“rather than laying blame along sectarian lines..”

The Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities were listening to the NI Assembly debate on Monday on racist and sectarian attacks, and I don’t think they were very impressed. From the BBC report.

“The focus of Monday’s assembly debate on recent racist and sectarian attacks was condemnation rather than concrete strategy and practical action,” the council said. “Treating the attacks as sporadic incidents fails to recognise wider more ingrained societal problems. “MLAs who play the blame game serve to further inflame the sectarian divisions in our assembly.

“There is a need for the Northern Ireland Executive to take responsibility and implement the promised programme for government to tackle sectarianism and racism, rather than laying blame along sectarian lines as to who is the more racist portion of the community.”

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  • villager

    What does a statutory body think it’s doing telling democratically elected legislators what they should be saying during a debate? They should wind their neck in.

  • joeCanuck

    Freedom of speech perhaps?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    villager: “What does a statutory body think it’s doing telling democratically elected legislators what they should be saying during a debate? ”

    Pointing out the the “democratically elected legislators” are more interested in laying blame than solving problems isn’t telling them what to say… It’s a matter of pointing out the emperors are naked.

  • “implement the promised programme for government to tackle sectarianism and racism”

    But if the underlying cause is the constitutional conflict and the associated ‘if you’re not one of us’ mentality then NICEM may be misdiagnosing the condition and prescribing the wrong medicine.

  • villager

    My point is not about the rights or wrongs of the argument, it’s just ridiculous that politicians should appoint quangos to chastise them or to tell them what to think.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Nevin: “But if the underlying cause is the constitutional conflict and the associated ‘if you’re not one of us’ mentality then NICEM may be misdiagnosing the condition and prescribing the wrong medicine. ”

    Not sure I agree, in so far as all they’ve done thus far is state the obvious — the political class is more interested in laying blame on “the other side” than they are even in discovering what the problem is, let alone solving it. In fact, in the broad strokes of it, I doubt there is any way to say NICEM is wrong.

    villager: “My point is not about the rights or wrongs of the argument, it’s just ridiculous that politicians should appoint quangos to chastise them or to tell them what to think. ”

    Actually, technically speaking, that is the main reason they appoint quangos, villager — research and report back. Besides, the politicians created the quangos, so they have no one to blame but themselves if the quangos point out that the politicians are feckless.

  • villager

    Research and report back? If that’s what they’re supposed to be doing then I think they are definitely overstepping the mark when commenting on legislative debate. You are suggesting a master/servant relationship. You have a point about the politicians creating them, but I would prefer ‘research and report back’ functions to be performed by select committees, etc. who are directly accountable to the electorate they serve.

  • Ciaran

    Villager said: “What does a statutory body think it’s doing telling democratically elected legislators what they should be saying during a debate? They should wind their neck in.”

    Actually, NICEM is not a statutory body nor a quango. It is a voluntary organisation which acts as an umbrella group for a range of charities and other voluntary organisations which campaign on issues relating to black and ethnic minorities. If it was to “wind their neck in” on these issues then it wouldn’t be doing its job.

  • villager

    Ok Ciaron I stand corrected, I was thinking of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, should’ve checked that one out.

  • Dread, I wasn’t commenting on the blame game.

  • Swerve

    Actually, NICEM is not a statutory body nor a quango. It is a voluntary organisation which acts as an umbrella group for a range of charities and other voluntary organisations which campaign on issues relating to black and ethnic minorities. If it was to “wind their neck in” on these issues then it wouldn’t be doing its job.

    Fake charity(s)?
    http://fakecharities.org/

    Most of them are these days.

    Personally I despise governments trying to change peoples’ opinions. Not that I have a thing about race or sectarian issues in particular. I despise them telling us to exercise more, brush our teeth, unplug our electrical appliances with a “bedtime routine” or be concerned about global warming. It’s not the government’s job to form public opinion. It undermines the whole power loop that is the basis of a democratic society.

    I’m all for NICEM saying what they like if they really are a body funded from donations by private citizens though.

    What is this “programme for government to tackle sectarianism and racism” though? Can’t really pass judgement until I know.

  • 6countyprod

    Talking about playing the blame game, when are we going to have a post giving people the opportunity to withdraw their libellous accusations against Iris Robinson concerning her views on homosexuality? It’s interesting that Slugger is studiously ignoring the findings of the report.

    Assembly Ombudsman Tom Frawley said: “I have carefully considered the [Radio Ulster] transcripts and it is my view that much of the language that gave rise to the complaint was introduced to the discussion by the interviewer rather than by Mrs Robinson,” he said.

