“I have no problem with the burning of a tricolour on top of a bonfire”

DUP MLA Paul Girvan (PG below) did an interview with Frank Mitchell (FM) this afternoon where he expounded upon his ideas about bonfires and burning the Irish tricolour. I’ve included a transcript below, rather than comment, other than he may have got this memo, but he didn’t get this one (and he probably burnt the one from Chris).  That first link brings you to the full audio.

FM: Ballyduff is only one of many bonfires which may or may not have an effigy, do you have an opinion on whats going on the top of a bonfire?
PG: Well, I might well have. At an early part of the meeting yesterday I thought I might be on top of the bonfire … heh heh … I do honestly think that it is vitally important that our culture … and I come from a society that this is part of their culture, to have an eleventh night bonfire. And yes, what goes into that bonfire is important and yes, some people will feel it is perfectly alright to put a flag of a foreign nation which at one time, and lets be honest about this, until relatively recently they were claiming they had some right over Northern Ireland…
FM: Do you think it is okay?
PG: I have no problem with the burning of a tricolour on top of a bonfire, lets be honest … heh heh … I am going to make not apologies for that but, you know, that’s the flag of a foreign country as far as I am concerned….
FM: Can you not look at it another way, Paul, you’re an MLA at Stormont…
PG: …yep….
FM: … you are forever liaising with TDs in Dublin, this foreign country that you talk about, cross-border trade and we could list the links between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland from now to the ten o’clock news….
PG: …we have very strong….
FM: …cross-border trade, cross-border travel, the inter-action, the family ties etc etc, but yet and all as a public representative you think it is okay to burn their national flag on the bonfire at the bottom of your street or wherever it is?
PG: Can I say, I have seen this go on now and this activity is being blown out of all proportion. There are bonfires in August as well where the union flag is burnt and such like…
FM: Is that acceptable?
PG: It can be seen to be provocative. It can be very much seen to be provocative. Yes, we are moving forward. I am just saying it does happen on bonfires and on many occasions … its not … its … the people who built the bonfires are not necessarily … they’re saying this is not something that we want to see ruling over us and many other message. If conversations take place, I think there is an opportunity for people to learn about each other’s culture and where things come from and why certain things happen. And yes, if it causes offence, to debate that in a proper forum with those who are involved and I think a lot of young people, yes they need to see there is a differing opinion and they have to respect differences. And that is something that comes about through maturity. And I am saying that, until relatively recently … North… the Republic of Ireland did have a claim over Northern Ireland in relation to Articles 2 and 3 of their own constitution. So I am saying that that is something that yes some people hark back to and still see. You know those are points that still need to be brought forward and explained to people so that you see it. As I say there are a lot of things, you’ll end up with a Lundy being burnt on top of the bonfire. Depending on who the builder is it all depends on what way it is going and the way it goes and the way we have and many people say, you know, the celebrations in England, there would be bonfires in England, in October, and those bonfires, some of the bonfire put a Guy on it, what they call a Guy, because it is Guy Fawkes. Those are some the points, people say, what was that all about? It was about him trying to bring down our mother Parliament. You know, those are some of the areas that need to be discussed and brought forward. But lets look at the positives here. We have had an agreement within this community of where we are moving with this bonfire. It has been good for the local community and also the … I.. F… the guys who were involved in the bonfire have moved dramatically and all tyres have been removed from the bonfire. And can I say that is a great. And those promises that were made yesterday have to be upheld and kept and delivered.

FM: Yes

PG:That’s what has to happen.

FM: As a local representative you managed to make progress there. As a member of the largest party in our government and at a time when are talking about a shared future and a shared space. People would maybe surprised to hear you say that it is okay to burn the flag, when you could be leading from the front and say you were sensible enough to move the bonfire from the properties and sensible enough to take the tyres out of it for the health and safety of the local community. And now, as we look to the future, why not stop burning the effigies and make the bonfire a more welcoming environment.

