Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for Greenflag

Moderate Irish nationalist . Humanist , atheist , centre left politically but no ideologue . Despite present crisis favours Euro longer term as in best interest of all. Not anti British or anti American but definitely anti trickle down economics and anti the ruinous Afghan and Iraqi wars . Presently trying to look beyond the anarchic capitalism of the present to a better future. Fears that what we call 'democracy' has now become an oligarchy of ruling international financial interests who have the world's elected leaders at their beck and call. Neither for or against a UI but against any violence used by those to achieve or prevent it . Favours closer and better relations with UK in education , defence and health and practical cross border cooperation with NI.

Latest comments from Greenflag (see all)

Greenflag has commented 4,220 times (134 in the last month).

  1. Comment on 1916 Rising and how it inspired me 78 years later.
    on 21 April 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Comrade Stalin ,

    ‘Looked at from a modern perspective, the leaders of the Rising in 1916 were unelected, had no mandate and no support. ”

    True . Neither were the leaders in 1798 nor indeed any ‘rebels ‘ in Irish history ‘ either before or after .Nor for that matter were the UVF leaders who imported arms from Britain’s enemy .

    ‘ Patrick Pearse was a madman whose views about spilling blood, religion and war may, in the modern day context, find expression in videos produced by Al Quaida.’

    A poor choice of words CS and one which takes away from any of your post’s credibility . Instead of marching off to certain death like the millions of cannon fodder in the various Imperial Armies -he instead chose to fight in Dublin. Have a look at Simon Schama’s History of Britain as he relates how at the onset of war the unknowing millions could’nt wait to list .

    “It is claimed that the leaders of the Rising knew that they would lose and knew that the British would execute them which would lead to a public backlash; but I doubt this. ”

    The British Empire was the world’s superpower of the time ruling over one quarter of the globe and it’s peoples . I’m sure that the leaders knew that they would face execution but there was no way they could know of a public backlash . In time of war the British could do nothing else but what they did .

    “The mandate for the Home Rule Party showed that people put their faith in using parliamentary democracy to secure their future.”

    By 1916 anybody who had a brain knew that the British had promised both sides what they wanted -the problem being that both promises were incompatible with each other . Later history showed which promise was upheld and which was’nt .

    ‘ It is no more than a matter of academic interest at this point as to whether or not the war of independence would have occurred had the British stuck to criminal procedure, with no death sentence, for those who organized the Rising.”

    You mean treat the 1916 leaders as common criminals in the middle of a World War ?

    The later War of Independence post 1918 was lost by Britain not because of military force or the Black & Tans . It was lost simply due to the fact that the vast majority of the population boycotted the British Administration and it’s officials and set up an alternative administration to rule the country .

    Somebody above mentioned that Home Rule would have made Ireland a better and less divided country .- Ireland would have been just another Wales ? We can never know. . But it’s a reasonable scenario to envision that a Home Rule Ireland would not have been ‘neutral ‘ in WW2 and that many thousands more lives would have been lost as Dublin, Cork and east coast ports would have been bombed and the west coast blockaded by submarines .

    Belfast was bombed twice and over a thousand people were killed . A non neutral Ireland would have seen Belfast as well as Dublin bombed multiple times by the Luftwaffe with probably tens of thousands killed in both cities if not more .

    The 1916 Rising may have been a botched rebellion for all kinds of reasons and certainly a case can be made that Ireland today might be a different country if it had not been for 1916 .

    And it might- although I for one can’t imagine how it might be . Indeed I might not be here at all if the Luftwaffe had raised Dublin to the ground.

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  2. Comment on Villiers: What Stormont needs is the revitalising influence of an opposition…
    on 20 April 2014 at 3:57 pm

    The thread has moved on but to answer your questions above briefly

    ‘So what can we all actually do about it?’

    Make sure that everybody has access and that the web does not become just a mouthpiece for corporate interests .There are Governments notably China and some in the Middle East who fear unrestricted access by their citizens for fear of losing their power/credibility.

    I haven’t come across Eoghan Paor’s fantasy – It sounds more like a nightmare ;)

    “I just cannot see how we can, old Stalinist Style, wrest the Global Economy from the “evil empire” and run it for the people! ”

    If you mean by ‘we ‘ Ireland or indeed the UK or any other country we can by ourselves do nothing . While the Global economy is here to stay that does not mean that the global financial sector as it is must stay . The current state of global financial dysfunction and imbalance did not come about overnight . It took 25 years some might say since the mid 1970′s to get to this point . Along the way it was facilitated by legislatures in particular the USA Congress in enacting laws and repealing others which enabled the eventual ‘worldwide ‘ looting to take place .

    To be brief the big ‘banks ‘ need to be broken up and their activities restricted to banking . This needs to happen most of all in the USA and UK but also among the G8 and G20 countries and the rest of the world . Our politicians need to be made aware by the people -that if they continue to abnegate their responsibilties in regard to doing whats right for the people who elected them then they must’nt be surprised when some day the people will perforce go outside ‘politics’ to resolve the situation and that could lead anywhere -even to a place none of us want ?

    In the bigger picture we may look back at the 1945 -1975 period as a kind of heyday for western democracy with increasing living standards -greater freedoms and civil rights for people everywhere in the West . The 1975 – 1999 period can be seen as a retrenchment of conservatism and an ideological conversion to a ‘Market Uber Alles ‘ approach to politics by the neo con right and by centre left leadership in some major western countries .

    In 2007/2008 the ‘ideological ‘ conversion coupled with the high speed internet economy and the creation of various opaque financial tools and algorithmic financial speculation brought the world economy to a near death experience from which it has now barely recovered. and it ‘s not inconceivable that another ‘meltdown ‘ could be engineered

    So it’s looking like permanent ‘limbo ‘ for our elected politicians in which those who can bend the lowest to assuage the unfettered global financial corporate interests the most will get to hold on to their political careers .

    Unless of course the ‘people ‘ say enough is enough

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  3. Comment on Was Ireland fatally wounded in 1916?
    on 20 April 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    Yes we’ll never know .

    ‘Here’ being a partitioned Ireland a thing that nationalists hate and some will hate even more as they commemorate the men who helped to make partition a reality.’

    That’s not a ‘here ‘ that I would recognise . Hate’s not a word I would use to describe the attitude of most people towards ‘partition.. I would have said some nationalists and some republicans both North and South find ‘partition ‘ objectionable to the point of non recognition if only in principle or based on political principle . History moves on and any ‘ hatred ‘ in the past has been replaced with an attitude that sees ‘partition ‘ as simply not being viable politically at some future point in time .

    The vast majority have accepted it albeit unwillingly in the face of practical circumstance . This acceptance was reenforced with the GFA being overwhelmingly accepted by 90% of the electorate in the Republic and 70% in Northern Ireland .

    I would’nt expect 1916 Commemorations to have any major effect on how the vast majority of people from nationalist and republican backgrounds view either the Easter Rising leaders and their place in Irish history or the current political accommodation such that it is in Northern Ireland .

    On the other side of 2016 the same problems will be faced by the NI Assembly that they face today . The Republic knows it’s political future is certain – Northern Ireland knows it’s political future is uncertain .

    And it’s been like that for half a century more or less and it may well be like that for another half a century ? I don’t believe it will but that’s another story.

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  4. Comment on Was Ireland fatally wounded in 1916?
    on 19 April 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    ‘If there was ANY chance that Home Rule might have been granted after the war it was then burned down with the GPO.”

    Any ? I’d have said three chances -slim and fat and none :(

    Let not forget that the 1912 anti Home Rule Convention and the UVF’s illegal importation of weapons from the Kaiser’s Germany did nothing to discourage the 1916 leaders .

    But for the sake of wishful thinkers on all sides who might believe that Britain would have delivered Home Rule as legislated what would Ireland be like today ?

    Granted Northern Ireland might have avoided it’s several bouts of troubles and granted sectarian tensions might have dissipated to a state of non political importance .

    But economically would all of Ireland be better or worse than what it is today or would the whole island today be just another Northern Ireland writ large with it’s 70% public sector dependence and all the policy limitations that would impose on any government anywhere ?

    So rather than say the 1916 Rising fatally wounded the nation it can be argued that instead it made the nation or at least helped to establish a base from which modern Ireland in all it’s variety and cultural and economic confidence might not have emerged had we been allowed to settle for Home Rule .

    Thanks could be due of course in retro to the UVF and Unionists for ensuring that a Home Rule settlement was never implemented by HMG.

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  5. Comment on Was Ireland fatally wounded in 1916?
    on 19 April 2014 at 4:21 pm

    “Was Ireland fatally wounded in 1916?”

    Wounded yes and there would be more wounds to come but fatally no -quite the opposite .

    ‘ Whether one considers Ireland’s soon-to-follow War of Independence, its amputation, the entrenchment of ancient sectarian divides and suspicions, its civil war, the creation of a paranoid and repressive Orange State, and the disastrous economic policies that kept the newly Free State free of prosperity ”

    Can’t argue with the above summary . Professor Joe Lee in his ‘Ireland 1912-1969′ takes apart both the Dublin and Stormont governments for their economic policy failures during the 1920-1960 period. Lee berates both administrations for falling behind the rest of ‘small European democracies in progressive economic policies and economic growth rates . The relevant chapter is worth a read imo.

    ‘After 1916, far from a united and liberated nation, Ireland spent most of the last century collapsed in on itself.’

    Yes and no . I would agree that up to the mid 1960′s that would apply to the whole island .But after the Anglo Irish Free Trade Agreement in 1966 and EU entry in 1974 the Republic started moving out into the wider world whereas Northern Ireland retreated into it’s sectarian cul de sac from which it is now only beginning to emerge and even that is problematical at this juncture .

    “Every July 4th Americans celebrate their independence. ‘

    Fine and it’s still a plus for the wider world that the USA can do so but there are many Americans in 2014 who may have serious doubts on how ‘independent ‘ is the USA ?
    With the dollar’s value utterly dependent on the investment decisions of Chinese buyers of Treasury securities and with the USA dependent on Russian rockets to take American astronauts to the ISS ?

    Meanwhile closer to Wall St -Americas largest banks continue to make hay using low interest rates via the bail out policies to make even more billions while middle America outside the Washington is squeezed and the economic recovery is delayed by virtue of the reluctance of 60% of Americans to spend what they don’t earn .


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  6. Comment on Villiers: What Stormont needs is the revitalising influence of an opposition…
    on 19 April 2014 at 1:29 pm

    ” might just bring a smidgen of accountability up there on the hill. ”

    I suppose a smidgen is greater than nought . For all Ms Villiers and her Government’s desire it seems more than a bridge too far to envision a Stormont with an opposition that would /could have the votes to topple the incumbents never mind execute a repeat of FF’s near political extinction in the Republic .

    ‘ But that would only work if government was the senior partner over finance (ie: if Stormont could really take on International Banking and masterfully control them’

    If the UK can’t /won’t for it’s future economic prosperity is bound up with the oligarchic international banksters in the City of London and a 100 plus off shore tax havens worldwide , and Dublin can’t but default to Berlin /Brussels , and the USA could/might / but won’t , then Stormont will keep it’s mouth wide shut .

    As for smelling the coffee . The problem is’ nt so much ‘controlling ‘ them it’s fearing these global financial giants who are the equivalent of latter day robber barons except they operate on a global basis . A Government in London or Vienna or Dublin or even in Washington are trying to deal with a 50 headed Cerberus that can be wherever it wants , whenever it wants and has the resources to persuade /bribe /cajole any number of governments it wants around the globe .

    The ‘internet ‘ was supposed to be a tool which would enhance democracy and transparency around the globe and it can be seen to have had some effect in that regard .

    But it’s a tool which can be used for both -i.e greater democracy and less democracy . It’s been the major technological factor in the ability of the global financial sector to bring what used to be western democracy under it’s ‘control ‘ . In this it has been aided and abetted by unknowing and ignorant politicians as well as the bought ones and by the new algorithmic financial instruments which take all the guessing out of speculation and replace it with a formulaic certainty which will continue and expedite the trend whereby rule by an oligarchic plutocracy /kleptocracy will be enhanced in whatever’s left of western democracies .

    It’s time the disappearinng middle classes in the west looked up from smelling their coffees and contemplated what diminished economic futures will be in store for their children and grandchildren once the ‘new ‘ order is complete .

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  7. Comment on Villiers: What Stormont needs is the revitalising influence of an opposition…
    on 19 April 2014 at 12:14 pm


    ‘This is very small scale stuff!’

    True enough. Cerberus is’nt . It comes from an environment where the small fry go to jail and the big sharks remain untouchable . You in NI may be familar with that phenomenon in your recent history in the political field .

    Anywhere heres the numbers (multivariate analysis ) on the new ? oligarchic plutocracy across the pond courtesy of the BBC

    Could be worth a read for it’s on it’s way to this part of the world -assuming for a moment that it’s not already embedded as they say .

    One man one vote indeed in theory . In practice on the important policy areas which affect people’s lives and living standard issues -95% of the votes don’t count .

    David Crookes point above was spot on apart from one omission

    ‘Don’t rock the boat. Don’t rock the farmers. Don’t rock the paramilitaries. And if speculators lose their money,, get the taxpayer to bail them out.

    The ‘banksters ‘ did’nt lose THEIR money . They lost 40% of the world’s wealth on an oligarchic binge which came very close to destroying the world economy .

    There are those who say it’s all over now and it can’t happen again and the necessary reforms have been made .

    Sad news – they haven’t – the ‘felonious politician ‘ category of aberrant humanity is not restricted to NI . At least in one USA State two governors of the same state were incarcerated . Now that every Congressman in the USA is a millionaire there should be less need for eh ‘theft ‘ .

    It is said that in India the people almost always continue to elect the incumbent (of whatever party ) on the grounds that he has probably earned /stolen enough already of the taxpayers monies and thus will be a less expensive ‘choice ‘ than a new comer .

    As always caveat emptor .


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  8. Comment on Villiers: What Stormont needs is the revitalising influence of an opposition…
    on 18 April 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Nevin ,

    ‘The specialists will probably want to do the best they can for their clients ‘

    You might think that Nevin .Its certainly the impression various specialists will convey .

    You may have heard of the world wide economic and financial sector collapse in 2008 a disaster caused by an epidemic of criminal fraud that wiped out some 40% of the world’s wealth in a year with the then ‘specialists ‘ doing everything they could to screw (financially ) their clients a.k.a the suckers . The bad news is they got away with it the heist -the specialists I mean :(

    Thats how Cerberus got to buy one third of the value of NI commercial property sector for a song .

    None of the eh ‘specialists ‘ i.e the white collar criminal gangsters have spent a day in jail . Shame on the Obama administration -the formerly too big too fail banks now bigger than ever have metamorphised into too big to jail .

    The harsh truth is ALL our politicians matter not the country or party are running scared of the banksters -The oligarchy is a law unto itself .No wonder ‘justice ‘ and the politicians get as little respect as they do . They deserve it and our journalists too .

    Meanwhile the mega agricultural corporations American and Chinese and others continue to buy vast tracts of land in Africa and South America and Asia so as to further control the food supply to the billions of battery fed people/chickens around the globe . :(

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  9. Comment on Independent unionist ‘gentleman’ MLA David McClarty dies
    on 18 April 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Sad news for his family and the local community by all accounts .Northern Ireland could do with a lot more politicians like Mr McClarty . I don’t recall him ever being a subject of controversy here on slugger which is perhaps an indication of his all round decency .


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  10. Comment on Belfast Telegraph’s Are you voting for the wrong party poll, and other political anomalies?
    on 18 April 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Grannie Trixie ,

    Lucky you -I picked a definite loser .

    NI Conservative 93% :( Am I glad I won’t have a vote :)

    Lies , anomalies , statistics and damned polls ? or perhaps the poll had built in ‘errors ‘ . ?

    Go to comment

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