Friday, 31 May 2013

Where have all the kids gone?

A look at unaccompanied asylum seeking children who have gone missing while state care in Ireland. How many have gone? Where have they gone? Why have they gone? Whats being done about it? 

Last week we had (24th of May) International Missing Children's Day and the ISPCC put out a press release to highlight the needs of parents and families of missing children and in that regard to highlight the importance of their new hotline service for missing children. However what they do not mention in either their press release or on the news that day was that the Irish state have an extremely shameful track record in looking after the needs of unaccompanied asylum seeking children. There is shocking number of them that go missing and our never found. Last week we were reassured that the majority of children who go missing in Ireland are found within the first 72 hours and a unknown but large number of missing children were taken by one parent unknown to the other. However what they always forget to tell us is that they are only talking about children who happen to have an Irish Citizenship and not children who happen to have been born somewhere else in the world.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Book Review: Miliband's State in Capitalist Society.

An academic book review I wrote for college before Christmas.

Given recent discussion of Chavez and Socialism for the 21st Century, Syriza and the Idea of a Left Government (or Worker's Government) and the debate around radical reform or revolution I feel it is important to look at Miliband and the criticisms which have been made of his Marxism.

Book Review: The State in Capitalist Society: The Analysis of the Western System of Power (1969) by Ralph Miliband.

The State in Capitalist Society was considered to be a very important book around the time it was written in the 1960s/70s for anyone who was interested in a sociological examination of the state and its relationship to the capitalist economy and in particular people on the left, especially Marxists.

Miliband was one of the first modern day authors to challenge the ‘common sense’ pluralist view of the state and the notion of the state being an independent democratic body that can bend one way or the other depending on public opinion. Ralph Miliband has notable offspring, his son Ed Miliband is now leader of the British Labour Party and his other son David is a Labour Party MP for South Shields. Ralph Miliband’s works are still considered to be extremely important in left-wing academic circles in the UK today. Miliband played a huge role in defending the works of Marx from both the right and defenders of the Soviet Union. He continued to have a huge influence on academia and the left and the right up until his death in 1994.
Miliband - Chilling out.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Freemanism, Conspiracies and Legal Trickery.

(Freemanism has nothing to do with Morgan Freeman)

There is a spread of new and interesting ideas out there. People are being convinced by enthusiastic individuals that they do not have to pay their TV Licence, clampers have no right to touch your car, you do not legally have to pay your Household Charge, Property Tax or Car Tax, Toll Bridges are illegal and that Bailiffs and County Sheriffs have no legal standing in Irish law. Ultimately these ideas stem from the notion that the law can only be broken if there is an offence committed against another person, if there is a victim. This line of thinking also leads to things such as "The Strawman Theory" and other quack ideas.

These are the things that I would like to explore in this piece.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Ben Gilroy and the Far-Right.

It has been revealed that Meath-East by-election candidate and leader of Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI), Ben Gilroy has links with the far-right.

Ben Gilroy - Secret Right-Winger

I won't go into detail about who DDI are as I have already done that on a previous post on this blog. In that post I made the assertion that DDI is most likely secretly right wing and they claim to be "neither right-wing or left-wing" to appeal to a wider voter base. I also alluded to the how they play on nationalist sentiment in terms of imagery and rhetoric and how this can be dangerous if we do not know what they really stand for beyond direct democracy.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Direct Democracy Ireland and Constitutional Politics.

A newly established political organisation, Direct Democracy Ireland, have been travelling up and down the country holding public meetings, recruiting new members and establishing new branches.

Who are this organisation? Where did they come from? What are their goals? Can a new constitution bring us the change we need? These are some things that I want to explore in this post.

Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI) is one of the many new political groups that have sprung up since the beginning of the crisis. It is extremely positive to see so many people question conventional, establishment politics, getting active and forming new groups. DDI launched as a political party in November of last year at a press conference in Buswells Hotel with about 200 people in attendance. They claim to have 450 members and now have 1,663 likes on their Facebook page.

So given the size, growth and activity of DDI I feel they are worth looking at in some detail. I will not discuss their polices in any great way, anyone can check them out on their website.

Friday, 15 February 2013

UCD EggGate.

A look into the series of events that led to three students being reprimanded over attempting to egg Enda Kenny.

On the 29th of November last year University College Dublin hosted the official opening of the college's new Student Centre. A wonderful new student facility paid for by students through a student centre levy of €250 in addition to the registration fee. The event was attended by students involved in student societies and sports clubs as well as staff at the new centre, the university authorities, student union officers and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Nature of Irish Student Politics.

Ireland's largest student union, University College Dublin Students' Union, is facing a referendum on affiliation to the Union of Students in Ireland. The call for disaffiliation is becoming extremely popular and increasingly hard to challenge. The old mantra of 'united we stand divided we fall' seems to fall on deaf ears as people do not see or believe in the USI tagline "together we're stonger". This has led a number of people to discuss the very nature of student politics, apathy and engagement. This post is an attempt to stimulate debate about the nature of Irish student politics.