Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Bloody Sunday’ Category

Apologies and Recantations – The Strange Cases of two Elected Representatives from Ireland and England – Brian Stanley TD (Sinn Féin, Ireland) and Jeremy Corbyn MP (Labour Party, England)

leave a comment »

We start with a tip, and two savage cartoons.

All political apologisers – such as the Sinn Féin Laois-Offaly TD Brian Stanley – forced to swallow and spit out his words of praise for IRA ambushes in 1920 and 1979 – do not believe any of the sentences they are forced to utter in humiliating public recantations!

Memorial Statue at Kilmichael Co. Cork, Commemorating an IRA 1920 Ambush of Black-and-Tan British Crown Forces

Nobody ever believes the recantation :

The same applies to apologies uttered under duress by former British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Steve Bell’s Cartoon, Banned by the British Guardian Newspaper
Steve Bell’s Cartoon, Banned by the British Guardian Newspaper?

Nobody believes the apologies. The effect is to censor debate on issues which ought to be publicly aired.

Every honest person knows Brian Stanley’s Kilmichael/Narrow Water Tweet about British soldiers successfully ambushed by the IRA in Ireland – Black-and-Tans (1920) and Parachute Regiment (1979) – is a public picture of his own personal opinion and the opinions of many members of his own party.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ireland’s Banking Fiasco, Midnight Parliamentary Madness, A Government in Free Fall…..and Mass Media Self-Delusion

with 4 comments

Many media commentators predicted a popularity boost for a struggling Government because of extraordinary events this week.

They seem to be singing from this Labour Party Leadership Circular to its councillors :

“Farewell to Anglo!
Last night’s legislation brings an end to Anglo Irish Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society. These two institutions, names that will live on in ignominy, are forever associated with the recklessness and greed of a tiny clique that brought this country to the edge of financial ruin. These banks, the people who ran them and the golden circle around them were at the very roots of the crisis that has caused so much distress to the Irish people.

In liquidating this institution, we are doing what should have been done on the night of the blanket bank guarantee.

This is another step forward towards the day when we can finally face forward as a people, when the past can finally recede into the distance and when Ireland and the Irish people can see the future that they truly deserve”

This text was apparently put into the public domain by Labour Party Fingal Councillor Cian Ó Ceallacháin, who dissents from the austerity dogma promoted by his party leadership.

Opinion Polls in the last few months have been grim reading for the parties leading the current coalition government, Fine Gael and Labour.

Labour Pains in 2013 Opinion Polls

There is one fundamental reason for the fall in Fine Gael and Labour Party ratings : Mssrs Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore are continuing to carry out the policies of the previous Fianna Fáil / Green Party Coalition.

The scale of the FF/GP fall between the General Elections of 2007 and 2011 was spectacular :  the two parties won 84 seats in 2007 but collapsed to 20 in 2011 – a staggering loss of 64 TD’s, reducing the Green Party Dáil delegation from Six to Nil.

Opinion Polls began to register this electoral earthquake after a 2008 all-night Dáil session which gave birth to the Brian Lenihan inspired “bail-out”, shoring up the Bust Anglo-Irish Bank and ushering in a programme of austerity, cuts to public services, privatisation, and tax increases.

Fine Gael and Labour this week staged a re-run of Brian Lenihan’s all-night Leinster House Show, once again rushing through a complex piece of financial legislation connected with the financial crisis.

Will these parties follow the electoral example of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party?

Since the Savita Halappanavar Scandal, the opinion poll ratings of the government parties have gone into free fall.

An opinion poll published in today’s Irish Times confirms the trend,with major losses predicted for Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

Adrian Kavanagh has done his usual excellent number-crunching giving this predicted result if a General Election was held tomorrow :

STATE  FG 42  FF 51  LP 15 SF 26 Others 24

Compare this with the 2011 result

STATE  FG 76
 FF 20
 LP 37
SF 14
Others 19

In other words, Fine Gael and Labour will lose a staggering 56 seats if these numbers are right.

In fact losses for the Labour Party will very probably exceed the catastrophic defeat predicted above :

Adrian Kavanagh says that “actual Labour seat numbers could well be lower than the numbers predicted here” :

Labour’s declining support levels (down eight percentage points on the party’s support levels in the 2011 election) translate in a further significant drop in the seat estimates allocated to the party in these latest poll analyses. The party’s support levels are now on a par with the levels earned by the party in the 2002 and 2007 general elections though its seat estimates here are lower than the seats won by that party in those contests due to (i) the increase competition levels offer by Sinn Fein and other left-of-centre political groupings and (ii) the impact of the boundary changes associated with the 2012 Constituency Commission report which are seen to more adversely effect Labour than another of the other parties or political groupings. It is interesting to note also that, with the exception of Galway East, most of the rebel Labour TDs would appear to be based in constituencies that this analysis suggests the party would hold seats in at an election based on national figures akin to these poll support levels. If these deputies were to remain outside the party fold to the point of running as independents the actual Labour seat numbers could well be lower than the numbers predicted here.

