How to be a brick wall


I’ve just come off Facebook, where I was responding to a fairly detailed comment from Mick Fealty. Not everybody likes Mick (not everybody likes me, for God’s sake, which shows how unreasonable some people are) but I like him, despite his regular assaults on Gerry Adams and all his works and pomps. Anyway, one of the points Mick made was regarding the diversionary tactics, as he sees it, of the fuss over flag-flying, Orange marches, etc. This he sees as a deliberate attempt  to hide lack of progress in education, housing, economics, etc. 

I think there are two points to be made here. One is that flags and marches and similar stuff do matter. It’s daft to say “You can’t eat a flag”.  Why would you want to try? Flags and marching and monuments and commemorations are about things we care about beyond the matter of putting bread on the table and getting an education for the wains and a decent house to live it. Not by bread alone doth Man live…Things of the heart are as important in their own way as things of the stomach or head.

The second point is, if there is no progress in the area of education, housing, economics – whose fault is it? It’s too easy (and, I think, simple-minded) to say “Ach, they’re all a shower up at Stormont!”). Some may be, some may not.

For example if we consider education. From the very first days of the Assembly, Sinn Féin confronted a major blockage for tens of thousands of children: the Eleven Plus. If that bold initiative has been stalled it is because some selfish grammar schools want to keep things as they were, because they benefit and the hell with the secondary school lot. In this they have been supported by unionist politicians.

Or if we take housing: North Belfast is the most obvious case where a population, overwhelmingly Catholic, is in need of decent housing. If you don’t believe me, check with the Participation and Practice of Rights (PPR) people. (Google it, Virginia, google the bloody thing.) Who or what is blocking the provision of decent housing? Take a bow once more unionism in general and Minister Nelson ‘The Windows’ McCausland  in particular.

If we’re talking about economics, what in the last year or two has been most significant in deterring investors here? Right, the flag riots. Which were jump-started in the first place by? Right again – unionist politicians.

No doubt there are aspects of development that nationalist and republican politicians are culpable concerning. But in the majority of cases, it is the not-an-inchery of unionism in Stormont, where grown-up men and women can’t bring themselves to be even civil to those with whom they are in partnership, that is blocking the kind of development in all sorts of areas where we should have seen it. And did I mention the limp nature of cross-border bodies? If I didn’t, have a think about who’d want to develop them and who’d want to stop them in their tracks. Right. Now you get the picture.

So I share Mick’s concerns but I’d differ with him as to the source of non-movement. In fact I’d be so concerned, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that unionist obduracy could bring the whole power-sharing edifice crashing down.

But then maybe that’s what unionism really really wants. In which case, they’re making good progress.

37 Responses to How to be a brick wall

  1. giordanobruno July 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    Astonishing that you see Sinn Fein as being blameless in all departments. Who’da thunk it?
    But do you think in relation to the long term goal of a United Ireland it suits SF better to make Stormont work or to see it stagnant and eventually collapsing?

    • Jude Collins July 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

      Well, gio, assuming the ‘you’ is directed at me, if you’d read my blog I specifically said I didn’t doubt there were those in nationalist/republican ranks with similar blinkered attitudes. I really don’t know which turn of events would suit SF better. Judging by the contempt they endure inside and outside of the Asembly, I’d have thought they wanted to make things work. But that’s just a guess. Why not ask the Deputy First Minister or some other Sinn Féin MLA – they’re on Twitter.

      • giordanobruno July 27, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

        I could ask them I suppose. But if their real aim was to see Stormont collapse, they would be unlikely to admit it, so there would hardly be any point.
        I was just looking for your opinion.

        • Jude Collins July 27, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

          Can’t see why you wouldn’t go to the horse’s mouth when it’s available. Maybe even make same point -that you’d have doubts about honesty of reply. I don’t know as I say but I’d tend to lean towards them wanting to make things better for their constituents – all their constituents, I hope.

    • Francis D July 28, 2014 at 9:31 am #

      A fair point Freddy.

