Another statement Ruaned…

SINN Fein has called for eBay to stop selling DVDs of Irish Travellers’ bare-knuckle fights. Without a trace of irony, Catriona Ruane stated: “We are against the exploitation of violence in any way… They shouldn’t be selling racist incitement to hatred.” She obviously hasn’t visited Sinn Fein’s online shop in a while…

115 thoughts on “Another statement Ruaned…”

  1. Oh f*** you Gonzo, I’ve just written this exact same point for the Mirror two hours ago.

    I’m sending it anyway.

  2. “I’ve just written this exact same point for the Mirror two hours ago”

    Of course you did, Newton.. 🙂

  3. P-O-T OH P-O-T!

    There’s a message for you from the kettle – something about your inability to reflect light!

  4. Perhaps you can explain to us where you spotted the incitement to racist hatred on that site, GOnzo, ’cause try as I might, I couldn’t find it (although Oglaigh na hEireann embossed on a celtic cross is rather kitsch for my taste)! Or were you just at your stock-in-trade facile slabbering?

    This, and I mean EXACTLY this kind of crap, is why nobody from the “nationalist community” votes for the Alliance anymore (and precious few even transfer). I used to go SDLP down the card, then decide between Alliance and SF as to who was next. Now I’d sooner vote for the Conservative Party – at least they’re honest; at least they have a vision of the society they’d like to create.

    If you guys would give over with the hypocritical, holier than thou, sanctimonious sh!te, you might realise that there are tens of thousands of nationalist transfers available to a party which is genuinely “working on behalf of all sections of the community”. But, of course, you’d rather protect your dwindling mandate in Cherry Valley and Helen’s Bay.

    The next time you find yourself wondering why there’s still division in this society, why nationalists have stopped even listening to you, and why republicans have decided to try to create for themselves a de facto statelet within a statelet, then you need only look in your mirror for answers.

    Newton, are you that girl in the nursery rhyme?

  5. Newton,

    You should go ahead. You might make a more credible case for criticising bare-knuckle boxing DVDs.

    Gonzo’s argument seems to be, ‘sure it’s the Shinners’, or was is it ‘travellers’?

    Ridicule. That’s the best coverage this or any traveller issue is likely to get from either of you. At least you’ll both get a dig in at SF?

  6. “At least you’ll both get a dig in at SF?”

    You make it sound like it’s a bad thing.
    Surely it’s not out of place to criticise an organisation that attacks the sale of DVDs about bare-knuckle fighting, when the self same organisation sells T-shirts with pictures of men weilding AK47s?

    I’ve also heard rumours of certain pubs where they showed videotaped footage of people confessing to being informers after being tortured.

  7. “Perhaps you can explain to us where you spotted the incitement to racist hatred on that site, GOnzo, ’cause try as I might, I couldn’t find it (although Oglaigh na hEireann embossed on a celtic cross is rather kitsch for my taste)! Or were you just at your stock-in-trade facile slabbering?”

    Well MCT if you chose to read Gonzo’s post selectively then that would be a valid argument. However I think the the primary part of Ruane’s quote he was refering to was ‘We are against the exploitation of violence in any way…’

    His point remains, taken a glance at the Provo glory gallery on the Sinn Fein webshite? Even minus it’s ‘sniper at work’ t-shirts it remains obnoxious.

  8. Bit of an over-reaction there MCT.
    I’m writing about bare-knuckle fighting, not Catriona Ruane, although she has provided me with a superb intro to the article. I didn’t find any incitement to racial hatred on the SF website – but then I don’t see what constitutes incitement to racial hatred in a DVD of two travellers knocking lumps off each other either.

    I’m afraid there is also no question that criticising a website for “exploitation of violence” is laughable from a woman whose own party’s website sells “IRA – Undefeated Army” t-shirts for £10 a pop. Face it – Catriona is entertainment gold.

    Anyway I’m going to bed. Buy the Mirror if you want to read the article!

  9. TAKFABO

    “I’ve also heard rumours of certain pubs where they showed videotaped footage of people confessing to being informers after being tortured.”

    Yeah, and I heard rumours of SF and the IRA dealing drugs. What’s that? Even the Gardai now say that’s bullshit? Wow! Amazing how these rumours get legs, huh?

    Fobo

    What, he just threw the incitement to racial hatred bit in for a laugh? What a jolly comic device!

    Newton

    Lucky you, I’m working mes noix off (pseudo-political online forays aside). But, what would I do with the rest of the Mirror after I’d read your article? I do not own a chip shop, and Andrex is softer, on the (w)hole.

    I know you can see a difference between exploiting those forced into dangerous illegal sports for money and the armed struggle (whatever your view of it). I would, however, have to share your concern at the commercialisation of the revolutionary commitment of others.

    I think the problem you and Gonzo may share is that you can’t bear the thought of SF becoming (and it’s still in process) something other than what you’ve always imagined them to be. An issue for another day.

  10. middle-class taig

    I was actually thinking that I should have left that point out, so as not to confuse some readers.

    The main point remains: The SF website exploits violence.

    SF regard ‘Irish’ people as a ‘race’. Hence, the next logical step is to regard the ‘British’ as a ‘race’. Clearly they aren’t, but if republicans regard them as such, it makes ‘Brits Out’ a racist remark in republican terms – although I await the ‘But we’re only talking about the troops’ defence with boredom.

    As for ‘this type of crap’, I couldn’t care less what it does to anyone’s vote – it was just hilarious when I read her latest blunder. Catriona’s ‘human rights’ statements are a geg, and if you can’t spot the double standard in her statement, that’s hardly my problem.

    Didn’t hear too many complaints from the same quarters when I had a go at Jackie McDonald and his double standards over newspaper distribution. But of course, some people are selective about what they criticise here.

    I wouldn’t have expected anything less. Thank y’all.

  11. The first time I typed that it came out as “… Andrew is softer…”. Sigmund’s an interesting fella.

  12. Leaving aside the ‘race’ point, do you have a position on the substantive point – that Ms Ruane has a right cheek to criticise anyone for exploiting violence for profit?

  13. MCT

    Aw, come on, let Newton sleep well, he’s just started a new job. And remember who complained to his employers in his last job. Have you tried putting on an eyepatch, stickin’ your hand up your jumper and saying ‘I see no shits’?

  14. “What, he just threw the incitement to racial hatred bit in for a laugh? What a jolly comic device!”

    Well MCT he may have included that part to give a general idea of her argument against these videos. No doubt some Republican would have popped up and claimed he was distorting her position by not mentioning her objections where based on what she percieved as racist.

    TBH I think you are highlighting that point of his post to your own ends and ignoring the rest. You can’t dimiss his valid criticisms by whining about something Ruane said.

    And if we want things close to racism how about things like ‘Brits Out, Keep Eire Tidy’ t-shirts? Sort of attitudes that motivated things like the Kingsmill Massacre don’t you think?

  15. Gurny, Gonzo and MCT,

    It’s only 9:15 PM where I live, but it’s after 2AM over there. Y’all get to sleep.

    Now, tomorrow, somebody run Newt’s Mirror article through the scanner (before applying it to your butt) and post it on the ‘Net so I can read it over here in Amerikay.

  16. Gonzo

    “SF regard ‘Irish’ people as a ‘race’.”

    What utter nonsense!

    What a pathetic effort, still desperately trying to wriggle your way out of your first error by compounding it.

    The issue here was Travellers and the way they are treated and portrayed, leading to racism against THEM!

    It’s about time commentators in media allowed civilised consensus on such issues develop without continually trying to make political capital out of every utterance. In many ways it’s media now who are unable to leave conflict discourse behind. Them, and Loyalism of course.

  17. Gonzo

    “I was actually thinking that I should have left that point out”

    Problem was, you couldn’t help yourself. Still, it’ll have raised a guffaw or two in Hollywood. And that’s the target audience.

    “I couldn’t care less what it does to anyone’s vote”

    Evidently.

    “The main point remains”

    Unfortunately, the main point, that online auctions shouldn’t be selling this stuff, has been lost in your anaesthetised, reflexive, somnambulant shinner-bashing.

