Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘British State (aka UK)’ Category

2021 Appalling Vistas – The 60th Anniversary of the British “Profumo Scandal” – a Secret Service Sting that went wrong, Irish Connections – Lord Denning and the Birmingham Six

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A Judge whitewashed the Jack Profumo Scandal in the early 1960’s on behalf of the British Ruling Class – that judge’s name was Lord Denning.

The Conservative government of Harold MacMillan needed a judge to whitewash the Profumo Scandal and selected the best man for the job, Lord Denning. In 1980 this judge’s track record made him the ideal man to keep innocent Irish political prisoners – the Birmingham Six – in jail.

Here is the infamous Denning Birmingham Six Appalling Vista statement. Denning, in 1980, rejected the still-incarcerated Birmingham Six’s civil claim against the police. Dismissing the case, he said:: “Just consider the course of events if their action were to proceed to trial… If the six men failed it would mean that much time and money and worry would have been expended by many people to no good purpose. If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous… That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, ‘It cannot be right that these actions should go any further’.”

https://www.legalcheek.com/2017/11/7-of-lord-dennings-most-controversial-comments/

Determined mass campaigning to free the Birmingham Six, Guildford 4 and other innocent Irish political prisoners took off in Dublin in the 1980’s. The beating heart of this network was the Co-ordinating Campaign on Miscarriages of Justice which met regularly in the Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square – a venue owned by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO). The campaign encouraged many independent initiatives. Highlighted here is a book which helped to make the Birmingham Six an international scandal, dragging the reputation of the British judiciary into the gutter. Tireless sub-editors Ralf Sotscheck and Jürgen Schneider worked closely with the political campaign alongside Oscar Gilligan.

A literary best-seller, Birmingham Six, An Appalling Vista

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Irish Police Boss Drew Harris and Two Unsolved Murder Cases – 1975 Miami Showband Massacre; 2007 Paul Quinn Murder

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The Masks of Garda Boss Drew Harris

If you knew nothing about Irish 6 County whataboutery you might think “Fair enough – Garda Boss Drew Harris is doing the decent thing”. Maybe there are better questions : What mask is the former Royal Ulster Constabulary / Police Service of Northern Ireland high-flier wearing? Is he a “fox in charge of the hen-house”? Or, should we trust a “warm and friendly” chap “committed to justice”?

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has visited the barn in Co Monaghan where Paul Quinn was battered to death by the IRA, and has pledged to help bring his killers to justice.

But, when you know about Harris’s obstructive behaviour towards survivors of the 1975 Miami Showband massacre, you correctly suspect the motives of a powerful state agent who shields British State killers.

Garda boss Drew Harris and his legacy – Stephen Travers, Miami Showband, Aftermath of a loyalist murder spree.

Miami Showband Massacre survivor Stephen Travers also criticised Mr Drew Harris’s appointment, describing it as “putting the fox in charge of the hen house”.

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Rayner Lysaght has passed away – Limerick Soviet Historian, a parent of modern Irish Trotskyism

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Rayner Lysaght; January 30 1941 – July 2 2021

Most readers of this site probably know the sad news that Rayner Lysaght passed away on Friday July 2 2021. He was born in Llanishen, Cardiff, Wales, on January 30 1941.

Here is a link to the death notice :

https://rip.ie/death-notice/rayner-daniel-o-connor-lysaght-killester-dublin/463010

People can add condolences, if they wish.

A wide range of people from the left and the workers’ movement have written generous personal tributes. A number of them are here https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2021/07/02/d-r-oconnor-lysaght/

People in Dublin may wish to join friends and comrades lining the route holding banners and tributes aloft. I will be bringing a Starry Plough and Fourth International banner. People might like to assist.

Rayner Lysaght was a long-standing supporter of the Fourth International, a founder-member of its Irish Section – the Revolutionary Marxist Group, in 1971 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Marxist_Group_(Ireland)?wprov=sfti1

The cremation ceremony starts at 2.00pm, so try to get to Glasnevin Cemetery at least 15 minutes before that time.

Anne Conway reports on Rayner’s life and death.

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RTÉ, Censorship, and Irish Unity – Kieran Allen demolishes identitarian gibberish promoted by the Dublin Establishment

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In a recent Tomás Ó Flatharta Blog post – RTÉ Broadcaster Claire Byrne Censors Joe Brolly, who criticised the reactionary politics of DUP Westminster MP Gregory Campbell – https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/03/22/rte-broadcaster-claire-byrne-censors-joe-brolly-who-criticised-the-reactionary-politics-of-dup-westminster-mp-gregory-campbell/ “Identitarian Gibberish” is targeted. This is part of a “distinct agenda” promoted by the management of the Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ. The inevitable result is censorship of people promoting a vision of post-partition Ireland which can destroy the “carnival of reaction” created by the 1922 Treaty ending the heroic 1919-21 War of Independence. Writing in “Rebel News” the author and activist Kieran Allen adds extremely useful context. His article is reproduced in full here.

When RTÉ puts on a special programme about a united Ireland, you know that big changes are underway. The partition of Ireland is now under question. RTÉ, however, has a distinct agenda and that was exemplified in one dramatic incident. http://www.rebelnews.ie/2021/03/23/rte-censorship-irish-unity/?fbclid=IwAR1vMTLrz5rsPP2awNgaLDDN1Qycb1Z1PtfpcNbHUgUOgB48vKgrvyBvcIY

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Roy Greenslade – Destroyed Communities and a powerful man who said “sorry”

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Facts, stubborn things, are the friends of good journalists.

Smears, slippery things, are the friends of anti-journalists.

Anti-Journalism

Roy Greenslade, then editor of Robert Maxwell’s Daily Mirror, ran a smear campaign against Arthur Scargill, leader of the British Miners’ Union (the NUM) in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Ten years later Mr Greenslade said sorry. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Roy_Greenslade

The unimpressed film-maker Ken Loach wrote a caustic letter to the British Guardian on May 31 2002.

Dear Roy Greenslade, it was good to read your apology about the Arthur Scargill story (Sorry, Arthur, Media, May 27). I wonder if you remember our film for Dispatches, which exposed those lies in, I think, 1991. It seems a bit late to come clean now.

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Ernie Tate’s “Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s”

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Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s, Volume One, Canada 1955-1965By Ernie Tate268 pages. Resistance Books. $15.00 Revolutionary Activism in …

Ernie Tate’s “Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s”

Ernest (Ernie) Tate was born in 1934 in the Shankill Road, heart of Protestant Belfast. In 1955 at the age of 21 he migrated to Canada and within a year had become a member of the Canadian Trotskyist organisation, the Socialist Educational League.

Louis Proyect writes a wonderful tribute to Tate, one of the founders of the British International Marxist Group and the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in the 1960s, who has died from cancer at the age of 86 at his home in Toronto. He played a vital role in a campaign that would re-shape the British far left.

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We need travel bans in Ireland; We need travel bans between Ireland and Great Britain – ZeroCoVid Ireland is the way forward

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Decisions made by the Dublin Belfast and London governments threaten the lives and health of everybody living in Ireland. Solutions exist.

On December 21 Claire Byrne, RTÉ Radio 1 journalist, asked the right question : do we need a travel ban in and out of Northern Ireland, a CoVid-19 hot-spot? Do we need to seal the border? Is this proposed measure any different, operationally, from a Kildare travel ban some weeks ago? This was an internal 26 County state ban – and it worked. The virus in the north currently runs at four times the rate of the 26 Counties.

“The NI Executive has voted against imposing a travel ban from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.

In a late-night vote, Sinn Féin and the SDLP backed the move but Alliance, the DUP and Ulster Unionists voted against.

The executive later unanimously backed plans to issue new guidance against all but essential travel between Northern Ireland, GB and the Irish Republic.” https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-55406075

Message to Sinn Féin and the SDLP – the Stormont Government has voted for mass murder.

Do the honourable thing – resign from the coalition government, bring down Stormont.

Shame on the DUP, Alliance Party and UUP. A public backlash is developing rapidly – Already Alliance Party representatives, such as the North Down Westminster MP Stephen Farry, are publicly trying to backtrack.

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann votes against Great Britain travel ban – Mass Murder via Belfast Airport and the Larne-Stranraer Ferry

On December 21 Claire Byrne, RTÉ Radio 1 journalist, asked the right question : do we need a travel ban in and out of Northern Ireland, a CoVid-19 hot-spot? Do we need to seal the border? Is this proposed measure any different, operationally, from a Kildare travel ban some weeks ago? This was an internal 26 County state ban – and it worked. The virus in the north currently runs at four times the rate of the 26 Counties. https://www.rte.ie/radio1/today-with-claire-byrne/

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“The Royal Navy will only be deployed to assist with fisheries protection and enforcement activities if requested to do so by the Northern Ireland Executive” – Political Dynamite in Laps of Sinn Féin Stormont Ministers

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Will the Stormont Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill authorize the British Navy to attack Irish and EU Fishery Vessels after Brexit on January 1 2021? Far-fetched? Hypothetical? Scare-mongering? Think again, dear reader.

