Bowler hats, West Brits and the advantage of keeping your past in another country

Okay, I apologise for yet another post on the McGuinness candidacy (there’s loads of stuff out there). I am trying to do something more useful with my time, honestly. But this from Miriam Lord, is just too good to miss:

That David Norris guy is different. He has been known to wear a bowler hat on Bloomsday and sounds like a West Brit. He deserves to be fully interrogated about his past – which he was recently, with disastrous consequences for his presidential ambitions.

But not Mr McGuinness, who is on a career break from his day job as Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister and seeking to be the Republic’s next president.

His past is another country and it appears he wants journalists from the adjoining jurisdiction to respect this.

Like hell they will. The DFM’s wish to be designated a Special Area of Protection is unlikely to be granted in the coming election. Otherwise, those who would not ordinarily pull their punches might be accused of having an agenda.

And the point of all that satirical levity:

Candidates must face an equal opportunity onslaught and no-holds barred background check, with the eventual survivor deemed equal to the requirements of the highest office in the land.

They know this around Leinster House, where the saga of who will eventually be on the ticket continued to be one the main talking points. Martin McGuinness’s preciousness about his background raised many eyebrows, both on the political and the media front.

She concludes with the DFM’s round turn:

…there are undoubtedly a number of people out there who are very determined to try and undermine my campaign, but I’m not going to get fixated about any of that.”

It was an “off-the-cuff” remark and if he offended people in the media, “it wasn’t generally meant for the media”. Top-ho, so. Pink gins all round!

, ,

  • Mick, the Examiner has also picked up the West Brit line but is being very, very silly:

    “Asked if he had ever shot anyone or at anyone, he replied: “Why should I stand here now and begin the process of saying, ‘here’s what I did in the IRA?’ What would it be tomorrow morning? It would be a headline, so let’s not be silly.”

  • Henry94

    Where did the myth come from that Norris faced heavy questioning from the media about his past? It was widely ignored until his campaign team resigned and even then the media were mostly putting the whole think down to a homophobic conspiracy with the Israelis supplying the ammunition.

    I have no problem with the tough questions being asked of Martin McGuinness but lets drop the pretense that it is normal practice.

  • Mick Fealty

    I agree it’s probably exaggerated. But neither was it quite an overnight sensation.

    The controversy actually lasted from late May to early August when he finally folded. It was an right wing activist blogger who laid the final blow. But, along the way, Mr Norris gave the press most of the ammunition.

    There’s unlikely to be any such unconsidered silver bullets lying out in the open for Mr McGuinness.

  • granni trixie

    Mick: Miriam Lord is my heroine – consistently funny (amusing)about everything and everyone,so no change there then. I thought when I heard MMcG throw down the gauntlet to journalists it would have the opposite effect to that whcih he intended I honestly think he may have been jetlagged. But that does not explain his decision to run,given that he has baggage with the potential to undermine his present identity as peacemaker. Did he weigh up the risks personally? For SF it is a win win situation- raises their profile in Souths consciousness whatever happens. But will he be restored to same position as before? PR is playing a blinder for instance. ‘ ‘Will not comment on his chances’ but does question if his absense and ODowd doublejobbing will slow down progress in decisionmakingat Stormont. His absense will be used as a stick to beat him on his return and serve to undermine claims about his commitment to the peace process now as will how he has now dredged up hurts from the past – hardly healing,strategy is it?.

    On reflec I think he has miscalculated potential personal damage Still, as long as the cause is progressed…..?

  • sonofstrongbow

    It says something about MMcG’s arrogance (if Heineken did peacemakers etc) in the way he reacts to being a legitimate target for the Southern Media’s ASU.

    It’s not the questions that are being asked themselves so much as the fact that they fail to provide him with an opportunity for another self-congratulatory monologue in his ‘peace building’ comfort zone.

    His rattled reactions also says much about the journalistic pussies in NI that he has become accustomed to dealing with. Perhaps a byproduct of the election will be providing local journalists with some training tips from their colleagues south of the border.

    The reaction to the probing in the South appears to be morphing into a bit of a tetchy contagion within Sinn Fein as the Culture Minister loses the tweeting run of herself. You’d have thought she had a ‘civilised’ SPAD to check that sort of thing.