    “The SF website exploits violence.”

    Like every bookshop I know, and all political parties here, and anyone who ever sold a poppy. Let’s try to act like big boys.

    “I await the ‘But we’re only talking about the troops’ defence with boredom.”

    WIth less boredom, I’m quite sure, than we all received your “racial” contrivance of an argument. I mean, wouldn’t you have been better trying to recover some of your surrendered intellectual respectability?

    “if you can’t spot the double standard in her statement, that’s hardly my problem.”

    yeah, you really have to WANT to see the “double standard” here. But it’s pretty clear just how much you and others want it. The challenge for you is to stop wanting it so much.

    “Didn’t hear too many complaints from the same quarters when I had a go at Jackie McDonald ….”

    I’ll Leave to one side the stunning asymmetry between your rebuke of some micro-loyalist and the allegation that SF incites racial hatred. I’m really terribly sorry not to be equally critical of your every wayward post. Tell you what, I’ll spend the next week scouring this site, waiting for you to say something less than lovely about unionism, then I’ll leap in and demonstrate my even-handedness. If I look down on loyalists and republicans equally, will that make me an alliance voter?

    Wise up!

  18. Fobo

    Gonzo’s big and ugly enough to look after himself. It’s clear he intended to say it was hypocritical for SF to criticise incitement to racial hatred; and it’s also clear he realises he’s overstepped the mark. An apology to SF voters would be more in order than mealy-mouthed evasions.

    Whatever motivated Kingsmill (an event I condemn unreservedly), I doubt it was racism.

    Viv

    My point exactly. Alliance fairyland politics is similarly reticent to let go of old certainties.

    GurnyGub

    Great name. I always suspected that there was a cunning plan between Emerson and Squinter to catapult Newton to stardom. Dunno what Squinter got out of it.

  19. As you seem to do, parseing the vagaries of this and that re: the eminent recovery of the 6 counties. You have not made 1 (one) substantive point in your favor (favour). We call this behaviour ‘whistling up a drainpipe’, meaning, of course, you’re the only one listening.
    (smug exit)

  20. “Now I’d sooner vote for the Conservative Party – at least they’re honest; at least they have a vision of the society they’d like to create.”

    If you’re looking for bigotted tub thumping nationalists with experience of criminal activity, you could do worse. I’m still not sure I’ve grasped the distinction between the pornography sold on the two sites though. Are the delayed adolescents likely to buy either product so radically diifferent?

  21. Gonzo

    “I was actually thinking that I should have left that point out”

    Problem was, you couldn’t help yourself. Still, it’ll have raised a guffaw or two in Hollywood. And that’s the target audience.

    Tell you what, let’s pretend I did, so you can address the main point. The problem was, I knew someone would comment as though that was the whole point, when it really isn’t the main one at all. I’ll try and stick to one point per post from now on, if it helps.

    “The main point remains”

    Unfortunately, the main point, that online auctions shouldn’t be selling this stuff, has been lost in your anaesthetised, reflexive, somnambulant shinner-bashing.

    That wasn’t the main point at all, which is clearly evident from the title and the content. The ‘main point’ was to point out the contradiction between an SF representative saying that they opposed the expolitation of violence while belonging to a party that does this for profit. This is fair game, as far as I’m concerned.

    If you think that’s unbalanced, I suggest you read previous entries.

    “The SF website exploits violence.”

    Like every bookshop I know, and all political parties here, and anyone who ever sold a poppy. Let’s try to act like big boys.

    Oh, well, that’s OK then. I suppose ‘IRA: Undefeated Army’ on a T-shirt looks better than ‘IRA: Fought them to a stalemate and ended up with partition’.

    “I await the ‘But we’re only talking about the troops’ defence with boredom.”

    WIth less boredom, I’m quite sure, than we all received your “racial” contrivance of an argument. I mean, wouldn’t you have been better trying to recover some of your surrendered intellectual respectability?

    There is no contrivance. ‘Irish’ is classified as an ethnic group. That’s not my opinion, it’s AFAIK the law. And SF policy. I’m surprised you’re surprised, actually.

    “if you can’t spot the double standard in her statement, that’s hardly my problem.”

    yeah, you really have to WANT to see the “double standard” here. But it’s pretty clear just how much you and others want it. The challenge for you is to stop wanting it so much.

    Judging by the posts here, I don’t think I’m the only one. BTW, I didn’t ‘want’ it. Catriona offered it up on a plate.

    “Didn’t hear too many complaints from the same quarters when I had a go at Jackie McDonald ….”

    I’ll Leave to one side the stunning asymmetry between your rebuke of some micro-loyalist and the allegation that SF incites racial hatred. I’m really terribly sorry not to be equally critical of your every wayward post. Tell you what, I’ll spend the next week scouring this site, waiting for you to say something less than lovely about unionism, then I’ll leap in and demonstrate my even-handedness. If I look down on loyalists and republicans equally, will that make me an alliance voter?

    I couldn’t care less. If you think politicians (from whatever ‘side’) shouldn’t be held to account for their statements – even if you disagree with thte critic – then too bad.

    Wise up!

    After you.

    Gonzo’s big and ugly enough to look after himself. It’s clear he intended to say it was hypocritical for SF to criticise incitement to racial hatred; and it’s also clear he realises he’s overstepped the mark. An apology to SF voters would be more in order than mealy-mouthed evasions.

    Short and ugly enough, actually, which is possibly worse. The main point was not to say that “it was hypocritical for SF to criticise incitement to racial hatred”. The main point was that it is a bit rich for Ms Ruane to explicitly say that Sinn Fein is “against the exploitation of violence in any way”. That is blatantly a load of crap. And when other people come out with crap, it also appears here.

    If you think there’s a bias, fair enough, go through every entry and do some content analysis. Prove it.

    Whatever motivated Kingsmill (an event I condemn unreservedly), I doubt it was racism.

    No, it wasn’t racism, it was sectarianism, another equally invidious form of prejudice.

  22. *In many ways it’s media now who are unable to leave conflict discourse behind. Them, and Loyalism of course.*

    Trying to baffle your audience into believing that SF and the IRA have abjured violence is a quite respectable objective. I too hope that it is true.

    It is difficult, however, to see beyond Catriona’s use of terms consistent with the conflict discourse ( how academic and anaemic that phrase seems when you are talking about walking away from murder and maiming )and not to see blind and baffling hypocrisy in her words. Catriona chose the words, the words were inept.

    Move on if you can, but the chains of violence, even past violence, only ring the louder until they are faced up to.

  23. There’s no sense defending Sinn Fein, especially you middle-class. I’ve been to that website and seen some of the crap they’re selling.

    It is one thing to support Sinn Fein, but to do so without accepting a relevant criticism isn’t clever. To anyone of ‘the other persuasion’, or even just decent-minded folk (like me), they’re condoning the violence of the IRA and – through the online shop – making a profit from it.

    Thanks to Gonzo for pointing out the obvious double-standard here.

  24. “Surely it’s not out of place to criticise an organisation that attacks the sale of DVDs about bare-knuckle fighting, when the self same organisation sells T-shirts with pictures of men weilding AK47s?”

    Well put!

  25. “Gonzo’s big and ugly enough to look after himself.”

    Yes but I’m small and beautiful enough to stick my oar in :0)

    “It’s clear he intended to say it was hypocritical for SF to criticise incitement to racial hatred; and it’s also clear he realises he’s overstepped the mark.”

    Reading Gonzo’s remarks it seemed quite clear he was calling SF hypocrites on the exploitation of violence. His point is perfectly valid about their gross little shop.

    As far as I can see he included Ruane’s comments on racism to clarify where her objections came from. As I said previously, you can’t blame Gonzo for something Ruane said. I think you are focusing on this part of her hypocrisy to obscure the issue regarding SF being quite happy to profit from the grief the IRA has caused to so many people.

    “An apology to SF voters would be more in order than mealy-mouthed evasions.”

    I think Gonzo should give one when SF voters apologise for endorsing politicians who think the IRA cannot commit a crime.

    “Whatever motivated Kingsmill (an event I condemn unreservedly), I doubt it was racism.”

