Morten Morland’s ‘The Troubled’

Morten Morland on Northern Ireland, Brian John Spencer

I need to say from the outset that the cartoon above is not mine, but the work of Norwegian cartoonist Morten Morland (@mortenmorland) who produces political cartoons for the London Times, The Spectator and many more esteemed publications. To my mind it captures absolutely the cause of the mindless violence. What does that say about our leadership if even a Norwegian can see this?

Below is also a cartoon I did recently which pales in comparison to the work of Morland, but which hopefully carries a message of sorts.

Ian Paisley, Brian John Spencer

Another great cartoon by Morten from a few years ago below:

Morten Morland, Northern Ireland

, , , , ,

  • michael-mcivor

    Octopus Paisley-

    ” What does that say about our leadership if even a Norwegian can see this? “-

    It says the Norwegian knows who pays him-no cartoons about the invading brit army firing missles at men women and children in afganistan-no-this bought artist is more worried about a few rock throwers in Belfast-

  • FDM

    Nothing new about this kind of bought and paid for stereotype.

    Here are some those same talented people did earliler…

    Cue Take Hart music.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    M Mc
    wow. An article about something northern Ireland based on a northern Irish website and you have to bring up the British army shooting people and/or the label of ‘bought’.

    How then, is it possible to do a NI based article without mentioning Afghanistan? I was thinking of doodling something about the history of Irish kilts, should I throw in a couple of pictures of pashtun villages in flames?

  • FDM


    Don’t you actually prove Michael’s point by reacting rather hysterically.

    You are happy to see stereotype imagery which brings us all down to the lowest common denominator recreational rioter but are unhappy at the reference to negative connatations related to British intervention in Afghanistan?

    Eye widener. Game, set, match Mike.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “but AG, given how many people the occupying forces have murdered in the six counties it’s only fair to highlight their crimes…” – MOPESPEAK AUTO-REPLY No. 1638

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Fdm, that reply wasn’t for you. Please hold…

  • michael-mcivor

    Am Ghobsmact-

    The London rags want to portray the Irish as a fighting race while their english friends and neighbours kill the people of a distant land-its the English who are the babarions and who the world are still trying to understand-

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    So, that was his point eh?

    And my point was about the negative connotations of the British Army in Afghanistan as opposed to what appears to be a shameless whataboutery?: “why is some one not mentioning the injustices of themuns?…”

    What YOU posted was a list negative stereotypical imagery, the Norwegian’s drawing hit upon a point that was very topical not so long ago, ‘recreational rioting’.

    You may see a stereotype that is applied to us all whereas I see a point of view that suggests that all may not be as it appears (such as all rioting being carried out for the sake of the love of violence and sheer hatred), which flies in the face of stereotypes.

    Thank you umpire, you have showed your impartiality, I only wish I could say “you can’t be serious!?” but alas, I fear you really are.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    M Mc

    The English may wish to do so. As do many Irish ex-pats.
    Double edged sword.

    FDM threw you a bone there by portraying it in a different light. Thank you for confirming my disappointment that it was just a ‘yabba daba doo, any anti-brit comment will do’ opportunity seized.

    Please man, just try to see what the Scandinavian chap might have been saying, don’t just break the glass raise the alarm.

    Are you saying that he DOESN’T have a point?

  • FDM

    @Am Ghobsmacht 13 August 2013 at 1:15 pm

    “shameless whataboutery?”

    Isn’t the Norweigians cartoon a bit of a cheat? Note the hoodie reference in the cartoon! The London Riots, involving real britisher types had 3100 arrested. Whereas on Friday we had 8 arrested of irisher/nordie-irisher/britisher types [delete as appropriate]. Bit rich in that context yeah? Or is that shameless…ho-hum.

    “recreational rioting”. Absolutely not these are deeply held beliefs related to the Athboy conspiracy [ask Nevin I haven’t got a clue but I am convinced anyway] and “R’ Kultoor” being destroyed by the IRA. The outworking of those deeply held beliefs is to throw anything remotely heavy at the cops/locals/tourists/passers-by/cars/trucks/vans/bars/shop-windows/APNI/Lord Mayors.

    I personally think the small merry band of rioters, to quote Seannie, are the “Pits of the world” and can’t identify with them on any level.

    On the Afghanistan [implied Iraq] point. I think the true fall-out of those deployments will be felt in GB for maybe two generations and that the conversation about the rights and wrongs [probably more here] is not yet begun. Satire is usually at the forefront of this.

  • I started typing ‘recreational rioting’ into Google and it helpfully offered Belfast, Northern Ireland and Ireland in that order. Have we cornered the market?

    The phrase ‘recreational rioting’ was made in Belfast, to describe the traditional outbreak of street disturbances once the summer school holidays begin.

    After a third consecutive night of trouble, Fr Donegan said: “I pulled stones out of the hands of children.

    “It was a bit like a Euro Disney theme park for rioting. It was ludicrous.” .. Mark Simpson, BBC 2010.

    From this earlier study:

    Such trouble is frequently an adjunct to the rising tensions of the ‘marching season’, but in many areas it also has its own dynamic born of boredom, frustration and alienation from the larger community. This paper explores the nature of interface violence that is generated by young people; it discusses the nature of interfaces and the particular problems faced by young people in such areas. It describes, in their own words, why interfaces are attractive places for them and why outbreaks of sectarian violence occur with such regularity at specific times of the year.

  • Mick Fealty

    Lads, go and look up the term ad hominem, and then make your pitches as to why you should not receive a Yellow card.

    This is not a news item, it’s what happens every summer, only every summer is it spreading its chaos further and further afield.

    It’s just one form of anti Agreement politics getting enacted in the only place that many in marginal communities feel they can, which is on the streets.

    It doesn’t look so good either from a distance, or up close.

  • FDM


    “Lads, go and look up the term ad hominem”

    Is an ad hominem comment.

  • @mcivor,

    “-its the English who are the babarions [sic]”

    You should go explain this to Richard Haass–it’s all the fault of the English. You can reduce the historical, sociological, political, and economic problems of Northern Ireland all to it being the fault of the English. I’m glad to see that the Republican Movement’s World War II alliance wasn’t completely wasted–they picked up a few points in analysis from the master.

    Incidentally, if you are going to insult other people you really should learn how to spell.

  • tacapall

    What is the problem with your site Mick, its become like an MI5 censored fortress, unable to log in, comments not being posted. Why have a site like this if you dont want people actually posting on it.

  • tacapall, the site is sometimes a bit slow but I’ve got no real problem logging in or posting.

  • tacapall

    Nevin its impossible to log in from an IP address in Belfast you have to redirect it via America or Russia, surely the absence of many regulars would suggest something is amiss.

    What I want to say and tried several times is –

    The cartoon is misleading and somewhat redundant when you consider recreational rioting is not really recreational when its organised by paramilitaries and older sinister types who have an agenda other than keeping kids occupied when they’re bored. There was recreational riots but few and far between these days, in fact some community activists or should I say ex paramilitaries use the recreational rioting excuse in a bid to cover up the involvement of the political party they belong to encouraging youngsters on to the streets then turning a blind eye and pleading ignorance when the inevitable happens and a riot ensues. Pretending its all down to boredom is just as ignorant as assuming all riots are recreational

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Look at the age of those involved in rioting at Woodvale and Royal Ave., you’d have to say that this ain’t recreational rioting by youths, but paramilitary-organised and largely carried out by (invariably overweight and drunk) men in their 30s or above. Yes, a lot of youths are used as fodder – particularly by Matthews out in east Belfast – but more recently that hasn’t been the case.

    Just look at the guys (and gals) dancing:

    Bald, overweight, middle-aged men for the most part.

    I have to agree with McGuinness’s analysis: this is UVF-organised with the acquiescence of the Belfast-based Orange Order.

    And if I hear another unionist politician say that ‘the violence was wrong, but…’ I may vomit.

