Basil’s Stormont Creep Show is pathetic

BBC: “The Miss Ulster competition is being held at the seat of Northern Ireland’s government this weekend.”

“The women in Miss Ulster, they’re not just getting judged on their looks, they’re being judged on their personality, on how capable they are of being an ambassador for Ulster.”

Right, then.

If I’m understanding this logic, the SDLP’s Delores Kelly and ex-UUP, ex-serious guy, Basil McCrea, will be telling some young women this: “sorry, you’ve a great personality and scored high on ambassador potential but your looks scored poorly”.

There’s a joke in there somewhere, I guess.

Do you think Delores Kelly would be offended if she was excluded from the judging panel on the grounds of how she looks?

One competition organizer helpfully informs us:

“I think we should just take it for what it is, it shouldn’t be controversial. There’s nothing undignified or degrading to these girls.”

“…these girls”. .. Nothing controversial, degrading or undignified there then.

Nor in the notion that a competition purporting measure candidates for “Miss Ulster” is measuring their looks, i.e. nothing more than a genetic lottery.

Nor on the idea of an “ambassador search” that excludes most of the catchment area’s female population based on their physical size.

Nor in the preposterous spectacle of judges passing judgment on criteria none of them share.

  • ForkHandles

    hopefully there’ll be some nice boobies, and I don’t mean the judges ! 🙂

  • iluvni

    What a cowardly decision by JoAnne Dobson to pull out of the event.
    No doubt she’d have been there all glammed up if no one had raised a stink. Surely Dolores Kelly won’t let the organiser down.

  • katemcc

    What a place this is …on the one hand you have the seat of government hosting a beauty pageant whereby women are judged on the most superficial of attributes, yet on the other the Ulster museum will not display a painting of two women kissing and some schools will not be allowing their pupils to see a nude cartoon model, at the Tate, because a penis is on display…

  • Ruarai


    I wonder could Basil and Delores clarify if grounds for disqualification cover and include the potential discovery that one of the contestants was Tate featured painter – if one of her paintings featured a cock?

  • katemcc


    I would say that would be grounds for disqualification given that the contestants are potential ambassadors for NI.. NI don’t do cocks…but if it did??

  • cynic2

    I doi’nt know what to think – except that the average contestant probably has an IQ at least 15 points higher than the average MLA

  • Size features:

    The Miss Ulster competition is being held at the seat of Northern Ireland’s government this weekend.

    Entrants must be aged between 18 and 24, be at least 5ft 7ins tall and must be between a size eight and a size 12. .. BBC link

  • Rory Carr

    I honestly could not believe that any politician claiming to serious credibility would dream of playing a part in judging women in this fashion (sigh of relief from UKIP guys there as my criterion lets them out).

    However this beggars belief. Does Delores Kelly really consider that she is somehow so blessed in physical perfection that she can judge all but the eventual winner to be somehow less than ?

    And then there is Basil McCrea. As I have said…and then there is Basil McCrea.

    But one thing puzzles me – what is this Miss Ulster competition? Is it really a competition to judge the supposed beauties of Ulster ? Will there be 9 contestants including Misses Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan ? How does it differ from the Miss Northern Ireland competition won earlier this year by Ms Meagan Green who, I am reliably informed by no less an authority than the Belfast Telegraph, is a “stunner”. How Ms Green goes about this stunning I am unable to tell you, but I imagine that she probably uses a shillelagh for the sake of tradition.

    However my question is this – if the competitions are separate and distinct will then Ms Green have to use her shillelagh to win out over whoever the Miss Ulster title ? Or will shillelaghs be banned and we resort to a mud-wrestling match supervised by the UVF adapting their rules for dog baiting ?

  • paulG

    To be fair, a lot of women do spend much of their time on their looks and they frequently critique each others. In a way it’s a very natural progression for them to compete on that basis.

    I know fat’s not fashionable but there really is no excuse for the heightism.

    Disturbingly, there seems to be generation of males coming up who have adopted the this vain, vacuous and superficial lifestyle. Might be best to stamp out these contests before they spread to the fouler sex.

  • katemcc

    According to the organiser the winner can potentially go on to compete for the title of Miss Universe, not Miss World, but Miss Universe. I’m not sure of the stages of the heats possibly,Miss Ulster, Miss Ireland, Miss British Isles, Miss European Union, Miss World, Miss Universe and then Miss infinity.

  • dantheman

    Looking forward to seeing Miss Twaddell

  • Rory Carr

    That title, Dan, must surely belong to Roof. No ?

  • Rory Carr

    ,,,and don’t forget, KateMcC, Miss Infinity & Beyonnnndd !

  • Charles_Gould

    Joe Brolly says his time at Trinity College Dublin made him realise “that ‘Prods bad, Fenians good’ was not going to cut the mustard in the real world”.

  • katemcc

    Very good Rory… you know maybe she can fly also!
    Now that would be an attribute…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    The Stormont Lovely Gurls Competition: If you can’t convince ’em, distract ’em.

    Now what was that about a fleg…?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I recall at NI21’s launch there were a bunch of local models in the front row.

    I am afraid that Basil may well have jumped the shark here.

  • babyface finlayson

    “the Ulster museum will not display a painting of two women kissing ”
    I understood the museum offered to display the picture with suitable notices as to its nature.
    Given that it is a quite sexual image that seems reasonable to me.
    I doubt if it would traumatise anyone of teenage years, but you would want to alert parents of small kids about it surely?

  • Charles_Gould

    Sounds rather tame compared to the Warren Cup, in the British Museum

  • Mick Fealty

    Ahem, not sure about the rough handed tone in the title, but I think this might raise some awkward questions for Ms Dobson in the morning:

  • toaster

    This whole thing is a disgrace, it should be called “Miss North of Ireland”, not Miss Ulster

  • babyface finlayson

    “Sounds rather tame compared to the Warren Cup, in the British Museum”
    Maybe so. But the Warren Cup is 11cm high whereas the ‘kiss’ is 100 x 75.
    Sometimes size does matter. Just ask Basil.

  • Pete Baker


    Why not “Dolores’ Stormont Creep Show is pathetic”?

    If you’re of that opinion…

    BTW, was this arrangement made with the agreement of the NI Assembly Commission? I merely ask for clarification.

  • Rory Carr

    Why not “Dolores’ Stormont Creep Show is pathetic”?

    While Ruairí must answer for himself, I had assumed it was that, in this matter anyway, while Dolores was pathetic, Basil was truly creepy.

  • Ruarai

    Mick – are you smoking something?

    You think the person with questions to answer is the judge who had second thoughts vs. the clowns who participated?

    Or that there is a more appropriate tone to describe Basil’s machismo? Please describe it.

    If you can, I’ll buy you a beer.

    Pete B: Basil is a leader; Kelly never will be. Keep up comrade.

  • Mick Fealty

    I think I would love to give Rory a Yellow, but in all conscience I cannot since you led him down that route. Consider me truly ‘creeped out’ by the whole thing…

  • fosterofkane

    My views on this are simple – it should not be held at Stormont. I would love for it not to be held at all. See an email I wrote to all MLAs.

    Dear MLA

    Re: Miss Ulster being held at Stormont

    I am writing to ask you to do everything in your power to stop Miss Ulster being held at Stormont. A building which is supposed to represent democracy for EVERY citizen, including women which make up over 50% of the population.

    I am not for one moment saying that women do not have a right to take part in these contests, what I am saying is that these contests perpetuate a culture in which women are presented for visual consumption for the benefit of the male gaze. These types of contests impact on all women from a young age, it gives young girls a body ideal to measure themselves against which ultimately is impossible to achieve, it influences how we feel about ourselves and it gives men and boys ideas on how to view and treat women.

    This is an issue for all women, not just those who participate, when we encourage women to participate, when we are asked to choose one woman and elevate her at the expense of her fellow competitors, we are in fact, participating in judging women.

    Beauty contests do not empower women. When positions of power in society are male dominated, how does winning a beauty contest really make a difference to the power relations in one’s country? This type of contest is disempowering because it de-humanizes women by focusing on their physical appearance, which has everything to do with genetics and nothing that the contestant herself can control.

    These types of contests reduce women to dolls that smile endlessly, don’t sweat, glow and are elevated from normal women because they look flawless and are seen as superior.

    It is not harmless fun to objectify women. It is not harmless fun to be reduced to a sum of body parts to only present parts of your personality that is coy and demure. It is not harmless fun when the participation costs you economic resources health and mental stress, shatters your self confidence and plays on your insecurity.

    It sends messages to the younger generation who may think that being beautiful is an accomplishment, that being chosen to participate is somehow a special honour to be a part of a contest that parades women as commodities. Perpetuating sexism by the sexualisation of young girls and by judging women based on their looks is never going to be just harmless fun.

    Beauty contests help in continuing gender stereotypes, women: look good for men, men: please continue to expect your partners to look like this and if she doesn’t, remind her that if these women can look like this, so can she if she only put in a little effort into what she looks like.

    Please I ask that you do all you can to withdraw support for this event being held at Stormont.

    Thank you for your time.

  • babyface finlayson

    Poor Jo-Anne Dobson got a bit of a hard time on Nolan over this. It seems she judged the same event in 2011 but did so without understanding the rules.
    Unfortunately it overshadowed the campaign she was trying to promote to encourage organ donation.

  • iluvni


    I hope you signed it..
    Augusta Prodworthy

  • I am actually a bit shocked at Dolores Kelly.
    Last year she was introduced on to SDLP podium to make the Deputy Leader speech…and described as an inspiration to young women in the Party. And as I recall in the speech made reference to her own “mentor” Brid Rodgers.
    Absolutely no sense in this decision and if she goes ahead with this, very difficult to take her seriously as a politician if she goes ahead with this.
    The notion that Personality in a Woman has a minimum height requirement of 5ft 7inches….is presumably based on scientific research. And presumably there is a similar (higher) requirement for a man to have a personality.
    I guess I just have to accept facts.
    This would certainly explain my own lack of Personality.

  • Reader

    fosterofkane: These types of contests impact on all women from a young age, it gives young girls a body ideal to measure themselves against which ultimately is impossible to achieve, it influences how we feel about ourselves and it gives men and boys ideas on how to view and treat women.
    While I am somewhat creeped out by the competition, and aghast at the height restrictions, I think that size 8 to 12 is healthy and attainable for most women.
    What’s your position on on other sorts of competitions – quizzes and sports for instance?

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    Is no one going to make a “well, Stormont is full of tits anyway harrrr!” joke?!

    You people make me sick

    Sorry Ruarai, I never mean to ruin your threads, I think they’re just too intelligent for me in general.
    And yet here I find that I can’t even comment on something that should be well within my scope.

    I have to say, as much as this would be abominable in a proper political theatre, given that this is Cirque de la Stormont and what we’ve seen over the past 3 weeks alone, what does it matter?

    The bar can go no lower surely?

  • babyface finlayson

    Am Ghobsmacht
    “The bar can go no lower surely?”
    Is there a limbo-dancing round in the competition?
    Actually dancing in limbo is a perfect description for what goes on up at stormont.

  • PeterOHanrahanrahan

    “Ladies, just strut your stuff and try to forget all that nonsense about rights to abortions and things like that, ok?”

  • Granni Trixie

    Unfortuately most outrage on radio etc focuses on the size factor,downplaying the points put so well by Fosteraskane,notably what it says about values.

    If people want to organise and participate in ‘girly contests’ it is their right to do so but having them at Stormont is a nono. MLAs participating shows such a lack of judgement and leadership given there is such a paucity of female MLAs.

    However Basil in particular has form in his action – I remember criticising him on Slugger at the time when he engaged the services of a model agency and models to launch the new party.

    Having said all that (for it is a serious matter in my book) I have had such a laf at all your responses. Bravo!

  • Beauty tournaments? Ho-hum: any change of NI arriving in the second half of the 20th century soon?

    Anyhoo, as they say in some parts, nothing salacious here, so let’s move on …

    Meanwhile on the shock-horror scale, where does this one (from Hugh Muir’s Guardian Diary) fit? []—

    A clutch of MPs were under fire yesterday for trips abroad. Such forays carry a degree of risk these days. What the tabloids fail to grasp is the expertise MPs can share when they venture far afield. Such as Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley Jr, who now serves as an adviser to Ecobank, a pan-African bank with business in 32 countries on the continent. In the latest Register of Members’ Financial Interests, Paisley details his job as an “Adviser to EBI SA, a French financial institution, providing periodic advice for economic reports and analysis on global politics”. EBI is the French branch of Ecobank. According to the record, Paisley has completed his first report, receiving £7,500 for an assessment on Uganda. The £5,000 cost of visiting the country was also paid by them. Nice work, and some will protest. But we better the world in all sorts of ways.

    At last! A direct link between Baby Doc and “Ugandan affairs”. Private Eye, please copy.

  • Im afraid its a short step from judging “personality” contests to a local version of Celebrity Big Brother and Strictly Come dancing.
    We are certainly guilty of taking politics far too seriously but to be fair to NI21….if genuine….their Twitter feed is always amusing (intentionally).
    And is all this models at NI21 launch an urban myth?
    I was there and my recollection is some young women with Tshirts. But were they models?

  • ulstercyclepath

    Our girls haven’t a hope in hell of getting Miss Universe over the candidate from Jupiter. High gravity and low oxygen must do wonders for bust size.

  • Granni Trixie

    All I know for sure is that one of the Tshirt women sitting in the front at the launch is someone from whose family I know that she is doing really well in the modelling business and that her agency was the one organising the event. Which is not to say that they are not behind the new party. But as I say, Basil has got form.

  • Red Lion

    I was talking to one of the young ladies in freshpolitics tshirts at the NI21 launch and I can assure you that she had a great personality.

  • Rory Carr

    Does not Dolores Kelly realise that, by agreeing to judge a lineup* of bikini-clad young women on their beauty – because it is a beauty pageant, these women will be judged solely on their physical appearance – then she has opened herself to like judgement.

    So beware, Dolores, it may not be too long before street-corner louts will be whistling as you pass by and calling out epithets such as, “There goes Miss Ulster Fry !” and the like, something which I would utterly condemn of course.

    Shackin’ !

  • Son of Strongbow

    Sadly no bikini round in the Stormont Stunnas’ Show.

    How quickly the skin-deep right-on feminist comments have crumbled with some. Just couldn’t resist sidestepping commenting on, for example, Basil’s manly physique to have a go at a woman on the panel.

    No worries though, just a bit of fun?

    As some might say in a very different context: it’s her fault, she was asking for it.

    Shocking indeed.

  • David Crookes

    Am I a frivolous monster of iniquity, or are most of youse being far too serious? Even Cromwell had his New Model Army.

  • Charles_Gould

    There is nothing wrong with being a model.

  • Charles_Gould

    Physical beauty is one of lifes great gifts. Celebrate it.

  • Charles_Gould

    NI21 has the fittest activists.

  • DC

    Charles Gould talking sense at last.

  • David Crookes

    Charles is right. Celebrate it intrepidly, and beware of becoming a PC Andy Pandy with facial palsy.

    I had that Looby Lou in the back of the cab once.

  • Rory Carr

    Just ask yourselves this, my brave fellows – would you have your daughter stand preening in a line of others awaiting judgement from the small, but perfectly formed, leader of a two-man political party and a middle-aged woman? And would you be prepared for the tears and trauma that would inevitably follow if your daughter were deemed too imperfect to be The One ?

    I know my daughters, both of surpassing beauty, have too much self esteem to ever consider participating in such obscenity.