Current Affairs Politics

Slugger O’Toole. Just Another Right-Wing Voice In The Irish Media?

The phrase “jumping the shark” describes the moment when a once popular television show attempts to revive its fortunes by staging a dramatic and invariably self-defeating twist in its storyline or format. It is difficult to point to the exact moment when the Irish politics blog Slugger O’Toole took such a jump, though the publication (and eventual removal) of articles accusing the Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar of being animated by anti-British views because of his implied inferior mixed parentage is certainly a good place to start.

During its early years the nominally Belfast-based website, initially a lone effort, adopted an editorial line that was broadly sympathetic to the then mainstream parties of nationalism and unionism in the north-east of the country, the SDLP and UUP, and the Alliance Party above all, while being disdainful of their rivals in the DUP and Sinn Féin. With the political mainstream in the disputed region becoming the new fringe in the decade following the signing of the peace accords under the Good Friday Agreement, SO’T gradually became more explicit in its ideological leanings, moving from a moderate and relatively fair AP-style pro-union line to something closer to the editorial agendas of avowedly unionist publications like the Belfast Telegraph or some of the more politically antiquated revisionist opinion columns of national newspapers like the Sunday Independent or Irish Times.

Worse still, some of the team at Slugger O’Toole seemed to exhibit symptoms of the neo-right contagion running rampant through much of the conservative media in the United Kingdom and United States, complete with the obligatory references to alt-right favourite Jordan Peterson. Now we have days when the blog reads more like a parody of the defunct but in its time politically toxic Brexit Central or the somewhat deranged Express newspaper in the UK, its commentary on affairs in Dublin weirdly echoing some of the anti-Irish conspiracy theories that have gained popularity in Fleet Street and Westminster since the Brexit referendum of 2016. In a way you could almost compare the ideological journey of some of the figures behind SO’T to that of the former radicals who now make up the motely crew at the libertarian-right publication Spiked Online. Dissidents turned reactionaries, and not above letting ideology trump logic or reason in pursuit of good rhetorical barbs to fire at their enemies, no matter how ridiculous. Take the lines below from a Slugger O’Toole opinion piece.

I was asked recently if I thought the present southern government would last the year out. I’d seen odds suggesting Micheál Martin would not last the year out, but above all Martin is a stoic…

With the Brexit deal under strain, his refusal to trade in near-ubiquitous anti-British rhetoric may just clear a sane space for the kind of economic rescue that was always needed from the start.

…as many Irish Americans are working in prominent positions within the Trump administration, it’s clear that Ireland is pretty fond of its own bad boys (and girls) too.

…reducing the Taoiseach’s moral objection to Sinn Féin as Ireland’s Trumpian (promoting anti-British as opposed to anti-immigrant feeling) project par excellence to a personal trait rather than tackling the substantial point.

This absence of humanity within the machine is what drives good people towards tell-them-what-they-want-to-hear populists like Trump and Mary Lou. And this silent complicity, as I would put it, is something almost universally missed by those who claim to oppose them.

It’s easy to criticise Trump in Ireland, Sinn Féin not so much.

For Harris (and I think I agree with him), Martin despite his misfortune at the ballot box in February is one of the few voices in Irish politics standing against the wave of populist sentiment

These exchanges don’t earn the Taoiseach much favour elsewhere, but they do show a grasp of north-south relations that’s been shaded from the public square by Sinn Féin’s ethno-nationalist populism and the previous administration’s deployment of anti-British rhetoric viz a viz Brexit negotiation.

Sinn Féin’s capacity to speak directly to communal fears and a sense of economic and social abandonment, while claiming that they alone understand and care for them has put them on a course for power and with that the island on a course for conflict…

If this nonsense had been written by a British newspaper columnist I would have dismissed it along with the dozens of other articles penned by right-wing journalists in Britain (and the US) with zero insight or understanding of politics in Ireland. However it comes from a blog claiming to offer an informed and balanced analysis of Irish affairs. Such news quackery offers neither. It’s merely another manifestation of a strain of homegrown opposition to Sinn Féin and its policies that has spread its British unionist and Irish revisionist roots into the new soil of Anglo-American “culture war” politics. The same opposition to progressive republican politics in this country that is reflected across the mass of the Irish media, not in (historical) fear of the ballot box in one hand and the Armalite in the other but in (fantastical) fear of the ballot box in one hand and Das Kapital in the other.

That is the illusionary shark the team at SO’T are seeking to jump.

29 comments on “Slugger O’Toole. Just Another Right-Wing Voice In The Irish Media?

  1. Totally agree. I have increasingly come to dislike S O’T’s line intensely


    • There are still good contributors to Slugger. Grainne Trixie has written quite a few pieces about the pogroms of 1920-1922 in the North (and has been repeatedly attacked by unionist commentators in the comments section for his efforts) and has been very vocal about his involvement in NICRA, using it to debunk the idea that the IRA controlled it (as one person who goes by the name of Mainland Ulsterman on the site repeatedly maintains, citing one quote from Richard English).

      However, I lost the rag with Fealty when he attributed the 2018 breakdown of talks in Stormont purely to SF, despite Eamon Mallie publishing documents that proved otherwise. I called him out on it a few times on Slugger, until he eventually conceded that Mallie was “probably right.” I always knew he didn’t like SF (which is fine), but when someone has fallen so far down the well of hatred they are prepared to openly lie about events (flying in the face of available evidence), bullshit must be called.


  2. terence patrick hewett

    If you engage with the intertubes simply wishing to hear the echo of yr own voice I am afraid yr going to be disappointed. Free societies pull in all sorts of directions: only authoritarian and totalitarian pull in only one. It is the power of the internet that people of like mind can congregate and swap ideas: it will have been noted that the bottom-up revolution of Brexit could never have been achieved without the intertubes. The real conversations of Irish politics are not being conducted in the MSM but on YT and the increasingly diverse Irish political blogs and websites.

    The status quo ante will not last much longer.


  3. Chandragupta

    Yes. Mick Fealty has been moving steadily to a harder and more Unionist stance, not that he was ever a fan of Republicanism anyway. This is probably because, perhaps unconsciously, he realises that Irish Unionism is doomed, the end is moving rapidly closer, and he can’t stand the idea.


  4. Agree with the analysis of the turning of dissenters into extreme defenders of the system — this occurred in Ireland with Official Sinn Féin after the IRSP split from it. But seeing SF as a voice of Republicanism is pure wishful thinking; it came from there but so did Fianna Fáil. As a necessary next step on its way to becoming another establishment party, SF is on its way to going into coalition with one or more of the main Irish Gombeen parties and doesn’t care who knows it. Their trajectory is well-marked and those who didn’t see it earlier certainly have no excuse for being blind to it now.


    • I would see SF as one strand of republican politics but not the only one. Just the most explicit one on the left and the only viable republican party at the moment. I know people in the Greens and the SWP who would lean strongly into the progressive republican description albeit with variable degrees of socialist thought or not.

      I want SF to do well and be in government because I think it would further the cause of Irish republicanism. And not just in relation to partition. It would also, hopefully, encourage republicanism more broadly as a political philosophy in the country and attract greater interest.

      And of course, as you say, joining a coalition would have its own effect and perhaps lead to a more forceful republican party down the line, within SF or split or rival to it.

      Which, as someone who had a passing interest in éirígí, would be a good thing.

      SF suits me as a republican voter. But only so long as it matches my core beliefs. If some other party was closer to those beliefs I would vote for it.


  5. I long ago (many years ago, actually) gave up on Slugger, though not for the reasons you outline. Simply put, I felt its political analysis was shallow and trite, and often entirely divorced from realities on the ground. Moreover, and bizarrely, it was being hailed as some sort of finger-on-the-pulse oracle by every journo and his/her dog here in the North, and consequently was a media darling that had begun to believe its own publicity.
    To the points you make, I should say, in fairness to Slugger, for many years Sinn Fein member Chris Donnelly was a high-profile contributor.
    As for Mick Fealty’s piece: for Mick to quote with a straight face Eoghan Harris excusing himself from commenting on Trump because, Harris claims, we in this part of the world can’t effect things in the US, is amazing. When did that ever stop Harris from commenting on anything, never mind other parts of the world? He has at times been particularly vociferous on the Middle East. Does he think he can effect change there?
    Anyway, I wouldn’t worry about it. About 90% of the people in the North have never heard of Slugger O’Toole, never mind take any notice of what its saying.


    • In my own opinion SO’T started out as a moderate pro-union blog, by inclination ideologically closer to the Alliance Party than any other – and for well-known reasons – but supportive of the UUP and SDLP. Or at least the Séamus Mallon and old Gerry Fitt wing of the SDLP. The wing happy enough to accommodate itself within the UK for the foreseeable future as long “Catholics” were on an equal footing in the northern parastate.

