So what’s the real story?

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Picture by Meet the Media Guru

It’s easy to let yourself be misled. Yesterday evening  on Facebook and Twitter, I posted comments on the way that UTV and then the BBC covered the anniversary of the Miami Showband massacre. In the case of UTV, the word “collusion” was used once and then the story continued, as unruffled as if they had said “catwalk” or “cigarette”. The BBC did the report differently: they didn’t mention collusion at all. You could be misled into believing that the Miami Showband massacre was an attack by some vague unionist paramilitary group.  Certainly there was no intention to do other than minimise into invisibility any question of ‘security’ force involvement. When I pointed this out on Facebook and Twitter,  a flood of people came on to agree that such reporting glossed over or avoided completely  a shocking fact: the Miami Showband massacre saw agents of the state  involved in killing innocent people.  So am I saying the two TV reports were misleading? Yes. But equally important: we could be misled into thinking that social media have broken the grip of the traditional news -reporting sources.

Because they haven’t. Traditional media rule, OK or not.  A fine example appears in today’s Irish Times. The columnist Stephen Collins under the heading “Spectre of political instability haunts Europe”,  explains why so many countries throughout Europe are swinging to the left and/or the right politically. He explains to his readers why, in the south of Ireland, the emergence of Sinn Féin,  small left-wing parties and a range of independents has occurred: it’s because people have failed to give due credit to Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour for saving the state from collapse and establishing “a remarkable economic recovery”. Instead a gap has opened up where Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour used to be, and since nature abhors a vacuum,  extremists such as Sinn Féin have moved in to fill it. The  article is based on the premise that anything other than a middle way must be wrong. The natural and good state of affairs in the south of Ireland and throughout Europe is to have moderate governments in place. Unfortunately they’re not in place, or (as in the south) they’re under threat, and this is  the spectre that’s stalking Europe.

So here’s the thing: which do you think carries more weight with people: a posting on Facebook/Twitter  or a column from the likes of Stephen Collins? A UTV/BBC  report or a blogsite? I have no hesitation in saying that the Irish Times, UTV and BBC win out every time, and by the proverbial  country mile. That’s not to say that newspaper sales and TV news-viewing aren’t declining. They are. And part of that decline is due to social media like Facebook/Twitter/blogsites. But you can bet the family farm that the mainstream media still punch a helluva lot harder than voices from the internet. Only when enough people online are pointing up the flaws and omissions that are part of the mainstream narrative  will the general public begin to abandon the I-read-it-in-the-papers-saw-it-on-telly-it-must-be-true line.

Don’t be misled: that’s not a watchdog of democracy you’re reading or listening to – that’s an anaesthetist with a wad of cotton wool soaked in chloroform.

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37 Responses to So what’s the real story?

  1. Colmán August 1, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    Jude, I just disagree with one thing in this article. You used the word ‘moderate’ in describing the FF/FG/LAB pass the parcel type of governing in the 26 counties. I think these groupings of people are extreme capitalists hell bend on privatising all of the states assets and resources. How did we not see Iarnród Éireann coming a long time ago?

    • Jude Collins August 1, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

      I take your point completely, Colmán. I should have underlined that FF/FG/LAB are presented as middle of the road parties – i.e., they accept and run with the status quo, which in this instance involves gouging the financial life out of people who hadn’t a damn thing to do with the banking crisis.

  2. Cal August 1, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

    It’s not often I stop reading an article before the end of the piece, though, today it happened twice. Step forward Mrs Stephen Collins and Patrick Murphy. Same agenda, different angles.

  3. Perkin Warbeck August 1, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    Troll as a term of endearment, Esteemed Blogmeister, occupies roughly the same space in the dictionary of the DOBlin media (and other media besides) as, say, leprechaun does in the lexicography of such leading linguists as Sommy Woolson and The Campbell of the Gregorian Chant.

    Which suggests these trolls must be doing something right. Indeed, possibly even a lot right.

    Mainly to do with the old Sherlockian concept of The Dog that Did Not Bark. In this case, one is talking about the Watchdogs of the Public. This is not to say that one does not hear barking in the mainstream media. One does, of course, and not only barking but also yelping, snarling, yapping, baying, growling and howling itself.

