Monthly Archives: May 2016

Leicester City’s ‘Fairytale’ Ending Due To Shoddy Refereeing

Firstly, an admission. I am and have been since childhood a Spurs fan so I have a dog in this fight.

Nonetheless I think it is beyond debate that Leicester City won the Premier League championship thanks to two very dodgy refereeing decision in the dying moments of two of their last games, against West Ham and Manchester United.

That and an hysteria created by the media and nurtured by English soccer’s money men about the prospect of Leicester providing a so-called ‘fairytale’ ending to the 2015-2016 season.

The question is this: were the referees influenced by the knowledge that if they gave a different – and correct – decision they would be denying the great British public this ‘fairytale’ climax, an ending that, reportedly, even members of the Royal family were hoping for? Did they rule in Leicester’s favour so they wouldn’t be blamed for pissing in everyone’s pint?

In the West Ham game, a penalty awarded to Leicester (in the 94th minute!) turned a 2-1 defeat into a draw. That saved Leicester one point but more critically helped the team and their fans avoid a possibly devastating psychological blow as they entered the crucial final few games of the season.

Towards the end of the Manchester United game (in the 86th minute!) the referee’s decision not to award Utd a penalty in the closing minutes, while sending off the Leicester player responsible for fouling, to my eyes, well inside the penalty area, saved Leicester from a 2-1 defeat.

If the decisions in both or either of those games had gone the way I believe they should have, then the Premier League championship race would still be alive.

Those two games (as well as the Spurs v Chelsea match) have raised important question about the quality of refereeing in the Premier League – and the deleterious influence of big money – but nobody wants to address them for fear of undermining the blessed ‘fairytale’.

As it is the media (why is it that football journalists seem universally lower-end tabloid and hackneyed no matter who they work for, TV, quality press or the red tops?) got their ‘fairytale’ climax and the money men in football a reason to giggle all the way to the bank, in the confident belief that the Leicester story has ensured another season of live American TV broadcasts.

Anyway, here are the two incidents of which I write. Watch them and make your own minds up. In the meantime COYS!

Sinn Fein Dumbs Down Over ‘N’ Word Gaffe

First there was ‘Dumb’ –  Gerry Adams in a late night tweet using the ‘N’ word and immediately sparking a debate about his possible senility or sobriety.


Now there’s ‘Dumber’ – SF TD Angus O Snodaigh in today’s Irish Independent: “There’s a time and a place where it (the N-word) can be used’, he told the plain folk of Ireland. “I’ve heard some of the black leaders using it themselves….”

Yes, Angus. That’s the point. Black people are the only people in America who are allowed to use the ‘N-word’ freely. They do it for a number of social, political and psychological reasons, and as a term of endearment but mostly because when they use it is not mean to cause offense.

Whereas when White people use the ‘N’ word, it is invariably done to offend. So only Whites who want to be offensive ever use it. When it happens fists, or worse, will fly.

It is like an Irish Nationalist or Republican calling someone a Fenian. You know it is not derogatory. Whereas if an Orangeman or a Loyalist used the term then you know there’s going to be trouble.

It is also like White people telling Black jokes. It’s not done. Look at this video of Obama joking his way through the White House correspondents’ dinner at the weekend. About 35 seconds in.

Capisce Angus?


‘Criticising Israel Is Not The Same As Being Anti-Jewish’

A timely piece on the furore in Britain over Ken Livingstone, Israel and antisemitism by David Landy and Ronit Lentin which appeared in Saturday’s Irish Times:

The recent calls to expel former London mayor Ken Livingstone from the British Labour Party have created a worrying alliance between those who use accusations of anti-Semitism to silence critics of Israel and those who use them to attack supporters of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The calls for his expulsion came after Livingstone said in a BBC interview that Hitler had supported Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”. The claim itself was clumsy but based on historical fact – Hitler originally sought to expel rather than exterminate European Jews. As part of this, he negotiated the Haavara Agreement with Zionist organisations which allowed some Jews to escape to Palestine with some of their property in return for Zionist opposition to the global boycott of German goods. This was hardly “support for Zionism”, but Livingstone’s critics went further with fellow Labour MPs accusing him of anti-Semitism.

In response, Livingstone cautioned against “confusing criticism of the Israeli government policy with anti-Semitism”, and defended Corbyn, who had been accused of not taking firm enough action against anti-Semitism in the party, which, he said, was part of a smear campaign against the party leader.

Europeans need to face their history of anti-Semitism that culminated in the Nazi Holocaust. Ireland has its own part in that history, the Irish government only admitted 60 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution between 1933 and 1946. Anti-Semitic sentiments continue – this was clear during the attack on the Hyper Casher supermarket in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo murders.

Israel vs Jews

However, supporters of Israel have sought to widen the definition of anti-Semitism to include those who call themselves anti-Zionist and most recently, those who support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In this, they use an obsolete formulation from the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) which includes as a possible sign of anti-Semitism: “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg, by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour”. The EUMC has since abandoned this wording as it was being used to launch attacks on critics of Israel, rather than to tackle real anti-Semitism.

