Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn

Recent Articles

Christmas Greetings from Bono, Bob & the Banks

Christmas Greetings from Bono, Bob & the Banks     Although written in mid-November, this is from the December 2017 issue of Chicago’s ‘Irish American News.’     They’re worse than ever they were, the bankers; worse than ever.  More arrogant; more brutal; certainly more divorced than ever from their customers. I personally think that a lot of it is that they were shown up as being no smarter than any of what they see as the peasants; and in most cases much, much less so.  On September 30th, 2008, the gutless Irish government bailed them out – under cover of darkness and with the Dail bar kept open until the small hours lest they become thirsty – and guaranteed through a bail-out the whole of their liabilities.  One would think that it would have put some manners on them.  After all, in theory we now owned the banks. What a laugh that was.  They kept their heads down for all of two minutes and then, when it was obvious that no one was going to be answerable, back they bounced with more of an iron fist than ever. The ‘tracker mortgage’ scandal goes on and on.  At the end of September of this year, some nine years after they made saps of us, Bank of Ireland have – under pressure, mind – come up with yet another 4,300 customers who were deliberately overcharged.  That is now 10,300 people who were harassed unrelentingly over a period of years. Harassed and hounded and chased until many had their spirits broken and many more lost their homes. And what do we get at the end of it?  We get Bank of Ireland telling us on November 9th that they will be writing to give those concerned ‘a range of options’. A range... Full Article →

The Anti-Irish Sentiments of H. P. Lovecraft

‘Criminals and Mongrel Wretches’: The Anti-Irish Sentiments of H. P. Lovecraft   From the Chicago ‘Irish American News’, November 2017     Well now, I’m not the better for that!  In fact, I’m almost sorry that I came across this correspondence from 1918/20. You see, I’ve been a lifelong devotee of the writings of Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 – 1937) of New England.  When I was a schoolboy in the 60s and 70s he was pretty much a fringe writer; but today, entire academic treatises are devoted to him.  Indeed, he is now regarded as an exponent of weird fiction on a par with fellow American Edgar Allan Poe.  To my mind he surpasses Poe, but that’s another day’s work.  And, although unknown to any but a handful of enthusiasts during his lifetime, from our vantage point his enormous influence on 20th and 21st century imagery simply can’t be denied, the word ‘Lovecraftian’ having entered the language and with even mainstream writers such as Joyce Carol Oates and Gore Vidal casually mentioning his work, with every expectation that his name will be recognised. His entire fictional output only added up to a little more than three volumes of short stories.  Yet it may happen that he will eventually be remembered by history for his tireless correspondence.  Leading Lovecraftian scholar S.T. Joshi gives a conservative estimate of his total output at 87,500 letters, out of which around 10,000 survive.  If they ever all see the light of day then this will amount to a staggering 100 volumes. (These weren’t short letters, either:  HPL could rabbit on for anything from a dozen pages to seventy.) The reality that I’ll never live to see the publication of them all used to be a source of regret to me; but after coming across a... Full Article →

Shearing the Sheep and the Blood Sacrifice

Shearing the Sheep and the Blood Sacrifice   Chicago’s Irish American News, October 2017   It’s probably just another sad example of my irredeemably perverse sense of humour, but one of the most amusing images I’ve come across recently is in a comic book where a panel depicts the Big Fella getting a kick in the goolies. I’ll get back to Michael Collins in a moment, though. As amusing as that is, I’ve been deriving almost as much enjoyment from the weasel-like behaviour of those who are rubbing their hands at the thought of getting back the money that they docilely and cravenly handed over to the now thoroughly discredited Irish Water.  Those of us who fought long and hard against the lunatic idea of paying for water more than once – and in a setup that would lead to the ultimate privatization of our water resources – can only smile as we watch those who denigrated us now falling over each other to be the first with the hand out. I’m not talking about people who were blackmailed into paying because they were in the process of selling their house; or the elderly who were terrified by threats from a swinish and unscrupulous government.  One example of that, by the by, was the contemptible (and unworkable) threat that their water supply would be ‘reduced to a trickle’, this being delivered by that thuggish lout, Phil Hogan – remember Phil, the minister for the environment who gave the managing director’s job to John Tierney?  And this of course would be the very same John Tierney who last year was paid a total of €655,000 in salary, severance and pension.  As always with politicians and their cronies it’s damned nice work if you can get it. Anyway… I’m speaking of people... Full Article →