On Nolan and dear Nelson

I’ve just ended a (fairly limited) contribution to this morning’s Nolan radio show. The question under discussion was, predictably, the vacuum at Stormont and the need to get an Assembly and an Executive in place.

My good friend Nelson McCausland of the DUP was on and he made it abundantly clear to Stephen Nolan’s stand-in Vinny Hurrel that the whole problem was Sinn Féin. Everyone else wanted to go back in except the Shinners; therefore keep the pay of everyone else, cut the pay of the Shinners and the show would soon  be back on the road.

When Vinny spoke of the Sinn Féinn insistence on delivering the promised Acht na Gaeilge/Irish Language Act, Nelson said we couldn’t have these red lines from one party, an Irish Language Act would give cultural preference if not supremacy to one section of the community, and wasn’t it time that Gerry Adams trimmed that beard of his? OK, he didn’t say that last bit but he did mention quite frequently the Sinn Féin leader, but never in a positive way.

Cutting the salaries of MLAs has an attractive ring – no work, no pay- but as we know, MLAs work or should be working in their constituencies, not just in the Stormont chamber. Besides, the financial saving made would come at considerable political cost.

If your salary were cut, what would you do? Start looking for another job. Politicians in many cases have families to support as well as themselves, so there is a good chance that politicians from all parties would begin to drift away from politics. Those who believe in devolved government know that we need to keep in place the Stormont structures, including the MLAs, and cutting MLA salaries would have a destructive effect.

Dear Nelson is right in one respect: Sinn Féin are different from the other Stormont parties: they have an all-Ireland brief. So were Stormont pay to be cut on a long-term basis, Sinn Féin people could be channeled into work in the south, where the party is intent on making further headway as an election begins to look likely there. The DUP and other parties at Stormont don’t have that kind of hinterland into which their politicians can move. Even Westminster, the only other playing field open to unionists, is bunged full already.

Most important of all, to paraphrase Theresa May: a bad Executive and Assembly would be worse than no Executive and Assembly at all. If Sinn Féin cannot go back into an Executive where there will be a degree of courtesy and trustworthiness, where people make commitments and live up to them, they would be better not to go back into an Executive at all. If it’s a matter of going back into the same old same old, Sinn Féin would be wise to reject such a useless offer – not least because their electorate have told them at the ballot box “No more same old same old”. Sinn Féin know what has energized their party supporters, and they’re not going to flout that,  just so dear Nelson will get his way.


37 Responses to On Nolan and dear Nelson

  1. Antonio August 31, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    Nelson thinks an Irish language act would give cultural supremacy to one community over another.
    Apart from the obvious hypocrisy, how on earth can people be so insecure that the feel threatened by a language ?

    • "Buachaill Ón Éirne" September 4, 2017 at 10:56 am #

      It’s not exactly the language Antonio, it’s making concessions to the Irish leaning section of the population of N. Ireland that causes insecurity among the the Protestant Unionist voting population. That and the festering bitterness that “the crowd who caused all the trouble” are now sitting up in Stormont dictating to Loyal Ulstermen and demanding things that have no place in our God fearing province …!!

    • Tam September 4, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      SF seem to be threatened by Ulster Scots as they’re so against it that they turned down a language Act because Ulster Scots was included.

  2. Cal August 31, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    The threat of Stormont’s closure holds no fear for myself, as an Irish republican. Yes, locals are best making local decisions but ultimately Stormont merely administers. I do not believe that direct rule is viable long term and at some point in the absence of Stormont, there will have to be a formal role for Dublin.

    Being as how this may be the last opportunity to post on here, let me say thank you, Jude. Your blog has been mandatory reading for a while now. I look forward, God willing, to reading your blogs for many years to come.

  3. pjdorrian August 31, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    Perhaps the time has come to abolish the petition of concern. There is no longer the unionist majority that necessitated the POC in the first place. This would allow a free vote on those items which are the red lines for SF. Given that the majority of MLAs are in favour of allowing ILA, SSM and BoR to be written into law here once they were passed the path would be clear for the restoration of the Executive.

    • Tam August 31, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

      SF wants to retain the POC.