    It isn’t a million miles away. The logic of any hun will do (or taig for that matter) is similar to that which percieves all Arabs as terrorists or all black people as muggers.

  26. “Whatever motivated Kingsmill (an event I condemn unreservedly), I doubt it was racism.”

    On my race evaluation forms you have WHITE BRITISH and WHITE IRISH as different races to tick. I tick WHITE BRITISH. It seems that the WHITE IRISH person was spared at Kingsmill but not the WHITE BRITISH people.

  27. Bare-knuckle boxing is a fine sport and travellers are great champions of it. Make the DVDs public I say!

    P.S. The ‘best fighter in my school’ when 18 was fully pounded by a 13 year old traveller kid outside our school one day. If travellers want to box, I’m not going to tell them not to!!

    Get them on Ultimate Fighter and show those yanks how to really professionally hurt someone!

    P.P.S. I remember attending a charity boxing match between Alex Maskey and Martin Meehan. Is that o.k. ’cause they had gloves on Caitríona?

  28. MCT: “This, and I mean EXACTLY this kind of crap, is why nobody from the “nationalist community” votes for the Alliance anymore (and precious few even transfer).”

    Take it you missed the last council election results in Pottinger, Newtownabbey and Antrim then?

    Gonzo has a perfectly valid point, Sinn Fein may be many things but pacifists they ain’t!

  29. Ruane’s just trying to court the gypo vote. After all, they claim dole in several towns, so it’s likely they’ve a couple of dozen votes each 😉

  30. Now I know where Mz Ruane has been, busy surfing on ebay ‘cos she’s seldom seen around South Down. This is just another case of SF doing anything to get a vote -this time it’s the Travellers.

  31. “Surely it’s not out of place to criticise an organisation that attacks the sale of DVDs about bare-knuckle fighting, when the self same organisation sells T-shirts with pictures of men weilding AK47s?”

    Well put!

  32. God the fish are biting today.

    Like I said, you really have to WANT to see what Gonzo’s trying to see here. And it’s no surprise that the usual suspects want it every bit as bad.

    Where to start?

    Gonzo

    “I knew someone would comment as though that was the whole point, when it really isn’t the main one at all. I’ll try and stick to one point per post from now on, if it helps.”

    Dude, you overreached. Live with it. Don’t whinge about it now.

    “The ‘main point’ was to point out the contradiction between an SF representative saying that they opposed the expolitation of violence while belonging to a party that does this for profit.”

    As I said, I think there’s a difference between exploiting those forced into dangerous illegal sports for money and selling armed struggle memorabilia. One is encouraging a serious social vice. The other is tacky, and for me cheapens the sacrifice of the people involved. But it doesn’t foment any social ill. It’s like selling poppies to my mind. And Alliance reps have their poppies on from about August to about Christmas.

    “I suppose ‘IRA: Undefeated Army’ on a T-shirt looks better than ‘IRA: Fought them to a stalemate and ended up with partition’.”

    Ah Gonzo. Your slip’s showing. Let the red mist die down before your next post.

    Are you honestly now arguing that “SF regard ‘Irish’ people as a ‘race’. Hence, the next logical step is to regard the ‘British’ as a ‘race’. Clearly they aren’t, but if republicans regard them as such, it makes ‘Brits Out’ a racist remark in republican terms” is not a contrivance. Oh, puh-lease! You know rightly that “Brits out” and “Troops out” are interchangeable. Still, intellectual dishonesty is the hallmark of Alliance analysis.

    “Judging by the posts here, I don’t think I’m the only one.”

    The day I start having recourse to my own partisans on here to back me up, is the day I fold up my intellectual tent.

    “If you think politicians shouldn’t be held to account for their statements … then too bad.”

    But you didn’t address her statement. You just made some undergraduate debating point. More sixth form, in all honesty.

    “The main point was not to say that “it was hypocritical for SF to criticise incitement to racial hatred”.”

    So apologise for your error. I don’t vote for a party which incites racial hatred and I bitterly resent the implication that I do.

    “No, it wasn’t racism (which motivated Kingsmill), it was sectarianism, another equally invidious form of prejudice.”

    Well that’s that one solved. Thank you Dr Gonzo. So there you go folks, the Alliance interpretation of the motivation behind IRA military activity. Sectarianism. Next case please.

  33. Whatever the arguement about what consitutes a race, the remark from El Matador is a disgusting piece of racism.

  34. Valenciano

    Before we start a discussion about support for Alliance among the nationalistcommunity, you should think a wee while. If you want that discussion, game on, but I REALLY doubt you want it. In nationalist areas, the Alliance is somewhere in the triangle formed by farcical, pitiful and non-existent. It’s representatives are a political freak show. I’d rather have a debate where I had to do a bit of work, rather than a shooty-in at an empty net.

    We could commission an analysis of how what proportion of nationalist (mostly liberal, centre-left, anti-Iraq War) voters transferred to Alliance last time out. Even in an election in the teeth of the murder of Robert McCartney and the Robbery jamboree, it would make hideously embarrassing reading for you. We could go a bit further back, but then, any study would be statistically flawed, because you can’t even field a candidate in many nationalist areas.

    My demographic should be amenable to Alliance. It isn’t. The problem isn’t ours.

    “Gonzo has a perfectly valid point, Sinn Fein may be many things but pacifists they ain’t!”

    A winner in the most-moronic-point-on-the-thread competititon. Nelson Mandela is not a pacifist. Not being a pacifist does not exclude you from public debate on serious social vice.

    Wee whisper to you … Alliance aren’t pacifists either.

    Levee

    “There’s no sense defending Sinn Fein, especially you middle-class.”

    uh?

    quite an open mind you have there levee

    “I’ve been to that website and seen some of the crap they’re selling.”

    I don’t mind it being crap. The point is it’s neither racist nor fomenting social vice.

    “It is one thing to support Sinn Fein, but to do so without accepting a relevant criticism isn’t clever.”

    SF does not incite racial hatred. The criticism is perverse.

    “to anyone of ‘the other persuasion’, or even just decent-minded folk (like me)…”

    I’m sorry, it’s a long time past that nationalists stopped taking anyone seriously who described themselves as “decent-minded folk”.

    Zorro and el Matador

    Hispanic mames do not make chauvinist machismo compulsory. Oops, have I just incited racial hatred?

  35. PS- don’t come on all high and mighty. It’s an oxymoron for the ‘Republican’ movement to accuse others of racism when it chose to target people in the past based on their national, religious or political backgrounds. Are you saying that the selling of IRA paraphernalia on the Spin Féin website is tasteful and acceptable to those who don’t subscribe to the Provo agenda?

    Anyway, are you saying that gypsies/ travellers are not part of indigenous Irish society, and that they should be categorised as a separate race? What is your definition of race? If I chose to live in a caravan and not wash, would that bar me from claiming to be a part of the white Irish race?

  36. PS- don’t come on all high and mighty. It’s an oxymoron for the ‘Republican’ movement to accuse others of racism when it chose to target people in the past based on their national, religious or political backgrounds. Are you saying that the selling of IRA paraphernalia on the Spin Féin website is tasteful and acceptable to those who don’t subscribe to the Provo agenda?

    Anyway, are you saying that gypsies/ travellers are not part of indigenous Irish society, and that they should be categorised as a separate race? What is your definition of race? If I chose to live in a caravan and not wash, would that bar me from claiming to be a part of the white Irish race?

  37. Here, I just had a flick on the APNI website. Would you for God’s sake do something about the link “Party Analysis”, which comes up with “No records found!”. At least link to the NIO or something.

    I also loved the tidbit “Alliance further pays tribute to the role played the Royal Ulster Constabulary in preventing Northern Ireland from sliding into total anarchy during ?the Troubles?, and acknowledges the sacrifices made by many officers and their families.”

    I can just see the drafting session:

    “Marjorie, someone from the NIO wants us to refer to something called “the troubles”. What are those?”

    “I’m not sure Gordon. That’s never been on the agenda at Cultra branch meetings. Just put question marks either side and somebody will tell us what they mean.”

