Less about the world, more about me.

Month: October 2011

Eamon Delaney

Eamon Delaney’s article can be read here


When I read Eamon Delaney’s article, my first reaction was to dismiss it as mere professional contrarianism. It may not be an honourable living, but beggars can’t be choosers in this economy. I was content to file it under risible cant and leave it at that. Unfortunately I read it again and then a third time. It was then that the truly pernicious nature of his article struck me. I invite you to read the article and substitute Black or Jew or Traveler for the word gay. I think you would agree, that if Mister Delaney was to have written this article, about any other minority, he would now be facing serious legal and professional difficulties.

It is an article that does not merit attention but I do think it demands close reading, because there is the horrible possibility that Eamon Delaney is an honest man who truly believes what he is saying. Amazing as it may seem to me, but an adult may actually believe these things. That scary notion struck me hard and causes me to have to respond to this vicious little tirade. I know that in writing a reply, I may be accused of drawing undue attention to a mediocrity, but I cannot help thinking that parsing the words and sentiments, that are contained in this article, is a necessary exercise.

Of the litany of truly silly things that Eamon Delaney allowed his brain to think and his fingers to type, I have chosen to focus on seven of the more egregious sentences. I cringe in embarrassment every time I read them and I feel sympathy for Mr Delaney, as I have come to fear that he may believe what he emoted. Perhaps however, he should leave the whole conservative demagoguery thing to his betters. For all of John Waters and David Quinn’s faults, they cannot be accused of being unlettered dilettantes, writing above their ability. At best, this piece appears to be an amalgam of lines that did not survive the journey from a first draft to a second draft, in a David Quinn article.

“Increasingly, it seems as if the homosexual community has forgotten that it is the minority.”

Brevity they say, is the soul of wit. The Bard said that, so it must be true. So why use fifteen words to paraphrase the most succinct, ‘uppity niggers?’ Just say, ‘uppity fags.‘ Possibly Mister Delaney is paid by the word and as someone who has padded out an essay or two, I understand the temptation to over word a simple point, just to achieve a word count. Unfortunately, we live in an age of limited attention, so I fear he risks his message being lost amidst the plethora of stimuli and bile that will be competing for the brian-space of his target audience. So I would suggest that Mister Delaney be brave, avoid unnecessary verbiage and above all else. be pithy. “Uppity fags‘ are being uppity.

“the growing appetite for more and more rights and privileges.”

The real strength of this line is that it reinforces the central message of the piece, while appearing to be wholly reasonable. Who would not be exasperated by ‘uppity fags’ wanting to be just like us normal folk? I think Mister Delaney’s target audience would embrace this phrase. Also equating rights to privileges allows the ignorant, to believe that the gays want more than what the good normal people have. That this is a crass canard is immaterial, the point is to get that impression out there. When a reader of the article, chooses to kick the head in, of an ‘uppity fag‘ it would not do to o’er burden them with facts. If simple verifiable facts were brought into play, I fear Mister Delaney would run the risk of appearing to be just a hateful little man.

“want to increasingly change mainstream culture to suit them.”

I think this may be my favourite phrase of them all. It’s actually perfect. Mister Delaney has managed to turn a truth i.e. a persecuted minority want their persecutors to change so that the minority are no longer persecuted, into something wrong and threatening. He could have said that homosexuals should change so that they can enjoy the rights, that the rest of us take for granted, but the PC Brigade would have lost their minds over something like that. No, what he appears to have done is condemn the gays for fighting their corner and give the reader the impression, that the very act of standing up for itself, marks the gay community as intent on turning us all into hot-pants wearing ‘fags.’ I’m sure there isn’t a battered wife in this country who hasn’t been blamed, by their husband, for the beating he is giving her.

“Many gays want to have it both ways.”

