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offsite link Top Climate Scientist Slams ?Goebellian? Climate Alarm and ?Ridiculous? Attempts to Demonise ?Fertil... Wed Sep 28, 2022 18:41 | Chris Morrison
MIT atmospheric scientist Prof Richard Lindzen says doubling CO2 only produces 1°C of warming and it's ridiculous to demonise a trace gas whose main role is as a fertiliser for plants.
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offsite link Vaccination Increases Infection Risk by 44%, Oxford Study Finds Wed Sep 28, 2022 17:00 | Will Jones
Two doses of COVID-19 vaccine make you 44% more likely to be infected, a study from Oxford University on English data for 2021 has found, contradicting the basis of global vaccine policy.
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offsite link Who Sabotaged the Nord Stream Pipelines? Wed Sep 28, 2022 15:17 | Noah Carl
Who sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines? There are four prime suspects: Russia, the U.S., Poland and Ukraine. We consider the evidence for and against each country having done it.
The post Who Sabotaged the Nord Stream Pipelines? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Virgin Atlantic Allows Male Airline Crew to Wear Skirts to ?Express True Identity? Wed Sep 28, 2022 12:28 | Will Jones
Virgin Atlantic is allowing male cabin crew and pilots to wear skirts and women to wear men's suits so staff can ?express their true identity? at work.
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offsite link Liz Truss?s Net Zero ?Review? to be Led by Creator of Current Policy Wed Sep 28, 2022 07:00 | Dr John Fernley
Liz Truss has appointed to conduct a 'review' of Net Zero policy she promised during the leadership campaign one of the people, Chris Skidmore, who created the current policy, indicating no plans for change.
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Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan Department of Health secretary general Robert Watt recently committed several millions of taxpayer’s money to fund the secondment of Dr. Tony Holohan to Trinity College Dublin. Mr. Watt had no authority to commit such public funds without the knowledge and permission of the Minister of Health. I have submitted the following formal … Continue reading "Formal complaint against Robert Watt"

By Anthony Sheridan

Department of Health secretary general Robert Watt recently committed several millions of taxpayer’s money to fund the secondment of Dr. Tony Holohan to Trinity College Dublin.

Mr. Watt had no authority to commit such public funds without the knowledge and permission of the Minister of Health.

I have submitted the following formal complaint to the Standards in Office Commission [SIPO] in response to Mr. Watt’s actions.

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find a formal complaint against the Secretary General of the Department of Health, Robert Watt, submitted under the Civil Service Code [The Code] of Standards and Behaviour.

I believe Mr. Watt is in breach of  several sections of the above standards and requirements as set out in the Code.

This complaint is based on evidence taken from Mr. Watt?s Briefing Note and his letter of intent to Professor Linda Doyle of Trinity College Dublin. 

This complaint is divided into two parts.

Complaint – Part One

The drafting and sending of the letter of intent by Mr. Watt to Professor Linda Doyle of TCD.  Mr. Watt was in breach of his duties and responsibilities on two counts regarding this letter.

One:  He did not possess the authority to write such a letter without the knowledge and permission of the minister.

Two: He did not possess the authority to offer a contract to TCD that involved a potential cost to the state of several millions. In his briefing note Mr. Watt defends his actions by claiming that the final details regarding Mr. Holohan?s secondment were not finalised. 

This defence does not stand up.  Whether or not the final details were agreed is irrelevant.  

It is the act itself of drawing up the letter and sending it to Professor Doyle for signature that constitutes Mr. Watts breach of the code under section 11. Regard for state resources [11.1] [11.2]

11.1 Civil servants should endeavour to ensure the proper, effective, and efficient use of public money.

11.2 Civil servants are required to: ? take proper and reasonable care of public funds and departmental property and not to use them, or permit their use, for unauthorised purposes; ? incur no liability on the part of their employer without proper authorisation and ? ensure that expenses, such as travel and subsistence payments, are not unnecessarily incurred either by themselves or by staff reporting to them.

Complaint – Part Two

In his Briefing Note Mr. Watt, in an obvious attempt to spread responsibility for his own decisions and actions, dishonestly implicates other agencies and individuals in those decisions.

Two examples:

[1] He promised an allocation of ?2 million for the duration of Mr. Holohan?s secondment to be administered through the Health Research Board [HRB].  The HRB have made it absolutely clear that they were neither informed nor consulted in regard to this decision.  Whether or not the HRB would have administered Dr. Holohan?s salary is irrelevant in the context of this complaint. 

What is relevant is that Mr. Watt failed in his responsibility to inform or consult with the HRB on a decision that would have had a serious impact on the obligations and resources of that organisation. 

Furthermore, Mr. Watt’s failure to inform or consult with the management of the HRB regarding his decision demonstrates a serious lack of respect and consideration for his civil service colleagues.

[2] Mr. Watt strongly suggests that the Secretary to the Government, Martin Fraser, the Taoiseach and other members of the Government were aware of the proposed secondment.

Mr. Watt writes:

The Secretary to the Government was aware of the proposed secondment move (but not of course the precise details) and I understood that the fact of discussions regarding the CMO?s future plans were known in the Department of An Taoiseach. I assumed that key decision-makers were aware of the proposal but of course not the precise details. [Source: Robert Watt?s Briefing Note: Other Matters [5].

The facts are:  The Taoiseach has made it crystal clear that he had ?no hand, act or part? in the plans surrounding Dr. Holohan?s secondment. 

Similarly, no other government minister had any knowledge whatsoever of the details as drawn up by Mr. Watt and Dr. Holohan and agreed to by the provost of TCD, Linda Doyle. Mr. Fraser and Mr. Watt?s boss, the Minister for Health, were given only the vaguest details of what was planned. 

Mr. Watt’s use of terms such as ?I understood that? and ?I assumed that?, in mitigation of his actions are not credible coming from a public official of his rank, power and responsibilities.

I believe that Mr. Watts’ decisions and actions in respect of the above are in breach of Part 2 [4] [Impartiality] [paragraphs [a] [b] and [c] of the Code.

Civil servants in the performance of their official duties: 

(a) must conscientiously serve the duly elected Government of the day, the other institutions of State and the public; 

(b) must advise and implement policy impartially and, in particular, be conscious of the need to maintain the independence necessary to give any future Minister or Government confidence in their integrity and 

(c) should not display partiality whether as a result of personal or family ties or otherwise.

Yours etc.,

Anthony Sheridan

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan I have submitted the following complaint to RTE regarding the broadcaster’s disgraceful and disturbing bias against Sinn Fein. To Whom It May Concern: Please find complaint submitted for breach of Section 39 [1] [a], [b] of the Broadcasting Act 2009. Substance of complaint:  RTE News and Current Affairs is heavily biased against … Continue reading "RTE bias complaint"

By Anthony Sheridan

I have submitted the following complaint to RTE regarding the broadcaster’s disgraceful and disturbing bias against Sinn Fein.

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find complaint submitted for breach of Section 39 [1] [a], [b] of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

Substance of complaint:  RTE News and Current Affairs is heavily biased against Sinn Fein.

This bias takes several forms, for example:

Stacked discussion panels where Sinn Fein representatives/supporters are ambushed not just by opponents of Sinn Fein, but invariably, by RTE presenters.

The creation of fake news stories which generate a damaging impression of Sinn Fein.

Minimising or completely ignoring stories that favour Sinn Fein, for example, good poll ratings.

Giving precedence to those opposed to [and fearful of] Sinn Fein?s electoral success particularly the centre parties in the republic and unionism in the North.

The following is an example of the creation of a fake news story that was then used to ambush Sinn Fein representatives.

During an interview with the Irish Examiner [5 Jan 2022] Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald expressed the following view regarding reform within the civil service

There is immense talent in our civil service, our public service, and our public administration, that’s the first thing that needs to be said.  But we have, in many respects, a system that is constipated, a system that is slow, and a system that needs to be jolted into more efficient actions.

This is a perfectly legitimate and reasonable comment for a politician to make. Nobody can seriously deny that the civil service is in need of radical reform.  It is in no way a major story that would warrant further coverage and comment from a national broadcaster such as RTE.   

But somebody of authority within RTE, ignoring the positive elements of the comment,  made a decision to select one word, ?constipation?, and weaponise it to cast Sinn Fein in a bad light ? For example:

Today with Claire Byrne [7 Jan] – Ms. Byrne upbraided Sinn Fein TD Louise O?Reilly for the potential offence caused by use of the word. She [Byrne] then invited the [stacked] panel for their opinion, all of which, predictably, condemned Sinn Fein. 

News at One [10 Jan] Bryan Dobson, ignoring Ms. McDonald?s reasonable account, repeatedly badgered her with the question ? Do you stand over those remarks?

My specific complaint against RTE is as follows:

On Friday May 20 last,  An Taoiseach Michael Martin travelled to Belfast for talks with all political parties concerning the crisis surrounding the refusal of the Democratic Unionist Party [DUP] to partake in the newly elected Assembly.

The dramatic result of the election saw Sinn Fein become the largest party in the North, a truly historic moment in the history of the province.  The Sinn Fein victory was, at least partly, the reason the DUP refused to participate in the new assembly leading to the crisis that saw An Taoiseach travel to Belfast.