    The trouble is twofold here: all those canine sounds are directed in a narrowly defined direction (e.g, the Sindo as a weekly window of opportunity to Lee Harvey the leprechaun-speaking jarveys and other Shinners) and secondly, this canine carping is interspersed with the whimpering normally associated with base spaniel fawning.

    Denis O’Brien is, oddly enough, the recipient of most of this fawn-coloured whimpering.

    This is scarcely surprising as he i who pays the toll gets first dibs on the remote control.

    Trolls, of course, are amateurs (much to the puzzlement of the muzzled hacketariat) and so, are free to bark the unbarkable. In this sense, Comrade Blogmeister, they fulfill a role not entirely dissimilar to that of the subscribers to the samidvat during the old hammer and sickle era of the Soviet Union.

    Speaking of samidvat, it was another Sam, of the clan Maguire, who took a bit of a hammering in a column in – (gasp !) – The Unionist Times last Monday. In which the trilby wearing horseflesh corespondent put down his frogproof, wideangle binoculars long enough to plant his oxblood brogues in that perennial target, the buttocks of Bogball.

    It must have been all of two weeks since he last took his prickly, sticky-like sickle to the (gulp) Gaels.

    Scribbled Brian O’Connor: (for it is he !) : ‘Brutish will to win, knocking the stuffing out of entertainment’.

    Fair enough, but when, oh, when can one expect a similar type of nobble job on the oval-accented gym bunnies with their gainlines and grubber kicks, not to mention, the blue chip nutmeggers of the Bootyiful Game.

    Off-limits, old chap. They’re not amateurs.

    BOC of BAC has also some backstory when it comes to commenting on the GAH and their club-naming policies north of the Black Sow’s Dyke.. So far, though, the Miami Massacre has not stoked his ire sufficiently to break into bark mode..

    Could it be that as a teenager growing up in Leeside he was heard to croon: ‘at seventeen it’s a thrill to dream some day you will’ ?

    To, erm, travel from the Candy Store on de corner, boy, and to de NUJ Chapel on the Hill?

    Sounds like a chap who does indeed like to write what he’s tolled to write.

    • Jude Collins August 1, 2015 at 9:05 pm #

      Oh Perkin – how ah do love them ooooolllld songs!

      • Perkin Warbeck August 2, 2015 at 9:45 am #

        As an aesthete of exquisite good taste – witness your thumbs up to the Miami Showband hit of ‘Candy Store on the Corner’ – I am sure, Esteemed Blogmeister, you will indulge one a little further if one pays tribute to Bob Hilliard, the lyricist of same.

        Songwriters (with some notable exceptions) are the true unsung heroes of the music world. One need only tune in to those curiosities of contemporary life: the DJs. to discover the truth of that dictum. DJ’s, being the past maestros of stating the obvious, will always tell us in their gratuitous way, that was Frank Sinatra or that was Tony Bennet or Dickie Rock or even Perry Como himself, all crooners who have sung the songs of Bob Hilliard.

        One has yet – in a long innings of earwigging – to hear the name of the songwriter get a mench.

        He was actually born in New York in 1918 as Hilliard Goldsmith and soon made his mark as a lyricist in Tin Pan Alley. Thus making him a member of that cohort of fabulous New York songwriters of Jewish stock. The stock which lavishly bestrew such sunshine on humanity in contrast to the darkness visited upon the Palestinians by their Zionist counterparts.

        Hits such as ‘In the wee small hours of the morning’ to ‘Seven little girls (sitting in the backseat)’ soon issued from his prolific pen. From a phrase scribbled on a scrap of paper found in the pocket of a recently dead Stephen Foster in a New York hotel room in 1864 Bob Hilliard supplied the lyrics in 1949: ‘Dear Hearts and Gentle People’.

        He was also commissioned to write the words to the songs specially composed for the movie of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. One of which has a particular relevance to the developing career of a big-league troll-basher in the Free Southern Stateen

        That would be: ‘I’m late, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late for a very important date’.and was penned for the carrot-chomping prominent toothed motor mouth of the White Rabbit.

        The modern incarnation of which in the FSS is the one once described by Perkie’s old sparring-partner, Lambo Simnel as the man ‘who put the nark into narcissism’. Not to mention, inserting the con into condescension and putting the pat into patronising.

        He is said to have boogied long nights away in Club Omniscience long, long before the Great God Google had made His debut.

        Right now Pat Rabbitte (for it is he !) is engaged, as his own PR, in a comparatively recent addition to the rich cultural landscape of the FSS: The Long Goodbye. This is the third season of this phenom and Patronising Pat is a worthy successor, walking as he comfortably does in the giant footsteps of Blessed Drico and St. Paulie.

        Or, should on say: scurrying?

        ‘I’m late when I wave
        I lose the time I save
        My fuzzy ears and whiskers
        Took me too much time to shave
        I run and then I hop, hop, hop’.

        This last line refers to his chequered career, wearing coats of many colours, from prole’s donkey jacket (ever see in a rabbit in same? not to be missed) all the way to his bank-rolled Louis Copeland bespoke three piece suit, the latter being de rigeur for the top-tolled troll-basher. to-be.

        But the latest stratosphere of self-satisfaction into which Patronising Pat has been propelled in his sheer career path. Where the real Power resides.

        Right now, he is roughly half through his hurried twelvemonth farewell to his fans as he prepared to morph from being a mere Minister and a meagre TD into being an eager, tireless radio-show host on one of Comrade Denis O’Brien’s wireless stations in the latter’s modest Media Empah.

        ‘I’m over due, I’m in a rabbit stew
        Can’t even say good bye
        Hello, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late’.

        Apologies for the clumsiness of some of Bob Hilliard’s lines, Esteemed Blogmeister, but there is a reason: not unlike, Will Shakespeare, he died in his early fifties, before reaching his prime.

        But, hark ! Help is at hand.

        DruidHilliard is just around the corner, as always, to the rescue.

  4. michael c August 1, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

    The only time I heard of Patrick Murphy in over 40 years of closely following Northern politics was when he was appointed in the 90s by the British Government to oversee a plan which would see a university in West Belfast.I can’t recall whether it was the Tories or Blair appointed him.( not that there would be much idealogical difference between Blair and the Torys anyway!) The whole thing collapsed in complete dissaray.He then appeared as a “know all” columnist in “The Irish News” to replace James Kelly.As I said thats the only time I heard of him in the world of politics but it now occurs to me that I also saw him listed as main speaker at the Northern conference of the WP ,a party whose public policy for most of the troubles was a return to a majority rule Stormont.(However as one journalist accurately described the WP as”the biggest lie in the history of Irish politics” we could discount this as not being politics at all.You see readers,the man who tells everybody else where they went wrong made a complete balls of the one thing he was tasked to do in public life and deems the Sticks to be our saviours!

  5. Ryan August 1, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    I would say its inevitable that social media, the internet, etc will overtake traditional methods of reporting the news, such as TV, Newspapers, etc or maybe they already have been overtaken. Certainly the internet has transformed the way the news is being discussed and debated, Jude’s Blog site is just one example out of many of where people discuss events/news and air each others views and opinions. Years before chatroom’s, forums, blogs, facebook, twitter, etc existed discussing the news mostly only happened between family, friends and work colleagues. Now days on the internet its discussed often with complete strangers and people from very different backgrounds, politics and opinions.

    I don’t think as many people believe the media on TV and in newspapers as much as is commonly perceived. If its the case that the word of the media on TV/Newspaper was held as gospel, then Sinn Fein should’ve faded into obscurity a long time ago and the number of votes they should’ve been receiving should’ve been counted on two hands, given the determined, decades old, failed agenda the British and Irish media have pursued against Sinn Fein. Of course we know that Sinn Fein has gone from strength to strength and in the European Elections received over 500,000 votes and are predicted to be the actual Irish Government in 2021 and to hold the post of First Minister in the North of Ireland. Quite an achievement for a party demonized for decades constantly by media goons on both sides of the border and across the water, clearly people didn’t believe their bile.

  6. giordanobruno August 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    It is indeed easy to let yourself be misled. Social media blogs and so on are useful to give a more rounded picture, but if you are looking something to confirm your prejudices it is easy to find it.
    If a visitor from Mars were to get their news from this blog, say, they would come away with a very particular view of the world.This would not necessarily be objective truth.
    And if they went instead to ,say, David Vance,they would get a very different understanding of the world.
    The mainstream media is not always wrong and the cosy familiar blog that confirms our particular bias is not always right.

    • Jude Collins August 1, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

      Well done, gio – you’ve just exemplified exactly what I was talking about. Hats off…

      • giordanobruno August 1, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

        Which part of my comment do you disagree with?

        • Jude Collins August 2, 2015 at 11:48 am #

          gio – you post so many comments I’m not sure which one you’re referring to.

          • giordanobruno August 2, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

            Good answer. I am undone..

    • Ryan August 2, 2015 at 12:01 am #

      “And if they went instead to ,say, David Vance, they would get a very different understanding of the world”

      You can rest assure that the visitor from Mars wouldn’t return if they met that twit Vance. The economics that Vance advocates is literally from the Victorian era, he’d reduce working class people to getting their benefits paid in bread crust and water. In Vance’s ideal world only business owners, property owners and millionaires would be given the right to vote (unless their pesky taigs). Work houses and indentures would be revived and the clocks would be wound back to the year 1690.

      Say whatever you want about Jude Gio but one thing you cant deny is that he gives everyone the right to air their opinion regardless of if your a Unionist, Loyalist, etc Go on to Vance’s twitter like I did 2 years ago and express a simple, non-offensive, nationalist opinion. I was blocked quicker than Gary Glitter at a play park.

      • giordanobruno August 2, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

        Of course you will find people who feel the same way about any blog.
        My point is that you cannot accuse the msm of having an agenda and completely ignore that every site on the web also has an agenda.
        We tend to think the ones that confirm our bias are fair and reasonable. That is human nature.

  7. philip kelly August 1, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

    there are a few things that on a daily basis i don’t do and two of them are that i don’t buy or read the Irish times or the Irish independent as along time ago so called journalist like Collins are only mouthpieces for fine gael and the establishment. I fortunately know enough history by my own life experience to have confidence in the principles of the 1916 proclamation as my guiding light for the kind of society i wish my children and grand children to live in, something that the establishment in the south of Ireland will never understand or appreciate as its about the people and not the elite of this society of which Mr Collins and his like are part off and promote

  8. Séamus Ó Néill August 1, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

    My old Granny used to say of a discussion or a debate ….” If you didn’t ruffle a few feathers or at least make their ears pick up ,either they or you ,were dead ” This ,Jude, came to mind today ……if we make no impact, if we casually drift through life making no comment while others surreptitiously enforce their agenda then,basically, we’ve failed. . If you propose an idea on a blog it remains your personal belief ,however if in the ,controlled and accepted, press you expouse an idea suddenly it becomes accepted fact…..verbatim

    • Ryan August 2, 2015 at 12:15 am #

      Your comment reminded me of Lewis Carroll’s: “The Hunting of the Snark” Seamus.

      There’s a quote I always remembered when I read it, its this:

      “What I tell you three times is true.” – The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll.

      All the media have to do (or in fact anybody) to get the majority of the masses to believe something is to keep repeating it, even a downright lie will eventually be accepted as fact by the majority of people.

      This also reminds me of what, I think, Joseph Goebbels (Head of Nazi propaganda and one of the best propagandists in the world) or Adolf Hitler said:

      “If your going to tell a lie, make it a big lie”.

      And my, oh my, hasn’t there been some very big lies made during the troubles in Norn Iron, lies which are just in recent years being exposed, aka collusion, British state activities, etc.

  9. Argenta August 1, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

    I’d imagine that most of the people who follow you on Facebook or Twitter would share your views on politics so it’s hardly an objective picture.Again I wouldn’t have thought that many of the younger generation of voters would be inclined to buy the Irish Times or Independent so maybe you’re attributing an importance to columnists like Stephen Collins that is undeserved.By the way,was Daily Ireland a “watchdog of democracy ” and if so why did it fail?

    • Jude Collins August 2, 2015 at 11:48 am #

      Ah, Daily Ireland. How that name comes back to me, mixing memory with desire. I don’t know if, in its short life, it was ‘a watchdog of democracy’ but it provided a republican perspective on events in Ireland, something that none of the other major papers did. Why did it fail? Your guess is as good as mine. One possible reason is that people find it almost as hard to change their newspaper as they do their bank.

      • Argenta August 2, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

        Judging by the Sinn Fein popular vote and the majority of your F B/Twitter/blog followers,one might have thought that there was a sustainable market for a pro-republican paper such as Daily Ireland.But (horror of horrors) could it be possible that privately many prefer their regular papers to such a stridently dogmatic paper?

        • Jude Collins August 3, 2015 at 8:15 am #

          Well I don’t know if it was “stridently dogmatic”, Argenta (you read it, then?), but it certainly wasn’t successful

  10. billy August 2, 2015 at 12:35 am #

    never heard the u.d.r.mentioned in them news reports,it was a bogus road check they said,lol,must think peoples buttoned up the back ,

  11. Emmet August 2, 2015 at 1:13 am #

    I think people should challenge BBC propaganda, they take our money to run their corporation and they will take you to court if you don’t pay. They have a rotten past when it comes to transparency. The sexual abuse scandals, ridiculous reporting on Palestine, blatant distortion of the truth about our past all leads me to one conclusion: there are sinister elements in the pockets or others running the BBC. If the BBC was the Catholic Church or a foreign company they would be facing investigation. People should be pushing for government inquire into the payments and employers of all powerful BBC personnel. We need to use the BBC mechanism for complaining (they may be forced to act if enough complain?). When Sinn Fein are in government in the South there should also be an investigation in the media the south. We should know which entities are paying our ‘news’ providers- we are entitled to know. In the meantime the people who don’t think for themselves will continue to follow the mainstream media agenda and continue to vote for extreme capitalist parties.

  12. neill August 2, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    Go old Jude always defending the poor and weak against the established order.

    Goodness gracious imagine running stories against poor old SF and to suggest they turned a blind eye to child abuse and rape and of course to inform people that SF who may well feature in the next government in the south had a very very close links to Republican death squads who in their right mind would ever want to run these stories?

    I always find it amusing on here saying they dont read traditional Irish media outlets because the cant be trusted however the real truth is that many on here don’t like the real truth to be published….especially when it doesn’t agree with their world view.

    Still as long as Jude exists SF will always have an unbending champion….

  13. Denis Duffin August 2, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    Never a mention of the big bloke in uniform giving orders in a toff english accent. Bet he was a captain.

  14. Kevin August 2, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

    Jude, you say that before Daily Ireland came along, none of the other main newspapers offered a republican perspective on events here. You were a newspaper columnist long before the arrival of Daily Ireland. Did your work mean nothing ?

    • Jude Collins August 3, 2015 at 8:14 am #

      Very little, Kevin. Back then I used to write whimsical articles about my childhood and later about how crappy TV programmes were…

      • Kevin August 3, 2015 at 10:42 am #

        This is fascinating, Jude. Many people will remember that you were a high profile current affairs columnist with the Irish News for about five years before the launch of Daily Ireland. You wrote about politics every week during a significant period when Sinn Fein became the largest nationalist party. To repeat the previous question, did your work mean nothing ?

        • Jude Collins August 3, 2015 at 11:47 am #

          Well, I’ve discussed this with other columnists. Some think a column is very important. I personally have never changed my views on anything after reading a column by anyone. I think at best a column tends to confirm you in what you’re vaguely feeling. (Or as neill might say, in your prejudices…; ) )

          • Kevin August 3, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

            Jude, this small discussion began when you said that Daily Ireland had offered a republican perspective on events here which was missing from all the other main papers. When it was pointed out that you were a newspaper columnist long before the launch of DI, you tried to suggest that you only wrote whimsical articles and tv reviews. When you were reminded that you had actually written about politics for five years, covering some very significant developments for Sinn Fein, your reply was effectively that columnists are of very little consequence. Does this not contradict your own explanation for the arrival of Daily Ireland, and why do you continue writing columns and blogs when you have such a low opinion of the entire process ?

          • Jude Collins August 3, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

            Well now, Kevin – that’s a lot of explaining of myself you’re asking. But let me try. Your first sentence is right – DI did aim to give a republican perspective on things – in contrast to all of the papers in Ireland and Britain. “I tried to suggest that I only wrote whimsical articles and TV reviews” – did I really? Take it from me, Kevin, I did nothing of the sort. I haven’t the slightest desire to hide anything I wrote while with the VO. I wrote a weekly column with them for some 17 years. In the early years – let’s say five, I wasn’t counting – I did the whimsical thing. In the next five – roughly – I did the TV thing. And in the final five – or seven, I wasn’t counting and the divisions between the phases weren’t cut and dried – I did a political column. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘covering some very significant developments for Sinn Féin’ – maybe you could explain? If you mean did I offer a firmly nationalist view of things then I’m happy to acknowledge that. If you think I did that ‘for Sinn Féin’, I think you’d better get some evidence of the charge. I thought then and I think now – columnists don’t change minds, certainly not about politics here; but I suppose there’s a chance that they might reflect what people are thinking but haven’t said. That would certainly have been the case with Daily Ireland if it hadn’t sunk with all hands inside 18 months. Why do I continue writing columns and blogs? Columns I get paid for; blogs I do because (i) I have a life-long writing itch which requires regular scratching; (ii) because I’m an unrepentant opinionated bastard. I’m not so puffed up with my own importance that I believe I’ll brainwash the masses into sharing my thinking – it clearly hasn’t worked with you anyway, and there was you counting up the years I was politically columning. So here’s my question to you: why do you read my blogs and/or why did you read my columns?

          • neill August 3, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

            Lol 😉

  15. Brian Patterson August 3, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    I attended a poignant commemoration for the Miami Show and yesterday at the actual site of the atrocity. None of the media dignitaries whospoke, or even Dr. Alistair O’Donnell, mentioned State collusion, although ‘bigotry’, ‘extremism’ and ‘terrorism’ got a good airing. It took the survivors themselves to pose the hard questions about coverup and collusion. In particular Steve Travers excoriated a state which tried to blacken the name of the Irish people (32 counties), murdered it’s citizens and continues to hide the truth to cover the higher primates of government and security. Incidentally congratulations to local MP Mickey Brady who had been invited to speak but declined on the grounds that it was not an appropriate occasion for party politics to intrude. Dr. take note.

    • Argenta August 3, 2015 at 10:44 pm #

      Unusual discretion for Sinn Fein to miss an opportunity to play “party politics”!!Such high mindedness and moral high ground!

  16. Kevin August 3, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

    To answer your question, most people, including me, read columns and blogs to digest opinions from a range of sources. What jumps out from your responses is that you, as a long-standing columnist, have an extremely cold view of column writing and say that you only do it because you get paid for it. You seem very sensitive over an observation that the period you wrote about politics covered some important developments for – as opposed to on behalf of – Sinn Fein. Your post at 8.14am offered a completely misleading summary of your work in this regard and you must know that you have contradicted yourself at a most basic level over the reasons for the launch of Daily Ireland. However, as you have dismissed the idea that an exchange of arguments between columnists has any value, we can probably conclude that, from your perspective, none of this ever mattered in the first place.

    • Jude Collins August 4, 2015 at 7:37 am #

      Dear Kevin – I think your argument is in danger of disappearing up your own fundament. “Extremely cold” – oh dear. To work for money (among other things) is cold. Mmm. Lot of coldies about. I’m not at all sensitive about the period when I wrote political columns for the VO or about any opinions then expressed – but I certainly reject your implication that I did it ‘for’ , which apparently isn’t the same as ‘on behalf of’ SF. Maybe you could explain the difference? As to my suggestions re the launch of Daily Ireland – I’m afraid that’s where your thinking vanishes into, let’s say the mists. ‘Dismissed the idea of an exchange of arguments between columnists’ – I don’t remember saying I did that – in fact I quite enjoy talking about the purpose and reason for columns. As to your last couple of clauses – I have no idea what you’re talking about. Have a little nap, Kevin, and come back then…