This short sentence is remarkably efficient. It is everything the first quote is not. It is a mere eight words that manage to create an image, in the mind of the reader, of that thing they hate and fear most, gay sex (but only as practiced by men, the other kind of gay sex isn’t really real and exists merely for masturbatory purposes) while simultaneously allowing the reader to conveniently forget that heterosexual hedonism is nighty splattered all over our streets. It makes the reader feel virtuous while simultaneously paints a picture of sex crazed fairies. The pièce de résistance however is the introduction of the idea of bisexuality. And everyone knows that the bis are the agnostics of sexuality, hated by all sides. I wonder if Mister Delaney was mindful when he wrote this. It would be a shame if such a gem had just accidentally spewed from the large intestine of his imagination.

“it makes many of us uneasy and impatient with the idea that raising a child is totally equivalent to a child being raised by its natural parents.”

One can’t go far wrong by issuing a call to reason. By sharing and thus validating an unease that exists, about children being raised by the gays, this offers succor to all those who feel all icky about the gays anyway, but lacked the wherewithal to express that unease in an acceptable way. Of course, that this unease is a result of smallness and should cause one to reflect on one’s own prejudices, is not important. Instead, make what sounds like a reasonable appeal, ‘won’t someone please think of the children‘ and leave it at that. A lettered conservative would have quoted statistics here. They are not hard to find, they use the same ones ad nauseam, about children doing best in two-parent families. Perhaps though, Mister Delaney knew that not one single piece of scientific data exists, that shows children do less well with gay parents. I’m going to credit him with that knowledge and for correctly steering clear of the science and sticking with base emotion. It is enough that one doesn’t agree with something for it to be wrong. It’s an unanswerable argument really.

“Oh, please. What about breastfeeding.”

Again with the lesbians are not real. Wonderful. Gay men are bad, gay women are for wanking to. This is pitch perfect playing to the gallery. Reducing fatherhood to mere sperm donation, does not take away from the assertion that only breastfeeders are good and worthy parents. It’s an argument that may turn some women off, but I think it can be safely assumed that men, single men, childless men, men who weren’t breastfed, men who are unlikely to have ever witnessed a child being breastfed, will wholeheartedly agree with the idea that only breastfeeding mothers are acceptable caregivers for the children these men will probably never have and certainly will never see. Despite whatever misgivings I may have about Mister Delaney, he does deserve special applause for being the first (I think) to use breastfeeding as a stick to beat the gays with. Much more imaginative than the usual ‘god hates fags.‘

“There is also the danger that this insatiable demand for more and more recognition and identity (gay quotas?), will eventually alienate mainstream opinion and undo some of the valuable gains made in this country by, for example, David Norris and others, in eliminating prejudice and discrimination.”

I did a speed-reading course once and the only thing I remember from that class is that when reading a newspaper article, only go for the first and last paragraphs. In them are to be found the most salient points of the article. The rest is mere explanation. I think Mister Delaney has demonstrated that most graphically in this article. The opening gambit was a warning to ‘uppity fags‘ to mind themselves or else, and the ending carries the very same warning. Mister Delaney also introduces a key word, ‘insatiable.‘ A word that will elicit, from the reader, the idea of fags being impossible to ever satisfy. This is followed by the pretense of ever more reasonableness, a mention for celebrity fag, David Norris. This thesis of reason, is then hammered home by stating that ‘prejudice and discrimination have been eliminated.‘ One could not be anymore reasonable. That the contention is demonstrably false, does not prevent Mister Delaney hammering home his point and cloaking the reader in the warm embrace of pious self-righteousness. The fags aren’t locked up anymore, what the hell are they still going on about?


I envy the level of freedom enjoyed by Americans to say whatever they wish to say. I only wish that same freedom was enshrined in our Constitution. Then I read Eamon Delaney’s article and I am moved to think that we may have much more freedom than I had previously assumed. The article, though vile, has not however, diminished my belief in free speech. What the article has done, is highlight, most clearly, that the corollary of free speech is an attendant responsibility on those who hear or read the kind of asinine calumny that Eamon Delaney vomited into our consciousnesses, to respond. Some may say that to respond gives undeserved fuel to the ghastly and harmful sentiments expressed by Eamon Delaney and his ilk, but the alternatives are to have our freedom of speech circumscribed by an elite or to allow the harm caused by Eamon Delaney go undone.

I for one, prefer to attempt, in my little way, to amend the damage that Eamon Delaney’s article will undoubtedly cause and in doing so, hopefully be a part of a process that sidelines the kind of willful stupidity that his kind peddles as informed opinion. And that damage cannot be underestimated or understated. As liberal as I am, I still would not like to have a child of mine, realise that he or she is gay. The world we live in, even our Western World, is not yet very forgiving of difference. It is undoubtedly better than it was twenty years and even ten years ago, but when one reads articles, in broadsheet newspapers, that call for continued discrimination against gay people, then we have to admit that our enlightened age, remains quite dark in places. The most galling aspect of Eamon Delaney’s vituperous rant is that he is not just attacking gay rights, he is attacking the rights of gay people to achieve the rights he takes for granted. Such an attack must be answered.

It must be answered, because no minority has ever been granted equality without that minority first demanding it. Without that constant struggle for equality, without that incessant clamour for rights, no minority would have ever risen above the status of subject people. No minority should ever have to make itself so virtuous that every individual of that minority is saintly in their behaviour. No minority should have to change for fear of offending the prejudices of the majority. And no minority should ever have to be grateful for the fact, that they are no longer considered criminal.

So I urge everyone to read Eamon Delaney’s article and to get their friends and families to read the article and then to discuss it. Discuss it at length and then point out the fallacies, the ill-informed opinion, the prejudice, the failed logic, the lack of science, the unreason and then get angry. Get angry because every child that is gay, is at risk from people like Eamon Delaney. Every gay child is at risk from the kind of bullying that Eamon Delaney’s vicious words inspires. Every gay child faces a life of second class citizenship, because people like Eamon Delaney can’t understand why gay people should even be complaining about being second class citizens. Every gay child is at risk because the poison words of Eamon Delaney are as nectar to hateful people who want nothing more, than to have their inadequacies and prejudices confirmed by a man writing in a big newspaper.

Vote No to Amendments 29 and 30

As appeared in Letters – Kerryman – 26 October, 2011 edition

I hate to admit this, but I was so distracted by the silliness and melodrama of the Presidential Campaign, that I plain forgot that not one, but two referendums, are being held on the same day as the Presidential Election. Presidents come and go, but our Constitution is timeless. It is a little blue book, which defines our Nation and sets out how we govern ourselves. Anything that is done to alter this document, has to be treated with great care and attention.

I had intended voting yes to both amendments. Cutting the pay of Judges and allowing the Dáil to investigate matters of public concern, are undoubtedly good and necessary things. Unfortunately the wording, in both amendments, does much more than that. If you have received your polling card, I urge you to read the amendments. Read them several times and then ask yourself this question, how much power do you trust your politicians to have?

Read the words again. Read them and remember that every single democracy has one thing in common, judges judge and politicians seek re-election. We all want to see judges paid less and Bertie Ahern probed good and hard, but read the words. Politicians, the class of people who with their rich friends herded this country over a cliff, want us to now trust them to decide what judges should be paid and what individuals should be hauled over the coals.

Read the words and then send a message to our politicians. Yes, we want judges paid less and we want the reasons for this recession properly examined, but we do not want politicians to take advantage of the situation to grab ever more power. Read the words and demand that the politicians come back to us with a better way, a fairer way and a safer way to do what we all agree is necessary.

Amendment 30

If revenge is a dish best served cold, justice should be clear blue ice and if ever a country has demanded justice in vain and is now prepared to settle for vengeance, it is Ireland. We are victims of the greatest confidence trick of all time. We were told we were rich and we were told that all that was required of us, to enjoy those riches, was to borrow, borrow, borrow. Now we know we were tricked, but we are not offered succor, not offered recompense. Instead we are expected to pay, in full, the cost of other people’s deceit.

What is now being offered to us, is the opportunity to enjoy some semblance of revenge, on those who foisted this financial disaster onto us. We have been asked, by our politicians, to remove any and all of the constitutional restraints, that would check their pursuit of those, who we all blame for this devastating recession. It is a tempting proposition. Who wouldn’t feel glee, watching Bertie Ahern’s home being raided? Who wouldn’t feel joy at Bertie Ahern losing the protection of the tax-payer funded barristers that shield him from our rage? Who wouldn’t feel righteous, when witnessing him being torn to shreds by eager politicians?

