Soapbox on the Radio: “A plague on both their houses”, Redux

By way of completion, here’s a couple of segments from today’s Nolan Show which was inspired by our Soapbox from SF’s leader on Belfast City Council Jim McVeigh yesterday, with a testy encounter between Malachi O’Doherty and Eamonn Mallie…

Worth noting that the issue in this segment concludes with one caller asking why Sinn Fein insist on not outlining the form, shape, and size of any future Irish Language Act. His reasonable point being, how could anyone come to a proper judgment on the merit of the matter?

And here’s Newton Emerson and Alex Kane. Newton makes an important point at the very end suggesting that Sinn Fein did not choose the Irish language as a strategic red line but that it was dropped into their lap and then bounced into action by Irish language activists…

  • james

    Sinn Fein’s stance on an ILA is laughable.

    They don’t seem willing, or able, to come up with a proposal on what an ILA should contain – and have rejected an offer to discuss it. Yet they will not go back into Stormont unless the DUP agree to implement…..what exactly?

    In essence, they are demanding the DUP to agree in advance to whatever they, SF, subsequently decide to put in it.

    Small wonder this stupidity is hurting them in Ireland proper.

    Even more odd is the comportment of those on Slugger and further afield who insist with obedient, bovine intransigence that they support an ILA – with none of them having any idea what an ILA is.

    Meanwhile, people are still awaiting medical treatment while SF preen and bluff…..

  • Karl

    “….in Ireland proper.”

    Cant work out whether thats an insult or a compliment. I’m away to think about it.

    You’d think that the DUP would be able to use SF stance to their advantage, but they cant bring themselves after 8 months to come close to countenance anything contained within a stand alone ILA that theyve completely lost the wider narrative on this as well as adding to the general consensus people already have on the DUPs attitude to most aspects of ‘equality’

  • james

    “the DUP ..
    .cant bring themselves after 8 months to come close to countenance anything contained within a stand alone ILA”

    That’s the issue, nailed rather concisely.

    Nobody has any idea what is supposed to be in this act.

    Do you know which things are proposed that the DUP ‘can’t bring themselves to countenance’?

    It’s obviously unreasonable to ask someone to sign a blank contract – though that is exactly what SF are attempting to get the DUP to do.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    If SF told us what they want in their proposed ILA, we might be able to evaluate it. Very hard otherwise. And impossible to know on what basis they are refusing to enter an executive. At the very least surely people deserve an explanation of what this is about?

  • Karl

    But the DUP could say that they agree to a standalone ILA with next to nothing in it and call SF’s bluff. They wont because they cant get past their own dogma. Its not about acquiescing to whats in an ILA, they just dont want to be seen to give SF a victory, regardless of the consequences.

    This had the potential for the DUP to get one over on SF (again), appear magnanimous after their recent election showings and enable to show off a bit of nationalist outreach.
    SF have been playing them like a fiddle because they know exactly how they’ll react.

  • Karl

    SFs objective is not an ILA but not to go into Stormont. The DUP are facilitating this and making themselves look bad (to the non political) in the process.

    The DUP are missing the point.

  • james

    Seems to me that in declaring a red line and then, to all intents and purposes, refusing to state what exactly that red line is they are simply bluffing and stalling.

  • james

    I don’t think the DUP are suffering at all because of SF’s transparent stalling. The people that are suffering are, in the main, people on hospital waiting lists.

    Can’t really blame the DUP for not wanting to sign a blank contract – but you can blame SF for their rather stupid insistence that the DUP do something that is obviously impossible.

    Sinn Fein simply aren’t a serious political party.

  • mac tire

    Below are some of the main political parties with Conradh na Gaeilge. They look to be supporting each other on the ILA.

    http://belfastmediagroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Irish-Language-Act-3008TM17-01.jpg

    Here are Conradh na Gaeilge’s proposals for an ILA. It is a safe bet that these are the basis for discussion since the parties appear to be associating themselves with them.

    https://cnag.ie/images/Acht_Gaeilge_%C3%B3_Thuaidh/15M%C3%812017_Pl%C3%A9ch%C3%A1ip%C3%A9is_ar_Acht_Gaeilge_%C3%B3_Thuaidh.pdf

  • Karl

    My point is that the DUP fill in the contract and say, ‘We’re prepared to sign this’ once Stormont is back. Ball in SF court.