  • babyface finlayson

    Sitting in Belfast logged on no problem.
    “Pretending its all down to boredom is just as ignorant as assuming all riots are recreational”
    Sinister types may be behind the rioting but the youthful participants would not be taking part if it wasn’t fun.
    When was the last riot here over the lack of jobs?

  • mac tire

    tacapall: “What is the problem with your site Mick, its become like an MI5 censored fortress, unable to log in, comments not being posted. Why have a site like this if you dont want people actually posting on it.”


    Tacapall, Mick said he was doing some work on it a few weeks ago. He has been made aware of the issues. It has yet to be fixed or, even, addressed properly.

  • tacapall

    “Sinister types may be behind the rioting but the youthful participants would not be taking part if it wasn’t fun.
    When was the last riot here over the lack of jobs”

    Babyface we seem to difer on what the definition of youthful participants is but from what I know of recreational riots it usually consists of kids and young teenagers a bit too young to be employed but ripe for those with a sinister agenda to exploit. However if your talking about the knuckledraggers frequently exploited by the Orange order and the UVF then yeah I would agree with you that they get a kick out of using violence, its monkey see monkey do with those neanderthals, however what the lack of jobs has got to do with recreational rioting is beyond me.

  • Greenflag

    Mr Morland is just walking in the steps of others . Here’s that great American iconoclast Mark Twain on the subject of Belfast , Religion and Bricks approx 150 years ago following a short visit where he witness the flying religiously persuasive brick phenomenon .

    ‘Belfast is a peculiarly religious community. This may be said of the whole of the North of Ireland. About one-half of the people are Protestants and the other half Catholics. Each party does all it can to make its own doctrines popular and draw the affections of the irreligious toward them. One hears constantly of the most touching instances of this zeal. A week ago a vast concourse of Catholics assembled at Armagh to dedicate a new Cathedral; and when they started home again the roadways were lined with groups of meek and lowly Protestants who stoned them till all the region round about was marked with blood. I thought that only Catholics argued in that way, but it seems to be a mistake.

    Every man in the community is a missionary and carries a brick to admonish the erring with. The law has tried to break this up, but not with perfect success. It has decreed that irritating “party cries” shall not be indulged in, and that persons uttering them shall be fined forty shillings and costs. And so, in the police court reports every day, one sees these fines recorded. Last week a girl of twelve years old was fined the usual forty shillings and costs for proclaiming in the public streets that she was “a Protestant.” The usual cry is, “To hell with the Pope!” or “To hell with the Protestants!” according to the utterer’s system of salvation.

    One of Belfast’s local jokes was very good. It referred to the uniform and inevitable fine of forty shillings and costs for uttering a party cry–and it is no economical fine for a poor man, either, by the way. They say that a policeman found a drunken man lying on the ground, up a dark alley, entertaining himself with shouting, “To hell with!” “To hell with!” The officer smelt a fine–informers get half.

    “What’s that you say?”

    “To hell with!”

    “To hell with who? To hell with what?”

    “Ah, bedad, ye can finish it yourself–it’s too expansive for me!”

    I think the seditious disposition, restrained by the economical instinct, is finely put in that.

    [Samuel Clemens] Mark Twain’s short story: “Party Cries” In Ireland

    Plus ca change 🙁



    Site Copyright 2011
    Privacy | Disclaimer | Contact Us | Link To Us

    Browser Security Warning!
    Check If Your Browser Needs To Be Updated In Less Than 3 Seconds!
    Browser-Check.comAds by

  • “approx 150 years ago following a short visit”

    Greenflag, I’ve had a quick browse but I can find no mention of Samuel Clemens ever having been to Ireland.

  • aquifer

    Rather than recreational rioting could this disorder be promoted by drug dealers and protection racketeers to get back at the police and keep them from bearing down on criminality?

    Answers on a postcard from somewhere far far away.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    The Mark Twain Visit Conspiracy could yet rival the Athboy Conspiracy

  • Kevsterino

    “Rumors of my involvement in the Athboy Conspiracy are greatly exaggerated” ~Mark Twain

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    Here’s an excerpt from the full link;style=letter;brand=mtp

    “We had a very disagreeable trip from Glasgow to Belfast, we were all except Mr Clemens wretchedly sick, Susie and all. I think we suffered more in that one day than in the ten days crossing the Atlantic.
    We reached Belfast about eight in the evening and before we had finished our supper a Mr Finlay son-in-law to the Mr Russel that we stoped with near Melrose called, he was a delightful man and did do everything he possibly could to make our stay in Belfast pleasant, his wife was absent from the city but we dined with him and through him were invited out to dinner twice beside to a most delightful house, an Irish gentlemans of great wealth and with a most charming home and delightful family—(OLC to Olivia Lewis Langdon, 31 Aug and 2 Sept 73, CtHMTH)
    On 1 September the travelers proceeded to Dublin, where they stayed at the Shelbourne Hotel for several days (22 and 25 Sept 73 to Brown; London Court Journal, 6 Sept 73, 1055). From there they evidently traveled by ferry directly across the Irish Sea to Liverpool, and then south less than twenty miles to Chester, described in Baedeker’s Great Britain “

  • Greenflag

    For those interested in Mark Twain historiography and letters etc

  • JoeBryce

    Many, many thanks for the Twain! Truly wonderful.

  • Thanks, Greenflag!

  • babyface finlayson

    I greatly enjoyed his novel about the ancestor of our former finance minister; ‘Pudd’nhead Wilson’, a man wrongly considered a nitwit by his peers.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    I’m sorry man but that’s some serious side stepping you’re doing there.

    Going back to the original point you said that I’d missed M Mc’s point, kindly awarded him the ‘game, set and match’ and interpreted what his point ‘really’ was and consequently gave him a baton to run with which he promptly returned along with a reiteration of his point which was suspiciously similar to the point that originally interpreted.

    Case closed I would have thought.

    With regards to the hoodie depiction being a cheat, well there’s a number of answers:

    a/ Yes
    b/ No
    c/ It’s irrelevant

    or for those who wish to loook into things way too much

    d/ perhaps as a UK-centric piece from some one who works/worked for a UK-centric readership then it is perhaps a perfect choice of garment given the uber-British leanings of most of the rioters recently and a clever nod towards the ‘Hoods’ of Northern Ireland.

    Unlikely, but I don’t know him or what he knows.

    I’d go for b and/or c myself, but, what does it matter?

    Even IF he wasn’t highlighting recreational rioting or thug boredom or delinquency tedium or whatever explicitly, it doesn’t mean he’s bereft of a point altogether does it?

    If you REALLY REALLY wanted to have the last word so badly then you could have hoisted me by my own petard in that I made a differentiation between ‘the love of violence’ and ‘recreational rioting’ when the two would obviously over lap.

    A slo-mo camera replay would have highlighted that one umpire.

  • FDM


    The use of the hoodie garment is no accident. It was clearly a deliberate choice.

    “Hoodies” in our collective part of the world are more associated with the south of England than anywhere else. The infamous first shopping centre hoodie-ban was in Kent, if I recall. Didn’t they run a London-centric campaign to “save the hoodies”?

    So the cartoonist is pointing a finger at what would immediately be identifiable as a inherently English/South of England phenomena.

    The colours used are red, white and blue in the graphic so he is certainly and deliberately again intimating a “British” identity. The figure drawn is rather ugly, very pale, young and rather gormless looking, which may indeed imply a judgemental comment by the cartoonist himself.

    I think the best I can say of the cartoon is that it is a “bit rich” in the wake of the widescale London Riots, to which our current disturbances pale in significance.

    However I can’t complain about him making comment about our home grown peaceful rioters, creating mayhem on our streets with no rational defence for doing so. How accurate it is though given that those dancing on the bonnets of Land Rovers were in their 30s,40s and 50s. These are the hoodies parents?

    You blew-up because the first poster stretched [and it was a stretch] to mention the Afghan debacle. Whataboutery aside, if you don’t want to feel precious about these things then there are things to do about. The military can’t be accused of misbehaving in sovereign countries if they don’t invade them.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    Such is UK culture, if it is big in the South East then it’ll permeate through the nation.