  38. “If I chose to live in a caravan and not wash, would that bar me from claiming to be a part of the white Irish race?”

    Are you taking the piss completely Matador – is that how you would define a traveller? A member of the white Irish race (whatever the f**k that might be) who lives in a caravan and doesn’t wash?
    You need to get out of your nice little housing estate once in a while.

  39. It is a tough call what to do with videos like these and their ilk (eg: bum fights), banning seems likely to be counterproductive but perhaps there could be some kind of legal requirement on people to renumerate fight particpants with most of the profits from the sale of the videos. I think that might sap the video makers will to “entertain” us.

    On a nearly unrelated note there is some argument about whether bare knuckle boxing is safer long term than professional heavy weight boxing as the gloves allow more energy to be transferred to the opponents body (specifically their internal organs and brain) causing less visible but more serious damange. Gloves just cut down on the blood so fight afficionados do are not reminded that they are paying people to hurt each other.

  40. You need to get out of your nice little housing estate once in a while.

    I suggest that’s what you do- talk to the businessmen who have had to bear the brunt of traveller criminality in Newry and see if they agree with your rose-tinted view of said people. Yes, it’s unfair that they all get tarred with the same brush, but that’s how things are.

    PS- you haven’t answered my queries about how ‘Republicans’ can complain about travellers’ rights, given the provisonals’ track record- Spin Féin and the IRA haven’t exactly a good track record when it comes to tolerance.

  41. El Mat

    I thought the SDLP had got in enough trouble over racism and sent all of its elected representatives to racial awareness training and then I go and see one of their bright new thing come up with this sort of cheap nasty doggy doo.

  42. Matador:
    Don’t digress – is your definition of a traveller: A member of the white Irish race who lives in a caravan and doesn’t wash?

    I gave no other view of travellers so you’ve no idea if my view is rose-tinted or not. Just answer the question.

  43. Thanks Baluba. Coherent piece of debating there.

    And yes Circles, I am taking the piss, but it proved successful in attempting to spark the incandescent rage of provo self-righteousness. I’ve yet to hear any explanations of how complaints about exploitation of travellers can be squared against the sale of material sporting pictures of gunmen.

  44. >>”Gonzo has a perfectly valid point, Sinn Fein may be many things but pacifists they ain’t!”

    A winner in the most-moronic-point-on-the-thread competititon.

    Wee whisper to you … Alliance aren’t pacifists either.

    Wee whisper back : Alliance didn’t have an armed military wing that was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people and unless you can name it I think I’d give the gong for most moronic point to yourself.

    “Not being a pacifist does not exclude you from public debate on serious social vice.”

    No but running a website which sells items promoting a violent organisation does undermine your right to speak against violence. If I ran a website that promoted illegal drugs then I’d be a hypocrite if I then turned round and said how nasty and evil drugs were wouldn’t I?

    “We could commission an analysis of how what proportion of nationalist (mostly liberal, centre-left, anti-Iraq War) voters transferred to Alliance last time out.”

    We could but I’m not sure that it would make comfortable reading for you. I’ve just looked at the clearest two examples that I can think of of Alliance still being in the race when Nationalist candidates were eliminated ie North Down and East Belfast in 2003 Assembly elections and there 50-55% of SDLP/SF voters transferred to Alliance. David Ford has his assembly seat mainly because of SDLP voters transferring to him in sufficient numbers to keep Martin Meehan out. Alliance transfers in South Belfast? Split evenly between Monica McWilliams, Unionists and Nationalists. Maybe you could even ask the Sinn Fein councillor for Short Strand about it. Hang on you can’t as they lost due to SDLP voters transferring to Alliance instead. Suspect this was something to do with Sinn Fein members and supporters engaging in rather more than a “bare knuckle fight” (you know the thing that Ruane condemns) with a guy called McCartney.

    “We could go a bit further back, but then, any study would be statistically flawed, because you can’t even field a candidate in many nationalist areas.”

    Who’s “you” do you mean me or do you mean APNI? If you do want to get historical about it then how far back are we talking? Odd given what you say then that Alliance had two councillors in the Falls and 1 of 4 Assembly seats for West Belfast in the 80s then innit?

    If this is your attempt at “shooting at an open goal” MCT, then I think I’ll go and take my throw in 🙂

  45. Matador:
    You don’t think that you’re maybe just completely missing the issue here, just to have another cheap pop at republicans? And if that means denigrating travellers with ignorant preconceptions then so be it eh?

  46. Circles- I don’t have a definition of ‘traveller’. As far as I’m concerned ‘they’ are simply members of Irish society, and as such, attempting to define ‘them’ simply stigmatises ‘them’ by marking ‘them’ out as different. (Quotation marks added to highlight how such debate in itself lends itself to ostricise travellers through the use of the terms ‘us’ and ‘them’).

  47. another cheap pop at republicans

    I don’t think highlighting the hyprocisy of an organisation which claims to embrace diversity on one hand, yet celebrate ‘heroes’ who persecuted people for three decades, be they Pootestant, Catholic, or other, on the other hand, is a cheap pop.

    And I wasn’t targeting Republicans per se- in that case I would be targeting myself. I was targeting the provisional movement- it does not have the global momopoly on republicanism, much as it would like to think it has.

  48. another cheap pop at republicans

    I don’t think highlighting the hyprocisy of an organisation which claims to embrace diversity on one hand, yet celebrate ‘heroes’ who persecuted people for three decades, be they Protestant, Catholic, or other, on the other hand, is a cheap pop.

    And I wasn’t targeting Republicans per se- in that case I would be targeting myself. I was targeting the provisional movement- it does not have the global momopoly on republicanism, much as it would like to think it has.

  49. M-C T

    New here, so don’t understand your reply (?) to me. But don’t let me keep you from defending the indefensible.
    ‘doesn’t foment any social ill’
    That’s ok then, maybe they should offer to customise t-shirts with victim’s names underneath the gunmen logos..’my daddy was done by the RA’. Or ‘Disappeared’ treasure hunts? Make that two eye patches you have.

  50. El Mat,

    If you are an SDLP representative and have been on a racism awareness course. I suggest next time you invite someone from the ITM (Irish Traveller Movement).

    Tell them how you don’t define them so as to prevent stigma and then the bit about them being dirty.

    You are a disgrace and it seems pretty clear you don’t give two hoots for travellers.

  51. And if that means denigrating travellers with ignorant preconceptions then so be it eh

    As I said, I was taking the piss, but even if I wasn’t, surely the provos aren’t averse to the concept of the end justifying the means.

    My tongue-in-cheek comments may have been unpalatable, but they served their purpose. At least innocent men, women and children didn’t die to serve my ’cause’. It merely raised a few heckles.

  52. so I take it you are suggesting that you were only messing with the “don’t wash” claim? Hmm, a serious bit of back peddling the Matador, which doesn’t exactly convince.

    I actually do think that travellers are different from settled people. They are a distinct group, a “them” if you want. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with recognising that. This in itself is not a ground to ostracise an entire section of irish society.
    We are outraged (and rightly so) when members of other ethnic minorities are attacked and discriminated against, and yet for years we have deliberately pushed travellers (our very own wee minority) to the edges of society.
    I’m glad this thread came up actually – and I suppose I’m glad the Shinners jumped on this (think of them what you may – it has us discussing the traveller situation, which is not a bad thing)

  53. El Mat, ‘provo self-righteousness’.

    Are you seriously criticising anyone’s ability to debate after saying one of the stupidest things ever said on this site (and that’s an achievement)!?!

    Saying, ‘I was taking the piss’ does not excuse idiotic racist comments. You have no right to criticise anyone after that. You are racist and an idiot.

    Bíodh píosa bídeach céille agat.

    P.S. Karma will have your nose on the end of a bare-knuckled fist one of these days.

  54. If I chose to live in a caravan and not wash, would that bar me from claiming to be a part of the white Irish race?

    Is it any wonder you were removed as moderator of the Stoop youth site and yes your party colleagues told me all about the spat with Catriona?

    Hidden prejudices me thinks!