Despite the central and important role played by Sinn Fein in these developments, somebody of authority in RTE decided to severely restrict the party?s access to the airwaves over the three days the story remained live.

Friday 20 May

Morning Ireland – RTE journalist interviewed by RTE journalist on the issue. No Sinn Fein [27 MLAs].

Today with Claire Byrne ? No Sinn Fein [27 MLAs].

News at One ? No Sinn Fein [27 MLAs]. The programme featured much analysis and opinion with An Taoiseach, Jeffery Donaldson of the DUP [25 MLAs] and Doug Beatty of the Ulster Unionist Party [UUP] [9 MLAs].

Drivetime – No Sinn Fein [27 MLAs]. Programme featured An Taoiseach, a journalist and an interview with the leader of the SDLP [8 MLAs]

Six One News – No Sinn Fein [27 MLAs]. Programme featured DUP leader Jeffery Donaldson and An Taoiseach

Nine News ? Ditto for Six One News – No Sinn Fein

Saturday 21 May

Saturday with Philip Boucher-Hayes

DUP MLA Gregory Campbell facilitated with an 8 minute uninterrupted interview.

This was followed by a brief interchange with the panel which included SF TD Darren O?Rourke.

The last word was granted to Campbell in a two minute, uninterrupted, summing up of his party?s position.

Sunday 22 May

Brendan O?Connor Show – The issue completely ignored.

This Week – Extended interview with Bertie Ahern – No Sinn Fein

The Week in Politics Relatively brief chat with panel of politicians including Sinn Fein TD Louise O?Reilly.

It is reasonable to conclude from the facts outlined above that Sinn Fein was deliberately excluded particularly on Friday 20 May when the issue was the main news story of the day. 

It is also reasonable to conclude that the exclusion of the party was not accidental or due to incompetence.  Preparations for such programmes are carefully planned, meetings are held with presenters, producers and other decision makers.  Decisions are made about content, questions/issues to be explored and what person[s] parties should be included.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Sheridan

offsite link
Anthony
Junk journalism attack on Sinn Fein spreads to Europe By Anthony Sheridan On Monday 25 April last, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald, filed a writ against RTE in response to comments made by an RTE presenter on Morning Ireland. This is a newsworthy story because it involves the leader of the Opposition and the … Continue reading ""

Junk journalism attack on Sinn Fein spreads to Europe

By Anthony Sheridan

On Monday 25 April last, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald, filed a writ against RTE in response to comments made by an RTE presenter on Morning Ireland.

This is a newsworthy story because it involves the leader of the Opposition and the national broadcaster but it is a single issue story ? prominent politician sues national broadcaster. 

But Irish Times political editor Pat Leahy did not report it as such.  Instead, he effectively created a fake news story around the core facts.

Without evidence he strongly suggested that Sinn Fein was operating a policy of encouraging its members to pursue media outlets in the courts.  The trend is unmistakable, he writes.

Later, in a disgraceful example of junk journalism, he went on to suggest, again without evidence, why Sinn Fein was operating such a policy. 

Sinn Féin?s political opponents ? and many people in the media ? see all this as part of a strategy to muzzle criticism of the party by trying to generate a ?chilling effect? to dissuade opponents and the media from robust criticism and investigation of the party, its members and its controversial history.

If so, it is a tactic often used by powerful people and institutions to discourage scrutiny.

The next day, this junk journalism was parroted in an Irish Examiner editorial. [owned by the Irish Times].  The anonymous author patronisingly suggested that perhaps it would be best if the electorate were informed of this ?belligerency? by Sinn Fein.

This kind of low grade journalism is now common throughout the establishment media particularly when it comes to Sinn Fein.  But what?s really disturbing in this instance is the response of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ], a response curiously appearing in the same edition of the Irish Times as Leahy’s hostile article.

The secretary of the NUJ, Seamus Dooley, took the same line as the Irish Times

?Defamation proceedings can have a chilling impact on press freedom. It?s important that media organisations are not inhibited by libel threats, from whatever source and that editors and journalists continue to ask awkward questions.?

Here?s a few awkward question for Mr. Dooley:  Why is the NUJ questioning the right of any citizen to take legal action for alleged defamation?  Why does the NUJ think it appropriate to lecture any citizen on how they should proceed when the believe they have been defamed and, most worryingly, why is the NUJ supporting junk journalism that appears intent on damaging the reputation of a legitimate political party?

But the story becomes even more bizarre.

The Index of Censorship, a media freedom NGO based in London, filed a media freedom alert known as a strategic lawsuit against public participation [SLAPP] with the Council of Europe’s Safety of Journalists Platform, in response to Ms. McDonald?s legal action.

A SLAPP is, according to the Index of Censorship:

A strategy used by powerful actors in an attempt to stop individuals or organisations from expressing views on issues of public interest. Although they are disguised as ordinary civil claims, such as defamation or privacy, they are not intended to succeed in court.  Instead, their goal is to saddle critics with prohibitively expensive, time-consuming, and nerve- wracking  legal processes.  SLAPPS threaten not only freedom of expression and media freedom, but access to information, rule of law and our very democracy.

This is a very strong and, in my opinion, dangerous generalisation.  It suggests that those with power and wealth, who feel they have been defamed, should be treated differently under law, that they should not enjoy the universally accepted principle of ?innocent until proven guilty?.

And that, in effect, is what the Safety of Journalists Platform has done in response to Ms. McDonald?s action.

They have issued a formal alert notice with the heading:

Ireland

Sinn Fein Leader Files SLAPP against RTE ? No. 175.2022

Created 25 May 2022

Harassment and intimidation of journalists

Source of threat: Non-State

Level 2

This is untrue, McDonald did not file a SLAPP against RTE.  She has filed a writ against the broadcaster for alleged defamation – nothing else.

The alert, among other things, claims that McDonald?s legal action against RTE is a disguised strategy to attack the broadcaster and therefore poses a serious threat to media freedom, offline or online.

[See end of article for details of a Level 2 charge]

Here’s Jessica Ní Mhainín, policy and campaigns manager with Index on Censorship.

?We are alarmed at the legal action that has been filed against RTÉ by the Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald as we believe the action is characteristic of a strategic lawsuit against public participation…

…fundamentally they [SLAPPS] involve powerful people making legal threats or taking legal actions against public watchdogs ? such as media outlets ? in response to public interest speech that may be inconvenient to them or their interests.?

To my knowledge no evidence has been provided by The Index of Censorship, The Safety of Journalists Platform or the Council of Europe to back up the SLAPP charge.  

I?m no legal expert but I wouldn?t be surprised to learn that the Sinn Fein president is considering her options in response to this arrogant, self-righteous and, potentially, false charge.

[Personal note: While writing and researching this article I couldn’t help noting the apparent interweaving between The Irish Times [and other Irish media], the NUJ, Index of Censorship and the Council of Europe.

Could it be, I wondered, that all this feverish activity was somehow connected to the democratic challenge posed by Sinn Fein to the power of the ruling regime in Ireland?]

Copy to:

Sinn Fein

NUJ

Council of Europe

Safety of Journalists Platform

Index on Censorship

Irish Times

Irish Examiner

Level 2

Covers all other serious threats to media freedom, including but not limited to physical assaults causing actual bodily harm, acts of intimidation and harassment; use by public figures of threatening or severely abusive language towards media members; unwarranted seizure or damage to property or equipment; laws and regulations that unduly restrict media freedom or access to information; actions that jeopardise the confidentiality of sources or the independence of the public sector broadcasters; abusive or disproportionate use of legislation; misuse of governmental or other powers to direct media content or to penalise media or journalists; interference with media freedom through ownership, control and regulation; and other acts posing a serious threat to media freedom, offline or online.

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan HSE board member and Irish Examiner columnist Fergus Finlay is so strongly in favour of the current arrangement for building the National Maternity Hospital that he took the unusual step of breaking board confidentiality rules to support the Government?s plan for the project. In his column he clearly stated where he stands … Continue reading "Fergus Finlay and the maternity hospital ‘gotcha’ trap"Illustration by Tom Halliday

By Anthony Sheridan

HSE board member and Irish Examiner columnist Fergus Finlay is so strongly in favour of the current arrangement for building the National Maternity Hospital that he took the unusual step of breaking board confidentiality rules to support the Government?s plan for the project.

In his column he clearly stated where he stands on the issue. 

Here?s my bottom line. As a citizen, campaigner, and advocate; as a husband; as the father and grandfather of women and girls; there are simply no circumstances under which I would support the development of a new national maternity hospital in Ireland that was influenced by anything ? anything ? other than the public interest and the interests of women.

He then went on to outline the enormous amount of work he and his colleagues on the audit and risk committee put into checking every aspect of the deal to ensure that nothing was left to chance.

We devoted many, many hours, over many months?examining and analysing the huge set of documents that had been developed to give legal underpinning to the project. We worked with senior management colleagues and had the benefit of legal advice at every stage.

Given all that, it would be reasonable to assume that Mr. Finlay is familiar with all aspects of the project and would have no difficulty in answering questions put by those who are deeply concerned about the entire project.

Such an assumption would be badly mistaken. 