  • Limerick

    I still think that when the dust settles, and people analyse these events in the future, they will see a Gerry Adams masterstroke designed to take the wind out of Marty’s sails.

  • granni trixie

    Limerick:theres could be something in what you.say. What if he egged Marty on, knowing it would end in tears from his own media experience. in the south (outside Louth). Divide and conqueur?
    Also who would have thought that given enough rope Marty/SF would hang themselves early on.Their use of words such as West Brit or gobbshite will be used by opponents to say that MMG would use similar phrases if he were President ,aside from poiticising the role to further the SF project.

  • Limerick


    Adams is a long term strategist, and I’m fairly certain that he has his own eye on the Presidency. Hence his trip to Louth.

    Meanwhile in his absence however Marty has been stealing all the limelight with his stance against the dissidents, and his love in with the useful idiot Latimer etc. Adams even had to make reference in his conference speech to “I haven’t gone away you know.”

    If Adams was the sort of fellow who saw Marty as an alarming threat then what better way of encouraging him to shoot his bolt early than a premature strike at the Presidency?

    A bad tempered Marty makes a fool of himself on a daily basis with journalists and the most despicable aspects of his past are given a fresh airing. He might well come away from the whole experience a much diminished and chastened figure.

    Meanwhile His Gerryness quietly continues to slowly and carefully build up his southern powebase.

    Just a thought.

  • Henry94

    in the south (outside Louth)

    But it was in Louth he ran. And how wrong did the West Brit media get that one?

  • granni trixie

    Henry: I expressed myself badly. What I meant to convey was that as predicted he was popular in Louth . but that as yet has not filtered beyond. There are also stoires waiting in the wings such as that connected to his brotherand his lack of honesty overtmembership of the IRA. It is activists on the ground that are growing the party that and the quest for a FF alternative. Gerry comes across increasingly as charmless outside the heartlands. Martin on the other hand can be charming/media friendly …just not at present.

  • Greenflag

    @ Henry 94 ,

    Well spotted reminder of how wrong the Indie can be whether it be Harris or Drennan . So much for the and I hate to say this the eh ‘impartial reporters ‘

    ‘The Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams is struggling to avoid a humiliating defeat in the constituency of Louth.

    Was Drennan’s prediction before the election . Does anybody know what he wrote after the election .

    This is what the Irish Times reported

    ‘Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has topped the poll in Louth, taking over 15,000 first preferences and securing election on the first count.’

    How could the meeja get it so wrong ?

    And they are endeavouring to do the same with McGuinness .

    I guess they must feel he needs all the publicity he can get so he can come bottom of the poll just like Adams did -mar dhea .

    Does Murdoch own the Indie yet ?

  • tomthumbuk

    I think you’ll find the impressive poll for Adams in Louth was enhanced by Sinn Fein running a single candidate in a PR election.

  • Mick Fealty

    So the Sindo is now ‘the Meeja’? That opinion was atypical of comment at the time if recall correctly. But there’s a fair point to be drawn from its mention here.

    The role of the media should be to question and lay reliable information and insight before the electorate. The Sindo, for all that it is given to bouts of hysteria does regularly carry such insight.

    But in campaigning mode (like the current doomed advocacy of Senator Norris or stamp duty or get the Shinners) it is frequently becomes a tool of that campaign rather than a reliable witness.

    Bottom line is that it is the job of journalists to scrutinise, but it is the electorate who have the final say. But there is nothing wrong with examining Mr McGuinness’s record, or asking him about past actions. Is there?

  • Greenflag

    ‘there is nothing wrong with examining Mr McGuinness’s record, or asking him about past actions. Is there?’

    No there is’nt . As always in politics there is that that was then and this is now conundrum. If the object of the examination is to prevent McGuinness winning the Presidency then imo the examiners had better focus on his politics than on his pre political past else they risk creating an All Ireland ‘hero’ instead of a local NI one (at least to 30 to 40% of the NI electorate).

    ‘the current doomed advocacy of Senator Norris’

    I would’nt rule out the Senator yet as a candidate . Getting elected as President given the number of candidates and independents is not an impossibility either .

    ‘Bottom line is that it is the job of journalists to scrutinise,.

    I’m sure for the more professional investigative sort tha’ts right but in today’s meeja other influences are brought to bear . I suspect that for many it’s just column inches and sales and the editorial line and keeping the ‘career’ on track and not ending up ‘free lancing ‘ in a world where newspapers are in retreat .