Every fibre of my being is screaming at me, to vote for any measures that will see Bertie Ahern face our wrath. All that I must do, is forego the protections afforded me, by The Constitution. All that I need do, is vote yes to the Thirtieth Amendment to our Constitution and our politicians will have the kind of untrammeled powers necessary to pursue all those who it deems expedient to destroy. All I need do, is give to the class of people that led my country into financial oblivion, even more power.

Though they may taste similar, this is a recipe for vengeance, it is not the clear blue ice of justice. If in our haste to savour the cold satisfaction of revenge, we empower our politicians to deny justice, then we will be trusting our politicians to never vent their spleen on us. We will be trusting our politicians to always act wisely, charitably and honestly in their enjoyment of these vastly increased powers.

I for one have learned the hard lessons taught by Bertie Ahern, I will not be trusting politicians again.

Amendments 29 and 30

I have written in that past, about my becoming increasingly uninterested in the upcoming Presidential Election. My ire however, was so raised by the entry of Martin McGuinness into the contest, that I moved, to again engage. Fortunately, it would seem that Mister McGuinness’s efforts to subvert history will come to naught and while I will occasionally retweet links to articles that highlight his criminal past, I am no longer concerned with who our next President will be. I am though, concerned with trying to decide who I will vote for. I am so underwhelmed by the remaining candidates that it is proving more than a little difficult to arrive at an order of preference.

There is an argument to be made, that in this instance, the logical thing to do is simply not vote. I really wish I could embrace that view. My problem is that I love voting. Every time I step into a polling booth I experience a thrill of nascent power, of relevancy and of privilege. The problem with being an untutored reader of history is that I see the stories, not the themes. I see the grand sweep of time and I see the tiny blip of history where people get to decide their own leaders. That I live in that infinitesimal oasis, fills me with joy and causes that spark of excitement in the pit of my stomach, when I am afforded the opportunity to have my say. Thus I must vote. Thus I must attach an order of least bad, to these people seeking to be my President.

I am then, embarrassed to admit that I had singularly failed to take note of the two Constitutional Amendments which are being subjected to referenda (or referendums) on the same day as the Presidential Election. I was rescued from my insensibility by the many worthies of the twitterverse, who have recently begun a campaign of awareness raising. To them I say thanks. I fear I may have continued to self-indulgently obsess about who I should vote for, right up to casting my votes, in these referenda, in blithe ignorance.

It is particularly galling to me, to have required someone else to remind me about the referenda. Constitutional amendments are several orders of importance, above mere elections. As for a Presidential Election? No comparison. A Constitution is that document that legally defines what we are, how we govern ourselves and it is that precious thing which protects us from witless populism and self-serving politicians. It is so important that we do not allow politicians to even interpret it, never mind amend it. That is not to say, our Constitution is perfect. This atheist would like to see all references to divine beings deleted. The very fact that we are voting on the twenty-ninth and thirtieth amendments also indicate that our Constitution has required certain improvements (or, according to how one has voted, it has been damaged) over the years.

The process of changing our Constitution is relatively simple. The politicians propose a change, we vote yes or no to that change and if yes, the judiciary interpret that change. I’m one of those who think the voting part to be the most important element in that process. So here is my attempt to decide how I should vote in the impending referenda.

Amendment 29 – the proposed change to Article 35, Section 5.

Existing text:

The remuneration of a judge shall not be reduced during his continuance in office.

Proposed text:

5.1 The remuneration of judges shall not be reduced during their continuance in office save in accordance with this section.

5.2 The remuneration of judges is subject to the imposition of taxes, levies or other charges that are imposed by law on persons generally or persons belonging to a particular class.

5.3 Where, before or after the enactment of this section, reductions have been or are made by law to the remuneration of persons belonging to classes of persons whose remuneration is paid out of public money and such law states that those reductions are in the public interest, provision may also be made by law to make proportionate reductions to the remuneration of judges.

