Normalisation and managing the message

You couldn’t have failed to notice the English Queen has just completed a three day trip to the six counties.

A visit that occurred in such a ‘normalised’ environment today’s event in Armagh was flagged weeks in advance.

The media assisted with normalisation of the visit by pretty much ignoring Republican protests. So far the Newsletter is the only outlet giving the protests any real coverage, though they’ve downplayed the combined numbers attending demonstrations organised by both éirígí and RSF. (éirígí note the normalisation did not extend to the people of Armagh)

UTV News chose to cover the protests by lumping them in a section including some hoax bomb alerts (like the Newsletter), showing only a small section of the crowd, ignoring the rest and relying on the connotations brought to mind by using the throwaway tag ‘dissident Republicans.’ The BBC just completely ignored the whole issue.

So it all seems so normal but that’s only possible by ignoring the truth, something many other groups also found a convenient tactic.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The media assisted with normalisation of the visit by pretty much ignoring Republican protests.

    The Natural Law Party has a greater mandate than the two organizations you mentioned. Why report on irrelevant people with irrelevant opinions ?

  • Mark McGregor

    CS,

    You’d have to ask the Newsletter that question. For me the answer is because it interests me and I can.

  • Twinbrook

    Irrelevant views in your opinion…the point clearly is the medias attempt to hide or down play any opposition to the British Monarch`s visit…

    I don`t care one iota if she visits or not, its of no interest to me but to pretend that alls rosy in the garden and all of a sudden the Queen is the darling of the Native Irish is naive….

    What would happen if the UK became a republic, would her royal moneyness retire to Hillsborough to dote over her loyal ulssteeer sssssscccoots

  • fair_deal

    A small protest got small coverage what is the issue?

    I’ve organised about a dozen pickets in my time and got media coverage for about 3 of them another 3 were filmed/interviews but were not used the rest got feck all. Such is life no grand conspiracy.

  • DC

    Probably because we have seen enough of protest politics. If they have any substance go to the electorate and receive endorsement via democracy.

    Otherwise stand there with your ‘no queen crown’ thingies stuck on cardboard and wave away until you feel that you have protested enough.

    The media have enough to answer for regarding being sucked into shock stunts of the past the reality is that it passed of peacefully because largely people are at ease with what was planned to happen and has.

  • Mark McGregor

    FD,

    The difference is this one was covered (TV crews all over it) but it all hit the cutting room floor on a day when there was pretty much nothing else but coverage of the visit. A visit that was solely sold in the context of 10 years since the GFA, isn’t the world a box of soft centred chocolates, isn’t this all so normal.

    Protests against the English Queen and the massive security operation in place in Armagh today are not normal in Britain and trying to pretend they are or ignoring them is just a deception imho.

  • slug

    I think this trip was really a nice time for many in the unionist community, but also handled by the organisers so that it was inclusive, inviting the Irish President along to join in, for example.

    After many years of feeling that their identity was not valued-perhaps they were wrong to feel that way but the feeling was there- here was a day when the average unionist person in the street could see their Britishness expressed. The most British of British institutions, the Queen.

    For the Queen to actually break with tradition in Northern Ireland’s favour was symbolically meaningful.

    The BBC interview with the lady on the Newtownards Road said it all: “Q: Why is this special to you?” “Q: Because it reminds us we’re British”.

  • Garibaldy

    I thought McAleese’s comments came dangerously close to overstepping her constitutional boundaries. And not for the first time. Still, elect such a person and what do you expect.

    I have to say the media coverage has been a bit much to take.

  • Mark McGregor

    Gari,

    I’ve sent you mail to that account you never check.

  • Mark, I put up an example of news management (post #7) two days ago. The Spring briefing had slipped through the net briefly but it only sees the light of day when I post it. You’ll not see it on CAIN or the BBC. You can see Annesley’s version of events here. It’s likely that similar management is still in place.

  • Eddie

    I felt the coverage was of a colourful religious occasion,good for television, and not a political one, a sort of one-off thing which we won’t see again; so I was vaguely interested in it, and viewed it – though not specially; I just happened to be about.

    I don’t get any local newspapers, but I DO realise there was a protest demonstration – because I saw a shot of it on tv!; and read what it said on the protestors’ banner. The protesters protesting is ok by me

    I dunno what it is expected that the tv people should have done. If they’d interviewed the protestors they would have just repeated why they were protesting. There would have been nothing new in what they said.

    The slap-up ceremony the cathedral, on the other hand, was new. and, as I say, sort of half interesting/ What are some getting so worked up about?

  • fair_deal

    MM

    “The difference is this one was covered (TV crews all over it) but it all hit the cutting room floor”

    Such occurrences was addressed in my previous comment “another 3 were filmed/interviews but were not used”

    “it all hit the cutting room floor”

    No it didn’t and you said it didn’t “UTV News chose to cover the protests by lumping them in a section including some hoax bomb alerts”.

    The BBC report last night referred to tight security showing peelers on rooftops when that den of republicanism called the newtownards road was visited.

    “there was pretty much nothing else”

    Definition of Nothing – 2 people died in a serious car accident (Nice display of social conscience BTW). A man was also charged in relation to a record-breaking and second largest robbery ever in the UK. Former US president Clinton cancelled his trip here. Hamill inquiry not extended. Adams bashes the police over crime. There was also the Labour Force Survey stuff showing an improvement in the relgious balance of the workforce and a significant decline in the differential in employment rate between the two communities. Plenty to be filling the news sections with a number of particualr interest to the nationalist community.

    Still not seeing evidence of a conspiracy so far.

    BTW Irish presidential visits have pretty much been ‘normalised’ even with Mcaleese’s foot in mouth tendencies. Is normalisation to be a one way process?

  • Turgon

    I hope you enjoyed your day of protesting Mr. McGregor. It might disconcert you to know that I do know a number of fundamentalist Protestants who are none too fond of the Queen thinking that “There is none King save Christ alone”. Thought maybe that quote in Armagh might be a little close to Drogheda.

  • miss fitz

    Funnily enough I frove though Armagh today on the way to Bushmills. I was a bit nervous, thinking I would be held up for ages, but in the end I couldnt be arsed trying to figure out a short cut and took a chance.
    I drove through the city about 10 minutes before the Queen went to the Cathedral, and was struck by the dead atmosphere. There were about 50 people behind railings waiting for the Queen, and about 20 police men. There was no check point on the Newry Road into Armagh, although traffic was being stopped coming into the city from the Moy side.

    It was a bit eerie, as I was the only car in the whole of Armagh at the time. Far from being congested, it was deserted! I did not see any protest, and it struck me that it was actually a fairly low key event, compared to the dozens of events I have covered over my years in Northern Ireland.

    Anyway, that was my first person report form having been there, and I think that apart from the ceremony in the Cathedral, the rest may have been mcuh ado about nothing

  • Mark, is éirígí following in the footsteps of Sean Garland?

  • “even with Mcaleese’s foot in mouth tendencies”

    Is she related to Prince Philip? A variant on blue tongue disease? 😉

  • fair_deal

    Nevin
    Good one

  • “I frove though Armagh today on the way to Bushmills. I was a bit nervous”

    You’re a brave woman, Miss Fitz. I remember the time John Hume attended a schools event in Ballycastle. He decided to avoid the ‘fearsome’ Bushmills and went back to Derry via Mosside instead!! The details of the trip were written up for the Reader’s Digest by Cal McCrystal.

  • Mark McGregor

    I’m also surprised the media didn’t note the first six county action from éirígí activist – Breandán MacCionnaith.

  • “the first six county action from éirígí activist – Breandán MacCionnaith.”

    Holding a family in Portadown hostage?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Is that link correct, Nevin? Maith thú, a Bhreandáin.There’s life in the oul’ dog yet!

  • HenryB

    Hats off to the BBC, I thought, for great coverage of the service in armagh. It was quite right that they reported the central event of the 3-day visit without reference to a couple of nutters with posters. Great pageantry.