  2. Westofthebann July 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    As someone with a great interest in politics, history etc I used to read through mick fealty’s website, slugger o toole. You know, the one where he talks of playing the ball not the man, yet every single blog he posts seems to attack Gerry Adams. Even though Unionism has proven itself to be still stuck in the “not an inch, no surrender” politics of the past 100 years, Mr fealty still has a clear agenda against forward thinking progressive republicans. No matter, I just ignore the slugger website and find solace in the blogs of Jude Collins and the comments of its readers !

    • giordanobruno July 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

      I see little point in looking solace in blogs that reinforce your own opinions.
      There is plenty of criticism of SF on slugger,and plenty of criticism of Unionism too.
      But you are right, you won’t have to read any criticism of Sinn Fein here.

      • Jude Collins July 27, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

        I think your presence and William’s presence – for starters – shows that last sentence to be garbage. You’ll have to try and become more self-aware, gio. Anyway,Wotb will have NO difficulty finding places critical of the Shinners – mainstream Irish media, most of the mainstream British media, Indo – it’s not a commodity that’s scarce.

        • giordanobruno July 27, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

          Fair enough Jude(I’m a bit grumpy today). I was referring (clearly I think) to your above the line pieces
          I’m simply trying to point out that it makes no sense to complain of bias against SF on one blog and choose instead another blog which is very sympathetic (is that ok?) towards SF.
          I’m not aware of my lacking in self-awareness.

  3. michael c July 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    But you see Jude ,in Micks world “one side’s as bad as the other” and it’s your fault if a bunch of right wing unionists block every progressive move you try to make. It has to be portrayed that way in spite of all the evidence when the side making the progressive moves is SF.

  4. Iolar July 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    The Minister for Social Development (?) is doing his best to turn the clock back in Belfast, producing transparent policies in the best interests of constituents, sorry, tenants. Recently, he was seen through a wall of silence massaging a pain in his neck caused by sash problems. The Minister hopes to have a window of opportunity to deal with not-an-inch unionism in the autumn. Civil Servants have been advised to amend the term to, not 2.54cms, in the 2015 Priorities for Action on the burning of tyres and pallets. An immediate risk assessment has also been ordered on the power-sharing edifice given the potential danger of its imminent collapse. All glass ceilings will be removed and replaced with other cabinet options.

  5. Freddy Mallins July 27, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Funny how Mr McCausland favours 50/50 housing distribution in North Belfast , yet is totally opposed to 50/50 police recruitment. Funny that.

    • ANOTHER JUDE July 27, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

      Not funny Freddy, just another example of the bias shown by members of the Orange Order where Nationalists are concerned.