  55. Crat (from 5th April 2005): Asking for cash from strangers like this leads me to believe before the internet you would have been an excellent story telling tramp.

    Hardly a very politically correct way to describe someone who is homeless and destitute.

    Methinks another example of provo double-standards, and to paraphrase Circles, and cheap excuse to have a pop at me!

    Quelle surprise!

  56. This, and I mean EXACTLY this kind of crap, is why nobody from the “nationalist community” votes for the Alliance anymore

    Oh, dear I guess I don’t exist then as I’m someone from the “nationalist community” who votes for the Alliance.

    This, and I mean EXACTLY this kind of crap, is why nobody takes Republicans seriously when they complain about being victimised anymore. What’s your big beef here, mct? Gonzo criticised SF? I mean, a member of a political party criticising a public representative from another political party??? Really shocking this robust public debate stuff, isn’t it? Someone should do something about it because Sinn Féin have a nobility of purpose and incorruptability as the purest seed ever to flow from the loins of the Gaelic race and therefore the the normal rules of political discussion don’t apply. Wise up. (Apologies to Paddy, Chris and the other Shinners around here who are always up for a bit of honest debate.)

    As for the Chuckie memorabilia site (good for comedy value), I love the way they have to explain that: “”Tiocfaidh ár Lá” is the Irish for “Our Day Will Come”. I mean, wouldn’t anyone who actually knows anything at all about this part of the world know that’s what it means. I mean Sinn Féin wouldn’t really be trying to raise money/sympathy among people who couldn’t tell Northern Ireland apart from Burkina Faso, would they? It reminds me of the Ulster-Scots signs being ripped down in Ballybeen because the local hoods thought they were in Irish (oh, yes, there’s me having to show how even handed I am again – what an Alliance stereotype).

  57. Baluba- I’ll take my chances with Karma. And as someone who takes the ball not man rule and kicks it off the field, you aren’t exactly a good role model. You may not like the way I operate, but that doesn’t give you the right to flout and ignore the rules of the site.

    Robustly oppose my views and my methods of uncovering what I see as Spin Féin doublespeak, but don’t get personal.

  58. MCT: “This, and I mean EXACTLY this kind of crap, is why nobody from the “nationalist community” votes for the Alliance anymore (and precious few even transfer).”

    Take it you missed the last council election results in Pottinger, Newtownabbey and Antrim then?

    Gonzo has a perfectly valid point, Sinn Fein may be many things but pacifists they ain’t!

  59. Hi Middle Class Taig,
    Please excuse me for interfering in your discussion with Gonzo – I was wondering if I could ask you to clarify your views on a couple of your stated points for my own interest.
    I can understand some of your anger within the Sinn Fein promotion of racism argument – however I do feel that there are those in Republican Belfast who DO differentiate between the pure indigenous “Irish” of NI and the ancestors of the settler/invader “British” in racial terms (settler in this theme being a derogatory name/insult) This moral and indeed racial superiority complex can be prevalent in my neck of the woods also I hasten to add, where some regard anything Irish as “the enemy” and inferior in regards to their British counterpart. Anyway everyone here has had their part to play in this state of affairs over the years and Sinn Fein no more (or less) than anyone else – but I do think that racism is a justifiable term in this regard. Anyway I also think there is something to be said for some of the argument that Gonzo and others make that Catriona Ruane did set herself for criticism in this affair after the whole recent “Sniper at Work” t-shirt debacle – which in my opinion was indeed promoting social ills quite blatantly and making money from it too! (I know you disagree here as you have stated – we will have to respectfully but firmly agree to differ) Also I find poppies and indeed Easter lillies a reasonable and dignified way to remember “you and yours” if you are that way inclined – however such propaganda style T-shirts etc or “baseball bat” pens are just tacky, disrespectful if not just plain wrong and cannot be compared in my opinion to the aforementioned in good conscience. There is I feel a degree of hypocrisy involved on behalf of Sinn Fein’s stance on money making from violence (racial, social or whichever) IF they are making exceptions for IRA propaganda memorabilia here though not necessarily from Catriona herself as an individual. Thanks for reading.

  60. Baluba (from 8th July): Funny that McGimpsey is suddenly worried about appearances to the outside world when the annual let the animals out of the zoo fest is about to start

    I could describe you as a bigot and idiot, but I respect the rules of debate and Slugger.

    Just like Ms. Ruane, I like to scour the internet for interesting things 😉

  61. El Mat,

    Get a dictionary. Tramping has nothing to do with homelessness and destitution. It is usually a lifestyle choice. You may use it as a pejorative as you do with words like gypsy (or shortening it down to the venomous gypo, as you’ve done). I don’t.

    If you are an elected representative for the SDLP and it is known who you are, you should be outed preferably in the MSM. Your comments about cleanliness, the dole and choice of words show you to be a despicable bigot.

    Scramble around with your ‘it was just a joke’ rubbish. You printed that despicable series of hate messages about travellers and it is very clear how you feel about ‘them’.

    At least Gonzo didn’t have a go at travellers when getting his pop at Sinn Féin. You clearly have such deep prejudice you just couldn’t help yourself having a go at both.

    Please god tell me this person isn’t an elected rep!

  62. SF have to sort that on-line shop of their out. It is not only a complete embarassment, but it does highlight a certain hypocrisy in light of the peace process – I agree with Democrat here.
    However I do not think that the tat they sell in the shop (and some of it really is terrible) automatically negates their right to speak out on issues that the party have a position on. It may highlight certain contradictions at times, but then its up to SF to deal with that and decide one way or another (cake and eat it time is over).

    Matador: No need to go scraping the bottom of the barrel. You made an ass of yourself in this post, and no amount if finger pointing will reverse that.

  63. El Mat, whatever about Baluba’s playing fast and loose with the play the ball rule (he’s just been wrapped for doing it elsewhere on Slugger), you’ve allowed yourself to be drawn off the ball some time back in this thread.

    Verbal fisticuffs is no substitute for straight argument. Readers are free to infer weakness on the part of those who engage in it – regardless of the virtue (or otherwise) of their political stance!

  64. Get real Crat- what ‘tramp’ as you call them, chooses their way of life. That’s an outdated and perjorative way to describe anyone, and puts you in no position to criticise others.

    And as regards dictionary definitions, here are a couple:

    1: a disreputable vagrant; “a homeless tramp”; “he tried to help the really down-and-out bums” [syn: hobo, bum] 2: a person who engages freely in promiscuous sex.

    As regards the term ‘gypsy’- you try to make out that I use the word perjoratively, yet again to avoid the context of the debate, but the Commission for Racial Equality uses this term, so in fact you are completely wrong in your assertion.

    As regards political representation or affiliation, I speak for myself and not on behalf of any organisation or grouping.

    I always have to laugh when the provo thought police descend with their brand of political correctness, whilst maintaining myopia on their own shortcomings or disregard for the rights of others.

  65. However I do not think that the tat they sell in the shop (and some of it really is terrible)

    Now, don’t you go criticising Sinn Féin here, circles, didn’t you know they’re above criticism?

  66. What exactly is your point with that wee post of mine? Who are you assuming I’m referring to there? Different affair altogether.

    The ball not man rule is nonsense if it subsequently allows an entire people to be denigrated.

    I call a spade a spade.

  67. The SF shop is no different to many shops i visit. I like some of the stuff, think other stuff wouldn’t be for me and am convinced some of it is pure rubbish. If you don’t like it don’t buy it. And to some of the posters here i would even suggest maybe they should give the SF shop a miss, since they, we and the man on the moon know that they’ll never like it.

    Of course, if anyone visits say the FF and FG websites, they will see former terrorists like Dev and Michael Collins being used to great effect, possibly even glorified.

  68. Circles- I am making the point that provisional supporters are very quick to condemn posters’ views when in fact their own views leave a lot to be desired. Whether you like what I said or not is your choice, but posters cannot righteously criticise me when they too have been ‘guilty’ of some less-than-moderate views of their own. People in glass houses, etc. To quote Baluba, I also call a spade a spade, even if I do use some unpleasant terms to make a point.

