Loyalists have plenty to prove…

DEPRIVED loyalist areas are getting a £33m injection, so naturally everyone is complaining. Predictably, loyalists think it’s not enough, republicans think it’s at their expense and some others think it’s being allocated as a political bribe. Which it is, let’s face it……as there’s no hard evidence that ‘loyalist areas’ were ever discriminated against in the first place. It’s a reflection of the situation regarding peace funding from the EU, where the evidence points in the opposite direction. I don’t think anyone apart from Jim Allister even denies this any more, as I noted in excruciating detail in December.

Since the peace dividend seems to have made little impact on the lives of ordinary people the first time round, it’s time for the Government to try again. Hopefully, it won’t mean funding paramilitary lifestyles this time round. It would be nice to think it’s going where it’s needed most instead, in a practical form, and keeping on funding for those schemes that work.

Tackling the severe education problems in loyalist areas and dealing with the unacceptably high level of paramilitary influence sense would be a good start. It might mean prioritising creches over funding applications for ‘single-identity, social-confidence-building activities’ once in a while, for example.

The last thing people want to see on Newsline is another barely-literate UDA steroid-ridden ‘community activist’ spide dripping with more jewellery than Mr T telling us about the hardship he’s facing ‘cos he now has to teach kids something apart from how to build petrol bombs. And for a non-heroin-dealing wage, like.

A little transparency might boost public confidence in funding for mainly loyalist areas.

Here endeth the rant.

  • Crataegus

    Tip for loyalists, get rid of the local thugs who repel investment in your area; and stop attacking people who move into the area and you will find real investment and less boarded up houses.

  • missfitz

    Actually Gonzo, this is a little like the Ulster Scots thread, the whole general ‘what about us’? debate.

    You could elevate the language to a perception of inequality in the distribution of community structural funding, but really its themmuns and ussums.

    I heard a woman reacting to this on Talkback yesterday making the very valid point that unless the community is driven from within, you can pour all the money you want into projects. The must be used to promote self reliance and self sufficieny.

    None of it can happen unless there is a real elevation (relevation?) in the mind sets of the community leaders. Stop reacting to how the shinners get on… take the lead! Be creative, imaginative, think of new ways to bring your community forward.

    The shipyard is not going to reopen, so its time to start looking at a whole new world.

  • fair_deal

    “republicans think it’s at their expense”

    Republicans should actually read the report. A large number of its recommendations will impact upon ALL deprived communities especially in Belfast for example the recommendation the Dept of Education adopt a target that no child leaves school without basic literacy and numeracy skills. Also I was talking to John Simpson at the launch and in his opinion the £33m does look like new money so Peter hasn’t been robbed to pay paul.

    Belfast Gonzo

    On distribution of Peace funds and the claims it was fair, the methodology (Postcode/ward) PWC used for analysis was discredited by South Belfast Partnership Board. Under that methodology South Belfast received £56m in peace monies when it actually received £6m.

  • I can’t understand why the Shinner’s are complaining about this. A large part of the whole peace process game is about financial incentives, addressing the acknowledged economic basis for the conflict (not the exclusive basis for conflict, of course). Financial incentives are a large part of just about every post-conflict arena.

    The Shinners are all about equality, and therefore should applaud efforts to assist the deprived, period. Politically, it begins to gnaw at the legs of the Unionist argument that Protestants are treated as second class citizens in the New Norn Iron.

    But the single most important thing is that the money actually gets to where it is needed most, and taking up missfitz point, it must be delivered to a receptive audience, a community that is geared to deliver a successful return on this investment.

  • David Michael

    I heard a school principal on Talkback yesterday.

    His take was that the problem lay not with the teachers, not with the schools, not with funding, but with the low intelligence of so many of his pupils.

    He said that the majority of them had IQs of 80 and under and required 1-to-1 teaching.

    This is scary, if true, and could account for much.

  • I wouldn’t like my kid to be taught by a teacher who blamed the lack of progress on thye collective IQ of the pupils. I’m sure there’s a few dumbasses in his class the same as there are in every class, but come on, all of them? Either he’s a very, very poor teacher, or very, very unlucky.

    That said, in my school we separated out the ‘A’s from the ‘B’s from the ‘C’s, and in the ‘C’ Class, you could hear the cogs turning, which in my view did absolutely nothing for any of them that had any potential. Maybe the teacher in question was in a streamed environment like mine. Terrible place to be if that’s the case. But it also means that there are good classes to go with his bad one.

