Democracy in overdrive: time for a break from the ballots

Will this endless cycle of consultative decision-making ever end? In the league table of fevers, ‘election’ sits a lot closer to ‘scarlet’ than ‘Saturday night’, yet we appear to have found ourselves trapped on an election merry-go-round spinning out of control.

Continue reading “Democracy in overdrive: time for a break from the ballots”

Music festivals: at what age can we stop pretending this is fun?

All over Ireland, thousands of people are facing into months of anxiety and trauma.

These are people for whom summer is marred by feelings of regret, despair and self-loathing. They are society’s hidden victims: people in their 30s and 40s who have accidentally bought tickets to music festivals.

Continue reading “Music festivals: at what age can we stop pretending this is fun?”

I’m a vegetarian, not a small child

This time two years ago I stayed in a B&B in Co. Mayo that I will always remember for two reasons: firstly, the framed picture on the wall gifted to the owners without explanation by the US Air Force Special Operations Unit; and secondly because it was the venue for my last ever burger.

Continue reading “I’m a vegetarian, not a small child”

Star Wars: Can we really trust this well-funded Rebel Alliance?

If you find the nightly news a bit too depressing these days, why not pop down to the cinema and watch the new Star Wars film, Rogue One?

The latest instalment of the blockbuster series sees a well-funded rebel army, fuelled by religious dogma and a willingness for self-sacrifice, take on an authoritarian regime that is slowly losing its grip on a vast and multi-ethnic territory.

Where do these script writers get their ideas?

Continue reading “Star Wars: Can we really trust this well-funded Rebel Alliance?”

The serene madness of Gaza

The horse leaps into the air, obediently following the young woman’s command to jump the fence. Every so often the dull thud of his hoofs hitting the ground coincides with an air strike. Nobody aside from me seems to notice when it does, but, then again, nobody else seems to be paying any attention to the air strikes at all, least of all the horse.

Gaza feels normal, and that’s the strangest thing about it. People are going about their days – buying clothes, playing football on the beach, eating ice-cream with friends. Car horns honk relentlessly. At the Faisal Equestrian Centre young girls in jodhpurs ride horses while their parents sip coffee.

In the distance is the war. Mortars, rockets and missiles fly overhead; from Gaza into Israel, from Israel into Gaza. Below, the people get on with their lives.

Continue reading “The serene madness of Gaza”

Brexit and borders: why Europe badly needs Euro 2016

Football fans can be tedious at the best of times, but we’re rarely as sanctimonious as when discussing the social, cultural and political importance of our game.

You thought that 22-year-old’s inability to clear the first man with a corner kick was down to poor training? I’m sure we can find somebody to tell you it’s symbolic of the colonisation his ancestors faced. Somebody, somewhere, is writing a blog about how the Syrian conflict could be ended through a robust game of three-and-in.

American Football has the Superbowl but Association Football has the Hyperbole.

All that notwithstanding, it really does feel that Europe badly needs Euro 2016. Not since the RAF was the main airliner in German skies has the continent been quite so dysfunctional.

Continue reading “Brexit and borders: why Europe badly needs Euro 2016”

This isn’t a revolution. It’s a mess.

Richard Boyd-Barrett says it’s a political earthquake.

He made the claim having just been elected to the new Dáil in the Dun Laoghaire constituency, a constituency which saw the combined vote for centre-right parties rise from 28,223 in 2011 to 34,261 in 2016 and the combined vote for left-wing parties fall from 25,579 to 21,612 over the same timeframe.

Continue reading “This isn’t a revolution. It’s a mess.”

The sad tale of Roberto Mussi and the Labour Party

In his hometown of Massa, Roberto Mussi is still viewed with hatred and derision. People spit on him when he walks by. Shopkeepers refuse to serve him, and little children cry when his name is mentioned.

Mussi played right-back for Italy in the 1994 World Cup Final. Although he had a solid career, he wasn’t celebrated and few people would have selected him for a starting position.

Mussi will always be remembered for Roberto Baggio missing a penalty kick, thus handing the World Cup to Brazil. From his position at the bottom right of the pitch, Mussi spectacularly failed to prevent Baggio from missing the penalty.

Continue reading “The sad tale of Roberto Mussi and the Labour Party”

Let’s not pretend the 1916 Rising was about water charges or smashing the patriarchy

Which moment of the 1916 Rising will you most celebrate: the bit when The O’Rahilly charged down Moore Street shouting about Irish Water, or the bit when Padraig Pearse used his last breath to berate the British for the lack of gender balance on the firing squad?

As we get closer to the centenary of the 1916 Rising, the list of causes the Rising leaders stood for will steadily grow.

We got a taster of this last year when it was claimed that the passing of same-sex marriage would be a fitting way to pay tribute to the Rising. The passing of the referendum was a hugely important moment in Irish social history but it does seem questionable to claim it as the legacy of former Ancient Order of Hibernians member Sean MacDermott.

Continue reading “Let’s not pretend the 1916 Rising was about water charges or smashing the patriarchy”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: