That McGuinness – what a nerve, eh?



On the train coming out of London on Sunday evening, I met two young women who had been at the mass demonstration against austerity. Their praise for the speakers at the rally focused mainly on Jeremy Corbyn, but they were also very happy with Martin McGuinness’s contribution and what he had to say.

They would have been left scratching their heads if they read Monday’s editorial in the News Letter. According to it,  if McGuinness had showed his face in London a decade or two ago, he would have been met with a very different reception. “For all the talk of austerity of which Mr McGuinness complains, for all his implication of cruelty, unreformed welfare cash is being pumped out across the Province. It also happens to be the case that the constituencies that benefit most are generally Sinn Féin strongholds. It is a travesty of the truth to depict such lavish funding from (mainly English ) taxpayers as harshness”.

Three words/phrases jump out at me from that. There is of course the reference to the “Province”. Apart from its geographical inaccuracy (See my hands, Mr/Mrs News Letter? Ten fingers. I take one away and I have…That’s right, nine. As in nine counties in the province of Ulster), there’s that odd need to capitalise the P in province.  Is it to make Northern Ireland seem a natural state? 

Then there’s the “Sinn Féin strongholds”. You get the imagery. Stockades, forts, rifles poking out of slits in the facade, that sort of thing. Nice one, Mr/Mrs News Letter. Sure how could you trust people that build strongholds.  And the last phrase that  jumped up and tweaked my nose was the “lavish funding from (mainly English) taxpayers”. I like that ‘(mainly English)’ bit particularly. You do know, Mr/Mrs News Letter,  that the London treasury refuses to reveal figures about how much we here contribute in taxes of different sorts to their,um, Treasury stronghold. If they did, the  News Letter might find it harder to claim that England loves us so much it’s pumping money into us, while what we pass to London isn’t worth a mention.

But anyway. We get the message. You, Mr/Mrs News Letter , are pro-austerity, and you think we should be glad that England is massively generous to us. Fair enough. But I don’t know if you’ve noticed: a lot of people are opposed to the Tory party’s austerity. A lot of people would like to know how much tax money flows out of here as well as what we get, so we could do some comparative sums before jumping up and down with gratitude. And some of us, even if it did mean less money from London, would like to be able to run our own affairs, us being all growed up and that.

In the final analysis, Mr/Mrs News Letter, it’s not Martin McGuinness that has the nerve. It’s the powers-that-be in London that display the brass neck. The Irish people have a simple right: to run their own affairs.  As long as Britain insists on running things in this part of the country, it’s a bit dumb to accuse Irish politicians such as  Martin McGuinness, of being shameful in showing his face at a London demonstration against austerity. Given a choice, not all of us  would want to keep sucking on the bountiful teat of Mother England.

26 Responses to That McGuinness – what a nerve, eh?

  1. George June 24, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    Jude you’re not suggesting, even for the most fleeting of moments, that Norn Iron / Ulaidh / de Province, is a net contributor to the UK Treasury? Just because we don’t know the figures. You’re not suggesting that are you? Do we have some oil or gas fields that I don’t know about? Have we, overnight, become non-reliant on public sector jobs in this part of the world?

    • Jude Collins June 24, 2015 at 10:11 am #

      George – I’ll be happy to answer that question when the Treasury coughs up the figures. If they do. The fact that they haven’t means my nasty suspicious mind goes to work. Let’s not try pinning the tail on the donkey until the lights are switched on.

      • George June 25, 2015 at 6:22 am #

        The only reason the Treasury doesn’t publish the figures Jude is that it would indicate to the folk of Great Britain just how much it costs to prop us up and they couldn’t justify keeping us part of the Union on pure economic terms. So they do keep schtum for a political reason but that reason is not that we somehow contribute more than we get back and they are keeping money that is rightfully ours. Usually I am a great advocate of freedom of information but in this case it would be so embarrassing I wouldn’t want to know. A bit like not wanting to look at your bank account because you know you’re horrifically overdrawn.

        • Jude Collins June 25, 2015 at 7:57 am #

          Hahahaa – I know that last feeling, George. However, it’s a bad way to organise your household budget not to mention your life. Transparency and all that. Let’s have the facts and then let people make up their mind what they mean and what the best course is. Keeping stuff hidden just generates urban (and no doubt rural) myths.