PG: That is something we will be taking a lead on and moving ahead on, eh, but we never, you know, its extremely difficult sometimes to put forward that argument whenever people see their culture being eroded day and daily. They start to fight back and, can I say, part of the reason the bonfires are so larger this year is as a results of the flags protest and the decision that was made in Belfast city hall. And that has had a knock-on effect within our area and my community. And I think, you know, that has to be recognised. And there are those who need to realise just how dangerous these things can be and how that can happen. It doesn’t necessarily have an effect … you know … just on one section of the community. In fact … and now we are dealing with the aftermath of that where we have things at a more tense with bonfires than I have ever seen.

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  • GavBelfast

    Thank you, SK!

    Will watch now and report back ….

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Morpheus: Say you and me walked into a London pub which has this in the window and we both ask for a pint do you think you would get served and I wouldn’t?
    http://www.the-latest.com/sites/default/files/images/577339689_f1942fb410.jpg

    I’m not Irish so I must be a black, right??

    Or a dog???

    :confused:

  • GavBelfast

    These threads end-up becoming SO tangential (and I don’t mean the link to Basil McCrea’s address to an SF get-together).

    How did we get from crap about the pathetic burning of flags, etc, on bonfires to harking-back to an apparent slogan seen in a few parts of London 40-50 years ago?

    Oh, and fair-play to Basil McCrea, and to his audience for receiving him (apparently) generously.

  • Morpheus

    Confused? Shocked.

    Like it or not, you would’ve been just as thirsty as me because you are regarded as a ‘Paddy’ all over the word just like the rest of us who hail from The Emerald Isle. Tiz a beautiful thing comrade – we all have more in common than you think.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Got a few friends over from London for The Twelfth next week. They can certainly distinguish between their fellow countrymen in NI and the pretend Irish who also live here.

  • tacapall

    “Like it or not, you would’ve been just as thirsty as me because you are regarded as a ‘Paddy’ all over the word just like the rest of us who hail from The Emerald Isle. Tiz a beautiful thing comrade – we all have more in common than you think”

    Yep the wee bubbles we live in share a lot in common, Drug addiction, alcoholism, poverty, suicide, unemployment, anti social behavior, organised crime, gangsters masquerading as community activists, armchair generals willing to fight to the last drop of everyone elses blood, knuckle dragger politicians and then only thing the masses disagree in is what someone else tells them to disagree with. Yep we’re all Paddies at the end of the day.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi Ulster Press Centre, they’re BNP then?

    But as I said above, identity is something we make a choise about. The choise of a situation where you are continuing to remain as an exile in the land you were born in and live in is a weird choise, but entirely your own.

    Try learning Irish — bring some fun into yoyr life! Where the English language is an abstract, objective language that distances, Irish is immediate empathic and concrete. And very funny. Thats why the Falls is buzzy and Sandy Row is almost empty.

  • GEF

    “Try learning Irish — bring some fun into yoyr life! Where the English language is an abstract, objective language that distances, Irish is immediate empathic and concrete. And very funny. Thats why the Falls is buzzy and Sandy Row is almost empty.”

    Sure SeaanUiNeill, Irish is so funny very few if any of the 50 million Irish Americans living in the US speak or can read Irish yet they all speak, read and write the English language in their every day use. I wonder why?

  • Reader

    SeaanUiNeill: Try learning Irish — bring some fun into yoyr life! Where the English language is an abstract, objective language that distances, Irish is immediate empathic and concrete. And very funny. Thats why the Falls is buzzy and Sandy Row is almost empty.
    But is there a language that will fix unemployment or anti-social behaviour?

  • Ulster Press Centre

    SeaanUiNeill: Hi Ulster Press Centre, they’re BNP then?

    One’s the son of a judge and the other works for the Mayor of London. Certainly not BNP cannon fodder.

    Indeed, one of them is actually a catholic – you’re going to struggle to comprehend that one, aren’t you??? 😉

  • tacapall

    “Indeed, one of them is actually a catholic – you’re going to struggle to comprehend that one, aren’t you”

    Not really UPC you can be a unionist yet still be a republican, I’ve met Protestants who were members of the PIRA just like I know there were Catholics in the UVF. Crazy I know but fact.

    By the way, which mayor of London does your friend work for ?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi GEF, just another example of how the homogeneous Anglo-centric culture the U.S. inherited from the slow burn imperialist expansion of eighteenth-century Whig England has insisted on “there can be only one” final solution thinking for absorbing the hungry masses. Have you read John Gray’s “Black Mass” (in English) which is about this apocalyptic “end of days” thinking the Anglo-American cult of lassie faire capitalism is rigid with?

    Reader, while the Irish language may not actually bring our now totally lost jobs back from China and India, we can at least have some fun in our inevitable poverty, rather than rooting around for a way to coax the Big Boys Out There into giving us their charity. The best things in life, we are told, are actually free, and without neurotically sucking up to the Anglo-centric Globalisation process for our poor quality bread and boring circuses, someone might just begin to think about creating a “real” local economy for local people that would give us some economic dignity, and some organic food. And try learning Irish, you’ll soon notice how the rich empathic qualities of the language starts to make you (and others) less anti-social with your fellows. Join the party!

    Just for fun sometime, ask your local friendly SF MLA how to pronounce their party name. The “F” is actually pronounced “H”, so they should say “Shin Hí-En.” Do not mistake politics for culture, and never mistake SF for Irish speakers, although I know of many decent exceptions to this rule.

    And Ulster Press Centre, my own Jewish blood is delighted that you are not bringing more BNP members into our already heady mix of animosities. By your description I assume that both boys are Conservatives. So their insights will be unaffected by any kind of politics, then, excellent.
    I’ve no problem with English Catholics, met lots (usually either Lite or Right Conservatives) when I was living in London. I’ve occasionally even been taken for a Catholic Priest by them when, all in sinister black, I boarded the no.14 bus just across the road from Brompton Oratory.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi tacapal, and you don’t have to be an Irish nationalist to be a Republican, I know of lots of Unionist Republicans, an under current among the Despotic Usurious Prats (DUP) themselves.

    I guess the Gauleiter of London the kid worked for was the Blond Bombshell rather than Ken”Goebbels” Livingstone, but I imagine that Ulster Press Centre will fill us in on that.

  • Reader

    SeaanUiNeill: someone might just begin to think about creating a “real” local economy for local people that would give us some economic dignity, and some organic food.
    “someone might…” – some local person might…
    “…economic dignity” – yep – you need a local job creator for that.
    “…organic food” Back to the land, boys. I’ll have a word with Translink to lay on some buses.
    Why do you need local jobs, by the way? I have a one hour commute each way, and I only have the English language to help me while away the time.
    SeaanUiNeill: And try learning Irish, you’ll soon notice how the rich empathic qualities of the language starts to make you (and others) less anti-social with your fellows. Join the party!
    It’s what they do on the way home from the party that is tagged as anti-social. But it’s all just a bit of fun, hey? Still, it’s good to know that the Irish language buzz in West Belfast has fixed matters to your entire satisfaction. I suppose it’s only monolingual English speakers who ever cause trouble (or who ever complain about a wee bit of fun)

  • SeaanUiNeill

    A Reader,a Mhic Usail, tá buíochas orm gur scríobh tú chugaim.

    Thanks! Good expansions, and thanks for offering to talk to Translink!

    And your one hour commute is going to become a days journey each way on foot when peitreal (petrol) costs £38.00 a litre and only MLAs can travel by car. But perhaps you can find a jaunting car?

    Without local job creators we’re all screwed anyway. The petrol WILL run out and Globalisation WILL whither, after its flattened our economy and sucked it dry, and then we will still need to feed and clothe ourselves, as Primark and Tesco will be just a pile of breeze blocks. And being Norn Iron, we will need some realistic heating. Chase up some of David Crookes’ excellent Slugger postings on all this…….

    And we will, both traditions, be left alone together in the dark and cold.

    Some time back, exasperated beyond words, a friends father argued that we should take all the troublemakers from every side and stick them on an Island. Suddenly he realised: “The Plantation of Ulster.”

    But its still not too late to learn Irish and discover a real culture and access one of the great literatures of Europe, standing comparison with those of Greece and Rome. And all for free…. léitheoir, le meas.

