Monday, December 17, 2012

A Very French Slur

The French magazine LibĂ©ration had a really nasty swipe at Gerard Depardieu during the week, after it was reported that he had decided to take up Belgian residency in order to avoid a French wealth tax.  They accused M. Depardieu of being purely interested in money, an allegation that will have stung.  It struck me that such an allegation would never have been made here in Ireland, because it would have no effect.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Problems with European Rugby

So talks have broken down again on the future of the European Cup in rugby.  There appears to be deep mistrust between the parties, which is a shame.  In essence, there are the English and French teams, who feel that the competition structure is biased in favour of the Irish teams in particular, and against them in general. This appears to be pretty much accurate.  To compound that, the English feel that the preponderance of sponsorship is driven by their involvement, and their market - they're right on this also.  At the very root of all of this, however, is a fundamental difference in philosophy as to how the game should be developed.  And that, perhaps, is the most significant stumbling block of all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pat Finucane: Why Killing A Lawyer Matters

Pat Finucane, 1949-1989
David Cameron today apologised to Geraldine Finucane and her family for the role the British state played in the murder of her husband.  Pat Finucane was a Human Rights lawyer, and had successfully prosecuted several trials in defending Nationalists against the State.  In a difficult time, human rights were being breached regularly; internment without trial had been regularly deployed in the North, and Catholics were systematically discriminated against.  The State was effectively a protestant, loyalist, unionist machine, designed to suppress the growing minority.  In those circumstances, if the State turned its beady eye on you, the avenues for protection were limited.