  6. paddykool July 27, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    It surely is a curious question being asked in there ,as to whether or not Sinn Fein wants the Assembly to actually work or are just waiting for the thing to implode in the face of unionist stasis. I suppose it is a question worth asking as to which of the two main parties in our “government” actually has more to lose or gain than the other if such a scenario developed.
    The DUP doesn’t appear to want it to work in that they have tried virtually everything they can to make it fail .On a very base level , as has been pointed out , they can’t even allow themselves to acknowledge the ordinary civilities within the corridors. Of course Peter and Marty rub along for public displays such as the Rory thing last week when they gave him a wee pat on the back for being born in Norn Ireland but for the rest of them it is obviously “Ya boo…hiss…and averted eyes every day at work.Like a bunch of wee schoolboys.
    The Sinn Fein project is to get something like a “normal” state of affairs in the land while motoring on with their bigger project of becoming the biggest party …and most powerful party on the entire island .That’s their goal and i suppose as long as unionism wants to wind back the clock and stall at every change like good wee conservatives, the project will drag its heels as far as making Northern Ireland “normal ” is concerned. All that racism , July lawlessness and generally stoked bigotry has to be tidied up somehow before Northern Ireland will be considered by their southern brothers and sisters, after all..
    Nobody’ll want grumpy bloody neighbours…right?
    Sinn Fein’s main base is strictly the working man on the Nationalist side. What used to be called the nine to fives. obviously they’ve begun to gather other voters too, especially young people who can see they have a bit of drive too, but they’re obviously now scooping up the loose SDLP votes, a party that has been at a loose end and without real fire in its belly since the days of Hume and Mallon. Those guys had a history and were good debaters.
    Sinn fein also has somewhere to grow , unlike the DUP who are trapped by the imaginary border . They’ll always have a limitation that Sinn Fein hasn’t to deal with. If the Assembly went down, Sinn Fein will still grow, but the DUP would be sidestepped by the Northern Ireland Office , at least for a short while until Cameron or someone like him threw the whole stinking mess back at them. Remember too that Sinn Fein doesn’t even want too many dealings with Westminster other than as a Big Policeman for unionism. They’d roll along for as long as it takes but the DUP , for all their sword -rattling would be the first to miss the water when the well runs dry.They’ve nowhere else to go.
    For all of that , Sinn Fein are trying in word and deed to make the current set-up work in a way that the DUP are only being half -hearted about…and it shows..that wee sneaky laughing behind the hands that passes for humour. Politics are about talking through problems …not about walking away from them when the argument goes against you. You either work the politics or you’ll be left out in the cold eventually. You don’t walk away from the table…ever!
    I used to read the Slugger, but as has been pointed out, there was a Gerry Adams fetish afoot almost daily which began to grate , even with me who doesn’t sanctify any of our politicians . To my mind , Gerry can sometimes be as stirring or as boring as any of them but at least he had a bit of foresight…A foresight that was way ahead of anyone else …Nationalist or Unionist. Lest we forget the unholy mess we all lived in .Without Gerry unionism would have been happy enough grinding away on the “security front ” for another generation …or ad finitum….
    I have no great love for all that faux romantic military bullshit that both tribes suck up to with their flags , uniforms guns firing, marching and all that “wee boy” cowboys and Indians thuggery, gangsterism and mendacity that they all indulge in…both sides. I have no time for any of their hypocrisies either …as if each one of them was as white as driven snow when we know of the past crudities and crookedness. Gerry with his wee black beret like some French onion seller and Peter with his wee raspberry beret and comb -over …. like…….Prince!! Both wee boys playing at soldiers and that ….while the rest of us lived” real” lives…with real jobs and bills …..What we want are politicians who can do politics ….now!. We dont want them wallowing back to 1690 or 1916 or 1969…1972 or whatever they want to rake up next. We know they all did crappy things in their youth ….I wouldn’t want to start with my own youth,but I didn’t mess around with guns or …”shoot a man in Reno ….just to watch him die”” as the song says.
    From where I sit Nelson McCausland has been doing some strange things besides believing that men and women romped about with dinosaurs a few thousand years ago. Who the fuc.. would make a man like that a politician?In what universe would that be? I want someone who has at least read a book in his life in charge of my affairs.Who let a guy like that in?? I want to know!!!I want that sorted out and not hid under the carpet because he’s “one of the boys” ..That would be a start .i don’t want Wee Sammy coming out with some dumb excuses either.I’d feel the same if it was a Shinner with sticky fingers. There appears to be more corruption in our wee ulster than in some Mexican border town.
    I don’t want grown men signing their silly delarations in some soap -opers silly way , telling me and the cameras in some grand gesture …some Graduated Response… if it was of world importance…. that I’ll be told in my own good time that the people we voted into government haven’t got any new ideas …haven’t got a clue in fact.. Gawd help us when are these buggers going to grow up?
    Like I say the unionists would miss all this claptrap more than anyone .They’re the ones most in thrall to that big Dressing Up Box…

  7. michael c July 27, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    PK ,I see “all the military bullshit ,flags,guns firing ,uniforms (etc) on my television as I read your post.Only it appears that the entire Free State establishment who are at it and being adressed by Michael D as he beams with pride .His fulsome praise is for the “Howth gun runners” who like their UVF opponenents brought the gun into Irish politics in 1914.But maybe these guns only fired blanks and do not offend your middle class sensibilities like”Gerry’s beret.You see PK every party in Ireland approved of the gun at some stage and unless you are of a Quaker background and never voted for any of them ,then you are part of the hypocrisy too.

