Don’t shoot the messenger but do have a look at his/her track-record. I’m fresh and panting from the Nolan Show look back at the year that was in it, and he has (or had – it’s taped) four commentators on. They were Alex Kane, Finola Meredith, Andrea McVeigh and Denis Murray. Now the theory is that all commentators here come at events from a detached viewpoint which allows them to see the Truth, unlike other people who are mired in prejudice and one-sidedness. To which I would reply with a rude word only I’m working up to going off swearing for the New Year. Let’s not say we had four unionist commentators but let’s say we had no sign of a commentator with a nationalist perspective. It’s a bit like the British-identity thing – what we’ve been taught to accept is that a civilized unionist perspective is the decent, unbiased view to take and all else has the whiff of cordite to it. By the way I’m arguing this on purely political stance – I’ve met and talked with all of the above and I’ve found them pleasant, friendly people of considerable intelligence. So I promise you there are no old personal grudges involved here or sour grapes.
On the other hand, I may be doing them an injustice. I listened to only the first twenty minutes or so. The topic under discussion was unionist working-class alienation. We heard several views – that the press and commentators treated them unfairly, that the flag was the last straw, that their educational under-achievement is holding them back, that Catholics (read that as nationalist, please) have a sense of coherence, discipline because of their religious background, whereas unionist tend to be much more fragmented because of their religious background. There could be some truth in that, although I really get good and growly when I hear people talking about Protestants and Catholics when in a great number of cases they aren’t Protestants or Catholics. But the one thing I didn’t hear discussed – maybe they got to it later – was that the flag-protest people were called onto the streets by the two unionist leaders, Robinson and Nesbit, Robinson with the clear intention of doing some political damage to Naomi Long. Odd, that. You’d think people talking about the Big Picture would have included that. Or maybe you had the stamina to keep listening and they did?
Anyway, my main point is simple: whereas you’ll get commentators galore who are either frankly unionist or implicitly unionist, you’ll search fairly hard before you’ll get a committed republican or even nationalist commentator on the air. It’s true, y’know. It’s not just the Yuletide booze talking.