Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

“They can take whatever they can, but Northern Ireland is still going to be British whether they like it or not”

Wed 6 February 2013, 11:17am

Not much to say by way of introduction that Becky Rowan does not say eloquently for herself… Other than at base, we have the politics of cultural contention…

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Comments (54)

  1. Interesting that the pollsters and the BBC managed to avoid asking awkward questions about the distorting factor of the state of the RoI economy and seeking to present the outcome of catholic respondents answers as definitive and ignoring the elephant in the room, that is they know that would take away from the impact of the headline figure they wanted. It says a lot for the future of political unionism that so many catholics voted to stay with the union in the safe knowledge that the DUP/uup wouldn’t be in control of this part of it.

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  2. Dec (profile) says:

    Another poster child for the benefits of Integrated education.

    Here’s another of her ‘TV spots’, which sadly, despite her appearance, does not include patriotic Street Dancing:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgl74OnIQ3k

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  3. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Any chance of leaving out the ad hominem stuff? And maybe, just maybe address the content?

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  4. Nevin (profile) says:

    The Becky Rowan link appears to be out of action but she and some other better known names appear here.

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  5. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Working for me Nev…

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  6. Scáth Shéamais (profile) says:

    Direct link

    The only comment I can make on the piece is that it’s just another example of reactionary, zero-sum thinking.

    “If they were going to be bitter, I was just going to do the exact same thing.” Mar dhea.

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  7. Scáth Shéamais (profile) says:

    Sorry, actual direct link.

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  8. Dec (profile) says:

    Mick, unfortunately I can’t access the link from 4OD however I was struck by her experiences of being educated with Catholics. Job done, Integrated sector.
    However her appearance outside the city hall appears to consist of asking protestors a series of scripted, loaded questions and ends with a conclusion lamenting the erosion of her own culture, and simulataneously disparaging Irish culture with the line that ‘most of them (ie Irish/Catholics/Nationalists) are British anyway’ (and presumably just don’t realise it). Eloquent is not the word I’d reach for.

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  9. Antain Mac Lochlainn (profile) says:

    I thought the key quote was: ‘They have no right whatsoever’. ‘They being a majority of democratically elected Councillors in Belfast.

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  10. Mainland Ulsterman (profile) says:

    Antain, the problem is the council doesn’t represent the actual city, but the building does. Therein lies the problem in this case. Also, this stuff just has to be agreed on a cross-community basis or it all goes Pete Tong.

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  11. Submariner (profile) says:

    The benefits of an integrated education writ large.

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  12. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘Antain, the problem is the council doesn’t represent the actual city, but the building does. Therein lies the problem in this case’

    No, it represents the ratepayers who like, you know, pay for it.

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  13. boondock (profile) says:

    Jamie and now her, is there a faulty production line somewhere churning out these twits

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  14. SK (profile) says:

    “Antain, the problem is the council doesn’t represent the actual city, but the building does.”

    _______

    It’s amazing how convoluted the unionist view of things gets once a vote goes against them.

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  15. Mainland Ulsterman (profile) says:

    SK,
    Not convoluted at all – how simple do you want?!

    Deciding by simple majorities is often appropriate. It’s just that in Northern Ireland, nationalists spent a long time making the argument that decision-making by simple majority was not appropriate, because one group making big decisions over the other without their consent is wrong. The GFA made it a basic principle of Stormont politics. I accept that argument and agree with nationalists on it. Do you not?

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  16. Mainland Ulsterman (profile) says:

    SK,
    Also, it’s pretty obvious many people in East Belfast have an emotional stake in the City Hall but live outside the current city council boundaries. This is why the council should have reflected on the wider hinterland within which Belfast City Hall sits. Maybe they were good reasons for carving up the city in that way – but it does lead a dissonance between the make up of the council chamber and the make up of the city’s population. Not good for democracy I would suggest.

    There are lots of factors in drawing up council boundaries but this episode has shown what happens when people identify strongly with a place but are shoved into another administrative area. People on the Yorkshire / Lancashire border get similarly teed off – a friend of mine’s Yorkshire village was put into Lancashire and he was fuming about it.

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  17. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    It is the “whether they like it or not” bit I find most interesting. To me, that is the essence of democracy, that when you lose, you accept it and go on to the next issue or try to get it undone, democratically.