During a discussion on RTE radio with Prof. Louise Kenny, who has serious question on the issue, Finlay was unable to answer even the most basic questions. 

For example:  Why is St. Vincent?s so determined to hold on to ownership of the site?

Finlay: 

Well, you would need to ask them that but I would hazard a guess:  I think they see it as a great act of generosity and they don?t understand why they should be asked to go further.  The rest of the world would like them to gift the land to the state, but they haven?t. 

St. Vincent?s have claimed that ownership of the land is required in order to facilitate integrated care.

Prof. Kenny refutes this.  It doesn?t stack up, she said.  There are many hospitals across the UK  and Europe where the leasehold has no effect whatsoever on care integration.

Incredibly, Finlay agreed, contradicting his core claim that everything has been checked,  that months of forensic investigation with the best legal minds has answered all the questions:

I think you can work out arrangements for integrated care without owning the land?I don?t think that?s a good reason.  My hunch is that it?s about tradition, it?s about history, it?s about pride in their own ownership. 

So here we have  a member of the HSE board, the authority that will decide whether the project proceeds or not, guessing and expressing hunches surrounding the most fundamental questions being asked by those who are deeply worried about the consequences if the project is allowed to proceed in its present form.

Finlay was equally befuddled when asked about the worrying inclusion of the term ?clinically appropriate? in the contract.  Kenny said the term was incredibly vague and open to interpretation.  It could mean a doctor having the power to override the wishes of a woman seeking a particular service. 

Finlay:

I think that phrase has been misinterpreted and I wish to god we could find a better phrase that wouldn?t be open to misinterpretation.

When asked if lawyers should come up with a better phrase Finlay did a lot of muttering before lamely concluding with the by now standard excuse of those defending the project ? it would involve further delay.

In addition to his ignorance of the facts Finlay?s attitude was also patronising and insulting, not just to Prof. Kenny but to all those who have genuine worries about the Byzantine conditions surrounding this project.  Effectively accusing Prof. Kenny of being a conspiracist, he asked:

Is it that you really believe that somewhere in the background there?s someone waiting to leap out and say ?we gotcha now??

Clearly Finlay is unaware of or not concerned about a number of clauses in the contract.  For example, the strong possibility that the apparent generous ?10 per annum rent could mushroom into an astonishing ?850,000 per annum if certain conditions are not adhered to.

Given the shady and convoluted shenanigans surrounding this whole deal, only the most naïve would believe that it will not eventually turn into a very, very expensive ?gotcha? trap for Irish taxpayers.

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan Hardly a week passes without a sermon from one mainstream media source or another reminding people of the vital role the sector plays in presenting news and current affairs with honesty and integrity.    The Irish Examiner is particularly strident in warning of the dangers posed by non-mainstream news sources. This example … Continue reading "Irish Examiner and fake news"

By Anthony Sheridan

Hardly a week passes without a sermon from one mainstream media source or another reminding people of the vital role the sector plays in presenting news and current affairs with honesty and integrity.   

The Irish Examiner is particularly strident in warning of the dangers posed by non-mainstream news sources. This example from an editorial marking the first anniversary of Marian Finucane?s death.

The importance of those attributes and the need for good journalism have never been more important at a time when fake news and groundless clickbait continue to flood our social media channels.

In the year ahead, accurate news from trusted sources will continue to play a vital role in dispelling the corrosive force of misinformation.

Unfortunately, for those who place their trust in the Irish Examiner, the ?corrosive force of misinformation? is often employed by the paper, particularly against those who pose a threat to the power of the ruling political establishment.

Just last week [20 April] the paper published what was, in effect,  a fake news story, strongly suggesting that Sinn Fein was responsible for a violent parade by the dissident republican group Saoradh. 

Despite the fact that Sinn Fein had nothing whatsoever to do with the parade, the Irish Examiner had no scruples about making a damaging link between the party and the organisers of the parade.

If Ms McDonald is serious about having companions on historic travels then Sinn Féin will have to address the law and order contradictions which allow extreme republicans to prematurely present an event which ended with petrol bombs and arrests as a ?dignified parade? allied to a tone-deaf refusal to listen to a reasonable request from a family not to march on the anniversary of the murder of a young woman. A murder for which there has still to be a criminal conviction.

This cheap and obvious attempt to blame Sinn Fein for the parade and subsequent violence was all the more reprehensible for falsely linking the party with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in 2019.

In a crude attempt to pretend the article was balanced, and not an attack on Sinn Fein, the anonymous author added:

Events such as masked parades incrementally take the shine off their [Sinn Fein?s] standing even where they are not seen to be the organisers.

