The new normal (in the US) and the old normal (here)

I read an article a couple of weeks ago about President Donald Trump. Predictably, it didn’t make for a cheering read, but the writer’s central point was an important one: people can get used to the most appalling things and start thinking of them as normal.

For instance:

* A President who engages in near-arm-wrestling with other heads-of-state, to establish his macho dominance over them.

* A video clip which appears to show the President leaping on a reporter and wrestling him to the ground.

* A recording of the President-to-be boasting of grabbing women “by the pussy”.

* The President-to-be leading his audience in chants of “Lock her up!” when the name of Hillary Clinton is mentioned.

* President Trump’s habit of referring to political opponents in contemptuous terms – for example, “Crooked Hillary Clinton” and “Lying Ted Cruz”.

* President-to-be Trump’s promise to build a wall between the US and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it.

* President Trump’s promise to refuse entry to the US of all Muslims.* President Trump’s habit of firing off ungrammatical and misspelt emails in the small hours of the morning.

* President-to-be Trump’s claim that he could go out and shoot someone in the street and his supporters would still vote for him.

I’m sure you can add to this list of vulgarity and crassness. The point the writer emphasized is that Americans and the world have become so used to this kind of behaviour, to the point where we no longer feel shock or outrage. It’s the new normal. Only in America, eh?

Well, maybe. Or maybe not. There are things which happen here which would be considered outrageous anywhere else. We’ve learned to accept them as the norm.

* British troops gun down thirteen people in broad daylight and the government lies about what happened. After more than thirty years, the Prime Minister apologises. There is no promise of justice for the victims or even putting on trial those responsible.

* Hundreds of innocent people are killed by collusion between British forces and loyalist killers. The actions are documented in a book. No charges are brought.

* A First Minister is involved in a financial scandal that promises to cost the public purse up to half a billion. The First Minister refuses to step aside while the matter is investigated.

  • Every year, huge bonfires are constructed to celebrate the defeat of a Catholic English king by a Dutch Protestant king. The bonfires frequently are decorated with the Irish flag, pictures of republican politicians, sometimes statues of the Virgin Mary, this year a mock-coffin of the lately deceased Deputy First Minister. No one is charged.
  • * The Minister for Culture pulls a £50,000 grant for poorer children to attend the Gaeltacht and wishes everyone Happy Christmas.
  • The same Minister for Culture and Communities is pictured grinning as he sets alight an Eleventh Night bonfire.* The First Minister compares her political opponents to ravenous reptiles.


* Every year, an anti-Catholic organization conducts several thousand marches to remind their Catholic/nationalist/republican neighbours who defeated who at the Battle of the Boyne. The organization congratulates itself when there are no clashes with the community they are insulting.

* The BBC constructs scaffolding, to better show the bands marching on the highly-partisan Twelfth parade.

* The leading unionist party signs up to an Agreement which promises an Irish Language Act. It then refuses to allow the passing of an Irish Language Act.

* Twenty years ago, an Agreement signed up to by the major parties of the time, along with the Irish and British government, promised a Bill of Rights. There is no sign that this will ever be implemented.

* The mainstream media, north and south, adopt a consistently anti-republican stance. Those who complain are dismissed mockingly as MOPES (‘Most Oppressed People Ever’)

Again, you could probably add your own favourites. But my point is the same as the journalist who commented on the Trump regime: our sense of morality and justice gets coarsened by frequent assault, until we accept contempt as the norm. When will our politicians, regardless of party, look hard and long at these appalling matters and say “Enough. This is not right”.

Or must we accept that might is right?

28 Responses to The new normal (in the US) and the old normal (here)

  1. Antonio July 31, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

    “A video clip which appears to show the President leaping on a reporter and wrestling him to the ground.”

    Is the video clip you’re referring to Trump’s appearance at Wrestlemania ?

    It was not a reporter, it was actually Vince Mahon, owner of the WWE, it was all part of the script, harmless fun actually.

    Trump, for all his faults had never been filmed violently attacking anybody

    • huge Celt. July 31, 2017 at 9:39 pm #

      Has he been filmed inciting violence?
      Many times.

      • Antonio August 1, 2017 at 1:10 am #

        I know.