      However the success of SF and in particular the emergence of Brexitism as a political force has pushed it firmly towards a more explicitly unionist stand. The greater the “threat” of a reunited Ireland, the greater its unionist instincts seem to become and the more intolerant it grows.

      Make of that what you will.

      Like Harris, the only people who care or talk about Slugger O’Toole these days are the conservative wine and crackers set who circulate among the right-wing and neo-right think thanks in London. The exclusive clubs where the late and far from lamented Sean O’Callaghan was paraded around like a tamed wild savage to entertain the lords and ladies of the Tory right. And where the likes of the wretched Ruth Dudley Edwards sings for her supper.

      It that sense Slugger is an irrelevance even as it slowly morphs into a slightly saner Breitbart Junior.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I felt that it really went over the top during the pandemic with a range of pieces that were just very strange indeed. The Harris references and so on had been coming a long while, MF has never hidden his detestation of SF and that’s in a way fair enough – it’s an opinion, but as you say ASF the functional aspect of this was to line the site up in a sort of reactionary space with the sort of weirdly little Englander vibe. Someone I know thought the idea was that it would become a unionist space in some way, which even by its own lights seems a curious path given how that might not be an expanding demographic.

        The thing is everything has changed hasn’t it? Even the supposed fixed points of five years ago pre-Brexit, pre-Trump, pre-pandemic are now anything but fixed. And I don’t think SO’T really have got to grips with that.

        I stopped reading it about four months ago after years of dipping in and out and having gone back.

        Tamam – that’s really a key point IMHO, re the actual influence or spread of sites (and re Harris’s absurd reticence – expedient comes to mind about his excuse but that raises the question who does he not want to alienate).

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s also 100% possible that the pandemic itself is making people a little crazy. Human beings are social creatures, and all this business of masks, lockdowns, and social distancing could be taking a bigger toll than most people would have predicted. They say people are resilient? Sure!! In the sense that the large majority are not going to develop PTSD, drop dead from a stroke or heart attack, attempt/commit suicide, become alcoholics or drug addicts, become agoraphobies, or sink into full clinical depression. However, no major pathologies doesn’t mean “no effects whatsoever”.

          It’s true that these measures were taken, because public health around the world has so few options for controlling this unpredictable virus-there was nothing dirty or underhanded. Yet, I’m seriously worried that “misanthropy training” could be a consequence of social distancing even if it was never the intent. Also I’m deeply worried about the effects all this is going to have on education/schooling, domestic violence, public transit in certain countries, and even how people in general relate to each other-if that last bit makes any sense. There are some who predict that certain countries such as Lebanon, Armenia, Iran, Georgia, Turkey, Thailand, and a lot of North Africa, South American, and up-coming Sub-Saharan African countries could end up cannibalizing their education budgets, to beef up public health spending. On one hand many of them need it, but on the other it seems a bit like Killing The Goose Who Lays The Golden Eggs. Given how much school some of the kids all over the world have already missed? It’s seriously troubling.

          I believe in Ireland the system of “patronage” for the schools might insulate you from cannibalized education budgets, although whether it’s the ideal answer in the long run is a very different question.

          As for getting out of this mess? Hold on to your hat, this is going to be the craziest global vaccine campaign that the world has ever seen. Epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant (a man who CAN take his family name with some irony!!) was quoted as saying “When a vaccine is approved, you don’t get rainbows and unicorns. You get a vaccine campaign.” At this point, I’d take a vaccine campaign over rainbows and unicorns myself!!! Dr. Brilliant believes multiple vaccines are on the way, but the ones that take longer to research may be better.

          To me Britain’s claim that it plans to vaccinate less than half of its people strikes me as “howl at the moon crazy”. Any insights into what could possess The British government not to want all its people vaccinated-with of course some medical exceptions and some people (age, occupation, chronic conditions) first priority?

          The UK and Swedish government’s skepticism of lockdowns and the lockdown protesters in various countries I could understand and empathize with in a heartbeat. Not wanting to eventually get all Britons vaccinated, let alone the anti-vax movement………..I do not understand that at any level.


          • I totally agree about the stress people are under. I feel it myself, though I’m weirdly lucky as an essential worker, with job security/regularity throughout the crisis of the last ten nine months. Though, on the other hand, that has left me particularly exposed to potential infection since the get-go.
            But compared to some events, wars and sustained natural calamities, others have seen much worse in their time. Always worth remembering that. Not being able to visit pubs and restaurants is not the equivalent of Black and Tans kicking in the front door of the house, no matter how some go on like it is.
            Ah vaccination. That’s the thing. Personally I can’t see this being “over” until this time next year, when vaccination has reached critical mass in the population.
            The UK and US government attitudes of it will be all over by Christmas, 1914 style, is bewildering. Some learn nothing from history.


            • Hmmm. I’d probably draw almost the exact opposite set of lessons from the WWI and Irish WOI/CW/FS times!!

              First off, forced isolation is more profound than, just a closure of pubs, restaurants, movies, barber shops, and other such amenities. If it was solely a case of closing down so many commercial services people would have found ways to be with friends, family, and others. The economic hardship would have still been quite serious for a lot of people, but it would have been different if face-to-face interactions outside the immediate household weren’t forced to come to a near absolute grinding halt. Kids would still go to school and people likely would have come together to deal with the crisis, in ways social distancing does not permit.

              It’s human for people to want to come together during a crisis. Now we have an unpredictable virus and millions plunged into poverty around the world. Yet our better coping devices are more or less “banned” by lockdowns and social distancing.

              We obviously don’t know much about the long term effects of this, but a lot of early signs are disturbing.

              As for vaccination? I’m actually optimistic about that. Keep in mind “herd immunity” is a continuum rather than a binary. It also appears increasingly likely that multiple successful vaccines will be created by multiple countries-which is great.

              I believe that a massive and challenging global vaccine campaign will be a more useful model for dealing with climate issues, and other challenges of today’s world. Social disancing and lockdowns seem more like a nightmare eco-dystopia.

              There’s no sugar coating the fact it will be extraordinarily difficult to vaccinate enough of the world. However, I would not compare it to any war least of all WWI. Warfare and vaccine campaigns have some commonalities in terms of industrial production, logistics and strategy, but they are not alike at all in intent and the mentality they require.

              If the FDA auths/approves a Covid-19 vaccine by December, people have been informed that the bigger challenge may be getting the vaccine to everyone-even that various odd shortages could occur in over it. Besides to many Americans “over by Christmas” is one of the more ill-omened Civil War memes!

              As bad as Trump is, the country’s position for a massive vaccine campaign is not so bad. Americans are used compulsory which were upheld by the Supreme Court in 1905. Vaccine mandates have existed in the US since 1813 (most of the Founding Fathers loved the idea) and so has Postal Service involvement in vaccine distribution. The CDC is already planning for USPS and UPS to be involved in distributing a Covid-19 shot and to issue “vaccine cards”.


  6. WorldbyStorm – Re the nonsense of Harris’s excuse for not tackling Trump, not to mention the ludicrousy of Mick Fealty taking that excuse at face value: I heavily suspect that Harris is secretly thrilled by Trump’s “owning of the Libs” but realises that even he couldn’t possibly get away with throwing any compliments in Trump’s direction. So, instead, he has gone for a “nothing to do with me” opt out clause.
    I have to say, and as you intimated: So what if Mick Fealty is a unionist? It’s hardly a crime. Not so subtly linking SF to extreme right-wingers, albeit in a sub-textual way, though is an absolute nonsense born of lazy thinking and analysis. But, then again, Sinn Fein is big enough to look after itself, and isn’t above a bit of mud-slinging itself.
    The only bit of Fealty’s piece that really rankled with me was this: “…as many Irish Americans are working in prominent positions within the Trump administration, it’s clear that Ireland is pretty fond of its own bad boys (and girls) too.” For a start, this just came out of the blue in the piece with no contextual support. Which is a sure sign the writer was eager to make some sort of point (either for himself or at someone else’s prompting). Of course there are Irish Americans supporting Trump, both inside and outside the White House, but so what? What evidence is there for the contention that Ireland (as if we’re a homogenous blob) has indicated any fondness for these people. Absolutely none.
    Finally, and this is more connected to some of the above than it might appear, I have noticed over the years that there is a very tiny strain of humanity attracted to extreme positions. We often marvel, for example, at someone who a while back was on the extreme left but now is on the extreme right. Actually, I believe, the extremism is as much in the person as in the positions they adopt.


    • That last thought on extremism is very interesting. I’d never looked at it that way. Not sure that I’d agree or that the evidence is there for that conclusion but certainly a worthwhile suggestion.

      I hope that the post isn’t seen as a personal attack on anyone at SO’T. That’s why I purposely avoided naming anyone involved. It’s a criticism of its editorial direction which I think is heading in the wrong direction. Being moderate pro-union is fine. It’s the definition of the Alliance Party after all. Even moderate unionist, with the extra layers of meaning, is perfectly legitimate. After all, look at the enthusiasm SO’T displayed for the dead cat bounce that was NI21.

