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

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 →

The Narrow Minded Bigotry Doesn’t Come from Kevin Myers…

The Narrow Minded Bigotry Doesn’t Come from Kevin Myers…   Irish American News, September 2017     Well, of course, if there was any REAL Justice in this sad old world at all, then Irish journalist Kevin Myers would not only have been sacked from his position with the Sunday Times, he should have been strung up.  Hung from the highest tree, I tellz ye, after being chased down the street by all right-thinking, free-speaking folks waving lighted torches, brandishing pitchforks and dancing around like something straight out of Salem during the witch trials.  What he said was unforgivable, as you will know if you’ve been following the Saga of Ku Klutz Kevin and his dreadful, awful, utterly deplorable anti-Semitism. Except…wait; can I be a dissenting voice here for a minute?  May I go so far as to suggest that maybe Myers isn’t being pilloried simply for his supposedly outrageous comments?  That maybe… just maybe… this is a case of payback with a vengeance?  A lot of people don’t like Kevin, you see; and they have obviously been waiting in the long grass for just the right occasion to put the boot into him. The seventy-year-old Myers has been writing an opinion column since around the turn of the century – the previous century, it sometimes feels like.  Sometimes I agree with what he’s saying.  Sometimes I don’t.  And sometimes he actually makes me want to pull my own teeth out with a rusty pair of pliers.  But he’ll generally give you a different take on something and he’ll always make you think. His take on Irish history has often been called ‘revisionist’, for instance.  Now if you use the word ‘revisionist’ in terms of Western movies and sling in the names of Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah, you’re paying... Full Article →

Loveable, Laughing Leo and Empty Cant

Loveable, Laughing Leo and Empty Cant   Taken from the Chicago ‘Irish American News’ for August, 2017   I received a few nice emails on the back of last month’s piece, Robbery with a Fountain Pen.  They are always welcome and many thanks.  The graphic novel I mentioned was ‘Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads’ by Nick Hayes; and in it one of the things that came across for me was the way in which, despite the Depression, people mainly mixed well together. Also, Professor Dale Nelson of North Dakota sent on an essay he had written called Lovecraft’s Comfortable World; and there is a passage in it that resonated with me: “Conservative commentator John Derbyshire picked up the ‘old, weird America’ phrase when writing about the roots of Hank Williams’s experience.  Derbyshire describes ‘the old, weird America’ thus:  ‘a place where “multiculturalism” was not an empty cant phrase mouthed by social-engineering bureaucrats, but a daily reality of white, red, and black, hillbilly and Cajun, bluegrass and blues, all jostled together – bickering, fighting and oppressing, to be sure, but also working, drinking, singing and coupling.  That America has now gone forever, paved over with strip malls, industrial parks, community colleges and trimmed suburban gardens.  We gained a lot in the process, no doubt, but we lost something too.  We lost it, and it will never be seen again in life:  but the ghost of it is still there for anyone who seeks it, in the songs of Hank Williams’”. And also, I would suggest, in those of the great Woody Guthrie. *** *** *** Well, that’s that:  there will be no living with him now.  Yes, coming a few years after his predecessor Enda Kenny, our beloved new leader Leo Varadkar has only gone and gotten himself on... Full Article →