Pink is the colour, not orange or green

Riders of team Katusha












I plead guilty. The question buried somewhere in earlier comments strikes home:  “Why do you keep banging on about Gerry Adams so much when the Giro is on? “  Now I could give an apples and pears answer, the two being in different categories.  But the question is better than the reply.In the week of the Adams interrogation the Editor the Belfast Telegraph   was moved to display his cool in a piece boldly headlined. “The big story drowned out by sounds of a city having fun.”

And how is the Giro going down? Over in London I’m dying to know more. For exiles  I recommend a great montage of pix in the Guardian showing the race literally cutting through Troubles environments and pink in the oddest places on the BBCNI website (not forgetting pink’s  association with sexuality).  The whole the place is plastered in pink far more than political murals.  Despite the weather it looks great live and on  on iPlayer. As a TV spectacle it’s broadcast in 165 countries in far wider  coverage than the media circus gave to Gerry Adams.

Is the  comparison is unfair? Pessimists and quasi-marxists will dismiss Big Events like the Giro, UK City of Culture, the Titanic anniversary, even the G8 summit in Fermanagh as distractions like the bread and circuses Roman emperors threw at the multitude to keep them quiet. But this would surely be a big mistake. The fact that outsiders and government are prepared to risk it in Northern Ireland (not least over the weather)  is a tribute to what the people as a whole  have achieved in spite of the dark side of  politics. The old Troubles plea: “Why do you never show the positive side of Northern Ireland ”  was not quite accurate, deserved  an awful lot of sympathy but was never quite convincing. Today is surely different. The positives have started to outweigh the negatives. The job now is to make that sound convincing and either steer politics into responding or further restrict  its already quite narrow areas of operation.

The bright side of life is not the only part,  but it’s getting bigger and better if not as quickly as we’d like. The Giro  is hard evidence that  Northern Ireland now has a lot to lose and even more to gain.

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  • The Giro is the highest quality sports event to take place here. The quality of the field of 200 riders is higher than any Olympic or World Championship event.
    So no denying the coup (at £4.2 million) in getting it to Belfast.
    Italians I spoke to yesterday were genuinely impressed.
    We are….at our best…nice people.
    Yet at heart this is another Bread and Circus event. A distraction from Reality…MTV Awards, World Police and Fire Games, G8 Summit, Derry City of Culture, Game of Thrones and of course Titanic.
    The familiar mantra that the bottom line is that tourists flock to our shores and it will all be worthwhile and the worst crime is to be a cynic.
    Robinson and McGuinness are on their best behaviour.
    All Smiles. No Snarling.
    This the Tourist Board tells us is “The Real Northern Ireland”.
    Sorry…its just a big con trick…played on the world, played on ourselves.
    The coverage on ITV and BBC uncritical. Pink ties. Pink shirts. Pink dresses. The Pink tops in our newspapers confirming that the Media is fully signed up to the whole “feel good” thing.
    The Reality is Twaddell Avenue.
    The Reality is Jean McConville.
    Long after the last impressive Italian and French cycle teams have gone home, we are left with the Reality.
    And of course 2015 will bring another Circus.

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    I hear a cyclist from the republic of Ireland crashed on the Newtownards road. In a joint press statement the PSNI and the shinners/provos claimed it was the work of the UVF in east Belfast.

    Somethings never change.

  • Brian Walker

    fitzjameshorse, so you assert. I assert otherwise but with the background of evidence of determination not to bring back the Troubles. Hard nosed investment plays a part, for excellent social reasons and not just for a monetary return but for that too. If it didn’t work it would tail off. NI as a venue for all sorts – gigs and conferences and culture plays too to the marginal moneymaking investment potential of the Troubles legacy and history.

    Don’t knock it., lighten up and raise your sights! Don’t you get bored with repeating the old con trick stuff? It is actually possible to change the environment even if it doesn’t happen evenly

  • I assure you my sights are indeed high.
    And on balance have maybe contributed more to (this) society than I have taken from it.
    My commitment and investment might well be measured in children and grandchildren. It follows that I want the best for them.
    I dont want lies and half truths.
    You have illustrated your piece with a photograph.
    The mural will be on the Newtownards Road rather longer than the cyclists.
    I will manage the weekend without pink dye for my (remaining) hair.

    The Giro, Titanic, etc is a triumph of Image over Substance.

  • Charles_Gould

    At a utilitarian or Benthamite calculus level, events give people things to go to, things to do and enjoy, and for this reason I think events have a role to play.

  • keano10

    Slugger keeps “banging on about Gerry Adams so much” because Slugger is essentially an anti Sinn Fein website. There are more threads about Sinn Fein on this site than all of the other local political parties combined.