    • Morpheus June 24, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

      Maybe not a net contributor but maybe we’re not the scroungers we have been told we are.

      Take Asda or Tesco as example, both have huge sales in Northern Ireland but head offices in England – at what stage in the process are the taxes made on products/services generated in Northern Ireland added to the Northern Ireland column? Do Asda/Tesco write separate Corporation Tax cheques for England/Wales/Scotland/NI or do they send 1 cheque and it is added in the ‘England’ column?

      • Colmán June 24, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

        Good question Morpheus. Perhaps the mud slinging journalists in the Newsletter or should I say Newslater could enlighten us.

  2. Jim Neeson June 24, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    I didnt know that Shinner supporters paid taxes!!! I thought they were all on the Burroo.
    You mean some of them are subscribing taxes to pay for the £110,000,000 to refurbish Buckingham Palace?

  3. neill June 24, 2015 at 8:52 am #

    Ah Jude your a good laugh I grant you that!

    Just some simple points the majority of the voting population agree with Austerity cuts because guess what the Conservative party is back in charge of the party.

    The Newsletter is quite right certainly in the case of West Belfast and other SF strongholds a good bit of austerity might encourage some of the more workshy back into gamefull employment and guess what might even become good role models for their children.

    Still I love it seeing Martin McGuiness being more and more sucked into British Politics great news indeed Partition today Partition tomorrow Partition forever just how good is that Jude?

    If you didn’t like sucking on the bountiful teat of the British govt. why did you work at the Polytechnic of Ulster always easy to be a rebel after you have retired….: )

    • Jude Collins June 24, 2015 at 10:10 am #

      Well thank you, Neill – glad I brightened your drab morning. And yes indeed, some simple points.

      1. ‘The majority of the voting population’ do not agree with austerity cuts, or at least they didn’t vote for the Tories who are the main hatchet-party. The Tories have a mandate from a lot less than a majority of those entitled to vote.
      2. So West Belfast and other republican areas contain a bunch of slackers who give bad example to their children. Really? You’ve checked the figures then? Visited? Talked?
      3. M McG attending an anti-British government rally doesn’t suggest pro-partition to me – but if you want to think it was, who am I to stand in your way.
      4. A teat that is sucked on doesn’t receive in turn. I hope this fact of life doesn’t come as too much of a shock, neill. Yes, the Ulster Poly/Ulster University (more hopeless geography, you’ll notice) did pay me (although not nearly enough) for my labours. It’s a fairly well-known system throughout the world. The worker is hired to do a job and received a salary in return. Completely different from the little six-county babba that just loves sitting on the Westminster knee and ingesting.

    • Ceannaire June 24, 2015 at 1:21 pm #


      1. “majority of the voting population agree with Austerity cuts because guess what the Conservative party is back in charge of the party.”

      Not true. The Tories received 37% of votes. That means that 63% voted for others (who were, in the main, anti-austerity. Dig the figures more and you’ll find 24% of those eligible to vote voted Tory. Less than 1/4, Neill.

      As someone tweeted at the time, “The Tories got 37% of the vote but 50% of the seats and ALL of the power.” British democracy, eh?

      2. “a good bit of austerity might encourage some of the more workshy back into gamefull employment and guess what might even become good role models for their children.”

      If you are going after the “workshy”, no problem. But when we talk about “workshy”, how many are we talking about here? A few? Some? Many? Most? You don’t know, Neill. It’s yet another generalised statement from you.
      Generalised statements are easy to make; but they are generally wrong.

      3. “I love it seeing Martin McGuiness being more and more sucked into British Politics.”

      That’s what you saw, Neill. I saw a former IRA commander telling the British people to stand up to and reject their government’s policies – and those same people loving it. They seem to have taken a shine to him.

      4. “the bountiful teat of the British govt…”

      Indeed, Neill (if that is what it is). We’ll see how “bountiful” people view the British government when the cuts come in their full glory. That’ll be another Unionist argument undermined in their defence of the Union.

    • Bridget Cairns June 24, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

      Neil, are those disadvantaged, unemployed, uneducated, Protestant youth, we hear so much about good role models. Are those youth camped out at Twaddell good role models. Is Jamie Bryson a good role model. Are any of these people “workshy” or is it a possibility there are no jobs for them. Perhaps there are none within the Protestant community who fit that description.

    • Ryan June 24, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

      “The Newsletter is quite right certainly in the case of West Belfast and other SF strongholds a good bit of austerity might encourage some of the more workshy back into gamefull employment and guess what might even become good role models for their children”

      Neill, it was Prime Minister Harold Wilson (yes, your British Prime Minister) that called Unionists “spongers”….

      Heres the audio:

  4. Mary Jo June 24, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    Apart from NI’s current tax input to the Uk Treasury, which might well exceed the reduced subvention offered in return, there is an enormous reparations bill due to NI for all those years when the Westminster Junta used NI and its people as a training ground for its death squads. The pensions currently offered to the injured amount only a mite in the coffer of the debt due to the people of NI.

  5. billy June 24, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    martin should fit in well in london sure isnt he part of the establishment,

  6. sherdy June 24, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    Jude, I’m sure you’re old enough to remember one of the late Ian Paisley’s grand schemes, The Protestant Telegraph, which was to tell the ‘truth’ according to himself, but like most of his edifices, has long since withered on the vine.
    Well, we have two rags, I mean newspapers, in the Sick Counties which would like to either revive it or to claim its mantle.
    The BelTel and Newsletter have no qualms about digging deeper into the gutter to gain the ultra-loyalist support formerly held by the ProTel, and just like the Indo in Dublin they consider Sinn Fein to be fair game in any attack.
    As in war, truth is the first casualty in any campaign.

  7. Iolar June 24, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    Lavish funding and castles for the heir.

    While the folk on the hill continue to overspend their fantasy budget, the Tories repeat, ad nauseum, that there is no more money for the sick counties. Some of our well paid and subsidised elected representatives continue to advocate the need for private enterprise as they disappear for a lengthy summer holiday. Translated, private enterprise means, hire and fire, zero hours contracts, a minimum wage (or less) and shoddy public services. The most recent evidence of the unacceptable face of private enterprise may be spotted near Cleary’s, Dublin.

    The monarchy costs the tax payer £35 million each year. £150 million is required to repair and decorate Buckingham Palace. Major projects include stripping asbestos from the basement floor ducts in the east wing of Buckingham Palace, at a cost of £300,000, as well as the construction of an aircraft hangar for the Queen’s helicopter, costing £1.2 million. The royal accounts, published this week, showed that the largest travel cost was for an eight-day tour of Mexico and Colombia involving the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, which came to £446,159.

    There is a proposal to reduce the Scottish contribution to the monarchy by more than £1 million, just one of the many alternatives to austerity.

  8. Brian Patterson June 24, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    Only one word could describe Martin’s appearance at an anti-austerity rally – hubris. After his SF colleague John O’Dowd eviscerating the eduction system here leaving hundreds of key workers on the dole.

  9. Francis June 24, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    West Belfast includes the Shankill, and people there ain’t too much better off than over the picket fence.
    The insidious pairing of “Welfare” and Cuts to it, with “Motivating the Workshy”, is a joke that many practiced in the Arts of Deception on this issue must be pissing themselves at while basking in Jetskiland heady on a good Brandy.

    The Alliance Party, that great arbiter between the “two different sides”, urge that we should just “grow up and bring through the Austerity Budget”….Why Naomi? Why Should we not resist it and demand a better deal from the Tory Government before we roll over and play dead? Of course the eyes flicker back hither and hence as you watch the DUP and SF slogging it out over Welfare reform,-bit aloof from the fray there I’d say.

    If Workers being given the choice for instance, to de-Unionise or lose their Jobs were to simply say, dead on can’t Strike Won’t Strike….”we’ve no choice…time we just Grew up!”. How sensible Ford, how Mature and reasonable. How measured and amicable. All’s well, and we can all count down til Orangefest where instead of making the tens of thousands of Butchers Aprons, and paraphernalia in sweatshops in Bangladesh, we can make them Right here in the north east six, as the boys and girls from the Woodvale or White Rock, can undercut them….The stuff Dreams are made of, a new Model Army, for a New Model West…..

