Oh my God – what’s that coming up the road?

I was on the Nolan Show  (radio) earlier this week, discussing the Belfast Telegraph’s latest poll which shows just 3.8% of people here would want the border removed tomorrow,  and  22% would want it removed in twenty years’ time. I’ll resist the temptation to get into the discussion I had with Malachi O’Doherty  (I’ll put the link up if I can locate it); but an interesting spin-off is the number of polls the Telegraph  has taken to churning out. If you enjoy these polls, you’ll be delighted that there very likely will be a lot more; if you don’t like them you’ll be pretty cheesed off.
The interesting question is: why?  Why is the Telegraph  keen to present a picture of northern society as firmly post-nationalist?  (That 3.8% figure, if you allow for a 3% margin of error, could conceivably mean that 0.8% of people here want the border removed tomorrow.) Simple: we’re approaching 2016.
John Waters has an interesting piece in The Irish Times  today where he says that when Enda Kenny holds a general election in that year (assuming his government runs to its full term), he’ll be competing not against Fianna Fail or Sinn Féin but against James Connolly and P H Pearse. In other words, the society that exists in 2016 will receive rigorous comparison with the vision of Connolly and Pearse and the others who were executed. You may be sure Enda and Co will do all in their power to avoid any such comparison, but it will happen. Significantly, the one thing Waters doesn’t mention in his Irish Times  piece is the North. It’s as if the North of Ireland formed no part of Connolly or Pearse’s vision for Ireland. 
But the Belfast Telegraph isn’t making that mistake. It and other media outlets will be straining every sinew to counteract the weight of history, to somehow nullify what the men of 1916 gave their lives for.  Their polls will be directed towards showing that things now are changed, changed utterly – only a handful of loonies in the North care about a united and self-governing Ireland. So while Connolly’s vision and  even Pearse’s were understandable and fine at the time, things have changed and nobody today has an interest in what the signatories of the Proclamation envisaged. Out-of-date. Romantic and unrealistic. Noble and all that but hey, this is now, that was then.
This stuffing of the media with non-nationalist arguments will be very necessary. I’m old enough to remember the 50th anniversary of 1916, and there is no doubt that the presentation of the facts and the people involved stirred the thinking of the Irish population, in some cases quite profoundly. The same will almost certainly happen on the 100th anniversary, so those who know what a shameful bisected mess the Ireland of today is will be shouting from the rooftops how old-fashioned/unrealistic/out-of-step-with-the-times are those who cling to the founding principles of Easter 1916.

Whose voice  – that of Pearse and Co or the Belfast Telegraph  and Co – will be the shrillest?  The Bel Tel crew. Whose voice will be the more convincing?  I don’t think I need to answer that. 

Footnote: the Nolan show link: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1609483-malachi-o-doherty-says-it-s-time-to-forget-about-a-united-ireland-jude-collins-disagrees

10 Responses to Oh my God – what’s that coming up the road?

  1. Anonymous September 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    ‘Their polls will be directed towards showing that things now are changed, changed utterly – only a handful of loonies in the North care about a united and self-governing Ireland.’

    Ireland isn’t self-governing, it’s in the EU.

    The EU might fall apart or the nature of that relationship might change. America and Britain might offer a new arrangement under some Atlantic Partnership, but the mega-companies and the NYSE won’t be going anywhere. So the country will not be self-governing until the EU, America, and whatever useful mega-corporation enabler disappears.

    That isn’t going to happen and certainly won’t be legislated for by those lining up photo ops in America with the NYSE and right-wing presidential hopefuls like Peter Thomas King!

    There is no such thing as a free lunch and therefore no such thing as a free Ireland.

    About the polls – I never get surveyed for any of these polls, but here’s my answer. I will happily skip into a United Ireland in the morning if it rids me of the Marty and Peter hate-in. Our politicians are a hundred and five years old; they don’t understand the issues facing modern society and line up for their hand-outs like well trained dogs. Next!

    Politicians and their PR people pandering to rich and secret funders while trying to invoke the sentimental ghost of opportunities past isn’t a new idea, but with a low approval rating something tells me it won’t get them through this time.

    Ireland is full of people, it isn’t just a flag and until people have a say in their own affairs then what is the point of any political changes?

    You may as well dye a turd green!

  2. Anonymous September 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Killing several hundred people in an anti-democratic rebellion was hardly noble.

    • Anonymous September 22, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      That statement just about covers every rebellion there has ever been, what a true pacifist you must really be?

    • Anonymous September 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      No it doesn’t. Many are pro-democratic.

  3. Anonymous September 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    As in so many things,Jude,it seems to be you against the assembled media hordes.Of course there’s still An Poblacht .

    • Anonymous September 22, 2013 at 11:24 am #

      Its spelled An Phoblacht

    • Anonymous September 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      Good to see that there are still plenty of pedants around!

  4. Anonymous September 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    John Waters and his type are too afraid to give any opinion on partition lest they be labeled provo sympathizers.

  5. Anonymous September 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Malachy O’Doherty clearly has a problem with Irish nationalism. His bitterness is very evident.

    The idea that a united Ireland is now only a dream because of a little poll in the BT is so desperate it’s comical.

  6. Anonymous September 25, 2013 at 5:46 am #

    Yes, it’s clearly all a conspiracy to deny Irish republicans their place in the sun LOL! Good God, have some of you lot heard yourselves!? Dodgy opinion polls? Scaring the Unionist horses? It’s all so pathetic. Not only because the Provo apologists in Sinn Fein have been sucked in and blown out in bubbles, but also because the narrowing of the religious divide isn’t reaping the sort of republican, Brit-free Nirvana all these cretins dreamed of and predicted for so long. That’s what’s REALLY desperate and comical.