This manipulation of news stories by the Irish Examiner is not new.   An even more odious example occurred just before the 2020 election.  Context is vital in understanding this disgraceful example of so-called professional journalism.

Seven days before the election on 8 February an Irish/Times MRBI poll reflected a dramatic rise in support for Sinn Fein over Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. 

The development sent shock waves through the establishment media.  Here, for example, is how the political editor of the Irish Examiner, Daniel McConnell, began an article in response to the poll.

So, just what in the hell is going on?

Three days before the election, on Wednesday 5 Feb, there was an attack on the Glasnevin cemetery memorial wall. The monument commemorates those who died between the Easter Rising in 1916 and the end of the Civil War in 1923,  including British soldiers killed in the conflict. 

The vandals have never been identified but that did not stop the Irish Examiner from, effectively, blaming Sinn Fein for the attack.

It would be utterly wrong to link Sinn Féin to Wednesday night?s attack on Glasnevin cemetery?s memorial wall?

…However, it would be wrong too to pretend that strands of this election campaign, especially Sinn Féin?s online echo chambers, have not created an atmosphere if not encouraging such criminality then making it seem ordinary, almost praiseworthy.

This is sewer journalism at its worst and most dangerous. 

In the lead up to this warping of a news story, the anonymous author wrote of:

the anger, poison and basic dishonesty associated with Sinn Fein supporters on social media. 

Reading this journalistic garbage I can see only one difference between the standards practiced at the  Irish Examiner and the anonymous trolls on social media –  The trolls don?t preach and pretend they operate from the high moral ground.

Copy to:

Irish Examiner editor

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan Writing in the Irish Times recently about the continuing decline of the Labour Party, historian Diarmaid Ferriter asks: Is there really much difference between the Labour Party and the Social Democrats and would it not make sense for them to coalesce? The same question has been asked many times by journalists and … Continue reading "Labour Party: The unvarnished truth"Prior to 2016 election After the 2016 election

By Anthony Sheridan

Writing in the Irish Times recently about the continuing decline of the Labour Party, historian Diarmaid Ferriter asks:

Is there really much difference between the Labour Party and the Social Democrats and would it not make sense for them to coalesce?

The same question has been asked many times by journalists and politicians since the people effectively rejected the party in the 2016 election.  The question is always advanced as a possible strategy for rescuing Labour from extinction.

That mainstream journalists and politicians would scramble around looking for strategies to save the party is not surprising but it is disappointing to witness a prominent historian engaging in the same hopeless delusion when he really should know the answer.

So, for Mr. Ferriter?s benefit and other?s hoping that, by some miracle, the Labour Party can be saved ? here?s the unvarnished truth.

The Labour Party is heading for extinction because it is, first and foremost, a loyal member of the ruling political class.  A large and increasing number of voters have come to realise that the party does not represent their interests and vote accordingly.  Election results do not lie, the brutal political reality is out there for everybody to see. 

Also, in recent years, particularly since the economic catastrophe of 2008, more and more voters have come to realise that the political establishment itself is rotten to the core.

The people have delivered the same message in every recent election ? a demand for radical political change.  Labour, instead of answering that call, has doggedly remained loyal to the corrupt political regime that the electorate is rejecting in their droves.

And this is where the difference between the Labour Party and the Social Democrats crystalises, this is what Mr. Ferriter should know. 

The Social Democrats are anti-establishment, they were created as a direct result of political corruption within the establishment.  The party?s raison d’être is to rid the state of the disease of political corruption that has infected the body politic for decades.

If the Social Democrats was to merge with Labour they would almost certainly suffer the same fate as the Progressive Democrats.  They too came into existence in protest against political corruption, principally under the corrupt politician Haughey.  But over the years and particularly under the leadership of Mary Harney, the party returned to its rotten Fianna Fail roots.  That betrayal of hope and trust signed the party?s death warrant. 

In the run-up to the 1992 election Labour Party leader, Dick Spring convinced many, including myself, that the party was determined to represent the people rather than powerful interests. 

I was particularly impressed when Spring, most unusually, revealed the truth about a fellow ruling elite party when he accurately described Haughey and Fianna Fail?s influence on politics as ?a cancer in the body politic?.

Shortly afterwards, Spring cravingly led Labour into coalition with the ?cancerous? Fianna Fail exposing the naked truth that his true loyalties lay with the power and privileges of the ruling political class and not with the people.

Mr. Ferriter, in common with all mainstream commentators is unaware of or refuses to acknowledge the truth behind the rapidly changing political landscape.  Instead of facing reality, he clutches at straws of hope for the doomed party.

Perhaps, he suggests, Labour may regain momentum if Sinn Fein suffers as a consequence of making hard decisions in government. 