    Hospitals are at crisis point, with people made to suffer because of Austerity where they otherwise may not. Waiting lists are stretching far into dusk, just like patients in Casualty, or Old People or Disabled People left waiting…….foodbanks growing, and the Suicide rate, a good indicator of the levels of despair, as high a rate commensurate to how low many people are feeling….lets just grow up now isn’t that Right Billy Hutchinson and Nelson Mc Causeland, there is always care in the Community UVF drugs at Camp Distraction with the flew flighing as High as the young people on your drugs…..then, when they come down to Reality fucked up,…..oh wait, Care in the Community again, because Psychiatry has been Emptied…at least you have a bit of Economy generating.

    While Billy “the Kid” Hutchinson, Naomi “Shortfall” long, Mike “TV” Nesbitt, and Nelson “hate the taigs” Mc Causland are all spinning the Red Tops(Sun, Star ect ect mis information/black propaganda Red Herring around for our Tory Overseers….our people are suffering here in Ireland for a Government in Britain lack of regard for the Irish. No, the idea that in Britain, their own people shoulder the same burden(much as that is equally loathsome), as General Mike Jackson and others have said them(great)selves, Ireland merits a lot more money than anywhere else in the brittle UK, could it be because British Policy fomented a policy whereby the place was wrecked. No Billy Boy, the answer is not Fleg Factories or more Drugs, the answer is breaking from Britain, and unifying our people in Ireland to a common purpose in sorting the Country and the needs of all her people out as Priority

  10. Cal June 24, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    Part of me believes unionism blames the welfare state for the increase in Catholic population. Ulster (6C off) unionism at its heart, has been and continues to be driven by anti-Catholic bigotry.

    That being the case, the newsletter lambasts welfare recipients in West Belfast while failing to mention that for every £1 of public money invested in the West of Belfast, £3 is invested in the East of the City.

  11. Perkin Warbeck June 24, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    Just as one of the unintended consequences of Fr.B. Smyth’s pro-indulgent actions, Esteemed Blogmeister, was the axing of Albert Reynolds from the Presidential race could something of a dissimilar outcome await the anti-austerity actions of That McGuinness?

    And lead none other than Auntie Austerity herself (as she is affectionately known down here in the Free Southern Stateen ) to the very portal of the Presidential Palace known as Aras an Uachtarain?

    For That McGuinness and Auntie Austerity are like Siamese Twins down here: joined together at the very Thai as it were.

    Ever since that unforgettable interrogation, oops, interview which Mimsy O’Call Again (for it is she !) subjected That McGuinness to on RTE:

    -How can you square with your God the murders you have been party to?

    This was the most memorable Rope a Mope moment in Donnybrook, Dublin 4 since Gay ‘Fawkes’ Sakes’ Byrne refused to touch gloves with Gadabout Adams prior to their bout of whataboutery. And set about Burning the Bearded One at the Stake. Or, not.

    (The latter, GA, acquired his sobriquet due to his tendency to turn up at such farflung events as the funeral of N. Mandela which was by Strict Invitation. Only).

    One stresses the ‘That’ in That McGuinness lest one be confused with The Other Maginnis. Had it been Uncle Ken who was in the hot seat the q. , sans doute, would have been framed rather more elegantly and indeed, eloquently itself.

    There would even have been a very hint of Voltaire on the airwaves that night:

    -Uncle Ken: what do U (short for UDR) make of this stupendously ignorant comment from a so-called French pseudo intellectual: ‘It is forbidden to kill, therefore all murders must be punished, unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets’.

    This confusion of That McGuinness and Kenneth Wiggins Maginnis (or Wiggy as Perkie prefers to call him when they stand shoulder to shoulder at the Aviva for the biannual tilt at the Ould Enemy).is understandable for that is another unintended consequence of the M-word, Murder.

    Of, as The Not So Great Shakes put it:

    -Confusion now hath made its masterpiece.

    (One can only speculate how great Shakespeare might have been if only -oh! if only – he had the resources of the ‘articulate, exhilarating Hiberno-English’ to draw upon, be japers).

    Not only was the Rope a Mope moment widely accepted by the only chatterati who matter, the soi-disant grey matterti, as the Game-changer in that particular Presidential race, but it also led to the coining of a new collective noun in the Q’s English: a murder of crows.

    Such was the crowing which erupted amongst the ranks of the chatterati who matter, the soi-disant grey matterati on sniffy Liffeyside.

    Aunty Austerity, by the way, earned her title for the following supreme act of self-denial when she voluntarily took a cut from her cut from the public purse. Announcing her decision to perpendicularly drop from 301,916 squids a year a mere 301,418 squids, in her inimitable Dort-accented tones:

    -It was as for back as Noovember when I soggested a pay cut to RTE. Ond if they came looking for me to take such a pay cut, they would not have found me wonting.

    This sublime act of patronising patriotism has so endeared her to the minds (?) and hearts of thediscerning FSS elecotrate that already, it is – whisper it ! – being whispered that she will be the next Uachtaran na hEireann (no less). Thus making her the fourth soprano in a row with the initial M. (Give or take a contralto or two) in the Pork of Phoenix.

    Should she choose, of course, to run for same. After all, it is also whispered, how long more can she sashay down the catwalk. A sashay that has become a cakewalk down the catwalk. As she saunters off – yet again ! – with the title of ‘Mum of 8 with the least-looking figure of 8’.

    (For those who belong to a post Bingo demographic: Two Fat Ladies was the time-honoured code word for the double digit: 88).

    Of course, further sacrifices would have to be selflessly made (and even, accidentally caught in a Selfie, incidentally). Such as a (gulp) further self-denying salary drop.

    Speaking of Cash, the blonde tresses would also have to go. For, not for nothing is she widely known as the groupthinking guy’s fantasty grope-worthy thinker on the halting site off the Kingstown bypass.

    Indeed as the line goes from a chorus currently popular among the Stage-door Johnnies and other crows in the FSS: ‘I shot a man in the Renal Dialysis Unit just to watch her dye her hair’.

    (See, a murder of crows above).

    Ah, yes, one can see it now: the first appointment of Auntie Austerity, Uachataran na hEireann, the Southern Cor of the Bel Tel as her PR person.

    In reward for the seven bells knocked by the Bel Tel out of That McGuinness and also, for suggesting the new truncated Presidential Salute:

    -Would the Maestro of the Army Number One Band / Ceannaire Bhanna Uimhir a hAon, Oglaigh na hEireann please strike up the opening bars of…..

    -Drivelisation Once Again !

    • Francis June 24, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

      Haven’t laughed so much in a long time Perkin. Gravity had me, but it could not endure on reading your latest explorations of the current Guiest in the FSS, thanks. Biting satire infused with a mischief and levity that would make the Kraken chuckle. The musicality of your deliveries are inspired and at a tempo that would elude the most Perfidious of critics. The Hiberno Shakespeare?,-your good self, and an adroit Adversary you are to the Dublin 4 cronnies with their west Brit phoneyisms. Am loath to attempt to define you however, as any and all of us merit attention and satire as comic players on the human stage, and fall on our self-righteous swords we might. Your astute eye in separating the Establishment figures from the cloud, and viscerating them for their efforts, is an Art hyenas labour for, but cheetahs have sovereignty over. Keep writing Perkin. I still wish the first ten copies of your first book,-signed!

      • Perkin Warbeck June 25, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

        GRMA, Francis, a chara,

        The thing is, when one has been given fish-in-the-barrel shooting rights in the Free Southern Stateen, by the preternaturally forbearing Esteemed Blogmeister, the least one can do is one’s best.

        And, in truth,it is not a task beyond the meagre capabilities of even an eager and sometimes, over-eager Perkie. Talk about a doddle of a gig. It is, surely, the gig that continues to donate.

        For the Anal-retentive and Anglicised establishment whose HQ is located between the two Canals (Grand and Royal) of Dublin sur Liffey, the stateen which they have misbegotten is the ultimate Banality.

