Get the boot into racism (2)

I was initially unconvinced the mass exodus of Romanian families from the Village area was due to real concerns from most and suggested it may have been due to taking the opportunity of media attention to gain advantage on the social housing list. That is a position I’ve mainly stepped back from as it became clear any rational person from that group would rightly be concerned about their safety in the area – but I do still have a niggling doubt.
I also raised concerns the protest from ‘locals’ was an ill-advised stunt designed to capitalise on the issue by minority sects like the Socialist Party and Worker’s Solidarity Movement , something I still believe fully. A feeling compounded by the vastly inflated numbers of those attending the protest emanating from them and the fact they were singularly unable to provide any support or reassurance to convince affected families they could/would provide protection after upping the ante on the streets.

These positions have earned me an strong email rebuke by a leading member of the Socialist Party as ‘disgraceful’ and a ‘lack of leadership’ on my part – just who the feck I’m meant to be leading I’ve no idea.

However, that said, news is breaking of main protest organiser and Socialist Party rep Paddy Meehan receiving a threat to his life via the PSNI over his part in the demonstration. I’d suggest (not in the leadership role expected of me by the SP) it is past time people outside these small groups, and the few residents willing to put their feet on the street, organised broader and direct support to people enduring racism in the Village and/or fighting against it.

If the PSNI and tiny groups can’t make an impact it is surely time larger, organised groups with a commitment to fighting racism and fascism put their money where their mouths are, boots on the street (and in faces?) and started defending those unable to do it themselves?

btw: the main organised bodies I’m thinking could step up to the plate are the Loyal Orders.

  • Driftwood

    Mark, there are 5000 soldiers here, why not avail of their services? Or, better, bring back the Irish Guards from Aldershot. They are loyal orders after all.

    And very, very good at defending people from sectarian attacks.

  • Mark McGregor

    Driftwood,

    I know that’s a flippant response but any chance of really dealing this has to come from within the local community not without – be that minor political groups, the PSNI or British Army. The Loyal Orders as an organised local group, supposedly committed to freedom for all, could imho be in a prime position to show positive leadership without any connection to the gun. Just a thought.

  • Driftwood

    Mark
    If you really think the Orange Order or associated organisations are going to get involved-get real. Even as an atheist, only the evangelical (and possibly) Catholic churches might help the victims. The perpetrators are beyond help. Marx’s Lumpenproletariat. If the PSNI cannot sort it then its McDonald.
    Nasty situation, but none of us here can deal with a criminal underclass that exists in most societies. Possibly the perpetrators may end up in Hydebank for a short while(if the police and CPS were competent), but maybe there simply isn’t any solution. Sometimes that’s the way it is.

  • At kleast eh socialist party were public in supporting these people. Where were other groups at the time when windows were being smashed and people threatened. Where were the PUP?

  • I feel your pain

    Yes, let’s give them tea, sympathy marches, accelerated progress on the housing waiting list, benefits etc. etc. even though these people speak little or no English, don’t send their children to school, don’t seem to be employed and have an amazing tendency to end up selling Big Issues and playing accordions outside your local Super Valu.

    As despicable and downright sickening as both these attacks and the perpetrators are, this particular community has nothing positive to offer our society. They really could learn a thing or two from our newly arrived eastern European communities and especially so from our well-established and integrated Chinese, Indian and Pakistani friends.

    Try your best to integrate, earn a living and pay your way – and if you can’t be arsed with that, and would prefer to beg or set up camp on a busy roundabout and then demand social housing, fuck off home. Simple.

  • All the racist comments these posts create is disgraceful.

    It is totally irrelevant what jobs these people do.

    The fact is pogroms are once again occurring in our city. It demands an organised response to help these people. Do not indulge the racists by making excuses for them.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “Try your best to integrate”

    A bit rich considering the natives haven’t managed it yet. Perhaps they should have their own peace wall.

  • Padraig

    [b]I was initially unconvinced the mass exodus of Romanian families from the Village area was due to real concerns from most and suggested it may have been due to taking the opportunity of media attention to gain advantage on the social housing list.[/b]

    Extraordinary.

    One of the most ingrained racist comments on the situation I have ever read. If it had been made anywhere else but here the writer would be crucified by the media. The comment itself was bad enough but the flippancy and lack of self introspection that underlies it are mind boggling, for, for the writer, racism is as natural as breathing.

    Transpose such a statement to Nazi Germany and you get:

    [b]I was initially unconvinced the mass exodus of Jewish families from the greater Reich area was due to real concerns from most and suggested it may have been due to taking the opportunity of media attention to gain advantage on the social housing list.[/b]

  • tell me why

    Mark McGregor has ingrained planter/settler mentality – all them victims must obviously be perpetrating some scam.

    Next post:ö
    Women in short skirts: they wux asking forrit.

  • Democratic

    Them settler/planters eh, scumbags to a man racist/sectarian and possibly rapists too…..

    Carlsberg don’t do ironic comments…..

  • Ms Wiz

    Mark McGregor

    First of all these attacks took place in the Lisburn Rd/University area, NOT the Village, which makes it all the more worrying.

    Secondly the fact that you were initially unconvinced for the reasons of the Roma peoples’ flight from the area clearly indicates a racist mindset on your part. That’s the sort of throw away comment made by white people in England 30 years ago so with the time lag in Northern Ireland I guess that’s about right. And of course, leafy Welly Park is a complete dump so who could blame them for wanting something a bit more upmarket like Sandy Row or Donegall Pass. And did you miss the part about some scumbag waving a gun in their kids faces?

    Thirdly, suggesting the loyal orders are the organisation best placed to deal with this situation convinces me your opening post was a wind up.

    Whatever your opinions about the SP and WSM, at least, unlike the PSNI, they got up off their arses and attempted to do something helpful.

  • oneill

    Democratic

    It’s a common theme from all the usual Rent-a- “All Hun are Scum”- Mob through all of the “racist” or “sectarian” threads on this site. Fighting bigotry with more bigotry, it’s an interesting philosophical concept though can’t see it having that much of an effect on the root problems.

    Mark’s post, coming from someone who I’d logged as a bit more intelligent, is more disturbing to be honest.

    “I was initially unconvinced the mass exodus of Romanian families from the Village area was due to real concerns from most and suggested it may have been due to taking the opportunity of media attention to gain advantage on the social housing list.”

    Why exactly do/did you think that?

    “If the PSNI and tiny groups can’t make an impact it is surely time larger, organised groups with a commitment to fighting racism and fascism put their money where their mouths are, boots on the street (and in faces?) and started defending those unable to do it themselves?”

    The AFA and others have tried the “direct action” approach for years- do you really think it’s been successful in curbing racism? If not, then what’s the point?

  • James
  • tell me why

    democratic

    carlsberg?

  • Seceder

    There is a problem in Northern Ireland as in all other parts of the world, the people here are racist – and like many parts of the world we are also sectarian. So accepting these facts we have to learn to deal with this problem and no matter how liberal or PC we are, all of us at some time will have an irrational dislike of another person or group probably based on misjudgements or ill informed information or plain stereotyping.

    So how can we deal with this and work at it. Firstly we need to accept that its a problem we all have. Secondly some of us deal with it better than others thirdly just because you express an unPC opinion doesn’t actually make you a racist.

    Other parts of the world have dealt with the racism by strict anti racism laws balanced by strict immigration policies. America, Australia and other attractive economies have very rigid entry requirements they also have virulent anti racism laws, but from the myriad of available evidence they haven’t cracked racism.

    Northern Ireland is no different except that under our EU membership we have become an open travel area for all Europeans seeking work, residence of the likes of health care.

    We have not managed the opening of our borders and during an economic crisis these failures will always surface. During economic weakness the weakest are always the targets.

    So analysis over – solutions.

    !. We need a proper debate on immigration outside the current crisis policy made on the hoof is frequently bad policy.
    2. Immigrants should be subject to the same laws and restrictions as local people – so if street vendors have to be licensed all should be licensed, if begging is illegal this should apply to all, if children have to go to school etc
    3. As with other parts of the world residency of immigrants should be based around employment and strict time limits should apply, you can’t stay indefinitely in the US unless you have a green card and can get work
    4. Immigrants should be encouraged to integrate. This appears to be working with the Polish and Portuguese communities so as an example this should be encouraged.
    5. The law should be enforced against thugs and hood who attack, threaten to attack or instigate attacks against anyone.

  • Ms Wiz,

    “First of all these attacks took place in the Lisburn Rd/University area, NOT the Village, which makes it all the more worrying.”

    Le Monde is reporting that residents of the Village were involved:

    “Youths from a neighbouring loyalist area (The Village) have stepped up acts of intimidation. On Monday, while residents of the area were demonstrating in support of their Romany neighbours, these youths counter-attacked with Nazi salutes and chants. The Village’s loyalist paramilitary groups, who in the past have been involved in racist actions, condemned the events and claimed to have nothing to do with them.”

    The journalist’s name is Virginie Malingre.

  • Mayoman

    Who made the threat I wonder? Especially if it was ‘via’ the PSNI?

  • riffin on romanians

    More racism passing as concern.

    You think the Romanians are exaggerating a threat in order to get better housing on advantageous terms? I doubt it given they’ve had to endure attacks.

    However, such a move would at least suggest the Romanians were adopting local customs, you know, like prison officers.

  • Driftwood

    I see that nasty little left wing agitator Richard Littlejohn has added his tuppence worth..

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1194046/LITTLEJOHN-Fast-tracking-Tarmacing-community-NHS.html

    Racist, criminal? You should know, McGuinness

    Northern Ireland’s First Minister Martin McGuinness was interviewed on television condemning in no uncertain terms the shocking violence directed towards Romanians living in Belfast.
    This was nothing less than a crime against humanity by ‘racist criminals’, he declared.
    ‘It is a matter of great concern for us that a small, unrepresentative group would attempt to threaten and intimidate a large number of people.’

    As this celebrated pacifist was expressing his outrage, no one appeared to spot the rather large elephant standing alongside him, wearing a balaclava and brandishing an Armalite.
    McGuinness is exceptionally well-qualified to talk about small, unrepresentative groups threatening and intimidating people.
    For a quarter of a century, he was one of the IRA godfathers when hundreds of people were murdered simply for being either British or Protestant.
    So no racism there, then. He appeared to have no problem with innocent men, women and children being slaughtered for nothing more than finding themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, whether they happened to be young boys in Warrington or shoppers in Harrods.
    It has been reported that those responsible for the recent violence were acting in retaliation for alleged Romanian pickpocketing gangs in Belfast city centre.

    This is precisely the tactic used by IRA punishment squads against drug dealers and petty criminals in Republican neighbourhoods.
    Anyone who crossed the Provo warlords was either run out of town, kneecapped or killed. There was appalling butchery on both sides of the sectarian divide, but McGuinness has an abbatoir-full of blood on his leather apron.

    While we should rejoice that he has now renounced – but never apologised for – his terrorist past, listening to this sanctimonious ex-gangster playing the hand-wringing, anti-racist, law-and-order moralist sticks in the craw.
    It’s a bit like discovering that the Yorkshire Ripper is running a rape crisis centre.

  • Democratic

    “democratic

    carlsberg?”

    You don’t remember the old TV adverts Tell Me Why?

  • Smug O’ Toole

    this particular community has nothing positive to offer our society.

    Perhaps we need a solution. One that will be final…

    I can’t believe that some people will condone violence against women and children just because they don’t like being hassled outside a shop about buying the big issue. Are the articles in it that bad that you want to see women and children scared out of their homes? I’d rather be hassled by a person trying to sell me a copy than be hassled and threatened by an ugly, sectarian, bigoted and racist mob who probably all scrounge off the dole anyway and never even seen a classroom, nevermind spoke english in one. Filthy scumbags. Where’s Travis Bickle and his rain forecast when you need him?

  • joeCanuck

    I’m terribly disappointed in you Mark McGregor for whatever that is worth. From previous posts of yours I would have thought that you were far from being racist. You just never know, do you. What are you going to do, or who are you going to turn to when they come for you.

  • ah well

    For once I can agree with canuck.

    From previous posts of yours I would have thought that you were far from being racist.

    He appears to change his position along with his support.

    Yesterday Sinn Fein, today dissidents tomorrow the SWP, next week??

  • If you live in the Village who is most likely to do you the most harm? A couple of Gypsies trying to sell you the Big Issue or a gang of local hoodie-clad thugs whose answer to any problem is to give someone a hiding?

    It is difficult to see how the “you don’t have to live beside these people” line holds up. It isn’t the immigrants that make the streets of the Village unsafe to walk at night.

    As for the alleged level of inconvenience suffered by the residents of Wellington Park due to their Romanian gypsy neighbours, well it’s difficult to see how any of them would be more hassle than the average bunch of noisy, partying, vomiting students.

  • I feel your pain

    [i]I can’t believe that some people will condone violence against women and children just because they don’t like being hassled outside a shop about buying the big issue.[/i]

    Posted by Smug O’ Toole on Jun 19, 2009 @ 12:15 PM

    Are you partially blind? Or is the thin air up there on your high horse further degenerating your intellect?

    I repeat: As despicable and downright sickening as both these attacks and the perpetrators are…

    [i]I’d rather be hassled by a person trying to sell me a copy than be hassled and threatened by an ugly, sectarian, bigoted and racist mob who probably all scrounge off the dole anyway and never even seen a classroom, nevermind spoke english in one[/i]

    Exactly, there’s too much scum in our society. Take the benefits away from our workshy compatriots and have a sensible immigration policy that allows only those who can demonstrably make a positive contribution to our society and economy to settle here.

    P.S. With regard to your snide little attempt at humour, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

  • Framer

    What about some of the Socialists taking up the cause of the Protestants in the Fountain area of Londonderry who are subject to ceaseless attacks, which have accelerated in frequency recently?

  • Ali G

    its too far from Turf Lodge!

  • Mark P

    So let’s get this straight, Mark:

    You initially, without any evidence beyond racism, pushed a hunch that the victims of racism were in fact perpetrating a hoax so as to skip the NHS waiting list. Now, you’ve “stepped back” from this open expression of bigotry, but you can’t resist telling us that you still have a “niggling doubt”.

    I see that Mick is now reporting that a Romanian has been shot in Belfast in what appears to be a racist incident. No doubt your first instinct is to assume that the dirty foreigner is faking the incident so that he can get his filthy disease ridden body ahead in the NHS waiting lists.

    Given the political view you’ve expressed, I doubt if the Socialist Party or the Workers Solidarity Movement or the other people who have actually gone and tried their best to offer help and solidarity to the families being victimised are particularly interested in your view of their motivations. I on the other hand am fascinated by the sight of someone who I had understood to be a supporter of Eirigi accusing other groups of being “minority sects”! Self-awareness, like anti-racism, evidently isn’t a popular subject in the McGregor household.

  • Big Maggie

    Framer,

    I can’t believe you began that comment with “What about”.

    You’re obviously new to Slugger :^)

  • Swerve

    @Ms Wiz

    Secondly the fact that you were initially unconvinced for the reasons of the Roma peoples’ flight from the area clearly indicates a racist mindset on your part.

    Fine to call that racist I suppose, but being racist is not the same thing as being factually wrong. Using inductive logic concerning people (e.g. US Hispanics like soccer, US whites don’t, Gurkhas are brave in a fight) doesn’t suddenly become wrong when it’s a negative in someone’s eyes (Roma are beggers, Ulster Loyalists don’t want to learn Irish). Only fools do not know there are exceptions to the general rule, and rejecting the exceptions can become unfair on an individual level. However saying to someone that they only hold their position because they have racist attitudes is not an argument, it’s mostly an argumentum ad personam fallacy. A negative generalisation can provide useful data, even when concerning a “race”. The important thing is that the thinker is open minded and can change their opinion. Many anti-racists are as closed minded as racists.

  • caoimhin

    Mark,

    I spoke to a nutty homeless cyclist with a beard and a luminous jacket outside the Spaniard two nights ago. He was peddling these same racist notions.

    By any chance was this you? Though, I didn’t see a laptop in his cart.

  • Swerve

    Driftwood

    If you really think the Orange Order or associated organisations are going to get involved-get real. Even as an atheist, only the evangelical (and possibly) Catholic churches might help the victims.

    I’m interested in why you say that. There is in fact an evangelical gypsy movement quite widespread in Portugal, Spain and France, and I’ve seen research that Gypsy evangelical converts have higher incomes and lower rates of criminality. However I don’t see why you would single out evangelicals in your comments.

  • Driftwood

    Swerve
    I don’t have much time for any church or religion, but some protestant churches here seem to have a thing about helping Romanians (whether Roma or not). Whether they are seeking to ‘evangelise’ their brand or not I don’t know. But they seemed very willing to help the victims of the intimidation this week.
    I recognise that the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul etc do good work, though I query their motives Christopher Hitchens style.(check out his article on St Teresa)

  • Driftwood
  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Just think, that the terrorised Roma people who have been driven out of their homes will return to Romania with very bad memories of Northern Ireland. Very bad memories that they will tell their children and their grandchildren.

    The new Transylvannia of Europe….don’t go there!

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “I don’t have much time for any church or religion, but some protestant churches here seem to have a thing about helping Romanians (whether Roma or not). Whether they are seeking to ‘evangelise’ their brand or not I don’t know.”

    Is there a bowl of soup on offer? 🙂

    “Mark, there are 5000 soldiers here, why not avail of their services? Or, better, bring back the Irish Guards from Aldershot. They are loyal orders after all.”

    As I have said before, using the British army as ‘social workers’ is not the response needed. Did folk not learn anything from Bloody Sunday at all? An army is trained and equipped to fight wars, not deal with an ‘uneducated and disfunctional broken people’ of a society that has continuously failed itself.

    Why can folk not see that in NI? Why is heavy handedness always an answer in NI. Using a hammer to break an egg, etc…But this is part of the same problem too!

  • IJP

    What was actually racist about these attacks?

    I don’t know if anyone noticed, but such attacks have been common against people of like race in this part of the world since creation!

  • Reader

    Greagoir o Frainclin: Very bad memories that they will tell their children and their grandchildren.
    But isn’t that exactly what the racists want? Far better to give them a different memory – of the peace and tranquility they will experience in Poleglass or the Ardoyne over the next couple of years.

  • Reader

    Greagoir O Frainclin: Did folk not learn anything from Bloody Sunday at all?
    Since the army was on the streets of NI for another 30 years without ever repeating Bloody Sunday, even during much more serious rioting, it seems that some very important lessons *were* learned.

  • Big Maggie

    Reader,

    “some very important lessons *were* learned. ”

    Certainly. Bloody Sunday was the consummate recruiting sergeant for the IRA. A practically dormant terrorist organization was swamped with volunteers in the wake of that shocking Derry massacre.

    There’s little doubt in my mind that the history of NI would have taken an entirely different course had the slaughter of UK citizens by their own army not taken place. Somewhere in the MOD there’s a handful of people close to retirement (or retired) who bitterly regret the decision to send in the Paratroopers.

  • Ulster McNulty

    “it may have been due to taking the opportunity of media attention to gain advantage on the social housing list”

    Yes, it’s enough to make any honest taxpayer go out and shout “Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil”

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    Regarding the issue of using the army on the streets again to keep “law and order,”…..but the army are currently on the streets of Iran now keeping “law and order,” by shooting dead people.

    This year is also the 20th anniversary of Tianamen Square in China where Chinese troops shot dead many students.

    Is this what folk want to see in the UK?

  • Harry Flashman

    “I can’t believe that some people will condone violence against women and children just because they don’t like being hassled outside a shop about buying the big issue.”

    I haven’t seen anyone condoning the attacks, I might have missed them, could you point them out to me?

  • Reader

    Big Maggie: A practically dormant terrorist organization was swamped with volunteers in the wake of that shocking Derry massacre.
    The IRA had killed 10 people in the month before Bloody Sunday. 85 people in the year before Bloody Sunday. ‘practically dormant’ may fit 1969 – it certainly doesn’t fit 1971/1972.

  • Reader

    Greagoir O Frainclin: This year is also the 20th anniversary of Tianamen Square in China where Chinese troops shot dead many students. Is this what folk want to see in the UK?
    No one was suggesting bringing the People’s Liberation Army on to our streets. (Unless Eamonn McCann has been up to something)

  • Reader

    Greagoir O Frainclin: …but the army are currently on the streets of Iran now keeping “law and order,” by shooting dead people.
    That was the police, wasn’t it? So, if you don’t want the police to do it, and you don’t want the army to do it – what’s left? DAAD? Oh – wait – they killed people too.
    There’s no option. If racist intimidation is to be dealt with, we have to arm Alliance’s militant wing.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    Reader, I was responding to Driftwood who mooted the idea of having the British army on the streets of NI again to keep law and order.

    See below….

    “Mark, there are 5000 soldiers here, why not avail of their services? Or, better, bring back the Irish Guards from Aldershot. They are loyal orders after all.”

    Come to think of it, but we know of the likes of dictatorships, junta’s, and despotic states having the army shoot protesting civilians on the streets, ie…. China and Iraq are just two I mentioned, but can anyone name any “democratic” western states where this has happened in the last 30 – 40 years?

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    BTW, pardon my mispelt name, but the fada’s didn’t register ….

    Greagoir O Frainclin

    Gréagóir O Frainclín

  • Driftwood

    Gréagóir

    As Mark noticed next post, I was being flippant.

    The United States has used its National Guard however (similar to the TA)and the French CRS police are virtually army anyway.

    The point is, tha Police are damned either way. look at what happened when a guy died at the G20 protests in London. The Met were vilified by the media.

    An aside, I see the Romanian consul has said his government doesn’t have the money to fly the victims of intimidation back home. I wonder why that is?

  • Reader

    Gréagóir O Frainclín: but can anyone name any “democratic” western states where this has happened in the last 30 – 40 years?
    Just to add to Driftwood’s mention of the US National Guard – Kent State University, May 1970, 4 dead, 9 wounded.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    Indeed, when they opened fire on students….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings

    This was an appalling incident too – the shooting dead of protestesting students in the birthplace of modern democracy.

  • Driftwood

    I think you’ll find we live in the country that is the birthplace of modern democracy Greg.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8430129@N06/2767221335/

    And we have ‘the mother of Parliaments’ at Westminster.

    Isn’t it great that this is the nation we belong to.

  • Nah driftwood. The US and France are the birthplace of modern democracy. More people had the vote in Germany before the First World War than in Britain.

  • Big Maggie

    Can a state ruled by a monarch and having an unelected second chamber be a proper democracy?

  • Driftwood

    Garibaldy
    I have a lot of respect for Bismarck, as a great leader, as i do for your nom de guerre. But Britain was the cradle of democracy (after Athens). And led the world in civic laws before the USA took heed.
    Magna Carta is the genesis of modern world freedom, we should take pride here in the UK of that fact.
    And that before the USA took over as a world superpower, the United Kingdom was, and is, looked upon as a benevelent power, supported by the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF that has been a shining beacon for freedom and democracy worldwide.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    “I have a lot of respect for Bismarck, as a great leader, as i do for your nom de guerre. But Britain was the cradle of democracy (after Athens). And led the world in civic laws before the USA took heed.
    Magna Carta is the genesis of modern world freedom, we should take pride here in the UK of that fact.
    And that before the USA took over as a world superpower, the United Kingdom was, and is, looked upon as a benevelent power, supported by the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF that has been a shining beacon for freedom and democracy worldwide. ”

    …… One man, one vote and civil and religious liberty for all?

    But let’s be thankful too for the freedom of speech, no matter how much folks opinions differ.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    …..and no matter how much folks opinions seem to be set in stone.

  • That is an extremely Anglocentric view indeed Driftwood. The US was founded on transforming the British tradition to such an extent that it became unrecognisable. The French Revolution also operated on completely different principles. The difference between these two and the British system is that both were – in theory at least – based on egalitarianism, and equal rights before the law. Not the case with a country that has a reserved place in its government for the aristocracy, as Big Maggie has pointed out above. And it is this egalitarianism that lies at the heart of modern democratic systems.

  • Harry Flashman

    If all you did was rely on what the piece of paper which lays down the rules in a country said then of course you would come to the conclusion that the United Kingdom was a completely theocratic oligarchy presided over by an unelected dynasty with one ruler who had total control over all aspects of the government from the state media, to the army, the police, the legislators, the national bank and even indeed the postal service.

    But if you simply relied on that, then you would conclude that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was the fairest, freest, most democratic and egalitarian society ever created by man.

    Do you seriously believe either options are true?

    The United States is absolutely and entirely founded in the basis of English and Scottish political and democratic traditions, they simply pushed them a bit further and faster than the mother country was prepared to go. The system of government in the United States to this very day still displays clearly its extremely Anglocentric roots and origins.

    I don’t really have to point that the French Revolution produced the most dreadful and appalling assault on human liberty and freedoms ever witnessed in the previous two hundred years, as its bloodsoaked legacy has pervaded every modern despotic tyranny from the Russian revolution through Adolf Hitler right down to Pol Pot.

    No, give me British ideas of liberty any day.

  • Harry,

    The British parliament represented property and not people. The Americans rejected this idea. As well as aristocracy and monarchy. Then we have the elective principle being introduced into picking judges etc. Grounded in some of the ideas of the British political tradition certainly, but went far, far beyond it.

    As for blood-stained assaults on human liberty. 1798 saw more concentrated violence than the terror. AS for blaming the French Revolution for Hitler, clearly the phrase “The year 1789 is hereby expunged from history” means nothing to you. Laughable cold war rhetoric that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Oh, and how was the empire for the liberty and freedom of say the aborigines?

  • RepublicanStones

    Jesus wept…people still peddling this ‘noble’ british empire line.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/jul/22/comment.mainsection

    I’ll organise the coffin cause somebody will shoot the messenger !

  • Harry Flashman

    “Oh, and how was the empire for the liberty and freedom of say the aborigines?”

    No worse and in many ways better than the fate of the North American Indians, the people of the Vendee or countless millions of others who suffered at the hands of Revolutionary Terrorists expounding the principles laid out originally by the French Revolutionaries and which led directly to genocide, mass mobilisation of conscript armies, ultra nationalism, “popular” dictatorships (now there’s a contradiction in terms), political terror, secret policemen and all the other grisly echoes of 1789 that ring down through the dreary 19th and 20th Century.

  • otto

    I’ve worked and studied with lots of people from Africa and especially West and Southern Africa. The general consensus seems that if you’re going to get colonised Britain might be the least worst option.

    Admittedly these are all middle class, educated, english using, world travelling business types and this is very faint praise.

    Isn’t the culture (the way a people do things, not arts and music) of a country as important as its constitution. The first country of the three contenders here (France, the US and the UK) to abolish slavery for good (Napolean reintroduced it) was the UK and (compared with other European powers and the US) the UK doesn’t come out if this any worse than the competition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolition_of_slavery_timeline

    That said, today French local democracy seems much more vibrant and empowered than the UK’s and the First Past The Post electoral system used in both the UK and the US couldn’t be better designed to introduce a culture of cronyism and careerism and the infestation of our government with place seeking adversarial lawyers.

  • sinless

    Britain is not a democracy. It has a sectarian monarchy and at least 500 years of terror waged against every other country in the world. It introduced the concentration camp, the death march, the pitch cap and much more to the world. Its wealth was based on the slave trade and the plunder it stole from the Spanish armada. The British are slaves and thhe get their tails up anytime belicose music plays. Remember the attack on Malvinas. They all rallied behind their nutty leader Thatcher, whose son continues Britain’s tradition by organising undemocratic coups in Africa.

    Who overthrew democracy in Iran in the early 1950s and put the pig Shah into power? Who stifled democracy in Saudi Arabia? None other than the terrorist regime of QE2.
    The Iranians are right when they paint these savages as evil.
    The USA was not founded as a democracy (<-demos) but as a republic where res publica rule. It is the Great satan. All of that is no need to leave gypsies in anywhere. Just because Hitler hated them does not make them an asset.

  • The question – sparked by driftwood’s claims – was where can we find the most influential countries in the development of modern conceptions of democracy. Anyone who thinks it is in the British example is living in cloud cuckoo land. They may think the British example is the best, but it is not the one that has been followed.

    As for Harry’s list of the things that blemished the C19th and C20th, it’s notable that World Wars One and Two are left out, as is imperialism by the western powers. Never mind Tsarist Russia and the like. I’ve already exposed the ridiculousness of his attempt to ascribe the Nazis to the French Revolution given that they expressly viewed themselves as overturning it, but if it makes him happy, let him hammer away at that theme. As though ultra-nationalists were inspired by 1789. I’m fairly sure that the ultra-nationalism that led to the world wars was that of those who rejected the legacy of 1789. Less Barrington Moore Jr., more facts please Harry.

  • otto

    Sinless,

    You have to stay in character now for the rest of the thread. No multiple personalities now!

  • Neil

    For anyone in any doubt, here’s a wee piece of info: Roma and Romanian, not the same thing. Romania has 20m people, approx 500k of which are Roma. There are more people of Roma descent in Spain and the roughly the same number in France and Turkey as in Romania.

    It is disturbing to see the casual racism employed here. Combined with the lack of knowledge as the man says it can be a dangerous thing. Take the following as an example:

    Yes, let’s give them tea, sympathy marches, accelerated progress on the housing waiting list, benefits etc. etc.

    First of all, the Romanians do not qualify for benefits or housing, and aren’t allowed into the country without a job lined up. Ironically these attacks have actually given these families the hope of social housing, if they didn’t feel their lives were under threat they wouldn’t qualify for social housing.

    Incidentally, having had first hand knowledge of the impact of a pipe bomb coming through your window when there are kids in the house, I understand perfectly the need to move out. It may seem like overkill, every Romanian family moving because of attacks on three homes, but when you feel your kids might die regardless of whether that possibility is remote or likely, you feel duty bound to get the fuck outta dodge.

    To those who suffer the pressure of having a swarthy man try to sell you a tele while you’re waiting in traffic, ffs dude, chill out. Go and have some sex or smoke a joint or something. You don’t have to buy a paper. You don’t have to give away money, if you really want to be mean tell them to fuck off and give them nothing, they might get the message. But realistically to ignore someone, to pretend they’re not there, it’s no biggie.

    Finally to those who suggest that there is some kind of doubt as to which community carried out these attacks, we will see soon enough as some people are going to end up in court, but going on form it’s gonna be youths from the village. As with the earlier thread regarding the McDaid murder, I stress the point that this is not part and parcel of Loyalism, nor is it an indictment on Loyalism generally, but you do no one anty favours by trying to ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. The Loyalist community has it’s problems and it needs to sort it out, denial isn’t going to fix anything.

  • Harry Flashman

    Garibaldy Hitler may have renounced the French Revolution but he was so obviously a product of post French Revolutionary Europe with all the panoply of the Terror state, secret police, political thought crimes, government mandated ideology, mass conscription, state sponsored terror, genocide etc. that to deny Naziism’s clear parentage is absurd.

    If however you refute the role of the British in producing democratic nations well have a look at the many lists of the nations of the world which have the most freedom, are the most democratic, have the highest prosperity and are the least corrupt. Now compare the nations at the top of those lists and see how many of them are products of British constitutional democracy and which are products of French Revolutionary ideology.

    Go on, have a wee look and come back to me.

  • otto

    “Garibaldy Hitler may have renounced the French Revolution but he was so obviously a product of post French Revolutionary Europe with all the panoply of the Terror state, secret police, political thought crimes, government mandated ideology, mass conscription, state sponsored terror, genocide etc. that to deny Naziism’s clear parentage is absurd.”

    Doesn’t all that have its own parentage in state religion, hersey, inqusition and such? Do monarchies not have secret police?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition#Roman_Inquisition
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okhrana
    http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Louis_XIV

  • Exactly Otto. Can’t mention the secret police of the monarchies, and once again we must ignore WWI and WWII, and where their orgins lie.

    As for the origins of the Nazis and the French Revolution. Look for them Harry in those who opposed the French Revolution. And their heirs, such as the Prussian aristocracy and monarchy using nationalism to combat demands for greater freedoms. The most militaristic nationalist states were those that were trying to keep a lid on democratic struggle.

    Government mandated ideology starting with the French Revolution Harry? That’s a joke, right?

    As for the ideology of every democratic state today. Soverignty of the people, legal equality, equal political rights. Where does that come from? It’s not Edmund Burke or even 1688.

  • Sean Matthews-personal capacity

    Mark McGregor should check his facts before embarking on baseless comments without any shred of evidence or truth, before demonising those who attended the rally as a crime and stayed with the Romanian families, who actually requested help and assistance.

    Mark should no better before engaging in unwarranted speculation by referring to the families “taking the opportunity of media attention to gain advantage on the social housing list.” Firstly, social housing should be provided based on need, not skin colour or ethnic origin. Such unfounded comments, not based on fact also provide further ammunition to those thugs carrying out the attacks and the general state discrimination and oppression against Roma people across the world.

    WSM members where a minority within the demonstrations and did not help to organise the rally. We have no hidden agenda or interested in “stunts.” We will not be deflected by witch-hunts from pretentious boggers masquerading as ‘journalists’, from challenging racism and sectarianism where we live and work with others, as part of the struggle for a better world.

    As anarchists, the Workers Solidarity Movement believes racism must be fought on a class basis. We need to expose and attack the institutions which are legitimising racism in our society; we need to stand up against racist bullies and fascists carrying out attacks on migrant workers. Central to this is the need to physically and ideologically confront fascism wherever it raises its ugly head and the building of opposition to the system of wage slavery and exploitation which promotes racist scapegoating and the criminalisation of immigration.

    Racism is motivated and perpetuated by greed, promoted by those in power. If festers in ignorance and misplaced fear. Our alternative is social equality and freedom for all.

    WSM position paper on Fighting Racism
    http://www.wsm.ie/story/829

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    “Magna Carta is the genesis of modern world freedom, we should take pride here in the UK of that fact.”

    I know there is a bit of animosity by British folk toward the French, cause of the Republican Revolution and also Catholicism being it’s predominant religion among a few other things.

    However, and I’m probably being a bit pedantic here, regarding the Magna Carta, but wasn’t it really devised by the French Normans – the House of Plantagenet folk, etc…who took the reigns of power from the Anglo-Saxons and gave England her royalty and church set up – thats still with us today, as well as all the titles and heraldry – and added a plethora of French words to then old Germanic English language. However, did’nt the Magna Carta really give the wealthy Norman barons more power over the English land rather than the poor Anglo-Saxon Jo Soap peasantry.

    Of course, it’s all in the mix that makes England what it is today, the leading light for all in the UK to look up too.

    Aint’t that right Driftwood. 😉

    Les oiseaux du même plumage,
    S’assemblent sur le même rivage.

    Vive le Royaume-Uni.

  • Harry Flashman

    OK so the French Revolution provided more liberty and freedom to the world today than British constitutional democracy. Well let’s examine a list of countries whose political and social identities have to a greater or lesser extent been shaped by British constitutionalism and those countries which have to a greater or lesser extent had their political and social identities shaped by Revolutionism based on the French model.

    So ask yourself, in the previous fifty years which countries were the more free, more democratic, more stable and more liberal? None of the countries below are perfect and none of them are absolute despotisms (well with one or two exceptions) but just compare them in the round, overall as it were.

    Canada or Russia?
    India or China?
    The US or Mexico?
    Australia or Argentina?
    Bermuda or Cuba?
    The Bahamas or Venezuela?
    New Zealand or Chile?
    Malaysia or Indonesia?
    Barbados or Haiti?
    Hong Kong or North Korea?
    Singapore or Laos?
    Ireland or Poland?

    The results from the worldwide jury are in folks and it seems by a landlside British constitutional parliamentarianism beats mobs of Red Revolutionaries screaming through the streets dragging ideological opponents off to be summarily executed.

    But then you kinda knew that already didn’t you?

  • Brian MacAodh

    I didnt realize all of those countries could fall into either camp so nicely and easily.

  • Harry Flashman

    “…fall into either camp so nicely and easily”

    What part of “to a greater or lesser extent” do you not understand Brian?

  • I see your list Harry excludes western Europe, and Japan. Funny that. And as I’ve said, the US represented a fundamental break with British constitutional tradition. No monarchy, no sovereignty of Parliament, no aristocracy, a written constitution etc etc.

    We’ll try this again. The question posed was not which version was better, but which is the most influential in shaping modern conceptions of dempcracy – the sovereignty of the people and legal equality asserted by the US and Revolutionary France, or the British constitutional tradition. There is a clear answer to that question. Especially when we take into account how central concepts that stem from the US/French tradition are to political discourse and practice worldwide. But continue to debate a point that hasn’t been made Harry if it keeps you happy.

    Has the worldwide jury voted on British imperialism versus democracy? I believe so.

  • Zoon Poltikon

    I was in Belfast last Saturday evening: in the Crown Bar. Outside was a young Romany woman selling something and a native ‘tramp'(sic) on a bike with a sign that said ‘Can you spare some fuckin’ change’; he was loitering as its tourist session.
    I seek clarification on what was and is racist.
    1.
    Is religion legalised sectarianism here and per se racist.
    2.
    My heart went out to this young woman and I felt ashamed by not giving her some money but should I have given her money or not and if I did should I have also given money to the native beggar?
    3.
    I work hard for my money and pay my taxes etc. So is it right that i should think the thoughts that come to many of us when seeing those on the street beginning and if I am lawful in keeping those thoughts to myself am I morally right to do so?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    There may be certain people who fall on unfortunate times and are forced into begging for food, but its a very low percentage. Most use the money for other things like drugs and drink.

    The Jews used to leave a portion of crops in the field so the hungry didn’t suffer, likewise there are many charities today who provide food to the homeless. Most tend to be either alcoholics or drug-addicts, but the problem arises when those same people then take to the streets and beg for their next bottle of buckfast or wrap of heroine. Its the same with the Roma gypsies, they aren’t necessarily begging to survive, they’re begging to make money.

    Those who are drug and alcohol free and simply in an unfortunate situation should be given a roof over their head and provided with basic food. Those addicts/Gypsies who wish to work legally for a living and stop their begging should be given that same basic right, but should not be simply allowed to beg for their next fix. Those who refuse to work legally or begging for a fix should be sent in prison.

    While the Government fails to meet its duty on that part and continue to ignore the begging on the streets we in society will be forced to deal with the problem ourselves. sad, but true.

  • Greenflag

    Zoon Poltikon ,

    Newsflash from the ‘racist ‘ front .

    The church that had provided shelter for the Roma families who left their homes was damaged in an attack.

    The pastor of City Church, Malcolm Morgan, said ten windows had been smashed by stones, including leaded glass at the front of the building.

    The church has never been attacked before. Police are investigating the attack.

    According to BBC reports of the 100 Roma all apart from 14 are returning to Romania where they will again suffer discrimination but without the Belfast accent .

    ‘ I felt ashamed by not giving her some money but should I have given her money or not and if I did should I have also given money to the native beggar? ?’

    Two dishevelled beggars sat strategically located about 50 yards apart in New York’s financial district i.e Wall St . Each held up a placard . On one placard was written ‘Wounded War Veteran please help’. . On the other placard was written ‘ ‘Poor old Jew destroyed financially by stock market collapse,collectivised debt obligations and sub prime mortgage investments ‘

    His patch was closest to the street entrance and as people passed by they looked in disgust at the man and passed on . His box contained not a cent . Then they came to the ‘wounded veteran ‘ where most put their hands in their pockets and his box was almost full of coins and even dollar bills .A man walked past and paused briefly to throw a dollar bill into the war veteran’s box . As he came up to the poor Old Jew’s patch he stopped and looked at the placard , then at the empty box and then looking back to the veteran he said to the old jew .
    ‘I don’t mean to pry but if I were you I’d have a placard just like the veteran back there and it might improve your luck and then he passed on .

    As he passed out of earshot the old Jew started to laugh and then he shouted down to his business partner the ‘wounded’ veteran .

    ‘Eh Moshe these Goyim (gentiles ) still think they know more about marketing ‘;)

  • Good story Greenflag

    Good story Greenflag. Thought the wounded veteran was going to be a Nazi to be honest.

  • Ms Wiz

    Romanian families have started to leave Belfast. Shame complete.

  • Greenflag

    ‘was going to be a Nazi to be honest’

    Location location location . Once you start with Wall St you don’t have much options . I considered using a Scotsman or a mane Cavan bastard but somehow neither would have had the street cred as they say.

    As for the Nazis they never begged. Some not even for their lives at war’s end . Just goes to show you how some people are/were eh ? They had a more direct approach to stealing -usually with a large army in tow and the take was not removed in a cardboard box -whole countries and art collections take up a lot of shelf space and lebensraum.

  • Dave

    I think we should round up all the left/liberals and shoot ’em – and, let’s face, they’re merely a vocal minority, so it’d be a smallish mass grave. 😉

    I suspect that most of those who lament the departure of state-dependent immigrants are state-dependent themselves, whereas taxpayers will not lament the departure of what is no more than a drain upon their taxes and their labour. The irony in lefties touting uncontrolled immigration and the resultant state-dependency as a virtue is that, as Milton Friedman pointed out, “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state.” Still, muppet is as muppet does (to misquote Forrest Gump).

  • Brian MacAodh

    I read of a dying SS soldier in France in 1944. A british medic offered him blood plasma to help save his life, but the young SS soldier asked him if there was a jewish blood in it. The Brit replied, “I don’t know.”

    The soldier refused and subsequently died.

    Fanatacism (and the brainwashing of youth) is a scary thing.

  • Greenflag

    ms wiz ,

    ‘Romanian families have started to leave Belfast. Shame complete.’

    I make it approx the 30th anniversary of Belfast’s last pogrom 1969 when hundreds were driven from their homes in Belfast -reputedly at the time the biggest mass movement of people since the end of world war 2 .Perhaps the Roma were unaware of how the ‘native ‘ indigenes have long practiced the art of pogroming amongst themselves . Admittedly the Roma have lent an ‘international ‘ flavour to the current practice of intolerance in NI

    Yes it is shameful but it could have been much worse . Belfast now joins Limerick in the ‘annals’ of world ‘pogroms’ as being the only European cities to have committed ‘pogroms’ without anybody actually being killed ‘

  • Dave

    Speaking of Eurotrash, one of the EU’s most prominent europhiles (and leader of the Green Party) is also one of its most prominent paedophiles. Read this quote from Danny Cohn-Bendit’s book ‘La Grand Bazaar’ and ask yourself if you think it is appropriate to allow one nation (where paedophiles are elected) to make laws that another nation (where paedophiles would not be elected) must live by:

    “My permanent flirt with all the children quickly took on erotic forms. It happened to me several times that certain kids opened my fly and started to stroke me. I reacted differently according to circumstances, but their desire posed a problem for me. I asked them: ‘Why don’t you play together? Why have you chosen me, and not the other kids?’ But if they insisted, I caressed them still.”

    (Cohn-Bendit, Daniel: Le Grand Bazar, 1975, 191pp. P. Belfond , ISBN 2714430104, ISBN 978-2714430106)

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Brian MacAodh, you need to seek a different life

  • Ulsters my homeland

    what are you getting at Dave, are Nations crap?

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    ”I think we should round up all the left/liberals and shoot ‘em ‘

    Well you would :(. I’m sure you would also welcome the return of the ‘Weimar ‘ Republic with an impoverished middle class and millions of people unemployed . You quote Milton Friedman a man who now admits that the 1930’s depression could have been avoided or at least reduced in it’s disastrous social and economic consequences had the State taken decisive action earlier to restore credibility to the banking system. The same Milton Friedman and the neo conservative school of economists who sat idly by and watched the current mess in world financial markets develop and explode simply because that their ‘ideology’ said that the shadow banking unregulated sector could be trusted to regulate itself ? A bigger shower of gobshites you would’nt find on the backroads outside Mohill Co Leitrim !

    Madoff is in jail and the other arch con of international finance Stanford has been arrested . There must be at least a hundred of these mega financial thieves -graduates of the school of ‘free markets ‘ now either in jail or on their way there !

    Just as well they are in the USA and not Iceland where most of those ‘responsible ‘ for banking and financial fraud have gapped the island -the top 20 -30 families – for fear of their lives . In an interview on Icelandic TV one Icelander when asked what needed to be done replied ‘there is only one problem in Iceland and that is we don’t have enough trees to cut down the wood from which to build the gallows to hang these bastards from ‘

    As for ‘uncontrolled ‘ immigration ? Now when and where did that phenomenon start ? Let me see ? Could it have been started by the european powers sending it’s uniformed and ununiformed millions out to Africa and Asia and South America in the interest of the ‘free market’ ? Or was that having brought ‘civilisation’ to the duskier sections of humanity via the Empire of good intentions the ‘natives ‘ decided to thank their colonial masters by following them back to the ‘mother ‘ country in gratitude and to work for lower wages than the indolent natives ?

    Like it or not more Government intervention will become necessary just as it was in the 1930’s in the USA to avoid a total collapse of the economic system . Capitalism had to be saved from itself back then and it’s deja vu time again in 2009 ! We know how Germany handled the economic emisseration of it’s middle and lower middle class in the 1930’s . We know how Russian Tsars in difficult economic or political times used their absolute authority to deflect the anger of Russian serfs by pointing the blame for their poverty stricken condition not at the degenerate aristocracy but at cultural and religious minorities . What has happened in Belfast with the Roma is just more of the same albeit on a much smaller scale . Jim Crow is alive and well at least in parts of Belfast 🙁

    There are some 7 billion people on the planet and the belief that somehow the ‘free market ‘ will ensure that everybody gets four square meals a day and a roof over their head and a standard of living equal to present day USA/Ireland /UK is complete and utter tripe .

    Even a ‘capitalist ‘ like me can see that ;).

    Capitalism is ‘being ‘ reformed today just as it had to be in the 1930’s . Left to ‘reform ‘ itself in a nuclear armed world with billions of people’s lives at stake is tantamount to playing Russian roulette with 3 bullets in the six chambers and being required to pull the trigger ten times !

    Sooner rather than later that game will in defeat for the players . And then it’ll be scapegoat finding time -again 🙁

  • Greenflag

    Brian Mac Aodh

    ”Fanatacism (and the brainwashing of youth) is a scary thing.’

    There are scarier things . In the greater scheme of things a gang of teenage thugs is unlikely ever to do as much damage to society as what we have had visited upon us by the destructive war mongering bunch of neo conservative politicians and economists who have had their heads up their collective arses for most of the past generation:(

    jaysuz wept 🙁

  • otto

    “The irony in lefties touting uncontrolled immigration and the resultant state-dependency as a virtue is that, as Milton Friedman pointed out, “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state”

    You can if you only accept immigration from states which also have a welfare state.

    Do you think we need a pan-European welfare state Dave?

  • Brian MacAodh

    “Brian MacAodh, you need to seek a different life”

    I will get right on that

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Brian MacAodh, you need to seek a different life

    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Jun 23, 2009 @ 09:19 PM’

    Whys that UMH…because he reads?

  • Harry Flashman

    Are you serious Gari? You want to compare the history of freedom and democracy in Britain with those of western Europe and Japan?

    Seriously?

    What part of Franco, Mussolini, Hitler, Bonaparte, the Greek Colonels, Hirohito, Salazar etc compared with two hundred years of liberal parliamentary democracy would you like to discuss?

    And as to your assertion that the constitution of the United States has more connection with France than with the basic tenets of the Anglo-Scottish Enlightenment, well I can only say you’ve been reading the wrong history books mate.