    Unionists who vote for members of Belfast City Council would be better served to make as good of a deal as they can with the Alliance party. That would be their wisest path. Something has blinded them to that and until they can see it, the whole flag fiasco is a lost cause for them.

    Sinn Fein, I think, took a premature step in the knowledge it would scare people into thinking HMS Belfast was sinking into a green sea. If that was their intention, loyalism stepped right into the trap.

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  18. Kensei (profile) says:

    Mainland

    I’m confused. How does “reqire cross community consensus” equate to “fly the union jack all the time”?

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  19. Kevsterino[2.44] The answer to your question about unionists being blindsided to their real interest was shown on the spotlight programme as the two unionists[Foster and kennedy igored the two nationalists and were baying like a mob at the Alliance man, tells you all you need to know about ‘confident unionism’ Stormont woouldn’t now survive another term even if an SDLP FM was elected rather than Marty. Alliance didn’t suffer from the flags at all on last night’s poll, and DUP took the biggest hit. Now 38% unionists, 39%nationalists share.

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  20. SK (profile) says:

    MU,

    The democratic outcome that emerged from Belfast City Council doesn’t suit unionists, so plan ‘B’ is to invoke the arbitrary concept of “Greater Belfast”, a place which- big surprise- just so happens to have more Prods than Catholics.

    The demographics don’t suit, so time to reinvent them. It’s the oldest tactic in the unionist playbook.

    Well actually, it’s the only tactic in unionist playbook.

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  21. JR (profile) says:

    I saw this on Tv last night. I still don’t see her logic in linking her religion to the Union Jack on Belfast city hall and how protesting about a flag is “Standing up for my faith”. Or how someone being bitter about a rangers top made her want to take her religion more seriously.

    Her choice of words is interesting too. With sentences like she will continue to protest until “things get put right” or “They have absolutely no right” she clearly believes she has some divine right on her side. Along with a delusion of Grandeur in calling Belfast city hall “one of the most important buildings in the UK”

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  22. Dec (profile) says:

    For future reference ‘cross community consensus’ should be read as ‘Unionist veto’.

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  23. David Crookes (profile) says:

    We may be looking here at an MLA of the future.

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  24. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    David, I claim no ability in clairvoyance, but in 30 years I can see her hollering “No Surrender” through a broken shop window.

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  25. Submariner (profile) says:

    “We may be looking here at an MLA of the future”

    Indeed she would seem to have all the required attributes of Unionist MLA..

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  26. MrPMartin (profile) says:

    Just demonstrates the innate sectarianism of Ulster nationalists behind the mask of Britishness. These people are the KKK/Hitler Youth of UK/Ireland and are unrepresentative. Racist views in northern English working men’s clubs are rightly deplored and rubbished yet in NI they are given credence, time and respectability

    As for being British, what does that actually mean on a day to day basis? I’ve been talking to German friend of mine today on Skype and she and her husband live the same kind of lifestyle I do. They work, look after their home, watch American and European cinema. Apart from our first languages, we are culturally identical.

    The world is a giant blender now and it’s only bigots bang on about ‘identity’.

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  27. MrPMartin (profile) says:

    Belfast 2013 – Vienna 1920′s

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  28. boondock (profile) says:

    MU
    Which city do you live in on the mainland? Im pretty sure you will find that in the UK city council areas are much smaller than the city urban or metropolitan areas (usually half the size). A bit like designated days its ok for GB but obviously not for uber British Northern Ireland

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  29. belfastboyo (profile) says:

    40% British.

    Yes people may currently not vote a UI in the morning but unionists are still unionist and nationalists nationalist.
    I would not vote for a UI tomorrow on purely economic and practical issues that need to be addressed. Nothing to do with flags or sectarianism.
    All traditions should be respected.

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  30. Ulster Press Centre (profile) black spot says:

    Antain Mac Lochlainn: I thought the key quote was: ‘They have no right whatsoever’. ‘They being a majority of democratically elected Councillors in Belfast.

    You’ll have had no problem with Stormont pre-1972 then, will you?

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  31. Viridiplantae (profile) says:

    Dec

    No, it represents the ratepayers who like, you know, pay for it.

    So when a council boundary doesn’t reflect the unionist / nationalist balance of the natural conurbation of a city, well that’s just an irrelevance. It’s just a matter of “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. Presumably with that notion followed to it’s logical conclusion people who pay rates twice should get two votes.