That a negative performance by one party might help save Labour is as ridiculous as the idea that a positive performance of another [Social Democrats] might do the same.

The choice facing Labour is simple ? remain loyal to the current dying political regime or respond to the demands of the people for radical political change by becoming a genuinely radical left wing party.

No prizes for guessing which road Ivana Bacik will take.

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan Just over a century ago Europe and the world was ravaged by war [1914-1918] [Casualties: About 20 million] When the killing was done disease took its turn in the form of the Spanish flu [Casualties: 25 to 50 million] Today, war and disease are still ravaging Europe and the world [Casualties are … Continue reading "Humanity: Zero chance of survival"

By Anthony Sheridan

Just over a century ago Europe and the world was ravaged by war [1914-1918] [Casualties: About 20 million] When the killing was done disease took its turn in the form of the Spanish flu [Casualties: 25 to 50 million]

Today, war and disease are still ravaging Europe and the world [Casualties are in the millions and mounting]

During the week the IPCC issued yet another stark truth concerning human behaviour:

The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.

The critical words here are ?brief and rapidly closing window?. 

So, if over a century, humans failed to end war and prevent disease, what are the chances of keeping that rapidly closing [extinction] window open?

The answer is brutally obvious – Zero.

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan Irish Examiner columnist Alison O?Connor found herself all alone on Valentine?s night last. Claire Byrne/RTE had invited her to participate in a discussion on the dramatic rise in Sinn Fein?s popularity.  As a favourite of the establishment media and strident anti-Sinn Fein commentator Ms. O?Connor probably expected that she would be joining … Continue reading "RTE gives balance – accidentally?"

By Anthony Sheridan

Irish Examiner columnist Alison O?Connor found herself all alone on Valentine?s night last. Claire Byrne/RTE had invited her to participate in a discussion on the dramatic rise in Sinn Fein?s popularity. 

As a favourite of the establishment media and strident anti-Sinn Fein commentator Ms. O?Connor probably expected that she would be joining the usual RTE anti-Sinn Fein panel.

But, amazingly, that didn?t happen, the panel was balanced and fair.  O?Connor seemed to be genuinely confused with the situation.  She began by telling the nation that, given how bad things are, even an opposition of chimpanzees would find it easy to pick it [the Government] off.

This crude and insulting political analysis was followed up with the usual tired guff about Sinn Fein being a ?strange, cultish party? that could cause a lot of offence if it got into power.

But then, O?Connor ran out of words. It was as if she suddenly realised that nobody was really listening to her, that they had heard it all before, and, of course they had, ad infinitum

So, in desperation, she did something that no establishment journalist has ever done before ? she criticised RTE for imbalanced broadcasting.

I would say about some of the debate I heard tonight?that there was some imbalance there.  Listening to some of it you?d think we live in a banana republic and that?s not true? I think balance is important.

O?Connor was confused because by the time she joined the panel, the anti-Sinn Fein side had been routed.

Passionate, articulate Sinn Fein members backed up by others such as Martin Ward and Tony Groves dismantled every argument put by supporters of the political establishment. 

Property developer Michael Flynn?s condescending claim that people were being ?over simplistic? on the housing crisis, and Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeil?s defence of the private sector?s role in solving the crisis was torn to shreds by a well-informed opposition.

The opinions expressed by the eccentric financial advisor and failed politician Eddie Hobbes provided some light relief.  Anybody tempted to take Hobbes seriously has only to recall that after co-founding the far-right party Renua Ireland, he refused to stand for election because he was too busy with other stuff.

And then there was the Fianna Fail politician, Cllr. Briege Mac Oscar who said parties should be judged on their record.  Let?s just repeat that ? a Fianna Fail politician thinks that parties should be judged on their record.  Surely, if that was true, Fianna Fail would be struggling for its very survival?oh, wait.

So what happened in that RTE studio on Valentine?s night when Ms. O?Connor, at one point, found herself all alone in her titanic struggle against the evils of Sinn Fein?

Could it be that RTE was testing out a new producer who was unaware of the station?s long-established policy of packing discussion panels with anti-Sinn Fein commentators?

Or?could it be that the national broadcaster has finally conceded that Sinn Fein is a legitimate political party and the 500,000 plus citizens who voted for the party deserve a fair hearing?

Copy to:

Alison O’Connor

Claire Byrne Live/RTE

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan It appears from a number of recent articles by Irish Times columnist Fintan O?Toole that he is suffering from a very special form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD].  His PTSD is special because it is, apparently, only triggered by flashbacks to republican violence during the Northern Ireland conflict which ended 24 … Continue reading "Fintan’s pain"

By Anthony Sheridan

It appears from a number of recent articles by Irish Times columnist Fintan O?Toole that he is suffering from a very special form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]. 