      But the current editorial stance at SO’T just smacks of Brexit journalism and commentary. I mean, there is more insight and thoughtfulness on the issue of UK and EU relations from the avowed Eurosceptics at Turbulent Times, Richard North etc, than from SO’T and its supposedly pro-Remain team.


      • Yes, and similarly by way of clarification my thoughts on extremism were absolutely not aimed at anyone associated with Slugger.
        To elaborate slightly on the point I was making, I was thinking particularly of those who have moved swiftly from one extreme end of the political spectrum to the other with barely a hiccup along the way. In the cases I am thinking of, from pro-Stalinism to extreme right-wing nationalism. A particular case in point is someone (a quite well-known English person) who, not so very long ago, was so avowedly anti-British they were even openly supporting (in print) the deaths of British soldiers in Ireland and elsewhere in the world. In the last EU elections this person stood for Farage’s party (and was elected). In their TV interviews, both pre- and post-election, they were indistinguishable from any other extreme right-winger. Such people are few in number, but I have noticed some of them over the years. And some here in Ireland. They seem to be attracted to the extremes of politics, rather than to the particular ideology they latch on to. I should say too, the journey seems most often to be from the extreme left to the extreme right, rather than the other way round.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I seen my share of people who went from calm, moderate, measured, and ever willing to look at every issue from more than one point of view……to a total fanatic when they got fired up about a particular issue. I’ve seen this happen with 9/11 conspiracy, anti-vaxx, David Icke’s theories, the Manosphere, and more. With hard left to hard right, I believe it’s because Marxism -at least beyond a brief youthful or maybe middle aged- flirtation, has some reactionary elements in it for anyone born to an at least marginally Democratic country after 1880 or so.

          One thing you seem to see a lot of is adults who were raised in extreme fundamentalist households being willing to embrace all sort of bizarre ideologies. The “ISIS Bride” is one of the creepier examples.


        • And now in the House of Lords. And lauded by a number of her comrades who have taken similar political journey to her. From RA-heads to Brex-heads!


          • That’s the very one.


          • I assume you don’t wish to name that person, for fear of a libel suit.

            My experience with people who will say things like that-in some cases not half as bad-is that no smart anti-war activist wants them around. Not just due to wanting certain moral standards or avoiding bad publicity to the cause, but also because they tend not to be very trustworthy. They may do things like steal stuff, get other activists in trouble, promote conflict etc.

            Most of these people fall into one of two categories. Either they are sociopaths and/or personality disordered types who just feed conflict, drama, watching friends fall out and organizations fall apart. Completely destroying the group is their idea of “fun” and “an achievement”. The second category are people who are easily manipulated or controlled by the first type: a “toady”. Most of these extremely impressionable, mildly to moderately troubled individuals, and rudderless. They seem to lack this instinct most of us develop in the preteens to early teens, where sometimes you just sense that something is “off” about a person or situation, and know that you should “run not walk” form the whole scene. Usually they are “running from” something.

            For some of the more rudderless types, going from one extreme to another comes down to being under the control of different manipulative sociopaths.

            In the US or Canada most “rudderless types” seem to be females who were raised in very insular families by fundamentalists with a ghoulish misogynistic streak. For example, Rachel Dolezal struck me as the kind of “kid” who could have been an extremist if she had fallen in with the “wrong crowd” rather than ending up at Howard. However I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those elite “public” British boarding schools are producing similar, if so much as half the claims about those places are true.


            • Terence Hewett

              Claire Fox no secret – she would laugh her head off at being so described.


            • “What evidence is there for the contention that Ireland (as if we’re a homogenous blob) has indicated any fondness for these people. Absolutely none.”

              +1 Tamam. I felt reading that that was for the benefit of a different readership in some odd way, a sort of token of soundness to a group where that token might have currency ie “sure the Irish are an atavistic lot anyway don’t we all know” sort of line.

              I’d add to your point the thought that I doubt the composition of some of the WH personnel in terms of Irish Americanism would have been completely unknown to most and of little or no relevance to people. And there’s a broader point that there’s a sort of general and sometimes very hazy identification with the Democrats in Ireland (similar to the identification with the BLP). It’s a bit odd for someone to write seriously, given that reality, that somehow Irish people were rooting for a Republican admnistration, particularly one led by Trump.

