DUP, “the largest party in the north.”

There is probably nothing we like to argue over, or get offended by, than language and forms of words, be it Derry versus Londonderry, or even letters like haitch (ie H) versus aitch (also H). David Maxwell has spotted a semantic slip by Iris Robinson… in the Belfast Telegraph.

  • Henry94

    They could hardly say they were the largest party in Ulster. That would be Sinn Fein.

  • Mick Fealty

    What did I say… semantics… I knew you wouldn’t let us down Henry… 😉

  • Shurely the only thing it tells us is that unionists, unlike nationalists, aren’t massively paranoid and insecure, and so can be relaxed about langauge? In other words, I can, as and when I feel like, say, oh, ‘Derry’, for instance, and I can be pretty sure that I won’t keel over dead due to shock. Whereas . . . I have yet to meet *any* manner of nationalist with enough self-confidence to be able to say Londonderry, or even, without much gurning, ‘Northern ireland’. Political winners are the world over relaxed and therefore sloppy in their speech, losers are uptight and constantly on their guard for trivial rhetorcial slips, because poncey nonsense like that is all they have to fall back on. So there.

  • By the way, the absence of a comment-enabled thread on Ervine is an absurdity.

  • Mick Fealty

    I closed it last night, because of the endless (and erroneous) speculation. It’s not permanent.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Karl Rove,
    If unionists aren’t so bothered about names, then why do they get so hot and bothered when given a little geography lesson on the term Ulster? Is it that they don’t like being reminded of their betrayal of the Ulster Covenant when they decided that loyal men in the Donegal Cavan and Monaghan UVFs should be ignored? Broken Covenant more like. Carson and Craig recruited throughout all 9 counties of Ulster and all 9 counties were full members of the organisation until the betrayal.

    Their modern pretence that Ulster never included 9 counties is much worse than arguing the name of Derry/Londonderry. At least people agree over what city is referred to when people say Derry or Londonderry.

  • pleasecanwebanulsterman

    ahh..the enlightened and liberated Protestant!

    the Reformation is live and well.

  • Mick Fealty


    Which comment coincides with Brendan Duddy’s, “bitter enlightenment that we Catholic nationalists/republicans were equally capable of bigotry”.

    Play the ball please!!

  • GrassyNoel

    Nationalists everywhere must be leaning forward in their chairs going ‘..AAAA-HAAAAAAAA!!’

    …just like in that fast show sketch, if anyone remembers what I’m on about…

  • Miss Fitz

    God, we need to get over ourselves.

  • Way Icit

    “..or we wouldn’t be the largest party in the north.”

    My Microsoft Word software automatically corrects some errors without consulting me! Is the UK/Ireland version not made in the Irish Republic?

    Keep an eye on that foreign software Iris – it could get you into trouble!

  • Tochais Síoraí

    There’s a carefully choreographed sequence going on here, Gerry will refer to ‘Northern Ireland’ later today, Martin will talk about his native city of Londonderry tomorrow and Ian will say the Hail Mary (in Irish) at church on Sunday.

  • circles

    “Shurely the only thing it tells us is that unionists, unlike nationalists, aren’t massively paranoid and insecure, and so can be relaxed about langauge? ”

    🙂 Thats a belter Karl – still giggling away to myself over that. Ah dear – nothing like it!!

  • Mick Fealty


    I think Pete might say you have an extreme dose of ‘futuringitis‘…

  • John East Belfast

    if she had said “in the north of Ireland” then that would have been deliberate and significant.

    up north, down south is used by unionists all the time in everyday speech – just as Derry is.

    The issue is when people deliberately choose words – then that has meaning.

    Such choice can be used to both offend and to heal.

    If I was speaking to out and out nationalists I might borrow their words to show them respect – if that could be reciprocated then NI would be a better place.

    If Iris Robinson had been speaking in Dublin then reporting what she said would be significant because it would illustrate a rare empathy to the nationalist tradition.

    ie if we spent a lot more time respecting and leaning towards ones anothers’ cultural symbols then progress could be made – this does not include flying the State flag of the ROI beside the Union Jack though in case anyone brings that up

  • moochin photoman


    Ahaaaa is Alan Partridge

    not the Fast Show

  • Of course nationalists are relaxed about language – what was I thinking? – it’s just that if they type Londonderry, their fingers will fall off.

  • Cormac

    Karl, I try and type it (the ‘L’ word), I really do, but for some reason my fingers don’t touch the keyboard for the first part. Most unusual.

  • GrassyNoel


    You’re obviously not the fast show addict I was! There was a weekly skit on TFS where a shady suspect would be in a dark smokey roomstaring at the ceiling in pure defiance of the police interrogators. There would be mood music and a long silence, the two cops would look at each other, then back at the suspect, and one of them would stand up and lean over the table saying something like, “look give it up Shady, we know you and your gang took the money, it’s the computer disk we want, the game’s up for you mate, why don’t you just tell us where it is”?

    To which the shady criminal always answered to the effect of something like: “Blow it out your ass copper, I ain’t telling you a Goddamn thing”

    Cue Charlie Higson in costume as a doddery old professor-type forensic expert or something, he’d come in and put his briefcase on the table, open it, and immediately start fumbling about, searching all the compartments & pockets in his briefcase, then his jacket, his trousers, the filing cabinet, all the while without a word by anyone.