    You can say a lot of things about SF, but to say they arent a serious political party is not one.

  • james

    Ok, so the DUP sign the document, we go back to Stormont, by October Sinn Fein fill in the blanks with their customary ridiculous and unworkable demands – and by November SF storm out and collapse the institutions. Again.

    Doesn’t sound like much of a plan to me.

  • Karl

    Im not sure whether youre deliberately misunderstanding. I said the DUP fill in the blanks and say this is what we’re prepared to sign up to in an ILA and publish it. Your move.

    Its academic because they wont and SF know this. So they use this to support their real aim, which is not to go back to Stormont.

  • ted hagan

    It was enjoyable to hear Mallie getting up the nose of the predictably smug O’Doherty.

  • mickfealty

    That’s the programmatic Scottish model. Fair play to the lobby if they get it, but it’s a bust of both SF’s and SDLP’s positions. Did we really have to endure the closure of government for a year to get £4 mill pa?

  • mickfealty

    On what grounds? Penny seems to finally dropped with The Minister for Foreign Affairs tonight. It’s a Brian Rix farce.

  • Karl

    And is the closure of govt SFs fault for asking for something or the DUPs refusal to give it?

  • babyface finlayson

    That was the best part for me. The latin from Eamonn was entertainingly pompous bringing a dismissive shrug from Malachi.
    Some history there I’ll be bound.

  • Karl

    Yep. They’re hopping around until the Brexit music stops. They have to be in Stormont at some stage but a pre Christmas election with the yoof coming out. More talks. More uncertainty. Long negotiation process, where SF are most comfortable.
    EU / Ireland will want NI to remain part of customs union. All the better if the UK leave it. Theyre hoping for a game changer. They might just get it.

  • ted hagan

    Nationalists firstly want recognition that there will be an Irish Language Act, similar to that recognised in Scotland and Wales, and in the St Andrews agreement.
    What they don’t want is to compose the fine detail of an Irish Language Act that will then be torn up and and shredded in front of them by the rednecks in the Gregory Campbell -dominated wing of the DUP in an attempt to humiliate them. What is Ireland ‘proper’, by the way?

  • ted hagan

    If Sinn Fein are ‘politicising’ the Irish language, as claimed by the DUP, then I am in no doubt you are ‘politicising’ people on hospital lists to score a cheap point,

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’ve only looked at the summary bits but they are clear as mud (and spell ‘stationery’ wrong)

  • james

    Not ‘politicising’ them at all. Nor is it a cheap point. This is a case of real people suffering because of the ideology of Sinn Fein.

    I believe we still have the right to point that out. After all, Sinn Fein haven’t ‘taken power’ yet – so we still have the freedom to dissent.

  • james

    Do you, personally, support an ILA?

  • james

    SF’s fault, I would say, largely because they are asking for something – but refusing to disclose what that ‘something’ is.

  • Karl

    I have no objections to it but I dont see it as a top priority for the Irish language to flourish.
    However, I do find it amusing when the DUP cant bring themselves to do something completely normal.

  • mickfealty

    What do you think?

  • Karl

    On the basis that I think its a reasonable request and the refusal is unreasonable, we know where I stand.

    However, I’m pretty sure you favour the DUPs dogma over SFs, but like I’ve said before, it isnt about an ILA and if there was any sense of maturity to politics in NI it would be fairly easy for the DUP to turn the tables on this one. So they cant be too concerned about the impacted hospital services either.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Thank you Karl for that and i quote (to the non political) the ordinary crocodile and his opposite number are not really political, maybe we shouldn’t be allowed to vote. The bored anoraks on here who like myself drop by here everyday for a wee look see at the latest almost but not quite thanks to Micks moderation, can i use the word vitriolic (please change the word if it doesn’t suit i cannot think of another word to express what i mean. I mean we are called all sorts of things and sometimes it is very close to the knuckle and sometimes i can feel a smoldering hatred in the background)against Sinn Feinn and their crocodile voters by a few posters. One side i have noticed mainly give a massive by ball to all things unionist, starting from the inception of this nasty little experiment in apartheid, my own opinion. Which the British thank god finally called a halt to, mostly. Well my excuse is i am a pensioner, with a lot of free time and i must admit sometimes i read some great articles which are followed by some very good and interesting to and fro personal posts and sometimes i get a good laugh out of some of the more shall i say unionist things that are written about me and my fellow crocodiles.

  • james

    So presumably you don’t see it as a good reason to not have Stormont up and running again?

  • Karl

    I’ve given up on Stormont entirely based on how power sharing is power division and the two sides are further apart than ever. Its a talking shop that pays politicians to be busy. Its not good for governance. Its not good for cohesion. Its certainly not good for community relations.
    But I could put up with all that, if it was delivering for nationalism, , but its not, so scrap it. Use the councils to govern. Use Westminster elections as a political weather vane. Use Brexit as the game changer. Resurrect it if and only if, the DUPs attitude to their fellow citizens change.

  • Oggins

    AAA come on MU, are you serious? It is called a summary for a reason and the detail in the report. Give it a proper read.

  • Stephen Kelly

    So now we are all bovine. ( If you describe someone’s behavior or appearance as bovine, you think that they are stupid or slow.) No point in me ever reading anything that you ever write about Sinn Feinn/nationalists your mind is firmly made up with no room to maneuver. Your sort of a Gregory Campbell caricature to me, in my mind now.

  • Stephen Kelly

    The people that are suffering are, in the main, people on hospital waiting lists.
    If your really really worried about hospital waiting lists give an ILA plus Gay marriage rights for a starter these two things will harm no one..

  • Stephen Kelly

    Exactly

  • Oggins

    I think it is a good call out by the commentators on what is in the proposed Act that SF want. Is it CNG proposal, or as Alec says is it the document and discussion paper that is on the communities website? SF really need to define this.

    I do find it quite funny that some of the commenters on this site are calling out SF for not having defined the Act, are the same commenters who have boo-hooed the idea of an Act, without actually reading the document on the NI communities website or CNG paper. The same paper that has been supplied by commentators from CNG. This mirrors the naivety of SF not defining exactly their position.

  • Stephen Kelly

    In my any and hundreds of thousands of crocodiles opinion you are politicising’ people on hospital lists to score a cheap point,

  • Stephen Kelly

    For once i agree. Work it all out first . I thought some Irish speaking group had all the costings worked out.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Karl is one person you are trying to back into a corner but i can assure you hundreds of thousands of crocodiles want an ILA before we return to Storment.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Very good post Karl and i agree lets use the councils to govern properly by bringing proper bylaws on marching and bomfires for instance along with property frontage maintainance.

  • james

    Hundreds of thousands want an ILA?

    I doubt it. Perhaps we need a referendum on that issue, though.

  • james

    Why do you feel you speak for ‘hundreds of thousands’ of people? Or is it just a new phrase you’re trying out today?

    That’s quite the self-proclaimed mandate you’ve bestowed upon yourself.

  • Jim M

    But surely they’re going to have to produce the fine details sooner or later? The Gregory Campbell types will have a bash at demolishing it regardless. My suspicion is that SF don’t really want an ILA (or at least not that soon), but reckon that keeping the details vague will heighten unionist paranoia and intransigence, and hence bolster SF support among nationalists.

  • james

    Are you not embarassed at all to be holding sick people to ransom in this way?

  • james

    Thank you for the definition of bovine, Stephen.

    Yes, I would say it is rather stupid, slow-witted behaviour to fall in behind Sinn Fein’s moronic company line on this issue, engaging in call-and-response chanting to the effect of:

    ‘Whadda we want?’ – ‘An Irish Language Act!’

    ‘Whadd’ll be in it?’ – ‘F###ed if we know!’

  • MainlandUlsterman

    when I get the time!
    Or perhaps SF could help us all out here by just telling us what they want?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    it does look like it

  • MainlandUlsterman

    what should be done?

  • james

    I think that is pretty much the game, yes.

    If they really wanted an ILA you’d think they’d have come up with some sort of realistic proposal in the last two decades – or actually bothered to learn the language. Do any of Gerry Adams, Michelle O Neill, Conor Murphy, Jim McVeigh, John ODowd and so forth actual speak Irish fluently?

