Northern Ireland’s clichés haven’t gone away, you know…

AFTER reading Robert Fisk the other day, I realised just how guilty I (and others!) are of using clichés. No doubt in the last few days you’ll have been treated to headlines about tanks ‘rolling’ into Georgia, as the ‘Red Bear re-awakened’. And sports commentary is pretty much a constant stream (oops!) of cliché. There are many trite, overused phrases associated with Northern Ireland, and Fisk lists a few; as well as playing the ‘blame game’ he recalls ‘how Protestants in Northern Ireland were always “staunch” and Catholics always “devout”.’ There are plenty more. How often has a politician rattled out a reaction beginning with ‘The reality is…’ before giving his own narrow view, which often bears little relation to reality. I’m willing to bet that you’ve read how the horror of the Omagh bomb made peace possible, or how hope somehow sprang from the ashes of the aftermath in recent days. It might make readers feel better, but perhaps not the survivors. Or remember how Secretaries of State always used to take decisions ‘in the round’, implying they had consulted widely before coming to a decision, which was probably pre-determined anyway. And why do our politicians always ‘slam’ and ‘blast’ each other when they disagree or criticise each other? Perhaps because headlines prefer shorter, stronger, confrontational words? I suppose with their limits on vocabulary, clichés provide a kind of lazy shorthand, although Fisk reckons the use of such tired language is a form of addiction and a disservice to the reader. If you have a favourite or hated hackneyed phrase, stick it in the comments!

  • slug

    When Martin McGuinness is asked a question and needs time to think what answer to give he usually replies beginning

    “Over the course of the last number of months and years…”

  • slug

    Gonzo are you getting to that age when you can’t remember if you blogged that one before?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Oops, I think I am, but sure…!

  • Paul McMahon

    ‘The reality is…’ Aaarrgghhh, hate it.

    Fuckers using that phrase should be stabbed in the eyes with hot knives.

  • wild turkey

    ‘If you have a favourite or hated hackneyed phrase, stick it in the comments! ‘

    Gonzo, no one fave comes to mind but for the complete compendium of hackneyed journalese bullshit may I suggest a collection of Belfast Telegraph page one banner headlines and/or Tele newsagent poster boards over say the last 25-30 years.

    Rage, Fury , Shock, Horror, etc etc etc

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    When I start to run short of trite, banal cliches I come in here for a top-up.

  • Occassional Commentor

    “All clichés are true,” or so I’ve read.

    BTW which tradition relates to the Georgian perspective in the current situation the most, and why?

  • Gonzo, I can honestly say after talking to people on the doorsteps, political clichés, bear no reality to the people on the ground on this community. The real bread an butter issue is, ? , and that sadly is the reality, thats the bit the other parties buck pass and hand wash, etc etc boring yawn!

  • Harry Flashman

    “BTW which tradition relates to the Georgian perspective in the current situation the most, and why?”

    It may come as no surprise that I’m 110% behind Georgia if that is in any way helpful.

  • Occassional Commentor

    Harry: Why, and how does it relate to the NI tradition that you identify with?

  • Harry Flashman

    It doesn’t it relates to this picture;

    Cute Polish babe knows what side she’s on

    No seriously, I don’t actually relate to either NI tradition but my politics clearly lead me to support a small democratic state standing up to overbearing aggression from a thugocracy.

    When I see the usual suspects who have supported every thug regime from Stalin to Mao to Castro to Chavez to Saddam line up to tell the Georgians that it’s their own fault for being raped by the Russians I know I’m on the right side in this quarrel.

  • Harry Flashman

    Anyone having further doubts about whose side to support have a look at this;

    Tough wee Georgian cookie

    She keeps on reporting even after being hit by a drunken Soviet sniper who can’t even manage to kill an unarmed woman.

  • King Billy does a great Graham Norton impression

    What about Gerry Adams: “We have a MANDATE…” *affects West Belfast accent*

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “We have a MANDATE…”

    A pedant writes: Hmmm, That may well be a mantra but it’s hardly a cliche. The Oxford Dictionary is your friend.

  • Donnacha

    My favourite ever:

    “I hear what you’re saying but, with all due respect, it’s not exactly rocket science. Basically, at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is you have to be able to tick all the boxes. It’s not the end of the world, but, to be perfectly honest with you, when push comes to shove, you don’t want to be literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. Going forward we need to be singing from the same song sheet, but you can’t see the wood from the trees. Naturally hindsight is 20/20 vision and you have to take the rough with the smooth before proceeding onwards and upwards. The bottom line is wear your heart on your sleeve and, when all is said and done, this is all part and parcel of the ongoing bigger picture. C’est la vie (if you know what I mean).”

  • I’d say the biggest cliche is anything Robert Fisk says about the state of Israel

  • Wub Webmadge

    Cute Georgian