Unshaken…

Went to see the Wind that Shook the Barley last night, ironically two days after receiving a DVD copy of my favorite Loach movie, Land and Freedom. Not brilliant. If, as some people have argued, Loach was playing around with Brecht’s alienation technique, it certainly worked on some of the audience. Two guys sitting near us talked incessantly the whole way up until they sneaked out an hour and half in and another guy was partially engrossed in a text conversation towards the end. Unlike the Spanish film (which draws considerbly from Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia) the narrative is weak to the extent it’s hard to believe that any of the characters have any human relation relation to one another – particularly the two brothers. The improvised technique produces genuine passion, but you get the feeling each character is in a slightly different film of their own (distinctly modern) imagining.

There was, on the whole, far too much emoting and not enough story telling.

There were some good bits. They usually coincided with the most uncertain parts of the plot: the Flying column commander pulling IRA men out of shock after having slaughtered twenty odd British soldiers and trying to get them to focus on their reasons for being there. And the priest berating the Irregulars from the pulpit probably had the best lines in the whole the film.

This film is essentially a specialist viewing for the film buff or the Loach fan who wants to have seen the complete catalogue.

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  • DK

    Mick,

    Are you saying that it might be more intersting to watch actual wind shaking actual barley?

  • offer it up

    Of course you are right, Mick. What would the judging panel for the Palme D’or know? 😉

    If you want to read a narrative that this was based upon have a look at Tom Barry’s ‘Guerilla Days in Ireland’.

  • martin

    and would you be a dummy tit yerself mick,

  • Garibaldy

    Land and Freedom Mick? Utter tripe – its politics juvenile at best. Although you are probably right that it was Loach’s best film (haven’t seen this one though. I refuse to pay large sums of money for more nonsense from Loach)

    On offer it up’s point about Guerilla Days in Ireland, are there any references in this film to the rosary, the people not being targeted because they were not of the faith of the majority etc, or does Loach ignore this type of behaviour?

  • Garibaldy

    I meant by the Catholic stuff the self-identity of many Volunteers in the area

  • So is this another of those “‘I am not telling the whole story, just the story of these people’ so I don’t have to mention that the story is more complex than evil occupiers and oppressed natives” cop-outs? I haven’t seen it, or read the book offerit refers to, so I don’t yet know.

    A serious question – In a world in which many people learn their history from films, to what extent should films that purport to show historical events (Titanic, Michael Collins, Schindler’s List, shakey Barley) play fair with the actual historical narritive? IS there an obligation on the film maker? Should they at least include DVD notes on what we changed for dramatic impact? Or what?

  • Garibaldy

    Paul,

    I think films are works of art, so there’s no need to be historically accurate. On the other hand, the distinction between a true story and inspired by real life is an important one. And one that has been enforced in the past, for In the Name of the Father for example. We have to rely on people’s ability to tell the difference between fact and fiction, which I think is usually higher than we fear.

  • But is there a distinction between film-as-art and film-as-history? After all, how many people will have gone and checked how accurate Braveheart was (not very)?

    And does it make any difference when the topic reflects deep present-day divisions?

    Would, for example, a revisionist film about the Nazi Holocaust, or a hagiographical work about Slobodan Milosevic and the Yugoslavian civil war, or a one-sided hatchet job on the Arab-Israeli conflict (whatever side it favoured) be OK because “it is only art”?

  • Keith M

    I saw the film and it left me completly cold. The story wasn’t very well told. I was lucky because I knew about this period of history, but if you didn’t you were sunk. The characters were very thinly drawn and the relationships undefined. It was far too obvious where the film’s sympathies lay; with the Irish separatists and subsequently with the “republican” side in the civil war.

    I wanted to to be outraged, but all I felt at the end was this was such a mediocre piece of cinema its impact would be non-existant.

    As for its winning the Palme D’or, all I can say is having previously awarded “Dancer In The Dark”, “Underground”, “Barton Fink” and “Faherheit 9/11”, four of the worst films I’ve ever sat through, TWTSTB isn’t exactly out of place.

    The weird thing is because the jury is small and made of different poeople every year, that when they get it right, the winner can be great ; e.g. “The Piano” (one of the greatest pieces of cinema ever made), “The Mission” and “The Pianist”.

  • Garibaldy

    Paul,

    I’m not sure about the concept of ‘OK’. Would I want to see a holocaust denying film? No. Would I think that people would take it as history who did see it – no. I think there’s enough stuff there to oppose it. I hated ‘Life is Beautiful’ – it made me sick. But I don’t think anyone thinks the camps were full of laughter.

    Lots of film is propaganda. But I still watch them as films, rather than for political content. Which I think is how people approach the like of Loach

  • Unfortunately I wonder whether he rather panders to the prejudices of a market segment. But perhaps I’m being too cynical to the, er, great artist?

  • Les Reid

    You’re right, Paul. Works of art which claim to have some relation to actual events have no immunity from being misleading, or selective, or propagandist. Why should writers, film-makers, etc, be exempt from the normal requirements not to tell lies and not to be selective and biased in reporting events?

    I thought it was deplorable, if not simply immoral, that Loach’s film tried to make a case for the anti-democratic aggression of the Die-Hards against everyone else who supported the 1921 Treaty. The whole film is loaded to give the Die-Hards an attractive image – almost, you might think, as a reply to Neil Jordan’s film, “Michael Collins”, which came down on the side of the Staters and condemned the Die-Hards as arrogant and unreasonable.

    The details of the film have already been discussed in earlier threads here. But the key point is the way that Loach tries to get round the awkward fact that both the Dail (in January 1922) and the general population (in the general elections afterwards) voted in favour of the Treaty. In reality, the Die-Hards refused to accept a democratic decision and turned on those who did not agree with them. Loach makes it look as if they had every right to do so. Or at least, he tries to. Gilding the fascist streak in Irish politics. Let’s hope he does not inspire a new generation of them.

  • OIlbhéar Chromaill

    For what it’s worth, I disagree with Mick’s view of the film. It’s a great film, I argue and, further, I believe it’s not so much an anti British film as it a movie critically evaluating what has happened in Ireland since independence.

    As it happens, most Irish people seem to agree with me as the film has just topped the charts for the most seen independent film ever in Ireland.

    Something which may yet give pause for thought to our media and political establishment.

  • Garibaldy

    Les,

    Surely all artists have exemption from having to be accurate to the truth. And many great works of art are propagandist. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. And of course Les, the vote in the Dáil took place without any outside interference or pressure whatsoever, and no threat of terrible war from a great power. Just like the election Milosevic lost in Yugoslavia

  • John Maynard

    You mean, like the BBC, where you used to work?

  • Keith M

    OIlbhar Chromaill : “As it happens, most Irish people seem to agree with me as the film has just topped the charts for the most seen independent film ever in Ireland.”

    What a ridiculous assumption. Just because people go to see a film does not mean that that they like it or indeed agree with the film maker.

    Of the people who have seen that film and that I’ve spoken to not one hasn’t found major fault with it. I admit that I tend to hang around with people who are more interested in history and politics than most of the population, but all have at least one major problem with it, and it isn’t simply in the obvious bias, it’s just that it’s a lacking in one major element of any piece of cinema; it just doesn’t make the story clear, understandable and (consequently for some) believable.

    In the end it’s a shoddy piecve of cinema, especially compared with Loach’s others films(e.g. I loved “Sweet Sixteen”).

  • John Maynard

    PS: My last post was for OIlbhar Chromaill, whose anti-establishment media position and indeed an anti TV-license fee position did not prevent him taking the Queen’s shilling via the license fee at BBC NI.
    So…quite a surprise that he enjoyed a movie about men from Cork shooting ‘traitors’.

  • No refunds sir!

    I too went to see ‘the wind’ at the weekend. I don’t know what was more annoying…all those gobshites traipsing in late and squeezing past all those already seated rather than walk round the aisles…or the boring, badly acted and directed film. With so much subject material to get tucked in to it is criminal to have cut and pasted this tripe together. The actors even messed up their words on numerous occasions. Check out all those rifles being pointed furiously at people when threat was minimal and being pointed casually as walking sticks when moments of ‘tension’. I got the impression the whole lot was ‘shot’ over a good weekend in a big house somewhere near fields.

  • Padraig Óg

    I disagree with your ‘review’ Mick, especially the ‘lack of human relation’ regards the characters. The fact that a couple of ignorant gombeens used their mobiles beside you means very little. Come on now that tenuously (at best) backs up your critique of this film. When I saw it the cinema was silent as was the case when friends and family saw it the length and breadth of the country

    A powerful and very believable film

    Sorry Mick but Alex Cox you are definitely not 😉

  • Doesn’t the very believableness (truthiness?) that Padraig refers to undermine the argument (from Garibaldy et al) that filmmakers have no obligation to the truth, and only to “art” – whatever they might claim that to be?

    Do artists, alone among mortals, have no responsibility for what they make or do?

  • Levitas

    I found the film a stimulating and accurate portrayal of the sort of events which occurred in West Cork….The begrudgers just dont like its politics but dress it up as film critique-just be honest and say that you cant stand the sight of armed insurrection being portrayed in a sympathetic light…Many of the audience were in tears – and none of you gobshites posting so far have even begun to understand the dramatic tension derived from the division between the brothers which ends in tragedy.Well Done Ken Loach…a great film.

  • Rory

    KeithM,

    It has long been considered that the world of the ‘serious’ cineaste is divided between those who regard The Pianist as a truly great film and those who regard it as the most awfully pretentious tosh. I am among the latter camp. The less arty London young bistro crowd used have similiar arguments over Truly, Madly, Deeply. As to why, I could never fathom.

  • Garibaldy

    Paul,

    I agree people do have responsibilities. Padraig found this film believable. Others I know didn’t, particularly what I’m told is the depiction of the republicans in the civil war as socialist revolutionaries, this raising particular hackles amongst historians.

    In my first response to your question I said that where filmakers set out to tell a true story they had a responsibility to the truth. But that where films were inspired by real events, that burden was less so. And I stick by that.

    Historians and journalists, for example, have resonsibilities to the truth. Artists do not have the same responibility. Films are made as the realisation of a vision by their directors (and sometimes their writers etc). I totally disagree with Loach’s vision of the Spanish Civil War but it’s his right to make the film the way he saw it. I trust in the audience to tell the difference between fact and fiction.

    Rory,

    good to see you back. There’s been one or two debates where we could have used your input. e.g. the left and the US

  • Garibaldy, I appreciate the distinction you’re making. Not sure how much I agree with it, but I think I see what you’re getting at.

  • mickhall

    Not seen it yet, but i did notice that this film was in the ST top ten as to people seeing it and the take on the door. Which considering many of the uniplexs refused to show it is interesting.

    On the film being based on the exploits of the West Cork IRA, I just read Meda Ryan’s Tom Barry and really enjoyed it as I did not realize what a character Tom Barry was.

    One of the points that amused me was when Barry in his 50s, one of his former men came to see him about a letter he got from his bank. Barry took the man to to see the bank manger who sent the letter the next day, placed his revolver on the man’s desk and said, ” about this letter Mr.” Barry’s old comrade heard no more about the debt.

    Do not howl at me please, but this does show how times have changed in the ROI.

  • Rory

    Oh, times have certainly changed, Mick Hall, and not only in the RoI. Even if one were to have a revolver handy these days where on earth would we find such an elusive creature as a ‘bank manager’ to whom to apply such subtle reasoning? In any case they would still never, ever waive the £30 charge for issuing the letter. Not even the threat of certain death can defy that inevitability.

  • Colonel_Grim

    I wonder,

    Is this yet another ” The IRA were great against the evil Brits” Film?

    Not seen it yet but am keen to see this so called “accurate” depiction of the West Cork IRA.

    I hope it includes the massacres of the Protestant community in West Cork carried out by the IRA. BUT it probably will not, after all the IRA were just saintly freedom fighters.

    It dissapoints me that film makers cant leave aside their own bias and portray the actual history warts n all!

  • mickhall

    great post Rory

  • kensei

    “It was far too obvious where the film’s sympathies lay; with the Irish separatists and subsequently with the “republican” side in the civil war.”

    So, like most of the rest of the planet, then.

    Anyway, your review raises my heckles, Mick, for the focus on plot over character. This is the exact complete opposite of my opinion; the interest in almost any film, book or TV programme comes from the exploration of character, rather the exposition of plot. Which is why the new Battlestar Galactica is great, and films like Lost in Translation work depsite nothing much happening in them.

    I thought the passion and rawness was what made the film enjoyable. What stopped it from being great was that the charcaters were just occasionally off, and things just slightly too neat, which falsified things slightly.

    You may also wish to watch the film in better surroundings. Context is seven tenths of enjoyment.

  • Garibaldy

    Kensei,

    Have to agree on Battlestar Galactica. Fantastic show. The vicious Admiral who was Al Pacino’s wife in Heat was the best thing in the second series.

  • Rory

    Come on, Garibaldy. Al Pacino was definitely not married to a vicious admiral in Heat. Whatever were you on, man, when you watched that?
    (and, more to the point, where can I get some?)

  • martin

    it is obvious that no refunds sir doesnt come from a nationalist /republican area if so he would know that the dummy tits and their cohorts in the ruc/udr did on a regular basis point their rifles in peoples faces,even when there was no threat, and they no refunds sir have even used them on innocent people/kids, this is not make believe ask the families of those murdered on bloody sunday

  • Garibaldy

    Rory,

    She was indeed a vicious Admiral, hiding from the cylons with Al Pacino, while demeaning herself with all and sundry

  • Henry94

    Just because people go to see a film does not mean that that they like it or indeed agree with the film maker.

    The film is doing well on word of mouth. Anyone I know (irl) who has seen it has urged me to go to it. But I haven’t yet so I have no idea if I will like it or not.

  • the dummy tits did point their rifles…

    That must be the well-known chuckie rhyming slang! It’s good to see that cultural exchange is alive and well in these islands, and not all native culture is being overwhelmed by Hollywood and the Americans 😉

  • martin

    and now in ulster scots please golf ball

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    I only tell as I saw it. I read Tom Barry’s biog when we were on vacation in West Cork a few years back. Whatever else it was, it was a great story.

    When all the left/right hype is done, Loach rendition was not one of his better efforts. I think it takes you to come to it sympathetically to get something out it.

    For me the audience’s reaction months after the right wing fury surrounding its release and the breathy coverage after the Palme d’Or tells its own story.

  • mick de dublin anarchist

    Perversely, I thought that, like Land and Freedom, the film suffered as a narrative from an attempt to be capture too much of the complexity of the period. Politically and historically, it was mostly excellent (the only real fault was that it over-emphasised the strength of the socialist / Liam Mellows wing of the anti-treatyites). However, trying to squeeze in all the complexities of the politics meant that many of the scenes had a contrived air to them to my mind. I simply don’t think that film is a very good medium for telling complex stories – it excels in examinations of character within formulaic plots, but political complexities among large populations largely elude its grasp.

    Those who think that this was a simplistic anti-brits film where the rebels were the goodies, just weren’t watching the screen, they were watching their prejudices.

  • Brenda

    I enjoyed it. We went to see it a few nights ago and i liked the way the arguments within republicanism were protrayed.

    I liked it.

  • Mick Fealty

    To be fair mick, as Loach himself has said, the anti British bit was part of the mix. But, as you rightly point out, it was not the main subject of the film.

    Ditto your observation about the implausible focus on the Mellows tendency. Although the Republican court scene was fun in a way it was unsupported by the film’s longer narrative.

    However, I disagree that film cannot capture complexity, per se. It just appears that Loach was not out capture anything other than a fairly singular message here. IMHO, that is the film’s primary weakness.

  • Southern Observer

    Have to say it was a big disappointment.I suppose an artist is entitled to plagiarise his own work but KL does this with a vengeance vis a vis ‘Land and Freedom’.
    Allow me to demonstrate:
    L&F:a civil war between the International Brigade and the Barcelona Anarchists,WTSTB: the Free State/irregulars civil war.
    L&F: a definitive ideological verbal spat between the anarchists and a captured Francoist Officer,WTSTB something similar between the IRA crew and and almost caricatural landed gentry type taken as hostage.

    L&F: the Catholic Church is given the ‘counterrevolutionary’ treatment with a Catholic priest (allegedly having used the confessional to spy for the Francoists) is summarily executed. WTSTB:A priest is verbally assailed,from a leftish perspective, in the middle of a pro-Treaty sermon by our doctor hero.

    L&F:Presumed fellow revolutionaries lethally turning on their comrades-in-arms with the arrival towards the end of lorryloads of Republican Govt troops to Anarchist lines.
    WTSTB:The Free Staters at the end commit murder and arson to cries of ‘we gave you food and shelter’.

    L&F:we have a simplistic division into baddies and goodies with the latter group being subdivided into low grade and high grade goodies-viz the International Brigade leaners and the anarchists respectively.This was brought out by allegorical disputes between both groups of co-combatants- over the issue of military drill in one instance I can remember-military drill,being ancien regimish,getting the thumbs down. .WTSTB:the low graders and high graders are found respectively among the Staters and the irregulars and/or those who were later to fall into these camps.The allegorical dispute here being the Republican Court where the ultragoodies wanted to shaft a local IRA -supporting bourgeois.
    Another angle on the executed priest – this was obvious paralelled in the farm labourer that got the works in TWTSTB.
    The pure uncorrupted salt-of-the-earth Anarchists are configured into the anti-treaty IRA and the slightly reprobate govt. regulars into the Free Staters.
    In short KL sees approaches the film through an ideological prism.He tries to squeeze it into a rigid socialist class war template which does not work here though it might have in L&F.Accordingly the West Cork doctor/IRA operative is protrayed heavily engaged with James Connolly’s socialist thinking.My guess is that Connolly was probably held in high regard by the West Cork IRA at the time *as an executed 1916 leader* but I seriously doubt if they were anything but indifferent to his socialist theorising.
    In short the portrayal of the anti-Treaty IRA as Marxist revolutionaries does not wash.Specifically
    the idea of anti-Treatyite openly rowing with a Catholic priest in the middle of a sermon at that place and time seems farfetched – although I’m open to revision on this if anyone can quote verifiable instances.Not surprisingly he hyperamagnifies the role of the only authentic Irish socialist armed outfit of the period – James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army and a way is found for a Dublin-accented Citizen Army man to get drawn into the saga.I doubt if there were too many of them in West Cork at the time.
    There was also a simplistically partisan slant on the Irish Civil War with a non-to-subtle attempt to conflate the pro-Treaty troops and the Black and Tans.
    Mind you he got the Black and Tans spot on in all their glorious savagery. Just when you thought I was beginning to sound like Ruth Dudley Edwards!

  • Garibaldy

    Southern Obvserver,

    Liked the post, but the Spanish ones were a Trotskyist group called the POUM. If you’re interested, a guy called Fergus Campbell has published a book based on the period in Connacht, based especially around Galway, claiming that the Volunteers were more radical than usually believed, but clearly any attempt to portray the majority as Connollyite is nonsense. But what else do you expect from Loach, one of many on the British Left intoxicated by the whiff of grapeshot from across the Irish Sea. They irony of course being that unlike Loach’s hero in Land and Freedom, none of them went where the action was.

  • kensei

    “For me the audience’s reaction months after the right wing fury surrounding its release and the breathy coverage after the Palme d’Or tells its own story.”

    That’s hardly fair, since by this stage you’ve probably got people who have just wandered in off the street, and it could be literally anything on screen and they’d still be tapping their mobile. Somewhere between the obsessives and the fag end is going to be far more useful.

    And yet, ultimately, still anecedotal.

  • mickhall

    “But what else do you expect from Loach, one of many on the British Left intoxicated by the whiff of grapeshot from across the Irish Sea. The irony of course being that unlike Loach’s hero in Land and Freedom, none of them went where the action was.

    Posted by Garibaldy”

    Garibaldy
    Im not sure what you mean by this, are you talking about the tan war or the Provos outing, if so you would be wrong on both counts.

    One can have differences with Ken as to the content of his movies and over his political position. But as far as the duty of socialists to show international solidarity with the wretched of the earth is concerned, I have been about a long time and Ken has never put a foot wrong ‘always’ placing himself in the same trench as the dispossessed.

    I might add, by doing so he has at times career wise paid the price, that he continues to do so at his age is all credit to him. Your grapeshot nonsense is contemptible and playing to the prejudice on the floor, the English State regards Irish republicans as its opponents, it regards englishmen like Ken as traitors, perhaps you would do well to understand this. It takes balls to stand up to the pressure of your own state on issues like Ireland, the more so if you come from Ken’s class, that is why many of us despite political differences think the world of him.

    What really gets up your nose is that Ken comes from the Trotskyist political tradition, which for all its faults and they are imo considerable, offered an alternative view of socialism to that butcher Stalin.

    Move on, make your judgments on the 21st century and stop gripping about the past. Tell me this, if Ken had not made films like his latest, or Land and Freedom and countless others in which he portrays working class people with respect and dignity, who else would make them?

  • Garibaldy

    Mick,

    Thanks for the post. Actually my criticism of the attitude of the British Left to the recent Troubles applies across the board, from the ultra-left to the Labour Party. And my criticism about the whiff of grapeshot stands. The point I’m making is that having an AK does not make one a revolutionary, but that for a lot of people on the British Left violence equalled revolution. We can see some of them make the same mistakes over their attitudes to theocratic groups in the Middle East. I was at the march in London on Saturday and saw this first hand.

    But if these people saw a war of national liberation against imperialism taking place on their very doorstep they could have done a lot more to help it than they did. But they didn’t. How can I respect them? As I say this is not aimed at any specific organisations, but large chunks of opinion across the British – and indeed the Irish – left.

    I’ve no problem admiring and working with people from different political positions. Loach has stuck to his positions and fair play to him for doing so. That separates him from the like of Peter Hain or Jack Straw or John Reid. However, NI where ordinary working people were losing their lives for their (perceived) religion is one point where I think it’s proper to demand more than a knee-jerk response to events, and to criticise those who do not provide one.

    On the whole, I agree that Loach’s body of work and his subject matter is a positive thing – except for Kes, which had me considering suicide when forced to watch it at school.

    Regards,

    Garibaldy

  • mickhall

    “The point I’m making is that having an AK does not make one a revolutionary,”

    Garibaldy,

    Agreed, and of course you are correct in that a great many on the British left failed to do their duty as far as Ireland was concerned, Connollys comment to his daughter Nora about those over the water not understanding why he took part in the Rising is as true today as when he made it.

    The reason I was sharp, was Ken has never been one of this type. Unlike some, Ken does not regard a friend in need as a bloody nuisance. By the way I always enjoy your contributions to slugger, good stuff.

    CR

    Mick

  • Garibaldy

    Mick,

    I agree Loach has always used his art to push his agenda regardless of the problems, and stories that would never get the same publicity without him. A very good thing.

    I think it’s important there’s a few of us on slugger who identify ourselves as socialists first and foremost. It lifts things above the petty nonsense, especially on international issues. Mick says there’s a preponderance of lefties blogging here, but the truth is that not one of the bloggers would see themselves as socialist first. On top of that, I don’t remember one post on economic affairs that wasn’t posted by a right-wing blogger.

    We all need to keep up our good work.

    Fraternally,

    Garibaldy

  • Rory

    Mick says there’s a preponderance of lefties blogging here.

    Does he indeed, Garibaldy? Well if he does I also think he has it very far wrong. It is simply a question of perspective. The lone dissenting voice in a hall crowded with cheerleaders for the staus quo will always ring out more clearly.

    At the first sound of a tone other than their own quiet bleats the poor sheep always panic that they are over run by wolves.

  • Garibaldy

    Rory,

    There was a row and a search via a thread for a right-wing blogger, and Mick said that there seemed to be a preponderance of left and green people. I think that if we take left to mean not a rabid Victorian-style hater of the poor, than he’s right. I’d say the blogger who sees themselves as most left is Chris, but he’s clearly a nationalist first and foremost. Miss Fitz would be left but in an NGO rather than political way if you know what I mean. People like Mick himself, Gonzo etc are centre-left I would say. So to the more serious left, there is no proper left voice, but to the right, where everyone else is a commie Islamist, there is a bias.

    Mick was worried that the balance was shifting too much against the right. I think he’s right in the sense that another centre-leftist or left nationalist wouldn’t add anything distinctive. But that leaves us slobbering lefties barking at what we see as the (centre) right bias.

  • Keith M

    I think they whole debate about left and right needs a bit of context. The political centre has moved to the right over the past two decades (credit where its due to La Thatcher).

    Nowaday people like Bertie Ahern can come out and call themselves “socialist” without too much critical commentary. Ahern still believes in “big goivernment” huge public spending and doesn’t hold back on using the infamous “society” word when it suits.

    The problem for parties that are genuinely right of centre is that they are having problems finding issues which are unique to them and have widespead public appeal. The Conservatives have been wallowing in this mire for almost a decade.

    Similarly for the right of centre PDs in this country; Michael McDowel set a high threshold for the party saying that they were “radical or redundant”. In the past two or three years they have certainly not been radical and I fear that combined with internal divisions, a political P45 awaits.

    What Slugger lacks is a populist right of centre, almost libertarian voice. Someone like an Andrew Sullivan, who’s not completly uncritical of the right when it does get things wrong.

  • Garibaldy

    Keith,

    Things have indeed moved to the right. I recently was watching The Wright Stuff on Channel 5. Matthew Wright was defending the right of people from low income households – or working class people – to access university education – and used the words “I’m not a communist”. That’s an indication of how far things have moved – that something uncontroversial not that long ago is now seen as akin to communism. Which is exactly why Mick saying there is an inbalance in favour of the left here is so absurd to people like Rory, Mick Hall and myself. We would see it more as not everyone is extreme right.

    I’m not really sure what another right-winger would add here – Fair Deal seems to me to cover a lot of the material, particularly when it comes to the economy. Having said that, an avowedly right wing nationalist would be distinctive, but in being nationalist what would they say that Chris doesn’t cover already? You might be on to something with the libertarian thing though.

  • Irish

    This blog has a decidedly Unionist bias I would think. I saw the movie several weeks ago, and enjoyed it. I come from a Nationalist background, but I am definitely not an ultra hardcore Republican.

    Whether the film was well acted is up for debate, I thought it was. However, the events it portrays are perfectly in line with history, and if it presents an anti-british bias that’s simply because history presents an anti-british bias.

    Neither the Black and Tans or the IRA where presented in an entirely negative or positive light. Take the British Officer for example and his comment about suffering in the trenches. That made me feel a pang of sympathy for the Black and Tans, considering many where mentally unstable. Also, the IRA’s practice of shooting informers, while neccessary, didn’t particularly romanticise them.

    On another note, there’s little evidence to support claims of IRA ‘massacres’ of protestants during the War For Independance, from what I’ve researched any protestants killed where usually Loyalist informers working for Dublin castle. And while there most likely was a few sectarian killings commited by the IRA, they where by and large exaggerated and of a far smaller proportion to the atrocities commited by the Black and Tans and Auxilleries.

    Having said that, those of an Anglo-Irish or Scotch Irish, sorry, British background would do well to remember that they may share a common heritage with landlords and corrupt sectarian politicians who created the precedent for this violence in the first place. And that the Black and Tans where little more than state sponsored terrorists.