Geography lessons

Catriona Ruane has issued similar instructions about terminology to Department of Education officials as Conor Murphy. Although she seems to have learnt something of a lesson from her colleague and isn’t confused about here or there.

  • Sue
  • Ministers in the government of the Province-which-must-not-be-named are quite entitled to ask their speech writers not to put words into their mouths, and have them avoid terms they would clearly not use. But the article says “she has issued instructions to civil servants about the language they are to use when preparing their reports for her and writing her speeches”.

    It’s a bit rich to demand that all “her” civil servants kow tow to her dislike of the name of the province she is helping to govern.

    On the subject of terminology, has RTE discovered the name of the province yet?

  • Reader

    I don’t have a particular problem with this. If some civil servants can be forced to refer only to ‘Derry’ in some specific circumstances, then others can be compelled to refer to ‘Londonderry’ in similar specific circumstances.
    There’s no problem with that, is there? Mind you, it does seem a bit petty that a minister doesn’t want to see signs of the other identity in their department, and it’s worrying that a minister isn’t confident about translating a speech on the fly.

  • Yokel

    ‘Here’ is perfectly good. Everyone knows where it is and everyone know’s who runs ‘here’…unless they are making a speech in Bolivia then it might a bit difficult.

  • GavBelfast

    Maybe they could reflect that this sort of immature and pathetic posuring was and is a contributory factor to their rejection at the Southern polls, and why people who vote for parties who have got beyond this nonsense don’t transfer to them?

    It only draws attention more to the irony of signing upto and participating in a UK devolved administration while somehow playing to an audience that they don’t wanto to admit to it or are embarrassed by it.

    Grow up, get over it and get on with governing!

  • I Wonder

    What the Minister wants, the Minister gets. Hence the description civil “servant”.

  • Reader

    I wonder: Hence the description civil “servant”.
    Yes, Minister. However, as a voter and a tax payer, I had always assumed that civil servants were working for *me*.

  • I Wonder

    Reader

    The Ministers are where they are because tax-paying and non tax-paying voters elected them. If you voted for nobody who is in an executive position, under the FPTP system, its a bit tough, really…

  • young fella

    I agree with Paul, it’s perfectly reasonable for her to expect civil servants who write speeches for her to write in the terminology she uses.Whenever grumpy Gregory or someone else of a different disposition gets in to that position they can have their turn.

    Its pushing the line to say that everything that circulates within her office has to be addressed in her terminology though.

    What’s most irritating is Unionists ranting about it.Boohoo,it’s just another sign that just because most of the public have grown apathetic to the nomenclature doesn’t mean everyone’s chuffed about “Northern Ireland” as an entity. Unionists seem to think that disillusioned tolerance of the status quo equals a ringing endorsement for the Union.They would need to quickly de-kid themselves,because its a pretty obnoxious stance unlikely win them any real support from the Catholic community.But then again that doesn’t seem to be what their about.

  • young fella

    *unlikely to win

    oops

  • snakebrain

    I think that recent events in China show the ridiculous nature of these semantic debates. China has a long history of utilising the ancient practice of changing the object by changing the name. I think it’s nonsensical. I understand that some Chinese people think differently, and don’t want to call China China, but that’s their problem.

    P.S. Due to my total boredom with the nomenclature applied to the area in the North of the island next to Britain, just of the coast of Europe, I have henceforth decided to refer to it as China, and would appreciate it if everyone else did so too.

    Thank you for your co-operation in this small matter.

  • kensei

    “Maybe they could reflect that this sort of immature and pathetic posuring was and is a contributory factor to their rejection at the Southern polls, and why people who vote for parties who have got beyond this nonsense don’t transfer to them?”

    You’re right! SF did poorly in the Southern election because the Southern Electorate was concerned they didn’t use the name “Northern Ireland”.

    Wait, no, that’s stupid.

  • However, as a voter and a tax payer, I had always assumed that civil servants were working for *me*.

    You’re all wrong… civil servants work for the Crown.

  • Sammy, I think they are employed by “the Crown” to work for US – but then I’m a naive idealist (or would be if I was sure I could spell it).

  • jg

    to work for US