    Eventually he’d turn around to the rest of the lads in the room, scratching his head and say ” Has er, anyone seen the er… that thing, the er..er…”

    To which the guy playing the shady criminal would always jump in and say:

    “What, the computer disk with the launch codes for the soviet nuclear missiles that were stolen 2 days ago? It’s in safety deposit box in a bank vault in Monaco…I’ve got the key shoved up me arse”.

    The two cops would look at each other and lean over the table, pointing at the suspect, and go “AAAA-HAAAAAAAAA”! together, and the actor playing the criminal would slowly turn his head towards the camera and with a glum look on his face, mutter:


  • Tochais Síoraí

    They’re starting to feel a bit loose alright – I forgot to put the L word in inverted commas.

    Maybe if Karl could write Derry or north of Ireland and balance things up, I’ll keep me fingers.

  • Karl has, written ‘Derry’ [above]*. Meanwhile throughout the occupied six narry a compensation claim for defingerisation has been made, so I infer that no nationalists anywhere ever has yet been able to type out Londonderry.

    *Or does this mean that in addition to being unable to type those extra 6 letters, nationalists can’t read the hated term either, for fear that their eyes might pop out? Someone should conduct some cross community research, maybe set up a Quango to look into it. I hear that Monica McWilliams** isn’t yet fighting injustice on Wednesday afternoons.

    **Or Monica Williams as I obviously have to call her, being a cry baby who is oppressed every time I see a suffix I don’t like, no matter what it’s historical provenance is.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Their modern pretence that Ulster never included 9 counties is much worse than arguing the name of Derry/Londonderry. At least people agree over what city is referred to when people say Derry or Londonderry.

    Posted by Aaron McDaid on Jan 08, 2007 @ 11:38 AM”

    O yawnee yawn yawn. Here it is again Aaron.
    Ulster predated Queen Bess’s division of Ireland into counties. At various times in the dim distant past it excluded Cavan,Fermanagh,and Donegal, and bits of Armagh, Monaghan and Tyrone on the wrong side of the Black Pig’s Dyke. So I’m quite entitled to say Ulster when I mean the occupied 6,even if others say it’s something else, or was something else, or will be somehting else ( I mean, who needs Cavan?)In just the same way, I might add, as nationalists are quite entitled to call a certain republic on part of the island “Ireland” if they choose, without me getting all huffy about it.

  • dantheman

    Iris, Paisley and Adair have all said the north. What a bunch of sell out lundies. Lets take to the streets lads Whiterock-style…lets burn down our own housing estates and shoot our own armies. That’ll show them! Quis seperatibimus, like!

  • Hidden Gem

    Just another case of “You say ‘potato’, I say ‘Solanum tuberosum'” ? The difference? None.

  • Aaron McDaid

    I’ve heard that a few times before, and I don’t deny it. But tell me this, why did the promoters of the Ulster Covenant and the original UVF recruit and form in all 9 counties without treating any of the counties as any different? To follow your logic, they should have avoided the 3 counties.

    The Ulster Covenant was supposed to be something that unionists undertook seriously for Ulster’s wellbeing (and they quite happy said Ulster was Irish in the Covenant). Everybody signing it knew full well it was referring to the full 9 counties. If a unionist today wants to redefine Ulster, they must realise they are redefining unionism (i.e. disconnecting it from the original UVF, the 36th Division, the Covenant et cetera).

  • Observer

    I don’t understand the constant wrangling that goes on between Unionists & Nationalists over Derry/Londonderry, ‘Ulster’ and ‘the North’ or the ‘South’.

    ‘Ulster’ in terms of Unionist understanding refers to the six-counties of Ireland, i.e. Northern Ireland. Nationalists obviously feel they have to use this terminology to ‘beat’ Unionists with. Mug-slinging if you ask me!

    Anyway, are Unionists not just as much Irish as Irish Republicans?

    With regards to Derry/Londonderry – call it whatever you will but its formal name is and should remain Londonderry as it has been called that for at least two-centuries after the old city was burnt down.

    Nationalists just use the term Derry as a political football – is there not more important things to worry about, aye?

    The ‘North’ is yet just another politcial term that has arisen in recent years to make Nationalists feel as if they are politically part of ‘Ireland’ or the ROI. This term is most frequently, and most recently, used by the SDLP. Before the Shinners were the only ones who referred to Northern Ireland as ‘the six-counties’.

    I think any tourist coming to Northern Ireland/Ulster/the North or the six-counties should be issued with a Northern Irish/Ulster/Northern/six-county phrase book … I’m off to Derry/Londonderry to save the world.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Replace above with……

    ‘…….I don’t understand the constant wrangling that goes on between Unionists & Nationalists over Derry/Londonderry, ‘Ulster’ and ‘the North’ or the ‘South’….’ It would all be much simpler if we all used my (Unionist) definitions.

  • Observer

    Tochais Síoraí,

    Thanks for your comment in support.

    You make the basis of my point very clear.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    No Surrender!