Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I wonder why.
Is it because he sees who they're doling out degrees to? Remember the one interviewed after the riot who could barely talk?
Is it because they expel people who can't, and shouldn't, pay fees or who have serious personal difficulties? How many lives has Denis "Sweeny" Todd from occupational health destroyed? First do no harm??? "Fuck that!!" says Denis.
Is it because they have destroyed the Holyland and are raping the rest of South Belfast?
Is it because they have introduced an "Off Campus" disciplinary code that is legally unenforceable and therefore a cynical PR exercise?
Is it because they have trashed their own academic base? Bye Bye Classics. Bye Bye Russian. Bye Bye Italian. Bye Bye the only geosciences department in Ireland. They had to back-track on that one, but only after they had sacked all the academics. While enrolling for my First Year I saw skips piled high with specimen trays.
Is it because they want to charge £10,000 a year? If you haven't got the money fuck off.
Is it because it's an intellectual sewer, and cognitive blight on South Belfast, and, for that matter the whole society? Free thinkers who can afford to leave will not go there and who can blame them? Queens, driven by greed, is fueling the intellectual meltdown of Northern Ireland.
Is it because the lecturers are queuing up to get the fuck out of Dodge?
What should we call this new piece of grotesque corporate architecture?
"The Aircraft Carrier"? It looks like one.
"The Death Star"? I can picture Darth Vader standing atop that tower, his cloak blowing in the wind. Overhead tie-fighters do a fly-by.
"The Blood Money Building"? After all it was financed by Caterpillar, supplier of armoured bulldozers to the Israeli Army. At least Queens are consistent; ethnic cleansing and house demolitions. It's "Regeneration" after all.
Apologies to the Palestinians. I do not seek to demean their plight by associating it with the Belfast Holyland. Apologies also to the family and friends of Rachel Corrie. I'm raising big issues, not cheap points when I discuss her murder by the IDF.
I'm open to suggestions, but I'm leaning toward "The Death Star".
Monday, April 20, 2009
Mister Can Do
It should be “Sir Can Do”. Soon it'll be “Lord Can Do” as Reg is headed for a peerage.
“We all felt empowered as soon as we walked in the room.”
It's easy to charm the pants off some people, although the thought of Ray Farley naked is scaring me. He's not the first to feel moist and important in the presence of “Lord This”, or “Baron That”.
Who is Ray Farley? He does not live in the Holyland. This perhaps makes it easier for him to call for more people to be imprisoned there. Only a handful of residents agree with him and we all know who they are. They're strangely absent from the public gaze these days. I dare say the media are sick of hearing from them. Recently the BBC had to edit Ray's gibberish because he seemed to be saying the universities had let their students down on St Patrick's Day. This is like David Farrell describing students as “victims” on the Nolan Show. After he subsequently announced Declan Boyle's address live on the air they quietly dropped him from their interviewee list.
What does “Sir Can Do” have to offer apart from “empowerment”? He cannot make the universities do anything, although he does want to set their fees sky-rocketing. This they welcome with the corporate equivalent of kicking your heels high in the air and your knickers flying. He's some charmer that guy. OK, not much to look at, but he “Can Do”.
Neither he nor Poor Wee Sammy can pass a law to stop adults drinking alcohol on private property. So that's the front garden thing fucked.
I'm not quite sure what a “verifiable term-time address for first-years” is supposed to achieve, but it sounds good and at least Ray can claim a victory as Chairman of somebody else's “Regeneration Association”. It's progress you see, like that thing with deckchairs on the Titanic.
Using vacant property in the city centre is actually a good idea. It's a little late for the Holyland, by at least a decade, but something has to be done to save all the other communities being targeted by landlords and universities. It is, however, impractical to vest then convert, demolish, rebuild, or whatever derelict shops, warehouses and offices. The hundreds of millions involved in such a project would be far better spent on housing for, you know, real people. Perhaps Mark Durkan can upend the sofa and see if he can shake another £400 million out of it to line the pockets of property developers. Reg would, perhaps, welcome that. He's all for the “Wealth Creators”. That such people create no wealth, but do soak up vast amounts of public money (see the antics of Brown and Obama) does not matter. “To him who hath” and all that.
Reg cannot oblige the universities to invest their ill gotten gains on city centre student housing. They'll politely tell him to fuck off and hurry up with the fees raise. He's unlikely to try it on.
So he wants to get all the “Stakeholders” together in a room to thrash out a solution. We've had this before and it's all horseshit. He cannot “de-HMO” South Belfast. Nor can any Stormont Minister. It is not within their gift to make any meaningful change to a housing policy invented elsewhere. Planning is seemingly out of control, but is servicing the interests of property developers, and this agenda comes from London. Blair, Brown, Thatcher; it's all the same; a bubble economy based on property and money speculation. All of them set out to obliterate Public Housing. And so the Housing Executive is not allowed to build. I see no one being allowed to change that policy. Instead, making families on the waiting list rent from private landlords is right up their street, and, for that matter, coming to a street near you. Our “Executive” are mere sock-puppets. This makes the whole “can do” thing an extremely cruel pantomime. Reg may have been shocked at the “war zone” and “intimidation” he witnessed on St Patrick's Day, but he can do nothing of any substance. He may have wondered why 25% of our undergraduates leave to study elsewhere. Now he has the answer, and no Ministerial trips to Scotland will entice them back.