  • jone

    Here’s the big secret about why that earth-shattering protest by two men and a wee boy didn’t get any coverage on the beeb.

    They were the host broadcaster for the big gig at the cathedral and were putting out a live programme on same. That meant all their resources in Armagh were tied up in one place behind the security cordon so they couldn’t roam freely unlike UTV…so hold the front page, Chomsky.

  • As far as I know, Pancho. Here are the details from another site:

    The court was told that two masked men burst into the house in Churchill Park, Lurgan, and demanded the keys of the family car. A gun was produced and one of the men made off in the car while McKenna held the family of three hostage for almost three hours.Belfast Telegraph 28 January 1997

    The family’s ordeal ended when a policeman called at their door to investigate, after the hijacked car was left unattended in the centre of the town. McKenna tried to escape when he saw the policeman, but he was caught and arrested. A green mask was found in his pocked.

    More here

  • Jo Moore

    Its also noticeable that Secretary of State Shaun Woodward chose today to announce his decision to refuse to extend the remit of the Robert Hamill Inquiry to include investigating decisions, or lack of them, by the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to that particularly foul murder.

    He clearly recalled the Labour govt policy of picking the right occasion “to bury the bad news” as neither the BBC or UTV mentioned this on any of their news programmes.

  • It’s been on the NIO website since this morning, Jo.

  • Gregory

    It is a bit different to historic visits to Dublin and Belfast. SF are, in a certain way, British ministers, they just are. So the protests a bit of a silly thing. SF are not ye olde republican party, the world has changed, if not utterly, enough not to care.

  • miss fitz

    Nevin
    I was worried about the potential traffic– not Bushmills!! Neither was the slightest bit of bother in the end. Although it was really interesting to talk to people in Bushmills and hear their feelings on the recent property developments in and around the town. There seems to be a depth of feeling about how property has been developed and how the issues around that have been handled.

  • Jo Moore

    Nevin, another Jo Moore also had bad news published on her ministerial website but made sure that it was on days when the media were otherwise occupied. The point I’m making is that Woodward and his NIO PR team weren’t exactly pro-active about informing the media on this decision, unlike those ‘positive’ developments which they want to get covered.

    Surely, with every major news organisation covering the Queen’s visit and with Woodward present at everyone of her engagements, had the media been aware of the issue, is not strange that no-one asked him about it.

    As I said, just like another Jo Moore, its all about picking the right time to bury bad news.

  • Jack

    She’s the Scottish Queen as well.

  • Jo, the information was on the website yesterday morning. I spotted it by accident; I was checking to see who the current minister responsible for policing and justice is. Lazy journalists?

    You might note that many of the ‘stakeholders’ in policing and justice (and the care of young people) haven’t featured in the media debate on the brutal murder of Frank McGreevy. I’ve named some of them but I don’t think any of Slugger’s bloggers have responded.

  • willowfield

    Why the reference to “English Queen”?

    I saw a clip of about a dozen saddoes (including, even more sadly, a child) standing with a banner in Armagh. Quite a pathetic sight. These people need to get a life.

    In contrast, it was interesting to see interviews with people perceptibly from the nationalist tradition who had met the Queen and seemed more than happy to do so (GAA officials and a Roman Catholic nun).

  • Jo Moore

    Nevin, perhaps the various stakeholders you refer to were otherwise engaged at one or more of the various receptions this week!

  • fair_deal

    MM

    “BTW Irish presidential visits have pretty much been ‘normalised’ even with Mcaleese’s foot in mouth tendencies. Is normalisation to be a one way process?”

    I would appreciate an answer

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘I saw a clip of about a dozen saddoes (including, even more sadly, a child) standing with a banner in Armagh. Quite a pathetic sight. These people need to get a life.’

    whats sad and pathetic is people grovelling to someone who hasn’t worked a day in her life, not done anything of notable or noble. to see people ‘courtseying’….really bowing, to an archaic institution like a monarchy in this day and age is laughable. these people need to get a life.