        A Banal Republic in fact, where the only Man and Woman in the Street who are tolerated are that unmistakable and unavoidable pair: Con and Connie Sensus.

        A more decent, unassuming couple you just could not dislike or indeed, hope to meet in a day’s slinge.

        Which is what Perkie does indeed do, despite his best efforts to avoid. While there is no gainsaying the fact that they are the very best of couples to discuss the three topics du jour (and of every jour): the weather, the time, and the (gulp) durability of the indestructible Gay Byrne, still.

        Harmless enough topics, granted, when one has discussed them for, say, the first two or three (thousand) times but nonetheless the eye-glazing moment invariably arrives.

        Causing one to say:

        -Here’s me bus, must fly. See you soon !

        As for the book thing. Not so sure about that.

        Fact is, haven’t even read a book in years. At least, not a book in the traditional hard (or soft) backed and dog-eared meaning of that word.

        These days, one is a Kindle person, to the point of being a complete Kindle bore. Global warming, you know, which seemingly involves colder winters of an unprecedented cruelty and harshness.

        Especially, during the long, dark nights after Samhain, entirely. So, one must stockpile all the Kindle one can muster. Or, perish the v. thought.

        Don’t understand it all myself, one who is still tying to get his head around the meaning of ‘Public Schools’ which are not, seemingly, what they say on their chinless wonders, either.

        Maith thu, mar sin fein,

  12. Colmán June 24, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    Is there no way we could find out how much tax is raised here? The north has a significant tourist industry, alot of cross-border retail (mostly benifitting big British shopping chains), a large building trade, a big farming sector, pharmaceuticals and IT/Tech industries, financial services sector, wind energy, wave power, science and research, not to mention a multi million dolar fim industry and a well educated young population. We have every thing going for us. And I think we are capable of much more if we were alowed to flourish. Surely it is the job of the Newletter and other media outlets to find out how much tax is raised here. Could it be that the north is the proverbial pot of gold which allows Westminister easy and free access to the southern market? A modern day pale, if you like.

    • Colmán June 24, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

      film industrustry*

  13. Colmán June 24, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    aghh! film industry*

  14. Ryan June 24, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    Ahh, the Newsletter, that unbiased, neutral, fair to both sides paper. Not.

    The Newsletter is at the forefront of the Unionist drive to rewrite history and proclaim that the troubles was “all them’uns fault”. When it comes to austerity cuts from a cabinet of Tory millionaires who sponge of the taxpayers for everything from a £40 breakfast to their underwear, the Newsletter is firmly of the opinion that those who get £100 a fortnight on Job Seekers Allowance, the sick, the vulnerable, etc are all to blame for the economic crisis and that they should be punished, all while MP’s get a £7000 pay rise and Iain Duncan Smith, who is a millionaire, gets taxpayers to pay for his underwear and a mirror for his bathroom (he has to look good when cutting those benefits to the unemployed, after all….).

    When it comes to our tiny statelet in the north east corner of Ireland where large amounts of people are employed and depend on the state to survive, these cuts are nothing more than a hammer blow to our economy. Unionist politicians are nearly jumping up and down with impatience wanting to implement the cuts, why? Well its pretty obvious that Unionist politicians are the puppets of the Tory Government. We seen how they worked together during the General Election last month when the NI conservatives refused to run in Unionist pact seats. Now Unionist politicians are championing the austerity here on behalf of their Tory masters in London. The Unionist/Loyalist electorate will be told the usual line of “blame Sinn Fein” when they see their jobs cut or their benefits sanctioned. And if that doesn’t work then Unionists politicians will just resort to their usual favourite tactic to distract their electorate by talking about how their “culture” is being eroded and how “them’uns get everything and we get nathin”.

    The austerity policies of the Tory Government are very, very serious for people here. Not only for the most vulnerable in our society but also for the peace process here, it has the potential to destroy years worth of political progress and I think that is extremely reckless of the Tory Government because if violence were to break out and the British Army deployed here again, the bill for that will be much greater than the one for welfare reform, obviously I hope that doesn’t happen but if Stormont collapses it leaves a vacuum for extremists from both sides to exploit.