His PTSD is special because it is, apparently, only triggered by flashbacks to republican violence during the Northern Ireland conflict which ended 24 years ago. 

Fortunately, Fintan is not burdened with memories of the violence carried out by unionists and agents of the British government.

He recently expressed his anguish to Irish Times colleague Deirdre Falvey.

I can?t vote for Sinn Féin, because I remember too much stuff, that was so cruel, so inhuman. Planting bombs in cafes and pubs just to kill as many young people randomly as you possibly could. I just can?t deal with it, until they?ve dealt with it.

It seems that PTSD has also affected Fintan?s memory because, to my knowledge, the IRA never pursued a policy of blowing up as many young people as they could. The IRA did, in common with Unionists and British government agents, carry out acts of violence but the age of victims was never a specific policy.    

Cynics might say that Fintan was engaging in a strategy practiced by other less sensitive journalists of portraying Sinn Fein as evil incarnate to young voters in the hope of halting the ongoing decline in support for Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. 

Of course that just couldn?t be true because, according to Fintan, the Irish Times is the most unbiased newspaper in the entire world.  In an astonishing revelation he says:

I don?t think there?s any other journalist in the world who can say what I can say now. I?ve worked for 34 years for a newspaper, and nobody?s ever told me what to write, or what I couldn?t write. The lawyers might get involved. But an editor has never said to me, stay away from that, or we don?t agree with that, so you?re not allowed to say it. Never, ever, ever. That?s really precious. l don?t know of any of my colleagues in America or Britain who could say that, even people working for really good respectable newspapers

So, you see, nobody can accuse Fintan?s Irish Times of political manipulation because, as he says, it’s the most perfect newspaper in the whole world, a newspaper that would never, ever, ever tell a journalist what to write.

In another article Fintan again revealed the absolute torment he continues to suffer as a result of the war that ended 24 years ago when he strongly suggested that Sinn Fein TD David Cullinane shouting ?up the Ra? after the 2020 election could lead to renewed slaughter on the streets of Northern Ireland.

Shouting ?Up the ?Ra? is not a performance by historical re-enactors ? it is a live device, primed to explode into contemporary reality.

Surely there?s no better argument for outlawing Sinn Fein, introducing internment and tearing up the Good Friday Agreement.

Ok, that would probably have the side effect of saving Fine Gael/Fianna Fail from political extinction but that would not be Fintan?s intention.  His only wish is to recover from the trauma he has suffered throughout the decades.

He wants to be in the same place as the countless thousands of actual victims who have accepted that the war is over, that Sinn Fein is not planning a return to war, that it?s ok to vote for the party. 

He longs to join with the United States of America, the United Nations, the European Union, the vast majority of citizens of the Republic, the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland and even the British Royal family, who were direct victims of the conflict, in accepting Sinn Fein as a legitimate political party.

But Fintan can?t deal with the pain, not even after 24 years of peace, not yet – he remembers too much.

Copy to:

Fintan

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan One of the most memorable clips from the hilarious BBC comedy Fawlty Towers involved Basil [John Cleese] upsetting a group of German diners by constantly making references to the war. Blissfully unaware of the upset he was causing he warned staff member Polly: Listen, don’t mention the war! I mentioned it once, … Continue reading "RTE: Don’t mention the police investigation"

By Anthony Sheridan

One of the most memorable clips from the hilarious BBC comedy Fawlty Towers involved Basil [John Cleese] upsetting a group of German diners by constantly making references to the war.

Blissfully unaware of the upset he was causing he warned staff member Polly:

Listen, don’t mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.

?Don?t mention the war? has since become a byword for those wishing to avoid discussing embarrassing issues.

But, it seems, RTEs London correspondent Sean Whelan has never heard of it. 

Reporting on the scandal surrounding Boris Johnson, he had this to say on RTEs News at One:

He?s the only Prime minister in Europe as far as I?m aware that?s being investigated by the police and that?s just not a good look.

Here you have somebody who is making the rules for the rest of the country and the police force, the people who investigate crime, are now going to be investigating him and his immediate staff and that just looks dreadful, doesn?t it?

Bryan Dobson, immediately realising that Whelan was blissfully unaware of the embarrassing parallels between the UK prime minister under police investigation and our soon to be Taoiseach, Varadkar, also under police investigation, studiously avoided responding to such a dangerous question.

I suspect that somebody from RTE/Fianna Fail/Fine Gael has since had a word in Whelan?s ear to castigate him for being the only journalist to breach the mainstream media bias protecting Varadkar.

Copy to:

RTE News and Current Affairs

Sean Whelan

Public Inquiry >>

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