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Scottish Independence

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Well, the big day arrives tomorrow and if there are any floating voters out there who are reading this and still not sure what way to vote, my suggestion is, to just go for it.  Why not?  The chance to run your own affairs, free from the yoke of Westminster, don't listen to the scare-mongers, be like the song 'Scotland the Brave'!  I've listened to all the arguments and i have found the no camp so patronising, are the Scottish people so stupid that they would be incapable of running their own country?  I don't think so!  

I love Scotland, it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it never fails to amaze me how many people travel across the world to other places for their beauty but have never been to the Highlands, unreal!!  If you have never been, go, you have no idea what you're missing, it is stunning.

There's another myth about Scotland, I've never understood, that the Scottish people are tight with money.  I used to go over to Scotland every year for Hogmanay, and far from miserable, i found them the most generous people i ever met.  You welcomed into homes and fed and watered to your hearts content, they couldn't do enough for you.

I was thinking today about the outcome and i thought about getting up on Saturday morning and hearing that the no camp won, and i had such a sinking feeling in my stomach, but when i imagined getting up and hearing that the yes vote had triumphed, then it felt great, exciting!!  So, if there is anyone out there and still not sure, try that, sit down quietly, take a deep breath and imagine the result and see what your gut tells you, don't let fear decide it for you, let your inner wisdom speak and good luck to the people of Scotland, i wish you well in your future, it's in your hands, GO FOR IT!!

Now on a count of 3, 1 2... Oh flower of Scotland, I long to see your face again.......

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Life lessons

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If there is one thing I've learned about life, it's that you never really get over anything. Whatever trauma, sorrow or heartbreak you may have suffered, you won't fully get over it, the best you can do is to try and find ways to live with it.  Over time you will cry less but no matter how well you may appear to be, it doesn't take much scratching at the surface to realize the pain is still there, hovering somewhere below the surface and then there are always those dates, songs or other triggers that remind us of our losses.  And that is the hardest lesson to learn in life, how to cope with loss, whether it's saying goodbye to those we love or recovering from trauma, continuing through the daily grind is the toughest battle of all.  

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Just home from finishing my exam, (DD203) it wasn't too bad but of course, driving home i remembered 3000 things i forgot to put in.  Anyway, i'm just glad it's all over after all the stresses and strains of the last 18 months. (I've had the year and half from hell and it ain't over yet) but at least i have 4 months of doing nothing but going to work, coming home and being able to read just for pleasure again.

i am going to sleep for my summer holidays this year, roll on July!

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John Jones

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 16:02

A while back i was given poems that were written by a young man callled John Jones from Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh who died in 1979, aged just 22.  Tomorrow is his anniversary so I thought i would put up one of them.  This is my favourite one and perfectly captures the dark misery that was 1970's N. Ireland.  It was dated Oct 1978 and this month also has deep resonance for me as it was one of the darkest periods of my life.

The Town I Love So Well

They sipped from cups of steamy welcome tea

and fag ends hissed as they hit the water.

The traffic lights were amber, the cinema closed

As they plunged once more with twilight sneaking.

The peckish crowds drew lots for a better view, 

Their consensus instability, despite his tender years

and that Daglish would surely hit the thirty mark.

The paper boy dripped when they brought him up.

His feet were encased in two large pumpkins

And already the pike had nibbled at his flesh.

He left no note and no one mentioned murder.

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 5 Sep 2022, 15:26

The power battle between East and West is about to be settled. The power base shifted last year over Syria when China backed Russia. If China backs Russia again just sit and watch the West hand-wring but be powerless to do anything.

The West is in decline and has been for years and the East has risen. That's why England is so anxious to keep Scotland in Britain because without it they are just one small country on an island of three. Will they still be able to keep their seat on the UN Security Council when they are no longer 'Great Britain'?  Probably not.

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Political Alternative

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 5 Sep 2022, 15:32

Going back to the politics,  I've been doing a lot of thinking about the problems, economic and otherwise that are afflicting the UK at the present time, and the biggest and least acknowledged obstacle to improving life for the majority, is the class system. This hierarchy of privilege is what is stifling the entire country and stopping any real progression both socially and economically. So in order to get the UK moving, real action is needed and the place to start is the House of Lords.  

The class system needs dismantling and it needs dismantling from the top down, so, the first thing i would do is, get rid of the House of Lords and replace it with a House of Representatives. That is, an upper chamber that is truly representative of all the groups that make up society, not just the political cronies and privileged who occupy it now.   

Firstly, every county would have one representative and the 20 largest cities one representative as well.  London, being the capital would have two, one from North London and one from South London. One of the criteria for representing your city or county would be that you would have to be permanently resident there.  Next, I would have a representative for the top 10 religious groups, ethnic minorities, charities, unions and a couple of representatives from business, farming and the industrial sector. There should also be a representative from the NHS and the armed forces. Then, there would be past Prime Ministers and one representative from all the political parties with seats in the House of Commons. I would also give a seat to the monarch and their immediate heir because, although i completely disagree with the whole business of monarchy, I would still leave that decision to the people in a referendum. I also feel that as the Head of State, they should be entitled to a say; all voting in the Upper Chamber would of course be by secret ballot.

So that's the starting point, none of these ideas are set in stone as yet but it starts the debate. I would also get rid of all the titles handed out by the Queen, it only gives people delusions of grandeur and promotes division is society. The Queen, if she was still there, could hand out medals or something instead.

I would also introduce fair employment legislation to Britain, we have it here in N, Ireland because of all the problems in the past/present, and it was news to me that it didn't exist in the rest of the UK, so that would be one of the first steps to creating a more meritocratic society and it would help to break up the 'old boy networks' that discriminate against the working classes and deprive them of opportunities to advance.

So that's the starting point for my political alternative, comments as usual are always welcome.

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One of those days

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Did you ever have one of those days when you think, there just has to be more to life than this.  If I could live anywhere at any point in time, I would live in Dakota with the Sioux back about the 14th Century, well before the Europeans landed and wrecked the place.  It's my idea of heaven!  Clean air, clean water, pristine land and no daily grind.  Instead here I am, living in a grey concrete box, working in a windowless office with only artificial light, working to have the money to maintain a lifestyle that I don't even want, it just isn't right, not for me anyway.  My spirit yearns to be set free!!

I'll be watching Ben Fogles Wild Lives to see if there's somewhere out there I can escape to!

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 5 Sep 2022, 15:34

I haven't posted much on the blog in the last year. I had to defer my course DD203, from last year too but i'm picking up again now and can't wait to get started.

I had a bad year, the worst for quite some time, from heart-break to sickness and death, it was a tsunami of grief which hasn't quite ended yet but life goes on and so must I.

I'm looking forward to getting back into politics, the world is shifting and last year saw the balance shift from west to east when Russia and China usurped the US over Syria. I think history will see this as the turning point.  

Russell Brand editing the New Statesman was interesting too, although i don't agree with his call not to vote, the usuals will still get in because their supporters will still turn out, and if we give up our right to vote, then you get minority governments (like the present incumbents) getting it all their way. If you don't like it, do something about it, start a new party maybe, (something which has been on my mind). I'm working on a restructure of the House of Lords which I'll post shortly. And our vote is the only voice we have, maybe at the next election we should all turn out and vote for the candidate who is the least likely to do any harm.

I've been decorating all week and the muscles are feeling it, I haven't done anything much for months and the shock of some activity has made me realise how I've let my fitness go.  Time to get back to something!

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 5 Sep 2022, 15:39

There’s a bit of a debate at the minute around smoking on hospital grounds which, again, like all debates usually approaches a problem from how to deal with the symptoms rather than the causes of the problem, in this case smoking. 

I used to smoke, I stopped 14 years ago, in February 2000. I had tried all the usual methods, hypnosis, nicotine patches (which were worse than smoking), none of which worked. I wasn’t a heavy smoker, I could cut it down to 3 a day but I just couldn’t manage to stop them completely. Then I came across the Alan Carr book on smoking ‘The Little Book of Quitting’ ( I had tried the bigger book, the Easy Way to Stop Smoking but found it too much). I used to carry this little book around with me and read it while waiting for buses, appointments or just when I got 10 minutes to myself. This went on for several months and then one magical day I stopped. I had been out the night before and as all smokers know, when you drink you smoke like a train,(this was back in the day when I used to drink too. My mouth felt disgusting, as if it was carpeted, I looked at the packet of cigarettes, there were about 5 left in it, and I thought to myself, ‘ I am never going to put one of those disgusting things back in my mouth again’. I threw the packet in the bin and that was the end of that.

The amazing thing about this is that it was during one of the most stressful periods in my life. My marriage had ended (I had left the marital home in January) so I was homeless, jobless, broke, with 3 teenagers in tow and 4 year old! I didn’t put on any excess weight either, I even managed to lose about 10lbs of extra weight that I was carrying, not to mention the 150lbs of dead weight I dropped from leaving the marriage!!

So, if anyone is thinking about stopping smoking, I would recommend this little book. Now, the only thing you have to be aware of, is that someday you may have an emotional outpouring because smoking is another of those methods that people use to ‘suck’ down their emotions so you will find that you will be a bit more emotional for a while but this will settle down. Just remember, feelings are just feelings, and no one ever died from a feeling, if you just realise this and sit with it, it will pass.  Just have a good cry!  It’ll do wonders for you.

Now if any government was serious about stopping smoking, here’s a suggestion which would wipe out smoking within a generation or at the very least reduce it drastically.

The legal age to buy cigarettes is 16, starting from next year, raise the age to 17, and the year after to 18 and keep raising the age every year until it reaches 25, because most people start smoking as teenagers but if they can’t buy cigarettes until they are 25, there’s a very high probability that they will never start.  Simple.

As usual, all comments are welcome. 

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Belfast riots

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It just keeps going on and on, every year, the same marches, the same protests and then, the inevitable riots. They can say it's their tradition, or it's about remembering their dead but a lot of the time it's just about getting one over on the other side. If we were as concerned in Northern Ireland with the present and the living, as we are with the past and the dead; if we were as concerned with forging a new future as we are about honouring tradition; if the same people who were out rioting and protesting, could re-direct those energies into freeing their communities from the petty thugs who intimidate and terrorise those same communities; if the money wasted on policing these protests and marches could be re-directed into creating real jobs and better training, then maybe, just maybe, we would be European leaders in areas other than unemployment, emigration, alcoholism and suicide.
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The 2nd Coming

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 8 Sep 2022, 16:19
If you're in need of a laugh, check out Jesus comes to the City of Culture 2013 on Youtube. It's made by Pure Derry and I was one of the extras in the film. In the opening credits, I am the last person running towards the camera, I'm wearing a cream coloured coat, and you get another brief glimpse of me later on consoling Jesus for not being allowed to walk on the water. Enjoy!

jesus comes to the city of culture - YouTube
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Questions of law

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This 'bedroom tax' really hits a new low and has to be the worst piece of legislation to pass through a so-called modern democratic parliament. When doing politics, I learned that the UK doesn't have a written constitution but one that is drawn from law and tradition. There is a long standing tradition in England, that an Englishman's home is his/her castle. Surely, a case could be taken against the government on the grounds that this 'bedroom tax' in unconstitutional, and as such could be thrown out by the court?? On the question of law and justice, here's another one. There is a very low percentage of conviction in rape cases, from the already very low number that actually get to court. Often in rape cases, it comes down to one persons word against another. Now, I've thought about this one a lot, there is one simple question that could be asked in court to differentiate between rape and consensual sex, and it's this. How many times did you kiss during the sexual act? It's quite simple really, because rapists don't kiss you while they're raping you? The act of love-making or sex, usually involves a lot of kissing, rape is an act of violence, there isn't much kissing involved.
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Watching Secrets of the Workhouse last night, I was struck by how the rhetoric of the Victorians in relation to the poor is exactly the same rhetoric employed by the present Government in relation to the poor and people on benefits.

