underthewillows: (Default)
So you can have your children taken away from you in Ireland if, on the judgement of a neighbour or random passer-by, they don't look sufficiently like you?

Of course not! What kind of banana republic do you think we're running here? That only happens if you are dark and the kid is fair!

There are to my certain knowledge at least three families in my town and surrounding areas where one child looks nothing like the rest of the family. This is because the child is Chinese and the parents are native Irish (foreign adoptions).

Do you think the child protection services were called in on them? Do you think it was even dreamed of happening in such cases?

Tell me again about how modern Ireland is so progressive. Here is where I start insulting everyone.

We have a coalition government at the moment. It consists of a centrist-right party (not as right-wing as a former, now defunct party but slightly more right-wing than the other main opposition party) and an allegedly left-wing party (insert for yourself the eyerolling, gagging noises, and casting hands up to Heaven regarding the modern Irish Labour party).

Two of the minority party ministers are out and admitted atheists. One of them holds the position analogous to Deputy Prime Minister, the other is our Minister for Education. They have been tripping over themselves rushing to fearlessly take on the power of the Catholic Church in Irish public life.

Our Minister for Justice (the boss of the police and the one setting the tone for policing strategy and policy) is Jewish.

Our Prime Minister (to use an analogous term) is Catholic, but he's been proudly and bravely standing up to reactionary Catholic fanaticism (even allegedly going so far as condemnations that he will burn in Hell!) over the recent Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act (which everyone calls the abortion act, because it permits a limited form of legal abortion in Ireland for the first time).

Why do I mention this? Because this can't be pinned on the Bad Old Days or the Bad Old Church. The same newspapers and TV stations that were plastering 'shock, horror' stories about the Magdalen Laundries and how in the dark days of the 50s children could be taken away from their families at the whim of the nuns and priests with the State as a complacent lapdog, are the ones who whipped up the hysteria about "welfare scroungers" and "Gypsies stealing white babies".

The same government, that is committed to a secular, progressive, inclusive social agenda, the same government that campaigned for a "Yes" vote (to a referendum on children's rights which would amend our Constitution) in such a fashion that the Supreme Court judged the information campaign had not been "fair, impartial or unbiased"; the same government which assured us that the extended powers of social services to take children into care would not be abused - this is the same government presiding over these two scandalous cases.

They're going to try to push the blame off on the cops and the social workers, and there is certainly a case to answer there, but our Minister for Justice and our Minister for Children (a spiffy new post only created in the wake of the 2012 amendment) should be out there making statements explaining the whys and the wherefores.

And not them alone. The great and the good of charitable causes were all pushing for the amendment, all claiming that it would finally give children a voice and recognise their rights.

One of the rights is this:

The views of the child mean that the voice of the child must be heard and respected in all matters concerning his or her rights. For example, those in power should consult with children before making decisions that will affect them.

How much consulting went on with the girl taken from her family home, I wonder? The various secular saints of good causes, especially children's rights, are very silent on this point. The websites for the Children's Rights Alliance and the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children have posts up about the defeat in court of the challenge to the referendum. They have nothing about two children from a specific ethnic group being taken out of their homes by the forces of the state on anonymous tips - not about cruelty or abuse or neglect, but nebulous fears based on phenotypic appearance.

The chief executive of Barnados, whose face I got heartily sick of seeing placarded on billboards and in the papers and on the telly when he was looking for a nomination to run for the Presidency of Ireland back in 2011, and who trumpeted his involvement in children's affairs as a reason why he'd be a good servant of the public interest, hasn't uttered a word on the topic that I'm aware of.

These are not the rosary-rattling, puritanical, repressive, priest-ridden Catholic hypocrite politicians of the Bad Old Days. These are the Good Guys, as they're never tired of reminding us.

And yet, in modern Ireland of 2013, a tabloid hack ginning up publicity for his TV show can set in motion the police force and health authority to stage a raid based on a naked appeal to public prejudice and fear, on the part of the authorities, of bad publicity.

