Gregory’s at it again


Gregory Campbell has been yet again rattling the bars of the cage up at Stormont. While Caitriona Ruane was making a speech in Irish, Gregory yawned so loudly and conspicuously (and twice) that the Speaker, Mitchel McLaughlin, barred him from partaking of the verbal joys of the debating chamber for a couple of days. Gregory of course has form in this area. You’ll remember his famous Curry My Yoghurt remark about the Irish language not so long ago.

I’ve met and talked to Gregory on a couple of occasions. The most recent was when I interviewed him for my book Whose Past Is It Anyway? Since I was doing the interview, Gregory didn’t get much chance to ask me about my political views but I’m pretty confident he knows what they are. So credit where credit is due: I found Gregory to be courteous, generous with his time and pleasant in a civilised way. As an individual, he strikes me as eminently likeable.

But this isn’t about him as an individual – it’s Gregory as politician. It’s a safe bet that Gregory has sat through a number of truly boring speeches (maybe even in his own party) but it’s also a safe bet that he didn’t expression his tedium in loud and prolonged yawns. If he had, it would have been considered the height of bad manners. When he did his Curry-My-Yoghurt routine, Carál Ní Chuilín described it as “pure ignorance”, and in the local sense of that expression I think she was right: it was a boorish response to someone speaking a wonderful language that is threaded into all our lives in place names and the way we use English, and far from being mocked, anyone using it should be encouraged. When you have a treasure – and a treasure that’s in danger of slipping away from us – you hold on tight to it.

So yes, Gregory was pure ignorant in his CMY remarks and he was pure ignorant in his conspicuously audible yawns the other day. So why would a man who is in my experience a polite and even friendly individual want to behave in such a clod-hopper-type way?

Easy. It’s the election, stupid. Gregory is taking these pot-shots at the Irish language because he knows that out there in the electorate, there are a considerable number of people who would be delighted by his antics and consequently glad to tick his name on the ballot paper. Which, when you think about it, is the saddest thing of all: to stay elected, Gregory feels the need to pander to the worst instincts of his constituents. His yawns and CMY comments feed the dumb prejudice of some of those he hopes will vote for him.

Sometimes I want to weep.

21 Responses to Gregory’s at it again

  1. Pj Dorrian March 24, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    Like Nelson, Gregory, is likely to push Irish more away from non nationalists and in so doing making their cultural Ives even more poor. Perhaps, just as Boycott became more than just a landlord so too will a Gregory come to mean an ignoramus.

  2. Colmán March 24, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

    An rud is fearr a dtig leat a dhéanamh faoi seo ná Gaeilge a fhoghlaim agus Gaeilge a labhairt.

  3. paddykool March 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    Well of course it’s dumb. It’s like some wee boring schoolboy ‘ chucking his chewing gum at the teacher from the back of the class.Oor Greg isn’t a schoolboy though….and this isn’t politics for half-wits, now , as it very probably was back in the days of yore. This is supposed to be a game for grown-ups now with all that responsibility and their hands in our collective pockets.Oor Greg may be playing to his gullible gallery for electoral purposes alright, but it makes him appear a bloody eegit , in local parlance.He’s supposed to be serving the entire community….not just the odd bod neanderthal that he likes.In that respect , a lot of his buffonery and antics border on near- racism and his suspensions should be a lot more severe.A slap on the wrist isn’t good enough. These arseholes should be hit in the pocket too with some system of fines.Talk about setting an example for children to follow. What example does this kind of behaviour and what kind of message does this send out to the whole community?.Is it any wonder that they can’t convince dog-owners to treat their streets with respect when the bloody ones in charge are so damned stupid.
    You’re saying he’s not really stupid, Jude …just pretending for the knuckle-dragging rubes in the backwoods ? He’s making a right pantomime of government alright and it’s probably what they deserve , but what about the rest of us? I always hated bloody pantomimes!!!

  4. PeadarW. March 24, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    “As an individual, he strikes me as eminently likeable”.

    Obviously a side of his personality he keeps well hidden.
    I think the other descriptions I’ve read of him are more accurate such as boorish,ignorant and disrespectful.
    If its true all he is doing is performing for the less discerning of his community just to get reelected then I’d add hypocrite to the list as well.

  5. Ryan March 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    I’ve met Gerry Adams twice in my life. I’ve met Gerry Kelly just under 2 years ago. I have yet to get an opportunity to meet a Unionist politician but I’m sure they would be just as pleasant as Gerry Adams and Gerry Kelly.