Which just goes to show how completely out of date Cameron and Co are.

Reading the New Statesman last weekend,(for week 7-13 June, I'm a bit behind at the moment) I was reading a John Pilger article about feminism and austerity and I came across the story of Stephanie Bottrill, a disabled grand-mother who committed suicide out of despair over the 'bedroom tax'.  I would ask people to check it out on-line and sign the petition calling for the resignation of Ian Duncan Smith, it's on Change.org.  This so-called bedroom tax isn't a tax, it's  a welfare cut and the Lib Dems should be ashamed of themselves for letting this through Parliament.

These people have no idea how the rest of us live. Roll on the next election, it can't come quick enough!

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Skyscraper Black

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Sunday, 23 Jun 2013, 09:40

This poem is dedicated to all those lost loves who have broken our hearts and sometimes their own too.  The title comes from a text message I received from my daughter one day, the sky was very heavy and dark and she had said in her text the clouds were skyscraper black.  I don't know if she mispelled something or if she meant that but it struck me immediately as a great description, and this poem just poured out it.


Skyscraper Black

Searching across a moon dark shore

Leaving midnight traces in the sand

I follow the trail of my lost love

To this distant other-worldly land


I feel the grief of other lonely souls

Moving in shadowed circles around my head

Crying for life and dreams not realized,

For hopes and wishes now long dead.


For I was loved, though he is now gone,

My heart remains clasped firmly in his hand

And feeling his presence still, I follow

His ghostly foot trails across the sand.


Now, standing alone along this darken'd shore,

Lost between his reality and my dream

I wait for the sun to rise and lighten

The skyscraper blackness in my soul



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Back again

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 18 Aug 2021, 10:07

Finally, have all my internet problems sorted, and am back on-line. the computer had to go back to the shop because the browser wouldn't open.  If I was paranoid I would be blaming Big Brother, after all the G8 is on not far from where I live, and after all the recent revelations, well, who knows?

I suppose I should be out protesting with the rest of the anti-capitalists but I've too much going on at the moment and i don't watch the news very much these days either so I've no real idea what is happening.

Anyway, i was on holiday a couple of weeks ago in Munich.  I was there before and had always wanted to go back in the summer time, unfortunately the weather was more late autumn, apart from the Tuesday, when i went on a day trip to Neuschwanstein.  That's the castle built by Ludwig the Second.  Bavaria is a stunningly beautiful place, it was like travelling through a fairytale.  Looking out of the bus window, I was thinking 'how do you get a life where you get to live in a place like this?'  If there are any unattached Bavarians on the lookout for a partner, just give me a call!!

If there is reincarnation, I know where I'm coming back to.

Another busy weekend ahead, I'll be in Letterkenny tonight for Crash Cabaret, I'll be taking part in a play reading and maybe some improv, and then off to Derry in the morning for some extras work.

The Earagail Arts Festival kicks off next weekend, so if anyone is going to be in the North West of Ireland in the next month, check it out, there's some great stuff in it.

Now I must go and get my props sorted.  It's good to be back'!!


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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 9 Sep 2022, 15:59

If rumours of a possible appearance by Noel Gallagher as a judge on the X Factor are true then all I can say is ‘NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! Please Noel, don’t do it, pulleeeeese!

If this turns out to be true, then it will go down as another black day in the history of human kind, like the day the first McDonalds opened in Moscow or the day Robert Plant accepted a knighthood. It’s a bitter disappointment when your heroes sell out, Plant I could overcome to some degree, at least he was English but Bob Geldof will never be forgiven.  His honorary knighthood, for Live Aid, was just too much. Firstly, because he was Irish but mainly because he came to fame on the punk wave of the late 70’s, this made it doubly unforgiveable. You sold your soul Geldof, but not to rock and roll, shame on you!!!

My first big music hero, like many others, was none other than David Bowie, and recent reports of a comeback were a surprise to me because he’s always been a regular in my music collection so, for me, he has always been there. David Bowie was my first love and I still love him, even more so now because I read recently that he turned down both a CBE and a knighthood. Way to go Bowmeister, I’ll luv ya forever!!!

My favourite Bowie album is Hunky Dory but my favourite song is Drive in Saturday from the Aladdin Sane album, the saxophone on that song raises the hairs on the back of my neck every time I hear it.  Aladdin Sane was my teenage rebellion album, songs like Time, with its sexually provocative lyrics used to drive my mother nuts, her being ultra Catholic, so I used to ramp the volume up whenever it came on.

The TV is so crap these days, I’ve been listening to a lot more music recently, George Harrison has been getting a lot of play round my house and I’m awaiting the arrival of a Sparks CD, Kimono My House, remember them from the 1970’s, I loved the strangeness of the Mael brothers.  I’m going to stick my neck out and predict a renewed interest in them.