Planning, doing their masters' bidding, are like a rooftop sniper picking off communities one by one; first the Holyland; then Stranmillis; then Lisburn Road; then Ballynafeigh; then Rosetta.
There it is in the South Belfast News. Planning have rubber stamped the rape of Rosetta. And who can stop them? Sammy? Arlene? Reg?
“Studentification” has blighted cities across the UK. Nowhere has suffered like South Belfast, and the Holyland is a nightmare that shocks every visitor from a university town in England. They cannot believe the barbarity. In England an answer has been proposed. Don't get your hopes up because it comes from the sinister coalition of universities and landlords. The hidden agenda is to trash huge swathes of the urban landscape and turn it into Landlordville. And lo the policy comes to Belfast.
The “solution” comes in the form of secondary tumours. Spread the cancer around the city, especially certain target areas. The 30% HMO cap guarantees that target communities will be destabilised and spiral downward fast. This serves landlords and universities and, being a “cap” throws a bone to the Useful Idiots who hang around the master's table seeking “empowerment” while South Belfast dies.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
He spoke with a passion born of desperation. The landlords don't want their properties trashed. The students want to study. The universities want to help. The cops will enforce the law. We have to pull together!!
It was sincerely felt horseshit. We've been here before, six years ago. We'll regenerate the Holyland. We'll redress the population balance. The wolf will lie down with the lamb. We'll all be friends. Let's have a group hug and Praise Jesus!!
There is no community left. The landlords and universities have won. They had already won six years ago, or ten. Everything since has been perception management. Who knew the horrors? The universities did. They spent six years silencing it. Now they have shit on their face. It doesn't matter. They have the Holyland. They have their campus and no-one can do a thing about it. Between them they can spend £545 million on corporate architecture. So a community had to die. So be it. More will go the same way. That's what this is really about.
The PACT meeting was a time-warp. The venue was different; no longer the smelly back room of a church, but the Lanyon Building of Queens University itself! My we have come a long way. And the politicians are there. It's all one big partnership!
The people from Stranmillis and Rugby Road and Lisburn Road are there talking about sanctions and expulsions and Partnership. There's that word. Queens are gonna have a committee meeting. Stormont are gonna have a committee meeting. I can recall people running round like blue arsed flies, going to meetings about meetings about a mural. Residents and students will paint a mural together and we'll put it on a wall and we'll all have lunch in City Church afterwards and we'll go on the TV and it'll be so good! And we'll have an art festival. And we'll get school kids from some Christian summer camp to come once a year and scrape the dead animals out of the entries and clean the landlords gardens for them and have a barbecue where residents and landlords can sit down together and .............................group hug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The objective is to make Stranmillis and Lisburn Road and Rugby Road and Ballynafeigh and Lower Malone partners in their own destruction. This is what “partnership” really means. The power agenda centres around universities and property developers. Give them whatever they want. For thirty years inner cities in the developed world have been reamed out. Think of London's Docklands. Twenty years ago I was living in a hostel and found myself watching a documentary. New York's homeless talk to Michelle Shocked. Their story is one of public housing projects demolished, their tenants dumped on the street to make way for big money. Affordable Housing?? Fuck That!!! This land is for the Rich. Every square foot represents maximum profit.
Before New Orleans had its Katrina Moment, its Mayor, Ray Nagin, was evicting his fellow blacks from public housing so he could sell it off to his property developer friends. A reign of terror was inflicted upon the tenants of HUD. Any and every excuse was found. Get them out; by any means necessary. Then the storm came and the levees broke and he cried his crocodile tears all the while knowing that he would be mayor of a Theme Park. The population would not be allowed back. Public housing was sealed up. Private landlords dumped tenant's possessions in flooded streets and waited for the Big Money to flow. On the higher ground Blacks owned their homes. Men with guns from Blackwater came and you would submit to ethnic cleansing or you would die. Don't take my word for it. Malik Rahim was there and his community resisted. They organised schools, they organised food, and they organised guns. They're still there.
The reason I digress is to show that the rape of South Belfast is neither new nor unique. Driving communities from their homes is the way power does business. It's not a conspiracy, it's coalitions of shared interests. Daniel Guerin described it well in “Fascism and Big Business”.
What about our local politicians? They'll help, won't they? Won't they?
