Thursday, October 19, 2006
'The flag of Islam should be flown over the Dáil'
He also reiterated his belief that Muslim violence is justified in certain circumstances.
Mr Choudray stated:
"As a Muslim, I believe Islam is superior to every other way of life and that it can resolve all the social and economic problems that Ireland suffers from.
"And as a symbol of that, the flag of Islam should be flown over the Dáil.
"This is symbolic of the fact that all societies will be run better according to God’s law."
Choudray, a British-born lawyer, angered the Irish Government last year when, again speaking at Trinity College, he said that Ireland risked becoming a target for a 9/11 style attack because it allowed US war planes to refuel at Shannon Airport.
He was invited by the Philosophical Society at Trinity College to debate Islamic violence with other speakers.
Here's my thoughts on this - why on earth are Trinity College giving this guy a platform? His views are insulting and intolerable and should not be expressed. Is there any good reason whatsoever why this guy should be listened to?
If he wants to say these sick things let him say them elsewhere. He certainly shouldn't be brought over to the very country he is badmouthing!
I suppose some will say that it's good to debate these things with Choudray but does anyone thing debate is going to have an effect on him? Of course it won't. Here are some more examples of Choudray's views:
"One day the black flag of Islam will be flying over Downing Street."
Wow that sounds familar!
"Lands will not be liberated by individuals, but by an army. Eventually there'll have to be a Muslim army. It's just a matter of time before it happens."
Charming stuff no? Shame on Trinity College for inviting Choudray to speak - again.
Why give this man a platform?
Giving his thoughts on Muslim violence, Choudray said tonight:
"I think it is quite important that violence is defined and the Islamic context is presented because it is not as simple to say Muslims can never use any force or violence or fight to defend themselves.
"There is a context where Muslims have a right to defend their lives, their honour and their property."
Speaking on US military stopovers at Shannon Airport, he added:
"If US warplanes are using Irish soil, then Ireland is seen as aiding and abetting the war on so-called terror.
"Ireland says it has a position of neutrality but I don’t think it is seen that way in the Muslim world at all."
Yeah well I think most Muslims in this country are quite content with Ireland and that they will treat Choudray's remarks with the scorn they warrant.
I also look forward to seeing who Trinity College invite to future debates. Is Mullah Mohammed Omar available at all?
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The final horror
Apparently defeating the football giants of Latvia sees you climb 13 places. Whatever.
Lawrie Sanchez has been busy gloating to the media:
"When I took over the best part of three years ago we had not scored for 13 games in something like two years, and we had not won in 14 games."
"I said at the time the first thing was to score a goal, the next was to win a game and the third was to improve our world ranking from 124th.
"We scored in our first game, won our second, are now 45th in the rankings."
Wow move over Darren Clarke! This guy needs to win sports personality of the year! His team scored a goal! His team won a game! And...gasp...they moved ahead in the FIFA rankings (even though the rankings are a total farce anyway). What an achievement! Lawrie Sanchez is clearly a managerial genius!
This whole thing is farcical in another way too though. As my friend remarked to me today, "they're not even a country". Indeed. The whole thing is absurd really.
'Yes we're ahead of ACTUAL countries!'
Unsurprisingly, the bigots in NI's support base are orgasmic at this point. Here's a few gems from the Our Wee Cunt...erm, Country site:
"How about joint equal with the paddys, that would cause a bit of embarressment down there!"
Paddys? How hilarious is it that they call us paddys! I never knew that. What do they think they are? Jocks? 'Paddys' would be how the Brits would refer to them. How funny they are! Here's another one:
"Isnt it absolutely delightful that the beggars are now behind us!"
'Beggars'. Charming term for us isn't it? No wonder the rest of the world rewards the Irish team's supporters yet hates NI supporters. These are the same supporters who issue death threats to a guy just because he's a Catholic. The same people who used to abuse players for their religion. The "taigs". It's funny we're referred to as the beggars since there are tons of players born in the north who are begging to play for our team! A final gem:
"ONLY ONE TEAM IN IRELAND !!!!!!!!!!!!"
Yeah my friends from the North tell me the exact same thing when they come down to Lansdowne Road to watch the IRISH team play.
All this excitement over a non-event. After all, the mighty Mali are ranked 41 and Guinea are ranked 31! Do these countries even have stadiums or footballs for that matter? Have FIFA checked?
I personally can't wait until the proper Irish team regains its rightful place above these miserable NI clowns. I hope the Spanish absolutely stuff them!
Enjoy your moment while it lasts NI fans because it wont last for long. FIFA might think the world of you but the rest of the world knows you're abysmal and we would destroy you if our teams met one on one. Deal with it.
Oh and one more thing - I hold Staunton responsible for this debacle.
Monday, October 16, 2006
St Andrews through the looking glass
The political Cheshire cat himself Peter Hain, sporting the trademark grin, has been busy hyping up the recent talks involving the North's parties at St Andrews, Scotland, as an "astonishing breakthrough" and an "absolutely extraordinary achievement".
You see Alice, in Ireland's north, politicians behaving like adults instead of whingeing, petty children is astonishing and extraordinary.
Our very own Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair, have both been busy trying to keep the DUP and Sinn Féin happy and interestingly enough, Blair had to offer the DUP a last-ditch deal to prevent them taking their ball and going home. The concessions included Sinn Fein's acceptance that it could join a power-sharing government only if it signed up to policing and a promise to reverse the abolition of academic selection. Other concessions involved a cap on domestic rates in NI and the right of the Assembly to control the reform of local government.
Alice would welcome a tea party of course and she's in luck as potential first minister Dr Paisley (or the mad hater as I call him) and Gerry Adams are due to lead senior delegations to a meeting of the Assembly's Programme for Government committee tomorrow to agree priority issues for the Northern Executive - scheduled to be fully restored by March 2007.
'Wake up dormouse and tell us a story!'
Alice would be all too familiar with cards obviously and the key cards here involve policing for Sinn Féin and a commitment to power-sharing from the DUP. It seems to me however that there is a lot of political posturing going on at the minute. On the one hand you have the Shinners desperately trying to make out that their card - the policing issue - is a big deal. I don't believe it is because I think Sinn Féin will jump at the chance to support the PSNI if it means restoring the NI assembly. The DUP's card meanwhile - whether or not to share power with Sinn Féin - is another hokey, phoney debate. After all, they work with Sinn Féin on local councils. The reality is they are scared stiff of the two government's main card - a British-Irish "joint stewardship" scenario.
The whole thing strikes me as a load of hot air, spin and rhetoric. Alice would probably accuse me of smoking the caterpillar's hookah where I to tell her that I find myself agreeing with Reg Empey's take on the current situation as stated on the UUP's Party Talks blog:
"Sinn Fein will sign up to the PSNI being the only force of law and order and Ian Paisley or a colleague will share the joint office of First and Deputy First Minister with Martin McGuinness in a mandatory coalition.
"This is the Belfast Agreement for slow learners.
"What have the last 8 years of turmoil in unionism been about? A few minor operational tweaks here and there to the Agreement?"
Apparently so, Reg. I'm sure at this point if I were to ask Alice for her thoughts on the North's main parties she would borrow a line from the Queen of Hearts - "off with their heads!" but that might be a tad unfair.
It's important to acknowledge that this is an important time but I can't help but roll my eyes every time I hear the usual phrases - "extraordinary", "momentous", "groundbreaking", etc for these kinds of talks. I mean if we were to learn that Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams took a whizz together in one of the toilets in St Andrews it would be sold to us as a historic moment. Let's just calm down and be cautiously optimistic, folks.
It's worth keeping a close eye on things though. There's talk of a referendum to change the Irish constitution to implement some of the proposals talked about at St Andrews. That's something that makes me concerned as we all know what we had to do to our constitution the last time in order to placate the unionists.
I am going to reserve judgement for now until I see the whole picture. In this Lewis Carroll-type island of ours you never know what to expect.
I must admit though if a deal is reached, I'll be so shocked I shall feel like I'm in some fantastical dream. The DUP and Sinn Féin to finally start working together? Curiouser and curiouser...
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Let the aliens land. They might be here to pick me up...
Am I surprised? No question.
Am I disappointed? Without a doubt.
But as I sit here the main thing going through my mind is...
Just how stupid are the people of this country?
I'll let RTE explain:
There has been a big jump in support for Fianna Fáil, according to an opinion poll to be published in tomorrow's Irish Times.
The tns/MRBI poll shows that the current coalition parties have regained their lead over Fine Gael and Labour, despite recent controversies to hit the Government.
The poll, which was carried out on Monday and Tuesday, shows Fianna Fáil at 39%, an increase of 8 points since the last survey in May.
Fine Gael is down two to 26%, while Labour is down four to 11%. Sinn Féin are down one to 8%.
The PDs have gained one point to 4%, the Greens are also up one to 6%, while Independents are down three to 6%.
When voters were asked how satisfied they are with the party leaders, 53% said they were happy with the way Bertie Ahern is doing his job, an increase of one point since May.
In his first outing as party leader, Michael McDowell has a rating of 32%, which compares to the 34% Mary Harney got in May.
Enda Kenny is up two points at 42%.
What does Ahern HAVE TO DO before you people realise he's screwing you, huh? I'm starting to think this guy could walk down O'Connell Street, pull down his trousers and urinate on people and STILL get away with it without a drop in popularity.
The media would spin it as Ahern relaxing while out with the public and the mindless zombies that inhabit this country would lap it all up. I just don't get this shit, folks.
What is the fascination with this guy?
I'm definitely thinking Bertie has been involved in dodgy dealings. Matter of fact I think he's sold his soul to the devil in return for popularity levels that just cannot be tarnished. Apparently I'm immune to it. It's either due to my strong faith or my severe cynicism towards Irish political matters.
It would seem however I'm one of the lone voices screaming in the wind.
Only in Ireland could a corrupt politician screw the country and be honoured for it with a State funeral.
Only in Ireland could a politician come out of a scandal where he has lied to colleagues and compatriots alike with higher approval ratings.
Only in Ireland could a party which has wasted obscene amounts of money, overseen a massive decline in healthcare, been involved in numerous scandals and lied through their teeth be rewarded for it all with a surge in support.
Only in Ireland could an inexperienced individual be granted a top job, fail to live up to standards and yet be granted limitless time in said job.
Only in Ireland is mediocrity glorified and excellence ignored.
Only in Ireland.
My God, I'm living in a country full of morons.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Words on Wednesday...with Joan Burton
Taking my questions this week is Labour TD for Dublin West Joan Burton.
I'd like to thank Ms Burton for kindly agreeing to be interviewed. With that being said, let's begin:
What initially attracted you to political life?
I was actively involved in politics for a long time before I became a TD. I’ve always felt drawn to making a difference through political action. Politics for me is definitely about giving something back and about tackling inequalities, whether reducing poverty at home and in the wider world when I lived for 2 years in Africa, or tackling structural inequities such as unnecessary tax break’s that favour the wealthy.
You are a Labour TD for Dublin West. Talk us through a typical day in your life.
There really is no such thing as a typical day for me. As a politician, every day brings the unexpected. When the Dail is sitting I spend Monday, Friday and Saturday morning in the constituency and base myself in Leinster House Tuesday through Thursday, however meetings and emerging issues often require me to dash from constituency to the Dail and vice versa. A typical day in the Dail will involve a committee meeting (I sit on the Finance Committee and the Public Accounts Committee) which can often run to 3 and 4 hours, internal labour party meetings, meetings with lobby groups, attending Leaders Questions and possibly a Dail session of Finance Questions with the Minister for Finance. It’s impossible to describe a typical day in the constituency as the issues are constantly changing, but I try to meet as many people as possible while addressing issues with the Council and local groups.
With a General Election looming here in the Republic, are you confident your party will end up in Government?
I’m hopeful and working with confidence towards the election but it’s presumptive to say I’m confident we’ll end up in Government as it’s up to the voter to decide.
If you could change three things about Irish society, what would you change and why?
I don’t think we give the environment enough priority, it’s such a huge issue but it’s so terribly easy to ignore. A great change to see in Irish society would be a focus and awareness of the need to look after our environment and to plant more trees! I would also like to see a change in the balance between rich and poor in Irish society, I worry that we’re moving in the wrong direction, with an increasing wealth gap and that is something I’ve been trying to address with my campaign for fairer taxation, and the elimination of tax breaks that serve only to make the rich richer.
You are the Labour party's Finance Spokesperson. What do you make of this Government's record in relation to Finance?
The economy is in great shape, there’s no arguing with that. I do think it’s a great pity that the abundant wealth that the boom has created has not been effectively used to develop our infrastructure – they’ve really made a bags of the infrastructure.
What are your thoughts on the role of women in Irish politics?
I think it can be more difficult for women to succeed in politics than men and there is no doubt that the cliché of the "boys club" in politics has some truth to it. There’s so many reasons why there are less women involved in politics than men, the demanding lifestyle, family constraints etc but I would love to see more and more women getting involved at a constituency level, at County Council level and ultimately running for the Dail.
What should be done to improve the situation in Northern Ireland?
1. The full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. The hope and optimism of Good Friday 1998 has sadly dissipated over the last decade, to the extent that few people expect progress by November. However, the Agreement remains the best way for the North’s politicians to work together for the benefit of all.
In the short term, I believe that the DUP must show willingness to share power with the SDLP and Sinn Fein. They co-operate with them on councils and other local authorities across the North, so their insistence on not entering the Executive is hypocritical.
Also Sinn Fein must express their support for the PSNI and take their place on the Policing Board. In doing so it will be the clearest signal that criminality is at an end and that there is support for the rule of law among their community.
2. A co-ordinated, committed plan to address sectarianism. In my view sectarianism is the root cause of all the problems in the North. A situation has developed in the North whereby in an already bitterly divided society the two communities are moving ever further apart. This is being borne out in population shifts and the development of more and more marked territories, exclusive to only one side.
All parties and civic leaders must commit themselves to addressing sectarianism. The blueprint is there in the ‘Shared Future’ initiative. I just hope that people get a chance to implement it.
What are your thoughts on a United Ireland?
I support the concept of a united Ireland, and I think the social, economic, and political interests of all the people who live on this island would be best served in a unified state.
However I do not believe in coercion, and if a united Ireland is to come about it should only be through agreement. That is why the short term goal should remain the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, and that all our efforts should be concentrated on that.
What did you make of this year's military parade which marked the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising?
I thought the parade and subsequent commemorations reasserted the primacy of the Irish Army as the one true Oglaigh na hEireann. In the context of the ongoing existence of the IRA I think it is important to do so.
I thought the manner in which Fianna Fail used the occasion for partisan political gain a little opportunistic.
With regards to your own Dublin West constituency, things were pretty tight in the last General Election where you narrowly pipped Fine Gael's Sheila Terry to a Dáil seat. Are you expecting another tough battle in that constituency at the next General Election?
Yes, it’s a 3 seater and very tight, but I’m working hard.
What are your thoughts on the current conflict in Iraq and Ireland's position?
The war is wrong – the greatest mistake of US foreign policy. The whole situation is such a terrible tragedy, and so many lives have been wrecked by this war. I feel strongly that the government took the wrong position, they have been weak on this issue by refusing to take a stand on Shannon Airport when they should have stood up for human rights.
One of the issues you have taken an active interest in is in relation to crime. What needs to be done to tackle crime more effectively in this country?
Community Policing is definitely the key. Our citizens don’t feel safe and detection rates are falling. Eighty-five per cent of burglaries, 65 per cent of thefts and 62 per cent of robberies, go undetected. And of the 75 killings where guns are used, between 1998 and 2004, only 12 convictions have been registered. We need a dedicated core of Community Gardai, that are based in the Community and know residents on a first name basis to address the spiralling crime rates that are blighting many communities in Ireland.
Where should Ireland be twenty years from now?
Modern, Prosperous, Humane, Generous, Cultured.
I've been reading your website and unlike lots of other Irish politicians, you take it seriously and update it regularly. Do you think websites and blogs can come to play an important role in politics here, as has happened in the US?
Yes, but as you know keeping it up to date is hard work, but people in Dublin West seem to like the fast contact it gives them. A lot of the traditional queries now come to me by email as opposed to clinics. I try to read everything within 24 hours. During the coming Dail session I am adding a Leinster House blog to my website with reports on the debates and tensions as the Election gets closer.
What would you say to anyone reading now who isn't sure who to vote for in the next General Election?
If you vote Labour and we are in government we will make a difference. If you want to step on a metro within your lifetime, vote Labour.
Finally, I'd like to play a small round of word association. I'm sure you know what it entails. Basically just outline what word comes into your head when you hear the following names:
Bertie Ahern - Corrie - He’s a political soap!
Enda Kenny - Pleasant
George W. Bush - Texas Rangers
Gerry Adams - Uncle Andy
Ian Paisley - Bluster
Mary McAleese - Star of the County Down
Pat Rabbitte - Leaders Questions
Brian Cowen - Bull
James Connolly - Labour
Joan Burton - Tough
Information on future interviews will be posted at a later date. Be sure to keep clicking in to United Irelander for a firsthand look at Irish political life.
Previous interviews can be read here.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
In memory of Paul Hunter
The three-time Masters champion from Leeds was diagnosed with dozens of neuro endocrine tumours on the lining of his stomach in March 2005. He would have been 28 on Saturday.
He leaves a wife, Lindsey, and a daughter, Evie Rose, who was born on Boxing Day of last year.
Despite chemotherapy treatment, Hunter continued to compete professionally but won only one match last season and fell from fifth to 34th in the rankings.
Many snooker players have paid tribute to Hunter with Ireland's Ken Doherty labelling him one of snooker's "greatest characters":
"It's a very sad day, not only for snooker but also for the sporting world."
"We've lost a great character, champion and a great friend. It's a shocking loss.
"He had everything, the world at his feet, and it's such a shame. He was one of our characters and a fantastic player.
"Words can't explain what his family must be going through and they are all in our minds and our prayers."
I echo Ken Doherty's comments. I was absolutely gobsmacked when I read about this on teletext last night. I am a big snooker fan and have watched Paul Hunter numerous times. He will be missed.
It's tragic to see someone so young die from this horrible disease. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and young child.
I hope that the snooker world honours him in a proper way. Perhaps they could name a trophy after him and it would be fitting too I feel if the players who participate in the next major snooker final donate some, if not all, their winnings to the family of Paul Hunter as well as to Cancer Research UK.
Monday, October 09, 2006
The British - AND IRISH - Isles
"Congratulations to the publisher Folens for terminating the practice of describing the Ireland/UK area as the ‘British Isles’.
"The term is not an innocent geographic label and is used for sinister purposes by extreme nationalist and racist groups in the UK.
"Its use incites anti-Irish sentiment leading to attacks on Catholics in many deprived areas of the UK.
"How about calling the archipelago the ‘West Euros’. It is accurate, simple, modern, short and neutral with no pejorative connotations. Like the West Indies, it could become a term for a diverse area and make all our conversations in cross-cultural situations in UK/Ireland less prone to embarrassment."
John Murphy, Co Louth
I agree 100 per cent with Mr Murphy. I mean is there any geographical term around right now more inaccurate and insensitive than the term 'British Isles'? Well, besides 'Londonderry'? I think not.
I abhor the 'British Isles' term as it ignores proper geographical and political realities and offers no consideration for the people who inhabit this island.
There is an island called Britain and an island called Ireland. If an alien were to land on this planet and be told that the two islands collectively are called 'the British Isles' I'm sure our intergalactic friend would be most perplexed and who can blame him/it?
Hey Brits, this ain't Britain
I've yet to hear a good case be made for the retention of this archaic term. Let's also remember that in rugby, the team formerly known as the 'British Lions' were renamed the 'British and Irish Lions'. Presumably this was done to rectify the unfair situation where the Irishness of the team was overlooked!
So why is it OK to overlook the Irishness of these islands as a whole? I don't mind what term gets used for this part of the world. Hell, the 'British and Irish Isles' would be fine with me. I just want parity of esteem. I just want equality.
I don't find it acceptable that this island's occupants are being heaped in with the occupants of another island.
I live in IRELAND not BRITAIN. Well done to Folens for restoring some dignity to the Irish people.
Maybe one day the British people will do likewise...
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Ireland humiliated by Cyprus
Though it was 2-2 at half-time, in the second half the boys in green (or should I say schoolboys) were outplayed, outclassed and shown to be completely out of their depth. We didn't even get a shot on goal in one of the most shambolic defensive displays you will ever see in international football.
Make no mistake about it this is an insult to this country. It is worse than 1995's infamous 0-0 draw with European minnows Liechtenstein. This result is a slap in the face for all our supporters and I sympathise greatly with the fans who travelled to Nicosia to watch that abomination.
On TV3 the commentator stated that the result would raise huge question marks over the side. Surely the biggest question mark of all is - why the bloody hell is Steve Staunton the manager? And before anyone tries to defend the droner from Drogheda, remember HE is the guy who picks the team, HE is the guy responsible for motivating the players and HE is the guy entrusted with organising the defence. I say therefore that it's the manager who must be held accountable for this fiasco.
Return to the circus you clown
To make matters worse, Richard Dunne, the best defender of a diabolical bunch, is missing from Wednesday's game after getting sent off today. Who are we playing on Wednesday again? Oh yeah that's right - the Czech Republic. How did they today you ask? Well, they hammered San Marino 7-0. Wow I can't wait for Wednesday!
So now with two games gone Ireland have no points and it seems we are destined to miss out on yet ANOTHER football tournament.
The way I see it, this situation is exactly the same as the one we were in for the qualifying stages of the European Championships in 2004. We ended up losing our opening two games away from home and Mick McCarthy was sacked. Now Steve Staunton must meet with the same fate if we are to have any hope of salvaging something from this group. Maybe we could still salvage some national honour.
Steve Staunton has talked about "building for the future" but do Irish fans really want the future of football in this country placed in his hands? Because I sure don't.
Sack Staunton immediately!
Friday, October 06, 2006
Unveiling the madness
Seriously Muslims, when a guy like me who is primarily fascinated with the tedium that is Irish politics starts to get fed up, something is definitely not right.
For those of you unaware, British Cabinet Minister Jack Straw has faced a backlash from members of the Muslim community after he stated he would prefer Muslim women not to wear veils which cover their face.
The Commons leader said he did not want to be "prescriptive" but he believed that covering people's faces could make community relations more difficult.
Mr Straw has said he asks Muslim women at his Blackburn constituency surgeries if they would mind removing veils.
While some Muslims have said they understand his concerns, others have gone positively bonkers. For instance, the Islamic Human Rights Commission called Mr Straw's views "astonishing" and accused him of discrimination. Seriously. Meanwhile the Protect-Hijab organisation said the "appalling" comments showed "a deep lack of understanding".
Notice again a situation where the typical buzz words get thrown about as opposed to the actual issue at hand being discussed. "Discrimination" now is it? Yeah sure pal. Usually you can be sure the 'R' word will be closely behind - 'racism'. You wonder if you should laugh or cry at this load of nonsense!
Not sure how she feels about it...
Here's my thoughts on this matter - let people wear what they want. I've seen plenty of Muslim women around Dublin wearing these full-length veils and I scarcely give it a second thought. With regard to dealing with Muslim women on a one-to-one basis, I can understand wanting to speak face to face so I don't see a problem in Mr Straw asking for women to remove their veils. Ultimately it would still be up to them if they do or not.
As an aside, I do find it interesting that while there have been calls in Britain for youths to stop wearing hoodies in supermarkets since they obstruct CCTV cameras, there doesn't seem to be any calls, most likely due to petrified politically correct politicians, concerning asking Muslim women to remove their face-covering clothes. Fancy that!
What really irks me about this issue though is the simple fact that it has become an issue. Why? Why is this a big deal? I heard about this story maybe a day or two ago and I was convinced that nothing more would come of it. I mean come on, surely Muslims aren't going to get upset over THIS? But no. I was wrong. Yet another thing for Muslims to get their knickers, veils, or whatever in a twist.
Utter madness. With the way Muslims carry on in Britain these days you'd think they were suffering immense oppression there. If things are so bad in their eyes why don't they go live in a Muslim country?
I'm sick and tired of this Muslimania. Next week's groundbreaking story - John Prescott gets into trouble when he tries to persuade a Muslim man to go for a drink with him. Chaos ensues (sigh).
I think the media have a lot to answer for here. They are the ones who continue to stir this stuff up. Let's get back to having the news be about key issues of importance rather than this sort of over-the-top, shallow stupidity.
What Muslims need to cover up more than anything else is their hysterical hostility towards every single bit of criticism that comes their way.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Will the DUP move on?
The report has been widely welcomed. NI's Chief Constable Hugh Orde has stated he "broadly accepts" the latest report on IRA activity. British PM Tony Blair hailed it as evidence that the campaign by the Provos was over while Secretary of State Peter Hain heralded it as "seismic", "historic", "irreversible", "fantastic" and "excellent". Taoiseach and loan collector Bertie Ahern regarded it as "clear-cut" proof the IRA was following through on its pledge to abandon violence.
Still, one man is not yet convinced. Guess who? Yep, that's right - Ian Paisley. Dr pessimist is now seeking talks with the IMC to ascertain if the measures taken by the IRA are "permanent and irreversible".
Geez, it's almost as if he DOESN'T want the IRA campaign to be over. But that can't be it right?
'Shit, thoy wor serioushhh'
I think it's pretty clear to even the most cynical of cynics (bar the nut above) that the Provisional IRA's campaign is long over. My own feeling is that the campaign was finished for good on September 11th, 2001. From that point on their terrorist activity was not going to be ignored or tolerated any longer. Time has moved on. They have moved on. In fact, pretty much all of us have moved on with the exception of...Ian Paisley.
Yes this dinosaur sadly persists in growling out his absurdities when most of us just want to see the people of the North move on and achieve a standard of living on a par with ourselves south of the border and the British across the water.
This tired old fool of unionism however yearns for the dark old days of the past. Well I think it's time that he was made move on with everybody else.
It's been a long time since I've done a poll here on United Irelander so I've added one on my sidebar which asks:
Will the DUP move on and work to restore the North's institutions?
Please take the time to vote. My own view is that the DUP will not work to restore devolution. They are too negative, too hostile and too backward to accept the fresh opportunity that awaits the people of the North. Instead they will continue to delay and stall and keep the people of NI in the stranglehold of sectarianism.
It's a shame and a great pity but it's what the DUP are all about.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Another gun death in America
The latest carnage happened in an Amish school in Pennsylvania. I won't go into the details of this unbelievably grisly and barbaric murder.
What I will do is point out that last Wednesday in the US a 16-year-old girl died when an armed man, who also killed himself, took six students hostage at a Colorado high school.
As well as that, on Friday, a head teacher at a high school in Wisconsin was killed when he confronted an armed 15-year-old student as he entered the school.
I know that some Americans read this blog so I'd like to hear their thoughts on all this. I just can't figure out this American fascination with owning what are essentially tools for murder.
Let's face it, every society has nutcases and I can't figure out why a society would give said nutcases a constitutional right to own firearms.
Let me use the example of nuclear weapons. The United States has always worked diligently to combat the proliferation of nuclear weapons and still does to this day with regard to Iran and North Korea. The US however is one of the countries on this planet to own a nuclear weapon. Now presumably the argument for retaining this weapon is the same as the argument held by those who are pro-gun in the US - for protection right?
So why not allow all states on this planet the chance to possess a nuclear weapon? For protection?
Well, I'm guessing it's because the US knows that some states simply cannot be trusted to possess this weapon.
So that leads me to ask, why does the US trust each one of its citizens to possess a weapon?
If the USA were to adopt the no-nonsense approach towards gun ownership in their own country that they currently adopt towards nuclear weapons in the world, I firmly believe that the number of deaths in the United States would drop dramatically.
Guns aren't toys. They are tools for killing and I don't believe citizens should have the right to have them in their homes.
"Like, I was over in England. You ever been to England, anyone, been to England? No one has handguns in England, not even the cops. True or false? True. Now in England last year, they had fourteen deaths from handguns. Fourteen. Now the United States, and I think you know how we feel about handguns, woooo I'm getting a warm tingly feeling just saying the fucking word, to be honest with you. I swear to you, I am hard. Twenty-three thousand deaths from handguns. Now let's go through those numbers again, because they're a little baffling at first glance. England, where no one has guns, fourteen deaths. United States, and I think you know how we feel about guns woooo I'm getting a stiffy - twenty-three thousand deaths from handguns.
"But there's no connection, and you'd be a fool and a Communist to make one. There's no connection between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and not having a gun and not shooting someone. There have been studies made and there is no connection at all there." - Bill Hicks - an American.
© 2008 United Irelander.