We're left with a couple of conclusions that are depressing, to say the least. First, either there were no complaints of abuse or neglect prior to these raids (I can't think of a better way to describe them) and they were carried out purely, as I have said, as a prophylactic against bad PR. Or there were abuse concerns, but nobody was bothered to get involved (or the usual inefficiency and muddle that I observed was the rule) until the journalist sniffed out a juicy story - that's not much better, since in both cases, the other children of the families were left in the homes. No fears for their safety?

Secondly, my late father had brown eyes. I have blue eyes. Should I have been removed by the health board on the grounds that I didn't look like my parent? My younger brother was blond as a child, while all the rest of us had mid to dark brown hair. Should he have been taken away because he didn't resemble the rest of his family? My brown-haired sister is married to a brown-haired man. Their younger son is blond. Does that mean she should have to produce evidence at the drop of a hat that he really is their son? How about the local families with obviously foreign children - are they exploiting them by sending them out to beg and steal?

You can all guess why I'm not seriously worried about these instances. Because all of us in the above examples are WHITE.

Ah, isn't it grand to be alive at this day and hour in (w)holy (liberated from repression), no-longer Catholic, Ireland!
underthewillows: (Default)
There's the story of a rumour going around about the possibility of a new "Star Trek" television series. I was going “Yay!” right up until I read the words “Bob Orci” and then my immediate reaction was “F**k, no!”

Guy whose actual reaction (not alleged, rumoured or imputed to him, but typed out by his own fair hands) to criticism from people who’ve been in the fandom longer than he’s been involved with the franchise is to call them “shitty fans”?

Yeah, that fills me with confidence they won’t make a dog’s dinner of it! I can see it now:

Opening scene of new “Star Trek We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rules of Grammar” series:

Note: Important that this is to be NEW, original material and characters that is not in any way copying original series or anything that has been done before!!!!

TIM CORK, sexy young blond tearaway but with hidden emotional depths of MANPAIN is gunning his vintage hoverbike (they have hoverbikes in Trek, right? Whatever, it’s all SF!) through the desert, glugging down a (note to continuity: find out what soft drink company will pay the most for product placement here) and blasting out (hmm - what do kids these days listen to? Yeah, some Run DMC, that’s cool!) while a green (nah, done that already) blue (nah, those are the what's their names, starts with an "A", the Andrex? Anyway, we’re not copying the original series JJ says so!) orange with pink spots (oh, yeah, now we’re being original!) sexy alien chick no, twins no, triplets!!! in their skimpiest underwear (note to continuity: find out exactly how much nudity the network will let us get away with on TV) are all over him.

CORK tosses them off the hoverbike and leaves them behind in the sand, calling plaintively after him “Tim, take me with you!” and “You’re the best I’ve ever been with!” and “We’ll never be able to settle for another man again after you!” (note to continuity: will network let us get away with lesbian make-out shot here, if it’s done tastefully and is artistically necessary of course?)

CORK rides his bike up to secure government military base where they’re building the latest, most advanced, one-of-a-kind starship (yeah, he just drives up even though it’s a military base and top-secret project, no-one stops him, we don’t see any security) (yes, they’re building a starship on the ground even though in this universe at this date we should be seeing off-planet bases and orbital space docks because it’s a lot easier to launch your ship once it’s already been built in space rather than try and achieve escape velocity from a planet) and we get shot of him on his hoverbike outside the fence gazing up at the ship that is going to be his one day:

CORK (with intensity and determination and palpable sense of fate and ultimate conviction in his own destiny): That ship is going to be mine one day

CHANGE TO: Interior, sleazy bar/niteclub (you know the type, the cantina on Mos Eisley, for example). CORK hits on snooty chick who’s wearing some kind of uniform (note to continuity: does it have to be recognisably a uniform or can’t we just have a guy standing with her to tell everyone she’s a Starfleet officer-in-training? That way we can get her to wear sexy tight fitting backless dress in some kind of sparkly material - ask Kaplan about what kind is clingiest - with short hem and no sleeves and showing off her cleavage: you know, the kind of conservative buttoned-up gear you’d expect a prudish chick like her to wear). Snooty chick turns him down but this is only because her boyfriend is standing there (also, she’s probably frigid and maybe even a lesbian, because otherwise she would never be able to resist CORK).

