From ‘Phoenix’ magazine , April 1986 .

Michael O’ Leary was known for ignoring the formal Labour Party machinery for much of the time – his leadership had a disastrous effect on the already weakened Labour morale and organisation . Above all , Micko suffered from a severe problem of credibility ; no-one ever really took him seriously !

During the 1960’s , the political ‘Left’ regarded his infantile socialism with a measure of affectionate sceptism , and few were surprised when he performed an abrupt U-turn after the 1969 election . He was elected leader largely because there was no credible alternative , and even then the (State) Labour Party soon came to regret its mistake . His change of party and of constituency merely served to widen an existing credibility gap .

But despite his notorious impetuosity , Michael O’ Leary is also capable of careful calculation – for example , his defection to Fine Gael was prompted at least in part by an opinion poll suggesting that he had little chance of holding his Dublin Central seat : abandoning a once-safe seat would have been unthinkable for a Party leader , and so a change of constituency was just as important as the change of party …….

<img src="(Martin McGuinness , left , with Henry Kissinger , as usual , on the right …)
All (P)Sinn Fein leaders have a series of mantras and mini-speeches which they seek to get into every interview , regardless of the question .
The task of the journalist is to avoid setting off these reflex responses : the problem with Martin McGuinness is that he does it so pleasantly that it seems impolite to interrupt him .
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , March 1999 .
By John Waters .

Listening to the modern-day (P) Sinn Fein leader , one rapidly develops an image of – sometime in the 1980’s – a kind of paramilitary Bunny Carr going around giving seminars in safe houses , teaching republicans how to talk in unbroken flow without directly answering questions : Martin McGuinness would have been his proudest achievement !

McGuinness’s apparent openness is such as to be … well , ‘disarming’ . His eyes , smiling and unflinching , suggest acute friendliness and empathy . It would be easy to imagine that this man was about to unburden his soul . Alas , there is an appropriate comparison to be made between the unionist tactic of delay and procrastination in matters relating to the establishment of the ‘shadow executive’ , and an interview with Martin McGuinness : you have , perhaps , an hour , which seems more than enough to deal comprehensively with a number of focused , precise questions .

But McGuinness is not in the business of giving focussed , precise answers . Like other republican (sic – ‘Provisional’) leaders he exhibits a tendency which for interviewers is like being given a suitcase full of obsolute currency . All (P) Sinn Fein leaders have a series of mantras and mini-speeches which they seek to get into every interview , regardless of the questions asked . It is as though these mantras and speeches reside in tiny programmes at the back of their minds , their objective in interviews being to find the first available opportunity to press the nearest relevant button and kill five minutes of interview time…….

<img src="EMPIRES OF DUST …….
Britain’s leaders talk about remodelling the world and its historians draw attention to the ‘good side of the old empire’ . But what about the reality ?
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , March 2003 .
By Edel Brosnan .

Niall Ferguson justifies everything in the end because , he argues , the 19th century’s biggest superpower kept the peace (!) : ‘Pax Britannia’ made the world a safer and more stable place than the scary , fragmented world we have today (!) .

When Tony Blair made a speech to his ambassadors in January , he held up the ‘good intentions’ of Britain’s colonial past (‘1169…’ Comment – “…past..” ? There are six Irish counties that beg to differ , and a gutless ‘parliament’ in the 26-County State populated with political whores ….) as something to insipre its future – or , putting it another way : ” Where there is war , we should sow peace ; where there is tyranny , we should sow liberty.” How can you argue with that ? But when you are no longer a superpower , how can you implement it ?

Tony Blair’s answer is simple he cannot , but he will support the USA in its role as the policeman of the world…….

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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