  4. Joe McVeigh August 31, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    Is it “The Nolan show” or The Nelson MacCausland Show? I do not listen very often but he seems to be on every time I tune in. And yes I agree with pjdorrian about abolishing the Petition of concern. Has it ever contributed to progress or change?

    • huge Celt. August 31, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

      Once again, you’re out-of-step with Sinn Fein othodoxy.
      They want to keep the Petition of Concern.

  5. Eolach August 31, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    This may be a slightly oblique perspective but does the English language not , presently , have cultural supremacy over our native and indigenous language ?….is this not about equality and parity of esteem ? Yes PJ , the time for the abandonment of the POC has probably arrived but in the pit of your stomach could you really trust Unionism again ? If it were simply a resurrection of the institutions , then these necessary equality laws would be voted in…..but it’s not , it’s about sectarianism , racism ….racial superiority …..and not only against we Irish , but against every other national trying to etch out a living here for themselves and their families. It’s about my rights to openly and freely express my Irishness , my language , song , music , dance ,sport…. the civility to have my children’s and grandchildren’s names pronounced properly and respectfully ……it’s about my flag and my anthem….it’s about my thoughts ,my actions ….my very being on this planet….it’s about everything that makes me….ME !

    • giordanobruno August 31, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

      In what way are you prevented from expressing your Irishness?

      • Eolach August 31, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

        You’ll need to bait your hook a bit better Gio, I’m not rising , but suffice to say ….I wouldn’t advise walking through East Belfast, Carrick, Larne , Ballymena etc etc carrying a hurling stick and singing a little song “as Gaeilge “…..In a way you remind me of my younger grandchildren and the constantly exasperating question ” Why”, ” Cad Chuige”…..but I suppose that’s why we enjoy these blogs…on on that note , Jude , Gabh raibh míle míle maith agat……. bain mé sult as gach bomaite…Gabh raibh maith agat arís.

        • giordanobruno August 31, 2017 at 3:07 pm #


          “….I wouldn’t advise walking through East Belfast, Carrick, Larne , Ballymena etc etc carrying a hurling stick and singing a little song “as Gaeilge ”
          O the inhumanity! How have you endured it so long?
          Still an ILA will definitely right that great injustice eh!

          • Eolach August 31, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

            Perhaps Gio,that was an attempt at humour but I don’t consider it an inconsequential, or trifling matter. The things that I mentioned are like art ,fine wine ,music etc …..I don’t need them to eek out an existence here but they certainly do enhance my spiritual being. We are much more than flesh and blood and I have the right to expand my conscience self . Anyone denying me my Irishness is denying me much much more…… Tír gan teanga , tír gan anam

          • giordanobruno August 31, 2017 at 7:18 pm #

            How will an ILA enable you to walk through such places singing ‘as Gaeilge’?
            I don’t know who is really denying you your Irishness in all seriousness.

          • Eolach August 31, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

            I can’t ascertain whether you’re as shallow as you appear or just acting for impact. An ILA is a small but extremely important piece of the complicated tapestry of inequality intricately woven by Unionism since 1921. It , in it’s entirety , was cleverly constructed to make the Irish/Catholic feel they were a nothingness….a mere inconvenience in their native land. They after centuries of persecution by the British were now corralled and ghettoized by a minority in Ireland , housed in squalor and forced to accept the iniquities of everything foreign and alien to them . My own great-grandparents were native speakers ….but if you wanted to quench your children’s hunger you meekly conformed…..I first learned history at the dinner table and those ingrained lessons stay with me. I don’t hate anyone but I am their equal and that is a lesson they will learn…..sooner or later !

          • giordanobruno August 31, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

            Once again exactly how will an ILA (which I support in principle by the way) enable you to walk through such places singing ‘as Gaeilge’?
            Try to be specific.

        • Am Ghobsmacht September 2, 2017 at 7:00 pm #

          “I wouldn’t advise walking through East Belfast, Carrick, Larne , Ballymena etc etc carrying a hurling stick and singing a little song “as Gaeilge “…..”

          But over 100 years ago you could have.

          In the 19th century ‘hurling’ (better known as Shinny up North) was the most popular sport in Co Down and was “…played by both papist and dissenter alike…” in places such as Holywood.
          There were annual events in places like Carrick and the beaches around White Park Bay.