Without even looking at the text, I was going to vote yes to this. We are in a recession, so everyone should suffer a little, especially those who are paid so well from the public purse. Section three did appear to exercise some commentators so I have reread it and reread it, ad nauseum. I can only conclude that one would have to be somewhat cynical to find a problem here. Judges will be linked to a civil service grade and will enjoy or endure the salary vicissitudes of that grade.

Annoyingly however, I am a cynic. There needs to be mechanism for imposing the harshness of our economic woes on our judiciary, but I am uncomfortable, in the extreme, with the prospect of politicians doing that imposing. Any prospect of politicians having recourse to bringing pressure to bear on judges, fills me with extreme disquiet. I will not pretend to have a better or safer way to reduce the salaries of our judges, but I must believe that a better way can be found. I think that at least one layer of independent adjudication (on remuneration) must exist, as a buffer between the politicians and the judges. Yes, I know, I appear to be advocating for the creation of yet another quango. I make no apologies for that. This amendment clearly makes it too easy for politicians to alter the pay of judges.

The independence of the judiciary, is a cornerstone of liberal democracy and while it is unlikely, in the foreseeable future, that politicians would attempt to undermine this, the principal should still be maintained, jealously guarded and zealously enforced, in case of the unforeseen. So I will be voting no.
Amendment 30 – the proposed change to Article 15, Section 10.

Existing text:

(1) Each House shall make its own rules and standing orders, with power to attach penalties for their infringement, and shall have power to ensure freedom of debate, to protect its official documents and the private papers of its members, and to protect itself and its members against any person or persons interfering with, molesting or attempting to corrupt its members in the exercise of their duties.
Proposed inserted text:

2 Each House shall have the power to conduct an inquiry, or an inquiry with the other House, in a manner provided for by law, into any matter stated by the House or Houses concerned to be of general public importance.

3 In the course of any such inquiry the conduct of any person (whether or not a member of either House) may be investigated and the House or Houses concerned may make findings in respect of the conduct of that person concerning the matter to which the inquiry relates.

4 It shall be for the House or Houses concerned to determine, with due regard to the principles of fair procedures, the appropriate balance between the rights of persons and the public interest for the purposes of ensuring an effective inquiry into any matter to which subsection 2 applies.

Again I’d have voted yes to this, without even reading it. Who hasn’t been dismayed by the exorbitantly expensive, too long delayed and ultimately toothless Tribunals of Enquiry that we have had to endure these last few decades? I was taken by the image of Bertie Ahern being hounded by a pack of poll aware politicians. It is an image that fills me with glee. To see that man stripped bare of his delusions and arrogance is a spectacle I would pay good money to enjoy. The innumerable bankers, developers and sundry others who destroyed our country would provide ample appetisers, but it is seeing Bertie destroyed, that I want most.

Yet the price demanded, to indulge our sense of vengeful outrage is shockingly high. The inserted text grants unprecedented powers to our politicians. This amendment will allow a government to pick their target, decide the grounds on which to attack their target and to prosecute that target in almost any way they wish. A government will be able to ride roughshod over the opposition, be inculcated from Judicial intervention and be free to destroy whoever they deem fit to destroy. It’s a McCarthyite Charter, pure and simple.

If I want Bertie subjected to this form of ‘stocks‘ am I in danger of suffering a similar fate? I can’t escape the conclusion that this amendment has the potential to be the most dangerous and the most pernicious assault on our freedom, by our politicians, since the foundation of the State. That our elected representatives should have some powers of investigation is obvious. That our elected representatives should be allowed to decide for themselves what those powers should be, is frankly terrifying. The public annihilation of Bertie Ahern and his coterie of self-serving sycophants, handlers and ‘digger-outers‘ is not worth the risk that power happy or vengeful politicians could sit in judgement of me.

Imagine the idea of being cross examined by a self-righteous politician. No thank you. I will be voting no.

Him and Her

He pulled the handbrake and turned the key. He smiled at the fifty metre stretch of sand between him and the sea. Perfectly timed, enough hard sand, but not too far for the dog to wet her paws. He reached for his stick and stiffly got out. He opened the back door and her head perked up. She carefully rose and pondered the drop to the tarmac. She whined and looked at him. He smiled and leaning his stick against the car, he rested one hand on the door and helped her to the ground. She sniffed the air, her grey snout raised and wagged her tail. He locked the car and they began their slowly progress to the water’s edge.

