Northern Ireland and anthems

Last Friday, the News letter front page was taken up with UUP MLA Basil McCrea’s suggestion that the IFA should consider developing a unique Northern Ireland anthem at international games. The DUP, predictably, came out shooting from the hip. The problem with their reaction, is that it was typically arrogant, assuming that as the DUP have a view on a matter, that must surely be the view of all right thinking Protestants of Ulster. They’re the all consuming DUP after all, all other views are neo-Lundy nonsense! Problem is, they don’t speak for Northern Ireland football fans, even if they claim they do.

Today’s Newsletter carries several comments from the Our Wee Country forum (a forum I haven’t been able to get into all weekend). Some of the comments are below the fold. Notable is the NL’s overview “The overwhelming feeling expressed in more than 90 messages posted about the topic was that finding a Northern Ireland anthem could benefit the team. ““I heard Poots spouting some (rubbish) about how Northern Ireland fans wouldn’t stand for a change — how dare he speak for all fans? Why not ask them first?”
“As for Poots, a very arrogant response really.”
“For those who think it will diminish their ‘Britishness’ watch how hard Sinn Fein fight against this and ask yourselves why,”
“Mr Poots is more and more increasingly out of touch with grassroots unionism…I resent the fact that he would label anyone that disagrees with him as a lesser unionist.”
“Me being proud of being Northern Irish and wanting us to use a Northern Irish anthem doesn’t make me any less British than you, or devalue my unionism. And not all Northern Ireland fans are unionists anyway, you fool.“
“Poots’ reaction was totally predictable. Its just a stupid ‘I’m more British than you’ points scoring exercise.”
“It’s a small step in raising this important issue and it deserves discussion at all levels, no matter the outcome.”
“Good on you Basil. DUP/Sinn Fein axis not in favour — what a surprise.”
“This would be a very positive step in my eyes. The one and only chant I hate hearing at Windsor is the old ‘no surrender’ as it offends many of our own players. I am pro-union but that is neither here nor there and has nothing to do with supporting all 11 players wearing our green shirt.”

I used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t.

Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday