Martina and what she asked Theresa to do with the border

I’ve just finished taking part in a discussion with Edwina Currie  on the Nolan radio show, where we were talking about Martina Anderson’s recent speech in the European Parliament. As you probably know by now,  the speech drew attention, not primarily because Martina was talking about the impact of Brexit on the border here, but because she ended by telling Theresa May to stick her border “where the sun don’t shine”.

Sammy Wilson has said that Martina sounded like “a shrewish fish-wife”. I’m not sure how many fish-wives Sammy has listened to, but I know lots of men and women who express themselves with a great deal more vulgarity than Martina used. It was less coarse, I suggested, than Edwina Currie’s former close colleague John Major, who famously referred to “the bastards” in his Cabinet. (Sudden thought: odd that an avalanche of criticism fell on Gerry Adams when he used the same word, while John Major’s use of it elicited a chuckle rather than criticism.) Those who are covering the ears of their children and calling for smelling salts at Martina’s words have led remarkably sheltered lives.

The good thing – maybe the calculated thing – that Martina’s words have done is draw attention to the coming dangers and economic damage which the post-Brexit border will do. On the Nolan show, Edwina assured us they’ll “come up with something” and it won’t be a problem. Try telling that to people whose life and business straddle the border, who cross it up to half-a-dozen times a day. Tell it to the farmer who milks his cows on one side and has the milk processed on the other. Tell that to the drivers of heavy goods vehicles, who’ll need more than a frictionless number-plate recognition to make sure there aren’t immigrants in the back.

Those of us who remember the border, even before the Troubles, know that it was a serious impediment to movement of goods and people. And we know that while Edwina and Theresa can keep reassuring us that a post-Brexit border will be virtually invisible, they won’t have to live with it on a daily basis. A post-Brexit border, in the absence of very special arrangements agreed to by the EU and Britain, will wreak havoc with hundreds if not thousands of livelihoods. But then, the fate of Irish people isn’t something that Theresa or Edwina in the last analysis give a monkey’s about.

I hope that last phrase didn’t offend too many people.



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52 Responses to Martina and what she asked Theresa to do with the border

  1. Hoboroad March 15, 2017 at 10:49 am #

    Well at least Martina didn’t do it in the nude.

    • gendjinn March 15, 2017 at 1:00 pm #

      “Jaysus, is that you Sammy? Sure I didn’t recognise you with your clothes on! ”

      Best Stormont debate line ever!

  2. Wolfe tone March 15, 2017 at 10:58 am #

    Caithidh mé go honraic ach her voice goes through me. Martina would need to keep some of her ire for the dictators in the EU because if they decide there is to be a ‘hard border’ then the irony will be that Terry May etc won’t need to lift a finger.

  3. fiosrach March 15, 2017 at 11:02 am #

    I read somewhere that 27% of ‘the greater people of Northern Ireland ‘ had never been across the border. I can’t quote the source nor can I defend the accuracy but the principle is sound. Like the Yankees, a large proportion of them don’t have or need a passport of any sort. Why would they want to go ‘down there’? But maybe Martina will think twice before she uses such coarse language in front of such ‘naice’ people again. To move on to that language purist and ex MLA. His opinion of the Acht na Gaeilge is that it is a subterfuge, a Trojan horse, and the real agenda is for ‘some people’ to try and establish an Irish identity for themselves in this most British of kingdoms. Nail on head.

  4. joe bloggs March 15, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    As far as the expression goes: while coarse, it is a huge leap forward for Martina, who 30 years ago was driving round with explosives trying to blow people up or smearing excrement on the walls.

    • fiosrach March 15, 2017 at 11:19 am #

      And you know all this,joe,because your beloved British tabloids and faultless British courts told you so?

    • moser March 15, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

      On the subject of bad language: Joe bloggs, you need a kick in the swingers for that remark.

  5. Dominic Hendron March 15, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    Martina and Arlene do themselves and women in politics no favours. A big mouth doesn’t is no substitute for a discerning mind

    • Oz 2015 March 15, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

      So says the fellow who posted a comment about digestive matters!!!

      • fiosrach March 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

        Took the words from my mouth.

      • Dominic Hendron March 15, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

        That was in response to one of the most propagandist posters on this site and one I’m particularly, no, prodigiously proud of.

        • Wolfe tone March 15, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

          Aye Dominic, you stay classy now, you hear.

  6. Kieran Maxwell March 15, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    Hi Jude,

    I actually felt embarrassed by her outburst, it was one of those cringe moments. I felt it was undignified and insulting too, surely there is a more articulate way to make your point?

    You blogged on the same issue a few days ago Jude when you said “…some contributors in the comments section…who, through their form of engagement, make reading a pleasure and often thought-provoking experience. However, there are enough people commenting here whose only motivation seems to be the undermining and sometimes insulting anyone they disagree with. Punch and Judy stuff.”

    A comment like Martina’s falls into the same category in my book. Surely you can see the parallels? And if it ain’t acceptable for us, then it ain’t acceptable for our political reps either.

    The comment could also come back to bite her, because if Teresa May decides to go for a hard border, there is really nothing she can do about it. What’s she gonna say then?

    Far better to make a constructive, persuasive argument, isn’t that what politics is fundamentally about?

    • Jude Collins March 15, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

      I agree, Kieran. And I am trying to do something about insult and abuse on this site. At the same time, there’s a part of me that thinks there should be room for moser’s remark (1:38) above. I suppose I’m saying I wouldn’t completely dismiss vulgarity or even insult, if it was done wittily or in a context. I’ve just finished editing gennghinn’s comment with the punch line ‘Go **** yourself”, and yet there is something prissy about using asterisks for the fuck word. I can remember a time when novels had lines like ‘D — you, sir!” Discuss…

      • paddykool March 15, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

        Let’s see, Jude …that was probably “Diddle you sir!” hee hee! As for vulgarity and emotive chat .it’s all in the context , isn’t it?…. and how well it’s done .Have we had this chat before? I think we have . Nobody wants “fuck” used as a punctuation mark after every second word , but it works really well when you hit your finger with a hammer .”Oh fudge it !”really doesn’t cut the mustard when that happens…I really do not think there are actually any “bad” words as such…only people using them badly.

      • joe bloggs March 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

        Judey – you really are a hoot!

        “I want no offence or abuse on this site”.

        Unless someone accurately points out what an IRA terrorist did….then it’s alright to kick him in the bollox!

        And I thought we had turned a corner?

    • PF March 15, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

      Spot on, Kieran.

      In the same way, when Mrs. Foster used the insult against the Nationalist community recently, I cringed with embarrassment.

      But if SF and the DUP wish to lower the bar on a regular basis with their so-called political speeches, that’s up to them.

      Meanwhile, language dies another death.

  7. Antonio March 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

    Fair play to Martina, It’s great to see strong charismatic women making heartfelt speeches like this at the highest levels of Government.

    The EU parliament need to be aware of how the majority of the people of North feel about Brexit.

    Keep up the good work Martina.

    • Dominic Hendron March 15, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

      I’ll take Colum Eastwood’s networking over Martina’s “charisma” any day Antonio

    • Kevin Connolly March 20, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

      ”Charismatic”? Martina??? If she is indeed the fish-wife that Sammy claimed she was, she would be a flounder.

  8. Tony March 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

    Europe will ensure there is a hard border. Part of their plan to unite Ireland and retain it in the EU.

  9. billy March 15, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

    people are forgetting its the eu that will be running the checkpoints on their side and theres not a word about it.coming north an electronic check should be enough for cars lorries for the bogus refugees and migrants hiding in lorries they will probably be heading south or staying there once the new laws come in.where else will they get 200euro a week dole,free houses,be employable ect.non of this will be on offer in the uk anymore under the new laws,so they will become more of a problem for the south.

    • Mark March 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

      billy, there will be check points along the imaginary line imposed to partition our Province, the reason, not so much economic migrants, rather, cheaper booze, TV’s, PC’s etc.
      I have little doubt my weekly fill of diesel in Dublin will also be scrutinised by the authorities in the six Ulster counties, the fact is, if Britain want na Oglaigh nua to gain greater funds, thereby more access to weapons and the auld semtex, maintaining such position will assist in making it easier to smuggle goods there is presently no requirement to smuggle.
      Further difficulty might arise when, again, the bad winter’s of 2009/10 hit us again followed by naff summers leading farmers to have no feedstuff. I sat in Wexford during 2013 watching large bales, then retailing at €120/bale off boat, being loaded onto lorries with six county registrations, will merchant’s continue on up the Irish east coast or, will they dump such load at the nearest port and permit the farmer’s of those six Ulster counties to pay whatever tariff is imposed by London?
      I am anti-EU but, some customs union deal would suit better than starving cow’s.

  10. Brian Patterson March 15, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    Firstly I thought Martina’s outburst unbecoming and inappropriate. She is normally gracious and charming. But trust old Billy- boy to use the occasion to parade his paranoid obsession about immigrants

    • billy March 15, 2017 at 3:23 pm #…
      ime only pointing how new laws will benefit us here in the north from the disasters happening in every european town and city due to open you agree letting anybody and everybody wander in and out of a country unchecked setting up no go areas is a good idea for ireland.or a points based system that we can choose who comes in.paranoid doesnt come into it,acting after its to late does.

  11. Colmán March 15, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

    I don’t think it was a particulary good speech by Martina. She used too many local idioms that are unlikely to be understood by the S2 English speakers in the European Parliament.

    That said, the cold reception that Sinn Féin are now getting for special status would seem to mirror that which David Cameron recieved when he was seeking EU reform last year.

    • Jude Collins March 15, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

      Is it possible, Colmán, that she was (like Ian Paisley long, long ago) speaking to the folks back home, not the TV cameras?

      • Colmán March 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

        Or perhaps she was talking to English viewers. I can’t see such an Inflammatory speech doing much good, though.

      • PF March 15, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

        And we all rushed to thank Paisley for his speech in the EU Parliament – not.

        • Sherdy March 15, 2017 at 7:17 pm #

          Can anyone remember the last time a speech by an MEP has been so widely reported?
          I’m sure not, so Martina, job done, you were heard all across Europe – even if the EU debating chamber was virtually empty!
          Possibly other politicians should consider following Martina’s version of forthrightness – it just might catch on across Europe!

          • billy March 15, 2017 at 8:12 pm #

            europe has no say in the matter now so if it catches on or is heard across europe makes little odds.but insulting the majority of voters who are after winning a referendum could be bad for business down the line.maybe thats why their so quiet on it.

  12. Oz 2015 March 15, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    Where the sun don’t shine.
    Errr… Scotland??
    Is that the answer.

  13. Perkin Warbeck March 15, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

    By way of s. contrast with Martina Anderson’s meticulous, meteorological advice to T-Rex May , if one may refer to her thus , Esteemed Blogmeister, there is a long and winding article in – of all places ! The Unionist Times- calling for the novel retention of the Black Sow’s Dyke.

    The article, which is not quite as long and winding as the Dyke itself, being short by just a few random parish pomposities, is by – of all people ! – Colm Tóibín, novelist.:

    The North must become an independent EU state

    Irish reunification will not solve Northern Ireland’s problems in the aftermath of Brexit
    about 12 hours ago

    And when Colm Toibin takes time out from his award-winning excursions into the medium of tedium, to OPINE on behalf of the mindless, one can almost catch the solemn whiff of incense from his Gregorian prose rising from The Organ of Rex Accord..

    Curiously, not, he is already commencing to fill the role (snugly) of his fellow native of Enniscorthy, the late, grating Anthony Cronin, of whom he was long a crony, that of:

    -I am Sir O’Racle and when I open my mouth, let no dog bark.


    For those unfamiliar with all too familiar public physog of Colm Tóibín, think Ronnie Flanagan, formerly of the RUC parish in the Diocese of Down with the Crops..

    Here one strays into serious separated at dearth territory, bigly.. While Ronnie suffered from a dearth of Knighthoodwnks for many the long and winding year, his Lookalike still continues to suffer the pangs of pre-and-post dearth, simultaeneously. The poor (sob) Ugly Brooklyn. Ohone, agus ochone-o.

    (Nod, wink in the direction of Hucklebuckingham Palace. Respectfully store it, Ma’am, in the file marked: S For Services Rendered to One’s Own Tongue, coated or otherwise ).

    Although (Sir, pending) Colm Tóibín does not spell in out in so many look-at-the-birdy words the kernel of his Colonel-striped opinion piece suggests that the Gnats of Nationalism can go hang.

    Which equally (gasp) curiously conjures up the memory of a feller who was once associated with the Yeller Rows of Texas rather than with the Yeller Belles of Wexico.


    Both were / are in favour of a Border
    All that entails ,from Law and Order
    One’s Colm Tóibín
    D’ other’s Roy Bean*
    Judge for yourself the better warder.

    *Jude Roy Bean once had a shoot out with a Scotsman, name of (gulp) Collins. Each only winged the other. Each thus suffered greviously in that sorest of sore places, d’amour propre.

  14. Argenta March 15, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    Don’t suppose it was much of a surprise that Martina came out with a rant like this.But as Jude implied before ,it was maybe aimed at a more local audience..The attendance in the European Parliament seemed minimal and many of her colloquialisms would hardly have made it through interpretation.The interesting thing(to use the Sherlock Holmes analogy)was the dog that didn’t bark!If my recollection is accurate,Stephen Nolan mentioned a few times this morning that Sinn Fein had been asked to put forward a representative but no one appeared.As with so many other things,the ever faithful Jude was left to comment and explain what Martina was attempting to communicate.

    • fiosrach March 15, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

      Maybe the SF reps had something more important to do than jump through Nolan’s hoops. I see ole Horatio has plenty of time on his hands. Is he not supposed to be keeping an eye on the flatness of the earth?

  15. Scott Rutherford March 15, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

    Putting aside Martinas poor rhetoric she was all over the place.

    First of all “British guns, tanks and armoured cars” weren’t there to enforce custom tariffs or control immigration. They were there to stop weapons and bombs being smuggled over the border by her comrades. The IRA were the reason for the hard border of the past. A new hard border would be nothing like that.

    Secondly, what did she mean when she was referring to the other 27 member states not imposing it on Ireland? Seemed quite threatening to me, especially from someone with her past.

    Thirdly, she swung from threatening language towards the rest of the EU, to telling the PM to “stick it” in regards to a hard border. Does Martina not grasp that a hard border is the last thing both the UK and Irish goverments want? Both have said so quite clearly. If a hard border is enforced it’ll be due to the rest of the EU not understanding the sensitivities around Ireland.

    It should been the EU Martina is telling to “stick it”. *cringe*

    • PF March 15, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

      “First of all “British guns, tanks and armoured cars” ”

      You know, Scott, at one point I thought she was going to sing!

    • fiosrach March 15, 2017 at 7:08 pm #

      Very good,Scott. I feel more relieved that you have shared that with us. Who did you say your inside contact in the Privy council was?

      • Scott Rutherford March 15, 2017 at 7:11 pm #

        Play the ball fiosrach, not the man.

        • fiosrach March 15, 2017 at 7:22 pm #

          Are you telling me that I can’t express a level of disbelief at the quality of your information?

          • Scott Rutherford March 15, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

            Perhaps it would be better to point out where my information is lacking. Not just to facilitate debate, but also to help educate?

  16. giordanobruno March 15, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

    She did make herself look a bit stupid and it is embarrassing for us that this is the quality of our representatives.
    But it is a bit of a sideshow really, except that it gives the DUP ammunition in the ongoing debate about respect.
    How long before Sammy or Gregory or whover,announces in public;
    ‘stick your united Ireland where the sun don’t shine’?

    • PF March 15, 2017 at 7:18 pm #


      “She did make herself look a bit stupid and it is embarrassing for us that this is the quality of our representatives.”

      When you stop to think about it, Faulkner, Fitt, Hume, Molyneaux and Paisley are beginning to look like that had a clue – and I never thought I’d say that!

  17. michael c March 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

    We used to sing a song in my youth which told the Brits and RUC where they could stick their rubber bullets and it was much more descriptive than “where the sun dont shine”!

    • Scott Rutherford March 15, 2017 at 7:08 pm #

      In your defence michael c, at least you didn’t do it in the EU parliament as a representative of the people of

      • fiosrach March 15, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

        Or even the greater people of NÍ.lol

    • PF March 15, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

      I think everyone had their own version of that kind of song, michael! I remember standing in the Kop at Windsor Park one night during a Home Championship game when it was suggested that the flower of Scotland head in the same direction. There wasn’t much love expressed of the Union that night!

    • joe bloggs March 15, 2017 at 7:17 pm #

      Michael C – ironic considering where a lot of them ended up.

      • Carrie March 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

        Disgusting comment. Given that most of them ended up in innocent men, women and children.

  18. joe bloggs March 16, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

    a lot ended up in recreational rioters and petrol bombers.

    • Carrie March 16, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

      Michael c mentioned nothing about rioting or throwing petrol bombs so i fail to see the irony.
      Bit of a sectarian mindset there.

      • joe bloggs March 16, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

        Now Carrie – I did jump to a conclusion. I assumed that when Michael was singing “you can stick your rubber bullets up your arse”, he was in some sort of interface situation with the security forces. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe this was a song he sang at school or at Sunday School. Nothing would surprise me.

        My comment about irony was that a lot of people who sang that song ended up with a bullet up the arse themselves. I didn’t present this as a sick joke, you inferred it. (sectarian mindset).

        There is a joke about tho’…you might have heard it? Along the lines of a man visiting a house in Belfast (see, no mention of which patch) and sees a rubber bullet on the mantlepiece:

        “What’s that?”
        “Rubber Bullet. Our wee Joe got that”
        “Where did he get it?”
        “Up his arse”.

        You are right, Michael C didn’t mention rioting or petrol bombs. You did mention innocent people who got hit by rubber bullets. I countered that by saying that a lot of recreational rioters etc. got hit too as a means of riot control. (Vastly preferable to live rounds, I think).

        Now Republicans and Loyalists all rioted. Rubber bullets were used on both. I did not distinguish between the two….so who exactly has the sectarian mindset?