    Gregory Campbell, it goes without saying, is in election mode. Doesn’t it say a lot about the Unionist electorate (in Gregory’s area anyway) that to poke fun at, mock and be very ignorant towards someone else’s culture and language brings out voters to vote for you? In any other decent and normal society such behaviour would have the opposite affect and lose you votes or even have demands that you resign. But not in “Norn Iron”.

    I don’t think its a secret that Gregory Campbell does hate anything Irish. The DUP’s own brand of Unionism does harbour a hostility towards anything Irish, so Gregory feels perfectly at home but it also exposes the hypocrisy of the DUP when they demand respect for “Orange culture” (though I don’t think anti Catholicism and sectarianism can be regarded as a culture). But Unionism forgets that its essential to make Northern Ireland work as a state in order for the Union to continue and by mocking or by being outright hostile towards Irish culture/language is counter productive to that and just makes those who cherish Irish culture (yes, I know some Unionists cherish Irish culture too) feel alienated and want to end partition even more.

    So Gregory should act his age and think twice before he resorts to school boy behaviour because Unionism certainly isn’t the dominant force it use to be……

    • John March 25, 2015 at 12:58 am #

      Very insightful comments and observations by yourself and sherdy – and very true it has to be said. And a very sad state of affairs as N.I. still yet attempts to move forward – only to be still, and yet again, attempted to be held back by boorish schoolboy ignoramious ‘Politicians’ – who somehow remind me of Perkins’ tale of Buddy Holly’s coroner.

  6. sherdy March 24, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    The consensus so far seems to be that Gregory is an ignoramus, and I can’t disagree with that.
    But I differ in the view that he himself is being disrespectful and ignorant.
    To my way of thinking he is playing the part of ‘attack dog’ for his boss Robinson, as it helps the DUP generally to be seen to be playing awkward in respect to Sinn Fein.
    Election time for the DUP means down and dirtier than any other party can imagine, so don’t just blame the one person for his misbehaviour – when they get re-elected they will mellow again to their normal obnoxious selves!

  7. Am Ghobsmacht March 24, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

    The DUP have found an unfortunate stick with which to beat SF.

    Once/if the language becomes something perceived to be more ‘neutral’ (emphasis on the importance on perception) then do you think he and his like may ease off the language?

    If so, then what?

    If an alliance member spoke in Irish would it provoke the same reaction from himself do you think?

    Food for thought.

  8. Perkin Warbeck March 24, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    Could it be, Esteemed Blogmeister, that there is another reason why Gregory’s inner Yawn-again Christian has been currying favour again with his inner yogurt-eating Yawnaiste?

    Could it be he has been observing the daily Uncle Tom Foolery in the dour Corridors of Power in the Deep South of the Free Southern Stateen and has not been discouraged by what he sees there?

    And has taken particular note of the urbane advice given to Madame Monoglot of the Department of The Guiletacht in the run-up, oops, knock-down to the Easter Rising Commemorations of 2016? Advice of such urbanity that he has not felt the need to weep into his tumbler of Britvic?

    Advice which relegates the leprechaun to a Vauxhall Conference level due to its lowly status and which givbes a piggyback to those of a cosmopolitan ilk such as the shouty but silky Sir/Saint Bob and the Nobel Laureate-in-line Bono. Refined advice which was later released in a Padraig Pee-free DVD.

    Advice which will see the Kilmainham Improvement Centre being morphed for the duration of the week into a class of Rollingstone Breakers Yard in which the two pre-eminent J. Arthur Rankers will get to get to do what they do because it’s what they do: bong their gongs in public.As to which of the pair will get to go first will be decided by a wink and a nod between the two heavyweight J. Arthur Rankers.

    And not only will it be politically correct but indeed, it will also be historically correct. For, who was the reigning British Heavyweight Champion in Easter 1916? Why, none uvver than that master of the Q’s English, Bombardier Billy Wells himself. Who went on, did he not, to become the very first bonger of the J. Arthus Rank gong on the silver screen.

    Not for nothing was he known as ‘Mr. Beautiful’ by his legions of female fans, but indeed, by a selection of his, erm, male fans too.

    The ostentatious curry man of Londonderry yogurt will know that the Department of the Guiletacht is the ministry which holds the purse strings of the cursed First Language of the FSS and will have been informed too, that for the intilliginsia and other English language supremacists of the Southern Establisment, leprechaun rhymes with yawn.