    ‘In contrast, it was interesting to see interviews with people perceptibly from the nationalist tradition who had met the Queen and seemed more than happy to do so (GAA officials and a Roman Catholic nun).’

    Hang on, I thought the GAA was sectarian???????
    Nationalism was a sectarian ideology????

    quite obviously not.

    Get off your knees people and shake the womans hand if you must, nothing more !

  • RepublicanStones

    *not done anything of notable or noble value*

  • willowfield

    whats [sic] sad and pathetic is people grovelling to someone who hasn’t worked a day in her life, not done anything of notable or noble [sic]. to see people ‘courtseying’….really bowing, to an archaic institution like a monarchy in this day and age is laughable. these people need to get a life.

    Even if you do consider the above to be sad, it doesn’t follow that the dozen protestors with their banner were not also sad.

    I personally don’t think participating enthusiastically and appropriately in a ceremony involving the Queen is any sadder than doing so in a ceremony involving any other head of state.

    Hang on, I thought the GAA was sectarian??????? Nationalism was a sectarian ideology???? quite obviously not.

    Again, it doesn’t follow that because some GAA officials were happy to meet the Queen that the GAA is therefore not sectarian. I am sure, for example, that Orange Order officials would equally be happy to meet the Queen.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Even if you do consider the above to be sad, it doesn’t follow that the dozen protestors with their banner were not also sad.’

    what an argument.

    ‘I am sure, for example, that Orange Order officials would equally be happy to meet the Queen.’

    no doubt because as an avowedly anti-catholic and therefore sectarian organistion, they would be more than happy to meet a monarch who sits ontop of her throne shrouded in anti-catholic legislation.

  • willowfield

    what an argument.

    It wasn’t an argument: it was a refutation of your implied argument that the protestors weren’t sad because curtseying to the Queen was sad.

    no doubt because as an avowedly anti-catholic and therefore sectarian organistion, they would be more than happy to meet a monarch who sits ontop [sic] of her throne shrouded in anti-catholic legislation.

    And thereby negating your argument that those who are happy to meet the Queen cannot be sectarian.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘refutation of your implied argument that the protestors weren’t sad because curtseying to the Queen was sad.’

    lol….sad….what exactly is one if one is sad?

    ‘And thereby negating your argument that those who are happy to meet the Queen cannot be sectarian.’

    where did i say that those who meet the queen cannot be sectarian???????? i merely highlighted the fact that the GAA is not a sectarian organisation. but with the orange order, if a klansman greets the grand wizard, it doesn’t mean they ain’t racist.

  • “I thought McAleese’s comments came dangerously close to overstepping her constitutional boundaries. And not for the first time. Still, elect such a person and what do you expect.”

    What do you expect from a Sticky apologist for Mass Murder (both Stalin and the Fuckin British Empire). Nobody will elect any of the control freak left wing authoritarian jackboot stamping on a face crowd you like. Send your beloved Queen Bessie my regards! You can’t beat the stickies, lovers of horrible empires British and Soviet.

  • PeaceandJustice

    willowfield – “Why the reference to ‘English Queen’?”

    Perhaps some of the Republicans on here could explain why they continually use the term English as opposed to British?

    fair_deal – “I would appreciate an answer” ref “BTW Irish presidential visits have pretty much been ‘normalised’ even with Mcaleese’s foot in mouth tendencies. Is normalisation to be a one way process?”

    Exactly fair_deal. But McAleese is over the border every 10 minutes as the President of a country that styles itself “Ireland”. Normalisation should be perhaps an official visit once every year or two as McAleese is head of a foreign state. It’s time for groups and schools in Unionist areas to be ‘too busy’ to meet McAleese when she happens to be in the area on yet another official visit.

    RepublicanStones – “i merely highlighted the fact that the GAA is not a sectarian organisation”

    When is a fact not a fact – when you hear one from ‘RepublicanStones’ – one of the most sectarian posters on here.

