Politics, Uncategorized

Don’t forget about the Bard

I can honestly say that I haven’t seen a more nightmarish scene being played out since New Labour chose the song by D:Ream ‘Things can only get better’ and implying the exact opposite throughout their 13 year tenure as the UK government.  Once again last night the now Conservative government helmed by Theresa May was voted down by a succession of ministers in Parliament holding the unanimous opinion that May’s Brexit deal is unfit for flight with the EU.  It could be said that Jeremy Corbyn was being lax on his ability to hold the government to account, but then he always was a stone laced in moss in these moments of political crises.

But Corbyn’s weaknesses aside throughout these constant debates that’ve been held in our Bipartisan Parliament a serious concern that’s being sorely underdressed here is the Irish back stop and the Good Friday agreement that could be at risk if things continue the way they are.  EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said early on Wednesday that the Irish backstop is “part and parcel” of the UK’s Brexit deal and is non-negotiable, something May needs to accept rather than stay stubborn with her approach and run the possibility of a hard border in Ireland, which is completely unacceptable if peace in Ireland is to still have a beating heart.

For me the relationship with the Good Friday agreement is more important than our connections with the European Union, but the front bench of the Conservatives seemed to have it 180 degrees where they care more about Barnier and Juncker who’re now refusing to negotiate any further and let our establishment squabble within itself.  We need to criticise the EU more, leave this corrupt institution and then let our European neighbours hold their own referendums, Italy would be next in my eyes.

The bard of Ireland ‘W B Yeats’ in one of his last penned poems, (and one of his most under-rated metres of romantic verse) named ‘Politics’ holds the lines

Yet here’s a travelled man that knows, what he talks about

And there’s a politician that has both read and thought

I think we can all be clear in thought that politicians spend more of their tax payers time reading than seeing.  Well it’s time they actually took their negotiating team to Brussels and saw the EU for what it really is, rather than just thinking what it might be because it suits our elite better for the benefit of future trade with the UK.






BDS: What say you UK?

Yesterday Ireland set out a second of its landmark making decisions by rule of the Dail, (Lower house of Parliament) which could potentially set political waves across the Irish sea and awashing our establishment to act ; a bill was passed that boycotts the sale of goods from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.  Under international laws and Palestinian rights advocates the West Bank settlements are considered illegal and the BDS movement, (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) which has been hailed as a new form of activism is being taken up by parliamentary standards as before it was primarily supported by academia and various party and union institutions.

The vote was passed receiving a 78 – 45 majority in favour of taking action against the illegal acts of the Israeli government that chronically and violently oppress the people of Palestine.  It has several more motions before it can be ruled into Irish Law but it’s expected by opposition parties that support this moral precedent to be without hindrance due to their largely broadened backing.  The BDS activism of past has been not without its criticism though, the author Norman Finkelstein in 2012 took to alienating his left wing readership when he spoke publicly that he believed the movement was inconsistent with international law.  The kind of language he used though was literal inflammatory hatred of BDS.  “I loathe the disingenuousness” he wrote venomously, “they don’t want Israel to exist, It’s a cult”.  The irony Finkelstein failed to pin here is this is the same caustic expression some Israeli settlers have about their Palestinian neighbours and simply dis-acknowledge their right to exist.

But whether you support those who condemn the Israeli government and support BDS or the people who publicly condone a two state solution with both sides able to co-exist in begrudging harmony, (as cultural sectarianism isn’t simply washed away by political progress) the problem with BDS is that it is the Israeli people who suffer the most as it mostly dampens their economy without cracking the authoritarian nature of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu,  whose universal goal is the wiping out of Palestine and its people.  For now though BDS appears the only language in activism that criticises openly the government of Israel and the 2000+ Palestinians killed, (and that’s just from 2000 to 2018).

And in the role of international cooperation this move by Irish parliament has the potential to apply pressure on all the right muscles within other democracies.  Hopefully the UK can sit up putting a cup to the Irish sea and hear more than just the waves, also the need for political acknowledgment at the bloodshed carried out on the Gaza strip.


All things can tempt me, but not the Church


In 1983 Ireland was given a referendum to vote on an amendment to already existing abortion laws imposed by the state which after a 67% majority led to a overwhelming victory for the pro-life movement and a further restriction of choice for women who fall pregnant, regardless of situation or reason.  Abortion was already illegal and had been since 1861 under the Catholic mandate which fundamentally read that a unborn fetus was recognized as a person but the motion meant that a prenatal organism was to be given the same rights as the yet to be mother.  The assembly of Ireland, (The Dáil Éireann ) voted 110 to 32 in favour of holding a referendum which can potentially abolish the archaic abortion law in Ireland, (called the 8th amendment) and give women the right to say NO. 

If the amendment is abolished then it would mean women can go through the procedure on their home soil rather than travel to other nations which they can currently do without fear of prosecution, but the latter is only due to the clauses that have been implemented over the years, not because of the kdness of the motion made thirty five years ago.

The piously outdated abortion laws in Ireland stands sharp to the wind when they are understood as human rights violations mandated by the state, motioned by the church and make any opportunity for life more important than the rights of any woman in the country.  The division between defence and repeal is fundamentally a grave appendage of the battle between what has been the open nerve of disunion in the country for centuries, Catholic vs Protestant.  The war of faith isn’t something I wish to go too deep into here, but do not disband the truth that it all ties back to which church you belong to.

There are some that believe the small clauses that have been indented on the amendment since 1983 are a laxing in opinion, slowly swaying public thought toward a successful ballot tomorrow.  But the lengths that activists are going to in championing the NO campaign are divulging another truth.  On the street outside Irish Parliament yesterday a man was pacing up and down with a sign around his neck which read ‘yes voters, you should have been aborted’.  In Donegal a No campaigner planted 17’000 small white crosses on a road in commemoration for every child that shall never be born in Ireland if the YES movement hails a victory.  It’s a number of extremes but it symbolises exactly what this means to those who thinks the country will lose it’s way if religious authority is undermined in any way.

The vote on repealing article 40.3.3 of the constitution tomorrow has the potential to be an historical monument for human rights but I don’t think this will be the cultural epoch of our time.  If we look at the last row of milestones in history they’ve been allowed to be codified into law not because of a tempering in the consensus but because landmark cases in small sections of the country.  In 2015 the supreme court of the United States ruled that same sex marriage must be hailed under the recognition question which was a result of the case Obergefell vs Hodges.  Even though pastors in various states have refused to marry couples of the same gender on religious grounds by law their human rights must be recognised, and now so must the freedoms of the Gaelic women.

And of course I do like the gleam supplied by surprises in all their forms.  A poll in 2016 by the market research agency Ipsos had a turnout of 67% wanting to repeal the amendment and one held in April of this year had the result at 63% in favour.  There are many that wish for the laws to be changed but only in specialist circumstances and others that would prefer the UK model where it is the right of the woman to abort if she so wishes at a time before it would become harmful to the child in utero.

I am hoping within the next 48 hours that the religion of sectarianism has a distinct milestone left at the door of St Patrick’s Cathedral and in the hands of Pope Francis when he visits Ireland in August and draw a line in the sand of today.  It won’t end the hoary feud between the Catholic church and human rights but for now the people of Ireland have an opportunity to give women in Ireland what they rightfully deserve, human rights and the right to be recognised as an individual in control of their own destiny.