Monday 24 October 2016

Great Win for Padraig Harrington

I was delighted to learn that likeable sportsman, Padraig Harrington, has won the Portugal Masters Golf Championship. This was the 31st win of his professional career and his 15th on the European tour.

Having won three golf majors in the mid 2000's — his last major win was the US PGA in 2008 — he went through a barren period when the victories just wouldn't come. His most recent win came in the Honda Classic in March last year.

Let us hope that this is a precursor to even more success before Padraig Harrington finally decides to rest on his laurels.

Saturday 22 October 2016

Fine Article by Ciaran Conlon

Ciaran Conlon's article in last Thursday's Irish Independent caught my attention. Published under the headline Despite it's Trump tactics, SF is likely to be big loser after Budget 2017, I will quote hereon some of the more pertinent passages:
Donal Trump has played on voters fears, insecurities and disaffections with government generally to run one of the most toxic, dishonest and dangerous political campaigns in history to bring himself and his moronic nonsense to the brink of the US presidency.
 In comparing Trump's campaign style with SF, Conlon writes
Both Trump and SF:
  • Insist that everything is going to hell, no progress is being made on anything — even though simple factual sources can disprove the thesis — and only a vote for them can save the country or fix your problems; 
  • Don't like their history being scrutinised, but still trade on a version of that history to play to target voters; 
  • Declare themselves to be passionate defenders of the 'ordinary voter' even though one was born into wealth and privilege and the others are apologists for terrorists who murdered 'ordinary' people and destroyed the communities of 'ordinary' workers; 
  • Have no interest in detailed plans or policies that can be implemented but prefer to campaign in broad brush strokes that play to existing fears and frustrations without ever thinking about the impact of their pronouncements; 
  • Would have a devastating impact on their countries if they got into government.
This is the most important aspect of the Trump/Sinn Fein approach to politics. It's combined 'bullying and bulls*****ing' style might win coverage, hoodwink a certain number of voters and put them close to real-life decision making in government. But we know it works out badly for the very voters that have been hoodwinked...
That's why the centre has to hold in Irish politics. And in a potentially good sign for those who want the centre to hold, Sinn Fein could be the big losers out of Budget 2017... 
Both larger centre parties now have an incentive to talk up — at least not to talk down — the successes of the Irish people and that means less air time and profile for Sinn Fein's constant rejection of any progress made by the Irish people...
The next election may take place in a very different environment to the last one. A degree of stability and incremental progress versus uncertainty and more Trump-style campaigning from Sinn Fein...
If the centre can hold over the coming period, an inelegant and hopefully temporary political solution may just do the country some service.

Monday 17 October 2016

Ode to Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless.
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run,
To bend with apples the mossed cottage trees,
And fill all with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while they hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too-
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives and dies;
And full-grown lambs bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

— John Keats