Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Comment Archives for Rory Carr

Silver haired, silver tongued boulevardier who, despite an outspoken passion for the Gunners, has survived long years living in Tottenham only by dint of his great personal charm. Heroes from history: Robert Emmet; Tom Paine;Crazy Horse;Pancho Villa; Joe Hill; Mother Jones; Stalin;Vo Nguyen Giap Literary favourites:Cervantes; Voltaire; JM Synge; Arthur Miller; Frank Norris;Ambrose Bierce; F Scott Fitzgerald; Philip Roth; Cormac McCarthy: Frank O'Connor; Donald Westlake;Nikos Kazantzakis; James Lee Burke; George Pelicanos; John Sandford etc. etc. Cinema: John Ford; John Ford and John Ford Music: Kristofferson; George Jones; Willie;Sinatra; Ella;Hot Jazz Club; Ry Cooder; Robeson.
  1. Comment on Alliance is diversity in action by Lauren Mulvenny
    on 30 March 2014 at 12:20 pm

    “…I don’t really think Alliance are any less boring than the SDLP.”

    Quite right, Charles. It is a scientifically proven fact that one is equally as boring as the other.

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  2. Comment on Quote of the Day…
    on 28 March 2014 at 9:18 pm

    In response to Dixie Elliot’s wriggling exercise above that is a lesson in how to avoid answering a difficult question I would draw attention to this article from the Newsletter of 11 November 2013 which reports that a Sunday newspaper had reported that Mrs McConville’s son, Jim had been given the name of his his mother’s killer.

    ‘“I was recently approached by grassroots republicans who were sympathetic to the McConville family,” Jean McConville’s son Jim said yesterday in a Sunday paper.’

    The man named was the late Patrick McGeown. ‘The paper claimed that McGeown was only 17 when he shot Mrs McConville in the back of the head…”‘ (My emphasis.)

    ‘Mr [Gerry] Kelly said McGeown started “barricade duty” at 13 and then joined the local unit of the IRA in the Beechmount area. He added that “at one point he held the most senior rank in the Belfast brigade of the IRA”.’

    ‘He [McGeown] was jailed in the Republic for explosives offences aged 14 and at 16 was interned before being imprisoned for a bombing attack.’ (My emphasis)

    ‘Another Sunday paper yesterday reported that the IRA member, then aged 16, who drove Mrs McConville away from her children has phoned her daughter Helen McKendry to apologise.’

    Now perhaps Dixie Elliot might wish to revise his assertion concerning the sensibilities of the IRA in using young men not yet in adulthood to carry out, not only dangerous, but also quite horrific orders. In that regard I do however accept that they were no different from, for example, the British Army.

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  3. Comment on Quote of the Day…
    on 28 March 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I note that Anthony McIntyre himself, in the course of that interview, admitted that he has also denied his membership of the IRA, denied it indeed in a court of law and this denial was rewarded with his dismissal on the charge of IRA membership. He now freely admits that at the time of that denial that he was, in fact, an active member of the IRA. I do hope that he has not now left himself open to charges of perjury. That would be most unfortunate and somewhat ironical if the PSNI sought to have the transcript of this interview handed over as evidence.

    The question that I should like put to McIntyre is this :

    Given that you have admitted your role as an active member of the IRA, would you tell us, please, what you would have done if you had been ordered by a superior officer to assist in the abduction, detention and transport of Jean McConville to her place of execution ? Would you have refused the order on grounds of conscience or would you have been an obedient soldier and carried out your orders by participating in her murder ?

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  4. Comment on Alliance is diversity in action by Lauren Mulvenny
    on 28 March 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Sam McAughtry – a kind heart indeed. May his soul rest in peace.

    I am delighted to hear of the celebration of the life of Sam Thompson. I was on the team of workers for Sam’s candidacy for NI Labour in the South Down constituency in the General Election of 1964 when he ran third to the successful Unionist candidate, Capt. LPS Orr and the Independent Republican, George Mussen beating the Liberal candidate, Hamilton Gooding into fourth place. (Beating a Liberal was victory enough for me. – I do not like Liberal). I was inspired to work on the team by Downpatrick playwright, Raymond Barry himself a local character and happy to be seen as ‘a bit of a Red’.

    Interestingly our election headquarters, in Downpatrick, was the vacated office of the defunct Co. Down Star newspaper which had a short life and which premises later served as the first office for the accountancy practice of MB McGrady who was later joined in the practice by his brother and future SDLP politician EK McGrady. And so the world turns.

    1964 ! Cripes, I was a slip of a lad of 19 years.

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  5. Comment on Alliance is diversity in action by Lauren Mulvenny
    on 27 March 2014 at 10:53 am

    …ah, but has she completed your questionaire on the desirability of Irish reunification, Fitzjameshorse ?

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  6. Comment on Alliance is diversity in action by Lauren Mulvenny
    on 27 March 2014 at 10:05 am

    A very cleverly constructed missive indeed. It does Ms McIlvenny proud and shows her talent at this sort of thing off to excellent effect.

    But then Paula Bradshaw steps in and makes a hames of the whole show.
    ““Unionists and nationalists have failed to deliver an open society, have failed to further press freedom and have made no in-roads when it comes to gender equality.

    Instead.” says Bradshaw, “ they [Unionists and Nationalists]have created a Northern Ireland that doesn’t allow gay men to donate blood and bone marrow and where some people will be barred from marrying the person they love and want to commit to purely on the basis of their gender.

    She entirely forgets, it seems, that it is the Republican political body in these parts that has been to the fore in championing equal rights for gays in the teeth of fierce opposition from her former political comrades and indeed glosses over the embarrassment of her Alliance Party leader, David Ford and two other Alliance MLA’s refusing to support in the Assembly a Sinn Féin motion, proposed by Bronwyn McGahan calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to legislate to allow for same sex marriage. If Bradshaw felt obliged to walk away from the Ulster Unionist Party because of its lack of commitment to progressive social policy then one might be forgiven for thinking that she surely must feel deeply embarrassed in her present association.

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  7. Comment on McGuinness’s Al Jazeera interview: Terrorism, conflict and a popular peace
    on 25 March 2014 at 10:22 am

    I have to say that I found myself squirming with acute embarrassment the longer McGuinnness went on. Was this the same man who so ably stood up to the likes of Paxman in the run-up to and during the peace negotiations ? Surely not. He seemed more focused on defending and justifying the persona of Martin McGuinness, Man of Peace, than of explaining the roots of the conflict and the tactical limitations placed upon an organisation engaged in guerilla warfare in a small, highly militarised theatre. That he allowed Charlie Wolfe to steal the mantra of ‘unintended collateral damage’ as the excuse for the untold thousands of deaths from US and allied bombings was quite unforgivable.

    When faced with the quietly reasoned yet deadly pointed intervention from Colin Parry, the response of the Deputy First Minister was of the order of, “It wasn’t me, sir, it was them other boys. I’m a good boy, sir. I was doing my homework at the time.”

    I have to say, Martin, bloody cringeworthy. The dissidents will have taken much heart from that performance and may indeed use the recording as a recruitment tool.

    I can imagine the likes of Dixie Elliot saying, “What did I tell ye, Rory ?” and I having no answer for him.

    Thank you, Martin, you have left at least one staunch supporter ‘eyeless in Ghaza’, yet stll shorn.

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  8. Comment on In modest praise of… Bob Crow, RIP
    on 12 March 2014 at 11:48 am

    “Good old fashioned Marxist materialism,” as Mick calls it, can not be reduced to successful wage negotiations by trade union leaders.

    Marx’s materialist philosophy differs from the rather crude materialism of the natural scientists who considered that feelings and ideas are sufficiently explained as results of chemical bodily processes, and “thought is to the brain what urine is to the kidneys.” His materialism rather is rooted in the very real conditions in which mankind strives to exist and develop.

    Marx described his own historical method very succinctly: “The way in which men produce their means of subsistence depends first of all on the nature of the actual means they find in existence and have to reproduce. This mode of production must not be considered simply as being the reproduction of the physical existence of the individuals. Rather, it is a definite form of activity of these individuals, a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their part. As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and with how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production.”

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  9. Comment on Ever been at a Taytoff? (Yep, well, seems we ‘nordies’ lost the very first away fixture)
    on 27 February 2014 at 11:35 am

    mmmm, White Bread, Kerrygold and Cheese n Onion…..the breakfast of champions…

    Regarding Kerrygold – before Christmas, after testing borderline diabetic, I lost 35lbs in under 8 weeks on a high fat/low carb diet + 1 day a week total fast (water & black or green tea only). Result – all signs for diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure etc. extremely healthy. My only disappointment was, although I had 3″ off my waist I wanted to see it reduce even more. I asked my GP what to do and he said, “Fight fat with fat.” Butter is best, he said, but it must be Kerrygold because only Kerrygold is made with milk from totally grass-fed cows (no grains). I should add that he is not Irish but Indian and that the advice is supported by good investigation.

    Check out “high fat/low carb” for yourselves. It has made such a benefit to my life.

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  10. Comment on Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines
    on 15 February 2014 at 8:26 pm

    The SDLP at leadership level have pointed out unequivocally that they thought the decision was wrong. In stark contrast to SF.” – Charles_Gould.

    It seems to have escaped Charles somehow that, not only do Sinn Féin not think that naming the playground after one of the hunger strikers was wrong, but rather that it was a most honourable action.

    The SDLP, on the other hand, voted for it despite having qualms, purely out of concern that, did they do otherwise, they might lose votes.

    Now who are the moral degenerates, Charles ?

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  11. Comment on Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.
    on 15 February 2014 at 8:15 pm

    The more I read of Charles_Gould’s contributions to any and all topics on this site, the more I am convinced that he can only but be the reincarnation of the real-life figure on whom Voltaire drew as the inspiration for his immortal character, Candide.

    If I may paraphrase from the master, “All is for the best in this best of all possible parties.”

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  12. Comment on Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.
    on 15 February 2014 at 2:34 pm

    p.s. In this particular case I think that the etymology of the term brouhaha – from French medieval theatre, “the cry of the devil disguised as clergy” is even more amusingly apt.

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  13. Comment on Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.
    on 15 February 2014 at 2:24 pm

    David McCann,

    That “bit of a brew ha ha ” is better known as a brouhaha.

    A “brouhaha is something that people think is really important that’s actually not important at all, like the brouhaha over some new celebrity gossip. Brouhaha seems like a big deal, but it’s a bunch of baloney.” –

    Which neatly fits this particular announcement.

    Shakespeare defined brouhaha well in the title of one of his comedies:

    Much Ado About Nothing.

    However, as for you hoping that, “ this standing out from the crowd malarky will catch on as we come closer to the election”, are we to expect Edward Poots to come out in favour of gay marriage, Jim Allister to demand funding for the Irish language and Alasdair McDonnell to…to… well, to say anything whatsoever really ?

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  14. Comment on Whatever you do, don’t stand out from the crowd.
    on 15 February 2014 at 11:57 am

    Their [SDLP's] sister party in Dublin is Labour and in London is Labour. The SDLP is the party for people with Labour values. Values that support the NHS. Values that protect workers rights. Values that support public services.” – Charles_Gould

    The Labour Party in Dublin is run by ship-jumping opportunists and any with labour (as opposed to Labour) values are hurriedly jumping ship and, as for Labour in London, God help us, a party purged of all socialists and all labour values, filled with greedy opportunists hell-bent on destroying workers’ rights and selling off the NHS to unscrupulous profiteers.

    Former Health Secretary, Alan Milburn’s career is a fine example of modern Labour Party values:

    Following his resignation as Secretary of State for Health (to spend, he declared, “more time with his family”), Milburn took a post for £30,000 a year as an advisor to Bridgepoint Capital, a venture capital firm heavily involved in financing private health-care firms moving into the NHS, including Alliance Medical, Match Group, Medica and the Robinia Care Group. He has been Member of Advisory Board of PepsiCo since April 2007.

    In 2002 Milburn introduced Foundation trusts new bodies – a halfway house between the public and private sectors for hospitals and primary care trusts. Between January 2005 and March 2009 an estimated 400-1,200 patients died as a result of poor care at Stafford hospital, a small district general hospital in Staffordshire. The Guardian reported on the hospital trust board’s goal to attain Foundation trust status as a reason that the care was so bad.

    You’re right , Charles, the SDLP are closely aligned with Labour in Dublin and Labour in London – they are not to be trusted.

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  15. Comment on Green ‘dismissal’: “There are no policy issues, because the people you are talking about remain in the party”
    on 14 February 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Son of Sam,

    Some may well call the structure of party discipline in Sinn Féin, “democratic centralism”, but really it is no different from other parties insofar as members are expected to support whichever policy has been adopted by the party. What otherwise would be the point of there being a party at all ?


    The term “strenuously oppose” is all my own and is indeed born from my own expectation more than anything. However, expectation does not, in this instance equate to optimism, I do not see what really can be done to thwart Osborne’s evil intent.

    I do like your quip about tapping into party funds – chance ‘d be a fine thing and all that.

    Perhaps some enterprising souls might take heart from the Northern Bank caper and pay a nocturnal visit to Threadneedle Street in the hope of securing funds from the Old Lady herself..

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  16. Comment on Believe it or not, the economic recession has been worse in the north than the south…
    on 14 February 2014 at 12:33 pm

    The reference to “Whitman’s rifle” in my above post alludes to the mass murderer, Charles Whitman who, on 1st August 1966, after killing his mother, climbed the clock tower of the University of Texas, Austin and from there shot and killed 14 people before being shot dead himself by a police officer.

    “Speck’s knife” refers to Richard Benjamin Speck, who systematically tortured, raped, and murdered eight student nurses from South Chicago Community Hospital on July 14, 1966.

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  17. Comment on Believe it or not, the economic recession has been worse in the north than the south…
    on 14 February 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Only yesterday while reading a fascinating (truly!) tome on the history of double-entry accounting* (and its apparent failure to divulge the weaknesses inherent in the asset accounting of RBS et al) I came across this excerpt from an address by Bobby Kennedy which is well worth pondering I do believe. It’s as though Kennedy were imbued with the spirit of Marxist social morality.
    *Double Entry – How the merchants of Venice created modern finance.
    by Jane Gleeson-White. Allen & Unwin 2012.

    “Robert F. Kennedy on what GNP means.

    “Below is a quote from Bobby Kennedy on what the Gross National Product means and more importantly what it does not mean. He would have a made a fine economist…

    Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product … if we should judge America by that – counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

    “Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

    Robert F. Kennedy Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968

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  18. Comment on Green ‘dismissal’: “There are no policy issues, because the people you are talking about remain in the party”
    on 14 February 2014 at 11:27 am

    I am sorry, Reader, but I cannot advise you what to expect in the campaign against Welfare Reform (aka: Screw The Needy) as, not only am I not a member of the campaign team, neither am I a member of Sinn Féin, nor indeed do I live in Ireland.

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  19. Comment on Green ‘dismissal’: “There are no policy issues, because the people you are talking about remain in the party”
    on 14 February 2014 at 5:39 am

    There may well be a difference on how a particular issue is addressed. Such differences while unacceptable for a political director would not in any way negate one’s membership. As debate at the Ard Fheis demonstrates their are many different views on policy – the action previously of overturning the leadership’s desire to abolish the senate being a case in point.

    Indeed there is not a party in all of Ireland (with the likely exception of one of the Trotskyist spin-offs) where their is keener informed debate at party conferences than Sinn Féin.

    This also holds true of party debate across these islands. Where once there was serious debate at the Labour Party conference and fierce (if meaningless) debate in the Liberal party, today we only have anodyne rah-rah patronising feelgood waffle which is, I suppose, a change from the downright physical repression of any dissent in the Blair/Brown era.

    The Tories do not have conferences in any meaningful sense – they have annual rallies and this is the tendency among all other parties across these islands – with the honourable exception of Sinn Féin where healthy debate still thrives and which is one reason why it is, by far, the most dynamic and most progressive party extant in the region.

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