  • Greenflag


    ‘they risk creating an All Ireland ‘hero’

    There is not an oversupply of ‘heros’ in present day Irish politics , or in society at large . The former ‘ethical ‘ role model of the RC Church is in disgrace -the banksters are seen as thieves in suits and our elected politicians are seen as virtually powerless and even worse incompetent in their policy choices .

    In this kind of vacuum a presidential election is likely to go anywhere and will be decided no doubt on preferences. McGuiness may not top the poll in first preferences but there is reason to believe that SF are not as transfer repellent as they once were in ROI or even in NI, Finally in ROI there are no 600,000 ‘unionist ‘ votes to ‘worry’ about.

  • “in today’s meeja other influences”

    Surely there were always other influences, Greenflag. Do you think the quality of investigative journalism as well as the quantity has seriously deteriorated during the past decade? With the growth in new media do you think it’s now more difficult for Governments and politicians to censure stories they’d rather were not published?

    Sometimes the MSM is too hasty and publishes quotes from politicians and facts from the PSNI without cross-checking either. In a recent protest at Bushmills a politician claimed that the Moyle chairman didn’t even leave his car and the discrete presence of a riot control unit wasn’t mentioned. My photo was eventually published in a local paper but long after the earlier claim was well embedded in the public mind.

  • Mick Fealty


    There’s two issues at play here which too many people are obscuring.

    ‘The Meeja’ is not the Sindo. Neither (as we very well know) does it have a command and control relationship with the electorate. The electorate will do what it bloody well likes, no matter what anyone in D4 thinks or does.

    It does have a duty of care to scrutinise, that includes the past as well as the plausibility of stated future plans. Alex Massie puts it well:

    “Sinn Fein spent decades denying the legitimacy of the Irish Republic. Now McGuinness aspires to be its titular head and asks all concerned to forget that he was part of an organisation that, tacitly at least, in a state of undeclared war against Dublin as well as, rather more actively, Belfast and London. Perhaps this is only a historical curiosity but Sinn Fein’s hostility to the legitimate government in Dublin is something that merits being remembered too.”

    Perhaps it is just a curiosity. But asking Mr McGuinness about his past and how he came to be where he is today cannot, nor should not as a matter of form, be ruled out of the game.

    The test is not whether if the media mention that past are they pushing an agenda, but whether Mr McGuinness can answer those questions in ways that put some or all of those issues safely to bed.

    Otherwise why not save everyone the trouble and repair to HQ for yet another round of those lovely Pink Gins just as Ms Lord suggests? Top Ho!

  • Greenflag

    @ Nevin ,

    ‘Surely there were always other influences’

    Indeed .

    ‘Do you think the quality of investigative journalism as well as the quantity has seriously deteriorated during the past decade’

    Can’t answer that honestly Nevin but my gut instinct tells me that at least in the areas of political and economic reporting there has been ‘deterioration’. Part of that has been due to the increased competition from the internet communications revolution which is still transitioning to our brave new world . The concentration of ‘newspaper ‘ power in the hands of fewer press barons has also been a factor as ‘journalists ‘ if they break ranks on the editorial line have fewer places to jump to ?

    Of course the new media has compensated as we saw in the recent Murdoch scandal and others in recent years .

    As to where this will lead in terms of a new status quo being established between press barons , new media and bloggerdom I can only quote Mao Tse Tung’s PM Chou En Lai who when asked what the historical impact of the French Revolution was back in 1973 replied ‘it was too soon to say ‘

    As we look around the current political and economic chaos in the midst of globalisation I think ol Chou might answer the same were he around to-day.

    ‘but long after the earlier claim was well embedded in the public mind.’

    Indeed and it brings to mind that sage Confucius who famously stated ‘One man tells a lie -thousands repeat it as the truth . A past master of the art was of course Goebbels who is considered one of if not the founding father of modern mass marketing and the inevitable branding that is part of the package .

    What you call the ‘haste ‘ factor in getting the news out and sales up-has been exacerbated by the advent of the web so -fire -ready-aim is now to be expected almost with the resultant egg on face -as I’ m sure was the case with Drennan of the Indie -being just wiped away with perhaps a blush and a well we all make mistakes shuffling of retreating footsteps.

