A musical interlude for the holidays

Ken Wolff, regular author extraordinaire at The Political Sword, has gone back to his ‘radical lefty’ roots to have a look at political and protest songs. We take this opportunity at the Cellar to run in parallel with Ken’s piece as an old fashioned music thread that Migs and others used to run at Café Whispers.

Have a leisurely read through Ken’s excellent piece, comment there and/or here at the Cellar – join in the fun here and at TPS


[Woody Guthrie]

In my piece ‘Are you sure you’re not a radical?’ I wrote: ‘Over the centuries folk music has been important in supporting the oppressed and Ireland and many countries in South America have a long tradition of revolutionary music.’ So I have chosen in this ‘summer recess’ to present some of that ‘revolutionary’ music to make the point that such music has influenced, and continues to reflect and influence, social and political movements. There are over 40 songs linked here, so it is not intended that you listen to every track in one sitting. Take your time over the next ten days, come back a few times, and check out as many as you wish. I hope you find some that you like. [Please note that these are not always what I consider the ‘best’ songs but I have been limited to some extent by what is available to link to.]

In the 1840s Thomas Osborne Davis in Ireland wrote ‘A Nation Once Again’ which set the tone for the Irish fight for independence for the next 80 years. Davis recognised the power of song and wrote:

“… a song is worth a thousand harangues”. He felt that music could have a particularly strong influence on Irish people at that time. He wrote: “Music is the first faculty of the Irish… we will endeavour to teach the people to sing the songs of their country that they may keep alive in their minds the love of the fatherland.”

Many songs were written about the 1916 uprising but one I particularly like is ‘The Foggy Dew’ — this version by The Wolfe Tones.

Davis’s words were prophetic and ‘rebel songs’ have continued into the modern era in Ireland with songs written about The Troubles in northern Ireland: ‘Man Behind the Wire’, and ‘My Little Armalite’. Very late one night in the Canberra Irish Club I heard a similar song when a young man, not long arrived from northern Ireland, sang a song that included reference to an AK47. It was the first time I realised how the Irish tradition of rebel songs continued to this day.

It is not only in folk music that the influence is felt — U2 performed this song about ‘Bloody Sunday’.

Read the rest of Ken’s musings at The Political Sword, comment and add your favourites there and/or in comments here.



I have the answer, that would meet the aims of business and many commenting here.

Do away with Oppositions all together by electing a board to run the country, not a government.

Yes, winner takes all. No parliament needed. No lower house, no upper house.

Board to face elections every three years.

Maybe only allow those in business to vote.

Not too sure though, we would have a democracy left with this way of running the country.

No pesky checks and balances.  No input from ungrateful public who do not like their place in society. In fact no society, just a economy.

Think, not rethink.

The conversation we cannot ignore is Hockey’s “rethink”  A con with the aim of wedging Labor, softening us up for the kill in the budget.

“On Monday morning, Joe Hockey, the Australian Treasurer, released Re:think, a tax discussion paper. It is no accident that he did so at the Australian Council of Social Services office.  Let’s hope ACOSS don’t fall for the 3 card trick that is the tax discussion paper.

Given the widespread opposition to the 2014 Budget, the one percent have drawn an important lesson from that debacle – consult with the intended victims before launching attacks on poor people and workers.  That is what the tax discussion paper is about. This Damascene conversion to talking to people begs the question – is a tax shit sandwich no longer a shit sandwich if it has consultation sprinkles on top? To ask the question is to answer it


“IN launching its national “conversation” about tax reform, the Abbott government is caught between the policy imperative of “leading” and the political requirement of “listening”.

A further complication is that Prime Minister Tony Abbott is seeking to wedge Bill Shorten, paving the way to blame him if no real progress can be made in fundamentally recalibrating the tax system.

What we are witnessing in this first stage of the “conversation” is that the government is reluctant to be seen to be “leading”. It’s hinting and nudging, but playing coy about what it believes is required. Inevitably, this makes the beginning of the debate quite confused.