  69. Young Fogey I see that the site helpfully explains:

    “26+6=1’ refers to the 6 counties of the British occupied part of Ireland making one Country when united with the other 26 counties of Ireland.”

    The Hunger Striker badges are $6.30 each reduced to $4.73 per Striker if you buy the full set.

    But things do seem to be moving on. Last time we all looked at that site there was the SF Youth embelm, which was something like a petrol bomb wrapped in an easter lily. I couldn’t find it this time – have they changed their embelm? Chris?

  70. Matador:
    You very quickly jump to the assumption that republican posters (and I’m sorry but the sdlp johnny come lately republicans don’t count) all share the same opinion and it is an opinion you have to disagree with – even if you don’t know what their oersonal position actually is.
    You are too quick to stereotype people of all persuasions (as your “don’t wash” remark revealed), and fail to realise that you dropped a clanger big style earlier on .

    Lets get back to the thread now.
    Some of the wares in the SF shop do throw up some serious questions all the same – not all, but some – and they do need to sort it.

  71. Circles

    If I met a bunch of guys down a dark alley wearing some of those baseball caps t-shirts and hooded garments on that site, I would feel a bit uncomfortable 🙂

  72. I seem to recall that when the online store has been raised before the SF line has been that it was entirley seperate from the party and that therefore they were not responsible. Like the IRA in fact.

  73. Circles- my point is that posters are very quick to jump in and describe someone as ‘racist’ on the basis of one or two comments, and then refuse to engage in debate on the points raised. It’s a similar modus operandi to the DUP describing Spin Féin supporters as ‘terrorists’ and ‘murderers’ and refusing to engage in debate on issues with their representatives.

  74. It is perhaps of dubious taste to point this out, but I see that for a $2 supplement the Bobby Sands T-Shirt is available in XXXL.

  75. Chris

    Thanks Chris. That embelm is much better (in my view) than the previous. I think it does show things moving on.

  76. Hi Middle Class Taig,
    Please excuse me for interfering in your discussion with Gonzo – I was wondering if I could ask you to clarify your views on a couple of your stated points for my own interest.
    I can understand some of your anger within the Sinn Fein promotion of racism argument – however I do feel that there are those in Republican Belfast who DO differentiate between the pure indigenous “Irish” of NI and the ancestors of the settler/invader “British” in racial terms (settler in this theme being a derogatory name/insult) This moral and indeed racial superiority complex can be prevalent in my neck of the woods also I hasten to add, where some regard anything Irish as “the enemy” and inferior in regards to their British counterpart. Anyway everyone here has had their part to play in this state of affairs over the years and Sinn Fein no more (or less) than anyone else – but I do think that racism is a justifiable term in this regard. Anyway I also think there is something to be said for some of the argument that Gonzo and others make that Catriona Ruane did set herself for criticism in this affair after the whole recent “Sniper at Work” t-shirt debacle – which in my opinion was indeed promoting social ills quite blatantly and making money from it too! (I know you disagree here as you have stated – we will have to respectfully but firmly agree to differ) Also I find poppies and indeed Easter lillies a reasonable and dignified way to remember “you and yours” if you are that way inclined – however such propaganda style T-shirts etc or “baseball bat” pens are just tacky, disrespectful if not just plain wrong and cannot be compared in my opinion to the aforementioned in good conscience. There is I feel a degree of hypocrisy involved on behalf of Sinn Fein’s stance on money making from violence (racial, social or whichever) IF they are making exceptions for IRA propaganda memorabilia here though not necessarily from Catriona herself as an individual. Thanks for reading.

  77. Anyway, it was nice knowing you folks – this site and it’s ‘editing’ policy is now an utter joke – I’m off.

  78. Anyone else get totally fed up by the continued wanton misuse of the term “racist”?
    Slagging off travellers is not racism, since travellers are the same race (usually) as the person doing the slagging. What it is, is ethnic and cultural discrimination and, dare I say it, bigotry (now there’s a term that never fails to show it’s worn and weary face in a discussion about Norniron).
    Let’s be clear about this much: The IRA fulfill the requirements for the bigotry label very well. They regard the “Irish” as a “race” or at least a distinct ethnic group which is often mistaken for a race (the Irish “people” or “nation” have/has the right… bla bla bla), which has the natural right to supremacy on the entire Island. Their political wing is called “ourselves alone”, fer chrissakes.
    So having yer woman criticise videos of travellers fighting (voluntarily and for cash) as encouraging racism is utterly ridiculous, except in these days of corrosive moral ambiguity and fudge, nobody’s really paying attention any more.

  79. Sorry for the delay in responding to some very thoughtful posts directed at me. Just been v busy. I’ll answer in descending order of coherency and lack of pettiness.

    Democratic

    “I do feel that there are those in Republican Belfast who DO differentiate between the pure indigenous “Irish” of NI and the ancestors of the settler/invader “British” in racial terms”

    I’m sure there probably are. Every community has bigots and racists within it. The important thing is that nothing in the SF policy platform or message gives succour to such a view. It is also important that that view is not common in Belfast republicanism.

    “This moral and indeed racial superiority complex”

    That’s precisely what it is. It’s very common here. My beef with Alliance people, including all the Alliance shillers on this site is that they have a ludicrous moral superiority complex when they are nothing more than a middle class unionist party which does the NIO’s bidding and which has abandoned the entire nationalist community.

    “Anyway everyone here has had their part to play in this state of affairs over the years”

    I couldn’t agree more. Everyone, me included, has put a brick in the walls that divide us. To hear some tell it, only republicans have bricklaying skills.

    “I do think that racism is a justifiable term in this regard.”

    I can’t accept that without more. Tell me why.

    “Anyway I also think there is something to be said for some of the argument that Gonzo and others make that Catriona Ruane did set herself for criticism”

    Again I can’t accept this. Catriona Ruane has the same entitlement as any other politician to complain about the commercialisation of mindless violence. She’s a hard-working representative. It’s not very popular in nationalist communities to be seen to be siding with “the gippos”. SF take a brave, risky and regrettably unique stance in giving their backing to the travelling community. Imagine Alliance voters doing so? They’re more likely to call rentokill to ensure the area is fumigated once they’ve had the RUC move the tinkers on.

    “the recent “Sniper at Work” t-shirt … was … promoting social ills quite blatantly”

    Which social ills? I’m not sure the armed struggle can plausibly be defined as a social ill. If you’ve been here a while you’ll know I opposed armed struggle. But I think it’s wrong headed to proceed from the assumption that it was an absolute wrong, and disbars those who participated in it from future participation in society. That’s the Alliance analysis, or should I say the tame-liberal analysis.

    It was a war. A war with no winner and no loser leaves a difficulty for both sides looking back. The tendency is for both to elevate their own adn denigrate the others’.

    “I find poppies and indeed Easter lillies a reasonable and dignified way to remember … however such propaganda style T-shirts etc or “baseball bat” pens are just tacky … and cannot be compared”

    I think they’re tacky too, but this is a matter of taste. The difference is one of degree, not kind.

    “There is I feel a degree of hypocrisy involved on behalf of Sinn Fein’s stance on money making from violence (racial, social or whichever). IF they are making exceptions for IRA propaganda memorabilia here though not necessarily from Catriona herself as an individual.”

    I disagree (violently :-)). There comes a time when people are going to have to accept that the republican analysis of their soldiers as heroes is as legitimate as the unionist (and Alliance, as if there were a difference) analysis of RUC men as heroes. Otherwise, this society is doomed. The Alliance party and their like cannot accept this, because they are motivated by contempt for working class people and for people who rock the boat, who will not accept a flawed status quo. Many of the most prejudice-laden people I know here are Alliance voters.

    The key point is that we have to be prepared to step into each other’s worlds. I see republicans doing that. I certainly see the SDLP doing that(although sometimes precipitately, and with a surfeit of enthusiasm). I see some unionists making the earliest efforts at it. I see nothing of the kind from the loathsome Alliance. I see nothing other than hypocrisy, snobbery and self-regard from them.

    “Thanks for reading.”

    Not at all. Please respond with your thoughts.

  80. Valenciano

    Why the name?