  • Reader

    SeaanUiNeill: And your one hour commute is going to become a days journey each way on foot when peitreal (petrol) costs £38.00 a litre and only MLAs can travel by car. But perhaps you can find a jaunting car?
    Half the commuting time is on foot already. The rest is by train. I hope they can be converted to use Fermanagh gas.
    SeaanUiNeill: But its still not too late to learn Irish and discover a real culture and access one of the great literatures of Europe, standing comparison with those of Greece and Rome. And all for free…
    How would one discover the difference between a real culture and a false one? And won’t access to a real culture interfere with all of the partying, especially since I already have a job and a family and hobbies?
    SeaanUiNeill: And all for free…
    Gutenberg project? Get downloading…
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=irish+language

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Bravo! Reader, very green, very commendable! But the trains still use fuel so let us hope that our generous masters on the hill begin to subsidise the fuel that our public transport uses when it becomes a luxury item.

    For my comments of the Fermanagh Gas rush check out the “OFMdFM uses the new Entreprise Zones to effect another power grab on Planning….” Slugger thread. And the chilling report another posting links to:

    http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/sss/UniAberdeen_FrackingReport.pdf

    No-one can forsee the effects of fracking on pre-existing fisures……

    But at least we will not have to watch important people like Cameron and Putin brave the nitrogen rich waters when Fermanagh sinks under Lough Erne………

  • tacapall

    “I guess the Gauleiter of London the kid worked for was the Blond Bombshell rather than Ken”Goebbels” Livingstone”

    Hi Sean I was referring to the fact that there are two mayors of London, the current mayor of the independent state known as Inner City London Micheal Bear or the current mayor of London, Boris Johnston.

  • Reader

    SeaanUiNeill: No-one can forsee the effects of fracking on pre-existing fisures……
    If petrol goes up to £38 per litre as you suggest, then Fermanagh will be completely fracked, whatever is in the report.

  • Delphin

    The summary of the EPA report.
    Seaan has a vivid imagination as befits someone who has spent a lifetime in the film industry.

    Summary
    Published peer-reviewed data suggest that there is a low and probably manageable risk to
    ground water from fracking, whereas the potential impacts on the atmosphere from
    associated methane emissions and the risks of increased seismicity are less well known.
    However, the total number of published, peer-reviewed scientific studies remains low, and
    it is therefore prudent to consider and research in detail the full range of possible risks from
    fracking operations, including their magnitudes and uncertainties, and the potential
    environmental impacts of these risks in the exploitation of shale gas. The published reports
    (MIT, 2011; University of Texas, 2012) and those due to be published by the US EPA, a new
    EU Working Group on Shale Gas Regulation, and the International Energy Agency, will
    together provide a richer and more robust foundation for informed decision making in
    Europe. Much of the coverage to date in the traditional media and on the World Wide Web
    is not peer-reviewed and is often misinformed. Critical evaluations of shale gas fracking and
    the potential impacts on the environment must be based on peer-reviewed, scientific
    analyses of quantitative data. Agencies responsible for regulating or monitoring the
    environmental impacts of shale gas development need to be at the forefront of this effort
    (SEAB, 2011a). The design of any national regulatory framework to protect the environment
    from hydraulic fracturing operations should start with the supranational European Union
    directives and recommendations from working groups in progress.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi tacapall, thanks for explaining ‘two mayors of London, the current mayor of the independent state known as Inner City London Micheal Bear or the current mayor of London, Boris Johnston”

    Having watched many Lord Mayor’s processions with the opening of Pope’s “Dunciad” running in my head, and having become so used to the idea that the mayor of Inner City London is a cardboard cut out, I did not think of Sir Michael. Thank you for reminding me of him.

    I note that he is another developer who has insinuated himself into the well paid crust of the public sector. Yet another trough feeder whose needs I will have to worry about……

    And Reader, Fermanagh will begin its own local re-play of those dramatic earth crust-shift cave-ins in Roland Emmerich’s “2012” soon after they start testing the drill holes. None of us will require transport, jobs or even a formal burial. The fracking oil men will have saved us having to worry about our futures. As the French say “no more bad teeth…..”

