An open letter to Colum Eastwood






Dear Colum,

I know, I know – never trust the media. Just when you think that they’ve settled on a semi-permanent basis to bashing the Shinners, out of nowhere they turn on you. It’s disgusting – have they no sense of proportion, no self-respect? So I want you to know: I feel your pain.

But what to do? Of course that focus group report should never have seen the light of day. And yes, I know if you’d been there you’d have shredded it or ate it or anything rather than allow it to pass into the hands of the BBC. It’s happened, though, and the thing is, how do you claw your way out of the crock of you-know-what it’s currently landed you in?

Now I don’t mean to be personal so don’t take this the wrong way: lose the Zapata moustache. Yes, of course Belfast’s Shinner Lord Mayor has one and it’s probably got something to do with Mouvember, whatever that is. But lose it. Now. You’ve a nice fresh young  face and the public need to see as much of it as possible.

And don’t be ashamed of saying you’re middle-class. Or even that you’re middle-aged,which I know you’re not, but I’m talking about the principle of the thing. If somebody like Mark Carruthers starts chuntering on about how middle-aged the SDLP is, ask him is he ageist? And if he says something about middle-class, ask him is he classist? Turn your weakness into a strength. Like judo. Only different.

Finally, and we’re sort of leaving advice and asking a question now: remember that thing you said to Mark during the interview about Alex Attwood? How he was really capable and not particularly un-young, and  (and here I’ll quote you if I may – you were talking about the European elections) : “I’ll take on a bet with you now – Alex Attwood’s going to win that seat”.  Carruthers, of course, chickened out. Tight isn’t the word for these BBC types. But the thing is…will I do? I mean, I’m normally not a gambling man but I just have this gut feeling that maybe you’re…wrong? So what say we make a little bet – I’ve got a £100 note that’s been itching to be of some use since I got it off Eoghan Harris – will you give me even money? I’m not even asking the 10-1 odds Harris gave me, since I know you’re still young and not that awfully rich. All I’m asking is even money, straight bet of £100 Alex doesn’t take that seat next May. OK? Get in touch and we’ll get someone to hold the money.

I hope you don’t think I’m being unfeeling in all this. I have your interests at heart. I’m middle-class myself and it’s a fair while since I was middle-aged as well. So I repeat, I feel your pain. But I hate to see a bet going to waste and I’m going to have a hole in my  expenses after Christmas. So contact me, OK?And I’ll take the bet Carruthers hadn’t the cojones to accept.

Yours sincerely and sympathetically



6 Responses to An open letter to Colum Eastwood

  1. Kevin November 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm #


    We are all capable of human error, as a number of posters have pointed out to you. You tend to laugh these off as as mere details, which can be quite telling. However, in your comments on Colum Eastwood, you suggest that he made a mistake involving the names of Claire and Carmel Hanna which was important enough to highlight in a critical way.

    You were completely wrong, as the person who mixed up the names of Claire and Carmel Hanna on The View on BBC1 last night was the author Susan McKay, although she quickly corrected herself. Colum Eastwood was interviewed in a different section of the programme, and all his references to Claire Hanna were correct. You also misspelt Hanna as `Hannah’, so all in all an apology is probably due.


    • Jude Collins November 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      You are absolutely right, Kevin – thanks for that. I shall hurry to attend to same. Go raibh maith agat aris.

  2. Jude Collins November 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    I should have added above – I’m full of remorse and apology for my sloppiness and inaccuracy of my original post – as pointed out by a reader – and I’ve made the required amendments as well as a firm purpose of amendment. Will that do, Kevin?

  3. Ronan Morrissey November 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    A few more hints:-

    1. Lose AMcD
    2. Think strategically on the National Question, form an alliance with the Irish labour party.
    3. Clearly advocate need for a UI and create a blueprint for achieving it.
    4. Hammer SF on their idiotic economic policy
    5. Work with moderate unionists, but take hardline stance on the fleggers etc.
    6. Full steam ahead on the Greening of the North, strongly upholding the equivalancy of the Irish identity.
    7. Push for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, giving victims some kind og outlet. Then draw a line under the past, and have an amnesty for all troubles related crimes.
    8. Reject unionist simplistic, revisionist narrative that the troubles were about the good guys (RUC, UDR, Army) v bad guys (IRA etc.). We all now know it was a dirty war and we are having a dirty peace. We all signed up to the GFA.
    9. Make it clear that the only alternative to the GFA is some kind of Joint Authority.

  4. hannah November 29, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    Tell you what to do Jude.Keep repeating to yourself Hanna not Hannah or incorporate it into a wee nursery rhyme to help you remember. Pay attention Jude!!!. .

  5. Jude Collins November 30, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Ha ha, Hannah ( all the ‘h’s – sound advice. Where ever did you get that idea??