    Are the Slugger contributors who posted blogs on Robinson now willing to withdraw their premature judgements and apologise. I won’t hold my breath.

    To give Iris the last word, she said: “People know and understand that I was asked to make a comment on my religious beliefs and I did so. It was never my intention to cause hurt or offence to any person. The complaints that were levelled in my direction were quite clearly politically-motivated.”

  • kensei

    DC

    Not sure I agree, in so far as all they’ve done thus far is state the obvious—the political class is more interested in laying blame on “the other side” than they are even in discovering what the problem is, let alone solving it

    20 racist attacks a week. 90% of them in loyalist areas. Are we avoid stating the obvious in order to avoid “playing the play game”? The problem is simple: there are some racists in those areas causing problems. Police them until they get an expectation that if they do it, they just go to jail and the families remain there. If it is expensive, we should make sacrifices elsewhere. The people who most need to take moral leadership on the issue is obvious.

    This is vastly more important than whatever social engineering document that people want to produce that starts from a premise that people are fundamentally racist.

    If necessary, pair it with something Nationalism has a bit of a problem with, like pairing Orange Halls. But to avoid what is staring you in the face is to be caught in the sectarian vortex. Assiduously avoiding a “blame game” or coming out with platitudes such as “one is bad as the other” does not help. It is superficial congeniality.

  • Framer

    After a 40-year territorial war where both nationalities ended up murdering and destroying wholesale it is no wonder that incomers arouse the ire of the retired foot soldiers and their sons.

    More so on the Protestant side as it is their territories being changed most by migration.

    Shouting racism with vacuous condemnations, is as silly as holding in-your-face rallies in those areas.

    Five teenagers throwing bottles have proved themselves more powerful than the Prime Minister and all the charities and quangos with their unending or unpublished strategies.

    They have driven 100 Roma into a panic-stricken return to a country which is horrified to see them back.

    By the way I rang the police special number on their ‘attacks’ leaflet last night to report more arson in the area and the CID officer said HE HAD NEVER HEARD OF ANY ATTACKS ON ROMANIANS but someone would ring me back

    They didn’t.

  • Driftwood

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8130510.stm

    Looks like it’s not’loyalists’ involved in racist and sectarian attacks.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    kensei: “20 racist attacks a week. 90% of them in loyalist areas. Are we avoid stating the obvious in order to avoid “playing the play game”? The problem is simple: there are some racists in those areas causing problems.”

    Mayhap, but obviously someone had to get his “themmuns” dig in…

    Kensei: “Police them until they get an expectation that if they do it, they just go to jail and the families remain there. If it is expensive, we should make sacrifices elsewhere. The people who most need to take moral leadership on the issue is obvious.”

    Sure, Kensei… that might even work, if the police hadn’t been politically corrected to the point of uselessness. Likewise, consider who’s allegedly running this circus of a rump-statelette. Leadership, moral or otherwise, isn’t exactly in surplus supply within the Executive.

    Kensei: “If necessary, pair it with something Nationalism has a bit of a problem with, like pairing Orange Halls. But to avoid what is staring you in the face is to be caught in the sectarian vortex. Assiduously avoiding a “blame game” or coming out with platitudes such as “one is bad as the other” does not help.”

    You got wholly backwards, Kensei. By seeking to lay blame as a part of describing the problem, you guarantee that things like the burning of Orange Halls thrown into the teeth of what passes for debate. Thus “engaged,” the discussion will break down into an argument over which side has the biggest bastards (from the above, we can guess your answer to this question) and the problem will be lost in the recrimination and whataboutery.

    Don’t underestimate the power of a few platitudes and greasing the skids. Leaping and screaming “THEMMUNS DONE IT!” isn’t going to accomplish anything. Finesse has its place in politics. The other possible problem with your thesis, beyond assuming that anyone in government has “moral leadership,” is that Unionism is going into a particularly schizophrenic period — they are the largest grouping for the foreseeable future, but risk becoming more internally fractious. The threat of the TUV will increase Unionist inertia – they’ll not be eager to kick their voters in the teeth on the haranguing, moral or otherwise, of at least the SF wing of the Nationalist grouping, not at least without excising their pound of flesh.

  • Framer

    CITY CHURCH ATTACK AND QC COLTON’S SON

    Time for your concession then, Neil. (SEE BELOW)

    • Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Protest for the travelling people

    Why would a clutch of hoodies from the Holy Land break the windows of a nearby Protestant church?

    Because they were racists and did not like the church helping Romanians?

    Because they were sectarians who did not like Protestants worshipping so close?

