the same boat that everyone in authority wants to forget about. No calls for any other heads were issued, only sympathy that they’d been associated with the rat was forthcoming.

Independent TD Luke Ming Flanagan commented:“This country should protect whistleblowers, it never has and it’s one of the reasons we’re in the hole we are in. We need to protect whistleblowers.”

So the flawed hypocritical whistleblower is to be reviled and to be cast out and all is to go back to normal. Exposed and disposed of, by a paper with an agenda of returning FF to power, the party whose leader they backed to the hilt when he was in the tribunals, rubbishing whistleblowers and witnesses, and pleading for understanding for human failings.

Their mission in taking out Ming was to say “ ah sure they’re all the same, FF are not so bad after all”. Their rehab mission on FF is working, as they are now up to 29% in today’s opinion poll. A party who has increased the National Debt to a figure approaching the cost of building 2m houses and handing them out for free, but of course there are no free houses, just enormous mortgages.

NAMA, secrecy, payoffs and pensions, a culture of impunity for the powerful combined with shooting the whistleblowers. We never stood a chance of finding out where the money went and we are left with the 2 ½ parties that run the country this way playing musical chairs in perpetuity.

The media advises against voting in radicals who might try and change things, preferring instead to trust a leaderless disinterested and frustrated public to just do what they’re told by the same actors again and again, and that somehow the great unwashed will have reformed themselves which will somehow reform the body politic by osmosis. They the powerful corrupt and their corrupting media set the agenda, they control the message and their message is things are fine the way they are, so they won’t set a reform agenda that threatens their backer’s interests and the status-quo.

Reform without change is impossible. People are led, by the media, by giants like Dev and Collins, by idealism. This country won’t willingly be reformed by those who benefit from it the way it is. To capture the public’s imagination will require new actors and new players.

I’m not naive enough to think that SF/Others would be radically different, but they are different, they’re a threat to the hegemony of the established parties and they’re quite brave about how they vote in Parliaments. Taking on the conservative block on abortion both north and south, while the cute-hoors prevaricate and wring their hands.

They are useful and expendable and crucially they are diluting the power of conservatism and cronyism in the South. To achieve their goal of reunification, they have to do more than get re-elected, they have to produce a country fit for reunification, something that requires the radical reform that the 2 1/2 parties and the Irish establishment and their media don’t want at all.

Shaadi  17.3.2013 back online
March 17, 2013

Our forum is back online.  Thanks for your patience.

Fine Gael + Labour Report Cards …….. a Spectacular Performance
March 6, 2013

Enda did promise us Report Cards on the performances (or no) of individual Government Ministers. Surprise, surprise, that promise has fallen by the wayside; but never fear I’ve gone and went and done a couple of Report Cards of both partners in Government.

Enda did promise us Report Cards on the performances (or no) of individual Government Ministers. Surprise, surprise, that promise has fallen by the wayside; but never fear I’ve gone and went and done a couple of Report Cards of both partners in Government.

Andrew49   6.3.2013

Property Tax Bill Guillotined Through Daíl Tonight
March 5, 2013

*sad trumpet*

Passed 62 to 41.  50 Gov T.D.s missing for vote.

Dr. Five   5. 3. 2013

Discussed here on

Papal Conclave 2013
March 4, 2013

The Catholic Church may be a dramatically declining force in Ireland but the conclave still matters. Whomever is elected will make comments which will shape everything from how his Church deals with the inevitability of same-sex marriage across much of the planet to how it campaigns on women’s reproductive issues to poverty and how it reacts to wars, etc.So it remains an important election that will have repercussions worldwide and define the contribution of a player on the world stage. (Whether it should be a player on the world stage is a different matter. The reality is however that it is.)I have been looking into the history of papal conclaves. One thing that comes across is how so many of the presumptions being made in the media about conclaves are wrong. (No surprise there. Commentary in the media these days rarely let facts or research get in the way of their opinions.)

A couple of possible useful pointers are out there:

1. John Paul II made a dramatic, and many at the time said foolhardy, change in the process of electing popes by indicating that after a significant number of failed attempts to reach the 2/3rd threshold to elect a pope, a pope can be elected by a majority. That undid a millennium of rules. Some of the media (not many, but some) refer to the impact of this change. In fact Benedict XVI changed it back. So the winner needs 2/3rd, a difficult target to reach.

2. The Curia, that effectively governs the Church, has about 1/3rd of the cardinals. With some non-curial cardinals not at the conclave, that means that the curia can block a candidate it doesn’t like, but not elect the one it wants. In practice the curia is highly unlikely to get all its cardinals voting the one way. But the sheer size of the curial block makes it hard for someone opposed by the curia to get the job.

3. A lot of the media keep repeating how as John Paul II and Benedict XVI appointed all the voting cardinals, therefore by definition they will ensure the election of another conservative. In reality conclaves have never worked like that. A conclave made up largely of selected cardinals chosen by hardline Pope Pius XII elected the liberal John XXIII and Paul VI. A conclave largely made up of picks of John XXIII and Paul VI elected radical conservative John Paul II. Cardinals chosen by hardline intolerant Pius IX chose the liberal Leo X. The lesson is that cardinals often elect the opposite to the person who chose them and whom everyone presumed they would try to elect a carbon copy of.

4. Cardinals react very often by choosing the mirror opposite of their predecessor to fix any perceived problems. If their predecessor was young, they elect an old man. If they were old, they elect a young man. If the last guy was a media performer, they tend to elect a quiet reserved guy, and vice-versa. The choosing the age opposite of the last pope is quite striking. If they elect a young man (young for the church being in his 60s) he may be there for decades. That worries cardinals in case they make the wrong choice. So after a long pontificate they often choose an old man as a stop gap, knowing he has only a short time to live. In 1846 they elected the supposedly liberal Cardinal Mastai-Ferretti (Pius IX) aged only 54. He became extremely conservative and reigned for 32 years.

So in 1878 they decided to elect an older liberal, Cardinal Pecci, aged 68. (As people died at a youngish age, often the early 70s, in that era that counts as electing an oldish man.) They thought he might last a decade. This time the liberal pope remained a liberal, but to their frustration Pecci as Leo XIII became the “eternal father”, living to 93 and only dying in 1903 after a 25 year reign.

Having had another long-reigning pope in Pacelli (Pius XII) they went for an old guy in Roncalli (John XXIII). He was shortlived, in fact even shorter than expected when like most of his siblings he died of stomach cancer but brought about a revolution. After the elderly John they elected a relatively young guy, Montini, (Paul VI). They went for a 65 year old in Luciani (John Paul I) as Paul’s reign, at fifteen years, was reasonable length – not too short and not too long, so the cardinals didn’t feel it necessary to go for someone very old or very young.

Luciani however couldn’t manage the strain of the job and was way out of his depth, added to by poor health. So they went for the uber healthy Wojtyła, a 58 year old keep fit fanatic into hiking, jogging, weight lifting and mountain climbing. He reigned for 26 years. So the cardinals next elected the oldest pope in 3 centuries, Ratzinger (Benedict XVI).

5. Predictions of favourites are usually worthless. Very few favourites win. So Paddy Power bets may be a bit of craic, but not of any value. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, John XXIII, John Paul I and John Paul II never went to the conclave as favourites. Most of them didn’t feature even in the list of long shots. Pacelli (Pius XII) was a shoo-in in 1939, as was Montini in 1963. Ratzinger was a likely but not certain winner in 2005. But for every 1 favourite winner there are 3 unexpected and 3 ‘who the hell is that?’ outcomes. The adage is that those ‘those who go in as pope (i.e, the certainty) come out as a cardinal.’

6. Voting can be a bit erratic with, as one winner put it, candidates bobbing up and down in the votes like peas in a pot of boiling water. Four votes are held a day. Over the votes a cardinal may keep climbing up until he is near the 2/3rds but then fade as people conclude he hasn’t the numbers and switch to someone else. Benelli very nearly did October 1978, coming within 9 votes of the required majority. Siri lead at the start in 1958.

6. Geography matters. The Church is growing massively in Africa but there doesn’t appear to be enough of a block to deliver an African pope. Turkson has also talked himself out of the running. He was ridiculously big headed and indiscreet talking about himself as a potential pope and that goes down like a lead balloon with many cardinals. Roncalli (John XXIII) knew as Patriarch of Venice knew he was papabile (ie, a potential winner) in 1958 and while he didn’t go for it be didn’t do anything to kill off the chances. So he warned his nephew to stay out of Rome in the days before the conclave lest people conclude the Roncalli family were getting themselves into position to benefit from his election. Turkson did everything bar wear a teeshirt saying ‘Turkson for pope’ (some jokers in Rome but up posters with that around the city, which will have irritated the cardinals more).

North American is a possibility. But they may be uneasy electing someone from a superpower. South America may be a strong possibility. But would the European curia really be comfortable with someone from South America that may be alien to them? Remember the big voting numbers for the curial block. Don’t rule out another European, maybe even an Italian. They know how the system works and the curial block would back them. Europe will have 60 votes – 59 with the absence of O’Brien. It is a long way short of the 77 needed, but closer than the 53 present (1 absent) from North America plus South America plus Asia plus Africa. It is also unlikely the Americas plus Asia plus Africa will agree on a candidate. They are more likely to have rivals in the field.

Europe may also be reluctant to pass on the papacy for another reason. Catholicism is in severe decline in Europe. They may fear a non-European would not pay enough attention to the problem in Europe. Vanity may also come to play. They may feel that the papacy is theirs. The problem with giving it away or letting it be taken is that they may never get it back. Ancient sees that by tradition would get a red hat (Milan, Venice, Florence, Brussels, Edinburgh, Armagh, etc) could find themselves no longer getting them with the red hats being given instead to sees in Africa or South America or Asia. 99 years ago, in the 1914 conclave, 50% of the cardinal voters were Italian. Now it is 22.6%. A non-European might decide that Italy should only get one or two cardinals, like other states – at a stroke dis-empowering the Catholic Church in Europe in future conclaves.

So what does all this suggest?

Firstly, don’t presume that because the cardinals were chosen by John Paul II and Benedict XVI that they will elect another conservative. They often choose the exact opposite.

Secondly, look for someone who is the opposite, age-wise, to his predecessor. Benedict was the oldest in 300 years, so there is a strong chance they will elect a sixty-something or early seventy-something. Nobody around Benedict’s age on election or older is likely to be considered. The one caveat is that Benedict followed the second longest reigning pope in history. That may still be an issue in so far as they may not want another really long pontificate. So a fifty-something is unlikely to be chosen. They probably will go for someone in their late 60s.

Thirdly, look for a choice to balance the perceived deficiencies of their predecessor. John Paul and Benedict weren’t great administrators and the administration went to the dogs. That suggests they may want to find someone who is able to sort out the mess in the curia. So the next pope’s number 1 characteristic may be that they are a hands on guy in administration who gets the mess in the Curia sorted. So they may prefer a guy who spends more time behind the desk and less on the road. But they are unlikely to want someone too much of a curial insider.

So the characteristics of the next pope may well be someone in their late 60s or early 70s, an experienced administrator able to sort out the mess in the curia left by John Paul II and not able to be cleared by Benedict XVI, someone in good health, conservative but not aggressively so, and a European, and probably someone not featuring much in the predictions of who is ‘favourite’. So watch out for people like perhaps Comastri (69), an Italian, Duka (69), a Czech, Dziwisz (73), a Pole and close aide to John Paul II, Filoni (66), an Italian in the Curia with diplomatic and organisational skills, Puljić (67) of Bosnia Hertzegovina, Ravasi (70), an Italian in the Curia, Ricard (68), France. One worth watching is Schönborn of Austria (and Irish descent) (68), who is popular, moderate, a reformer and has a strong record on dealing well with clerical child abuse.

They may opt for older but after the sheer length of John Paul II’s papacy they are unlikely to opt for anyone younger, just in case they are the wrong person and they are stuck with them for 20 or 30 years.

One final thing to watch: don’t presume that because recent conclaves were over in a day or two that this one will be too. With so many problems in the Church, and so many large power blocs, I would not be surprised if this was one of the longer recent conclaves. Most recent conclaves seem to have been around 2-3 days. One early in the 20th century lasted for five. 

SimonSays    4 March  2013
“Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.” Blaise Pascal.
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