Gilbert and Sullivan and the b- words


It gets more like the plot of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta with every day. Or maybe a chapter from Alice in Wonderland. First we’re told that Gerry Adams made a speech in Enniskillen where he talked about achieving equality and the people in the DUP who are resisting this. He referred to them as ‘bananas’. No, only kidding. He called them ‘bastards’, but our media, sensitive to the ears and eyes of their Aunt Agatha, like to call it ‘the b- word’. Mark Devenport was on Raidio Uladh/Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ulster explaining he wouldn’t say the full word because of the time of day.

Now it appears that there’s another b- word out  there – this one used by Michelle Gildernew. This b is not for butler or British or Bohemian. At least I’m guessing it’s not, because Mark Devenport wouldn’t say, it being so early in the morning. But I’m going to take a wild guess and say it was b for bollocks. She said that these, what’s the plural, I suppose bollockses, would have to be moved out of their comfort zone and into an equality zone.

Stand by for unionist outrage. To use one b- word is regrettable; to use two looks like carelessness, as Oscar Wilde nearly said. What’s very Alice-in-Wonderlandish is that, although we haven’t heard unionist reaction yet, if it’s anything like that in reaction to Gerry Adams’s bastards remark, the outrage will be directed at the bastard bit and the e-word (equality, Virginia, equality – try to keep up) will be ignored. Personally, I’d be more upset at being called a bigot or a racist than I would to being called a bastard. I know I’m not a bastard and I’ve the birth certificate to prove it; and if I were a bastard, it would be something totally beyond my control. But bigot or racist or homophobe – yes, that would be within my control and I think I’d prefer not to have people talk about me under those terms. Interesting, that unionist politicians have chosen not to dispute their resistance to equality, just their wrath at being called bananas and now Bohemians …sorry, mixed up for a minute there, bastards and bollockses.

One final twist to it all: as unionists rage against the improper language, in their view, of their opponents, suddenly out of the blue comes news this morning of the arrest of leading republican Bobby Storey in connection with the killing in the 1970s of Jean McConville. The last time someone was arrested for that killing it was Gerry Adams, who was held for four days, released and went on to Sinn Féin’s successful election campaign in the south shortly afterwards. The general belief is that republican voters came out because they were enraged by what they saw as political policing. Now, with the Westminster run-in starting immediately after Christmas, as Peter Robinson himself has pointed out, another prominent republican is arrested in connection with the same death.

I did say Jean McConville, a mother of eight. Not to be confused with Joan Connolly, also a mother of eight. No one has been arrested for her killing. But then that was done by the British Army in the 1970s, so there’ d be no record of any kind relating to any soldier involved in the Ballymurphy slaughter of eleven innocent people in 1971 was carried out by the Parachute regiment of the British army, so naturally there’d be no documentation of who did what. Still, it could be worse. Someone could have called the Ballymurphy families bastards or bollockses.

16 Responses to Gilbert and Sullivan and the b- words

  1. Cal November 27, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    What age was Storey at that time ? 15 or 16 ? Arrested apparently in relation to the ‘overall’ picture. In essence arrested because some brain box read a book and seen his name…

    P.s Jude, I think Jean McConville may have been a mother of 10. For some reason this is highly relevant to the media coverage and they tend to repeat this quite a bit. Catholic mother of 10 will be mentioned quite a bit today.

  2. neill November 27, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Twisting in the wind of whataboutery Jude!

    • Antonio November 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

      pot kettle black

  3. Mugmedon November 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    I always thought the plural was bolloxes. Anway, must put the tea on.

    • paddykool November 27, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

      Or maybe bolloxii…..?

  4. Perkin Warbeck November 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    Funny how a cursory glance can result in one picking something up wrong. Like one of those pretend dog turds from a joke shop, which wasn’t. Even the dogs in the street can tell a pretend d.t. from the real thing on the sidewalk. Including those of the Pekinese variety.

    On first c. glancing at the title of today’s blog Perkie’s inner bloggard thought he read ‘Gilbert O’Sullivan and the b-words’. Which set him ‘thinking’ along the lines of the boy from (gulp, the W-word again) Waterford in his early trademark attire of Bisto-Kid cap and bovver boots.

    Curse-of-god cursory glances are not worth the words they land upon, not least when they miss the ‘and’ they are supposed to land upon.

    Gilbert AND Sullivan.

    Ooh-wakka-do but there is a difference between an O’ and an And, rather. Not unlike the difference, say, between Trial by Jury and Trial by Media. Or indeed between – and here, Perkie must dip into his inner serious rhyme suite – sofa and Savoy Opera.

    Alas, nothing rhymed, not unalike the ‘hope and history’ for which noble Seamus was Famous.

    Speaking of suites, tis not till v. recently that Perkie’s inner c. glancer realised than the b for broadcaster Devenport was not in fact a Davenport upon whom a surfer could have a million sits. Mark you, Devenport is part of the media furniture of a Norneverland Ukea Showroom which will be shortly joined by the canny P. Kenny, the ultimate stick of wooden furniture, allegedly.

    A Davenport of a transatlantic manufacture was the favoured piece of furnitute favoured by the comic duo in the radioland of Uncle Sam in 19 and Forgotten: Fibber McGee and Molly. It is where they liked to do ‘their retiring, resting, sewing, and other things besides’.

    Including badmouthing their next door neighbour, Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve who is in no way to be confused with Michelle Gildernew, though the SDLP spokesperson on Soi Dysentry might beg to defer: ‘they just GOTTA be related: anyone with a sur or madam name commenciing with ‘gilder’ is a sleeveen’.

    Starting with Gilbet Sullivan (with an and rather than an O) it is not inappropriate, perhaps, to conclude with same, being the n. of the game.. And Oscar Wilde who was also namechecked in today’s blog, Esteemed Blogmeister. Though not in a tame way.

    Cursory glancers have for long assumed that the character of Bunthorne, the fleshy poet in the Savoy Opera known as ‘Patience’ was based on Speranza’s eldest son Oscar Wills Fingal Flaherty. Careless, but no cigar. Seeminlgy this c.g. was based on the leprechaun word ‘bun’ which means, gulp, ‘bottom’.

    Fleshy though the poet might well have been, nonetheless, there was much truthiness in what he had to sing:

    ‘Though the Philistines may jostle, you will rank as an apostle
    In the high aesthetic band
    If you walk down Piccadilly with a poppy and a lily
    In your medieval hand”

    Oops, the last word in the third line ought to read: l-word.

    • Jude Collins November 27, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      Oops no more, Perkie – it has been attended to. You shooting star you…

  5. Colm Dore November 27, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    William Crawley, and several politicians, including Alex Attwood, but particularly an emotional Mike Nesbitt, were extremely exercised by the use of the Trojan Horse metaphor. INM had a carnival with it.

    Surely it’s very easily explained. Bigots. by definition, do not welcome equality. They shut the proverbial gate on it, so it must be assiduously built, and brought in despite them. (Trojan work, indeed.)

    Such was the case with Civil Rights, fair employment, power-sharing. All were resisted.

    SF have room for improvement in making that point.

    Maybe the UUP & DUP imagine their history is the enthusiastic embrace of equality.

  6. michael c November 27, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    Yes Cal ,Bobby would have been 15 or 16 at the time and it took the BBC several hours and several bulletins to realise this .So after midday they altered their story to say that Bob was being grilled about “the overall picture” as opposed to the actual killing.The BBC has long been the publicity machine for both the RUC and PSNI and will go with any line the”branch” feed them.Despite their effected public school accents and mannerisms ,a lot of their journalists cannot even follow their own propaganda.Twice in a week Noel Thompson has got it wrong concerning his colleagues output.He attributed comments to someone from Gulladuff when nobody from the buildingwas interviewed.He also got the wrong end of the stick when interviewing Raymond McCartney and accused him of saying something which he never said.

    • giordanobruno November 28, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

      Did he not join the IRA when he was 16?
      Of course they should not have been recruiting anyone so young but if they did then why can he not now be questioned about his part, if any, in the murder of Jean McConville?

  7. Iolar November 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    “To be, or not to be, that is the question…”

    The failure of political parties in the north of Ireland to respond to the proposals developed by Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan on 31 December 2014 represented a scathing indictment of the entire political process. Why? On 27 November 2014 as we approach the end of this year, political unionism remains hoist on its own petard. Homophobic and racist comments are features of MLA’s daily discourse, yet today we learn of further proposed redundancies in industry and reductions in the education budget.

    The Centre for Economic Policy reports that the economy in the north of Ireland will reduce to 1.9% growth in 2015 and that difficult choices are required in relation to the introduction of prescription charges, water charges, reductions in public sector pay and the discontinuation of subsidised travel for older people.

    It would appear that some politicians have elevated making life difficult for most people, to a lucrative art form.

  8. michael c November 27, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    Bobby Storey has now been released without charge. The “intelligence” on which he was arrested must have been of a very high grade indeed!

  9. Argenta November 27, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

    It’s hard to disagree with the headline over Newton Emersons piece in today’s Irish News—“Parties drawing the sting with sham fights”.He also adds that Sinn Fein and the D U P “deserve each other and everyone who needs or falls for their nonsense deserves them both”.To paraphrase Bill Clintons famous quote’it’s next years elections,stupid!

    • Jude Collins November 27, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

      Lazy thinking masquerading as analysis, I call it…

      • Argenta November 28, 2014 at 10:22 am #

        Of course,you would say that,wouldn’t you!Any even mild criticism of the S F line is dismissed.

  10. michael c November 28, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    Micihele got the whole think wrong entirely.The actual word is ballix ,the plural of which is ballixes.She should have known this as there is a district in her constituency (and I kid you not) called “Upper Ballix” which is in the Fermanagh end of FST !