Beating ourselves up about ourselves. “Are we normal yet?”

The Oliver versus Kane #DeathMatch (Quintin’s Tigger to Alex’s Eyore) from Tuesday night’s Evening Extra… Stick with it, it starts to get interesting about half way through…

  • I’m not familiar with these Pooh references so I turned to Wiki:

    Tigger’s personality in the cartoons is much like his personality in the book. He is very confident and has quite an ego, he often thinks of himself as being handsome, and some of his other comments suggest he has a high opinion of himself. ..

    On another occasion, Tigger attempted to mimic a superhero, “The Masked Offender,” bringing mayhem to the Hundred-Acre Wood.

    I don’t get the connection with Quintin; I can’t imagine him doing a piece of performance theatre in the grounds of Stormont in the style of a loyalist or republican paramilitary ‘defender’ 😉

  • ‘Are we normal yet?’

    Nope, never will be, largely due to the divorcing of democracy from geography back in, oh, 1920 something.

    I do like how Quintin after Alex’s usual rant says, ‘but seriously…’, that’s the real point here, it’s hard to take someone like Alex seriously, he’s a serial pessimist and psychotically opposed to SF.

    Instead of dealing with a party that will not be going away anytime soon, instead its the usual ‘we need to move to a post GFA position’ or something to that effect. I do like the comparison with the ConDem coalition and how they get on with things, but I do note that these parties do recognise the others mandates and respect them and when they make deals they stick with them in the main.

    Quintin was able to list all of the achievements that have happened in the North over the past 16 years, and the place has changed to be unrecognisable and for the better, Alex merely moans away, points to the top of a hill and is usually never to be found anywhere near it.

    Interesting listen though, aside from Alex’s usual moaning which is tiresome in the extreme, together with his use of exclamation marks in his pieces, they simply read as if they were put together by some 16 yo.

  • Its a legitimate question.
    Are we normal….although the implication that “we beat ourselves up” loads the question.
    Alex Kane is certainly looking at the negatives. i tend to agree with him. While there is obviously a lot to be said for 1998 and all that…including a Peace which is hopefully deep rooted….people with a shred of dignity ( not just unionists like Alex) are entitled to look on the nonsense of recent months…flegs, drug dealers, marching etc as …pathetic.
    and more so entitled to question the Process that has sidelined many things promised in the GFA.
    And we are entitled to say that the Good News spun out by the Executive and a far too compliant Media….Titanic, MTV Awards, Police Games, Fleadhs, Feiles, G8s, City of Culture etc are risible meaningless fluff.
    A legitimate question and certainly possible to make a “glass half full” argument as easily as “glass half empty”.
    I go with Alex Kane on this one.

  • “Are we normal yet?”

    No – and we’re not even heading in that direction 🙁

  • Leaving on a jet plane – and, maybe, not coming back …

  • You have to be seriously dedicated to this place to think it is redeemable. It’s got loads of rewards buried within and most of those come from amazing people and a beautiful landscape. However the tension of potential conflict and shitty will towards each other is always there. It has tainted many people, including good people and you have to make an effort to not let it get you. We are as immature as any other society you’d care to name. Every society has its crappy bits – there is no grass is greener, you have to make what you can of it and if you have the right attitude that is a very acceptable living and lifestyle. You have an ability and an opportunity to forge your reputation here just the same as anywhere else.

    The problem is – if we give up this local juvenile existentialist debate – there are much harder societal problems to deal with – like climate change and ecological collapse, global conflict over resources, globalisation itself, social change etc etc.

  • Charles_Gould

    My impression is that things are getting better each year, more or less. I am quite optimistic about the future.

    So many more things to do. You notice that when taking visitors around the place. My family went to Derry to the Fleadh as well as to Carnlough for the 12th. There was the World Police and Fire Games, there will be Proms in the Park with Catherine Jenkins.

    New theatres opening up – the MAC and the rebuilt Lyric. More productions of Opera in the Opera House. (Still a lack of Wagner, but that will come).

  • ayeYerMa

    No government formed by mandatory coalitions will ever provide cohesive or effective governance. There is no incentive to bring those with common ground into power.

  • BluesJazz

    Good to see the Army back in numbers in South Armagh the last few nights. The police liveried Army landrovers looked newly painted, the non-Felix ones.
    Looks like Ballykinler is not going to be given to the rabbits for quite a while yet.

    The ‘world’ Police and Fire games was a non-event, likewise the derry fleadh with its 30 million visitors and the bbc strawclutching at any event-anything- that could put cream on the cake.

    It’s normal, but the Shrangi-La promotion in the media is hyperbolic crap. At least the weather was nice.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Carnlough for the 12th? – hardly a good example as the local OO did not speak to the residents but pushed ahead with their unwanted parade to which the locals replied with decking out the route with a tricolour from every pole. Some example of things getting better.

  • “Are we normal yet?”

    First, as I’m not from NI for me the question is “Are you normal yet?” The short answer is that the population is reacting normally to an abnormal situation for the West, but very normal for the Third World or for Eastern Europe.