  8. Morpheus July 27, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    “I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that unionist obduracy could bring the whole power-sharing edifice crashing down.”

    Of course it will be unionist obduracy that will bring down Stormont! Duh!

    Does anyone for a single second believe that political unionism will allow a SF First Minister without going through the usual tried and tested repertoire of:

    …Oh go on then

    Just as they did with the OTR ‘saga’ they will manufacture a crisis which will be so ‘severe’ that they have ‘no option’ but to bring down Stormont rather than have MMcG as FM even though the difference between FM and DFM is ceremonial.

    That’s why a timely reminder of ‘Plan B’ from the British and Irish Governments is vital – it will be the kick up the arse needed to focus minds.

  9. Micheal July 27, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    I think the flag protests and the walk outs at Stormont are a smoke screen for a lot of things, some of which we have yet to establish and some of which are very evident. It was very evident by the way the Unionists carried out the walk out the their joint statement there after that the walk out was planned beforehand. Unionists seem to be behind a lot of the stalled ‘agreements’ and motions at Stormont and with them saying “nothing can be gained by going back to the talks” just goes to show they really have no enthusiasm for getting things kick started again in regard to talks on flags and parades.

    I find myself thinking more and more that there is no negotiating in Unionism at all and in Loyalism as a whole due to what we have seen in the past month, is (as usual) a case of ‘our way or no way’. Unionism is dragging its heels so hard its really excruciating to watch and I have to say fair play to Sinn Fein for at least trying to get back to the talking table even after Unionists walked out. The question is, is Unionism really stalling or do they have the North of Ireland right where they want us?

    • Pointis July 28, 2014 at 12:12 am #

      If you were diametrically opposed to the policies of your rivals, felt that they were eventually going to get their way due to an increasing mandate but felt compelled to share power with them would you do things differently?

      I don’t agree with the DUP, but think they have done quite a good job of making sure all progress is stymied and in some cases slightly reversed (as in the case of Nelson McCausland) while still maintaining the illusion to the outside world that everything is ok and that they are not part of the problem!

      I think the DUP would give Oskar Schindler a run for his money!

  10. Pointis July 27, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    Gerry has Mick Fealty and you have Giordanobruno and wee Willie, does that make you more important than Gerry?

    • Jude Collins July 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

      Of course. I’m shocked you saw fit to ask…

  11. paddykool July 27, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    So I’m in a class again Michael…..I think we’ve had this conversation before.You don’t have to be a Quaker to know that taking up arms happens when the intellect fails. None of it impresses me…should it be green orange or blue.It all ends up like Gaza with dead bloody children and wee puffed up men in shiny uniforms and big guns carrying coffins .

    • Pointis July 28, 2014 at 9:19 am #


      Perhaps a slight generalisation in your comment “you don’t have to be a Quaker to know that taking up arms happens when intellect fails”!

      I am sure Mordecai Anielewicz and the other Jews of the Z.O.B. who resisted the Nazi deportation to the Treblinka concentration camps from the Warsaw Ghetto would surely not have agreed that their intellect had failed!

      • paddykool July 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

        Point taken, Pointis …but you know what i’m getting at…it’s all this “pomp” and about ceremony about killing that bugs me “… you know, if we all keep straight faces and wear lovely starched clean uniforms . if we don’t smile when the coffins are wheeled past…or if we get caught up in the pornography and machinery of our fantastic weaponry and military toys …then it’s all somehow nice and clean and the violence behind it is excusable. It’s a different thing when your backs against the wall and someone is trying to stick a knife in you.It’s fight or flight then of course….

  12. paddykool July 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    A thought has just occured to me Michael c….just as you’ve pulled it into the situation….I’m curious to hear your views on this one…you brought up class…right?… now , given the positions in society that each of the following guys in our society inhabit….what “class” would you put each of the following in…..Martin McGuinness , Gerry Adams, Peter Robinson, Sammy Wilson, Nelson McCausland?
    Now I hasten to add that this is not some strict science or anything…just a wee game between us all here in conversation…but I’m curious to hear a few views…

  13. RJC July 27, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    One so often reads of ‘Unionist anger’, ‘Unionist fury’, steam coming out of Peter Robinson’s racist ears etc but seldom do we hear of anger and fury from the other side.

