Ed, football and flags

Ed Curran is offering some thoughts on sport and politics in the Belfast Telegraph this morning. Some of his contentions are predictable, others are gob-smacking to the point of incredulity.  Talking of soccer he says “The international team and its supporters are drawn from across the community. They occupy a uniquely shared space in the context of the new Northern Ireland”.

Blimey, Ed. That’s the Northern Ireland soccer team Neil Lennon once played for? And stopped playing for when he received death threats?  I must lead a sheltered life: I don’t know any nationalist or republican who is a supporter of the Northern Ireland football team. Maybe you can produce evidence to the contrary, Ed?
He goes on to say “if the British national anthem was not appropriate on Saturday afternoon at Windsor Park, can we look forward to the day when the Irish national anthem is considered just as unnecessary to the enjoyment of a GAA game?” 
I’m afraid I see a difference between the crowd supporting Northern Ireland and the crowd watching Donegal beat Down last Sunday. The main difference being that one crowd would be composed of people supportive of the union with Britain, the other not supportive of it. But let me come clean on this: I don’t think we need to hear Amhrán na bhFiann played before every Gaelic game. Or any need to have the Irish tricolour flying. Just as I see no need for the British national anthem to be played before soccer games or the Union flag flown. Gaelic teams represent their club or county or sometimes province, but they don’t represent their country. And of course the state of Northern Ireland is not a country, so any team representing it should not be flying the Union flag. 
Ed goes on from there to talk about flags and our coming super-councils:
“The obvious compromise is to apply the Stormont protocol of designated days across Northern Ireland. It is hardly asking too much for standards of flag-flying on public buildings to be agreed in the Office of the First and deputy First Minister and applied to the reorganisation of the new council districts.”
Mmm again. I know that’s a compromise was reached in Belfast City Hall and Stormont but I’m less sure that it’s a true compromise. Where half the population sees its loyalty as lying with Britain and half sees its loyalties residing in Ireland, a true compromise would clearly be one of two things: no flags or both flags.  Or is it that some loyalties are more important than others – that the croppies can consider themselves lucky their flag doesn’t end up flown on top of a huge bonfire? …But wait a minute…Um…Right.  

10 Responses to Ed, football and flags

  1. Anonymous June 25, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    ‘Where half the population sees its loyalty as lying with Britain and half sees its loyalties residing in Ireland..’

    And your evidence for this 50% with its loyalties towards ‘Ireland’ is…..erm….where exactly? The evidence certainly doesn’t exist in the Census, where only 28% had some sort of ‘Irish’ identity; it certainly doesn’t come from the last two Life and Times surveys, putting support for this all-Ireland Valhalla at a measly 16%. So I ask again: where does it come from except from the minds of rabid separatists?

    • Séamus June 26, 2013 at 9:18 am #

      According to the most recent Life and Times survey, 38% feel more Irish than British, whereas 39% feel more British than Irish. That’s very close.

    • Anonymous June 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      approx half the voting population here elect parties that are pro nationalist, would that not be evidence?

  2. Endgameinulster June 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    Agree with everything except flag and anthem at GAA games. It is worth noting an important objective of the association.

    “The Association is a National Organisation which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland through the preservation and promotion of Gaelic Games and pastimes.”

  3. Jude Collins June 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Endgameinulster: I know that the GAA was founded with that objective but I’d be for not flying the triclour and not playing the national anthem for two reasons: (i) It would remove one more excuse from unionism for flaunting flags/God Save the Queen; and (ii) even more importantly, take away the fake nationalism prop that sustains so many. A lot of people at GAA games, I think, feel they’ve done their bit for their country after they’ve stood to attention and stumbled through the words of the song. I’d like to see such people forced to reassess their ‘nationalism’.

  4. Anonymous June 26, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    ‘According to the most recent Life and Times survey, 38% feel more Irish than British, whereas 39% feel more British than Irish. That’s very close.’

    According to the most recent Life and Times Survey, 62% favoured the retention of the Union with the rest of the United Kingdom, and 16% preferred a so-called ‘united Ireland’. That’s NOT very close.

    ‘approx half the voting population here elect parties that are pro nationalist, would that not be evidence?’

    Approximately 42% of those who actually bother to vote in Northern Ireland vote for parties wishing to end the Union (a figures that hasn’t changed in over a decade). That’s not ‘half the population’ and it most certainly ISN’T evidence.

    • boondock June 27, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

      Mr anonymous is obviously a clown and likes to pick and choose his stats for example only 45 % of those who voted, voted for pro union parties and yes it might not be 45% of the population but elections or referendums for that matter are indeed decided by those who actually vote and I would certainly consider the vote of hundreds of thousands of people as greater evidence than a survey of 1000 people taken on a street with a certain degree of location bias

    • Anonymous June 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      Totally and conveniently forgetting that every single poll and academic survey conducted since the 1960s (even in the hey-day of the Unionist one-party government) showed a far bigger proportion of the population in favour of staying in the UK than joining some mythical independent Republic, which has only ever existed in the minds of the gullible.

      Party voting preferences and constitutional preferences have been diverging in Northern Ireland now for at least 15 years. Do keep up!

    • boondock July 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

      The problem with these polls is they are essentially worded like this do you want things to stay as they are or do you want to take a leap into a big giant unknown. Until the actual realities of how a United Ireland could work are discussed then no-one in their right mind would vote for it in a referendum and this is were the nationalist parties North and South and especially SF have failed however dont make a Robbo mistake and pretend that all these nationalist voters are secretly union Jack waving unionists who will back the Union no matter what they wlll likely vote depending on how things will affect their wallet end of story which could change at any point

  5. Anonymous June 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    As a GAA member, I’d be strongly opposed to stopping the playing of our anthem or the removal of our National flag. The GAA is unashamedly Nationalist.

    As for the IFA and GSTQ, I don’t care. They can play whatever tune they desire or fly whatever flag they want at Windsor, I couldn’t care less.