    “Alliance didn’t have an armed military wing that was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people and unless you can name it I think I’d give the gong for most moronic point to yourself.”

    Of course you did. The British Army. It hasn’t gone away you know. But like the IRA, it has stopped killing people here. And that’s good.

    “No but running a website which sells items promoting a violent organisation does undermine your right to speak against violence.”

    Not when that “violent organisation” demonstrates its credentials as “freedom fighters” and not “terrorists” by eschewing violence for politics once realistic politics became possible.

    “I’ve just looked at the clearest two examples that I can think of of Alliance still being in the race when Nationalist candidates were eliminated ie North Down and East Belfast…”

    Oh my god, you nearly stopped my heart there. I thought I’d miscalculated horribly. Then I realised you were trying to illustrate a point by reference to transfer patterns in the republican hearlands of (wait for it) East Belfast and North Down.

    I’m sorry, I stopped reading that paragraph at that point because I fell off my chair.

    “David Ford has his assembly seat mainly because of SDLP voters transferring to him in sufficient numbers to keep Martin Meehan out.”

    Amazing that you characterise transfers to your PARTY LEADER, who came excruciatingly close to losing his seat to a republican candidate who came from NOWHERE, as votes to keep that republican out. Demonstrates the esteem in which you hold your party leader. We all know you guys are crap at this politics game, but most of us are amateurs here. As the only party which floods the site with apparatchiks, you’d think you could at least avoid embarrassment at this level.

    “Maybe you could even ask the Sinn Fein councillor for Short Strand about it. Hang on you can’t as they lost due to SDLP voters transferring to Alliance instead. Suspect this was something to do with Sinn Fein members and supporters engaging in rather more than a “bare knuckle fight” (you know the thing that Ruane condemns) with a guy called McCartney.”

    I think SF deserved that loss for its mishandling of the McCartney affair. Frankly, if you hadn’t won that seat back it would have been the story of the election, UK-wide! You think you’ll retain that seat?

    Anyway, in a dignified manner, I’m going to stoically refrain from eviscerating the unarmed man of Alliance electoral plausibility among nationalists. However, my patience and pity can only be stretched so far. Give me another excuse, and you’re for it.

    “If you do want to get historical about it then how far back are we talking? Odd given what you say then that Alliance had two councillors in the Falls and 1 of 4 Assembly seats for West Belfast in the 80s then innit?”

    Without prejudice to my stoicism above, perhaps you need a wee taster for what awaits you if you don’t wind your brass neck in:

    – in the last Westminster election the Alliance was UNABLE TO FIELD A CANDIDATE in West Belfast

    – in the last local election Alliance was UNABLE TO FIELD A CANDIDATE in either of the two main West Belfast electoral areas, lower and upper falls. SF took 9 of the 10 seats available.

    – in the 2003 Assembly elections, Alliance bravely offered itself to the electorate of West Belfast. It was rewarded for its courage with 75 (seventy-five) first preference votes. That represented over 0.2% of the electorate, and was only 23 votes lower than the mandate Rainbow George Weiss had secured at the Westminster elections two years before. And of course, George benefitted from the swollen Westminster turnout. Disappointingly, though, it was almost 50% down on the dizzying heights of the Alliance’s previous performance of 129 (one hundred and twenty-nine) in 1998 (over 0.3% of the vote).

    Young Fogey

    You’re quite right to pick me up on my outrageous lie that nobody in the nationalist community votes Alliance any more. Your mummy and granny obviously still do.

    “If this is your attempt at “shooting at an open goal” MCT, then I think I’ll go and take my throw in :)”

    So, valenciano, still up for it?

  81. Young Fogey

    “Oh, dear I guess I don’t exist then as I’m someone from the “nationalist community” who votes for the Alliance.”

    Well, assuming you’re for real, and you’re not bullsh1tt1ng, then you are something of an oddity; a bearded lady; an exhibit in a freak show. Fair play to you though. You’ve every right to be those things.

    “What’s your big beef here, mct? Gonzo criticised SF?”

    No, I think SF should be criticised in all appropriate cases. My beef is that he dishonestly accused them of inciting racial hatred. That’s a lie, and he should apologise. That he hasn’t done so is disappointing.

    I’m also pretty unhappy with the idea that no republican has any right to comment on any matter relating to violence in this society. I would be similarly opposed to a suggestion that no Alliance voter is entitled to comment on hyposcrisy, snobbery and obfuscation of state atrocities because of their history of those vices.

    “I mean, a member of a political party criticising a public representative from another political party??? Really shocking this robust public debate stuff, isn’t it?”

    No, that’s fine, but it should at least have involved some thought and contemplation.

    What a quaint notion, though – robust debate involving the Alliance! One day….

    “Apologies to Paddy, Chris and the other Shinners around here who are always up for a bit of honest debate.”

    I think if you look at the record I criticise and dissent from SF policy as much as any of those individuals. As is my right and theirs. But hell, why stop you in mid-rant. Especially when you’re living up to my last few prejudices.

    “I love the way they have to explain that: “”Tiocfaidh ár Lá” is the Irish for “Our Day Will Come”.”

    Yeah, internationalism; disgraceful, huh? Maybe alliance should do them a wee seminar on the joys of keeping Ulster for the Ulsterwans.

    “I mean Sinn Féin wouldn’t really be trying to raise money/sympathy among people who couldn’t tell Northern Ireland apart from Burkina Faso, would they?”

    No, I think Alliance voters are lost to SF.

  82. a bearded lady; an exhibit in a freak show

    Um… man not ball, mct?

    Anyway, take a wee look at the last council election results in Balmoral, Pottinger, Glengormley, Antrim, etc., etc.

    No, I think SF should be criticised in all appropriate cases.

    Funnily, mct, it’s not the impression you give. Any criticism of SF and you run around like some big boy has stolen your wee ball. Oddly, I think the Shinners have a good record on traveller issues, as they do on immigrant issues, and its one of those odd issues where I think the Shinners are probably as close to Alliance as anybody.

    But don’t let that worry you, just keep ranting on about Alliance wanting to fumigate travellers (please find me a single anti-Traveller action or statement by an Alliance representative in the 35 years since the party was founded). That’s a really constructive contribution to the debate.

    Yeah, internationalism; disgraceful, huh? Maybe alliance should do them a wee seminar on the joys of keeping Ulster for the Ulsterwans.

    No, I’m all for internationalism; I’m just sceptical of the role that diasporas play in political problems in the countries they have a connection, often a very tenuous one with. Not just here, but Nagorno-Karabakh, Croatia, etc. I don’t think anybody who needs to have Tiocfadh ar La explained to them has much of a clue, but that’s just me.

    You’re quite right to pick me up on my outrageous lie that nobody in the nationalist community votes Alliance any more. Your mummy and granny obviously still do.

    No, my mummy definitely doesn’t vote Alliance and both my grannies are dead. But they didn’t vote Alliance when they were alive either.

    Meanwhile, prove your point.

    Oh, and on your reply to Valenciano:

    Amazing that you characterise transfers to your PARTY LEADER, who came excruciatingly close to losing his seat to a republican candidate who came from NOWHERE

    Martin Meehan came from nowhere? OK. That’s why he wasn’t that far off a seat in South Antrim in 1998, that’s why he was elected to Antrim council in 2001, that’s why his wife was elected to Newtownabbey Council in 2001 (SF exceeding a quota in Glengormley), that’s why SF had three Councillors elected in the constituency in 2001, that’s why any projection of the 2001 Westminster results would have had him winning a seat and that’s why every commentator at the time thought the last seat in South Antrim was between Meehan and Ford, and that’s why 42% of the entrants in Nick Whyte’s prediction contest expected Martin Meehan to pick up David Ford’s seat. And that’s why David’s re-election campaign thought it would be a tight squeeze between him and Meehan (I know; I was there), and that’s why Martin Meehan’s campaign thought the same thing (I know; they told me, it wasn’t exactly a state secret). And most of all, that’s why Martin Meehan went on TV saying he’d won at lunchtime on Friday. Because Martin Meehan was from nowhere.