  • Greenflag

    @ Mick ,

    Massie’s point is fair enough and yes the electorate will end up doing what it likes .

    ‘The test is not whether if the media mention that past are they pushing an agenda,’

    That will be how it will be perceived by a large number of voters .

    ‘but whether Mr McGuinness can answer those questions in ways that put some or all of those issues safely to bed.’

    I believe some of those questions were put to him in Cork and he answered them . That won’t of course be the end of it. . Still McGuinness must have been well pleased with the result of a text poll run by 96FM after the program which gave him 61% support as compared to 15% for Norris and single digits for the rest .

    Based on that kind of response I’m sure McGuinness will be looking forward to more questions about his past and none about his present achievements or the future of his role in SF etc or why of all the candidates he is the right choice to fill this vacancy and follow on from two excellent predecessors ?

  • Mick Fealty

    You’re just persisting in the obscuring of the two issues. It would do certain journos good to care less about how the public is likely to vote and concentrate instead on the issues pertaining to the office.

    And it might help if certain blog commenters began to think about the issues in their own right rather than treat every issue as though it were a subsidiary branch of Psephology. 🙂

    What were the questions/answers in Cork?

  • “denying the legitimacy of the Irish Republic. Now McGuinness aspires to be its titular head”

    <a href=""Alex Massie seems to be missing a rather important point. Martin, like his predecessor, would involve himself in the now customary sleight-of-hand by presenting himself as the President of Ireland and creating the illusion that he is the representative of/spokesman for the Irish people, all of the people on the island. There would be no mention of an Irish Republic, an Ireland-26.

  • Mick Fealty


    I don’t think he has. That would be a tree in another, quite different forest.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m genuinely curious about those Cork questions GF…

  • Can anyone enlighten me as to the meaning of the apparent slur, West Brit?

  • Mick Fealty

    “West Brit, an abbreviation of West British, is a pejorative term for an Irish person, usually from Dublin, who is perceived by his or her countrymen as being too anglophilic in matters of culture or politics.[1]”

    Courtesy of Wikipedia.

  • Cynic2

    So its a term of racist abuse then?

  • foyle observer

    ‘So its a term of racist abuse then?’

    Well no, considering the British people aren’t a different ‘race’ to the Irish.

  • “I’m genuinely curious about those Cork questions GF…”

    Two of the questions and Martin’s reply are in my ‘silly silly’ opening comment, Mick. Check out the Examiner link. I went to the independent republic of Cork for a possible different take on events.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m sorry I asked now. I didn’t think GF could be pointing to that.

  • The Martina Devlin puff piece sits in sharp contrast to the Alex Massie both barrels one! IMHO neither demonstrate much understanding of past events nor the ‘imagined Ireland’ laid out by President McAleese, in whose foot-steps President McGuinness would most likely follow. This imagined Ireland is the island being slowly stripped bare of its Britishness, something that is in sharp contrast to the British, Irish and Other inclusive language of the 1998 Agreement.

  • granni trixie

    As we know, meanings are socially constructed. Well, believe it or not I thought (in the context of living in WB) that “West Brit” was a derogatory term applied to someone from West Belfast who did not see things through a Repubican filter. And with connotations of class about it (whatever wikipedia says)..

  • Greenflag

    @ Mick ,

    ‘I didn’t think GF could be pointing to that.’

    You thought right I was’nt . I had’nt read Nevin’s link and my post above was in reference to the 96 FM program (Cork local) where the text poll results were reported .

    I’d imagine that if McGuinness had polled 11% instead of 61% that the Examiner and the Indo would have had that ‘result ‘ in headlines .

    Having read Nevin’s link and read both Devlin’s hype and Massies’ rant I would suggest that some of Marty’s minders need to remind him that the Republic does not -not yet anyway -include Derry and Belfast and that the use of terminology that might find a responsive chord in many parts of Belfast and elsewhere in NI does not mean it will get a similar response in Dublin or the Republic .

    By all means McGuinness should defend himself against those in the meeja who are no friends of SF but referring to them as ‘West Brits ‘ was a mistake . Its a dated term and in any event most people now understand that in the ‘real world ‘ beyond the presidential hoo haa we are all now Very Very Very West Germans or French or Dutch 😉

  • Greenflag

    addendum ,

    There are others of course who might unkindly suggest that we are really North West Greeks or Italians or Northern Spanish or Northern Portuguese as we teeter on the edge of monetary and financial armageddon ;)?