    I agree with Quintin that there is limited room for optomism. Mitchell not only mediated a settlement in April 1998, he also broke the logjam and got things moving in the autumn of 1999. I think that the main problem is that the politicians continually have to turn to outside mediators for a temporary fix that soon wears off. It has been my observation that consociational measures or forms of affirmative action tend to freeze intercommunal relations at the state that they are implemented.

    “Nope, never will be, largely due to the divorcing of democracy from geography back in, oh, 1920 something.”


    Does this mean that democracy is divorced from the Irish version of manifest destiny?

  • between the bridges

    Inter tribal strife and mopery, yeah we are normal…

  • Charles_Gould


    Social and economic forces are at work more powerful than Stormont, more powerful than Dublin.

    Today we got a batch of social stats from round these islands.

    We learnt today that 25% of children in the UK are born to foreign Mums such is the level of migration these days.

    We learnt that Ireland saw someone emigrate evey six minutes last year – yet in the same year there was also more immigration – from outside Europe – than ever before.

    Back in the 1980s the people of the South were deeply catholic and nationalist. But in the 90s they voted out the claim on NI.

    And from the 1981 to the 2011 Census the fraction of twenty-somethings who said they are Catholic fell from 92% to 78%. That secularizing change not confined to the south. So Ireland’s old religious divide is weakening. And there are more than two religions now: we saw today in the Irish Times planning permission for Europe’s biggest Mosque – in Dublin.

    Back in the 1980s NI people fawned on anyone from outside who had come to visit as a kind of exotic. Today we are used to such people.

    Another big change: at the start of the the 1980s there were no integrated schools. Today there are many. 8% of secondary school kids are in integrated schools. And the proportion of Catholics in state grammars has gone up from 8% to 12% in the last three years alone – and the momentum is upwards.

    In the 1980s few gays came out of the closet at any age. Now there are gays coming out at high school, having sexual experiences that would have been illegal just a couple of generations before.

    Something’s happening. We live in a new era all right.

    And though Stormont is sterile, Stormont actually doesn’t have any power to stop these social and economic changes.

  • “Another big change: at the start of the the 1980s there were no integrated schools. Today there are many. 8% of secondary school kids are in integrated schools. And the proportion of Catholics in state grammars has gone up from 8% to 12% in the last three years alone – and the momentum is upwards.”


    That there was a 50% increase in the proportion of Catholics attending state schools in only three years truly is significant. When I was last in NI in 2001 I think the figure of those attending integrated schools was about 3-5% and a large majority of those were from Alliance families. I’m glad to see that the secularization has crossed the border. I consider it a large factor in the huge Yes vote in the South in 1998.

    Now, hopefully those gay kids coming out of the closet and engaging in sex are using condoms. One of the bad aspects of early sexual activity is that those engaging in it don’t take adequate protection against either pregnancy or disease–often because the causal connection is beyond their grasp.

  • Charles_Gould

    tmitch57 its more like a 33% increase, and that relates to grammars, not all state schools, and its from a relatively low base. But I think its a sign that parental choice is less concerned about traditional divides than before. Also the grammars are marketing themselves in the new 11+ arrangements via newspaper adverts as a nondenominational high quality option for all to consider. It might be a second choice in many cases but its interesting that the second choice is being made to go to the nondenominational grammar rather than your catholic secondary. Loosening of the ties of church I guess – all good.

    Teenage pregnancies are down too; people just having fun and waiting to later to have a family.

  • Gopher

    Glad to see my vote still counts on the world stage via Westminister. Nails some of the nonsense pedalled on here stone dead.

  • tacapall

    “Good to see the Army back in numbers in South Armagh the last few nights. The police liveried Army landrovers looked newly painted, the non-Felix ones”

    Brilliant piece of bullshit propaganda from MI5 must have been those same security advisors that justified the war in Iraq or those British security advisors who are trying to justify the murder of the Syrian people in the new race for the exploitation of that countries natural resources and land borders.

    Mortar tubes my bu…… Anyone with a wit of sense would know plastic sewer pipes painted black and pointed at an angle like that mad Saddam inspired English made, crazy long distance launcher, supposedly capable of reaching Israel they beamed into our TV screens and published in the papers before they murdered 100s of thousands of innocent men women and children on the basis of lies and propaganda by the likes of MI5 and MI6. So was there any actual real hezbollah type mortars found in South Armagh capable of exploding actually found and why are we not being shown these weapons of mass destruction that political unionism and the local media, fed by British intelligence, has jumped on the bandwagon to squeal their venom about. Me think this distraction, this diversion is an attempt to draw attention from the real revelations surrounding the antics of the joint chiefs of staff of loyalism and unionism, the recent discovery of newly acquired loyalist weaponry, no doubt to be used on innocent Catholics in their persistent use of violence lately and the return to their traditional and normal methods of persuasion.

  • “tmitch57 its more like a 33% increase, and that relates to grammars, not all state schools,”


    To go from 8% to 12% is a 4% increase overall, or an increase of 50 percent of the previous level.

  • aquifer

    I’m thinking of other creatures.

    The Provo pup, having chased the British lion up a tree, is wagging its tail.

    As well it might.