A day out in Dublin

OK, so I’m in the middle of Dublin on Saturday and just finished off a bit of lunch outside Dublin Castle. Next thing I know, there is a massive protest/parade passing by. The Spectacle of Hope and Defiance, organised by a lot of community groups in protest at the ongoing cuts to funding and budgets in Dublin.

The parade was led by children from the local community carrying tombstones for all the inner city projects that either had been closed or were threathened with closure.

People followed behind with slogans painted on butterflies or with placards. I think that the youth groups in the march had been working on them as projects.

Then we had a couple of floats – I liked the design of this one.

Ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who built the Celtic Tiger has retired with an annual pension of 152,331. Although to be fair, he did take a cut in it last week. He’ll really miss that 4,200 they lopped off it.

Of course, no protest is complete without drummers.

And a clown making balloon animals

And the bloody Socialist Worker.

Those stuck in the traffic jam didn’t mind.

The Scales of Injustice, complete with Marie Antoinette throwing cake out to those below.

One of the Marie Antoinettes. Cake not pictured.

Of course, the protest covers all of the people in Ireland. So here is a group of bankers on the way to the golf course.


And a banking fat cat, who threw cake at anyone photographing him (he was a good shot).

One of the EU Bondholders, who handed out Euros to the crowd.

The fat cat makes his way past the Bank of Ireland. The Bondholder shouts at him “Darling, look, it is our cash machine! Do you have the ATM card?”, which I thought was pretty funny.

Finally, the back of the parade was brought up by this huge phoenix.

All in all, good fun and quite uplifting to see the turn out and support, not just from the parade itself but the people it was passing by. Pretty much brought Dame Street to a halt, but it was all good natured and friendly. Special mention to the Gardai, who was more interested in keeping traffic moving – if this was the Met, it would have been truncheons, kettling and nicking of cameras. It really brought home just what a bunch of cunts the policing of protest in the UK is.

New Rammstein single

Rammstein have release their latest single before they start their “Made In Germany” tour and greatest hits album.  And the video “Mein Land” is typical Rammstein, catchy, subversive and utterly hilarious.  What is difficult to get across is that everything Rammstein is shot through with a sense of humour – admittedly a sense of humour that is so dark as to be almost pitch black. They sing about boys meeting girls, but in Rammstein world, boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy kills girl, boy has sex with corpse of girl, girl rises from the dead and chops head off boy, girl corpse has sex with boys headless corpse, and they all (un)live happily ever after.

A rookie mistake

Was pointed towards this by Ben Goldacre.  The Foundation for Future Studies launched a website called United Dreams for Europe.  It would be a social media/crowd sourcing effort.  To quote from their website

Firstly, with the aim of gaining insight into perceptions of and views on Europe, we conducted a survey. In the end more than 15,000 citizens from 13 European countries took part in our quantitative research.

Secondly, as qualitative research, we conducted 27 interviews with members of the European Parliament, scientists and students from different countries to get a cross section of opinions.

The results of this two-sided study will be discussed and presented at an event in the European capital Brussels, hosted by the Foundation for Future Studies in association with the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Furthermore, to enable the European public to access the study, the research will be published in a book of the same name, “United Dreams of Europe” (release date: September 2011), including all the answers and interviews as well as an analysis of the central questions.

In addition, this website has been created to give everyone the opportunity to take part by posting their personal dream for Europe.

So far, so.. meh.

Except… The Foundation for Free Studies is an initiative of British American Tobacco, those purveyors of cancer causing cigarettes.  And more importantly, see that bit about “posting a personal dream for Europe”?  Well, they forgot one crucial thing – to moderate the entries.

Yep, a public unmoderated website feed created by a lobby group for Big Tobacco.

It was never going to end well.  First we start with the obvious:

Then we get to the odd and the funny

Culminating in this work of utter genius.  I was genuinely in tears after reading it.

You would think BAT could afford web designers who knew what the hell they were doing.

Hello World…

OK, so this is the replacement for the blog I used to host.  It was a self built thing that I threw together in about an hour, and it was a pain in the arse to maintain, especially when it came to comments and RSS.  So I’ve moved over to WordPress in an effort to get more writing done, plus I can throw quick thoughts and stuff out there.  So hopefully it will become a mix of a blog and a Tumblr.

We’ll see.