  • David Michael

    Well, yes, Anthony, but he also said that what used to be Special Needs education suddenly turned up at his school.

    The powers that be had decided that it was non-PC to segregate the 80- kids from the brighter ones, and put them in the main stream. So everybody suffered.

    I do wish people would stop blaming teachers. They can only work with the material they’re given.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    No one is denying that where deprivation is identified then government funding should be aimed in that direction.
    The Noble indicators on deprivation are the most comprehensive and contemporary that are available. In order to excuse this exclusively unionist grant aid their apologists have been able to cherry pick part of the criteria that makes up the Noble indices i.e. the educational deficiencies within working class unionism.

    This is dishonest and cynical and is an attempt to buy off unionism and stop them from killing and attemting to kill people.

    Either deprivation is confronted in the whole or communities are left to the whim of short sighted government ministeries impressed by the bellowing and threats of political unionism.

  • Stephen Copeland

    fair_deal,

    [Quoting Gonzo] “republicans think it’s at their expense”

    Republicans should actually read the report.

    Are you sure that republicans actually said that they think it is at their expense? It seems to me that that was just Gonzo’s opinion. I could find no evidence for it in the media.

    On the contrary, Gerry Kelly merely pointed out the objective truth that “poverty and disadvantage is more widespread in nationalist areas. and that “Nationalists are still more likely to be unemployed and a greater percentage leave school with no qualifications.

    Part of our problem lies in incorrectly listening to what other people say, and thus ascribing incorrect opinions to them. It would improve communication all round if we were a little slower to jump on every possible (inaccurate) opportunity to get one over on the otheer side.

  • I suppose speculating without knowing the situation he’s in isn’t all that helpful. I’m not blaming teachers for poor results (standard platitude: some of my best friends are teachers :)), but we all know there are good teachers as well as bad ones, and it just strikes me that any teacher that blames his pupils isn’t really thinking right. He should be striving to do the best for his pupils, whatever their collective brain power, and I don’t know how productive it is to go on radio and declare his school a center of mediocrity. If he’s a principal and he gave his name, that would be worse. I hope he didn’t give his name.

    All teachers want to work with bright pupils, and it takes a special kind of teacher to be able to work in an environment like the one you described.

    The segregation argument is very difficult. You don’t want the less well endowed dragging back the stars, but you want everyone to be given the same opportunity. None of the ‘C’ class in my year went to college, many of them are unemployed to this day, one I know of died of a drug overdose, and even in a small town like the one I grew up in, they came from (and largely still live in) the same areas. Therefore all of those guys were in my view ‘shelved’ once the segregation kicked in.

    I don’t give a toss for PC or not, I just want to see kids getting along. I’m not sure segregation achieves much.

  • Donnie

    Has anyone said what they are going to use this money for? Maybe if they did maybe people wouldn’t presume that it’s a bribe and the money isn’t going to be swallowed up by “cammunity groups” teaching acupuncture and flower-arranging to ex-cons – or in some cases funding the gambling habits of paramilitaries!

  • Getting back to the core of the thread, is it just me or is £33m not a really tiny amount of money to be talking about here? What is the annual education budget for NI?

  • David Michael

    Yes yes yes, instead of the expected whataboutery, it might be useful to consider why there are so many what Antony B calls “dumbasses” (and what used to be known as cretins) in ALL these areas.

    Low IQ they tell me has many causes: genes, poor nutrition, alcohol abuse in pregnancy etc.

    And a preponderance of low IQ generally results in mayhem in society.

  • Who

    So the Whiterock payoff has occurred expect a few more then this year.

  • David Michael

    They’re not going to make a blind bit of difference though, Who.

    The cretins will remain, and will multiply. So how is money going to help them?

  • fair_deal

    Donnie

    “Has anyone said what they are going to use this money for? …The money isn’t going to be swallowed up by “cammunity groups” teaching acupuncture and flower-arranging to ex-cons ”

    Yes. There is a report outlining each of the actions, what is to be done, what it will cost who is to do it (for nearly all the proposals – only the LCF and Areas at Risk stuff are budget headings) and which department is to see it happens.

    Stephen Copeland

    “I could find no evidence for it in the media”

    There is a meeting called by the Shinners in West belfast on Saturday to give off about it.

    “a greater percentage leave school with no qualifications”

    The stats in the DSD report would give a different impression.