    Is it that Martin McGuinness and co are supposed to be enduring some sort of purgatory period? Still doing penance for whatever roles they may have played during the Troubles? It seems odd to me that we never hear of Sinn Féin anger at the utter inability of the DUP to behave with anything approaching either professionalism or maturity.

    The phrase ‘throwing their toys out of the pram’ seems to be used with increasing regularity in relation to the DUP. The DUP are the ones attempting to halt the peace process at every step. Continually attempting to undo whatever progress has been made since they opposed the GFA.

    Whether that’s their opposition to the Haass talks, the recent (non) talks, their role in the Flag riots, the Twaddell fiasco or simply the ongoing behaviour of McCausland, Poots and the rest of those with Ministries. Anywhere else in the world these people would have resigned/been kicked out by now.

    At what point do Sinn Féin stand up to their ‘colleagues’ in government and say ‘Enough’

  14. Virginia July 27, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    Why would my company invest in a city or state where the second largest political party, Sinn Fein cannot show up for work, for which they are being paid, in the Nation’s legislative body? (Westminster for those of you in North America.) That is question Virginia would like answered. Or does SF not want investment?

    • Jude Collins July 28, 2014 at 9:04 am #

      You mean if SF took their seats in Westminster, investment would follow? Gimme a break there, Virginia…

  15. Am Ghobsmacht July 28, 2014 at 4:24 am #

    Dr C
    A few things:

    I think Mick has a point in purely political terms i.e. the path of least resistance.

    Now, I’m not saying that ‘diversions’ are the main motivations behind the anti-parading and anti-fleggery stances of SF, I mean, they’d be a very useless nationalist party if they didn’t try to tackle such antagonistic activities but, it’s certainly money for jam as far as SF are concerned.

    Ironically this is fuel for my anti-parading fire; I feel unionists should deprive SF of such easy pickings (and yes, I do think it from the point of view of alleviating stress and intimidation from affected nationalists, but as this is a debate, people will refuse to acknowledge this and assume the worst)

    Anyhoo, I see Mick’s point. In fact, it could probably be applied to ALL of the NI political parties; feed the masses flags, parades and memorials and no one minds that the minister for health thinks that the world is 5000 years old.

    It’s a perfect set up.

    I’m sure other ‘governments’ are jealous:

    “Khalid! We promised the people a health system but we spent the money on palaces by the sea! What shall we do?!”

    “Burn a flag, that’ll distract them. Mention Israel while you do it…”

    As for North Belfast and Nelson “we’re Scots but not Gaelic” MAC Causland, well, you’ll hear no argument from me. I find him scary. He’s taking the NI Protestants down a dark path. Separate race my foot…

    As for investors and the flag riots, two thoughts: On one hand, SF are well within their rights to pursue a path that they see as ‘equality’.

    On the other hand we all know that SF know what the consequences of their actions would be.

    So, it’s a balancing act, they shouldn’t feel discouraged from pursuing their goals on account of loyalist violence but, they know fine and well what will happen if they do things like tampering with ‘the flag’.

    I personally blame the unionist politicians just as much because even a monkey with an abacus could have seen it coming but it’s still a case of knowingly pursing a policy that will result in something entirely predictable and it was foolish to do so just before Christmas in a time of economic strife, marching season would have been the logical time to do it, it could have been a bargaining chip for the various marching disputes.

    Instead we have marching disputes AND a flag dispute. Completely the wrong way round.
    I believe SF are smart enough to know this, yet they did not kill two birds with one stone, they chose a course that allowed two birds to grow fat, troublesome albatrosses and sh*t on everything.

    Unionists are so predictable now that SF can’t claim “well, we didn’t know this would happen guv”.