The government is starting the sentence – “we need to fix the tax system” – but then leaving it hanging. Is this some super-sophisticated tactic, or is it not sure itself where things will head”


Karma LNP Karma !

I was going to call this post Karma Tony Karma !. However the actions of the last few weeks have changed that, as it is not only Tony that is feeling the heat of Karma but also the LNP everywhere, even the Country Liberals are in panic mode.

It seems they are imploding all over the place. The leader of the LNP in VIC was changed before the last election. The leader of the CLP in NT was deposed and the current leader had a coup against him which backfired and he has stayed. The leader in NSW is not the leader from the last election. All of these changes made to elected leaders of the LNP and they claim the high moral ground in politics.

While I live in a very safe LNP seat it looks like the LNP has lost up here in QLD to the utter amazement of all, including myself. I had wished for a hung parliament in my previous blog. Never in my wildest dreams imagining it would happen this year but rather in 3 years time. The LNP had such a massive majority it seemed untenable. With swings of up to 38% ( yes 38%) the LNP and Campbell Newman managed to achieve the impossible, an almost 50% loss of seats.

Now it is the Federal Leaders turn and actually Tony Abbott is the one who deserves it the most.

Why do they deserve it ?.

THEY LIED. They lied and lied and lied to get elected. It really is nothing more than that. Because all the lies are what has constituted the unfair budget, the attacks on Medicare, the attacks on the ABC and SBS, the attacks on the Poor and the attacks on our Education System. No new Taxes ( increase in Fuel Tax). No forced Public Service Redundancies (many forced redundancies). Claim of Mandate to get rid of 12,000 Public Servants. Now 16,000 gone, but more advisers and media spin doctors recruited to the LNP. Maintain Landcare Funding. Funding Slashed. Far too many to list all of them here.

Each attack is based on a lie and broken promise. The biggest lie of all was No Surprises, because all of us would have to agree there have been so many surprises that they actually outweigh what we did know prior to the last election.

Usually swinging voters comprise up to 20% of an electorate at most. So with swings of up to 38% in QLD it shows how many voters the LNP actually managed to alienate.

While there are many other reasons people will use to justify why Tony should go, and many of them are valid, it is the lies that will be his undoing.

He was such a negative and disgraceful Opposition Leader attempting to undermine the elected government of the day each and every single Question Time it was an utter contempt to watch.

To now ask the ALP to act in a bipartisan way to passing policy ( especially when it is breaking promises the LNP made at the last election) is the height of hypocrisy and gall of the man and the LNP.

The Government of Honesty, Integrity, No Surprises, Honouring Commitments and doing what we said we would do has been reduced to a shambles because they were all lies.

Having said that I was amazed at Annastasia in QLD saying prior to the election she would do no deals with the Independents and my wrath was directed at her in my last blog. Now here we are, Annastasia is breaking her first firm commitment which will now be a broken promise or Lie.

We also had Lawrence this morning saying each elected member of parliament deserves full respect as they are elected by their constituents. Pity your LNP didn’t adhere to those comments for the last 3 years instead of being the horrible, bitter, mean and greedy twisted members you were under Campbell when it came to anyone outside the LNP.

My hope is that Annastasia becomes the new Premier, but only with the help of Peter Wellington who can keep things more honest, especially given the release of his agreement with the ALP today. This shows his honesty and integrity. Peter is also calling for the CMC to be overhauled and become more like the ICAC in NSW. He has demanded donations go back to $1,000 for declaration.

My hope for things Federally is that Tony Abbott stays leader until the next election. He deserves the humiliation that Campbell Newman suffered. He is a liar and, as I have written previously Swinging Voters do not like liars. He deserves to be the leader when the LNP is humiliatingly defeated at the next election as he is the reason for it. People have switched off and I cannot for the life of me see it being switched back on, no matter what happens.

The ALP at all levels had also better learn from this and tell the truth, respect Independents and Minor Parties and be a good government for all.

Welcome to 2015 in the ‘Cellar’


2015 promises to be an exciting year for those who follow Australian politics. Firstly we have a NSW election scheduled for the 28th March – this could be interesting with the fallout from ICAC and the continued toxic contamination from the federal government.

Next we have an election due in Queensland before the 20th June – I hope to have much more to say about this over the next couple of months. It looks like Premier Campbell Newman will almost certainly lose his seat to Labor’s Kate Jones, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney is facing increasing corruption allegations and is becoming very toxic in the bush. Once again we have the ‘Abbott factor’ helping Labor in this state. Could Labor go from nine seats to government in one election? Could the LNP be a one-term government? We certainly hope so!

Sitting atop state goings-on, we have the debacle that is (currently) the Abbott government. Could it be a ‘Bishop’ government or a ‘Morrison’ or ‘Turnbull’ government before 2015 is done with us? Then we have another budget due from ‘Eleventy’ when the last one still isn’t settled! Whatever happens, we’re in for interesting times.

I know the TPS Team at Ad Astra’s The Political Sword has big plans for 2015, and Michael & Carol Taylor’s AIMN is powering ahead.

During 2015 at the ‘Cellar’, we hope to encourage writers who’d like to have their creative offerings published, to make use of this site. We see this place as a supportive environment for new bloggers to get started without the hassle of creating a blog from scratch. We also hope to become a feeder site to more established blogs like The Political Sword and the AIMN as writers gain confidence and experience. Of course, we’d also welcome experienced writers to contribute pieces as well – show the beginners how it’s done 🙂

If you’d like to have a go at writing a piece, or would like to contribute to the Cellar on a regular basis, contact us via the tab at the top of the page (https://whisperscellar.wordpress.com/contact-us/). With the state elections due this year, some may like to put fingers to keyboard and let us know how you see these elections playing out – what are the local issues?

We’re looking forward to an ‘interesting’ 2015 and hoping Whisper’s Cellar can become a regular part of your conversations.

Emoji Everywhere 🎃

The WordPress.com Blog

Emoji? What are they?

“Emoji” is a Japanese term meaning “picture character.” It’s a standard for showing smileys and other little symbols inside text. But unlike traditional smileys that are made up of a sequence of letters like :), every emoji has its own letter.

🌷 🌹 🌺 🌻 🌼

Emoji blossomed on smartphones, where quickly picking out an emoji is often faster than typing out a long sentence.

Today we’re rolling out hundreds and hundreds of emoji across WordPress.com — 872 to be exact.


Do they look familiar? That’s because Twitter has graciously decided to open-source their entire set, allowing anyone to use them. We’re already busy preparing to add these to Jetpack, so WordPress.org users can join in the fun too.

Before today, emoji you inserted into your posts on the go wouldn’t always show properly for all your visitors. While the nice little bunny…

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Open for business

Greetings and welcome to the opening of Whispers’ Cellar, an excellent BYO establishment! 😆

The Cellar will be a successor to Michael Taylor’s excellent Café Whispers. You may have noticed the look and feel here is very similar to that at the Café. This is on purpose so that contributors and lurkers quickly feel at home.

While we are a “left-leaning” group, genuine contributors are always welcome. We are independent and of course we’re biased – get used to it. 😀

To minimise spam and “illwillians” (© TT from TPS), the site has been setup so that all contributors must have their first comment approved before it will be posted. Please be patient with us during the first week or so – Florence & Bacchus will be busy approving comments as soon as they can.

Social Media
We can be found on Twitter – @WhispersCellar
and Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/whisperscellar?ref_type=bookmark

Anyone who has an article they would like published is welcome to submit it for consideration of publication. We are also seeking more regular authors.

Regular feature
We’re going to have a page for letting everyone know what’s happening on other blogs – Around the blogs. If you see something elsewhere you think readers here may find interesting, this will be a place to post it.

Contact us / feedback
On the menu bar at the top of the page we have a ‘Contact Us’ page for your suggestions and feedback or to let us know you have articles for publication. (https://whisperscellar.wordpress.com/contact-us/). Constructive suggestions on how we can make the site better for you are always welcome!