  • Yokel

    How much does the right attitude cost? Deprivation? Deprivation of the Mind leads to Deprivation of the Environment. Thats the problem that exists and thats all down to attitude that doesn’t necessarily take money to solve.

    We can’t make people into something they just aren’t in terms of academic or practical skill ability but they can get raised to a level enough to give them a chance to work and earn in the jobs market, make a home and have a bit of leisure and holidays. But if they don’t have the attitude to begin with forget it.

    £33 million for facilities, great, fine and super but its going change very few attitudes. Those that have the attitude to begin with will take advantage of the a new resource on their doorstep but would have also searched it out if it wasn’t in their area.

    But since the cash is available: Two ways to send £33 million:

    -Get a alot of attitude & motivational coaches in
    -Give the kids a decent bit of food and see if it helps stop them being so bloody disruptive or supplement them. Feed ther parents as well for that matter.

    Is it absurd? Either would perhaps help change a community way more than a new community centre or a course in how to use a computer mouse. Those courses exist already, the will doesn’t.

    But it won;t happen, why? Because many of those who will influence the cash spending haven’t a fecking notion. They will have no doubt seen some scheme or resource in the community sector tahts a great success and think ‘we want that’ but they see it bricks and mortar, the see it physical objects rather than the creation of an atmosphere.

    They shouldnt get the money unless they can use it for more than the provision of “things”.

  • David Michael

    “-Give the kids a decent bit of food and see if it helps stop them being so bloody disruptive or supplement them. Feed ther parents as well for that matter.”

    You’re catching on, Yokel 🙂

    Let’s see how many others catch on.

  • Stephen Copeland

    fair_deal,

    There is a meeting called by the Shinners in West belfast on Saturday to give off about it.

    No link? No details?

    And no indication at all that it is claiming that the funding package is “at their [republican] expense”, which was the (apparent) quote that I could not find any justification for. You have taken Gonzo’s (apparent) opinion and raised it up into a ‘fact’. Read what SF and the SDLP actually said, not a second-hand (or plain wrong) interpretation of what Gonzo thought they might have said.

  • fair_deal

    SC

    No link? No details?

    I am not aware of a press statement being issued. I’d expect it will get post-coverage in the ANG papers. The information is from a contact who is a community worker in West Belfast. He was asked to attend yesterday.

  • George

    Anthony b,
    “Getting back to the core of the thread, is it just me or is £33m not a really tiny amount of money to be talking about here? What is the annual education budget for NI?”

    The money includes strategies to tackle areas of major dereliction such as the Lower Shankill, Inner East Belfast, Shore Road and Lower Oldpark.

    Considering they are currently pumping in 3 billion to regenerate Ballymun in Dublin I would agree that 33 million is a drop in the ocean.

    Belfast needs 3.3 billion not 33 million.

  • nmc

    It seems a bit outrageous that the governments have decided to provide a financial benifit to a specific group of people. It seems to me on a par with the UK government deciding that there should be an education grant for all white people. It would be seen as racist if they did. That said, take the money and run, it’s time that people (catholics AND protestants) who need the financial assistance, get it. The only people to have really benifited from the peace money injected so far since the GFA are the aspiring middle classes, the already wealthy, the politicians and a handful of paramilitaries. IMHO…

  • David Michael

    nmc

    “It seems a bit outrageous that the governments have decided to provide a financial benifit to a specific group of people.”

    Not quite. They get around this by speaking of “areas” not people. Which I suppose is fair enough. Ballymun was/is also an area needing the kiss of the euro.

    Now don’t all jump down my throat when I suggest this, right? But why not give every spide and millie the incentive of a bonus of say £20,000 if they refrain from making any more potential little spides and millies for 5 years?

    Money well spent IMHO.

  • David Michael, that’s an appalling suggestion. That said, Steven Levitt’s ‘Freakonomics’ draws a direct parrallel between Roe vs. Wade and legalised abortion in 1973 to the declining crime rate in New York in the late 1990’s. Smaller pool of potential criminals from socially deprived backgrounds = smaller pool of criminals = less crime. Which is of course another appalling suggestion. 😉

  • David Michael

    Anthony B

    Appalling, yes. Pragmatic, maybe.

    And hey, nobody’s human rights are being abused. On the contrary, it might give these kids (and the early breeders are kids after all) a chance at a decent life as teenagers before burdening themselves with children, who in turn don’t have much of a chance either in the present situation.