Web Link :

actual Labour seat numbers could well be lower than the numbers predicted here

Going into the detail, the following words jump out at readers interested in boosting the electoral fortunes of an anti-capitalist / anti-coalition alternative :

Boost for small parties

However, the appeal of other small parties and Independents has grown considerably since the last Irish Times poll, with a fifth of all voters now supporting this category.

The level of support for this group is particularly pronounced in Dublin, where 32 per cent of voters say they would support this category.

This is a far higher level of support than any of the political parties managed to attract and indicates that there could be many more Independents and representatives of small parties in the Dáil after the next election.

Web Link :

Support for Others at 32 Per Cent in Dublin

The others group is a mix of left and right, but in Dublin it is primarily an anti-coalition left vote.  When that vote came together in 2009, Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party won one of the three Dublin Euro-Parliament Seats.

The trials and tribulations of the faltering United Left Alliance project are being exhaustively discussed on this blog and other places.

The events of this week, and the electoral and opinion poll data above, show very decisively that, the anti-coalition anti-capitalist left must get its act together – or – in Bernadette McAliskey’s recent words at the 2013 Bloody Sunday Commemoration in Derry – “we are in for one hell of a hiding”.

Bernadette McAliskey’s Speech to the January 2013 Bloody Sunday March for Justice – We Have Got to Get Our Act Together or We Are In for One Hell of a Hiding

with 2 comments

Bernadette McAliskey addressing the rally at this year’s Bloody Sunday March For Justice which had the theme ‘End Impunity’. Despite a wet, windy, wintry day around 3500 people braved the elements to march in solidarity with the victims of Bloody Sunday and other injustices

Link to a Video of Bernadette McAliskey’s Speech :

End Impunity! on Vimeo on Vimeo

via End Impunity! on Vimeo.

Some Key Points from the speech :

Is the state of Northern Ireland governed according to the principles of openness, transparency and accountability?

Lawyers and human rights campaigners had to spend a whole day in court to force the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, Alliance Party Leader Mr David Ford, to allow Marian Price spend four hours grieving beside the coffin of her dead sister Dolours. 

Nobody read about this because Mr Ford asked the judge to prevent public reporting of the case in the media.

But Bernadette McAliskey is not reporting; she does not work for the media; so she was only telling us :

The judge told Mr Ford  that his behaviour was “unlawful, unreasonable, and irrational”.

“We are not supposed to say this” advises McAliskey. Read the rest of this entry »

Murdering South African Miners – and Killing the Truth

leave a comment »

Anthony McIntyre, a former IRA Prisoner in Long Kesh,  has written a powerful article on the Marikana Platinum Mine Massacre :

Murdering Miners in South Africa – Anthony McIntyre

While ANC leader and South African president Joseph Zuma has called for a commission of inquiry and declared a national week of mourning.  Cyril Ramaphosa, once a militant workers’ leader and now a multi-millionaire with shares in the Lonmin mine, has offered to pay for the funerals.  Zuma and Ramaphosa are total hypocrites.  The massacre of these workers is the perfectly logical outcome of the entire course of the ANC since it won the country’s first democratic elections in 1994 – Shan Van Vocht

Earlier this month at the Marikana platinum mine near Johannesburg armed South African police massacred striking miners who attacked their lines. 34 lives were lost. That’s 20 more than the Irish experienced in a similar massacre in Derry just over 40 years ago and which continues to shape Irish perceptions of the British state’s security trumps rights agenda.

The story has now taken a “bizarre twist”

Miners face a Murder Rap

Frank Lesenyego, a spokesperson for South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority offers this explanation:

Asked to clarify the confusion – after police commissioner Riah Phiyega had earlier confirmed that the miners died after police shot at them with live ammunition – Lesenyego said: “It’s technical but, in legal [terms], when people attack or confront [the police] and a shooting takes place which results in fatalities … suspects arrested, irrespective of whether they shot police members or the police shot them, are charged with murder.”

On August 16, police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in North West.

On the same day, the 259 workers were arrested for public violence. Another 78 were admitted to hospital.

You could not make it up.

Written by tomasoflatharta

Aug 30, 2012 at 12:32 am

“Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey” – An exploration of Mass Action Politics

leave a comment »

Mass action in Ireland in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s comes across vividly in Lelia Doolan’s Documentary “Bernadette – Notes on a Political Journey” which is screened on the Irish Language Channel TG 4 on Monday January 30

http://www.tg4.ie/tv-listings/tv-listings.html?date=2012-01-30

Here are some reviews :

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/theticket/2011/1118/1224307739334.html

http://www.irishexaminer.com/features/dealing-with-devlin-179994.html

http://spooool.com/2011/11/bernadette-notes-on-a-political-journey/

If you have not already seen this documentary – don’t miss the TG4 Broadcast.

If you have seen it – watch it again!

Bernadette Devlin, A Fearless Socialist

John Meehan January 28 2012