Labour’s gay-wedding ad: homophobic?

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Poor Joan Burton. She must be wondering what sin did she commit in a previous life, that all these banana skins have been placed in her path. No sooner has she fished herself out of the soggy depths of the flood water  than the party she leads finds itself in hot-water for an attack-ad it’s produced against the Austerity Alliance people, Fianna Fail and Sinn Féin.

One of the charges Joan faces with this ad is that it’s displaying homophobia. I don’t think it is – but there are quite a few people who’ll disagree with me. And there’ll be those who are themselves homophobic who’ll look at the ad and link the faces in it with homosexuality. It’s a sort of reverse blonde-draped-over-car-ad approach: the attractive woman is linked with the car in the hope that the attraction will include the car; this gay wedding ad may well be viewed negatively by those opposed to gay marriage and their disapproval may wash over to include those featured in the ad.

More interesting than the gay-bashing/non-gay-bashing argument is  the substance of the ad. It’s saying that Fianna Fail and Sinn Féin, along with anti-austerity TDs, may well form an alliance after the coming election. I think that’s a fair enough conjecture. Despite Micheal Martin’s protestations, if the numbers stack up and if the Shinners and the AAA people will have them, Fianna Fail will do a deal.

But then again, you could have substituted the head of Enda head for the head of Micheal and the same point could have been made: if the numbers demand it, Fine Gael will do a deal with any political grouping they think will let them have a share of government and will be for the good of the party.

But that would be in contradiction to everything Fine Gael has said about allying with the Shinners wouldn’t it? Exactly. And your point is? Politics is the art of the possible, and Fine Gael would tie the knot with the Monster Raving Loony Party if they thought it would benefit them.

I’m not much of a political forecaster (who is?), but I’ll forecast that. Power is the aphrodisiac that burns away principles in super-fast time.


14 Responses to Labour’s gay-wedding ad: homophobic?

  1. Jim.hunter January 4, 2016 at 12:31 pm #


    • Jude Collins January 4, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

      Indeed. Indeed. Jim. Why.aren’

  2. Mark January 4, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    You have to give it to the Irish Labour Party, the Party founded by James Connolly, and James Larkin, Ulstermen who never compromised, they’re scared to death.
    I was listening to Inniu leis Seán Uí Rourke this morning, and it struck me, the Free State media appear to be treating Sinn Féin, pre election, like the Brit media treated UKIP before the Brit. elections, like a pariah party with significant negative comment and unattributed parallels drawn.
    It did work for the Brit Labour Party and the Tories, will our electorate be drawn in?

  3. Brian D'Arcy January 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    To a certain extent I agree but for the democratic processes with in Sinn Féin, an emergency Ard Fheis will be called if the circumstances arise and we can make up part of a government. It is my belief, and I always stand to be corrected, that the Cumanns will not support an alliance with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael and if the leadership wish to ignore the message sent through democratic vote then the party will find itself I the same boat as the Greens, or even worse as the defunct PD’s. We have done so much to build ourselves that another stint in opposition, with more TD’s will do us the world of good whereas to become the whipping boy for the big parties will kill us

  4. Séamus Ó Néill January 4, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    A week ,as they say, is a long time in politics and to profess to be a political forecaster in Ireland wouldn’t be the wisest career choice. I do know that all the political parties in the 26 ,excepting Sinn Féin , have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo ,no matter about republican protestations from Fianna Fail. It’s long past time a proper serious and meaningful debate was initiated by those seeking the re-unification of our country. An extra 1.82 million people ( approx 1.3 million votes ) from here would certainly liven up politics in a new Ireland….. how many original parties would remain ?…and who would be in the best position to govern……when all the gombeen men ( and women ) , all the sectarian rhetoric and all that narrow parochialism etc etc are gone.`

  5. Spinal Tap January 4, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    Hiya JUDE ,
    Just a wee line of thanks as your remark to Jim shamed me .
    I am confined to bed with a Spinal injury , and I have plenty of of time to peruse all the Irish political blogs. Without doubt the most open ,and honest blog in MHO is your own .
    All the contributors including Neill etc ,shoot from the hip ,and within bounds of legality are able to express their opinions .
    Fair play to you ,and many thanks for adding so much to what can be extremely dull days .
    The other local blogs are so openly Indyish that they lose any credence of neutral opinion .
    Keep up the good work ,many a chuckle I have at your very perceptive reading of events .
    Many Thanks .
    Spinal Yap .

    • Jude Collins January 4, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

      Good to hear from you, SY, and sorry to hear you’re bed-bound. Much thanks for the kind words. Yes, I’m beginning to feel the first stirrings of pride in this particular forum. We are a lively bunch and I turn away no comment, except it’s libellous or concentrated abuse. Glad you find something to chuckle at. Personally, I guffaw over Perkin’s work…Every time.

  6. Iolar January 4, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    As water levels rise in the west of Ireland, the Irish Labour Party plumbs new depths. The party abandoned core Labour values and is now drowning in a sea of voter apathy. There is palpable anger from Cavan to Kerry in relation to the lack of adequate flood defences. Some Ministers seek photo opportunities while others waste time with posters as a substitute for policies, investment and action.

    Constituents face danger getting to places of work and their children to school. Boats and tractors are in daily use throughout the country and according to the meteorologists, there is more rain on the way. At a time of crisis, it is evident that Labour’s think tank has run dry. Voters will have no time to reflect on holes in the Labour Party manifesto as they will be obliged to pay much more attention to pot holes in roads, in the coming weeks and months. A rising tide lifting all boats is cold comfort to many in the country at present.

    • billy January 4, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

      yep its cold comfort to many in the country foreign aid isnt redirected in time like this.

  7. Ceannaire January 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    I fully agree here, Jude – the ad was not homophobic. However, it was certainly in bad taste. It was also executed very poorly – as anyone with Photoshop skills will see.

    What has become of the Irish Labour Party? I saw a comment online last night which sums the answer up: a party of the left campaigning to get elected as a dogsbody for a party of the right – only in Ireland.

  8. Ryan January 4, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    I don’t think Sinn Fein is expecting to be in Government this time in a year, yes its perfectly possible that they could be but I think Sinn Fein will call it a good election for them if they get 30 or more TD seats in the Dail, I think that’s the objective and I think they will certainly get 25+ seats. They could be part of a coalition, most likely consisting of Fianna Fail/Labour and a mixture of independents. But I see SF most likely being the Irish Government in 2021.

    The Assembly Election will be interesting too. The DUP has most likely reached their peak and with the UUP on the up under the guidance of MikeTV, I can see the DUP losing a few seats to them. The SDLP will be lucky if they retain the seats they have in this election but I think Sinn Fein could take a few off them, SF getting 30 (enough to make them independent and able to use a Petition of Concern without depending on the SDLP or others) would be a great result.

    Looking at the Belfast Telegraph this morning, it seems the PUP’s Billy Hutchinson has already started off the PUP’s election campaign for the Assembly. Billy is threatening “massive” Loyalist protests at Belfast City Hall if the Republic of Ireland soccer team is invited to the reception at city hall (the vote takes place tomorrow at BCH). Billy also made clear the likes of Derry born James McClean “isn’t welcome” because, wait for it, because James refuses to wear a Poppy…..if this is the PUP’s “progressive” side, I’d hate to see what they will do to be anti-progressive….

    The UUP’s Jim Rodgers was quick to challenge Billy’s extremism with his own brand on this mornings radio. Apparently the ROI soccer team “steals” players from here. I might be wrong but wouldn’t that be a form of slavery? Last time I looked any player from the 6 counties that plays for the ROI team does so because they want to. What Jim is basically wanting is to deny Irish players from the North playing for their own team. Very democratic, eh? Just waiting for the DUP now to come out with their own form of extremism now on this topic, most likely in the form of Gregory Campbell, they cant having the UUP/PUP appear more bigoted than they are, can they?….

    As we seen with the democratic vote to remove the Union flag from City Hall, Loyalists/Unionists now use protests and intimidation to try to usurp democracy where ever they don’t have the votes or power. The councillors of other parties need to stand firm, face down this intimidation and make Unionism/Loyalism realize we live in 2016, not 1916, the Unionist state and domination is gone and its not coming back and no amount of protests will change that.

  9. Perkin Warbeck January 4, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

    No surprise, Esteemed Blogmeister, to discover that the Yawnaiste is finding herself now in hot water with that tasteless try-on add featuring a homophobic undertow.

    There’s an old Leprechaun proverb which goes ‘Eist le glor na habhann agus geofar breac’ / ‘Listen to the music of the river and you’ll soon land a brown trout’.

    There was no surprise either in that holy template of tolerance, The Unionist Times. It is to it that Perkie’s inner motivational speaker always turns first in search of unintentional humour which is that organ’s specialty.

    Take its high-flown editorial of January 1: ‘A Republic of Collective Dignity’, penned as always by Sir Oracle whose admonition to the dogs of the street to desist from barking once he takes up his quill is a given. And then cast a backward glance by way of contrast at its enlightened editions published over the Christmas period.

    If one is in search of a loofah of guffaws T.U.T. remains your only man.

    As there are two days left of the 12 one trusts, E.B., one is just in time to do that glancing back. In the course of a long and arid tribute to ‘Father Tedium’ that peculiarly Irish version of the Black-face Minstrel Shows in Mastah’s Antebellum Mansion, minus the strumming banjos, the following self-reverential passages appear, almost back to back:

    -Arthur’s creation of Fr. Ted was a kind of camp priest. Camp priests were something we all recognized but we wouldn’t have been aware of it at the time so it was a great observation on his part.


    -How aware were you, Arthur, of the extent of abuse and so forth among the Catholic Clergy? Would the humour have been darker if you’d known then what we now know?
    -We would have been harsher on them possibly, though the tone of the show was quite light.


    Does this uncomfortable proximity of ‘camp priest’ and ‘abuse by the Catholic Clergy’ not conjure up a mindset in T.U.T. which identifies ‘camp priest’ and ‘abuse’ as being synonymous? Homosexuality and paedophilia, that sorta thingy? Surely not ! Heaven forbid !! Perish the very t.!!!

    Best not go there, as one would only be encroaching on the territory, i.e., the moral high ground of (gulp) Amnesty Ireland. Whose silence so far is no doubt down to the shock they received of first reading the piece in question. One awaits their thoughtful tut-tutting at T.U.T.

    Still, in fairness, going backward, it is only meet and just that one acknowledges an institution which remains truly, bluely loyal to its traditions and is seen to remain loyal.

    The Unionist Times was founded as far back as 1823 as a Rope-the-Pope Gazette of Record and passed through a succession of titled ownerships, featuring a board room of Major This, Major That and Major the Other, all adhering to the core values of an anglicised, anal-retentive almanac.

    Fittingly enough m’lud, it was under the stewardship of Sir John Arnott that the dividing lines between the Arnotts and the lower-case are nots were to be definitively drawn: when, in 1916, he thundered for the heads of the demmed rebels.

    Not surprisingly, the number of are nots who aspire to becoming Arnotts shows no sign of abating.

    Observe the fascinating instance of the former go-to are not, one Eamonn McCann who is currently, ironically enough, The Man who is Thursday on Team Arnott.

    Indeed it was his McCannonisation of Mother Theresa which set the tumbrils rolling for the banquet of Rope-the-Popery which The Unionist Times lavishly served up its dignified republican readership of record over the Festive Season.

    Mind you, one is beginning to worry somewhat about the McCann man. Not least in his new found penchant for Arsenal licking. The following week he was still on a McCannonisation kick, this time of Arsene Wenger, the bainisteoir in the bib bui, at d’Emirates. Though not quite of the same holy order of same; the difference between the one and the other might be considered akin to the dissimilarity between, say, the provisional and the official.

    Under the (gasp) restrained heading ‘Arsene Wenger can teach us all a lesson in decency’ the ultimate are not who morphed into an archetypal Arnott continues:

    ‘Against a background of money-laundering by oligarchs bearing stolen millions Wenger stands out as a beacon of integrity, an indomitable true believer in the spirit of the game’.


    McCann this be the same Monsieur Wenger who not only exudes all the wit, warmth and presence of a salamander in the dark depths of a Slovenian cave but also looks like Madame Christine Lagarde in drag/ undrag but also (gasp) is a premier reason why the are nots pay through the nose for the joy of sitting on their arsenals (2,000 squids for a season ticket, 100 squids for a match-day ticket or, ten times what both Barcelona and Real Madrid – the team of Franco, Eammo, demand of their fans) to keep Arsne W ‘s wallet stuffed with 11 million squids per annum.

    Only a Bogside are not who has become an Arnott could show the chutzpah to use ‘decency’ and ‘the bootyful game’ in the same sentence.

    At first, one suspected it must have been all those heavy, wet leather balls Eamonn the McCannonizer must have headed in his are not days as a Bogside boy, which are showing their deleterious effects at this late stage. But one soon dismissed that suspicion: that subsahara sized Afro of his would surely have absorbed the damage, if any, done, back then.

    Sadly, Perkie can only conclude that it is the dizziness of being the poor bred are not who brings the token street cred to both The Unionist Times and its sister paper of record, The Belfast Telegraph which has prompted him to hand down this final sentence:

    -All true lovers of football want this to be Arsenal’s year.

    (Linguistic note: football is imperial leather for soccer).

    To conclude, Panti Bliss, who was both man and woman of the Year, the infra red and the ultra violet of the Arnotts, was like one of Raymond Chandler’s cheap suits, all over The Unionist Times.

    Not unlike his/ her near namesake the Ebenezer Rouge of Eire Nua carried about him/ her own low temperature about with him/herself everywhere he/she went. Despite the choice of warm colours, all those red, yellow and orange tints, hints and highlights, what shone through most strikingly were those two icy cool pools of darkness he/she calls his/her eyes.
    Out of one eye, glinted ambition; out of the other eye, calculation.

    So far, so not so bad; the freedom of the Abbey Stage; an honorary doctorate from TCD; a de rigeur visit to his/her Capel Street tavern by his/her fellow (?) capable Mayoist, Enda Ennui.

    Cad ata in ann do/ di? What next for him/ her?

    The world is clearly not his/ her cloister.

  10. giordanobruno January 5, 2016 at 8:09 am #

    “this gay wedding ad may well be viewed negatively by those opposed to gay marriage and their disapproval may wash over to include those featured in the ad.”
    Isn’t that appealing to some element of homophobia in the electorate?
    If gay marriage was viewed as normal and unremarkable the ad would not work as intended so I would say there is definitely an element of homophobia there.
    Do you know if Sinn Fein have ruled out any alliance with other parties just to gain power?
    I assume on principle they have.

    • Jude Collins January 5, 2016 at 8:33 am #

      I think they have – for Fine Gael – but I wouldn’t want to be held to that. Fairly sure. Don’t think they’ve taken a no-co-op with any others.