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|From: Irish Political Review: Editorials|
|Date: June, 2015|
Home And Away
|Home And Away
The Irish State has decided, in a decision taken without political opposition—and with the help of a large financial input from an American billionaire along with partisan social media messages from their multi-national owners—to abolish marriage as a social institution designed for facilitating the reproduction of the human race. That is the meaning of the Constitutional Amendment, insofar as meaning is to be found in the words on the paper.
The pretended purpose of the Amendment, as stated by the All-Party collaboration which brought it about, was to give Constitutional back-up to the legal coupling of homosexuals who, in the nature of the case, could not produce children. Such coupling had been given legal status by the Dail, but, it was suggested, what the Dail had done, the Dail could undo. There was not, as far as we know, any hint of political opposition to homosexual civil contracts. But, if the Party Leaders thought that there was a possibility that needed to be guaranteed against, they might have given Civil Contract Constitutional status, under the section Personal Rights, without altering the status of the heterosexual couplings on which the continuation of the race depends.
The state has a fundamental interest in the historical institution of marriage as a means of producing and rearing children. It can have no more than a fanciful concern, or a propaganda concern with an ulterior purpose, in sexual affairs which have nothing to do with reproduction.
Homosexual coupling was criminalised by the British State when it ruled Ireland, without affecting the reproduction of the population over the centuries. The criminalising, and effective policing, of heterosexual coupling would reduce the population to zero in a few generations.
That essential difference has now been abolished in the Constitution, whose function is to state essential facts of life which are important to the state. Heterosexual coupling, whose purpose is to produce and rear children, now has the same essential status in public esteem as homosexual couplings which cannot have that purpose. The two have been put on a par verbally, even though they are utterly different in kind. They have been made equal in the way the 2 + 2 could be made to equal 5 by changing the meaning of the word five.
It is gibberish, but it is Constitutionally binding gibberish which must now be enacted as law by the Dail. And, however this is done, the effect must be to abolish marriage as it has hitherto existed. The gross fact that heterosexual couplings produce children and homosexual couplings don't, must be overridden if the "equality" that was sloganised about all through the campaign is to have any practical effect.
The first practical effect was already legislated for before the referendum. The right of homosexual couples in civil contract to adopt on terms of equality with heterosexual couples was established by law. But it was felt that this right would be probably found to be unconstitutional if it was appealed against. But now that homosexual couplings are to be called marriages that can no longer be done.
If this distinction between heterosexual and homosexual couplings is abolished in adoption law, the hitherto-existing norm that a child should as far as possible have a mother and father is abolished.
This fact was not allowed to be discussed during the referendum campaign. The all-Party consensus of political leaders, combined with the 'whipping' of Dail members of the parties, ensured this. "Conscience", whatever it means these days, was not allowed to operate in the political campaign.
BBC Radio carried an interesting item on the day after the vote. Gerry Buttimer of Fine Gael appeared on it for the Yes side. It seemed that no public figure in Ireland was available to speak for the No side, so an Irishwoman working for the London Evening Standard spoke for it. She said that a friend of hers, a Fine Gael TD, was threatened with expulsion from the party if he broke party discipline by making the case against the Amendment. Buttimer denied this, but he was obviously in a condition of spluttering ecstasy in which a detail like that, true or false, was beneath his notice.
A day or two later the fact that Fianna Fail TDs had been cowed into silence by Micheal Martin was brought out by the resignation of Avril Power from the party. She was an enthusiast for the abolition of marriage as a reproductive institution, and one of her reasons for resigning was that her political colleagues in the party had refused to take part in the campaign.
Martin himself was a pioneering enthusiast for homosexual marriage, but be failed to enthuse the party for the project. He could only silence it. And, by doing so, he split the Fianna Fail enthusiasts—himself and Avril.
We do not know whether it was a Fine Gael or Fianna Fail farmer who put up a slogan by his farm gate saying that two bulls do not make a herd. It could have been either. And it expressed the inescapable commonsense of the matter.
The Evening Standard woman explained to the British audience that all the conventions of democratic public life had been cast aside by the party elites in an exercise of authoritarian manipulation. It was a fair enough description. The Gardai were made political for the occasion in order that their representatives might support the campaign. The head of the Industrial Development of Authority spoke out in favour, as did the head of the Immigration Council. And a former President, Mary McAleese, revoked the convention that Presidents do not engage in political partisanship by active campaigning for the Amendment. (She has a personal interest in the matter, and it has long been evident that, though she now purports to be a Canon Lawyer, she is incapable of distinguishing between the personal and the public.)
The broadcasting and print media too were of course committed to the Amendment, with only a formal technical compliance with impartiality rules.
And the Chair of the Referendum Commission, Justice Kevin Cross, also joined the Yes campaign by stating authoritatively that the Amendment would have no effect whatever on the status of marriage.
This was something he could not know, as it would only be determined when cases relying on the Amendment are brought to law.
Labour leader and Tanaiste Joan Burton was particularly emphatic in asserting that the Amendment had no implications beyond itself. The change it made would be hermetically sealed off from all other possible changes. And, above all, it would not change the status of marriage—even though that is what it was for! She was the most active campaigner amongst the party leaders, and so it was in her campaigning that the evasiveness and mindlessness of the campaign was most evident.
Then, a couple of days after victory was gained, she wondered whether the momentum could be transferred to a quick Referendum for abortion.
It came out during the campaign that an American billionaire, Chuck Feeney, had put millions into the movement. In this instance, Burton was entirely at ease with foreign finance being brought to bear on internal politics. And, anyway, she said, the money did not go to the campaign.
All this meant, however, was that the millions were not put in during the three weeks of the official campaign. They had been put in well beforehand to generate the momentum for the campaign. (Influencing internal developments in small states by the massive funding of 'Voluntary' groups by discreet methods is something that the USA has done with great skill around eastern Europe during the past twenty-five years.)
The Fine Gael and Fine Fail leaders set up the Referendum, arranged for various public institutions which should have been impartial to be partisan, silenced their parties, took a back seat, and let the well-funded movement have its head.
The wording of the Family Law Bill which preceded the Referendum, as originally drafted by Justice Minister Alan Shatter, included provisions on surrogacy. When Shatter had to resign this was taken out of the Bill by his successor Frances Fitzgerald, and the line during the campaign was that the Amendment had nothing to do with anything but itself. Patsy McGarry, Religion Correspondent of the Irish Times and authoritative biographer of President McAleese, said that the attempt to drag it in was an attempt at intimidation by the No campaign—which was itself thoroughly intimidated.
Renting the wombs of women in the Third World in order to make children for wealthy homosexuals—and making up those children by advanced technological devices—would not have played well in Ireland yet. Shatter, whose primary allegiance lies elsewhere, can be excused for not knowing that.
Homosexual adoption was also taken out of the campaign by the pretence that it had already been legislated for. Last month we suggested that the legislation might be open to Constitutional challenge if homosexual marriage was not established. But now it turns out that there was no legislation. The Bill was put through all its stages, except the final one. It was held ready to be signed into an Act by the President when homosexual marriage was established.
On the day after the vote, as the results were coming in, Radio Eireann had the Editor of the Independent and Gerry Adams on the programme to comment on it. But this was an issue on which no mileage could be got against Sinn Fein, which was the only party genuinely at ease with the Amendment.
The interviewer therefore sprang the Mairia Cahill affair on him. An investigation into the handling of the matter by the Northern police had just reported. It found that the police had been at fault in the way Cahill's complaint was dealt with. The RTE interviewer seemed to think that told against Sinn Fein, and she asked Adams for his response. He said he agreed that the police had handled the matter badly. She then tried to find a way of making the report play against Sinn Fein, but found herself at a loss.
She then brought the Editor of the Independent in to help her. He could do no better. Adams dealt with every question—and every tirade—factually. And he made a number of definite statements which they could not dispute. He said that he had advised Cahill, when she came to him at the start, that she should take the matter to the police. He said that the abuser was her uncle. He said that rape in Ireland today was largely a family affair, without political bias, and had certainly happened in the families of members of all parties. He said he had spoken to Joe Cahill, the patriarch of the Cahill family, with a view to helping to limit the damage the matter was doing to the family. And he said that the Independent had been obliged to pay him damages on a number of occasions because of statements it made about him in the long campaign against him.
The fact that Cahill had not taken his advice and gone to the police was not discussed. Nor was the fact that she had not been dragged to a "Kangaroo Court" but had chosen that course. Nor was the fact that she had been active in the Provisional movement until it recognised the Northern police, and then turned against it and was active in a dissident Republican agitation against the Agreement. Nor was the fact that when, belatedly, she went to the police, and swore a witness statement which led to a prosecution being brought, she then withdrew her statement and caused the trial to collapse.
Dublin media creatures, like Free State politicians, when they try to use Northern matters against Sinn Fein in the South, quickly run out of their depth. They had never taken the trouble to understand what Northern Ireland is, therefore they can have no sense of its political dynamic, and of what particular things mean in terms of that dynamic. This was perhaps understandable during the decades when the Constitutional position was that the British structure in the North was illegitimate because it was British, and that the Six Counties should be governed from Dublin. But the Constitutional claim was repealed 17 years ago. That approach is no longer defensible. But resistance to an understanding of what Northern Ireland is has not weakened. Therefore comment is usually ignorant.
The rise of Sinn Fein in the South has coincided with the decline of Fianna Fail into Free Statism. Two issues are involved: Partition, and the founding event of the Irish state. Fianna Fail, down to the 1990s, regarded Irish independence as having been founded democratically and legitimately by the 1918 Election and the Declaration of Independence of January 1919. Fine Gael was bound by its origins to locate the legitimate origin of the Irish state in the 'Treaty' dictated by the Crown under threat of an all-out British war of re-conquest. Under Martin Mansergh's influence, Fianna Fail has been nudged around into that view.
