What a difference an “NI” can make! Had you been listening to Radio Ulster last week you would have heard the greatest load of nonsense about whether or not the British team is Team GB & NI or Team GB. Some wee man from Belfast was on ranting and raving about the NI in Team GB. It was left out!
A plot! A denial of the Union! What we done for them in the war!
Get a life. Pause for a moment and think about it. Imagine you are a presenter and you have a name in front of you: Team GB & NI. What would you say every time? Would you repeat this mouthful of would you shorten it to Team GB? Would you say Co Londonderry or Co Derry?
People shorten names: Patrick to Pat, Elizabeth to Beth. It’s the way we are. However, all this says so much about the identity issue doesn’t it? The poor old Northern Ireland Unionist is insecure in their identity. They constantly need reassurance, never realising that the incessant yearning for recognition reveals how weak they see their position. “Methinks the lady dost protest too much,” wrote Shakespeare in his play Hamlet. If they were secure in their beliefs whether it is Team GB, or Londonderry would not matter one jot to them.
"is that a Catholic pound
or a Protestant pound?"
And then we have flags. “You cannot eat flags” John Hume is credited with saying. Well, I once saw chocolate flags in America, but I don’t think that was the kind he was talking about. Wise words. You know, in all my days going to the bank, the teller has never asked me “is that a Catholic pound or a Protestant pound?”
The country is littered with Union Flags (they are only Union Jacks when on warships of the navy). I actually don’t mind them. I was in Maghera, Co Stroke, this morning and the town was littered with them. They used to annoy me but not anymore; I know my identity, I don’t need a flag to reassure me.
McGuinness in 1987 with Gerry Adams,
pictured at the funeral of
IRA commander Patrick Kelly
Staying in Derry/Londonderry, to give it its new unofficial name, Martin McGuinness is assumed to know the identity of every IRA man who ever did anything in that area. He spoke last week of the Claudy bombing and said the obvious; it should never have happened. Forty years, can you believe it, where does time go?
It goes where it always goes, further into the past. Martin got round the issue of Claudy well; he tied it to other atrocities, some carried out by the IRA and some by Loyalists and the British. Good move, muddy the waters, and sound concerned; very diplomatic. Then call for some sort of truth commission, knowing that it shall never happen.
The Troubles have been over for nearly twenty years; young revolutionaries are now respectable old men. Do you seriously believe that the British are going to tell the truth about Pat Finucane or that Unionist politicians will be honest about the help and aid which the Catholic people believe that they gave to Loyalist murder groups? Will a now respectable Provo, business and family man, want to broadcast his past?
Keep calling for a truth commission. Sounds good, but we know it shall never happen. There’s not enough water in the Bann to wash this place clean.
Part of Team GB (ni) stretches to the Bann. Richard Chambers and his brother Peter have won silver in the men’s foursomes. After the race one of them was interviewed but he was so tired he could hardly speak. But you have to admire the effort that they put into the race. Alan Campbell won bronze in the men’s single sculls. The invisible ni adds to the team GB total.
Wonderful how we are all becoming experts on sports we would never think of watching; if you land on a line in archery, you get the higher score, why does Bradley Wiggins have sideburns and why there is a solid wheel on the bikes in cycling. I even know what a “peleton” is; it’s the main group of riders in a cycle road race and the peleton is important because when a rider is in there he can benefit from up to 40% less drag.
But the coup de grace of all my knowledge, I know the colour of bikini each country wears in the beach volleyball. Now this is important. The scoring system or rules are not of the least bit of interest. I just like looking at people.
There were a lot of people down at home tonight. I went to Cemetery Sunday in Coalisland. A sea of faces, all a year older and I thought to myself doesn’t such and such look old. Then I realised that they go home and say, “Do you know who I saw at cemetery Sunday? Turlough Quinn and he’s got very old looking!”
Cemetery Sunday began throughout the country about thirty years ago when the parishes began to build new chapels away from the graveyards. Because Mass was not in the chapel beside the graveyard the people did not go to the graves as much and a lot began to fall into disrepair. Cemetery Sunday ensures we clean them up once a year.
But it is also good to remember our dead. And it’s good to see old friends and neighbours and to realise we all have lost loved ones and are grieving. In our daily lives we bury the feelings deep inside ourselves and rarely think of the pain. Recognising our mortality is a great opportunity for us to re-evaluate our lives.
