Thursday, November 13, 2008

No, I don't think Bobby Sands would like a chicken supper, actually

November 2 and Spring is in the air! Flowers and thoughts of a wide variety of situations involving Johnny Depp and a bottle of absinthe are abundant!

At least in our hemisphere.

In the Northern hemisphere, it is deep into autumn and winter is gathering momentum for its miserable assault. And few places ever seem as miserable as Belfast.

Which has always posed the question in my ever inquiring mind: what the fuck do the British want with that place anyway?

Sure, it is up there in the global stakes of quality wall mural art, but at least half of them are not exactly flattering to the British crown.

"Sure it says 'British scum fuck off' but check out the quality strokework involved."

But surely this is all ancient history, Comrade Sands? Wasn't there some kind of piece of paper signed about a decade ago that committed everyone to put down their guns and dance around in a giant circle of love chanting "oooommmm" while Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley handed out daisies to school kids?

Well, the lovefest hasn't been going to well of late, for the simple reason: The British ruling class are fucking bastards.

And, if there is one thing worse than the fucking British, it is a fucking wannabe Brit.

Ie: Ulster unionists.

The sharpest political analysis of this bizarre situation of a bunch of Irish people desperate to be British was provided by Ali G.

Ali G: Is you Irish?

Unionist politician: No, I'm British.

Ali G: So is you here on holiday?

I mean, who the fuck actually wants to be British?

At best, the Scottish and the Welsh sort of reluctantly tolerate the situation. The English really don't have much choice in the matter — and have you seen how miserable they look?

Why don't these loyalists in Northern Ireland want to be part of some cool nationality, like Jamaican?

Or, come to think of it, what about just being Irish, seeing as that is where they actually live.

Who the fuck doesn't want to be Irish?

Everyone loves the Irish — they drink all the time, sing rowdy songs and write great plays.

The Irish gave the world Guinness and St Patrick's Day parties. The English have given us cricket.

The Irish gave us The Pogues, the English presented us with James Blunt.

Even the best English musicians, like The Beatles or The Smiths, all have Irish heritage.

The Irish have produced brilliant writers and personalities, like Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Bernard Black.

True, the Irish also gave the world Bono, but there is always a wanker in any crowd.

I just don't fucking get it.

And the thing is, each to their own. Who am I to judge these people's weird English fetish?

But there is no need to impose being British on a fair chunk of a completely different nation. That is really just cruel.

Now, I know what you are thinking. That is all well and good comrade, but it is what a majority in Northern Ireland want.

Bullshit it is. It's called a gerrymander, or just plain fucking cheating.

You try to win a pool game with a trick like this one, you end up with a fucking cue in the face.

“No, that's right. You're on bigs so you start with seven balls, I am on smalls so I have three balls to sink. What do you mean, it's totally fair!”

Supposedly “majority loyalist” Ulster in the north has nine counties. To manufacture a majority of people who like to pretend to be British, the Northern Ireland statelet only took six Ulster counties. And even then, the British-freaks only have an outright majority in two of them.

To quote the ultimate source, John Lennon: "Well you claim to be a majority/you know that that's a lie/you're really a minority/in this sweet emerald isle.

(And while we are on the topic, how much fucking better is John Lennon's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" compared to U2's song of the same name?

"How loooong, hoooowwww looonnng must we sing this song?" I don't know, Bono, how about you shut the fuck up right now, you pointless, whining, arrogant piece of shit?)

The end of armed conflict was a good thing, but all the rhetoric aside, the Good Friday Agreement that involved getting together to chant oom and/or share power between unionists and Sinn Fein in the six counties that Britain seems so reluctant to just admit are actually in Ireland, could only have been a pretty basic compromise at best.

Why? The British ruling class, as I believe I mentioned earlier, are fucking bastards.

Which, after a long digression, brings me back to November 2.

The British government thought it would be just a wonderful idea to have a military parade through the streets of Belfast on this no doubt already quite miserable day.

You see, the Royal Irish Regiment had just returned from occupying Afghanistan and Iraq, and holding down the natives just like in the good ol' days - before all the savages got funny ideas about governing themselves. Hooray!

A good ol' military parade to celebrate a bit of "keeping the savages in their place"? Who could possibly complain?

Well, maybe the entire fucking nationalist community that suffered close to four decades of brutal military occupation by the British Army, including by the very regiment that was to hold a party on their streets.

The death toll of of the Nationalist and Catholic community at the hands of the occupying troops tops 400 people.

Bear in mind, this occurs after the formal end of British military occupation of the six counties.

My source in Belfast inform me there was no less than four separate protests on the day. (I can't reveal my source, but her code name is "Clancy-pants". And I can't recall having seen her sober.)

The largest protest was organised by Sinn Fein near the military parade. A peaceful demonstration, it was headed by family members of those murdered by British troops.

So, how did the loyalists respond?

Bottles, brioks and bigotted chants, while the police stand by.

And what is it with tough-guy bigots and baldness? What are they, scared of nits?

It isn't in the footage, but the loyalist mob also took to chanting the delightful ditty, "Would you like a chicken supper, Bobby Sands"?

Bobby Sands (no relation) was the first of ten republican prisoners in the concentration camp of Long Kesh to die on hunger strike in 1981.

Now my first thought was, naturally enough, "what a bunch of disgusting bigots".

But then I thought about it a bit more, and thought "no, give these people a chance. Don't just jump to the worst conclusion."

So I figured, well, I mean they are clearly not altogether bright, perhaps they simply haven't followed the news over the last 27-odd years. Perhaps they never heard Bobby Sands had died, or even about the hunger strike.

Maybe they thought he was still on the blanket protest in H-block and, in the interests of healing the wounds of the past, figured the offer of a decent feed would be seen as a token of good faith and a willingness to move forward, together.

