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16 July 2009 Edition

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LET’S try something different this week; something a little bit more entertaining than continuing ‘Lessons in Journalism’ for Jim Cusack or taking the mick out of DUP ministers who don’t believe in gravity.
Instead of talking about things that appeared in the news, let’s focus on things that didn’t. Here’s something that didn’t appear in any national newspaper in Ireland...
A message to our readers. Some of you may have come to the conclusion from reading the coverage of the recent electricians’ dispute that the strikers were in the wrong.
Headlines like, “TEEU strike leaders are mad”, “Electricians are traitors to Ireland”, and “Machine-gun the bastards, Taoiseach!” might have led some readers to think that the media were putting the blame for the dispute on the strikers.
However, following the revelation from Denis Judge, head of the National Electrical Contractor’s, on Friday’s Morning Ireland that they were actually able to pay the 4.9% increase owed since April 2008 while looking for a 10% pay cut, it is now clear that contractors were trying to use the recession to undermine rates of pay.
Which is what the TEEU – ably led in this dispute by Eamon Devoy, SIPTU and ICTU – said was happening.
Therefore, contrary to our earlier reports, the strike did not cost the Irish taxpayer €230 million. Intransigence from greedy employers did. And the strikers won a 4.9% pay increase when we were telling them to take a whopping 10% pay cut.
This is what led to today’s headlines like, “Electricians of Ireland, we salute you”, “Workers bash greedy bosses” and “Cowen must make way for Eamon Devoy”.
We faithfully promise readers that we will never again fall so blindly for any anti-union propaganda. Instead, we will robustly question and challenge the claims of employers and business interests instead of fawning over them with breathless admiration like cheap harlots.

In fairness, I’m writing this on Monday night so it could be in Tuesday’s papers... doubt it though.

YOU won’t have seen this story either (it didn’t appear anywhere)...
“Thousands of people turned out over the weekend for the annual Ku Klux Klan march through the streets of Savannah, Georgia. There was a festive atmosphere as young and old came out to see the parade and celebrate white pride.
“The march, which commemorates the massacre of African-Americans by whites some centuries ago, is a key date in the white pride calendar but, behind the colourful pagentary, there was a serious message. ‘This is not just about the past; it’s about today,” said Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Robert Allister. ‘White culture is under threat from an increasingly confident black community benefiting from so-called equality legislation. They’re getting everything while us whites are being left behind. It’s nothing short of ethnic cleansing.’
“Mr Allister went on to warn against so-called ‘mixed marriages’, where whites marry blacks. ‘Mixed marriages are a threat to our community and our culture,’ he said. ‘Our opposition to it is endorsed by the Bible. I wouldn’t marry a black and I don’t want any of my children to do so.’
“Members of the local African-American community declined to comment though traditionally they keep a low profile during Klan celebrations.”

No, that didn’t appear in a single US newspaper over the weekend. Very similar articles did appear in the Belfast Telegraph, the Belfast News Letter and their sister paper, The Irish Times, after the Twelfth of July Orange Order parades. Just different colours.

YOU won’t have seen this one either...
Speaking to cheering Green Party activists outside Leinster House yesterday, the party’s leader, Mr John Gormley, defended his decision to pull the party out of government.
“We could swallow Shannon,” he said in an emotional, 15-minute address. “None of us was happy about US combat troops going through Shannon and dubious rendition torture flights, but we could live with it. Tara... well, it wasn’t really our fault (happened before us, you know...).
“Lisbon’s mutual defence pact, a European Armaments Agency and the death of Irish neutrality hurt; it hurt bad, I won’t deny that, but we wanted to show we were ready to govern. Signing over more natural resources to Shell and sending the police in to assault protesters might not have been how we’d hoped the Corrib dispute would end, but Brian told me it was for the greater good.”
Now visibly weeping, Mr Gormley went on to defend Green Party support for the return of third-level fees, the pension levy, cuts in social welfare benefits and the medical card, along with hospital closures and the abolition of trial by jury.
“But when Brian Cowen came to me and said, ‘John, we can’t go ahead with the plan to ban traditional lightbulbs in favour of energy saving ones,’ I knew the time had come to draw a line in the sand.
“Taoiseach, you may take our principles and our pride, our basic moral sense of decency and humanity. You may display my manhood in a jar at the Cabinet table and occasionally jauntily wave it about your head for a laugh, but when you take our lightbulbs, sir, you go too far.”
And you’re not likely to. By all accounts, the lightbulb scheme’s a go.

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