  • RepublicanStones

    when is a troll not a troll……when its the goblin that is peace&(unionist)justice.

    im one of the most sectarian posters on here am I?
    it seems your out painting too many kerbstones to actually read.

  • Mustapha Mond

    “whats sad and pathetic is people grovelling to someone who hasn’t worked a day in her life, not done anything of notable or noble.”

    They looked quite happy to me, smiling and neatly dressed.

    What have you done with your life that is notable or noble? … me neither.

    Before you go off on a radge, I’m not a monarchist, but, I’m comfy enough living alongside those who are.

  • RepublicanStones

    when is a troll not a troll……when its the goblin that is peace&(unionist)justice.

    im one of the most sectarian posters on here am I?
    it seems your out painting too many kerbstones to actually read.

    and as regards your beloved Liz Windsor, she is from England is she not? or would you prefer
    her to be called the anglo-germanic ‘queen’?

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘What have you done with your life that is notable or noble? … me neither.’

    so you haven’t done anything notable or noble, and so recieve no praise, which reinforces my point. thanks !

  • Steve

    ‘What have you done with your life that is notable or noble? … me neither

    Which probably explains why no one bows and scrapes in our presence

  • PeaceandJustice

    RepublicanStones – “as regards [the Queen], she is from England is she not?”

    She is your Queen too but you choose to close your eyes and cover your ears and pretend otherwise. That must be why you make such good videos!

    The point was that as she is the Queen for the whole of the UK (and further afield), why the Republican fixation with the term English instead of British i.e. titles, anthems etc

    As regards your other rant about the Queen’s role, I think she does a very good job at representing our country. And I think it’s quite a tough job as well with little privacy – it’s not all living it up in big houses. But I don’t expect Republican death squad supporters to discuss the matter rationally.

    And don’t even start about the GAA – I’ll take your claim that it’s not sectarian as a joke. It can’t be anything otherwise.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘She is your Queen too’

    afraid not, im irish, we have no monarchy.

    ‘why the Republican fixation with the term English instead of British i.e. titles, anthems etc’

    why the unionist fixation with all things british…..when they aren’t even from britain?

    ‘I think she does a very good job at representing our country’

    really? job? a job is something someone does in which they exert themselves mentally or physically for monetary gain. so Lizzie’s on a salary now is she?
    Represent? really? does she take part in the olympics? or go on trade missions?

    ‘But I don’t expect Republican death squad supporters to discuss the matter rationally.’

    I don’t expect supporters of British armed forces in Ireland to discuss the matter rationally.

    P.S, glad you like the vids.

  • Mustapha Mond

    “so you haven’t done anything notable or noble, and so recieve no praise, which reinforces my point. thanks !”

    true

  • PeaceandJustice

    Republican[throwing]Stones – “afraid not, im irish, we have no monarchy”.

    If you live in Northern Ireland, then it’s part of the UK. So you do have a monarchy … or maybe you still have your eyes closed and your ears covered.

    I don’t intend to reply to you again on this thread as you are a sectarian bigot but … Welcome to the real world … and enjoy walking on British soil in Belfast while you make your quality videos!

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘If you live in Northern Ireland, then it’s part of the UK. So you do have a monarchy’

    there is a Queen who sits on a throne in England, and has many people who claim to be loyal to her here in Ireland who are descended from the colonisation of this part of Ireland. I am not one of these grovellers. I expect you believe the people of the south americas had a king in the form of Charles III, and no doubt feel they too were incorrect to not grovel before the symbol of a country they had nothing to do with.

    Oh and i think you’ll find your the one walking on Irish soil, as this is Ireland, an island……just like your beloved britain. unless you have shipped over huge amounts of ‘british’ soil (which is either scotch, welsh or english soil). which may suit you as i can imagine you living in a coffin waiting for the night time to come.

  • Billy

    “PeaceandJustice”

    “you are a sectarian bigot”

    The words Pot, Kettle and Black leap immediately to mind. Coming from someone with your track record on “loyalist” terrorism, it’s just laughable.