    At present unionists are behaving like albino lab mice. If you conduct an experiment that you know will result in albino rodent crap exploding all over the place then you bear part of the responsibility for the plethora of rodent faeces on the ipad.

    Being right, having rights and doing the right thing are not the same.

    SF should have waited half a year on the flag.

    And on the topic of cross border bodies, I actually think that unionism is missing out on a trick here:

    I’ve noticed how a significant number of Catholics have become more pro-union/staus quo since the GFA and the option of having Irish citizenship. It’s like part of a dream has been granted.

    Extrapolating on such a thought, I wonder if we in the north were afforded all the rights of those in the south then would many ‘nationalists’ up north would become accustomed to the ‘best of both worlds’ idea. There are already a few supporters of this on SO’T, (you know who I mean).

    Upgrade the cross border railway line (Derry – Sligo – Galway; the party express), a few cross border bodies and effectively reduce the border to a minimal abstract concept then unionism could reap the rewards. Ironically. Very ironically.

    Like I said before, if unionism brings the edifice down, then it deserves to be punished.

    I’m sure Westminster knows what will make them hurt.

    Surely all the SoS has to do is whisper to a few unionist bigwigs “if Stormont collapses then there’ll be a border poll very year till Stormont’s up and running again. Punk”

    • morpheus July 28, 2014 at 11:09 am #

      “SF should have waited half a year on the flag.”

      Totally disagree AG. In fact, I could not disagree more.

      The entire council, not just SF, voted to look at the flag flying policy at BCH following legal advice from Senior Counsel in 2002. After that followed 10 YEARS of legal advice, Equality Commission advice, College of Arms advice, an audit of how other councils in the UK approach the subject, debate in the Chamber and a democratic vote. Like they do in normal countries.

      The unionist politicians had well over a decade to prepare their electorate for a possible change – what did they do? Absolutely feck all then tried to take advantage of the situation with their notorious and cowardly leaflet drop. They then sat back and watched as their fellow elected representatives got death threats/firebombs, police officers were injured and nearly murdered and their constituents racked up hundreds and hundreds of criminal records.

      Making council facilities neutral and welcoming to all – the same policy adopted by nationalist parties in other nationalist dominated councils – should have been welcomed and the nationalist parties commended for changing their policy in light of sensitivities in Belfast and voting to implement a compromise.

      But nooooooo, heaven forbid.

      Onto the other topic…

      People ask on here if it is in SF’s interests to keep Stormont alive – I suspect that it is most certainly in their best interests. It’s like docking Endeavor to the space station – rather than just hooking up and opening the hatch time is taken to normalize the pressure levels on both sides so the door can be opened safely. Same here. SF do not want to build up pressure on one side and then open the door – that’s a recipe for disaster – instead they want to normalize the pressure on both sides so the door can be opened easily and safely avoiding the inevitable destruction of both Endeavor and the ISS. Things being normalized – or as close to it as possible – on both sides of the border is in everyone’s interests come referendum time.

      Check it out – Bruce Willis proved the point in ‘Armageddon’

      SF have been clever about this – they are hedging their bets. When political unionism bring down Stormont following yet another ‘crisis’ – and I do mean ‘when’ and not ‘if’ – we revert to Plan B, the British and Irish Governments take the reigns. And who is on track to be a major player in the next Irish Government – that’s right, the Shinners. Be it Plan A or Plan B they are making sure they have a few seats at the table no matter what happens.

