Aldous Huxley – Today’s Brave New World

Saturday Night – Film Night

Here’s an extraordinary find!

A 1958 interview with Brave New World author Aldous Huxley

It’s well worth listening to because of the themes he explores

And because he’s bang on with what he said would happen!

Risultati immagini per mystic meg

might as well have put away her crystal ball

Risultati immagini per mystic meg

as this visionary writer looked into our future.

You’ll be shocked and surprised at what you hear.

NB – disregard the first few seconds. I’m told they were usually messy like that at the dawn of TV broadcasting


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Much of his work deals with the conflict between the interests of the individual and society, often focusing on the problem of self-realization within the context of social responsibility.

Brave New World, published in 1932,  imagined a fictional future in which free will and individuality were sacrificed  to achieve complete social stability.

Brave New World  depicted a dystopian (anti-utopian) world in which a totalitarian government controlled society by the use of science and technology.

Today’s  Brave New World

Here’s an interesting article speculating  how experts, computer algorithms, datasets and money helped sway the vote towards Brexit in the UK and towards  Mr Trump in the US  Presidential race to power

We will never more  be sure that what drives our vote is our own personal convictions


PS Anyone around today to tell us exactly what society will be like in 2077?

The Dirty War – 1

I’ve been doing a bit of reading this week which is why I haven’t been posting much. This news also got me thinking

Permission has been granted for a judicial review into a series of murders linked to a loyalist gang based in south Armagh in the 1970s“.

What have you been reading and studying?

dirty war
– Agents and Ambushes: Britain’s “Dirty War” in Northern Ireland by Martyn Frampton

– Before the dawn by Gerry Adams

informers boyd
– The Informers – a chilling account of the supergrasses in Northern Ireland by Andrew Boyd

So what do you think?
In the “dirty war” agents of the State seriously violated human rights, up to and including murder.

What was “the dirty war”?
The alternative to the “colonial-type”approach of the early 1970s.

What was the “colonial approach?
Treat NI like an insurgent colony. Easiest to explain it by examples:
* the “Falls Curfew” (July 1970);

gerry adams

Gerry Adams wrote “General Freeland sealed off an area of about 50 small streetso of tightly packed terrace houses in the lower falls. From helicopters hovering over the rooftops, loudspeakers broadcast a message of war, declaring a curfew which confined the local people to their homes for an indefinite period while thousands of  troops went on the rampage”

*Internment (August 1971);
* Bloody Sunday” ( January 1972).

Comment: Reform, internment, torture (the hooded men)

 Maudling’s delclaration of war and the massacre in Derry had no effect. Far from calming the province, and crushing the IRA, these events strengthened the IRA and exacerbated the conflict.

Why didn’t “the colonial approach” work?
* UK subjects were being treated like “natives”

Comment: what could happen in a ” real colonial ” situation was not acceptable on the streets of the United Kingdom

* Events were taking place under the watchful eye of the media, which subjected the actions of the British Army to scrutiny.

Comment: what might have been ignored when it occurred “out of sight, out of mind,” could not so easily be dismissed when it was seen live on people’s television sets.


Colonel Michael Dewar recorded: “outdated riot-control techniques used in far-flung corners of the Empire were tried initially, but found to be inadequate and unsuitable.”

Why was the “colonial-type” struggle abandoned?
It  strengthened the IRA and was associated with  large-scale violations of human rights,
Comment: We’ve already looked at massacres in  Ballymurphy,


and the  New Lodge

So what came next?
The security services attempted to maneuver between the requirements of effectiveness and legality to deprive the IRA of legitimacy and reduce its allure within the Catholic community.
There were several approaches.  Today we’ll look at one.

1) “supergrasses” in the early 1980s

Individuals involved with terrorist organizations gave testimony against their former comrades, in return for immunity from prosecution. This testimony was then accepted by the “Diplock” court judges

as reliable evidence that could be used as the basis for a conviction. From November 1981 – 1983, testimony from 7 Loyalist and 18 Republican “supergrasses” led to 590 people being charged with paramilitary-related activities in Northern Ireland, many of whom were convicted.

But many of the convictions were subsequently reversed on appeal and by 1986, over 50 % of those convicted had had their sentences quashed

What were the aims?
The testimony and confession of these informers would lead to the imprisonment of alleged paramilitaries, frighten and intimidate members of rebellious organisations and deter others from joining .

Comment: Ultimately, “supergrasses” failed because of  doubts about the legality of the process.

andrew boyd

Andrew Boyd wrote “Informers are universally despied, even by those who pay them and make use of their services, and if they live at all long after their acts of betrayal, they live precarious and miserable lives

                                                                                                                                                         (to be continued)

Democracies at War Against Terrorism, Editor:Samy Cohen, Publisher Palgrave Macmillan, 2008,  ISBN 0230604560, 9780230604568 Secret Agents and Ambushes: Britain’s “Dirty War” in Northern Ireland Martyn Frampton ( chap 4, pp.86-110)

Andrew Boyd – The Informers – a chilling account of the supergrasses in Northern Ireland (Mercier Press, 1984 ISBN 0-85342-725-9)

Gerry Adams – Before the Dawn – Brandon Press ISBN 0863222897

From IRA man to Lawyer


kieran conway

This is the story of a law student, turned rough tough Provie, who turned away from the movement, came back and  turned away again to resume his   law studies

Is it a work of fiction?

No, an autobiography


Kieran Conway grew up in  Killiney, Dublin and was   educated at Blackrock College and UCD. He was  headed for a career in the law and a  comfortable life.

In 1970, he decided that he wanted to join the IRA, any IRA because  the North of Ireland was exploding in resistance to the Orange State.

Conway had two spells in the IRA, from 1970 to 1975 and from 1981 to 1993. His career in the Provos took him to the IRA’s GHQ Staff as Director of Intelligence via a spell on active service in Derry at a time when Martin McGuinness was a rising military star, and some jail time in Long Kesh, imprisoned on an arms charge.

What happened to him in the end?

He  now works as  a solicitor in Dublin.

What does he say about being in the IRA?

Listen to  how he describes  his life on active service in the IRA…8251%3A0%3A

and   some other personal facts and convictions  in a little more depth

How does Mr Conway sum up his experience?

The conflict“, he  says, “was a waste of life“.

We fought for Irish unity and what they (the Provisional IRA) settled for was partition and that’s not what I fought for,” he said.

“It was a complete waste and not what IRA volunteers fought and died for.

But he says he is opposed to new dissident terror groups.

What they are doing is utterly futile. If the Provisional IRA didn’t achieve a united Ireland, then they certainly won’t. They are only causing needless heartache to their victims and to the communities and families from where they come.

kieran conway

The story of his life as an IRA activist is told in  ‘Southside Provisional – From Freedom Fighter to the Four Courts’ ( Nov 19th by Orpen Press).

It’s sure to be an interesting read

Authors/Editors Kieran Conway
ISBN 9781909895553
Publication Date November 2014