An open letter to Colum Eastwood (revisited)


It’s not often I quote myself at such length, but my thanks to Joe Dwyer for reminding me how prescient I was so long ago. And no, he [Colum Eastwood]  never did take me up on it.

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



16 Responses to An open letter to Colum Eastwood (revisited)

  1. madadhmór May 28, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    Jude, is that not like shooting fish in a barrel. You’re taking advantage of somebody with less wit than yourself. It’s almost dishonest. 🙂

  2. William Fay May 28, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    What a total non story, you really are struggling Jude.

  3. Am Ghobsmacht May 28, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    Dr C

    Did you really hussle Eoghan Harris ?

  4. Tommy May 28, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    I remember that interview, ‘non story’ William? It had me laughing yet again this morning, thank you Jude

  5. Pointis May 28, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    Wonder would he put any money on Moslems getting an invite to to Peter Robbinson’s next big bash?

  6. Francis D May 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    Jude, I think it cruel that you would assail this titan of integrity. I aspire energetically to be middle class one day like you and him both, though may be running out of time in truth. You seem to have little faith in this semi young SDLP go-getter? Social mobility in this meritocratic backwoods does exist,-look at his suit, chic or whaa? Before you think I’m just complimenting your satirical slight at the expense of the Stoops, I’ve seen some of those Radical Shinners talking about investment, economic stimulii (excluding the homeless in Castle Street), and increased oppertunities for Fenians post-discrimination, all while sporting almost as well fitting suits as the well groomed Stoops, though not as well worn given the price tag was still visible in a couple of them. I bet you now Jude in the Spirit of economic abandon in which you speculated on that tonne, that SF voter that I am, and assuming that neither Attwood nor his SF upstart will be wear suits outside a one hundred pound range of the other. In the good old days, such unkemptness as a lack of suits was to one’s credit, lets hope if we look at the Stoops, then the Humans, then back to the Stoops, we can tell the difference….Hundred pound bet to be donated to the Simon Community. I hope I lose.

  7. Ceannaire May 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    No Pointis – they’ll all be sent down to the shop by Peter. Muslims are great at going to the shops, apparently.

    • Pointis May 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      I heard him say that Ceannaire, could not believe he said that on the radio!

      Do you reckon that muslims would be allowed to serve food at the party but just not allowed into the preparation area saying as like they couldn’t be trusted (a bit like Fenians/catholics/taigs)?

      I heard a woman interviewed on Talkback make the observation that there was complete silence from the DUP on Pastor James McConnell’s anti-muslim speech prior to the election now I supposed buoyed by the rightward swing of sentiment to UKIP in GB you can be as offensive to minorities as you like because thats obviously what the people want!

      • paddykool May 28, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

        Francis : It seems a somehow apt juxtaposition that Mr. Robinson let rip with his latest profundity on Muslims and his buddy the Pastor’s gaffe…. on the very day that Civil Rights agitator and all round creative, Maya Angelou died. Leopards and their spots race to mind. .

  8. Francis D May 28, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    Typos aplenty….Matching Suits, even money Jude?

  9. paddykool May 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    When did wearing a suit become a sign of upward mobility and a middle -class attitude? I’ve seen some of the most lumpen “cratures” wearing suits . Not everyone can pull it off no matter the price or the cut. Armani on a lump is still Armani on a lump . There’s no buying style or grace ,I’m afraid .Take a look at our politicians …one more time…There was a time that some ne’er do well in a suit would refuse you entrance to a club if you were wearing expensive levi jeans instead of a similar greasy -arsed suit.How times keep changing….

    By the way , i saw our Gerry being interviewed a few days ago on television .He was looking very off-duty in his jacket and jeans…Not everyone can pull that look off either . I’m not too sure if Gerry did.

  10. michael c May 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Paddy ,always knew you were a snob!

    • paddykool May 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm #


      • paddykool May 28, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

        My aspiration is to be in a class of my own!!! Hah!!

        • RJC May 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

          You’re in a league of your own paddykool 😉

  11. Francis D May 28, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    Yes Paddykool, our principled first minister may held his silence on the Modern Crusader McConnell, until all the UKIP votes were tallied up and he felt secure enough that there wouldn’t be too much of a backlash from a more Xenophobic ‘mainland’. I don’t think anyone from a Civil Rights background of whatever import would register much on his Radar. The goodly Pastor had to wait a little before his little sheep Robinson decided it would not be too damaging to back this Crook of a Shepherd. He is playing to his own backwoods constiruency. Good to hear his support og the Pastor being pronounced on Rado 4 news. I’m sure a lot of world service listeners will think what demogogues still Roam Stormont 40 since the Original Civil Rights Movement put such bigots to pasture.