  16. paddykool July 28, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    I’m not so sure Am Ghob… The unionists made such a song and dance over the “flegs” with their leaflets that it was a totally disproportionate response. It shouldn’t have been such a Big Deal to bring the Flag Culture into line with the rest of the UK. The DUP used the situation to inflame rather than explain. Northern Ireland flies more flags than anywhere else on the planet…..anywhere else !! .By doing so it has devalued that very symbol and turned it into a sort of gaudy decoration.There is now nothing …nothing at all special about the flag.How could there be? it’s just something for the wee corner boys to play with.
    If you eat the same meal at the same time every day , it soon becomes a forgettable experience.There’s nothing special about it anymore . That’s what we have in Northern Ireland .Instead of taking the flag out and unwrapping it and folding it with care like you’d see in America , at funerals of soldiers, for example, it is used here as anything from a tatty lamp post decoration to, in the worst case..a weapon.Where’s the respect in any of that .I know it’s only a rectangle of cloth but in northern Ireland loyalism was allowed to devalue it in the eyes of everyone else in the UK. That’s the reality . You’d never see flags like it anywhere in England or Wales …ever ! If the DUP had any kind of sense they would have explained that reasoning behind a balanced society….if only to bring them into line with the UK. they are only half the story in Northern Ireland . They are living cheek to jowl with the other half who do not share their view in any way.they have to understand that an accomodation needs to be reached where each “side” can respect the other.
    Unionism is not even trying .
    Instead they stood back after lighting the touchpaper and let the riot begin. They were literally afraid to show any kind of leadership that might bring us all a balanced thoughtful view. Lots of smoke and mirrors to keep the rubes on the street distracted.

  17. neill July 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    For example if we consider education. From the very first days of the Assembly, Sinn Féin confronted a major blockage for tens of thousands of children: the Eleven Plus. If that bold initiative has been stalled it is because some selfish grammar schools want to keep things as they were, because they benefit and the hell with the secondary school lot. In this they have been supported by unionist politicians.

    Teachers would be the last people I would ever ask for advice on Educational matters. In my opinion the grammar school sector worked well and if they had spent their time improving the Secondary sector by actually teaching skills that are needed for employment then we could have solved this issue.

    Indeed we could do this across Stormont and actually get some decent Government by ministers taking difficult decisions.

    • Jude Collins July 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

      Having read your views on education, I think it might be an idea to have a word with people who know what they’re talking about. The Eleven Plus is a predictor of nothing. A well-trained chimpanzee could pass it, and I don’t blame parents for wanting to get their children into a grammar school. For those who got there, it did a good job – although it insulated them from the bulk of their peers. For the kids left in the secondary sector, the notion of emerging with a good range of qualifications was remote. As an education system, NI is great if you just look at the grammar school achievements. It’s a pit of non-achievement if you look at the secondary sector. Any society that would place any value on equality wouldn’t dream of testing ability at ten. Or fourteen, in my view. Movement from one sphere to another should be seamless and not just at whatever stage the youngster is at – at whatever stage the person is at. Some people develop aptitude and skill and understanding in their twenties, thirties, forties. Some, of course, never develop understanding at all. But they’re usually people who are so convinced of their own wisdom, they reject the very notion of talking to people who work within the system.

      • neill July 28, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

        Some, of course, never develop understanding at all. But they’re usually people who are so convinced of their own wisdom, they reject the very notion of talking to people who work within the system

        Very witty indeed.

        Still we know every teacher is top class in this country since no teachers ever get fired in this country for being incompentent do they?

        • Jude Collins July 28, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

          I don’t think I said all teachers were top-class. I just suggested that common sense would tell anyone that consulting with those involved in the field in question makes sense. But not to all, it would apper.

  18. neill July 28, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Why should i trust a profession to make strategic decisions for my childrens educational future when they shelter shoddy fellow teachers and are unwilling to report them and remove them from their profession?

    Still at least in this case you are a hundred percent behind the establishment

    • Jude Collins July 29, 2014 at 7:30 am #

      Maybe you should stop reading the Daily Mail, Neill, or digesting their ideas second-hand. As I say, there are no doubt incompetent teachers just as there are incompetents in all professions. Not a good argument for saying the profession shouldn’t be consulted. But at least you’ve retained your sense of humour, even if it’s inaccurate and misguided. I support education – hardly a deeply establishment position. I support improvement of our education system in this part of Ireland – again, hardly a red-eyed anti-establishment position. Maybe stop digging, Neill.

      • neill July 29, 2014 at 9:15 am #

        If you support education then do you believe that poor teachers should be fired after all the biggest problem that children face in schools is poor teaching?

        You need a sense of humour dealing with you perhaps I should sign you up for some copies of the Morning Star..