              Just on extremism, always felt that the core aspect is whether people are willing to go back to the people they claim to represent and put themselves forward for democratic legitimation again in elections and to allow others to contest them with opposing views. If they’re not then that’s a problem.


              • The other truth is that no ethnic group in the US is a monolith politically. Irish American are actually one of the most Democratic of the larger white Catholic ethnic groups. Most of those who lean Republican are either social conservatives who oppose abortion and gay marriage or disgruntled “log cabin Republicans”.

                As for extremism, I’m not sure that the “elections” test would apply to most activists as most of them never run for office.

                I could be different across the Atlantic, but my experience with people who are extremists or at least susceptible to being sucked in by extremists is that, most of them seem almost unable to see when things are rolling off the deep end. It’s like some combination a sort of poor judgement where the just don’t see that things are getting extreme-the minute they decide the status quo is not OK, they are willing to accept almost anything presented as an alternative. Also you 30 year olds are have a 15 year old’s susceptibility to peer pressure.


              • Hi WorldByStorm: Re this: “…as many Irish Americans are working in prominent positions within the Trump administration, it’s clear that Ireland is pretty fond of its own bad boys (and girls) too.”
                To be perfectly honest, and what I was hinting at, I thought this line was suggested by (a particular) someone else, and was shoehorned into the piece. It’s a seed-planting smart-alec remark that bears absolutely no analysis. By this line of reasoning, given his ethnic background, does Trump being in the White House make it clear then that Germany and Scotland are pretty fond of their bad boys and girls too. Total bullshit intended to associate Ireland with the Irish-Americans around Trump.

                On a related subject. Just as bad, in my view, are those who constantly paint Ireland (or anywhere else, for that matter) as a land populated entirely by saints, scholars and thoroughly decent people. Sure we have those types, as does everywhere else in the world. But, just like everywhere else too, we also have our share of twisted, thoroughly nasty people. To go down the road of “exceptionalism” is not only delusionary but dangerous.

                As for extremists going back to the people for a democratic mandate. They don’t feel any compulsion to do this. Most extremists think they know better than the people; are way ahead of the people in their thinking and analysis. And, if they and their ilk are given enough time and power, the scales will eventually fall from the people’s eyes and they [the people] will come around to the “proper” way of thinking.


  7. Apologies for veering totally off subject here, but I’ve just watched a documentary on BBC Channel 4 about British Two-Tone music in the 70s. I remember the time well, and the joy we felt that racism (and all the other mindless -isms) was being confronted, defeated, and relegated to the dustbin of history. I look around me now, and I could cry. Fascism, totalitarianism, and supremacists are on the rise everywhere I look. Things are worse than ever. We really are an abominable species. We never learn.
    Apologies again, had to get that off my chest, and where better than on ASF.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was just listening to “Fascist Boom” the other day by Irish-British hip-hop group Marxman, which was a 1990s outfit that I loved, and it protests the rise of far-right groups in Europe following the end of the Cold War. So I get that sense you do of the historical wheel turning and nothing being learned. Except this time it feels truly revolutionary, like something is looming out there on the he horizon. For good or for bad. Brexit, Trump, Covid-19, Orban, Putin, China regressing to authoritarianism with a capitalists veneer, the echoes of the recent global recession… It just feels like a bad chapter in the history books of the future. Or the introduction to a very bad chapter. Not sure…


      • All we can hope for is that Biden defeats Trump in the upcoming presidential election. Trump’s behaviour gives a free pass to every other dictator and would-be dictator around the globe. In ordinary times many people probably wouldn’t vote for Biden, but these aren’t ordinary times. If I lived in the US, I’d vote for a tailor’s dummy over Trump.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I remember then too Tamam, and yes things are worse on certain levels and particularly the ones you point to, but then some things strike me as radically better. So some progress is made slowly, partially, two steps forward, one and a half steps back.

          Also slightly off topic, PJ O’Rourke can be a bit of a pain though interesting but he had a good line about China saying it’s never a good look with a one party system that cosies up to business interests, or let’s them off the leash.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I agree, at this moment things are better on a few fronts. But that doesn’t mean they are destined to stay that way. How solid is the ground that minority groups are standing on? As an instance, does a black, mixed race, or ethnic minority person of any type feel more secure in the West of today than they would have in the 1970s? In which direction do they feel the flow is moving?
            Liberal democracy itself, and all of the human rights that go along with it, is under attack around the world. Simply put, we fell asleep at the wheel.


  8. There was a poster here who said that SOT was the stenographer in chief to the NIO. Quite.


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