And Fianna Fail now seems to recognise Northern Ireland as a legitimate and democratic system, and Micheal Martin has condemned Sinn Fein for introducing "sectarianism" into it. But, if that word is to be used, then it must be said that the Northern Ireland system, imposed by Britain as the means of enacting Partition, was essentially sectarian from the start. In exclusion from the democracy of the (British) state it could have been nothing else. The 1998 system institutionalised that sectarianism and equalised it to a considerable extent.
If Martin thinks he would do better than Sinn Fein in the North, what is stopping him from doing it? He can contest Northern elections if he wants. He has token party organisation there, but he keeps it manacled. He prefers to be the hurler on the ditch—well, on the ditch of another field.
The Government waited until the Referendum was safely in the bag before announcing the sale of Aer Lingus, accompanied by a carefully-prepared chorus of approving voices from various officials and public bodies.
The 'guarantees' given by British Airways/IAG are not worth the paper they are written on.
Labour will enable the sale to go through. With the party at rock-bottom with its base, it might have been thought that it would attempt to retrieve its fortunes by preventing the sale—which makes no sense in socialist or in national terms. British company law makes a firm's directors responsible for maximising shareholder profits. No other consideration matters. The combined shareholders of the new entity will be largely British and international. In the long term the decision to maximise their returns will adversely affect Irish connectivity and economic development. It could also mean the company having its head office outside the EU, if Britain decides to leave.
This flagship company of Irish State Enterprise, built up by the efforts of nationally-minded personnel over decades, will be lost to Ireland—and for a pitiable sum of money.
James Connolly must be turning in his grave.
As we go to print, President Obama has decided to disrupt an autonomous world organisation that has developed outside US control: FIFA.
FIFA, under Sepp Blatter's leadership, has made football a world game. This has been done by giving the Associations of all countries an equal say in the running of things, and an equal distribution of profits. That democratic principle gives the Third World a majority influence. The Anglo-Saxon world has long been complaining about this. Its candidate in the 2015 Election for the FIFA Presidency was a Sandhurst-educated Jordanian Prince.
There is a latent split waiting to happen. A dispute between Palestine and Israel might have precipitated it. The Israeli State has been interfering actively, by various means, and by right of conquest, with Palestinian football to prevent it developing and having an international profile, and Blatter was trying to negotiate a compromise when Obama struck.
Israel, as a European state imposed by Imperial force on the Middle East, is a member of the UEFA region of FIFA. It was the business of the self-righteous UEFA to deal with Israeli interference with Palestinian football by bringing European pressure to bear on Israel. It did not do so.
An issue is being made about slave labour in Qatar. It is suggested that it should not have been given the World Cup because of it. But Qatar, a British Imperial construct, has always had this slave labour, and it is only since it was awarded the World Cup that the 'world' has taken any notice of it.
Russia says Obama's move to disrupt FIFA is a Cold War move against Russia. Can anyone really doubt it?
Home And Away. Editorial
Labour Disaster In Carlow-Kilkenny. Philip O'Connor
Readers' Letters: Lusitania—A War Ship! Pat Walsh
Who Gained What In The British Election? Peter Brooke
Hurley Bats Honohan. Sean Owens (The Banking Inquiry)
Jean-Claude Trichet At IIEA. Sean Owens (The Banking Inquiry)
Pseuds Corner-Boys. Donal Kennedy (No. 5: Stephen Collins)
A Neglected Centenary: May 1915. Pat Walsh
NSDLP Presence Again Ensures Nationalist Defeat". (Report of John McQuaige letter)
Shorts from the Long Fellow (The Fianna Fáil Leader; Siteserv; The Politics of Siteserv; Jean Claude Trichet; Fianna Fáil on Same Sex Marriage; Liberalism—the New Orthodoxy; Same Sex Marriage - Tax)
Some Sense About A Census. Jack Lane
Captain Poulter For The National! John Morgan (Lt. Col. retd)
Two Lives: Gerry McKerr And Dessie O'Hagan. Sean McGouran
Plugging The Gaps In A British Army Hero's Obituary: Jack Harte (1920-2015)—A Later Larkinite Anti-Imperialist. Manus O'Riordan
Results Of Referendums
'John Bowman'. Query To Readers
Seven Easter 1916 Widows. Wilson John Haire (Review)
Before War Became Peace. When War Became Peace. After War Became Peace. Wilson John Haire (Three Poems)
Confused Thinking From Ferriter! Jack Lane
Lord Mountbatten—generous with the lives of others
The Keynesian Multiplier. John Martin (Part Three of Series on Keynes's General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money)
Does It Stack Up? Michael Stack (Rights of Victims of Crime; Computerisation of Transport; Governance; Constitution of Ireland)
Rampant Criminalisation. Wilson John Haire (Poem)