Such efforts to equate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism follow the state of Israel in conflating Jews with Zionists, even though not all Jews are Zionists or Israel supporters. Growing numbers of Jewish people in and outside Israel – international groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, as well as Israeli groups such as Boycott from Within – oppose Israeli policies, do not define themselves as Zionists and support the BDS movement. The growing accusations of anti-Semitism against critics of Israel are aimed primarily at discrediting the successful BDS movement.

Israel has announced a $26 million investment in an anti-BDS campaign. Accusing its non-Jewish critics of anti-Semitism and its Jewish critics of being “self-hating Jews” is a central element of this campaign.

Accusations as weapons

Returning to the Labour Party, the Jewish Socialist Group has attacked the “weaponising” of accusations of anti-Semitism by forces intent on undermining the leadership of Corbyn. Likewise the group Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods worries that “the pro-Zionist lobby – Jewish and non-Jewish – deliberately and maliciously seeks to associate Jew-hatred with criticism of Israel in the public mind”, despite the insistence by Corbyn’s team that “anti-Semitism is a vile prejudice that is not permitted in the Labour Party” and its pledge to expel anyone found guilty of it.

The expulsions have taken on the character of a witch hunt. For instance, Jewish activist Tony Greenstein who has long campaigned against anti-Semitism in Palestine solidarity circles, has been accused of anti-Semitism and suspended from the Labour Party. The collection of scalps has emboldened supporters of Israel with the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre seeking to whip up animosity and tweeting followers to “save your pitch fork for Corbyn”.

Such cynical political acts cheapen the grave charge of anti-Semitism. In this atmosphere where such allegations are used to silence political opponents, it is tempting to reject any and all accusations of anti-Semitism. This too must be guarded against – anti-Semitism needs to be tackled wherever it exists. In this battle, there is an urgent need to resist conflating opposition to Israel with anti-Jewish racism.

David Landy is an assistant professor of sociology and Ronit Lentin is a retired associate professor of sociology at Trinity College Dublin


Adams And The ‘N’-Word – Maybe Obama Knew Something We Didn’t?


Some More Thoughts On Gerry Adams’ ‘N-Word’ Tweet

I don’t know which of these two facts is worse: that 68 people ‘liked’ Adams tweet or that by 10.30 p.m. New York time, or 3.30 a.m. Dublin time, The Irish Times still had not noticed the story, even though American papers, Yahoo news and social media have. Would someone like to wake up the duty editor on the news desk?


Gerry Adams Uses The ‘N’ Word On Twitter………

Apparently it was speedily removed. Quick call from one of the Kearneys no doubt, especially since Big Ted has retired! (Wouldn’t have happened if he had still been on the job!) Washington Times has picked it up with headline:

‘Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams quickly deletes N-word tweet’

Where has Gerry been in last twenty years? Stand by for more tomorow…….





Fr. Daniel Berrigan, RIP, On The H-Blocks Protest

Fr. Daniel Berrigan, the radical Jesuit priest, died at the weekend aged 94. Along with his brother Philip, a Josephite priest he was a leader of the anti-Vietnam war protests in the US in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s who was imprisoned for his part in burning drafts cards. ‘Better than burning babies’, he said at the time.

Fr. Berrigan also took an interest in the Troubles in Northern Ireland and in October 1980, just weeks before the first hunger strike he visited Long Kesh and Armagh jail and wrote about his experience in a Op-ed column for the New York Times.

Daniel Berrigan pictured in the 1970's

Daniel Berrigan pictured in the 1970’s

Here is the article, in two parts. Click to expand (the second extract is an extension of the opening column in the first extract):


McCann Confident in Derry

Sinn Fein is running scared of People Before Profit

 Sinn Fein is running scared of People Before Profit.
At his party’s Ard Fheis, Gerry Adams blurted out that we are “a two nations party.”
We are nothing of the sort, as Adams well knows. We are a 32-county party with three TDs in the Dail. We fight austerity North and South – unlike Sinn Fein shouting left-wing slogans in the South, while implementing Tory policy in the North in order to keep in with the DUP.
It’s Sinn Fein’s politics which are partitioned, not ours.
In the Irish News on Thursday, Jim Gibney confirmed just how rattled Sinn Fein has become. He implored readers not to support “small, left-wing parties” like People Before Profit which, he claimed, ignore “issues of injustice and discrimination”.
People in Derry can make up their own minds whether I have ignored injustice and discrimination. This is just another smear by a party which is having difficulty on the doorsteps persuading former supporters to vote for them again.
Sinn Fein is not used to facing a serious challenge from the Left. Now they find People Before Profit breathing down their necks in three constituencies, and they don’t know how to handle it. But they’d better get used to it. After Thursday, they will face the same challenge every day in the Assembly.
Eamonn McCann