    Because they wanted the Village loyalists to get the blame?

    The police know it was entirely motiveless (i.e. non-racist) so we can sleep more easily but does the PSNI understanding of motiveless mask one or more of the above?

    Posted by Framer on Jun 24, 2009 @ 11:35 AM

    • Framer,
    pointless speculation. The perpetrators will face court, and we will know who they are. Although I find it amusing that faced with a choice between a certain Loyalist community doing what it does best, and a conspiracy by the dirty fenians you choose the conspiracy.
    Personally I’m going to speculate that you’re talking shite, that they are the usual suspects doing what they have done in the past. If I’m wrong I’ll concede that on a post on this thread, how about it, will you do the same? If it walks like a duck etc.
    People from the Village should bear in mind that we are all conditioned by the things we experience and witness from birth on. So some of the kids who witnessed the braying mob trying to move the catholics out of their area will now accept that as normal behaviour.
    You have to be careful with these things, cause the kids of today are the thugs of tomorrow and if you keep acting like an utter arsehole in front of ‘em it might come back and bite you on the ass. One day when the Catholics and the immigrants have moved on, then what will they do? Just stop? Or move on to that old bastard who shouted at us for kicking a football through his window?
    Posted by Neil on Jun 24, 2009 @ 01:17 PM

  • Driftwood

    I hope there is a statement from Queens Students union condeming the racism and sectarianism endemic among its nationalist students.

  • For Cod and Bluster

    I propose the transient muck savages of the Holylands are deported to Romania, with Roma coming the other way to take their place. A win-win for everyone (except the Romanians, perhaps?)

  • kensei

    Drift

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8130510.stm

    Looks like it’s not’loyalists’ involved in racist and sectarian attacks.

    Statistically meaningless and tedious whataboutery to try and obsure the real issue. If 18/20 attacks are in loyalist areas, that still leaves two outside. There are racists elsewhere, and racist attacks elsewhere. Nor are all or indeed most of the people in those areas racist. It’s a small number. But if you are looking where to invest resources for the biggest bang for buck, there is only one answer. One attack is too many. But there are many more than one a week at the moment.

    DC

    Mayhap, but obviously someone had to get his “themmuns” dig in…

    I do not give a stuff whether it is themmums or ourwans doing it. Ourwans have enough of our own problems and ourwans might well be as bad presented with more opportunity. I care about it getting solved. Which means you have to point out where the current problem is, rather than pretend it is otherwise.

    I’d much prefer it was a Unionist commentator saying this. But in abscence, I feel soemone has to say it.

    Sure, Kensei… that might even work, if the police hadn’t been politically corrected to the point of uselessness. Likewise, consider who’s allegedly running this circus of a rump-statelette. Leadership, moral or otherwise, isn’t exactly in surplus supply within the Executive.

    The police have been shit on a number of issues, and laying it on “political correctness” is too easy. A strong chief constable could force the issue. On leadership, if SF or the SDLP call for the obvious they will get accused of playing the blame game. They probably should do it anyway, to try and force the issue. But it’s Unionists that have to step up.

    Merely lamenting the uselessness of politicians isn’t much use, either. Even dumb animals can be coerced and incentivised to jump through the right hoops. Pols are no different.

    You got wholly backwards, Kensei. By seeking to lay blame as a part of describing the problem, you guarantee that things like the burning of Orange Halls thrown into the teeth of what passes for debate. Thus “engaged,” the discussion will break down into an argument over which side has the biggest bastards (from the above, we can guess your answer to this question) and the problem will be lost in the recrimination and whataboutery.

    I think you are confused. I’m not laying “blame”. I do not care about “blame”. I am simply pointing out, that given the reported statistics, the problem is concentrated in particular areas. The solution needs, well, focused on those areas. I would much prefer that single issues were dealt with one at a time and on their own merits, but others seem to want to play this game so if it makes them happy, go for it. I simply want soemthing done.

    And for the record, I do not engage on anything as crass as “Who’s the biggest bastards”. I try and look at single issues and assess on those issues. On some Nationalism is ahead, on some they are well behind. I see no need to try and apply to assign soem matrix as to who is worse.

    Don’t underestimate the power of a few platitudes and greasing the skids. Leaping and screaming “THEMMUNS DONE IT!” isn’t going to accomplish anything. Finesse has its place in politics.

    I fall to see how accusing people of sectarianism, (which you’ve implictly done here, by the by, and I simply won’t have it) or playing “blame game” politics is anything other than completely crass. Finnesse has its place, but we’ve too much of finessing stuff out of existence.