What about our old friend Sean Quinn of the now infamous Quinn saga. The head of Anglo says that they are going to try to take perjury action against Peter Quinn’s son. Mike Aynsley, the new head of Anglo, has accused the Quinns of telling lies. What a cheek, a banker in Ireland calling someone a liar. What is going on here?
There is a serious point in all this. Sean Quinn has an action against Anglo in the High Court, claiming that he does not owe Anglo 2.3 billion. This current case should never have started till the first case was finished. Again, there is the perception that the Quinn family are being made an example of, and brings the law into disrepute. Whether that is true or not does not matter, it is the perception. And the perception is increased that there is one law for the Northerners and one for the Free Staters, adding to the opinion up here that the Free State is rotten.
Another thing, the Provos are becoming very establishment minded. Mary Lou McDonald says that the Quinn family were involved in questionable business practices. The words “pot” “pan” and “black ass” come to mind. How many businesses were started with unwitting loans from the Northern Bank?
Brian D’Arcy is a good man. He seems to see to the heart of the matter and what is more he sees there is a family that needs support.
You could write a book about it.
Maeve Binchy wrote the odd book. In fact I found one or two of them very odd. The priest at her funeral, a Father Stuart, said that Maeve had not known God in life but now knows him in heaven. We Irish Catholics are a strange lot. We rant and rave about the Church but when we want to get married, a child baptised or someone takes sick or dies, where do we run? We only want God in our lives when it suits us or when there is an emergency. Oh, and he better not make any demands on us. We make up our own morals. God is like an old maiden aunt. You take him out an odd time to show him to the children.
We are going to have a collection next week; the Ulster Bank has lost £55million. You never know it could be a computer error! I enjoyed writing that! There are 2 million people in NI. If we all give £27.50 each the Ulster Bank will have a clean sheet and Mr Brown would get his bonus. I suspect he’ll get it anyway.
Oh, if you see Mr Brown, tell him I’m waiting on my compensation. Work is getting light. I might soon be on the dole.
Koffi Annan is going on the dole at the end of the month. He was given a handy old number by the UN; find peace in Syria. Turned out it wasn’t so handy. We got tired of killing here. The Provos and the Brits fought each other to exhaustion. They haven’t reached that point in Syria. Mr Assad is nowhere near exhausted. And he can last a long time. He has serious backing.
Russia and China both back Assad. Assad is killing his people, how can they do this? This begs the question, what is the difference between the Russian and Chinese world view and ours?
This is important to us for it has big implications for our society in the next few years.
China still is a communist country which has embraced capitalism for its own purposes. Russia is led by Putin, a former KGB man in the communist era. In communism, because of its atheist beliefs, the state is more important than the people. We in the West hold it to be the other way round, the people are more important than the state. Russia and China want to uphold Assad because he holds to the same principle as they do and Russian and China want to show their people what will happen to them if they don’t obey the party.
The Euro crisis has shown a change in Europe. The bankers are now more important than the people. Merkel and Sarkozy have shown us that. As Irish people die by suicide in ever increasing numbers due to financial worries, the bankers in Bonn live in luxury.
We would do well in the West, as we rush headlong into the atheist culture, to reflect on where atheism has brought other nations.
I see that seven people have been killed in Oak Creek in Wisconsin at a Sikh Temple. Oak Creek is about 5 miles form the town where I met my wife. The place we met was called Racine, a town on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes in the US. Racine was a sleepy town and Oak Creek was even sleepier, if that was possible.
I have met a few Sikh people in my life. I know nothing about their faith but those that I have met have been ordinary decent people. No one deserves shot down in their place of worship. God help us. What possesses people who do these things? And people say that there is no devil!
Usain Bolt breezes wins the 100 meter race
2012 London Olympics
Sunday night 9.45pm: going to watch the 100 metres in the Olympics. I wonder shall Usian be exhausted after it. I have waited four years for this race. I ain’t missing it. Be back in 10 minutes.
Didn’t I say that Usian would bolt down that track!
Now if Usian Bolt was the “ni” in Team GB and NI, even I would ring Nolan and complain!
What a majestic sprinter! That was worth waiting for. The best there has ever been. As Usian Bolt went down on the blocks he Blessed himself. He asked God’s help as he was about to begin. Like me, Usian Bolt knows his identity; he’s a child of God. What more do we need to be?
“Our God is a great God.”
Any comments, please submit a comment through this blog or send us an e-mail; email@example.com
published in Observer Newspaper group, N.I.
9 Aug 12