    Adams, certainly, comes across as if he is reading from a script of sounds which have little meaning to him when he speaks it in public. Never heard any of the rest of those mentioned speaking it.

  • james

    Back into a corner? By asking him:

    1. If he supports an ILA (he’s largely indifferent) and, if yes,

    2. What does he think should be in it

    ?

    Hardly tough questions.

    Can you answer them?

  • Oggins

    I am now picturing the media dressed up as the Spice girls 😊

  • mickfealty

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to collapse parliament because you can’t get your way in government. It’s a Violet Elizabeth Bott form of politics, which uses ethnic tribalism to cover a terminal political weakness in the party.

    Despite its huge electoral success, SF is plainly too weak to take on the DUP in government. It seems to prefer clandestine negotiation to accountable government.

    It thrives on the same one more push fantasies that drove the fanaticism of the Provos. And it seems to think keeping everything in chaos will bring a UI. The record suggests otherwise.

    People in journalism seem certain that they’ve done this because they’ve made the cynical calculation that millionaire SF can survive the collapse better than anyone one else, though for some reason they seem reluctant to share that publicly in the same terms.

    I’d say SF were undoubtedly the agents of this collapse, on foot of several things, not least the leadership vacuum they knew (but we didn’t) would follow Martin McGuinness’s death. Who’s fault is it they’ve got away with it so easily? Plenty of blame to go around there.

  • mickfealty

    Can we stick to argument?

    Stephen, bovine in this passage refers to the noun intransigence, not people. So long as people stick our play the ball not the man rule, I will happily defend the use of blunt speech in our politics.

    Early and often.

  • sparrow

    ‘Meanwhile, people are still awaiting medical treatment while SF preen and bluff…..’
    That’s a straw man argument. The health service here has been in crisis with a functioning Executive under different ministers, for many years. There’s no evidence that the Assembly was making any positive difference at all. Claiming that SF’s withdrawal or continued absence from government has suddenly created this issue is a nonsense.
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/johnny-andrews/northern-ireland-executive-is-to-blame-for-health-crisis-34353981.html

  • Jim M

    In fairness I’ve no reason to believe the people you mention have no grasp of Irish. I don’t think they don’t care about it, but I do think the push for an ILA is more about rattling themmuns, and also a plank in a broader ‘pan progressive front/Trojan horse strategy’. I’ve lived in Wales and I think there should be similar recognition for the Irish language as there is for Welsh; but the SF strategy of opacity combined with intransigence isn’t going to achieve that.

  • WindowLean

    “If SF told us what they want in their proposed ILA…”

    See, that’s the problem. It isn’t nor should it be SF’s ILA ,just as it isn’t nor should it be SF’s United Ireland. As far as I’m aware SDLP, Alliance, Greens & PBP support an ILA??

  • ted hagan

    They’ve already been told by Foster there would be no Irish Language Act. Do unionists really want to understand nationalists or are they still living in the deluded world of ‘our wee Ulster’?
    And for your information, Sinn Fein have already laid out detailed proposals for an Irish Language Act.

  • Granni Trixie

    But do they all want the SAME ILA? I doubt it. content is crucial as is affordability. We don’t want to walk into another RHI now, do we?

  • Granni Trixie

    On Nolan rhey are now saying some of these written “details” are not now to be included such as affirmative action for civil service jobs. This is reasonable and shows progress. ILA could happen!

  • Jim M

    I will check those proposals out Ted.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    can any of them enlighten us?

  • Granni Trixie

    Not sure all parties are on same page re content of ILA.

  • hollandia

    Yes. Because it has now become totemic as an indication of how unionists treat their nationalist neighbours. And that is neither the doing of the SDLP nor SF. It is entirely the doing of people like Gregory Campbell and Paul Givan. The yoghurt has been curried one too many times. I’m pretty sure the nationalist electorate has given its opinion on the matter. Twice.

  • I Can Confirm This

    SF miscalculated the degree to which RHI boiler scheme propaganda would affect the DUP vote, they came close but no cigar and the DUP are back in power. I think SF miscalculated on that, expecting the Unionist vote to split thus opening up SF to take the FM seat and dictate terms. Didn’t happen. And now they are playing for time until a few more thousand Unionists die out and a few more nationalist minded voters come into play.