A warmer welcome than usual…

AND people wonder why tourists are still somewhat wary about coming here? Only down the road from last night’s petrol bomb attack on a hotel, the entire hoarding surrounding the building of the extension to the backpackers’ hostel is painted with the friendly message: “Sandy Row welcomes you to loyalist South Belfast”. Which of the 150 visitors forced out of Days Hotel last night could possibly never return after such a warm welcome?

The hoarding is, incidentally, opposite Whitehall Square apartments.

  • oliver.gorringe

    These attacks on a hotel in this loyalist area are bad for tourism and bad for investment, as well as being most intimidating for the clientelle. They are a disgrace. I hope the police get on top of these kind of things-there is no excuse for such thuggery.

  • queens_unionist

    I sometimes wonder whether these people have any thought of the consequences of there actions,
    no, scratch that they HAVE NO thought of the consequences of there actions.

    Really harmeful to the tourist and economical situation.

    Plus the phrase is actually
    SANDY ROW WELCOME’S YOU TO LOYALIST SOUTH BELFAST.

    i hate that apostrophe!

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    “I sometimes wonder whether these people have any thought of the consequences of there actions”

    These people have no capacity for rational thought, what makes you think they understand what the word consequence means, never mind anything deeper?

    “Plus the phrase is actually
    SANDY ROW WELCOME’S YOU TO LOYALIST SOUTH BELFAST.”
    i hate that apostrophe!

    LOL

  • jimmyquickswipe

    There’s an irony there, lack of education which has such consequences.

    Never mind the harm to tourism, I’m more thinking smoke inhalation.

  • Circles

    Bad news indeed.
    Doesn’t really bode well for the idea that the 12th could become a big international crowd puller either – or maybe the idea was just to recreate that 11th night atmosphere 😉

  • Ciarán

    So people shouldn’t be flinging petrol bombs about because it might hurt the tourist industry?

  • fair_deal

    Idiots. This hotel was promoted as a good practice example for involving the local community in the development and in particular the employment opportunities and this is thanks they get from some morons.

    Tangental link award goes to Circles for somehow connecting this arson and anti-social behaviour to the Twelfth.

  • queens_unionist

    Well, i think you’ve taken the blog out of context, its not the morality of the incident we are talking about ciaran its the consequences

  • Jacko

    They mustn’t have been paying enough protection money.
    There aren’t too many ordinary thugs that I know of who get out of bed at 4-00am to petrol bomb a hotel.

  • Circles

    Thanks for the shout out fair_deal. I’m fully aware of the irrelevance of the post, but thought it had to be said by someone anyway.

    The really sad fact is that this would happen anywhere in the belfast – sandy row, andytown, suffolk, the shankill. Its got nothing directly to do with loyalism/republicanism – but is a result of our messed up society. And no – I don’t think it would happen anywhere else the way it does in belfast.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    The point, Ciaran, is that the lowlifes carrying out antics like this are doing themselves and their own communities as much harm as anyone and they’re too damn stupid to realise it.

  • joe

    If i was a business thinking to invest here i would have second thoughts.I would be worried if my earnings once off the premises would reach a bank and if they did would i still have a premises to run my business from.

  • Spidesout

    rational thought?

    have you ever met a spide?

    I am so sick of these people. They bring the whole of south Belfast down. What I want to hear from the politicians who are vying for my vote in May is that it is their policy to kick these scumbags out of south belfast.

    Why are these people allowed to remain in south belfast? they do nothing for the place. In fact, they take away from it.

    Spides do not think twice about petrol bombing a hotel, attacking people randomly in the street, abusing people, shouting “nigger” at black people as they walk past, etc etc.

    South Belfast should be the most thriving, mixed part of this City but the spides are too busy spoiling the party. Kick them out.

    That means Donegall Rd, Sandy Row, Markets, Short Strand, behind Castecourt…

    I do not know how you would go about getting them out, but gradually these people need to go.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Spides are a blight much further afield than just South Belfast. Take it from one who knows 😉

  • Circles

    Oh dear Spides-out – where do you suggest we “drive them out” to?
    Nobody would accuse me of being a bleeding heart, but the “spides” problem – young men, knocking around, with nothing to get up to but trouble – is not something exclusion orders will help, nor will knee-capping, nor will the odd quiz done at the cop-shop. This is a real social problem that has to be faced. A huge section of our youth have no hope and no interest – they’ve been let down big time by politics, by the peace process and by society. They exist in their own wee spide-world and don’t give a monkeys, cos it wouldn’t make a difference if they did.
    So I admit, they annoy me too, but there just as annoyed with whats going on around them as anyone else. You don’t get spides up the malone, cos daddy makes sure junior has a future.

  • Spidesout

    Tell me about it!

    but the point is, South Belfast is supposed to be (has to be!) different from the rest of Belfast.

    It has to be mixed, diverse and vibrant. This is where the Uni is and where the clubs and pubs are. It should devoid of the lowlifes. Belfast needs somewhere where both outsiders and locals can feel safe to express themselves and have fun.

    If there is nowhere like that, then Belfast will stagnate.

  • queens_unionist

    But how is the question!
    Tougher policing is surely the answer!
    to roughly quote michael howard,

    “these yobs have to be made to be scared of the police”

  • Circles

    A socially pure neighbourhood where the young, sexy and well to do can pat each other on the back for their tolerance and understanding, and “yeah, a good friend of mine from India is actually a catholic”, and “my family is protestant but my father learnt irish in his youth”?
    Safe for the intellectuals to intellectualise about social equality, safe in the knowledge that the spidey bastards have all been shipped of to poleglass (or wherever). Mixed, diversed and vibrant, but without the young, male and hopeless.

    Yeah thats a great way forward for belfast

  • Spidesout

    where?

    North, West or East Belfast. These places are not exactly thriving and the tourists/immigrants are not going to be venturing into them much either. South Belfast is the place we need to sort out.

    There are plenty people on this board who come from working class backgrounds but we didn’t end up like these people. i understand they have acute problems that need dealt with, but these people are now causing major hassles for the rest of us.

    They are the sole reason for the racist tag being put on Belfast at the minute. And what the f*$k was that last night? Enough is enough.

  • DCB

    Do what we did in days of yore – ship them all of to Austrialla

  • Circles

    Spidesout – I’m not pleading for them, I’m actually thinkign of the whole society, not just the pleasant avenues of south Belfast. For me though sorting something out implies actually trying to solve the problem, not exporting it (and the people involved) to less leafy suburbs.

    And the “well I didn’t turn out like that” argument is daft too – how can you compare how you grew up with anybody else at all?

    And finally – stop the scapegoating. True loads of spides are scum bags, but lets not kid ourselves that they’re the cause of the racist problem we’ve been having.

    And q-u – quoting Michael Howard? Surely we’ve reached the bottom of the barrel now?

  • queens_unionist

    see how long they last against the aboriginals after abusing them!!!

  • Spidesout

    “Safe for the intellectuals to intellectualise about social equality, safe in the knowledge that the spidey bastards have all been shipped of to poleglass (or wherever). Mixed, diversed and vibrant, but without the young, male and hopeless. “

    sounds like bliss to me.
    These people can have their problems on their own time but they are beginning to severely impact on the rest of us.

    It is not our fault they weren’t loved/too bored/no money or whateverelse they MOPE about. It certainly not the fault of the immigrants coming here who are working their asses off doing the jobs these scum bags refuse to do and who are then verbally/physically abused by these cretins.

    Diversity naturally excludes these people. Let the protestant/catholic/indian/african/chinese people, who want to work, create, have fun in their own areas, be free from being hassled from scumbags who only want to spend their lives stealing, abusing and sponging.

  • spidesout

    Spidesout,

    It the attitudes of elitist folks like you that got us all into this mess in the first place.

  • Biffo

    There are many respectable, well off, middle class racists in south Belfast, as well as spides.

  • GavBelfast

    Ever considered standing for election, Spidesout?

    At least you have a policy – which is more than I have heard yet from any politicians on the PPBs broadcast so far (even by NI standards, they have been devoid of anything amounting to policy – just “vote for us because we’re not them” pleadings. Pathethic.

  • joe

    May be there should be some sort of lifestyle swap programme made by UTV were the middle class swap their homes/jobs etc with people from Sandy Row.

  • Spidesout

    i’m sure ur right biffo but they are not beating people up, or spitting on people, or shouting appalling names.

    big difference.

    Mrs Jones dislike of “coloureds” does not make Der Spiegel.

  • Circles

    Spidesout – being relatively a monoculture (racially) the poor in the north generally aren’t a different colour from us, as they are elsewhere – the states, south africa, parts of the britain.
    In these places spoutings such as yours against the poor are condemned for being racist, but in belfast I’d say they’re just stupid, reflecting a right wing, not in my back yard, little empire analysis of society. Such an approach, when applied politically leads to the disaster of the populists, who fail to see that in society what you do to A, will effect B, and somewhere along the line X and Y will also suffer.

  • joe

    It could be called “help i’m middle class get me out of here”

  • Spidesout

    so can A do exactly what they want? A can annoy/rob/sponge all they want from B,X and Y and continue to get away with it? continue to get political cover from their sectarian politicos because quite frankly they can use the behaviour of A to explain why this or that has happened?

    call me a right wing nut if you want but all I want is a part of the city where people who welcome diversity can comfortable walk down the street with out being hassled by some workshy, mopey, drunk scumbag.

    The only way that will happen if you do not let the scumbags live in the areas surrounding the pubs, clubs, colleges or universities.

  • marty

    Spidesout – so you’re happy to ship them off to the rest of Belfast (already creaking under its quota of spides) provided you can enjoy a few pints in Lavery’s without any hassle?

  • Spidesout

    laverys? nah.

    no, so people no longer get picked on by these people because they are either black, gay, goth, tall, fat or wearing strangely coloured shoes.

  • Circles

    Spidesout – you’re a right wing nut.

    Whats your opinion on travellers?

  • marty

    No, you’re missing my point. You had indicated that you were happy that these people were excluded from popular areas to other parts of Belfast, so that those who don’t hang around the “golden mile” (God know’s where than name came from) can enjoy themselves.

    I’d like to put you down as a troll, but I suspect you’re serious.

  • marty

    Pants – that should have read “those that do hang around the golden mile…”

  • Spidesout

    travellers tend to stay to themselves, in their own space. I’m perfectly fine with them.

    I have never seen a traveller shout nigger at a young black woman. I have seen spides do it.

    Enough is enough, you can excuse them for being poor or jobless and say it is not their own fault. Somehow I’m to blame or Tony Blair or the company MD’s or the media or teachers or the police but it is all just rubbish. We are all accountable for our own behaviour, so they are to blame for being yobs and I do not see why students, immigrants, office workers, residents in South Belfast have to put up with it any longer.

  • Circles

    I know of some fellas who’ve been sorting those kind of people out for years. I heard they could all be redundant soon, so maybe you and your mates could collect a few pounds to employ them. I heard the bring their own baseball bats, so need to equip them.

  • Spidesout

    okay guys if my view is too right wing, then what do you suggest will curb the yob element in s.belfast? and i do not just mean at 0100 on a Sunday morning but at all times it goes on?

    How do you stop spidey schoolkids hurling abuse at passers by on the Dublin road at 8am on a Tuesday morning?

  • Cahal

    Spidesout –
    You’re getting a sore touch there lad. I do agree with a lot of what you are saying and I think people are deliberately misconstruing your point.
    In my mind the problem seems to lie with marauding groups of teens who have zero respect for the police and law in general – no doubt a throw back from our recent inter communal spat…..
    I don’t think you are suggesting we ship them out – however there are practical solutions to the problem, most involving some ‘necessary’ impingement of said spides’ rights. Where I currently live the police enforce a curfew on teenagers after 9pm and 11pm at the weekends. They are not allowed out after these times unsupervised. Also, teens are not allowed to congregate in groups of more than 4 in public areas. The system works very well. This does fail to address the social factors which created the spides in the first place…..what these are, I don’t know.

    I am from a working class background and never participated in the spide phenomena. My parents would have given me a good clash around the ears – something else that is missing these days.

  • Cahal

    When I say spides, I am referring to the aggressive, pensioner robbing, buckfast bottle wielding teenager type – not the considerate, help a granny cross the road type. Obviously they come in all shapes and varieties.

  • DCB

    The housing market should eventually price them out of South Belfast. Or at least it would do in any other part of the UK. I suspect that some of our areas of local culture are just a little resistant to gentrification.

    There always was a problem with spides in South Belfast, and anywhere else I’ve ever lived in the UK you may have poverty, unemployment ect, but you don’t quite have the same feeling that you could easily get a kicking for no reason for walking past the wrong group.

  • Spidesout

    The same went for me, Cahal.

    I just see some very vunerable people being victimised by these people and nothing is being done about it, and it makes me angry. The SF/DUP/SDLP/uup never tackle this issue, they always use it to their own ends. Using it as a stick to beat the other side with. This props up the spides, vindicates their actions and absolves their mopery.

    These communities are not weak, they may be poor but they are not weak. From a position of strength these yobs pick on the vunerable and the weaker. Those kids on the Dublin Rd can say whatever they want and do whatever they want because they know they will be supported by their communities and the politicians. You cannot confront the yobs because the next day their parents, brothers, neighbours will be out defending their wee sons and daughters.

  • Cahal

    I feel your pain Spidesout!
    Seriously though, I did have my student house robbed twice a few years ago in S. Belfast. No doubt the perpetrator wore white trainers, a baseball cap and a shiny track suit. And you are right – being in a lower tax bracket doesn’t give anyone the right to bully or victimize others.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    A family round the corner from my house was burned out last year – because they weren’t white. I feel disgusted that it could happen anywhere near me, even though I live in a student house near a very working class area. >

    I don’t know what its like in Republican areas, but my own impression is that loyalist areas are much worse for this sort of bullshit.

    Something does need to be done about spides, the question is what? A study showed recently that working class male protestants don’t value education at all, hence the declining numbers going to university. The kids aren’t being encouraged to do well in school to go on to university, they’re not encouraged to take an interest in their wider social surroundings and/or politics (beyond ‘keep the fenians out’), and I blame the parents.

    But blaming the parents is no good, because you can in turn blame their parents and potentially continue in that vain ad infinitum. The politicians need to get together with ‘community leaders’ whoever they happen to be and figure out ways of encouraging the kids to take an interest in society as a whole, how their actions affect society and how society affects them. They have to realise that they are part of something bigger than themselves and that the world doesn’t revolve around them!

    [/rant]

  • Gonzo

    Does anyone know the rate of entry to grammar school or third level education on Sandy Row?

    Could they then explain how the unionist parties’ policies to maintain the 11+ will help bring these levels up?

  • fair_deal

    Beano

    (Source the government taskforce report on Sandy Row)

    Less than 12% of Sandy Row Year 7 pupils get a grade sufficient for consideration by a grammar school. However, 60% of year 7 pupils don’t even take it. Some because the school do not believe they have a realistic chance, others because their parents have no aspiration for their children to attend a grammar school and do not give permission for their child to sit it. (Figures 1999 – 2004)

    Only 5 people (approx. one a year) or 5.6% of 18 year olds achieved grades sufficient for University accpetance but no figures on how many of the 5 chose that path. (Figures 1997 – 2002)

    I don’t have the figures for drop-out rates for Shaftesbury ward from education at age 16 but in the neighbouring ward, Blackstaff in 2002 it was 82.5%. (Source my memory always found that figure impressive in a very negative way)

    Read the education section in this report and it becomes clear the educational problems are feck all to do with the 11+. The problems arise long before that.

  • Biffo

    Beano,

    “I don’t know what its like in Republican areas, but my own impression is that loyalist areas are much worse for this sort of bullshit.”

    If that’s the case it’s maybe because loyalist areas are unique in that they have a “British way of life” to defend.

  • chongo

    I have spent a right few times in nationalist west belfast – I have never ever seen a hint of rascism.

    Honest to God it does not exist in anywhere I have been or socialised. I think it is a loyalist racist fascist problem – if anyone corrects me about this issue I will be astounded and I will apologise.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Call me wildy imaginative, but my own theory on this is that republicans have oft seen themselves as the victims of discrimination and empathise with other minorities.

    Anyway, fair_deal, I’m in total support of the 11+ (or some form of academic selection) largely because I passed it and could not have afforded to go to my high school had it gone private, as I believe it would under a comprehensive system. I don’t think the problem lies in the system so much as those educating kids (school staff) and those who should be but often don’t bother (parents).

    So fair deal – out 30% of P7 pupils that took the exam in that area “passed” it – I wonder how many of those who weren’t entered would have done similar. (It’s been a while – is the 25% A grade in relation to the number of pupils in P7 for that year, or the number sitting the exam?)

  • fair_deal

    Beano

    I am with you on the 11+/academic selection worked for me too.

    On the 11+ here are the full results of those who sat the 11+ in Sandy Row from 1999/00 to 2003/04

    Grade No. of kids % of Year 7
    A 19 7.5
    B1 & B2 11 4.4
    C1 10 4.0
    C2 6 2.4
    D 50 19.8
    Total sitting 96 38.1
    Total opting out 156 61.9
    Total no. year 7 252 100.0

  • fair_deal

    Beano

    I am with you on the 11+/academic selection worked for me too.

    On the 11+ here are the full results of those who sat the 11+ in Sandy Row from 1999/00 to 2003/04

    Grade No. of kids % of Year 7
    A 19 7.5
    B1 & B2 11 4.4
    C1 10 4.0
    C2 6 2.4
    D 50 19.8
    Total sitting 96 38.1
    Total opting out 156 61.9
    Total no. year 7 252 100.0