Sunday, February 2, 2014

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Sad news tonight that actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has died aged 46. A fantastic actor, I particularly liked him in Charlie Wilson's War in which he played a CIA agent involved in the covert war against the Red Army in Afghanistan. RIP.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Love this

English Guitarist Paul Quinn does his own classical version of the Game of Thrones theme tune.

President Obama and Race

President Obama has largely avoided discussing race during his presidency. This is probably wise but every now and then he cannot ignore it such is the attention it gets in the media. Race is pure ratings gold and is the reason I believe the liberal and conservative media try to make as many things about race as they possibly can. When Obama conducted a recent interview with the New Yorker he made the following interesting statement.
There's no doubt that there's some folks who just really dislike me because they don't like the idea of a black President," Obama says. "Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I'm a black President
This was a very honest and insightful contribution to the race issue by the President. Predictably however, some of the right wing bloggers and commentators focused on the first line and claimed that Obama was blaming his low poll numbers on racism. Bill O'Reilly was more balanced. In fact, he was spot on.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I'm Back



Gubu World is back, after my longest hiatus to date. All amateur bloggers know that time is our biggest challenge. Most of us political junkies also have work, study, personal lives, social lives and our favorite TV shows to also make time for. However, I just missed blogging too much over the past year so I've decided on a new approach. I am bringing in other contributors to Gubu World to help with the load. From now on you will see regular posts from my brother Eoghan Leddy and an associate by the name of Garret Ledwith. Eoghan will mainly be writing about the madness that is the financial world, particularly in how it relates to Ireland and Europe. Garret will be a little bit of everything from culture to religion. I will be sticking to the Middle East, America and global politics. Don't be surprised if a little domestic Irish politics creeps in as well. As some of you may know I am a Fine Gael candidate in next May's local election, so watch this space. Here's to a fruitful years blogging. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bad time for a War




This shocking footage was released by the IDF today. It is footage of the assassination of Ahmed Jabri, the head of Hamas' military wing who was killed in yesterdays attack. The situation may now lead to a full scale war between the IDF and Hamas controlled Gaza similar to that which we saw in 2008. I am not surprised that Israel has assassinated this man. But I am surprised at the timing. The Middle East is a very different place today than 2008. Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak has been controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. This completely changes the game. If this war does escalate into a violent confrontation in which hundreds of Palestinians are killed it may be the trigger that finally pushes Egypt firmly into the extremist camp in which case the 1979 pace agreement between the two nations will come to an end. In addition the situation in Syria is deteriorating to the extent that the Syrian army and the IDF actually exchanged fire last week. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been hanging on by his fingernails over the last year. A war between Israel and Palestine might be the only thing that could save him. And in the north Hezbollah is still capable of launching a large scale attack just as it did in 2006. The prospect of Israel facing a three front war in the near future appears to me to be a very real possibility. As for the war itself I believe as I always have that Israel is entitled to defend itself, aggressively if necessary. But I hope it doesn't come to that both for the innocent Palestinians who will die and for the Israelis who as I explained above are in a precarious position. Lets hope things calm down over the next few days.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Remembering the Poppy

I spent much of remembrance Sunday watching the many poignant ceremonies in Britain and elsewhere that commemorate the staggeringly high loss of life suffered by British and commonwealth forces during the the two world wars. During this time of year the commemorations, and the symbol of the poppy itself always sparks a debate in Ireland about why we do so little to participate in remembrance activities despite the fact that 35,000 Irishmen were killed during the First World War. I have blogged here in the past on why I believe we should participate more actively in these ceremonies and personally I was delighted to see the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore travel north last Sunday to represent the Republic. The Tanaiste went to Belfast where as the Taoiseach was in Enniskillen to mark not just remembrance day but the 25th anniversary of the outrageous IRA bomb that killed 11 people in that town. So these are my views on the poppy and on remembrance Sunday.

The Taoiseach lays a wreath in Enniskillen on Remembrance Sunday

However I do want to add the following. I am not in agreement with some people who are highly critical of the Irish state and its cold history toward commemorations. There are some on the revisionist side who I believe use the poppy issue, or lack of, to unfairly demonise the Irish state. They do this by portraying a picture of persecution of those who did not and do not share the nationalist ethos of the Irish state. Revisionists such as kevin Myers would have us believe that the thousands of Irish that returned from the western front after WW1 were harassed and persecuted by the new nationalist majority on the grounds that they may be loyal to the crown. In my view this is one aspect of a sinister campaign by certain individuals who have been intent, particularly since the EU/IMF bailout of 2010, on deligitimising the Irish State. For them, Irish independence was a disaster and the brutal recessions is vindication of this. And part of their narrative is that the Irish state since its birth has been a sectarian entity that punished those loyal to the former administration. Myers and his followers are perfectly comfortable illustrating the history of Irish Independence as being like that of the angry natives keen to exact revenge on their oppressors similar to the ANC in South Africa. This is of course completely untrue and the commemoration issue demonstrates this. All that happened in 1922 was that Southern Ireland changed jurisdiction from British to Irish rule. It was natural that people who had served in the army of a different nation would not subsequently be in a position to participate in public or state commemorations under the new administration. This would be true anywhere but particularly in a situation where there was enmity between the two countries. This is why it is sad. It is very sad. But it is not an example of persecution or oppression. The same happened all over Europe after WW1. Millions, literally millions of soldiers from the European continent found themselves living in different jurisdictions than the ones they had fought under during the war due to the collapse of the Russian, Turkish and Austro Hungarian empires. As I made clear in my first paragraph, and as I think regular readers of Gubu World will be aware, I greatly honour all those who fought and died in the British Armed forces during the world wars. I personally have worn a poppy and will wear one in the future. I hope to see more widespread commemorations in Ireland in the coming years. I think they are long overdue. But I do reject the notion that persecution or bigotry, historically lie at the heart of Ireland's failure to enthusiastically commemorate our war dead.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The American President


The reelection of Barack Obama last week surprised me. I never believed that the polls were accurate as far back as the summer. I was wrong. The polls were deadly accurate. My belief that the American people would turn on the President because of the economy was incorrect. The first thing I want to say to my more conservative readers is that they need to relax. Barack Obama will not destroy America. As long as he confronts the debt crisis, which if we take him at his word is a priority, and even if it's not the Republican controlled House will force him to, then the American economy will likely be much stronger in four years time. After the brutal recession of 2008 the US economy is on a natural upward trajectory. Secondly, in terms of Foreign Policy I want to say that the reason Obama was always ahead in FP polls was because the Republican Party were, and most conservatives still are all over the place when it comes to the most monumental world event of the last four years, which is the Arab Spring. Nobody saw the unrest in the Arab World coming but Barack Obama was in the Oval Office when it happened and it was he who had to confront it. This he did in a calm and competent manner. I think the electorate recognised this and largely saw the Benghazi controversy as an attempt to take down the President. Finally I just want to say that the reelection of Barack Obama is significant for the following reason. He is now a two termer. I can't help thinking of that episode of The Simpsons when during Mr Burns' birthday party former Presidents Nixon and Reagan enter the party with presents but Presidents Carter and Bush Senior are refused entry by the bouncer on the grounds that "no one termers" are allowed in. This will never happen to Obama. 2008 was not a fluke. We must face the fact that he is now a giant of American history and the right need to stop demonising him. It is beginning to look petulant. America, the second greatest country on earth (after Ireland) will thrive and survive. Of this there should be no doubt.