  • Reader

    foyle observer: Well no, considering the British people aren’t a different ‘race’ to the Irish.
    And therefore, by definition, the Irish can never have been victims of British racism.
    However, if racism is defined through the mind of the perpetrator, or through the eyes of the victim, then British/Irish racism can exist. Either way round.

  • “does not mean it will get a similar response in Dublin or the Republic .”

    Why not, Greenflag? This ‘imagined Ireland’ stuff from that other Northern republican, Mary McAleese, seems to go down very well in the South and, not least, amongst the diaspora.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    ‘Why not, Greenflag’

    In the words of our Justice Minister -Alan Shatter quoted in Brussels -it’s not appropriate .

    Mr Shatter was quoted as stating that Mr McGuiness was not an ‘appropriate ‘ person to be President of Ireland . He was not questioned on whether or not Mr McGuinness was an ‘appropriate’ person to be DFM of Northern Ireland .

    I guess we’ll have to wait to see how the shat hits the fin as the campaign goes on . It’s looking like there is going to be no shortage of manure flinging in this campaign . Well I suppose it could be worse -at least they’re not throwing bombs at each other .

    Still if more that 50% of the electorate can be bothered to even vote it’ll be an achievement and the lower it is the more it will favour SF and the independents.

  • Greenflag

    As to Mary McAleese’s

    ‘If the men and women of Ireland’s past could choose a time to live, there would be a long queue for this one. It is far from perfect but it is as good as it has ever been. Even more importantly it has a huge as yet untapped capacity to be better still. Whether the future lies before us or behind us is our choice. We have too often ransacked the past for ammunition with which to booby trap the future’

    2003 Charlottesville -Virginia

    She got that much right . And in the larger scheme of things the current economic malaise will also be overcome and hopefully the younger generation will learn that just because one wears a striped business suit or a clerical collar or carries a crozier doesn’t mean one speaks the gospel much less lives and practices what it preaches . Ditto of course for those who wear balaclavas .

    Caveat emptor as always.

    Yes it’s looking like Mary Davis for me now I wonder what odds I can get .

  • Greenflag, as I’ve already pointed Mary’s context is the island, not the Irish Republic.

    Martin has opted for a very chancy slogan:

    Don’t take our word for it.

    See and hear what others are saying about Martin McGuinness for President.

  • [contd]

    “The next President will have to give leadership to the Irish people through one of the most difficult periods in our history. The President will lead the Irish nation as we mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising and must also lead a debate on our country’s future.

    As Uachtarán na hEireann Martin McGuinness will work for the reunification of Ireland. He will stand up for Ireland. He will be a president for all the people.”

    I did mention the significance of 1916, the ‘imagined Ireland’ stuff but I confess to opting for Gerry instead of Martin …

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    Island or Irish Republic or Republic of Ireland or Ireland nobody bar semantically or legalistically inclined is going to care a jot . Nice slogan and not one that any other candidate could pull off with any credibility bar perhaps Mary Davis .

    The President cannot by law get involved in party politics so perhaps Marty has’nt read the job description yet . No doubt if he gets elected he’ll be appraised of the contents which could lead to constitutional fireworks of an intensity not seen since FG’s ‘Bats Donegan ‘ was described as thundering disgrace ‘ by O’Dalaigh many moons ago .

    BTW I still believe your fears over 2016 are exaggerated and no the world will not end in 2012 because of some long ago Mayan prophecy . We know this because we have the word of the great man himself Patrick who promised us that because we became Christians without killing a single martyr unlike the heathen Saxons or the Germans who even ate a few missionaries the good Lord has promised us in his charity that instead of setting fire and brimstone and Lucifer upon the Irishat the end of days he will instead ‘drown us all ‘ 7 years before he lets loose fire upon the world . You have been warned .

    I don’t believe the good Lord exempted Ulster or Northern Ireland from the all encompassing mass drowning and I doubt if said Lord has been keeping up with the constitutional and historical goings on since those times .

    Anyway I’m investing in an Ark and have measured out the wood as per the instructions but I’ll be damned if can get anybody to tell me what a cubit is ?