    This is all the more laughable when one considers the shambles perpetrated by the likes of Ministers Poots and McCausland over the past few years.

    Slugger despises Gerry Adams and it despises Sinn Fein. As Mick Fealty once said – ” Sinn Fein are box office here”.

    Enough said…

  • Son of Strongbow

    What is it with Shinnerbots and their need for news management? I expect they think it a scandal that this site, and others, can’t have the ‘Army Discipline’ of a Sinn Fein ‘press conference’ imposed on them.

    Too much time spent in an environment where even thinking of speaking out of turn results in, at best, a ‘friendly’ text with a warning to button it.

    But if they find the house ‘cold’ can’t they find the door?

    After all there are some who post here (yet gurn about big bad Slugger back at home) who run mono-view sites where your average Shinner would feel very much more comfortable.

    Back to the Giro – v – the bread & circuses argument. Are folks meant to put their lives on hold awaiting (their version) of perfection?

    Even those religions that have people seeking Nirvana accept that they continue to live their everyday lives on the journey.

  • Brian Walker

    “An anti- Sinn Fein website”? Does that mean pro-unionist? Pro Fine Gael? Pro-….who is it now? Sheer paranoia. Suggests an exaggerated sense of own importance and a lack of familiarity with democratic exchange that reminds me of the old Ulster Unionist Party. The Slugger I read is pretty critical of all parties – maybe too much at times. But you must know by now there’s no house policy. See invited SF contributions and Chris Donnelly ( where are you Chris?)

  • between the bridges

    East Belfast Pink Lycra Giro

  • Gopher

    Seeing the Giro I think the politicians are hopelessly out of touch with the people

  • The Gellick

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I do sense some positive political undercurrents to the whole Giro thing. On some level surely the paint the place pink campaign must be a tongue in cheek two fingers up to the homophobic elements / establishment in NI, and also maybe to the flaggishly inclined? There does seem to be a bit of “let’s claim the streets for normal folk for a day” about it.

  • derrydave

    spent today wanthing coverage of the Giro on Eurosport over here in south-east Asia – lots of talk of the great welcome and support from the people in the North – can only be a good thing ! Looking forward to t continuing tomorrow from Armagh to Dublin !!

  • “The whole the place is plastered in pink”

    Bushmills is plastered in pink, even the sheep, but colour-blindness has provided me with some relief 🙂

    Locals and visitors assembled on the route from around 10:30, endured a light drizzle of rain from around 11:00, saw the cavalcade of advertisers passing through between 11:40 and 12:00 and the drizzle eased off for the arrival of the peleton shortly after 13:00.

  • Granni Trixie

    Surely there is no “one” NI? Yes, there is a horrible side AND side by side,coexisting, an uplifting side? This is why I do not dismiss notable events such as is happening this weekend as obscuring the “reality” but welcome them because they lift us up as a reminder of our “good” points such as friendliness and as an antidote to the horrible side.

  • Gopher

    Thought the BBC coverage was poor compared to Eurosport so one had to suffer adds.

    I believe the “biggest” sporting event Northern Ireland has put on was the RAC tourist trophy which occured yearly in the thirties and fifties, Fangio and Stirling Moss et al. So we will have to see if the Assembly is going to bring formula one back to the North now.

  • R Sole

    Punters voted with their feet & legions turned out to support another international & global event (again). £4.5 million well spent.

  • Chris Donnelly

    I haven’t gone away, you know….;)

  • Ruarai

    Showing casing child-like art murals to sectarian murderers and organizer crime rackets is many things. Showcasing the best of the place is certainly not one of them.

    The mural above is a paradigm. To NI fluff-piece writers they see and celebrate the pink cyclists. To those around the world, many of whom may be seeing NI for the first time, they see the murals. They’re not welcoming. They’re not impressive. They’re not much.

    It is great that NI is starting to play a role in conversations about more than its own conflicts. But why, oh why, can’t people see that this side of the place is the very, very, very worst of the place?

    Cycling past those images in front of the cameras was a really stupid decision.

    I attended a thing in DC last night and the couple of question about the Giro and the north from non-politico types were about the murals. (And no, people we’re “intrigued” or “fascinated”.) That’s really unfortunate.

    Like people embracing cancer as a “part of who we are”.

    Coast road was spectacular.

  • Granni Trixie, up on the Causeway Coast the pink gimmick was well and truly OTT. The London 2012 torch marathon in 2012 was more low key, attracted bigger crowds, had a more personal touch and was spread over two days. The authorities tried to hide the second day but the word got out 🙂

  • sergiogiorgio

    I enjoyed watching the Giro a lot more than I enjoy listening to the politics. A pleasant aside to our usual navel gazing that counts for nowt outside this dump a place.

  • BarneyT

    There was a great vibe in forkill. Superb