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) “told the Belfast Telegraph that gunships will only be deployed around Northern Ireland if requested to do so.”

British Royal Navy gunships cannot patrol Northern Irish waters without Stormont permission

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/brexit/stormont-can-request-royal-navy-to-protect-fishing-waters-39859236.html?fbclid=IwAR1m25RBgxqvVQ162DA4pTj8KxIumOQ__jLsJHQVLx3ig7AZHwq_AwNLDdI

“The Royal Navy will only be deployed to assist with fisheries protection and enforcement activities if requested to do so by the Northern Ireland Executive as this is a devolved matter,” stated an MoD spokesperson.

Here’s that political dynamite question again. A simple answer is needed.

Will the Stormont Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill authorize the British Navy to attack Irish and EU Fishery Vessels after Brexit on January 1 2021?

Let’s demand a categorical answer : NO!

Update : the position in Scotland and Wales :

The Scottish government has ruled out any participation in UK ‘sabre rattling’ over fisheries. See related post: https://www.celticleague.net/news/scottish-government-distances-itself-from-use-of-force-over-fishing/. The Stormont government needs to follow the excellent Scottish example.

The Welsh devolved government is also responsible for UK fisheries policy – hopefully it will follow the excellent Scottish example and rule out deployment of the Royal Navy after January 1 2021. https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2019-01/180717atisn12396doc062.pdf

“Michelle O’Neill says No to Arlene Foster” – a refreshing thought

Say No to Royal Navy attacks on Fishermen and Fisherwomen in Stormont Waters

Charlie McConalogue (Fianna Fáil), the Dublin Government’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is anxious. The Donegal TD hopes the problem will go away, urging “the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier to ensure that UK access to the single market is conditional on continued access share for EU fleets to British waters.” https://www.rte.ie/news/brexit/2020/1215/1184623-fisheries-brexit/

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Scottish Salmon farmers tell Boris Johnson to seal Brexit deal

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Scottish Salmon farmers tell Boris Johnson to seal Brexit deal

This Financial Times report neatly summarizes a Scottish Salmon Fishing Catastrophe created by Boris Johnson’s Brexit.

Scottish industry group says PM needs to decide whether he is on the side of business or politics

Mure Dickie, Edinburgh, December 15 2020

Mr Scott told the Financial Times that even with a deal fish farmers faced greater difficulties because of increased bureaucracy in getting shipments to the EU, which accounted for more than 64 per cent of the UK’s £250m salmon exports in the year to October.

Boris Johnson “needs to get his act together” and seal a trade deal with the EU to prevent major disruption to sales of farmed salmon, the industry group for the UK’s biggest food export said on Monday.

The comments from Tavish Scott, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, were the sector’s strongest intervention yet on Brexit and reflect rapidly deepening concern about the consequences of a no-deal end to the transition period on December 31.

Mr Scott told the Financial Times that even with a deal fish farmers faced greater difficulties because of increased bureaucracy in getting shipments to the EU, which accounted for more than 64 per cent of the UK’s £250m salmon exports in the year to October.

“Boris Johnson needs to get his act together . . . He’s got to decide what side he is on: is he on the side of business or is he on the side of politics?” Mr Scott said of the UK prime minister. “A deal is really important because the alternative is disruption to trade lasting, I think, not just weeks, but potentially a long, long time.”

The UK and Brussels on Sunday extended trade talks into this week but Downing Street said on Monday that a no-deal outcome was still the most likely.

Scottish farmed salmon was the UK’s largest food export in 2019, worth a record £618m, and the sector’s reliance on the EU market has increased this year because of a slump in sales to more distant markets, caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Scott, a former Scottish transport minister and Liberal Democrat member of the parliament in Edinburgh, welcomed UK government plans to prioritise shipments of time-sensitive seafood exports across the English Channel. But he said such plans were unlikely to be enough to shield the salmon sector and wider UK economy in the event of a no-deal end to the transition period.

The boxer Mike Tyson had once said that pre-fight plans rarely survived a punch in the face, Mr Scott said, adding: “I think we will get hit in the face.”

Without a trade deal, exports of chilled whole salmon would be subject to EU tariffs of 2 per cent and those of smoked salmon to 13 per cent. But Mr Scott said a bigger worry was the potential for delays in getting fish across the Channel to EU customers.

“The really significant danger is at the pinch point that is the Channel,” he said. “With a no-deal Brexit that blockage would be appreciably worse than if there is a deal.” Freshness is a major determinant of price for premium fish and any delay to that schedule could have a dramatic impact on the value of salmon to EU customers. The Increased paperwork and tighter customs and health checks could be compounded by the potential for action by French fishermen who would lose access to UK fishing grounds.

“The really significant danger is at the pinch point that is the Channel,” he said. “With a no-deal Brexit that blockage would be appreciably worse than if there is a deal.” Freshness is a major determinant of price for premium fish and any delay to that schedule could have a dramatic impact on the value of salmon to EU customers. The Increased paperwork and tighter customs and health checks could be compounded by the potential for action by French fishermen who would lose access to UK fishing grounds.

“If there is no deal, I think it would be fair to assume that French fishermen are not going to be very happy about life,” Mr Scott said. “And French fishermen’s approach to these things may be fairly militant.”

Asked about the salmon sector’s concerns, the UK government said: “Leaving the EU means we can take advantage of the growing global demand for great British produce.”

Asked about the salmon sector’s concerns, the UK government said: “Leaving the EU means we can take advantage of the growing global demand for great British produce.”

The government was intensifying public campaigns to let businesses know “exactly what to expect”, it said.

You could not make this up! Brexit is creating havoc, undermining the British State’s grip on Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The British Labour Party leadership flounders.

What’s happening? “Britain will do a Brexit Deal on Europe’s Terms” V Boris Johnson’s gunboats will put Johnny Foreigner in his place

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Britain will do a Brexit deal on Europe’s terms, Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, December 15 2020

A correspondent, Gregor Benton, asks : “War at sea? Johnson should think twice about what he pretends to wish for”.

Johnny Foreigner is not frightened.

Mr Johnson insists that the UK and the EU are “sovereign equals” but, as long as the EU maintains its unity, they are not equals in terms of power. And that is what has mattered in these negotiations. It is why Britain has made a series of painful concessions over the past four years – most notably by agreeing a separate status for Northern Ireland, which will see customs checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea, effectively dividing the United Kingdom

Gideon Rachman, Financial Times (See Above)

A few questions : If the British Navy attacks French Fishery Vessels 🚢 in the seas of Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 what will Admiral Macron do? Turn the other cheek? Grin and Bear It? Impose punitive tariffs on Scottish Fish 🐠 intended for tummies in France 🇫🇷? 80 per cent of fish 🎣 caught in seas “owned” by the British State currently are exported to the European Union, I am informed. The fish companies will quickly have warehouses full of unprofitable food. The Brexiteer capitalists could, we guess, dump the fish after a few months into the gullets of starving Brits for free. Is this the “Oven-Ready Brexit” promised by Chef Boris?

Boris Johnson’s Brexiteers are like cornered rats – so far they are throwing shapes at the EU crafty cats, Ursula of Germany and Michel of France. If Boris is only a play-acting jingo admiral, more passengers on board the doomed tory Titanic will jump ship. Warning signs are already flashing – Brexit is rejected by large majorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland. But what if desperate gambler Boris goes for broke, and attempts a repeat of something like his hero Margaret Thatcher’s Falkland Islands adventure? That’s unlikely, but good strategists plan for possible futures, including the improbable ones.

What should the left in Ireland and Britain say and do? It is a no-brainer :

“”I can’t imagine any Brexit deal emerging that will protect the jobs and livelihoods of my constituents, that will protect our rights and the environment. I believe Labour should have nothing to do with this Tory deal and vote against it”. British Labour MP John McDonnell.

https://mobile.twitter.com/another_europe/status/1337775362353328129?ref_url=file%3A%2F%2F%2Fvar%2Fcontainers%2Fbundle%2Fapplication%2F6309570d-0cdf-4c60-93eb-32b35d92e01e%2Fwordpress.app%2Fwordpressshared.bundle%2F&fbclid=IwAR3Vwa0KgN6NvqAON6yqsQ2d1xDX74kXEFdDDErp6UrGKD_LNm42WVu7Ehc

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