By the way, none of these albums belonged to me, they belonged to my older brother who had great taste in music and it was through him that I was first introduced to Bowie. He still has all his albums too, now there’s a collection worth robbing!!  Although, I probably have most of the same albums now, anyway. My brother didn’t allow us to play his records and used to keep them locked up in a case but my sister and I were able to open the lock with a hair clip and played them when he was out, well, what’s the point of having older siblings if you can’t borrow their stuff!

I didn’t have the money to buy LP’s when I was young but I got a job the summer I turned 13 and bought my first Bowie single, Young Americans. I haven’t bought the new CD yet but it’s on my to-buy list. Bowie has so much symbolism for my generation, he was never just a singer, he was an artiste, and he drove the parents crazy! 

That’s one thing I really miss about the changes to how we buy our music, there’s nothing special about downloading a piece of music compared to buying an LP which had its own ritual. Everything was much more expensive back in the day.  You had to save your pocket money if you wanted to buy an LP. Then, when you had the money saved, there was the whole experience of going around your local music shops, and spending a Saturday afternoon just browsing through the records before deciding what to buy. There would be deep discussions between you and your friends before the purchase would be made, as the covers were taken out and examined in detail.  LP covers were like works of art and there were some amazing ones, like Led Zeppelin’s, Physical Graffiti or the futuristic landscapes on the great prog rock band, Yes’s covers. Browsing through the records was probably the teenage equivalent of walking around an art gallery now. Then when you had made your purchase and headed out around town to show it off to your peers. Now, that was a big deal, everyone would ask what you had bought and your coolness lived and died by it, and if your choice was approved you walked tall all day. 

There are many advantages to all our modern technology but it is robbing us of so many great experiences too, and I am grieving the loss of HMV. There are only two shops I love to visit now, HMV was one, the other is any bookshop anywhere, and they’re rapidly disappearing too. If the local bookshop goes, I’ll have no reason to go out again. It seems, the more connections we make online, the less connections we have with real people out in the real world. Sad...

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Margaret Thatcher

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 9 Sep 2022, 16:10

I’ve been off line for a while now, there were a few personal issues that came up and demanded most of my spare time and attention, then to top it all, my computer crashed and burned, leaving me with no internet access. Well, the personal issues have eased and I also have a new computer and I’m back online, and what a week to come back with Margaret Thatcher departing this life.

When I first heard the news, I didn’t really have an emotional reaction which surprised me because back in the days when she was in power, I loathed her with a passion. I had watched the film, The Iron Lady a while back, and it aroused a certain sympathy in me for her as a human being, which was a big surprise to me considering how I had felt about her. Maybe I’ve grown up!

But what I realised while watching the film was that her glory days were far behind her and that no matter how much power she may have wielded, or how important she may have been in the world of politics, she was now just an old woman and was going to die, just like the rest of us, and when I sat down to write this last night I was reminded of these lines from Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.....

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power

And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave

Awaits alike th’inevitable hour:

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

And when Thatcher’s children attend her funeral next week, it would do them no harm to reflect on their own mortality and realise that arrogance and money will not insulate them from the reality of death and, one day, they too will take the same journey.

Maybe the outpouring of hatred towards Margaret Thatcher will serve to remind them of the damage that can be done by those whose self-serving beliefs allow no consideration for the humanity within us all. 

Margaret Thatcher was contemptuous of the weak and poor, regardless of their life situation, and used the power of the state to wage war on the working classes, wrecking their communities and their political power bases. Everything that is wrong with the country and the economy today, has its roots in the policies enacted under her leadership.

I certainly understand the outpouring of hate against her, those wounds run deep and it is not my place to condemn or condone someone else’s actions but I will say this, at least you knew what you were getting with her, there was no ambiguity in what she stood for, even if you completely disagreed with all of it, which is more than can be said for Tony Bliar, the Tory in a red tie.

But whatever she was, she is no more, and is now dead and gone. Her legacy will be debated for many years to come and how much of it will all matter in a hundred years from now, who knows?  The great pity of her life is that she could have done so much more good, if she had just remembered her humanity and had been a bit less intransigent.

Life is short, too short for many of us, and I can only hope that this present administration would take some time out to consider the legacy they are creating and the damage they are inflicting on future generations: that they would realise the divisions and the hate they are fomenting will remain long after they have been kicked out of office, (which will be soon, hopefully) and that the responsibilities of political office demand that you serve all the people not just the rich and powerful.

Live well people

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New blog post

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 9 Sep 2022, 16:13

One for the working classes whose political voice is rapidly disappearing, in and out of Parliament.  Free market economics are fine if they apply to all, but workers are forbidden from joining unions and striking, the law is skewed in favour of practices that favour employers. Banks gamble and lose, and the tax payer is left to pick up the bill; so where is the ‘free’ in the free market?  Are we under the Orwellian, ‘everyone is free only some are more free that others’ or are those on top ‘free’ to exploit those on the bottom?  Time for a wake up call.


Alarm Call

Wake up the working classes!

Wake up! Wake up!

Your life is disappearing,

down the drain

While you watch TV

That’s rotting your brain.

A cell killing diet

of soap from the sink.

Until, you no longer know

what it is, to think.



Wake up the working classes!

Wake up! Wake up!

Your future hopes

Are being cut away,

While you sit dreaming

of stardom in X-Factor

for your son or daughter.

Blinded by celebrity:

wake up and face-up to,

the con of this ‘reality’!



Wake up the working classes.

Wake up! Wake up!

You’ve forgotten your history

The story of your labour,

What your ancestors fought and died for.

Remember Tolpuddle and Peterloo,

The Suffragettes and Miners

As citizens, not subjects,

This nation is not one class,

It is your country too.








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This poem is quite a heavy piece, I had always envisioned it as a performance piece and it's for all those who have experienced a trauma they would rather forget.



I wish that I could wash my brain

And make it clean and free from pain

I wish that I could wash my brain

And wash away the hurt and stain.


Brainwashing, brainwashing

Brainwashing, brainwashing.


I wish that I could wash my brain

And make it clean and free from shame

I wish that I could wash my brain

And wash away the dirt and pain.


Brainwashing, brainwashing

Brainwashing, brainwashing.


I wish that I could wash my brain

And make it clean and free from stain

I wish that I could wash my brain

And wash away the hurt and shame


Brainwashing, brainwashing

Brainwashing, brainwashing.


I wish that I could wash my brain

And make it clean and new again

I wish that I could wash my brain

But I can't....


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Domestic servitude /The Alternative Feminist

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 9 Sep 2022, 16:19

Reading through some of my notes this morning I was drawn to a passage in my politics book, (we’re on ideology at the moment) about Simone de Beauvoir and her book, The Second Sex, where she suggested that the female body made them amenable to being constructed as a man’s ‘other’. Well I was thinking about this, and I concluded that you could say exactly the same about a man’s body, it really all depends on who’s on top!!

Now, for those of you who may not know this, Simone was the long time love of Jean Paul Sartre who wrote The Age of Reason. If there is anyone out there who ever got to the end of this book, then stand up and take a bow because you deserve a gold medal for endurance. I have tried on several occasions to read this and maybe, it’s the practical side of me, or something but I thought this was the most overblown pretentious piece of navel gazing I ever had to endure.

The main character has got his girlfriend pregnant, now this character is not 16 or 18, this guy is, as far as memory serves, around 30, he’s running around trying to get her an abortion and all I could think was ‘grow up and take care of your responsibility, because if you weren’t prepared to face the consequences of your actions then you should have kept it in your pants’. To me this was all a non issue, it was just a story about a man trying to avoid the reality that it was time to grow up which unfortunately IS the reality for 90% of the women in this country.

A friend recently sent me an email extolling all the virtues of Thomas Jefferson and all that he achieved in his life and all the way down reading it, I was thinking, ‘ Well, that’s very interesting, he was able to do all that because there was obviously a woman at home who did all the cooking and cleaning and childcare, leaving him free to think and act.  I bet he never cleaned the toilet in his life!’ Which is not to take anything away from how brilliant he was, but just how brilliant could we ALL be if we were freed from the drudgery of housework?

So, on the question of domestic drudgery and gender equality in the home, here is the argument as to why it should be shared by EVERYONE! I call it the ‘Everyone principle’, well why not, I can be as pretentious as Sartre when I need to.

EVERYONE lives in the house, EVERYONE uses the facilities so it’s the responsibility of EVERYONE to care for and maintain them.  That’s it, plain and simple.

‘If only it were!’, I hear you cry. Now men will argue that the women stand over them and criticise how they do things, fair enough, I accept that does happen. But the thing about housework is this, we’ve been doing it for many more years than you, and there is a method to it which we have perfected from all the practice we have had. 

So, in order to stop this argument, here’s my advice for women, SHOW them how it’s done, don’t just tell them to do it. Show them the method and don’t criticise them if they don’t get it right first time, just recognise that they need MORE practice. For men, just LET her show you how it’s done, it just a job that needs doing, it’s not a threat to your masculinity (whatever that may be) and remember it’s your home too, so take care of it. 

By, the way this advice applies to the children as well, they are quite capable of doing some housework, within reason and depending on age. I mean, tie a couple of dusters to the hands and knees of that crawling baby and get the floor polished as they go along, simple! 

Just use your imagination and maybe some day, we can all grow up to be brilliant.

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Happy Birthday

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 9 Sep 2022, 16:31

A friend recently pointed out that my blog was a year old, which surprised me as I didn’t think I had started it until around April. So, happy birthday to my blog and thank you to everyone who read, or commented on it.  

When I began last year, I wasn’t exactly sure where it was going to lead, it actually hasn’t led anywhere ('Yet!’ she cried hopefully) but it all came about when I began taking acting lessons in January and the confidence I gained from them, is what led me to start the blog, and since I had a free one with the OU, I thought this was as good a place as any to start. I always had ambitions to write and an interest in politics, although growing up in Ireland through the 60’s, and 70’s (in truth, I’m still growing up) it would have been impossible not to. So, this seemed like a good way of getting the politics out without having to be a politician or joining any party. I have joined several political parties over the years but never stayed too long with any of them. The ‘politics’ of party politics is something I really can’t be bothered with and I have found that, in life, as with everything else, ego is the biggest obstacle to getting anything done whether it’s your own or someone else’s.  

When trying to decide on a title, I wasn’t sure if I should put my name on it, a lot of bloggers write under pseudo-names but I don’t like anonymous and always thought that if I wasn’t prepared to stand by what I said, then maybe I shouldn’t say it at all. So, that’s why my name is there. I like poetry, to read and to write, and while I’ll never be Wordsworth or Yeats, I like to indulge a little and since I had several poems from the creative writing course from the previous year, I thought it would be a fairly safe way of starting off. 

So, I had the poetry and the politics, and with the inclusion of opinion in the title, I liked how it sounded, so that was where the title came from. Looking back now at some of the pieces, I can see themes that have developed over the year. God, humanity, inequality, in amongst all the politics, poetry and opinions. 

The ‘God’ thing coming through surprised me because it was only when I started writing about it did I realize what a potent force it is in my life. Over the years, we have had a long and sometimes very fraught relationship. I fell out with Him/Her/It as a teenager and spurned all offers of reconciliation for many years. But He (I’m going with He, if only to cut down on the typing) was relentless in His pursuit and so thirteen years ago, I gave in, (He had me cornered and we both knew it). I haven’t always got it right and didn’t always do what I was supposed to, one time in particular stands out in memory which I got hammered for, so that is why now, it’s God’s way, or it’s no way. That’s not to say I take it all lying down, I argue the toss back and forth and I know this probably all sounds crazy, but it is what it is, and when I do what He says, I don’t go far wrong. It’s not an easy option, just the opposite in fact, but I’m committed now so I have to go along with whatever comes up.

I am still no clearer as to what God is, my experience tells me that it’s this invisible force that moves us and that is as much as I can tell you. I can see parallels with the God of the Bible but mostly I see misinterpretation of how it works, and the closest explanation I have found to my experience is in the teachings of Taoism.

With the writing, I find myself drawn more and more to writing from a religious or spiritual  point of view, not just about politics and the morality of the systems of government we live under but, also, on what I see as the hypocrisy of the Churches who really don’t speak out enough about poverty and inequality. The huge disparity in wealth between those at the top and those at the bottom appals me, and I can’t understand how anyone can sit in comfort with millions and ignore the hardship that others are living under, and it especially appals me to watch the perverse glee of the Conservatives about the cuts they’re inflicting on those struggling at the bottom, and their demonization of the working class while giving the wealthy all the breaks, and still calling themselves ‘Christian’??

 Anyway, plans for the future include getting stuck into my course work and continuing with the writing. My Alternative Feminist has been quiet for a while but hopefully we’ll be hearing from her soon. I would like to write more on everything but every hour at the moment seems to be accounted for. I am hoping to begin a novel in the weeks ahead, and the drama starts up again in March so there won’t be much of a let up for a while yet.

There’s still plenty more to write about and as long as the Conservatives and the Churches remain as they are, there will be no shortage of things to comment on. So I shall wish you all well on ‘our’ anniversary, I shall be going to the opera tonight to celebrate and hope that you all continue to keep reading. 

Thank you for your time and your interest.





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I was watching a great programme on BBC 4 last week about Harry Belafonte.  I didn’t know he was so politically active in the civil rights movement in the US in the 1960’s which is period I have a lot of interest in. (My great political hero of that time is Malcolm X, and I would urge anyone with an interest in politics to read his autobiography.  Actually, I would encourage everyone to read his book, it’s a great read).  Anyway, towards the end of the programme he talked about establishing a council of elders which intrigued me because I’ve often remarked to a friend of mine that here in Ireland, we’re seriously lacking in wise elders, and he would often remark that you only had to look at our politicians to see that!


Anyway, there have been many times in life when I really needed some good advice but could never find it, and it took me quite a long time to realise that most people are fairly useless when it comes to giving advice and are often motivated by the desire to either create drama or hear a juicy bit of gossip, (an unfortunate side effect from watching too much Eastenders).  Even today, it’s still difficult to get good advice without prejudice, and doubly difficult to get if from someone who has a genuine regard for your welfare.  I found, when I was growing up, questions about life were generally met with a wry ‘you’ll learn’ with the implication (hope) that if you did, it would be the hard way.  People almost took a perverse pleasure in withholding information that may have been of use to you, and then enjoying watching while you struggled and invariably failed. 


The cult of youth in society, has probably helped to devalue the elderly and they are seldom regarded as having little of value to impart.  Ironically, most of the older people I know have never really matured, they just got old.  I know people in their seventies who still operate on the emotional level of a fourteen year old, some are not even that old.  It seems appropriate that the legend of Tir na N’Og would be Irish, it means Land of the Young, a place where you never grow old.  There is a strange attitude to growing up here, it’s as if it is a form of surrender, or maybe it’s just to do with the fear of death.  No one seems to actively seek maturity here, people think that once they’ve turned eighteen, they’ve matured and have no need to grow anymore, as if the day of their eighteenth birthday magically conferred on them all the wisdom and knowledge they would need to carry them through the rest of their lives.  Then there are those who try to maintain the lifestyle they were living at eighteen, which generally means out drinking and partying all weekend which is actually quite sad in a forty year old. 


Paradoxically, we also have here what I call, the middle-aged teenager.  Young people who never had a youth and just went straight from childhood to middle-age.  They generally come from very religious families and belong to the cult of the ‘mammy’.  In these families, mammy knows all, generally has her nose in everybody’s business and dictates how her children live their lives.  They in turn, remain strangulated by her apron strings and never raise a word against her because no-one is ever allowed to question or upset ‘mammy’.  They aren’t mature either, just old in their thinking and habits, and I’m always very wary of anyone over the age of 12 who still refers to their mother as ‘mammy’.   There is often one rebel in there somewhere who no one talks about except when ‘mammy’ is feeling sorry for herself and in need of the collective sympathy, who couldn’t take the claustrophobia of it all and cleared off to England at a young age and hasn’t been heard from since.  Fortunately, for Irish society these families are on the decline.


There are two reasons why I think we as a country and a society, are like this.  The first is religious, and has to do with the long domination of Irish society by the Catholic Church.  The other reason is centuries of British rule.  Together, these two elements have created a society that doesn’t know how to think or act for itself, it only knows the way of the invader, Britain, and the oppressor, the Catholic Church (although their influence has waned considerably in recent years). 


I often wonder how we would have evolved as a society if we hadn’t had the imposition of those outside forces on us.  We have no real sense of ourselves as a people, other than as cultural clichés, and there is a tendency to blow with every wind that comes through.  I often think we are the world’s biggest fashion victims, I’ve watched fashion trends come and go, with everything from rottweiler dogs, to large jeeps, which really are ridiculous for a country like Ireland with all the small back roads we have.  It was a revelation to drive through France a few years ago and in the entire country I only saw two four by fours vehicles, and one of them was being driven by an Irish man on holiday.


This is what happens when countries with different cultural values and practises invade others and impose their way on them.  The continuity of natural evolution is disrupted and sometimes lost, often to the point where it is irretrievable.  Many societies across the globe have struggled to maintain their own culture in the face of the cultural holocaust of foreign invaders; the aborigines in Australia, the many native tribes in the US (a lot of whom never survived) and more recently the Tibetan people whose country has now been wiped off maps of the world after invasion by China.  Then, of course, there is the ongoing saga of Israel and Palestine. 


A few years ago, the Anne Frank Exhibition came to my home town and as I wasn’t working at the time, I volunteered to help present it.  It turned out to be a great learning experience.  We’re all aware of what happened to the Jewish people under the Nazi’s, but what I learned from this, was that the story of how this is presented in history is highly suspect.  The attempted systematic extermination of the Jewish people is often presented as a one-off, a terrible aberration, when in reality it was the accumulation of almost 2000 years of anti-Semitism by the ‘Christian’ churches.  Someone, somewhere, back in the day, decided that the Jewish people were collectively responsible for killing ‘God’ when Jesus was crucified and that kicked the whole thing off.  Other interesting facts I learned are that England was the first country to expel the Jewish people as a whole back in the middle-ages.  The word ghetto is Italian, and means ‘ironworks’ because that’s where the first ghetto was, in Italy in an old ironworks.  We all know the character of Shylock from Shakespeare’s, The Merchant of Venice as a money lender, but what we don’t know is the reality behind it.  The image of the Jewish person as a money lender and tax collector is based on fact but what I didn’t know was that Jewish people were forced into those occupations because no one wanted to do them because of how unpopular they were. 


For almost 2000 years, the Jewish people were marginalised, discriminated against, oppressed and expelled and treated in all manner of rotten ways until finally someone decided to wipe them off the face of the earth.  The Jewish people with their long history of expulsion and oppression went along and did as they were told for the most part, probably believing that it was another of those anti-Semitic pogroms and if they kept their heads down and went along they would probably come out alright in the end.  As Malcolm X said, they ‘sleepwalked’ to the gas chambers and in light of their history it becomes understandable now how that happened.


But what I don’t understand is this, why in 2000 years of this treatment did no one ever seriously object, why did no one ever speak up on their behalf, why did no one ever stop and say, 'these people are human beings too, what if  we are wrong in what we are doing to them?'  Where were all the ‘Christian’ voices in the so- called ‘Christian’ churches?  Quite frankly, I think the ‘Christian’ churches should be sued under the Trades Descriptions Act for false advertising.


And again, we come back to the same old story, because people don’t think for themselves enough and will often choose the easier road in life.  They don’t want the hassle, they prefer to keep their heads down and go along with the crowd, it’s easier to have someone do your thinking for you than to sit down and think for yourself, or to stand up and say ‘Well, actually I think you’re wrong!’   To go against the crowd, to stand apart, to challenge the authorities.


Now, this is not to excuse what is happening in Israel and Palestine today, but in order to understand a people you need to understand their history and in doing so we gain perspective and some understanding of the mind-set and the collective anger that must exist within the Jewish community.  Of course, they are going to be defensive about their territory, especially when they perceive themselves as being surrounded by so many hostile forces.  Who will guarantee their safety and security?  Who can they trust when they have been subjected to 2000 years of oppression, who can they have faith in when less than 80 years ago, they were almost wiped off the face of the earth?


Everything that is happening in the present has it’s roots in the past, there is no easy road to resolving the problems that exist today.  It is going to take a long time for the Jewish people to be able to trust the world and it irritates me to listen to the simple condemnations of Israel by people and politicians without regard to the whole picture.  If they really want to help they should reach out the hand of understanding and friendship, and maybe a collective apology on behalf of mankind for what was done to them as a people for 2000 years, would be a good place to start. 


To the Israeli people, or to Mr Netanyahu and the Zionist right, I would like to say, in remembering your history, remember that the Palestinians are human beings too and that oppression in any form leaves a bitter taste.  Whether as the oppressed or the oppressor, no one can predict the future and no one knows what may lie ahead for any of us but one thing I do know, is that the more friends you have on your side if, or when trouble comes, the more support and protection you will have against those forces who would seek to do you harm.


For God and all of humanity.


As always, comments are welcome.





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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 13 Nov 2015, 13:12



I see them

On the streets.

Grey ghosts


in the shadows of life.

Breathing but not living.

These spectral corpses

move and merge


the grey of the road,

the grey of the walls,

the grey of concrete

glass and steel.

Crushers of souls.

These hollow-eyed,

grey shadows

disappear into the stony

wastes of life:

Where no colour lives.

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There’s a lot of talk about the ‘obesity’ crisis and no shortage of ideas as to it’s cause and it’s cure.  Luckily, I don’t have a weight problem, actually, it’s got nothing to do with luck, just good eating habits.  When it comes to food, I have a fairly straight forward philosophy – if it isn’t real, don’t eat it – at least not in large quantities, and if you can afford to, go for the organic.  I’m not saying I never eat a biscuit or some chocolate but my diet is about 97% good, and 3% less good.  That figure is reducing daily because the dreaded hot flushes have started and I’ve found that certain things exacerbate them, sugar in all it’s forms is one of the worst, along with tea and coffee too, to a lesser extent, so I’m in the process of removing them from my diet, although I had cut the tea down to about two cups a week.


 I am not a fan of fast food and because I’ve never had a lot of money, I make most of my own meals from scratch.  I have tried McDonalds and quite frankly, you won’t find me in there unless I’m absolutely starving and there is nowhere else open, and when it comes to fast food, nothing is faster than a banana, just peel and eat or even quicker, an apple, you don’t even have to peel it.


The thinking behind my eating habits is this, I am a human being, I evolved over thousands of years like the rest of the animal life on this planet.  I am part of the eco-system.  My body was designed to eat the food that occurs naturally on this earth, which is meat and fish, fruit and vegetables and some crops.  


If you look at the list of ingredients in something like those fake butter type spreads, there are ingredients in them, I can’t even pronounce.  They’re full of chemicals and colourings and flavourings.  Now I am a human being, NOT a chemical processing plant.  The human body was not made to process this kind of stuff.  A case in point, Diet Coke. Everyone I know who drinks this stuff has two things in common, they have a weight problem and they are addicted to it, and it’s disgusting, it’s just a tin of coloured water with chemicals in it.  Now, ask yourself a question, would you give Diet Coke to a dog to drink?  The answer of course, is no, (at least I hope it is) so if you wouldn’t give it to a dog, why would you give it to a child?


Taste like everything else, develops over time and the more real food you eat, the more your taste for it will develop. 


Now not everyone can cook, and I remember watching one of those reality cooking shows about diet a few years back, and it showed a family in which there were four children, and neither of the parents could cook.  I was stunned, I couldn’t understand how you could have four children and not cook, not to mention the huge expense buying processed food or having takeaways all the time.  Eating is a basic human necessity, we all have to eat so we should all learn how to cook.


Now, I’m not slagging off people who can’t cook.  I understand there were changes to our eating habits with the advent of frozen and processed food in the sixties, coupled with the invention of the microwave oven and the removal of cookery classes from schools under the Thatcher government. (although I think they are now back on the curriculum, and if they’re not they should be)  This created a hole in our diets which has been filled up with overly sweetened, salted and processed food, full of the aforementioned colourings, flavourings and whatever else they put in there.


Realistically, this stuff just can’t be doing us any good.  Now, most of us know who Gillian McKeith is, and I know she came in for a lot of stick about her fake science and fake degree, and she was a bit extreme, but one thing you can’t argue against and that is, she got results.  She took stones off people and added years to their lives.


I watched another programme recently on GM crops, and to be honest I didn’t really know much about them and had always thought how harmful could a crop be?  Well, extremely harmful is the answer.  This programme was about crops in India and how companies have genetically modified the wheat and cotton crops so they don’t generate seed, so the farmers have to keep going back and buying new seed every year from these companies.  But the scary thing about these crops is that they suspect they killed cattle.  What happened was, the cattle started dying and when they opened them up they found that one of the stomachs in the cows,  (they have four) had dried up.  They put it down to lack of natural enzymes in the food they had eaten.  Scary stuff.  I also read recently that some researchers believe that ‘man boobs’ are caused by wheat in the diet.  How do we even know if the wheat used in baking is GM free?  Mostly we don’t.


There’s an arrogance in science that thinks it can do better than nature, that thousands of years of evolution can be disregarded and that we have the right to screw around with nature as much as we like, with no consideration for the consequences.  I watched another programme a couple of years ago about plagues, and every plague they discussed was caused by man screwing around with nature, from rabbits and mice in Australia, to killer bees in South America, every one was down to man’s interference.   We get so carried away by what we can do, we never stop to question if we should do it.


So people, think on, you owe it to yourself and your health.  Eat well and organic as much as possible, and go for the real food.  Start today, try and cut out the sugar or at least to cut it down; throw out those manky fake butters and treat yourself to the real thing, there’s nothing to beat it for taste. 


Comments as usual, are welcome.

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New Year

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I’m a bit late with the new year wishes but anyway, I wish you all a very happy new year and may the year bring you everything you need and maybe a little of what you want.  I haven’t made any new year resolutions other than to rest as much as possible through January and February.  The pace of life last year has been relentless and it has left me exhausted, between work, study, hobbies and plays, not to even mention family and friends, some of which I haven’t seen in months.  So, lots of Friday and Saturday nights ahead curled up on the sofa watching movies which is another area of my life that has been neglected.  I haven’t been to the cinema since the last Batman movie, which I loved by the way.  I am hoping to finally get to see the Hobbit this week.


I don’t normally make new year resolutions, for me the new year begins in March with spring when it’s starting to warm up and the evenings are lighter, which is a much better time for resolving to make changes.  We’re in the middle of winter now and we need our comforts around us at this time, I always try and hibernate a bit in the winter to re-charge for the year ahead.  The only thing I do for new year is to take down the decorations and clean the house and then I usually spend new years eve watching Jules Holland’s Hootenanny (not sure if that’s spelt right).


My other wishes for the new year ahead are, I hope Nick Clegg has an attack of conscience and does us all a favour by taking his party out of Government.  I was talking with my son’s girlfriend the other day about the report on MP’s pay, where they’re looking for an increase of about 20K, she said they should only get it in vouchers so that they aren’t able to spend it on frivolous items like cigarettes, drink and holidays! And may all those millionaires and advocates of the private sector who sit in Government and get paid from the public purse, find themselves out of work and unable to find a job in any sector, not that they need it anyway!


And may the rest of us remember our humanity in the face of Tory demonisation of the working classes and remember a pay packet is all that separates us from the dole and poverty. 


Happy new year to you all!

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