    So perhaps don’t worry about learning Irish….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And not just film, but Academia Delphin! I’m used to reading academic papers, but perhaps you have no experience of their use of weezle words, and do not know how to read what is being said “between the lines” in the report on issues such as, as you quote: “the total number of published, peer-reviewed scientific studies remains low, and it is therefore prudent to consider and research in detail the full range of possible risks.” This translates as no one knows what will actually happen when we start fracking at any Fermanagh site until its too late. Unless academics are paid to fully research the underground geology for the next twenty years…which will not happen. I have good, responsible friends in the oil industry, and hear daily that upper and middle management are looking for a free hand.

    And I imagine that you do not live in Norn Iron if you can quote the phrase “national regulatory framework to protect the environment” with a straight face. But perhaps one requires a vivid imagination and a black sense of humour to engage with the reports dry information in order to assess this kind of thing. And how anyone sane can talk about a “regulatory framework” in a week when important planning decisions locally have been given to two men who are quite inexperienced in Geology, who have been given plenary powers at the behest of free market requirements

    As an Italian Cellist once told me, “these scientists think that we do not understand them because we are involved in culture, its they who become stuck in their own limiting specialisations….”

    I repeat, posters, don’t stop at the precis Delphin so kindly posts here, read the report he gave links to elsewhere.

    We need to address energy needs, but not without considering everything that may actually be involved.

  • tacapall

    “Having watched many Lord Mayor’s processions with the opening of Pope’s “Dunciad” running in my head, and having become so used to the idea that the mayor of Inner City London is a cardboard cut out, I did not think of Sir Michael. Thank you for reminding me of him.

    I note that he is another developer who has insinuated himself into the well paid crust of the public sector. Yet another trough feeder whose needs I will have to worry about”

    Indeed Sean we can thank those who supported the glorious revolution and William of Orange for that entity, lets just call it by its proper name, the headquarters of corporate UK, does the remembrancer not represent this entities interests in parliament, who elects that geezer.

    “There are 25 electoral wards in the Square Mile. In four of them, the 9,000 people who live within its boundaries are permitted to vote. In the remaining 21, the votes are controlled by corporations, mostly banks and other financial companies. The bigger the business, the bigger the vote: a company with 10 workers gets two votes, the biggest employers, 79. It’s not the workers who decide how the votes are cast, but the bosses, who “appoint” the voters. Plutocracy, pure and simple”

    Better make that trough feeders you have to worry about Sean.

  • tacapall

    “I repeat, posters, don’t stop at the precis Delphin so kindly posts here, read the report he gave links to elsewhere.

    We need to address energy needs, but not without considering everything that may actually be involved”

    An interesting article on the subject Sean. –

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/14/big-oils-war-on-the-sun/

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thanks for the link Tacapall!

    I came across Solar panels when I was editing a film about Mexico and Solar panels for Unesco about twenty years back. The panels could offer active sensitivity under 80% cloud cover. Ideal for our own grim wee province. Now if every house in NI could be fitted out at Government expense, as they did in parts of Greece, then fuel poverty would be over. But centralising energy helps keep all abstract power centralised too. It wouldn’t do for us to be too independent, would it?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thanks Tacapall, and as an avid fan of the late Breandán Ó Buachalla’s “Aisling Ghéar” (in Irish, sorry Ulster Press Centre) the role of the Dutch dwarf (with an army comprised of the Dutch, who had been the national enemy of forty years standing for the British and Irish, as few now remember) and the Whig criminals and quislings of the so called “Glorious Revolution” is long well known to me. My family has well remembered Jacobite ancestors, as described elsewhere on Slugger.

    But yes, the modern English Capitalist system starts at 1689 as year zero. As an historian, I’ve noted that all those British merchants whose diaries span the period are suddenly moving their funds from actual merchandise to stocks and shares, and new-fangled government bonds issued to fuel a continental war. Poor James II was actually deposed for refusing to consider the participation of the small armies of his three kingdoms in this unnecessary war. Thanks again for pointing this City of London connection out!