    The other possible problem with your thesis, beyond assuming that anyone in government has “moral leadership,” is that Unionism is going into a particularly schizophrenic period—they are the largest grouping for the foreseeable future, but risk becoming more internally fractious. The threat of the TUV will increase Unionist inertia – they’ll not be eager to kick their voters in the teeth on the haranguing, moral or otherwise, of at least the SF wing of the Nationalist grouping, not at least without excising their pound of flesh.

    It isn’t a thesis. I have said no more than

    1. The vast majority these attacks are in loyalist areas
    2. Its a small number of people doing it
    3. Unionist politicians have the greater influence and therefore the greater moral obligation
    4. It needs policed more than strategised

    That’d just be TRUFAX, there

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei: “do not give a stuff whether it is themmums or ourwans doing it.”

    And, yet, you felt obligated to point out that 90% of the problem occurred on “themmuns” patch…

    Kensei: “The police have been shit on a number of issues, and laying it on “political correctness” is too easy. A strong chief constable could force the issue. On leadership, if SF or the SDLP call for the obvious they will get accused of playing the blame game. They probably should do it anyway, to try and force the issue.”

    Couple things — number one, the political correcting that PSNI received has left them in the position of coming along behind the mobs with a broom, rather than getting out in front of them. Second, the politicians aren’t going to countenance a strong chief constable — he or she might actually expect to be able to do their job and point out that the emperor has no clothes. Lastly, the SDLP has some ground to talk, but carefully — careless “themmuns” talk would sink any effort.

    Kensei: “I fall to see how accusing people of sectarianism, (which you’ve implictly done here, by the by, and I simply won’t have it) or playing “blame game” politics is anything other than completely crass. Finnesse has its place, but we’ve too much of finessing stuff out of existence.”

    And you mock piety about that “you were only trying to accurate” by tossing out the 90% stat (any support for that, btw?) is just as amusing.

    Kensei: “1. The vast majority these attacks are in loyalist areas
    2. Its a small number of people doing it
    3. Unionist politicians have the greater influence and therefore the greater moral obligation
    4. It needs policed more than strategised”

    1) And stressing this point, as you feel obligated to do in your wholly “non-sectarian” fashion, is going to guarantee that this issue will be lost to sectarian infighting, Kensei.

    2) Assumes facts no in evidence, but a not unreasonable assumption.

    3) Politicians with “moral obligations” in N.I.?? Hell, politicians with morals in NI is enough of a laugh, let alone “moral obligations.”

    4) Too bad the police have had their effectiveness “strategised” out of them as a part of the political conflict. The politicians of both sides have clearly demonstrated that they will sell the PSNI down the river for a hooray from their masses. When the pols get the spine to tell the hard-men of the street that they’re on their own and back the cops when they butt heads with the criminals and the mobs, then you’ll get some police worthy of the title.

    That is the REALPOLITIK of the scenario.

    Kensei, we want the same thing in the end sum. The problem with your argument is that demands far exceed any realistic expectations of the parties you expect it from, based on prior performance. The cops aren’t going to climb out on the skinny end of the limb where the pols can cut them off. The pols aren’t going to grow a spine overnight and suddenly start doing what is right and just.

    In this environment, you’ll get far more by “strategising” and leading them to believe that solving the problem is A) good for their political future and B) their idea than presenting it in the fashion that you are suggesting.

  • Roman E Lowse

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8130510.stm

    We must keep the decadent sons of our decadent leaders in check.

  • kensei

    DC

    And, yet, you felt obligated to point out that 90% of the problem occurred on “themmuns” patch…

    Yes. The alternative is sweeping generalisations. About everyone here. Plenty have done it already.

    Couple things—number one, the political correcting that PSNI received has left them in the position of coming along behind the mobs with a broom, rather than getting out in front of them.

    Nonense. I witnessed a riot on a teaxi home on Saturday night. Apparnetly it is a regular occurence. It does not need political action to deal with it. A proactive police force could.

    Second, the politicians aren’t going to countenance a strong chief constable—he or she might actually expect to be able to do their job and point out that the emperor has no clothes.

    Futuring.

    Lastly, the SDLP has some ground to talk, but carefully—careless “themmuns” talk would sink any effort.

    Yes, heaven forbid we point out where the problem is.

    And you mock piety about that “you were only trying to accurate” by tossing out the 90% stat (any support for that, btw?) is just as amusing.

    It isn’t mock piety, and this is just man playing.

    The figure was cited here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/06/northern_irelands_dark_side.html

    There is no source there, but I take it is accurate. I haven’t seen it challenged.