Then I saw the bottles flying towards those whose family members were murdered.

No, just fucking bigots.

So below is my response. It is also for the Iraqi and Afghan people, who, last century, both drove the British Army out, only to see the fucking scum return, tagging along after the new Empire.

go on home, British soldiers, go on home. Have you got no fucking homes of your own?”



It appears I have been badly misguided.

This article from the British Daily Mail, that's the paper that supported fascism in the '30s, reveals the truth of the situation, headlined "Riot police called in as protestors led by Gerry Adams mob British soldiers during Ulster homecoming parade".

It is obvious what has happened. That video on Youtube of the march I naively posted is just some sort of fenian trick.

As always, the Daily Mail have it right, never trust the Irish.

Monday, November 03, 2008

'Drink motherfucker, drink!'; or an alternative way forward for the NSW Labor government

Nathan Rees is a desperate man.

For reasons entirely outside his control, he has somehow ended up premier of New South Wales. It must have come as quite a shock.

He got the gig because he is basically the last NSW Labor politician still standing who hasn't been been charged with corruption, assault or child sex offences.

Actually, there was a small number of others, but they are hated for attempting to force electricity privatisation on the state in the face of overwhelming opposition, including the NSW ALP's own state conference.

Then there is the trains, the schools, the hospitals, the push to privatise ferries, the selling of the state to developers, the refusal to pay essential service workers a decent wage and severe attacks on civil liberties.

All of which have created a crisis so deep for the Labor government, that they handed the reins to some guy no one had ever heard of in the vain hope we wont notice he is from the same gang as the rest of the bastards that have made our lives a nightmare since the mid '90s.

This government has only survived recent elections by running a campaign amounting to "But have you seen the opposition?"

Poor Premier Rees.

With Labor having copped unprecedented hidings in by-elections, how does he respond?

Naturally he goes after drinkers.

Premier Rees "could not believe what he saw on Sydney's streets when he headed home late on Saturday night after his Labor Government's thumping at the ballot box".


He said: "The exhibitions of public drunkenness that I saw were mind-boggling … it's getting silly, binge-drinking".

Oh dear.

The article, which reports that Rees is "known to enjoy a drink", notes that "not everyone involved in the debate was convinced by his sudden discovery of the issue of alcohol-related violence".

Gee, is that so? Could it really be a cynical manoeuvre by a desperate politician to jump on the latest moral hysteria bandwagon that costs nothing in a desperate attempt to save a rapidly sinking government?

Surely not.

Let's face it, Rees has to do something and its either bash binge drinking or fix the trains and schools.

No governments' AAA credit rating has ever been threatened by a press conference called to condemn excessive drinking. (If only because no one is ever going to heed a morality lecture from a member of the NSW Labor Party, thus ensuring the government's badly needed tax revenue from alcoholic beverages remains perfectly safe.)

Now, I have had my say on this question of binge drinking hysteria. I wont repeat myself here.

What I will say is this.

Premier Rees, you are wrong. The evidence is not on your side.

You may be satisfied with a few smug headlines for the cheapest of political stunts bashing the easiest of victims (drunks, who can't even stand up to fight back).

However, if you want to save your stinking government, you may want to consider a strategy reversal.

How about doing something radical and promoting policies aimed at increasing citizen's happiness?

I know that isn't the style of the NSW Labor government, believe me, I catch trains. But how about a clean break with the past? It's the only way you'll save your skin.

So here is my radical plan.

Instead of bashing drinkers, how about going out of your way to promote alcohol consumption?

That's right, a new study has shown that the happiest people are those that drink every day.

"The index, based on a survey of 2,000 Australians in April, found that those who drink up to three drinks a day are far happier than those who never drink.

"And the wellbeing of 18- to 25-year-olds - the key binge drinking demographic - remains high regardless of how many drinks they have."

The unhappiest? Apparently, "people who did not drink at all had the lowest wellbeing of all".

What a shock.

Now I would have thought this was pretty fucking obvious, but in this day and age, so low have we sunk, that it actually requires some poor bastard to go around with a clip board and ask people to discover the bleeding obvious.

Yes, shocking as it may sound to the crypto-prohibitionists in the government and media, people consume alcohol because it makes them happy.

If you really want to survive, Premier Rees, may I suggest a change of tact.

In the interests of our collective well-being, how about, rather than lectures on the evils of some newly discovered binge drinking culture, getting out there and touring the state's pubs and bars — sticking your head in each one and shouting "Drink motherfucker, drink motherfucker, drink!".

Or, perhaps for the higher class wine bars, jumping in to shout "Scull, scull, scull! Yeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!"

You could even invest in an advertising campaign to raise public awareness. I have a few suggested TV ads below, utilising some good ol' drinking shanties by the Poxy Boggards.

First up, and straight to the point, here is one whose central message is the apt "I'd rather have lager than life". And who wouldn't, with public services the way they are in this state?

"For life without liquor is to no avail/so bring me lager for life!" could be Rees's re-election slogan.

A second option is this one below, which hammers the crucial issue: "Bring us more beer!" This one has the advantage of its chorus featuring a long list of various types of beers that people can order, one after the other.

A third option (below) goes for the tried and tested "shock" option. Like those horrific smoking ads featuring blocked arteries and tarry sponges, it brings home to the average citizen the terrible consequences that face "That strange motherfucker who doesn't like beer".

Among other things, his own dad disowns him, his wife divorces him and his son changes his name. And why wouldn't they?

And finally, my personal favourite: "I wear no pants". I include this one if only because, as close observers of this blog will note, I often don't.

Such a re-election strategy beats the hell out of the now quite weary "But have you seen the opposition?"

Because the answer is we have. That's why we drink.