Boyfriend is the guy standing beside her telling everyone she’s a Starfleet officer-in-training. He’s an alien, from the planet Bulkan. His name is SPARK and he and CORK get into a fight over snooty chick (note to continuity: remind me to think up appropriate name for her later; after all, she is our main female character! Actually, she's probably going to be our only main female character, but hey - we don't want to confuse audiences with too many women on screen all talking at the one time, do we?)

Interior of bar gets trashed (copy reuse pay homage to bar fight scenes from classic movies, use light touches of humour in scene like guy drinking at table that gets smashed who continues to drink as fight rages around him, guy getting tossed through window, etc.)

CORK and SPARK fight one another to a standstill until they’re the only pair left standing in the wreckage. They are only standing upright because they’re holding each other up, and you can tell it’s been a tough, rough, hard, manly, no-holds-barred fight because CORK has bruising, contusions, blood all over face, fractured ribs and possible concussion, while SPARK has mussed hair. They gaze deeply into one another’s eyes and you can sense the beginnings of a deep, once in a lifetime friendship, the kind of friendship that leads to a legendary partnership that will make history and be renowned in the annals of the Federation, the kind of pairing that not alone makes history, it changes the fate of the galaxy.

(Oh, yeah: the snooty chick is still hanging around as well. Better give her something to do since we’ll have to pay the actress anyway just for showing up on set).

SNOOTY CHICK: Spark, are you okay, baby? I was so worried that even though you have superior strength, faster reflexes, and higher pain tolerance plus advanced martial arts secret techniques from your home world on top of your Starfleet self-defence training, this guy might hurt you when he broke the chair over your head! Oh honey, let me kiss you to show that we are indeed in a relationship and although you’ve just spent the last five minutes gazing silently and intensely into the eyes of another man, both of you clutching on to one another and breathing heavily after rolling around on the floor on top of one another while that blond twink was making his O-face when you were choking him, there is nothing remotely homoerotic in this scene and you are both completely heterosexual!

SPARK: Lieutenant (note to continuity: remind me to insert name for snooty chick here when I think of one), please curb your Human propensity to unseemly displays of emotional indulgence in public.

(Oh yeah, going great so far! Just what this clapped-out old franchise needs: a complete fresh look at its very beginnings, an overhaul and a new angle with all original material and revamped characters!)
underthewillows: (Default)
Ireland is in dire straits when it comes to the economy, and the trigger for the collapse was the over-inflated bubble of the property market which finally burst in 2008.

Now, the American banks and investment companies collapse had a knock-on effect globally, but our own little treasures didn't improve matters by basically lying to the government financial regulators, extorting taxpayers' money out of them, and all the time they knew their institutions were dead on their feet.

"The Irish Independent" newspaper has actually turned from celebrity Z-list gossip to doing some real journalism and they've released tapes of Anglo-Irish Bank executives, back in 2008, discussing amongst themselves what was going on and what they were telling the Central Bank and the Minister for Finance (two separate things).

Anglo-Irish was the first domino to fall; it pulled in the government at the time to give them €7 billion in a "loan" - this was, as you will hear, half the total amount the Central Bank had in assets. You can begin to see why the economy crumbled under the burden of propping up all the banks which then fell, one after another.





These are the bastards that broke the country; five years on, we're still in a trough with high unemployment, emigration up once again, and we owe our souls to the Germans. But these lads won't see a day in jail, plus they get to keep their pensions and perks as negotiated!
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