    1) And stressing this point, as you feel obligated to do in your wholly “non-sectarian” fashion, is going to guarantee that this issue will be lost to sectarian infighting, Kensei.

    I’m no one, dude. If people can’t deal with it it’s their bloody problem.

    2) Assumes facts no in evidence, but a not unreasonable assumption.

    I’d lay money I’m right, given it is true everywhere else.

    3) Politicians with “moral obligations” in N.I.?? Hell, politicians with morals in NI is enough of a laugh, let alone “moral obligations.”

    Failure to live up to them doesn’t negate their existence.

    4) Too bad the police have had their effectiveness “strategised” out of them as a part of the political conflict. The politicians of both sides have clearly demonstrated that they will sell the PSNI down the river for a hooray from their masses. When the pols get the spine to tell the hard-men of the street that they’re on their own and back the cops when they butt heads with the criminals and the mobs, then you’ll get some police worthy of the title.

    I don’t believe in head bashing polciing either. It is counter productive. But I think you can be effective without bashing too many heads. You just need patience and good courts.

    That is the REALPOLITIK of the scenario.

    Things can change.

    Kensei, we want the same thing in the end sum. The problem with your argument is that demands far exceed any realistic expectations of the parties you expect it from, based on prior performance. The cops aren’t going to climb out on the skinny end of the limb where the pols can cut them off. The pols aren’t going to grow a spine overnight and suddenly start doing what is right and just.

    They would, if more people spoke up and more pressure was applied.

    In this environment, you’ll get far more by “strategising” and leading them to believe that solving the problem is A) good for their political future and B) their idea than presenting it in the fashion that you are suggesting.

    What have endless documents and strategies and the like done for us? More peace lines. If it is everyone’s problem it is no one’s problem. I don’t want a consultation or a document. I want soem concrete action – coordinated help for immigrants, bad people policed right. This should not be hard.

  • Driftwood

    A start could be made here kensei.

    If Niall Colton is convicted of this sectarian attack, he should go to jail for a very long time.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    kensei: “Nonense. I witnessed a riot on a teaxi home on Saturday night. Apparnetly it is a regular occurence. It does not need political action to deal with it. A proactive police force could.”

    Sure… and if the politicians on both sides didn’t use the police as a convenient whipping boy, a pro-active police force might come into being.

    kensei: “Things can change.”

    What was that about futuring?

    Oh, and “butting heads” is a metaphor and not to be taken literally.

    kensei: “What have endless documents and strategies and the like done for us? More peace lines. ”

    As much as it galls me to admit it, the strategies have brought N.I. to the brink of have “normal” urban problems, as opposed to terrorism and tit-for-tat violence. They’re not quite there yet, but you can seen normal discontent through the bonfire smoke and hear it over the wheezing about marches.

    Once the alligators are gone, we can discuss draining the swamp.

    kensei: “I want soem concrete action – coordinated help for immigrants, bad people policed right. This should not be hard. ”

    You want cheese on that pipe-dream, to be delivered on a unicorn?

    In a normal city, the politicians don’t sell the police down the river for a cheap pop from the crowd. And I agree, bad people should be policed right — but the pols would rather let them belly up to the gravy-train.

    The current crop of political leaders for the current parties in power — both sides — are generally tainted by prior events. We’re starting to have the political “die-off” as the old guard moves on. We’ve got a generation of deadwood — proteges of the current SOBs to either vote out or bring to heel before “the people’s business” can hit the agenda.

    The shame of a democracy is that the people get the leadership they deserve.

  • New Blue

    Could I possibly raise a concern resulting from the arrests in relation to the attack on City Church.

    This is just another example of the ongoing terrorising of non-student residents of the Holylands.

    We talk about bigots and racists attacking people because of their nationality, terrorising them in their own homes and acting like pond scum low lives.(all of which I find disgusting and unacceptable, regardless of which community they come from.)

    The same has been taking place for the last number of years in South Belfast, families and OAPs terrorised in their homes by drunken, disrespectful ‘hoods’ bent on causing as much damage and destruction as they can.

    Difference is that these ‘scum’ are students, the children of our great and our good – so it’s just spirited student pranks.

    Yes maybe the issue is different in the areas that have suffered 40 years of deprevation and isolation, maybe the anger is stronger, maybe those who carry out these attacks in these areas are the ‘scummiest of the scum’.

    But if we cannot police our future doctors, barristers and, God forbid, politicians, what chance do those who will never achieve employment, let alone greatness, have of ‘seeing the light’?

  • Driftwood

    New Blue

    [See commenting policy – edited moderator]

    Where do they get this hatred from?