    We’re not talking eugenics here 😉

  • IJP

    I can see Alliance’s next April Fool’s already.

    We’ll start a riot, sell it as a ‘cry for help’, blame the police, and then demand £30 million funding for deprive Alliance-voting communities like the Loughview Estate, the Harbour ward of Bangor and the fringes of Kircubbin.

    Pathetic. When will we ever get over ourselves?

  • Yokel

    The Alliance Party, proof if any proof is needed that Northern Ireland is deeply divided society. Their voting percentage is just like a little gauge but still good reason for the party to exist we all need statistics…..

  • steve48

    Gonzo
    You have been told before and you still dont get it. The PWC report refers specifically to measure 2.7 which was set up to address weak community infrastructure after the failure of unionists to apply to peace1. The fact that unionist groups got more money from 2.7 shows they have weaker infrastructure not that they got more across the whole peace programme.

  • David Michael

    IJP

    So what would YOUR suggestion be?

  • Bog warrior

    Outside of the argument about whether these areas should have received this money, (personally i believe that this type of funding should be allocated on the basis of objective need)it does throw up another set of questions. I was speaking to a community worker recently from a unionist area of North Belfast who said that they had funding coming out of their ears and were having difficulty spending it. This is only one person’s opinion/impression but it does raise the question of how the money will be dealt with and whether or not it could overwhlem groups who don’t have the experience of handling large amonunts of funding. I work in the community development field myself and i know that “getting the grant” is only the start of the process. The real trick is in delivering the outputs and outcomes you said you would, on time and on budget. Some unionists have been on the media very happy with this decision but they shouldn’t be getting carried away until we see the results this funding produces.

  • Alan

    *We’re not talking eugenics here*

    No, you’re talking contemptious drivel.

    Anyhow, . . .

    There was an education programme started on the Shankill (and I think part of Upper Springfield as well) in the mid 80’s that tried to work with pre-school kids and their parents to really make a difference. They were told at the start that it would take around 20 years to see the fruits of the process. They were closed down in a matter of a few years.

    Any approach needs to be continuing and consistent, and what needs to be most consistent is that the loyalist paramilitaries are kept well away from any developments.

    Gonzo, Steve48 is correct. You are only looking at one measure of all the Peace Monies. The problem with the reviews of that aspect of the Peace process is that they can only measure applications, they cannot measure non-applications. The ward based analyses were also wholly innappropriate to localised problems and distort the picture.

    I ran a “weak infrastructure” programme around 10 years ago. We came up with a weighted index to decide upon where to work. The index included a poverty indicator, a subjective indicator (the number of times an area was mentioned during pre-decision interviews), the numbers of community and church groups in an area, and the numbers of grants received by organisations operating in the area. This was all done on the basis of “community areas” based on census enumeration districts, rather than wards.

    It can be done properly.

  • David Michael

    Alan
    “No, you’re talking contemptious drivel.”

    Am I?

    In the housing estate across the way there are six houses facing mine, all containing mothers under 20. All were binge drinking while pregnant, and the kids have suffered.

    They get no proper food. I saw one mother giving her infant cola in the feeding bottle instead of milk or formula. They’re eating crisps every time I see them.

    They’re pale, scrawny and lethargic. Your heart would bleed for them, because you know it won’t get any better than this. They’re in and out of hospital. They don’t respond to people, can’t conduct a conversation; they appear retarded. They probably are.

    Money isn’t going to help. The parents seem to spend most of their money on cars, phones, clothes, bling and alcohol. Drugs too perhaps but I don’t know. So there’s no shortage of money. Go to a third-world country, Alan, and see what REAL poverty is. And see how children behave and live in those countries.

    Do you really want to condemn children here to what I described? Not such contemptuous drivel now, is it?

  • steve48

    Bog warrior is correct if he is refering to the empowerment partnership funding available in North Belfast. The issue is not about the amount of funding but rather having the right mix of programmes and projects to spend it on to gain the best results. In areas of weak infrastructure there are less viable community based ideas with which to run. The other issue is that much of this type of funding becomes hamstrung by civil service ideas on spending and commitment.

  • Alan

    *Do you really want to condemn children here to what I described? Not such contemptuous drivel now, is it? *

    Have you called social services?

    The state has a responsibility to act in such cases, but you also have a responsibility to act on behalf of the children instead of taking the easy way out and criticising their parents on Slugger.