They rested at the water’s nearest advance. He leaning on his stick and she sitting at his feet. He checked what wind there was and turned to it. She watched him go before tottering after him, occasionally halting to sniff and rest. He felt sun and breeze on his face and the week trapped by rain fell away. He saw the joggers and schooled his face. Two women, near fifty years younger, jogging towards him. He stared, he thought subtly. His eyes transfixed and mind aflame with their healthy moving and so feminine parts. His neck arthritic, required he turn his body entire, to admire their passing. Their lycrad bottoms the inspiration for his ever rarer morning fumblings.

He looked for her and saw her in the sea, water lapping at her paws. Having spotted a gull she sought to assert the memory of her youth. She trotted as best she could and only when she was near, did the gull deign to look. Then flap to the sky, alighting the merest few lengths away. She tried again and with the same result. The gull not feigning to show her fear. With a rolling gait she beat a retreat. Tongue extended and chest heaving she returned to his feet. He did not comment but with wincing consolation reached down to pet. His mood dimmed, they returned to the car. He did not wait to be asked, but helped her to her chair.

His slippered feet whispered the way from socket to socket, his nightly routine of safety. Third time round he was eased and he made for bed. He sat heavily on the soft deep mattress and taking off his sippers, she licked his face. He pushed her playfully away and patted the bed in invitation. She wagged her tail and crouched to jump, but looked at him uncertainly. He slipped from the bed and knelt to lift her. She went to her side and turned several tight circles, till with a deep sigh she curled up and closed her eyes. He levered himself back up and pulled the duvet back. He got into bed and with his right hand resting on her, he switched off the light and slept.

As was his curse he woke near dawn. He tutted his usual tut and crept in stockinged feet to the bathroom. Bladder empty he looked to sleep again. He got into bed, shut his eyes and rested his hand upon her. She did not move. With his eyes still closed his hand moved over her. No heart beat or raising chest could he detect. He opened his eyes and stared and stared, his hand never leaving her.

When the sun filled the skylight he rose. He found his trowel and went outside and chose a spot. Kneeling he began to dig. Rolling back the grassy turf took the day. He looked at the exposed earth and nodded. He washed up and returned to bed. With his hand resting on her, he slept. With the next dawn, he returned to the plot. Resting on his side he began to dig. Slowly moving the soil, going deeper and deeper. The day passed and by the handful, the hole grew. Hours passed until he had dug to his satisfaction. He looked at his work and with a back in spasm, got to his feet.

He shuffled to the bed, carefully wrapped her in his duvet and lifted her into his arms. His cheek pressed against her head, he carried her to her grave. He stifled a groan of agony as he knelt to lower her into the hole. He stroked her one last time and arranged the duvet over her. With his hands he covered her with the soil and as the sun set, he rolled the grass into place and patted the ground. He sat there awhile, watching the rising moon.

With a ragged breath he staggered to his feet. With shoulders hunched he washed and changed into his Sunday bests. He sat in his chair, his hand reaching to tickle her head. He sat and he waited. He sat. And he waited.

The End

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Tiger Hunt

Simon dodged behind the rubble of a collapsed church and burrowed his way under some loose masonry. He tried to control his breathing as he felt, rather than heard the 70 ton King Tiger pass within yards of his position. He carefully sneaked a peek at the rolling monster and was struck by the epic beauty of its lines. He ducked his head again and readied his Sten submachine gun, in case of discovery by the infantry men escorting the Tiger. He heard them approach, typically there would be a dozen or so of them. He listened to their continuous exchanges, as they methodically checked the ruins. Fortunately they did not come too close to Simon’s hiding place and when they passed from earshot, he exhaled nosily. He crept from his hiding place and crawled to a new vantage point. The Germans were known to leave a straggler behind, to draw out the unwary enemy. He took out his field-glasses and for ten minutes, minutely observed every possible location, among the destroyed buildings, for a sniper. Only then was he satisfied that he could stand and continue on his way to the rendezvous point.



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