  • When I first visited London on business back in the late 60s, I was amazed at the number of men wearing bowler hats on their way to work. Is that still the case today? Wiki says that it is rarely seen today on urban professionals.

  • Greenflag

    added ,

    Of course that drowning could be read by the ‘interpreting experts and bibliophilistines or annals readers as being metaphorical and not literal which would make a change from the more calvinistic literalist ideologues . So the ‘drowning ‘ might be by ‘debt ‘ and not to death except by debt which of course gives a more immediate relevance to Patricius’s promise .

    On the other hand he was only a West Brit anyway and whats worse a Romanised one too and we all know what a bunch of softies that lot were when push came to shove . They became too fat and way too soft and corrupt under Roman rule and forgot that ‘money ‘ can buy protection for only so long and the new Praetorian Guards will soon forget who hired them and will take all they can get away with and more besides .

    And in consideration of the above remarks I may have to revise my assessment of your dire predictions and hasten with speed and hire a few more ship carpenters just in case its a case of apres Easter 2012 la deluge .

  • “BTW I still believe your fears over 2016 are exaggerated”

    The aftermath of 1966 wasn’t exactly a bed of roses, Greenflag. I just hope the various political leaders bear that in mine as preparations are made for the centenary.

    When I predicted that Gerry would run for the Aras I suggested that 1916 would have been a factor in the decision; I was surprised that so many folks were surprised that SF would enter the race – with a high profile candidate to boot. Even though Martin would obviously attempt to follow in Mary’s linguistic foot-steps those big boots are proving to be a bit of a liability.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The aftermath of 1966 wasn’t exactly a bed of roses, ‘

    For which I maintain that the then Unionist government and it’s previous governance of Northern Ireland played no small part in fostering the events which led to the eventual abolition of Stormont for some three decades .

    2016 is not 1966 . In Northern Ireland there is no longer a Unionist one party majoritarian state which can do whatever it likes . Unionism is now fractured into two main parties with a resurgent AP and an outlier TUV . Nationalism has changed it’s leadership profile with the SDLP now being very much the also rans and falling further behind . Whatever it’s democratic deficits and inefficiencies the power sharing ‘works’ and the GFA continues and imo is not seriously threatened by any remnant dinosaurs on either side .

    In the Republic 2016 might as well be 2226 for all that people are concerned . There are as you may have noticed much more pressing concerns the main ones being economic . In a world where we do not know what may/can happen in the aftermath of a probable Greek default anything I suppose is possible . But on balance I’d expect that by 2016 the Republic’s economy should be well on the mend -and hopefully by then world wide banking reforms will have been implemented .

    I was surprised at SF’s move and I never gave serious consideration to an Adam’s run . From a political party perspective it makes perfect sense for SF for it keeps the momentum going for them following a relatively successful for them Dail election and they have managed to ‘upstage ‘ the only other ‘republican ‘ party FF who are so scared of further humiliation that they would not even put up a candidate . Now that the race looks like including Senator Norris and Dana that decision is looking like winning them the ‘ coward of the country ‘ award by still outraged electorate .

    New boots -big steps as the saying goes . And McGuinness will have to be careful not to come across as trampling around in Doc Martins . At the same time remarks like those of Gay Byrne and Alan Shatter will only imho help McGuinness . Byrne in particular using the ‘hate’ term went seriously off the rails and Shatter should have known better than to term the candidacy ‘inappropriate ‘ while at the same time lauding McGuinness for doing a very important job in Northern Ireland .

    As I maintained earlier people in Ireland (ROI) did not remove FF because they suddenly developed faith in FG and Labour . In the current atmosphere in a seven person race a win by either McGuinness/ Norris/ Mitchell / Higgins /Davis cannot be discounted .

  • vanhelsing

    Good piece Mick. Was thinking of doing something similar probably just not as cohesive:)

    Up in ‘dur north’ the Shinners cry agenda [usually Unionist] when pursued by the media over something like a terrorist background. Those less media savvy will repeat the lines,

    ‘we don’t live in the past’ or use the phrase
    ‘peace process’ frequently in one sentence even when out of context.

    The bright ones will deflect the question altogether.

    It’s great that Marty [and SF] are getting the scrutiny they so deserve. My only fear is that maybe any publicity is good publicity:)

    Perhaps some of my Southern friends could enlighten me as to how good/thorough the press are down South?