    My point is that you are showing contempt for all working class areas and refusing to think of a way to change the situation, evidenced by the very response you gave above.

  • David Michael

    Alan
    “Have you called social services?”

    Do me a favour. Social services bear part of the responsibility. But they’re acting out the wishes of successive governments.

    What I describe is the situation not only in Northern Ireland but in the whole of the island, and throughout the UK. We are witnessing the emergence of a whole new class, which I deprecatingly called millies and spides but are in fact unfortunate kids growing up without any sort of values.

    They are the results of a social experiment that has gone horribly wrong. The rot started when discipline disappeared from schools, corporal punishment was outlawed, and kids discovered that they could do very much what they wanted, there being no one to correct them. Kids need guidance.

    Parallel with this ran new “child-centred” education schemes that made the stupid error of believing that children are adults and therefore can take responsibility all by themselves. No more hard slog, course work was and is done by the teacher, so that on leaving school the poor kids believe that they can do anything they please. Oh yeah, they can neither read nor write, know little about the world, despite more “funding” for schools than has been seen in 100 years.

    So here we are with kids who have no respect for anything, not even for themselves. They binge drink and do drugs because who’s going to tell them it ain’t such a good idea? They become parents at 15 or earlier, giving birth to brain-damaged children. (Oh yeah, they’ll vote Jordan nr. 3 as perfect mum, she having given birth to a damaged baby on account of doing drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. Sheesh!)

    This could go on, but I’ll try to be brief. In London they can’t get teachers because who’s going to risk life and limb working with kids who are out of control? They have to import teachers from abroad, or parents sit in on classes.

    In Belfast these kids, not knowing anything better, see all the money to be made by joining loyalist drug gangs. And the excitement! Respect? Respect for what? Nobody has ever taught them respect; it’s all been child-centred education.

    “The state has a responsibility to act in such cases, ”

    Sure, the state has responsibility but who’s going to be brave enough to admit it’s gone wrong? What was that hare-brained initiative (I believe it was Gordon Brown’s) to teach literacy in the summer? When I left school even the dimmest child in the class was more literate than the kids starting university now, and I went to an ordinary school. But hey, let’s blame the teachers okay, not the failed “innovative” teaching systems.

    “but you also have a responsibility to act on behalf of the children instead of taking the easy way out and criticising their parents on Slugger.”

    Yes, and I’ll vote for anyone who has the balls to admit that the school system doesn’t work and should be changed root and branch.

    “My point is that you are showing contempt for all working class areas and
    refusing to think of a way to change the situation, evidenced by the very
    response you gave above.”

    And what the fuck do you think I’m doing? I want to give these young people their childhood back. When they’re ready for adulthood then we should ease them into it, not have a housing executive overwhelmed with providing accommodation for teenaged parents and children who’ve been born long before they should be.

    Right, I’ve got that off my tits. Back to work.

  • loyalist

    When they’re ready for adulthood then we should ease them into it, not have a housing executive overwhelmed with providing accommodation for teenaged parents and children who’ve been born long before they should be.

    Balls, we have a demographic crisis, we need more kids, if we want a pension that is. Nationalist areas are swimming in community funding and housing executive support. Unionist areas can whistle dixie, NO!

    Educational under achievement and low iq can be fixed in five minutes with healthy food and exercise and tangible benefits. Lets not hear any talk of untermenschen, especially from feckless, workshy gaels.

  • David Michael

    LOL

    Nice one, Loyalist.

  • Indices Noble

    This is dishonest and cynical and is an attempt to buy off unionism and stop them from killing and attemting to kill people. (Pat McLarnon)

    It seems a bit outrageous that the governments have decided to provide a financial benifit to a specific group of people. (nmc)

    it is important that funding is openly allocated on the basis of need and need only, rather than denomination. (Alban Maginnis MLA)

    “nationalists have sought to portray themselves as the only community with socio-economic problems. They are always more than happy whenever special attention is given to nationalist and republican areas to the exclusion of unionists” (Nigel Dodds MP)

    All bollix
    Read the fine print of this announcement:

    http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/hanson_invests_33_million_following_taskforce_report

    Pilot schemes for Dunclug in Ballymena and Seacourt in Larne. That’s right the only places in the aforementioned ‘loyalist’ towns where you will see the Irish tricolour flying 24/7 and republican graffetti.

    Minister Hanson must have a wicked sense of humour