    I think I’m getting what the French might call “deja vu”.

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  32. Nevin (profile) says:

    Here’s a snippet from Becky’s interview that caught my attention:

    Becky re. integrated school: “.. we went over to talk to them, as normal .. And they said, ‘We can’t play with yous any more .. ??? .. because yous are wearing Rangers tops .. ??? .. because yous are Protestants’ … if they were going to be bitter I was just going to do exactly the same thing”

    So negativity can be reciprocated. It’s all in sharp contrast to these fine words uttered by the late Sr Souboris almost 40 years ago:

    “Thank you for directing to us young people of such unselfishness and reliability. Each in his own way made a valuable contribution to the holiday. I personally learned a tremendous amount from their unselfishness. I only wish more people in our divided communities could experience how easy it is to love and live together once .the will to do so is there”

    Sadly, in the era of Peter and Martin, there appears to be a dearth of positive role models – and love.

    “Other than at base, we have the politics of cultural contention”

    I opt for ‘the politics of constitutional contention’ – the other aspects IMO are symptoms.

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  33. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    She is completely correct in stating that the right to self-determination of the pro-British population of Ulster isn’t going anywhere, whether Republican delusionals like it or not. Thankfully, it seems that the message may be starting to get through to our media and PC-brigade who may finally be catching up with the rest of us in realising actual reality on the core constitutional issue, as they come to terms with actual statistics on the issue rather than those they imagined and plucked out of thin-air.

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  34. theelk11 (profile) says:

    AYM
    Constitutional issue is not in question, what a Northern Ireland will look like going forward most definitely is, read the agreement again. The Irish identity of half the population has equal status with any other, get used to things changing often and constantly, your challenge is accepting that reality.

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  35. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    Theelk11, the point of a flag flying over a government building is to represent the constitution. The complexities of identity (of which the Irish one is represented within the Union Jack) has nothing to do with it.

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  36. UserAinm (profile) says:

    AYM,

    ‘She is completely correct in stating that the right to self-determination of the pro-British population of Ulster isn’t going anywhere, whether Republican delusionals like it or not.’

    Young Becky missed the self-determination aspect out though and favoured the more definite and not exactly democratic;

    ‘Northern Ireland’s still going to be British whether they like or not’

    Or is self determination only to be available as long as it preserves the status quo?

    She also conflates religion with nationality and shows, being generous, ignorance of the democratic process;

    ‘The have no right whatsoever’

    That’s leaving out opinions on her version of Christianity which of course taught us to become even more bitter in the face of bitterness.

    I say get more Beckys on tv to let them put the case forward for putting the fleg back up.

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  37. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Kevsterino and Submariner, if I was a betting man I should put money on Miss Rowan standing for the Assembly at the next election.

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  38. Chris Donnelly (profile) says:

    “for themmuns to remove the flag”

    ‘Eloquently’ is not the word I would use to describe young Becky’s piece. Perhaps there was an element of tongue in your cheek.

    Alas, there is a serious point needing addressed, and you neatly highlight it in the title of the thread.

    Becky, like Arlene Foster (a nod to last night’s Spotlight) is obviously beginning a journey that will ultimately end with both acknowledging that Belfast is, will and must be ‘Irish’ as well as ‘British’ if a shared society is to be developed in our little corner of the world.

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  39. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    “Do you believe that the violence is wrong or that the people are just angry ?” Becky asks some teenage girls from underneath her New York baseball hat so demonstrating a style of dress and a style of interlocution surely bound to impress Fox News. It seems not to occur to anyone that both might be the case or that one does not negate the other.

    “How do you feel about the violence that are occurring towards the situation ?” Becky asks a middle aged woman who valiantly refuses to be bowed by the confusion and manages, in spite of Becky, to make a calm statement of her grievances, how she feels and more importantly, how she intends that redress will be accomplished ( ” peacefully and democratically… they took it down democratically and hopefully, through a loophole, we’ll put it back democratically. ”

    Apart from this clear-headed woman, everyone else, driven I presume by what Mick terms “cultural contention” seem to have no idea whatsoever of what the issue is, how “the situation” ( an all purpose term used freely and often to denominate that which they do not understand and cannot therefore articulate) arose, what can be done to resolve it or indeed who their friends are, for although they know they that Sinn Féin are the enemy and, it now seems, that Alliance and the DUP and the UUP are in an unholy union with Sinn Féin.