        Just saying there is no video of Trump attacking a reporter, that video was part of a wrestling show – which we all know is scripted

        • huge Celt. August 1, 2017 at 11:16 am #

          How very dare you!!

          Wrestling us the most honest sporting contest on the planet.

          Scripted indeed!!

  2. Tam July 31, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

    Every year, huge bonfires are constructed to celebrate the defeat of a Catholic English king by a Dutch Protestant king. The bonfires frequently are decorated with the Irish flag, pictures of republican politicians, sometimes statues of the Virgin Mary, this year a mock-coffin of the lately deceased Deputy First Minister. No one is charged.

    Out of interest, what charge could be brought, and against who would it be brought?

    And on a point of information the GFA did not promise a Bill of Rights. .

    • Gerard Mc Kay August 3, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

      How about ‘Hate Crime’ Tam. ‘Mon now, You should really ask harder questions mate.

      • Tam August 3, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

        Which particular offence, and how would the perpetrators be identified?

  3. Antonio August 1, 2017 at 1:16 am #

    ‘Out of interest, what charge could be brought, and against who would it be brought?’

    It’s illegal to remove an election poster from a lampost. Therefore Also illegal to place them on bonfires.

    The police should arrest the people stealing them & putting them on bonfires. They are breaking the law, simple as that really

    I don’t think there is a law against burning the tricolour or statues of Mary ( although maybe there should be )

    • Tam August 1, 2017 at 7:14 am #

      Easier said than done. How would they identify the thieves?

      • Antonio August 1, 2017 at 10:49 am #

        By investigative police work

  4. moser August 1, 2017 at 8:58 am #

    Nationalists have had twenty years of political power: what have they done with it ?

    There has been, and still is, too much appeasing and trying to understand unionists. We have allowed the unionists voice to drown out our own:

    .for far too long we convinced ourselves that England was the enemy. If only we could rid ourselves of England’s curse ,- then we could live in harmony with our unionist neighbours.

    It’s time to wake up : unionists are the enemy.

  5. huge Celt. August 1, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    In 1912, when asked why he was so resistant to the idea of Home Rule, Sir Edward Carson responded that, to date, nobody from the Redmonites had approached him to explain what they meant by Home Rule, and how they thought it would benefit the island of Ireland.
    If true, that is a damning indictment of Irish nationalism.

    105 years later, Irish nationalism has learned nothing. All they are offering is this woolly notion of “Ireland united, Gaelic and free?.
    The “Towards a United Ireland? document was entirely cliched, vacuous, aspirational sound-bites – a hymn-sheet for the converted.

    Similarly, the recent SF National Convention studiously refused to acknowledge the elephant in the room – or more accurately, the 80,000 elephants that reside just over the Lagan – those elephants have long memories, and the reality is they simply will not have a
    Sinn Fein united Ireland.
    History tells us that a significant minority of those Unionists will ragefully resist that Sinn Fein vision in arms, if pushed.

    Sinn Fein press on regardless, undeterred by the realities all around them.
    No surprise there.
    After all, it took them 30 years of savage bloodletting carnage to realise that it wasn’t the British that were keeping the British in Ireland, it was the Unionists.

    It took the Scottish Independence campaign to produce a 600+ page document to outline the case for an independent Scotland.
    Once outlined, the public rallied to it and support for Independence surged.

    What has Sinn Fein offered by comparison?
    Anything meaningful??
    Well no.
    Apart from seizing on one economists report – a report commissioned by Sinn Feiners – that outlined different economic, but universally positive, scenarios and ultimately delivered entirely fantastical conclusions – and then oft-quoting from that report as if it’s the Holy Grail, its fair to say that Sinn Fein have offered nothing that would appeal to anyone outside of their own base.

    Gerry Adams is now calling for a Border Poll within the next 5 years.
    Based on what, Gerry?
    Sell us your vision of what a United Ireland looks like.

    If you cant be arsed to make a rational case based on facts and realities rather than misty-eyed emotionalism, and then leave that case open to analysis, discussion and interrogation, then quite simply, the persuadable won’t be persuaded.

    And in such circumstances Sinn Fein will certainly lead the notion of a United Ireland to a humiliating defeat.

    Referenda notoriously confirm the status quo – hence why Brexit was such a surprise – unless pushed, people vote for what they know, rather than what they can envision.

    So, in conclusion, if Sinn Fein want to make their case for a United Ireland, they need, at the very least, to do the hard miles that the SNP put in.
    Unlike the Scottish Independence campaign, we are in a post-conflict situation.
    The wounds of that inglorious recent past haven’t been allowed to heal.
    We still have armed paramilitary groups eyeing each other up, many actively preparing for a final reckoning.

    Rather than Sinn Fein just appealing to tribal allegiances, whilst waiting for the demographic tide to come in, and dismissing Unionists as “Irishmen with a Identity crisis”, or just throwing Holy Water at the Prods in the hope that something magical happens, dont we all deserve, at the very least, the economic, social, and political case for a United Ireland to be made in rational, balanced terms so we can all make a considered judgement?

    “Fail to prepare, prepare to Fail”

  6. moser August 1, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    Gee, huge Celtic. Well said.

    • huge Celt. August 1, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

      I’ll be appearing at the West Belfast festival all week!


  7. fiosrach August 1, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

    Gee,huge Celt. Well said…….. Again. Are you pro United Ireland? What preparatory work have you done? Would you mind sharing it? Or are you still waiting for the working class to see sense?

    • huge Celt. August 1, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

      @ Fiosrach.

      Maybe you didn’t read what I said.

      If your vision of a United Ireland is one that emerges after another brutalising episode of inter-communal blood-letting, then no, I wouldn’t be a fan.

      If your vision of a United Ireland is one where the Rich continue to use it as a tax haven, whilst the Homeless pile up under the eaves of the GPO to die, then no, count me out.

      But if your vision is of an Ireland united by consent, delivering an NHS, using the resources of the Nation for the benefit of all, cherishing all the children of the Nation (and that includes the Prods), where economic liberty is as important as all the other freedoms, then you’re starting to get my attention.

      Now, what sort of United Ireland do you want?

      • Scott Rutherford August 1, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

        Good points, well made HC.

        I think the SF United Ireland strategy is a simple bum-rush into it. Get the demographics on your side, get a border poll called and let tribalism/emotions carry the day. Once the border polls won or lost (depending on ones views) it cant be reversed, some deal will have to be hammered out even if the same folks who voted for a UI don’t like the terms.

        A lot like BREXIT I suppose.

        • huge Celt. August 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

          @ Scott.

          The whole Sinn Fein ‘strategy’ is a folly, a very dangerous folly, and only ends one way.

          They appear to have themselves convinced that Unionism and more militant Loyalism will simply rollover in the event of an affirmative Border Poll.

          It’s almost as if Unionism has never flexed it’s collective muscle to demonstrate that there are lines, real or imagined, beyond which they will not go.

          For historical precedent, we can point the Shinners towards the 1912/1913 formation of the highly militarised UVF.
          In defiance of Britain.
          In defiance of their Monarch.
          “Ulster will fight, and Ulster will be right”.

          For more recent examples, we need only look at how their collective might brought down Sunningdale in the 1970s.
          How they paralysed the Anglo-Irish Agreement in the 1980s.
          And how they continue to frustrate and ultimately scupper the Good Friday Agreement.

          Yes indeed, Unionism has wrung every last drop of Superiority out of the Orange statelet.

          “What we have, we hold” might not be much of a strategy for winning friends, but the “Not an inch” approach has certainly bamboozled Nationalism for over a century now.

          Does Sinn Fein learn from their own repeated failures to persuade?
          They just continue to make the same mistakes.

          And that’s because all they can offer Unionism is Loss – a loss of status, a loss of Supremacy, a loss of identity.

          Sinn Fein approach the problem with the same Them and Us mentality.
          Oil and water.
          It’s an approach that Unionism can parry for another 100 years.

          The Shinners take the same nationalist hammer to the Unionist monolith again and again, and are constantly astounded every time it doesn’t collapse.

          It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

          • Tam August 1, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

            If unionists lose a border poll, a significant number may well ‘resist’ but it will be futile. UK will transfer sovereignty to ROI.

            SF, detested by even the most liberal and moderate unionist, will never persuade unionists to support a ‘united Ireland’, but they don’t necessarily need to. Protestants are already a minority, as are those who identify as British, so any referendum will be won or lost by:

            1. A battle for turnout between unionists and nationalists.
            2. The votes of those who do not identify strongly with unionism or nationalism.

            1 will most likely be a draw.

            The extreme social conservatism and arrogance of the DUP certainly does nothing to win over 2.

        • Tam August 1, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

          It will be like Brexit. SF will be the Leavers offering a utopia that cannot be disproved until it happens and unionists will be the Remainers, accused of ‘Project Fear’ when they warn of the risks and complexity.

          The complexity, however, of trying to work out an orderly absorption of one jurisdiction into another will be far greater than Brexit. And that’s without contemplating the inevitable violence.

      • fiosrach August 1, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

        Yes, I would say that is in line with SF policy. So would you work to bring all these wondrous things about before or after the British state relinquishes its hold on the six counties? One point I would disagree with. The unionists who threatened violence in 1912 did not do it in defiance of the British state, they did it with the connivance of the British state. And what can you offer unionism? And why have they not taken up your offer of Shanri La?

        • huge Celt. August 1, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

          @ Fiosrach.

          You seem to be forgetting the inconvenient truth that it’s been Sinn Fein that have been the drivers mate for the last 20 years in a project that has delivered nothing, and has actually cooper-fastened Partition, rather than weaken it.

          There isn’t a single achievement that Sinn Fein can point to that has as much as weakened one bony finger of Britain’s grip on the North.
          In fact, Sinn Fein now act as cheerleaders and apologists for the British State, and they’ve even been known to drop a quick curtsey to the Monarch.

          The United Ireland is their raison d’etre – this is their baby – their project – it was up to them to sell it.

          They’ve sold out on every single “principle”, U-turned on every single strategy, revised every tactic.
          When called upon, theyve turned on their own voters in delivering Austerity and unwanted Orange parades, whilst at the same time failing to deliver any of the goodies promised in the GFA, SAA or SHA.
          It’s all been a huge catalogue of horseshit piled upon horseshit.

          You claim that they have a credible vision for how a United Ireland would look – but their strategy is to form panNarionalist alliances with the very same people that bailed out the Bankers and have watched the Homelessness crisis explode all around them.
          Alliances with the people that call us “the fucking dregs”.

          There can be no enthusiasm for that vision.
          An Ireland with more homelessness in 2016 than in 1916 – Is that really worth fighting for?
          Not for me, its not.

  8. fiosrach August 1, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

    It all comes back to a previous point I made. You need the numbers. PBP should know this only too well. The majority of Irish people ,north or south, do not support your pipe dreams, however well intentioned. SF is the biggest party in Ireland. They may not be the best, the most effective or have the best strategies. But they have what you don’t. Support from the people. Simples.

    • Tam August 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm #

      Most people oppose SF.

    • huge Celt. August 1, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

      I think you’ll find that Sinn Fein are the second biggest party in Ireland – about 25,000 votes behind Fine Gael.
      And just a few hundred ahead votes ahead of Fianna Fail.

      Ps. I wouldnt get too cocky about Sinn Feins current size – Empires built on sand collapse spectacularly.

  9. moser August 1, 2017 at 8:47 pm #

    So, should we just cancel the debate? Ok, let’s sit back and wait for our United Ireland. But what about today, and all the issues Jude mentioned in his blog ? I for one would like to see the law respected, and a police service, that will uphold the law impartially. Let’s start with that.

    • huge Celt. August 1, 2017 at 11:49 pm #

      Well, what sort of United Ireland want?

  10. moser August 2, 2017 at 9:47 am #

    I’m not foolish enough to believe in utopias. It is only possible to create a new country within the confines of what a people can imagine. Given our history, and what I read on here – I don’t want to get too complex.

    Let’s just say my vision of what can be achieved is far more ambitious than most people’s. Perhaps it’s a genetic thing, and all the capable intelligent people have emigrated. Isn’t that what we have always done, exported our brightest and best?

    We are living in animal farm.