Let’s see: how can we be even dumber than than themuns?

(I’ve just learnt from a Man Who Knows that the above picture is from last year. So maybe the dumber have seen the light this year – in which case read no further and go peruse Malachi O’Doherty’s Unauthoristed Biography of Gerry Adams…)

There can only be one thing stupider than a unionist bonfire bedecked with Irish tricolours, posters of republican candidates and mock-coffins of republican leaders, and that’s nationalist/republican bonfires bedecked with Union flags and and sectarian images. They’re of course equal in venom and blind hatred; but the nationalist/republican bonfires are stupider because they sink into the mire with their opposition and hold themselves up to the same kind of contempt that Eleventh Night bonfires elicit.

You could be kind and say it’s a case of tit-for-tat, they’re not doing anything the other lot didn’t do first. But tit-for-tat  never got anyone anywhere, except that it offers a visceral and fleeting satisfaction – Take that, then!  Childish and dunderheaded.

There is one ominous respect in which the nationalist/republican tat is less disgusting and that’s the people behind them. You can talk for a month if you wish, but no one will persuade me that the many Eleventh Night bonfires aren’t built with the complicit consent or even active support of  unionist paramilitary groups like the UDA and the UVF.These groups have never decommissioned, and things don’t happen in their area without their say-so.  The same is only partly true in nationalist-republican areas. Those who build the bonfires there almost certainly have the backing of violent dissident republicans. They certainly don’t have the backing of mainstream republicans. So if we want some small balm for our souls as we gaze on pictures of nationalist/republican bonfires built in profoundly stupid places, it’s this:  the majority of the nationalist/republican population, and its former paramilitary groups, don’t want these damned flame-belchers. The majority of the unionist/loyalist population may not want bonfires either, but if they don’t say anything,  how will anyone know their distaste? It’s beyond time that they did  what republican politicians and ex-paramilitaries have done: open their mouths and tell the bonfire knuckle-draggers to stop and to stop now.

But we are, as they say, where we are. So well done, nationalist/republican pyromaniacs:  you’ve managed to drag your community down to the same sad level as the Eleventh Night nutters.

21 Responses to Let’s see: how can we be even dumber than than themuns?

  1. cushy glen July 27, 2017 at 10:55 am #

    Well said, Jude, but shouldn’t that be ‘more stupid’, not ‘stupider’ or is that a direct translation from the Irish?

    • Jude Collins July 27, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

      It’s transferred adjective, like “The weary road to the Twelfth’. You’re allowed to bend rules if you know you’re doing it ; )….

  2. Scott Rutherford July 27, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    Whether it be Loyalist or Republican bonfires I don’t see the underlying motivation driving these young people to build them having anything to do with either politics or even sectarianism.

    This sort of behaviour is fuelled by problems that effect deprived communities world wide, things like poverty, broken homes, poor education, lack of opportunities, direction and purpose in life drive young people to lash out in this way.

    Bonfires and sectarianism are simply the manifestation of this in a NI context.

    • moser July 27, 2017 at 11:59 am #

      So true Scott. Many many social problems that have not been addressed.

      • Jude Collins July 27, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

        I agree, Moser. But because the great majority of the Troubles were wage in working-class districts doesn’t mean it was motiveless violence…

        • moser July 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

          I agree Jude, I grew up in working class, socially deprived west Belfast. And like many people at the time was an agitator. The violence was a direct result of conditions at that particular time. Correct: it was not “motiveless”.

  3. Francis Teeney July 27, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    People Power is in danger of becoming impotent. We used to march on drug dealers homes and without menace demand they stop or leave the area. Yet we seemed incapable of mustering or mobilising 99.9% law abiding good folk to physically dismantle these monuments to the stupidity of man. We elected various people to be our leaders and they should lead us now to bonfire sites and remove all the material belonging to those who know not what they do. Lead and the people will follow………….do nothing and the people will do likewise

    • moser July 27, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

      I concur Francis. We have become very excepting of this behaviour.

  4. TheHist July 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    The only way to adequately deal with these bonfires is to legislate against them – anyone collecting, building or lighting these bonfires should face the full rigour of the law – both sides, no disparity. They are not wanted in society and only serve to inflame and heighten tension and expose the unwanted bitterness that some people within our society espouse.

  5. Joe McVeigh July 27, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    I agree that legislation and enforcement is required top put an end to these vulgar displays of sectarianism and hostility. I also agree with the suggestion that there is a connection with social and economic deprivation in these areas and the bonfires.Thank you John for reminding us all of Martin’s huge contribution to moving us away from sectarianism and bigotry. We still have a way to go and it needs to be tackled on many fronts.

  6. Mick July 27, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

    I wonder are these people eligible for the same grants that some Protestants, Loyalists and Unionists groups avail of for funding for ‘beacons’ instead of bonfires?

    • giordanobruno July 27, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

      Yes they are.

  7. Mick July 27, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

    For the record I don’t approve of bonfires on either side. Communities should have to deal with the nonsense surrounding these bonfires. If Nationalists complain about bonfires over 11th/12th July then they have no right to do exactly the same. British flags burned just as the Irish national flag is burned on Loyalist bonfires embarrasses me personally as I would rather see the two flying side by side over Stormont. The pure hypocricy of some people is mind blowing!

    • Mick July 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm #


    • Eamon July 27, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

      Mick there is a clear difference between both communities. Nationalist/Republican leaders are clearly calling on them to stop. Unionist leaders are happy to be photographed at bonfires with flags on them. You need to recognise the difference and not fall into this nonsense of one side is as bad as the other.

      • Tam July 27, 2017 at 6:25 pm #

        I suspect only because it allows them to take the moral high ground. Condemnation of these nationalist bonfires is only a recent thing, coinciding with the rise in social-media-fuelled controversy about loyalist bonfires.

        • Michael July 27, 2017 at 7:18 pm #

          These bonfires have been condemned by the vast majority of their communities for a long time.
          Their size and number has increased in recent years I suspect due to the increase in size of bonfires on the 11th night. Not that that justifies them.
          The vast majority of people don’t want them.
          The council are frequently called in to take them away.
          Leaders in the community condemn them.
          Very few want them.
          They attract anti social elements and crime.
          A clear difference from those that are widely welcomed and often state funded on the 11th night.

          • Tam July 27, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

            There’s nothing wrong with bonfires per se. They’re an established cultural tradition, within the loyalist community at least.

            I think you’re right that the ugly side of them has got a lot worse in recent years. I think social media is one of the causes. Photos of offensive bonfires are circulated and give the impression that they are the norm, sparking on the one hand moral outrage and a feeling of apparent demonisation (from the perspective of the poorly educated bonfire builders). The ‘no-one likes us we don’t care’ mentality kicks in and some bonfire builders compete to be even more offensive.

            Having said that, this year didn’t seem as bad as last year on the defensiveness front, if not on the safety front.

          • Emmet July 28, 2017 at 11:35 pm #

            “Photos of offensive bonfires are circulated and give the impression that they are the norm”- They are the norm.1 time I heard about a bonfire that was publically drooping the sectarianism only for the UDA to arrive at the last minute to put on their tricolours. For a few days every year loyalist estates are under the tricolour- we’ve all seen it.

            Tam is right, burning thing does seem to be part of the loyalist Kulture. The 3 Quinn children were burned on the 12th July 1998. They annually burn effigies of Lundy as a traitor (fact is he was actually very loyal), they burned Catholics out of their homes. Just because they call it Kulture doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to stop it.

  8. Brian Patterson July 28, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

    A Re stupider/more stupid. Rule was: To form comparitive or sperlave 1 with words of one syllable, generally add “er” or “est” exceptions include “goid””bad” 2 With words of more than two sillables prefix “more” or “most”. e.g. more/most ridiculous 3 With words of two syllables you chose either to prefix “more”/”most” or suffix “er”/”est” eg “more tasty”/ “most tasty”or “tastier”/”tastiest”. Jude ‘stupider’ is correct. As is “more stupid”.B Re “anti-internment” bonfires. As an ex-internee, NOT IN MY NAME.

  9. Brian Patterson July 28, 2017 at 7:14 pm #

    Sorry for typos, playing monopoly with grandchildren.