          The landed gentry would sometimes organise hurling matches between the workers of the various estates.

          There was no legislation for this.

          But neither was there cultural appropriation.

          You may bemoan about the inability to carry a hurley through unionist areas but do you bemoan the events which led to it being perceived as an entirely nationalist game (aside from partition)?

          If you do, then credit to you, if you do not, then your complaint is a brittle one.

          And furthermore, Gio’s question has intrigued me:
          factually speaking , how will an ILA improve the ability of people to safely carry hurlies through unionist areas?

    • "Buachaill Ón Éirne" September 4, 2017 at 11:14 am #

      Yes Eolach
      Inbred sectarian hatred ..!!!

  6. fiosrach August 31, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    Disrespect for names as Gaeilge. I have had DHSS staff ‘translate’ my children’s names on forms. Government forms cannot cope with accents. I wonder how the French operate. Refusal by government to provide correspondence, forms etc in my language. Refusal to provide road signage in my language. Inability of government to communicate verbally in my language. All the wee things, gio, that you monoglots take for granted. I pay my taxes. I deserve to be counted.

    • giordanobruno August 31, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

      Good news
      The DHSS have a complaints procedure already.
      You don’t even need to wait for an ILA

      • fiosrach August 31, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

        So do the PSNI. What point do you think you have made? Is the DHSS in charge of road signage and everything now?

        • giordanobruno August 31, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

          In your not made up example did you complain or not?
          My point is an ILA will not provide anything different from the procedure already in place.

          • fiosrach August 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

            I don’t want an ILA so that I may complain more efficiently. I want signage etc so that an inbound traveller arriving at Aldergrove is not under the impression he has arrived in Finchley. The English signs will still be there for you. Don’t panic.

          • giordanobruno August 31, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

            Now you have moved on to signage.
            Does that mean you accept that your story about the DHSS was irrelevant?
            You would still have to go through a complaint procedure after the introduction of an ILA.

  7. fiosrach August 31, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    And another thing. They won’t accept my name as Gaeilge on my ass’s cart.

  8. Cal August 31, 2017 at 5:36 pm #

    Cutting the salaries of MLAs has an attractive ring – no work, no pay- but as we know, MLAs work or should be working in their constituencies, not just in the Stormont chamber. Besides, the financial saving made would come at considerable political cost.


    Disagree strongly with this comment. MLAs do a lot of constituent work, engaged in all sorts of meetings. That is on the basis that they can legislate and take action of tangible benefit for their constituents. A MLA that isn’t a member of a legislative assembly will not be in a position to do anything for their constituents and as such their constituency work is pointless. You may as well pay me to hold meetings and make promises I can’t keep.

    MLAs must have their pay, pension, expenses and all other direct and indirect benefits stopped. Let the DUP MLAs experience welfare and see if they’re as keen to support the tories.

  9. Brian August 31, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

    When symbols of unionist cultural supremacy were challenged we had riots, outrage, protests and, on occasion, deaths. When nationalists want a degree of respect for their culture, they are met with pedantic, disrespectful and, often, ill mannered opposition. Unionism just doesn’t seem to get it. All the smart alec comments and obtuse denial of truths won’t turn the clock back.
    Those days are gone.

    • Tam August 31, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

      It seems SF don’t agree with you, Brian, for they turned down the opportunity to restore the Assembly and legislate to protect the Gaelic language. The reason? Because they say the legislation has to be ‘stand-alone’ and cannot include any provisions relating to Ulster-Scots.

      If SF’s genuine aim was to protect the language why would they have turned this down? Maybe they are using the language issue to play other games?

      • Antonio August 31, 2017 at 10:33 pm #

        I know a man of the who said we should give as Much money to Ulster Scots ‘language’ as possible.

        I was astonished as he is quite the Republican & it was not what I expected

        He said money for Unionists to make C**** of themselves is money well spent

      • Brian September 1, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

        I’m devastated.

  10. Freddiemallins August 31, 2017 at 10:33 pm #

    SF should call unionists’ bluff and herald in 2 stand alone pieces of legislation; one for IL and one for the hamely tongue. