Break For The Border…..

I’ve just read a mammoth thread over at Slugger, (almost 700 comments, no less), by a bloke named Choya which for me articulately lays out a considered, reasoned, pragmatic strategy of how unionism should respond to the debate regarding the Border Poll which increasingly is gaining traction and the poll itself, which is very likely possible in the near future.

Now, the interesting thing here for me is that according to Choya’s Slugger bio he’s a Fermanagh Orangeman and the reaction of ‘grassroots loyalism’ (this is normally a self proclaimed title for those ‘commentators’ with an internet connection and a Twitter account and who are ‘close to the thinking of loyalist paramilitaries’ but who have absolutely no mandate, electoral or otherwise), who have accused him at worst of of being a SF plant, a Republican agent provocateur, fifth columinist etc and at best general Lundyism:

Despite his identity being confirmed by a T.E. Lawerence who, judging by his prolific comments on SOT, is himself a hardline unionist:

Now, what gets me is that if these ‘grassroots loyalists’ don’t like their ideological entrenchment and sentimental hegemony being challenged from within their own community why not simply lay out a counter argument to Choya’s analysis rather than resorting to an attempted character assasination by argumentum ad Ignorantiam. It’s almost as if they are bereft of counter argument and are attempting to deflect by ad hom.

I mean, who do they think they are? Donald Trump?

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Saturday!

The fair weather continues…umm…fair, and I have a full and busy day before me, filled with babies and beer! By that, I mean that my (step) Grandson will be bubbling – both figuratively and literally – with us, and I, being practically ignored because of his presence, will have the evening off!

So, my plans are as follows:

1. Take the mutt for a good walk up in the glen

2. Pick up said (step) grandson

3. Be ignored by Herself, as she turns into loving pile of grandmotherly slush in presence of said (step) grandson

4. Buy beer

5. Consume beer

Sounds like a plan. Here’s some classic Irish rock to kick start it all. Has anyone any better plans, or do I win?

Smash it up

I see we received some criticism at the beginning of the week, for apparently ‘copying’ another site and posting a music video on a Friday night. Oh my.

There’s nothing wrong with posting music videos any night of the week but, as it’s Friday, and I’ve finished my paid work for the week (I just have all the un-paid, family-chores stuff to do now!), I’ll post a feckin’ video if I want!

It could be worse though. I could copy some more unsavoury habits: I could lie to you all, or just ban you for no reason!

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you have planned. Here’s the granddaddies of Punk, the Damned, with Smash it Up, Parts I & II.

Caveat Emptor

The DUP have expressed concern that the NI Protocol has “the potential to cause political instability.” They want the UK government to remove it. Jeffrey Donaldson, speaking during a parliamentary debate on the subject, said it was the “responsibility of the government to act”. He had stated that some of his constituents had already experienced problems with trade due to the Protocol. He added,

“In this centenary year, we expect the government to act and replace it with arrangements that respect NI’s place in the UK.”

Why? The fact that it is the centenary year of the formation of NI has absolutely nothing to do with the NI Protocol. In fact, the only connection between the NI Protocol and the formation of the NI State is that both have sparked threats of violence from within Unionism.

This is the problem – sorry – one of the problems with Brexit in the way it came about. Everyone was asked to vote for or against it, based on what? Nothing. Not a single thing was agreed or assured before the vote, except that the UK and all its constituent parts – whether they liked it or not – would remain within the EU, or leave. The DUP, despite the majority in NI being pro-Remain, voted to Leave. In fact, not only did they vote to leave: they actively campaigned in favour of it, and took money from the Tories. All this despite concerns voiced by their own constituents. The DUP saw only pound signs, and took their 30 pieces of silver.

And now that they have received their pay-off and got the result that money bought, they don’t like what it was they were paid for?

I would be tempted to just laugh at them. Unfortunately, many of us here remember the days when ‘political instability’ within Unionism could translate to an increase in funerals on both sides.

Bon Jour!

It’s early on Friday, 19th February, and my music is already sorted for the rest of the day. For on this day, back in 1980, Ronald Belford Scott took his leave of us. Ronald, better known as Bon, was born in Forfar, Scotland, but moved to Australia at a young age, where he eventually joined a wee band called AC/DC, and the world can never, ever be grateful enough for that.

Here’s Bon at his sleazy best: enjoy it as much as he obviously did 🙂

Rites and Wrongs

The speculation today is that the lockdown in force in Norn Iron is probably going to be extended for another while.

As frustrating as this is, it’s probably the best idea. We’re past the halfway point in February, one month away from what is, traditionally, one of the biggest days of celebration on the island of Ireland – St. Patrick’s Day – a day synonymous with socialising and, perhaps, a drink or two. Couple with the fact that Easter will be upon us shortly after that (4th April – I just checked 🙂 ), the big fear is that we could be looking at another wave of Covid cases come May/June.

If we extend the lockdown now, the hospitality industry could be looking at a careful re-opening around the same time, but if we screw that up by opening too early, then that’s the whole summer gone. Again.

As a parent, the biggest fear for me has been my son’s education. This was to have been his final Primary year; the year when he moved from primary school to ‘big’ school; the year he transitioned from boy to young man. Of course, these things will happen anyway. A virus can’t halt the passage of time. He will move to secondary school and he will continue to grow, physically, emotionally and mentally. To be honest, he’s a smart kid, and I have no doubt that he will catch up anywhere he has fallen behind.

But my annoyance is that he has been deprived of a rite of passage, a tradition his parents and all his siblings went through, when we all left that same school. My parents founded that school, and we all – every one of my immediate family – attended the school. I was so proud, the first day my youngest son – my Dad’s youngest grandchild – first walked through those gates.

It looks now like he may have walked out the gates for the last time as a pupil already, and we didn’t even know it. That’s something I’ll forever hate this virus for.

Poppycock(s)

It’s a bit early for a Poppy post, isn’t it? Apparently not. Apparently, intolerance is a year-round thing.

Brave men, women and, in some celebrated cases, children, from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales all fought in two World Wars, and for a variety of reasons: a sense of duty; a sense of patriotism; economic reasons; camaraderie – the list goes on.

Whatever the reasons these people fought and died for, you can be pretty sure none of them died so that a red flower, used as a symbol for their sacrifice, could also be used as the reason to kill a man and his entire family, by setting their house on fire.

Stoke City and Republic of Ireland footballer, James McClean, refuses to wear a shirt with a poppy embroidered on it, around Remembrance Sunday. For this, he has suffered years of abuse and threats. His wife, Erin, has now spoken out about the abuse and threats as well.

McClean’s refusal to wear a poppy stems from his Derry background and the role played by the British army on Bloody Sunday. He has stated that he would wear it, if it were restricted to remembering only those who fought and died in the two world wars. Despite the fact that the Royal British Legion oppose the forcing of anyone wearing the poppy, and despite support from other players, managers, the Professional Footballers’ Association, Stoke City FC, the Football Association of Ireland and even the Taoiseach, James McClean continues to receive abuse and death threats. At a time when the media spotlight is – once again – highlighting the racist and homophobic abuse aimed at professional footballers, is it not right that this abuse – 9 years and counting of it – also be tackled?

“And all around, the harp and crown
The crosses in the ground
Stand up in proof, the bitter truth
The waste of youth that lies forgotten”

If a man and his family can have their lives threatened for not wearing a flower, then that youth was most certainly wasted and forgotten, and that is a bitter truth.

Walking on the Beaches, Staring at the Impeachments

So, Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial begins. Trump’s defence team’s main, opening argument is that this impeachment is ‘un-Constitutional, and that Trump, as a private citizen, cannot be tried for anything he may or may not have done whilst serving as POTUS.

This, to me, seems to be even more un-Constitutional than their own argument, because they appear to be saying that, because he wasn’t tried when he was president, then he can’t be tried now. If this is the case, are they saying that a sitting president can commit whatever crime he wants while in office and, as long as he doesn’t get caught before the end of his term, he gets away with it?

If he had made his speech on January 6th as a private citizen, and five people had ended up dead, wouldn’t his involvement have still been investigated, and wouldn’t he still have faced the possibility of prosecution for incitement? The fact that he was then speaking as POTUS surely reinforces the severity of that charge, and there are people on record from the day, who said they stormed the Capitol Building because Donald Trump/ the President told them to.

Imagine if it had been Obama who had made that speech: the same people who are complaining about these actions being ‘un-Constitutional’ would be screaming for the death penalty at this point.

Just a wee quick word

Here – writing a blog is harder than you think! Ye have to, like, write stuff – all the time! Nobody told me I’d have to exert myself!

Seriously though: as we explained before, myself and my esteemed colleague are groping our way through the mire of blogging. We really don’t know much about this stuff, from the publisher’s side.

We both hold strong views on many, varied subjects. We both also enjoy voicing those views on various platforms.

But we’re also both just ordinary people. We have families and all the associated responsibilities. We both work full-time in the ‘real world’.

So if we’re a bit slow at the start with publishing posts, please forgive us both and understand that we are doing our best, doing something we don’t really know how to do!

Just to help us and inspire us, and let us know we’re not just typing bullshit into the empty void, could those people who are supporting us and watching this blog, just post a quick comment to let us know you’re there?

I promise, I’ll be posting more from next week onwards. Some of it might even be topical!

Thank you, lovely people 😊

That Friday Feeling

Haven’t been around much this week. Work has been busy. One of the more enjoyable things I do is edit a weekly show for one of our volunteers. He suffered a major stroke many years ago, leaving him partially paralysed and in a wheelchair. This didn’t stop him from broadcasting his weekly show. Every show is different, but with the same theme: Elvis Presley. He is a massive fan of the King of Rock ‘n Roll. So every Friday at 3pm, his Elvis show is broadcast. The only difference in these lockdown days is that the show is pre-recorded, rather than live.

So, for our very first music post on a Friday (not to be confused with any similar juke-box posts anywhere else 😉 ), here’s one of my favourite Elvis songs, re-mixed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as accompaniment. Enjoy. Feel free to share some favourite tunes of your own 🙂