Sunday, April 12, 2009
This should tell us a number of things. In order to get fined you have to have got your wrist slapped for two "proven" previous incidents. Fines range from£20 t0 £200, an average, say of £50. £50 into £10,000 goes 200 times multiplied my three "proven" incidents makes 600 "proven incidents". This is surely the tip of the iceberg. How many residents take the hint and give up after the first or second complaint gets them targeted and no-one to protect them. The universities won't and the cops, well, it took them twelve years to finally do something, and that involved precious few arrests and fewer prosecutions resulting from St Patrick's Day.
We will never know the full extent of torture and intimidation doled out to residents. Suffice it to say a community no longer exists. This was not an accident. The Universities have got their campus which is growing. Queens University is a giant cancer devouring every residential area anywhere near it. It's landlords and "students" do the dirty work of social cleansing while it, and UU sit back rubbing their hands with glee and spending their hundreds and hundreds of millions on corporate architecture.
The universities' "Off Campus Disciplinary Code" is legally unenforceable. There will be no expulsions, and "students" only tolerate it's sanctions because they are so trivial. This being the case, why was it introduced? The explanation is truly diabolical. They can claim they are doing something. The £10,000 in fines sounds truly impressive until it's deconstructed. When it is it reveals the awful truth. The objective is to target residents. Encourage them to complain, get them tortured and threatened, teach them to shut up or leave or both. It is a vehicle for social cleansing and reveals the depth of evil among those who dreamed it up.
The £10,000 is merely icing on the cake. It will buy bubbly for the directors of these degree mills that manufacture ignorance and dispossession.
"Look what a wonderful job we're doing"
They really are proud of themselves. Declan Boyle's properties do indeed meet building standards. It is perfectly legal to demolish a family house and cram sixteen students into the flats you build in it's place. One would expect no less given the enormous amount of taxpayers' money doled out to him in grants. They are, legally, not slums. They are dry. They are warm if you can afford the enormous gas consumption such inefficient housing requires. He's not like Dermott Laird, property manager to countless anonymous slumlords. Michael McMahon, who owns more properties than Declan, most of them Dunderin' Inns, was obviously too ugly to feature in this photograph. Declan's smug smile is wonderful. Sammy's thinking,
"Why am I here, and who is this cheesy cunt???"
The cheesy cunt in question boasts that,
"We're not trying to pull the Holyland apart."
This is like Thatcher's chilling,
"The NHS is safe in my hands."
or the truly sinister claim buy Blair that,
"I didn't get into politics to make the poor and vulnerable poorer"
They have raped the Holyland to death. In the latest edition of the South Belfast News Declan claims that,
"Families do not want to live in or move into a student area"
Therefore the cap on HMO's should be scrapped to enable people to sell up to a landlord and leave. This belies his claim the previous week that they want to work with residents. They have this in common with their allies, the universities. It's a bit like the rapist who says to the victim,
"We're in this together here. It's easier if you work with me."
Now they, and the universities, have more targets in mind. Stranmillis, Lisburn Road, Lower Malone and Ballynafeigh will all become part of their extended private campus. The HMO cap of 30% guarantees the destabilisation of these areas. Only 8 or 9% is sustainable. While these areas are demolished and 2 bed flats crammed onto the cleared sites we will hear the call ever louder that "Regeneration" requires the lifting of the HMO cap. Thus residential areas become "student areas", their populations driven out by noise, sleep deprivation and threats. These communities must not co-operate with those determined to destroy them, the universities and their landlords. Do not go the way of the Holylands. There can be no partnership with the oppressor.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
"Carpetbagger Landlord criticises Civil Service bonuses."
"Declan Boyle form the Landlord's Association said he hears a lot of complaints about the agency's performance. "They just seem to run at a very slow pace for whatever reason. There is a lot of room for improvement," he said"
Is this the same Declan Boyle who has been claiming £36,000 per property in conversion grants from the Housing Executive? Perhaps he could tell us how much taxpayers' money has been doled out to him from the Housing Budget. Is it more or less than £10 million? How many families have no home because the money that should have built them one lines the pockets of this parasite? How much of a kickback do he and his fellow landlords get from Belfast City Council now that they no longer have to pay rates on their properties? Does he collect rent in cash from his tenants? Did the envelopes I have seen changing hands contain birthday cards? He seems to have one every month. It would be interesting to know how much of his income he declares to the inland revenue; all of it? Some of it? We'll never know, but it's a worthwhile question.
I hear that he and his pals may be seeking compensation for the damage caused to their properties on St Patrick's Day. At a police meeting some years ago he wanted to know why residents objected to their "student" tormentors having "fun". Well they've been kind enough to film their antics and put it on YouTube, so now we know what they and he mean by "fun".
The Social Cannibals have raped the Holyland to death, and they're proud of it. Now Stranmillis and Ballynafeigh are in their sights. Let's hope these communities don't follow the example of the Belfast Holyland Regeneration Association and enter into "Partnership" with those, the universities and landlords, who are determined to destroy them.