    It’s great that you’re so proud to be British. Presumably, then, you have no problem with the British govt which represents you signing the Anglo-Irish agreement, the Good Friday Agreement, disbanding the B-Specials, UDR, RIR Home Batallions and RUC etc.

    You may well feel British and good luck to you. I just wonder if you’re stupid enough to think that the British govt and people really view you as being as “British as Finchley”. To be fair, I don’t think that lie fools too many Unionists any more.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed the Queen’s visit – always a good ploy to tickle the tummies of Unionists with a Royal visit while the UK govt gets on with the business of disengaging from NI.

    As far as I’m concerned, the English Queen can come as often as possible if it keeps you happy.

    Incidentally, the Irish President can come to the North as often as she likes. The UK govt appear very happy to let her do so and they make the rules, not you or any other Unionist.

    If you don’t like it, you too could stage a pointless and ineffective protest. I’d bring a book if I were you as you’ll probably be very lonely.

  • willowfield

    It’s great that you’re so proud to be British. Presumably, then, you have no problem with the British govt which represents you signing the Anglo-Irish agreement, the Good Friday Agreement, disbanding the B-Specials, UDR, RIR Home Batallions and RUC etc.

    Strange logic. Is it a necessary condition of pride in one’s nationality that one must never have any problem with government policy? Can, for example, the millions of Americans who have a problem with Bush’s Iraq policy, not also be proud to be American? Very strange logic indeed.

    As far as I’m concerned, the English Queen can come as often as possible if it keeps you happy.

    I ask again: why the reference to the “English Queen”?

  • Billy

    Willowfield

    I was getting at the fact that the laughably named “PeaceandJustice” (as long as no-one mentions “loyalist” terrorists) childishly brags about NI being British soil and taunts Nationalists that we have to accept being under British rule whether we like it or not etc.

    I was simply pointing out that it’s a double edged sword. There are plenty of Unionists posters on here who moan about the AIA, GFA, the disbandment of the UDR, RIR, RUC etc.

    However, Unionists can do nothing about Westminster decisions that they don’t like. I certainly don’t think you are foolish enough to believe that the North is a big issue to the UK electorate or that there is a lot of interest or sympathy for the Unionist position.

    Your analogy with the USA and Iraq is absolutely correct.

    As a constitutional Nationalist, I accept the reality that we have to accept Westminster/UK rule as long as the majority in the North wish. I can disagree with decisions taken at Westminster but, unless a majority of MPs support my view, I can do nothing else.

    I was merely pointing out to “PeaceandJustice”, in case he hadn’t noticed, that he and Unionists generally are equally powerless in Westminster. The UK govt is now working increasingly closely with the RoI govt and this govt in particular has made many decisions that didn’t go down well with Unionists.

    If he doesn’t like it so what? He can indeed protest i.e USA and Iraq etc. However, the truth is that Unionists are just are powerless as Nationalists at Westminster. The UK govt will act in the best interests of the UK govt – not the North.

    “PeaceandJustice” taunts constitutional Nationalists with the fact that we have no choice but to accept democratic decisions made by a majority in Westminster whether we like them or not.

    That’s perfectly true. He doesn’t seem to realise that Unionists are in exactly the same impotent position. I just find it laughable when he comes on whining about something the UK govt have done (usually when it is of some benefit to Catholics/Nationalists) – after all, we’re all under Westminster rule and proud of it, aren’t we?

  • Mark McGregor

    Willowfield,

    The last time I called her Elizabeth Windsor it caused offence, this time I thought recognising she is English and a Queen might lead to less irrelevance in the discussion, I see I was wrong. I think I’ll just stick with my Republican instincts in future as trying to take others views into account was pointless.

  • willowfield

    Mark

    That doesn’t answer the question: why the reference to English Queen? I assume you understand that the kingdom of England ceased to exist 300 years ago?

    Billy

    You now make a not unreasonable point, but it wasn’t clear from the faulty logic in your previous post.