    Listen, do your self a favour and check your facts before you post; of course that might break up an anti-Alliance rant.

  83. “Um… man not ball, mct?”

    I disagree. I’m commenting on the rarity of Alliance voters within the nationalist community. I’m genuinely sorry if you feel offended. Genuinely. If, on the other hand, you’re just whingeing, dry your eyes!

    “Any criticism of SF and you run around like some big boy has stolen your wee ball.”

    No, I just won’t allow intellectually lazy, incoherent, hypocritical or nonsensical criticism of the majority party within nationalism to stand unchallenged. I thought you were the boy slabbering about robust debate.

    “Oddly, I think the Shinners have a good record on traveller issues, as they do on immigrant issues …”

    Fair play to you.

    “keep ranting on about Alliance wanting to fumigate travellers … That’s a really constructive contribution to the debate.”

    Sorry, if you look carefully, you’ll see I referred to Alliance voters there, not the party. It was parody – poetic licence (although having ridden my high horse on Gonzo’s overreaching, perhaps I should leave off the satire on this thread).

    If you can point me to robust highly public and highly publicised support for the rights and needs of the travelling community coming from the Alliance party, I’ll acknowledge it, and praise you. I’d like to see the Alliance nail their colours to the traveller mast. I hear little but the sound of silence – maybe I need to listen harder. Show me.

    “No, I’m all for internationalism; I’m just sceptical of the role that diasporas play in political problems …”

    I doubt it’s aimed at the diaspora. Wouldn’t they mostly know TAL? The interested ones, anyway? I imagine it’s aimed at Basques, Catalans, Bretons, Acehans, Irian Jayans, Cubans, Central Americans, Native Americans, etc and frankly anyone interested in the politics of liberation.

    Your attitude suggests that you have no interest in your brand of politics being relevant to anyone outside the North. I doubt that’s really the case, therefore I am a little perplexed.

    “No, my mummy definitely doesn’t vote Alliance and both my grannies are dead. But they didn’t vote Alliance when they were alive either.”

    We’re a right pair, a novo provo and a nouveau quiche.

    “Meanwhile, prove your point.”

    See my response to valenciano. I did.

    “Meehan wasn’t that far off a seat in South Antrim in 1998”

    Dude, he was on half a quota. For the transfer resistant shinners, that’s a million miles away. In the end he came 9th.

    “he was elected to Antrim council in 2001, that’s why his wife was elected to Newtownabbey Council in 2001 (SF exceeding a quota in Glengormley)”

    You kind of make my point. They’ve come from nowhere to what is now a respectable position in South Antrim. There, as elsewhere, Alliance members are becoming stoops and stoops are becoming shinners.

    Even at those council elections, they would have had about 9% – still not enough to get near the line. They went up ANOTHER 2.5% in two and a half years, to put themselves within sniffing distance.

    “42% of the entrants in Nick Whyte’s prediction contest expected Martin Meehan to pick up David Ford’s seat.”

    Really? Eejits. Crowd of pushy fenians and jumpy prods, probably. 🙂

    I made a few quid on getting that seat exactly right, including the order of election. The only one I got correct 🙁

    “That’s why David’s re-election campaign thought it would be a tight squeeze between him and Meehan”

    But, that was because you guys thought you were on the slide and SF on the rise. Only the latter was true. In fact, you did very well to increase your first preference vote there.

    “And most of all, that’s why Martin Meehan went on TV saying he’d won at lunchtime on Friday.”

    Actually, that was funny as f***. When he said it, I knew my bet was safe. You could say I was supREMEly canfident; suPREEEMEly canfident.

    Nicholas Whyte’s site talks of “an exceptional performance from Martin Meehan”. I think he calls that correctly. I’ll have my money on him next time out.

    “Listen, do your self a favour and check your facts before you post.”

    Actually, this argument isn’t about facts, it’s about opinion. I think Meehan came from nowehere, and you think it was always a trouser-filler for Ford. I think we both have plausible cases. Recourse to “in-the-know” unattributed gossip is pretty lame. The opinion of the North’s foremost psephologist is, I think, a better guide to which of us is “right”.

    PS the shinners need seats to chase. They hit nearly all their targets in 2003. Next ime will be an election for building to be in the strike zone the time after that – Upper Bann, Derry, Mid-U, etc. All they have to really go for next time out is 5 in West Belfast (Dodds or Attwood – pity they can’t both lose), 3 in WT (hard with the good Doctor there) and, ahem, South Antrim. Guess where the resources will be going.

  84. To Middle Class Taig:
    Thanks for your reply I appreciate you taking the time.
    Anyway – In relation to the the racism issue – I feel that the whole British/Irish struggle here can at times be described as a racial one when its ideals are articulated by many and subsequent negative events rising from this as could be termed “racist” (the preferred term is of course sectarianism)- This was my only point here – I wasn’t finger pointing at Sinn Fein – save to say that that they like everybody have contributed to the division that we find ourselves in today as two very distinct tribes. On the point of memorabilia – I’m afraid I still must disagree on this premise – Easter Lillies and Poppies are symbols of rememberance and sacrifice (dignified symbols I might add) “Sniper at Work” T-shirts and “Baseball Bat” pens are basically tongue-in-cheek poor-taste glorifications of specific acts of horrendous violence – nothing to do with rememberance or sacrifice there I’m afraid – this is why they are abhorent and unacceptable to me as opposed to the former. Could an equivalent perhaps be say a “1st Para Londonderry’73 on Tour” T-shirt trying to be passed off as legitimate memorabilia of our supposed heroes?
    On the point of Catriona – I agree that she has every right to articulate her views on this commerically available DVD as entertainment and as an individual and an activist – I happen to agree with her stance – However Sinn Fein backing of this will lead to them taking stick as is the nature of politics here – and in my opinion rightly so in respect of my views of some of the commercial pro-IRA violence memorabilia above that was until very recently if not still available at the official book store – you know the story. I guess it all depends on your view of the IRA as a legimate army which brings me to my next point.
    You say that it was “war” – I disagree on the premise that NI never experienced the total dissolution of the social fabric and cohesion of our society that goes with “war” – apart from some very scary times (’69 for example)- the two traditions here were never at war with each other – people went to work – people got on with their lives – the “troubles” were terrible background noise and fury for most, myself included (I do at this point acknowledge that many, many had the “troubles” pushed into their face much more violently and I would not belittle their suffering in any way) However I feel we shall disagree on the “war” theory and as such the legitimacy of the existence of the IRA as a legitimate “army” – In this regard I cannot accept Republicans assertation that I must acknowledge and respect their right to hero worship in any way – perhaps you are right and this is holding us back – but I cannot see this changing anytime soon – Kingsmill was mentioned earlier – could any Republican in good conscience ask me to accept hero worship of the perpetrators as a viable and legitimate pursuit.
    (BTW – I acknowledge your own condemnation here)- The recent “Sean Kelly” debacle brought this very point right to the fore in my opinion.
    I feel that we all have a long way to come before resolution but I do welcome the opportunity to converse with intelligently minded individuals form the other side of the fence like yourself on the subject – thanks again for your time.

  85. Democratic,

    Small point here, but I have been on the the SF site and can find sign of the “sniper at work” t-shirts, or even more ludicrous, “baseball bat pens”. Please explain where you saw these items as you have referred to them twice on this thread. Thanks.

  86. Dunno about the online site, but in the shop on the Falls Rd there are some lovely items. T shirts of men holding rifles with the slogan ‘The I, The I, The IRA’ on it – catchy, eh? Pin badges of guns, another t shirt read ‘The Irish will be in heaven when the Brits are in hell’. Charming stuff. You could also buy cd’s of celtic songs (and i mean the football club). You should take a look in yourself some time. The most disturbing item was a plate with Martin McGuinness on it. Bleurgh

  87. Hi JD,
    The articles I mentioned were part of a recent story on the Sinn Fein’s official book store (linked to their website) selling questionable items – after being discovered the powers-that-be quickly removed the offending items from sale – I’m not making it up – I promise! – Perhaps there may be some good Samaritan able to help someone not very computer literate with a link or sorts for you to have a look at.

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