    Little wonder therefore that the Good Golly Miss Molly Monoglot of a Ministerial Dolly has chosen to adopt what is known to eminent economists as the Buddy Holly approach to the dolling out of the leprechaun lolly.

    Thump ! Thump ! Thump !

    Schrodinger, Perkie’s penickety pet Peckingese, thumping his tail again on the Axminsiter carpet, demanding clarification.

    When Buddy Holly’s body was found lying yards from his doomed aircraft on the day the music died, Feb 3, 1959, it was discovered that he had a total of 193 dollars on his person. The coroner thoughtfully removed 11.65 dollars to cover his own expenses. Picking the pockets of a dead man, one might say.

    In the case of the Department of the Guiletacht the subtle thinking of the spin coroners goes something like this: as the leprechaun is a corpse why not remove the coppers from his eyes and put them into the wallets of a more deserving cause, i.e, those impoverished giants of popular vulture, oops, culture, B and B?

    Btw/ Dala an sceil, should anybody overhear the cosmopolitan Gregory of the Crooked Mouth whistling Buddy Holly’s first hit ‘That’ll be the Day’, maybe, baby, it might be wise not to inform him that the title translates as: ‘Tiocfaidh ar La’.

    OIche mhaith agus codladh samh.

    • Jude Collins March 24, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

      “Btw/ Dala an sceil, should anybody overhear the cosmopolitan Gregory of the Crooked Mouth whistling Buddy Holly’s first hit ‘That’ll be the Day’, maybe, baby, it might be wise not to inform him that the title translates as: ‘Tiocfaidh ar La’.

      OIche mhaith agus codladh samh.”

      Gurab amhlaidh duit, Perkie. You have done – and continue to do – some service to the nation.

      • cmac March 24, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

        Hey Jude ;)) Next time you’re on the radio or TV why not make an offer to teach Gregory Irish? If hes so upset hearing people speak a language he cant understand theres an easy fix.

  9. Iolar March 24, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

    We owe a great deal to the men and women from a unionist background who added to our knowledge of this ancient yet dynamic language. The language is not the private property of any particular tradition or culture. It has remained dynamic and vibrant for centuries in spite of systematic attempts to eradicate the use of the language. Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam. A country without a language, a country without a soul.

    • PeadarW. March 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

      I respectfully disagree the Irish language belongs,by definition to the Irish culture which is precisely why the Gregory Campbell’s of the north hate and fear it.
      It doesn’t belong to any particular religion that’s a given.

    • moser March 25, 2015 at 3:44 am #

      The Irish language belongs to the Irish people. The same way Ireland belongs to the Irish people. There is no need to complicate things, it’s simple really: the land was stolen and there was an attempt to destroy the language and culture of it’s people. The English need to go home and leave us in Pearce.

  10. cmac March 24, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

    Sinn Fein should pull out of East Derry and urge Nationalists to back John Dallat (if hes standing).
    Narrowing in on sectarianism is pathetic by the SDLP.
    I can’t imagine Nationalists or those who want a more tolerant place to live will be crying “sectarianism” at the prospect of serving bigot mouth his p45.

  11. Argenta March 24, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

    Apart from Gregory’s obvious electioneering at the moment,can you remind us what his views were as expressed in your book?Was the affable Gregory who met you for interview any more moderate in his thinking then?

    • Jude Collins March 25, 2015 at 7:16 am #

      No – he was quite firm in his unionism. I didn’t expect him to be otherwise. My comment was on his manner,which I found surprising and refreshing. I take my hat off to him on that score.

      • ben madigan March 25, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

        Maybe “are jeff” was delighted to get into a book – flattery works wonders with vain people –

        Maybe he was pleasant and charmiing because he wanted to make a good impression and get a good write-up.

        By the way, did i hear “are jefff” compared gays to the Shankhill Butchers last night on Spotlight NI?

        talk about insulting – all in one go – the gay community, the catholic community and th protestant community (some of whom were “accidental” victims of the Shankhill murder gang )
        way to go go garner votes!!!!

  12. RJC March 25, 2015 at 9:57 pm #

    In other Gregory Campbell news, last week he used a parliamentary question to ask whether the British Government planned to bring forward legislation to regulate the sale of Ouija boards.

    And people actually vote for this man.

  13. Virginia March 25, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

    Google Translate is what he needs. …
    Real time to English, you have to love it.