    Mr Norwegian may have known that once you go North of the Watford gap the hoodie is replaced with the trackie and cap.

    He may not have.

    Either way every one in the UK recognises the hoodie. Ergo, ‘point made’.

    With regards to being ugly and pale, I’m afraid (and I would sincerely LOVE to be corrected on the matter) that is the image of Irish and Brits abroad: Pale and ugly. I’ve embraced this stereotype given my plug-like features. Only with less grace and eloquence than Dylan Moran.

    London may be no stranger to a riot or two but it is a Metropolis. WE have all the Police water cannons…

    Maybe I did blow up but I’m sick of UPC types paying attention to what people DON’T say as opposed to what they do say (as hypocritical as this particular subject matter may be with respect to highlighting such an irk).

    M Mc did it this time. Not half way through the debate when people are reverting to the usual arguments and stances and accusations of hypocrisy but straight off the bat.

    It was uncalled for, unhelpful and symptomatic of everything we do wrong in Northern Ireland (I say that even though I’m abroad…)

    Mick may use words I don’t understand (incidentally Mick, I apologise for my MOPE AUTO reply) but I gather he must get quite annoyed about how off tangent we go.
    I am more guilty than most regarding this but I at least wait a while till some one draws first blood, I don’t just lay into the topic straight away.

    THAT’S what annoyed me.

  • FDM

    @Am Ghobsmacht 14 August 2013 at 12:12 pm

    “With regards to being ugly and pale, I’m afraid (and I would sincerely LOVE to be corrected on the matter) that is the image of Irish and Brits abroad: Pale and ugly.”

    How very dare you! Our home grown beauty Ruth Patterson is a gorgeous Orange colour…

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    This is the first and last time I’ll say this on Slugger, so pay attention:


    I feel dirty…

  • Greenflag

    With a brick in one hand and a brick in the other hand ne’er shall the twain meet 😉 apologies for paraphrasing Mr Kipling

    Morten Morland’s cartoon contains some harsh truth as do most political cartoons . If I were from NI either tribe I don’t see how I could complain .

    The whole rioting , territoriality , lampost flagging exuberance and bricking your neighbour may seem to be just an NI thing but it has it’s parallels elsewhere although the territory may be on an entirely different scale .

    The Russians recently stuck their flag directly under the North Pole some 4,000 feet underwater – The North Pole and surrounds is now Russian ?

    The Americans put a flag on the Moon -The Moon is ergo American .

    The Norwegians ( our cartoonists countrymen ) placed the Norwegian flag at the South Pole (Amundsen ) much to British disappointment .

    So there you have it . The Russians have the North Pole , the Americans the Moon and the Norwegians the South Pole .

    And the Germans ? They apparently own all the deck chairs on the Costa Del Sol as they rise early and claim ownership of said deck chairs by draping their towels on them before breakfast while other tourists sleep

    No such worthy (worthless ?) endeavours for the Northern Ireland ‘tribes’ They appear to value lamposts , kerbstones gable end murals and of course ‘bricks ‘ for their social connection and cross community interaction qualities 🙁

    There are those who even have a favourite brick and they’re not even from Belfast 😉

  • Kevsterino


    The moon is American ;o)

    We just haven’t figured out what to do with it.

  • Greenflag

    Yet , Kevsterino , yet 😉

    I’m reminded of the old Cold War Polish joke (1969 c)

    Polish boy to Dad :

    ‘Is it true that our Russian brothers have landed on the Moon ‘?

    Dad : ‘Yes son ‘ The Hammer & Sickle now waves proudly over the Mare Serenitatis ‘

    Polish boy :

    ‘And is it true that people can now live there father ?

    Polish Dad : (with sad worldly shrug of shoulders )

    Not any more son , not any more 😉

  • Kevsterino

    Of course, not all Americans agreed on the priority of the ‘Space Race’.

    But considering all the offshoots of NASA technology, on balance I think it was a bargain.