    Yet the term “cultural contention” rings a little bell deep in my memory and I begin to recall Algerian psychiatrist, Franz Fanon’s thesis* on the mass schizophrenia that developed among ethnic Algerians, whom, constitutionally assured of their French citizenship and reassured through a compulsory French education identically taught to all throughout the empire yet were treated only, at best as second class citizens, by the French gendarmes, the fonctiannaires and the employer class and petit bourgeoisie of the French settlers – the pieds noir which contradiction fostered identity confusion and led to psychic fracture on a grand scale. Following De Gaulle’s broadcast appeal directly to the French army over their cleverly supplied new toy, the transistor radio, Algerie Francaise soon was no more and a new strain of psychic fracture developed among the pieds noir now lost, confused, betrayed, their copper-fastened certainties tearing at the seams, their world spinning out of control. Their real enemy, they were to learn, the destroyer of their culture, was not the nationalist movement, the FLN, but rather the guarantor of their own Brobdignagian status, the mother country itself which now cut them down to size.

    It might do these confused people some good to study Fanon’s book, The Wretched of the Earth and maybe have a glance at P.B.Shelley’s poem Ozymandias while they’re about it.

    P.S. I shouldn’t worry unduly about Becky’s declared secondary school experience having a negative effect upon integrated education as Becky’s “eloquence” isn’t exactly reinforced by any confidence in her credibility.

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  40. TheUnicorn (profile) says:

    “Mainland” Ulsterman deciding by majority in this part of the world has always been contentious, and for good reason, in previous Stormont Governments prior to DeHondt we had a situation whereby many Catholics couldn’t vote (unless they owned property, which of course were largely owned by Protestants, who then had multiple votes), couldn’t get access to social housing (memories of Austin Currie having to squat in a house before being forcibly removed) and it was commonplace for jobs to be advertised with the tag line “Catholics need not apply”.

    Thankfully the current mechanism of self governing limits these blatant forms of discrimination, although granted it does have its limitations (the current executive being a complete talking shop where nothing gets done).

    Local councils however have always been “majority rules”, you just have to look at Lisburn where land was donated for a UDR monument in the town, and a motion was recently put to grant the freedom of the town to the orange order in recognition of the great service they provide to the community. I wonder which section of the community they mean…

    The flag issue whilst proving a bone of contention for many loyalists is in fact already in place in other unionist councils without any loyalist protests (Lisburn again for one), is the agreed regime of flag flying by both the equality commission, the British government and the royal household.

    This issue was raised by the issuing of 40,000 leaflets by UUP/DUP in east Belfast, targeting Naomi Long (who isn’t even on Belfast CC), and why?? Who stands to gain?? To shoehorn wee Peter into East Belfast Westminster seat. As for “the other issues”, as per PSNI own records of the 2270 loyalist parades in 2007, 70 had some form of limitations/conditions placed upon them, 3%. Erosion of British culture indeed.

    As for Becky, I don’t think she has an ounce of eloquence, “themones are bitter so I’ll be too”.

    NI politics over the last 300 years summed up in a sentence, I’ll give her that.

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  41. David Crookes (profile) says:

    TheUnicorn, your third paragraph leads me to make a suggestion. Can we pass some tiny law that will make it impossible for local councils to play their silly, solemn, fatuous little game of awarding the utterly meaningless ‘freedom of the borough’ to groups or individuals? This little game is an embarrassment to anyone with an IQ in double figures.

    Empty the bins, and don’t generate more rubbish.

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  42. Reader (profile) says:

    TheUnicorn: in previous Stormont Governments prior to DeHondt we had a situation whereby many Catholics couldn’t vote (unless they owned property, which of course were largely owned by Protestants, who then had multiple votes),
    Your garbled complaint is about the Council franchise, not the Stormont franchise, which was hardly contentious at all.
    Now, the Council franchise – people who rented houses had the council franchise, as they were the Ratepayers – whether one person or a married couple. Business owners had additional votes for additional premises, up to a maximum of 5. The same system applied in England until 1946.

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  43. Antain Mac Lochlainn (profile) says:

    Antain Mac Lochlainn: I thought the key quote was: ‘They have no right whatsoever’. ‘They being a majority of democratically elected Councillors in Belfast.

    You’ll have had no problem with Stormont pre-1972 then, will you?

    UPC, Stormont’s distain for Irish Catholics went a bit further than banning the tricolour.

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  44. Nevin (profile) says:

    This thread is paying lip service to ad hominem whilst giving ad mulierem a bit of wellie – but what else should we expect from ‘the lads’ ;)

    Young Becky is only 19 – according to C4 – so her political experience is bound to be a bit limited. Give her a bit of time and a bit of slack – otherwise she might be inclined to give a nod to Mark Twain:

    a solemn, unsmiling, sanctimonious old iceberg that looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity

    Lighten up, the lads. :)

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  45. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Agreed, Nevin. Let’s have a bit of chivalry (except in our burgers). No more ‘ad puellam’ attacks.

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  46. Nevin (profile) says:

    David, I suspect some of the attacks on the young damsel owe more to Che Guevara than to Che Valerie :)

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  47. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘So when a council boundary doesn’t reflect the unionist / nationalist balance of the natural conurbation of a city, well that’s just an irrelevance.’

    That’s for the Boundaries Commission to address. Perhaps you should write to the DUP and ask them to dissolve Castlereagh council. Good luck with that.

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  48. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Nevin, with your proficiency in the Green Tongue you should be explicating Nostradamus!

    Let’s settle for no more ‘ad sorbum’ attacks.

    The important thing isn’t what the meticulous analysts of Plektes Organides (that’s Slugger O’Toole in ancient Greek) think of Miss Rowan’s statements. The important thing is what ordinary voters will think of her statements once she joins a local party and stands for election.

    It is strange that the feminazis aren’t crawling all over themselves to salute the emergence of an interesting new voice. It is even stranger that certain prickly commentators have picked up on the ‘integrated school’ thing. Is every alumna of an integrated school expected to speak in PC abstract nouns?

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  49. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘It is even stranger that certain prickly commentators have picked up on the ‘integrated school’ thing. Is every alumna of an integrated school expected to speak in PC abstract nouns?’

    David

    The point I and others have raised is that she appears to have emerged from integrated schooling with an acute intolerance of any viewpoint/culture that does not reflect her own position.

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  50. Nevin (profile) says:

    “The important thing is what ordinary voters will think of her statements”

    Well, ordinary voters provided us with the present crop of MEPs, MPs, MLAs and Councillors. Need I say more?

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  51. foyle observer (profile) says:

    I can’t view this video from work but from what i’m reading, can safely say that i’m counting down the minutes in anticipation of seeing what will prove to be a very worthwhile few minutes of my day thanks to a young woman with undeniable charisma.

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  52. David Crookes (profile) says:

    Thanks, Dec. I wonder if that is in every case a bad thing. It would worry me more if pupils ‘emerged’ from integrated education much as selected persons emerge from room 101 in Orwell’s ’1984′.

    BRA and MCB are integrated schools in numerical terms, which should be the only terms that matter. Miss Rowan’s statements should be considered carefully by persons who see formally integrated education as a cure-all. For myself, I should be glad to see every school integrated in numerical terms, to the extent of possibility: but the notion of ‘anti-sectarianism classes’ reeks to me of political brainwashing.

    Nevin, you don’t need to say more! Your observation generates two questions. Do we really deserve the politicians who represent us? And are we always wise to vote for what is available?

    It involves no disrespect to the late Mr John McQuade to say that he was horribly out of his depth as a Westminster MP, and it is impossible to argue with Mr Steven Agnew when he points out that several MLAs are barely able to read the speeches which have been written for them.

    I heartily detest the phrase which preachers often used in the 1960s — ‘out of the chesterfield, and into the battlefield’ — but maybe that’s the way forward. If we leave political action to those of whom we disapprove, we shouldn’t complain.

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  53. Sp12 (profile) says:

    It’s impressive the way she manages to work the words ‘situation’, ‘ridiculous’, ‘protestant’ and ‘themmunz’ into a such a short spot.

    I assume you’re taking the piss with the eloquence bit?

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  54. JR (profile) says:

    Came across this on youtube. Becky interviewing a number of protesters at city hall a number of weeks ago and also sums up giving some of her own feelings.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgl74OnIQ3k

    She uses the “whether they like it or not ” prase quite a few times and I have to say I find her facial expression and Body language quite interesting as she says it.

    What do you think?
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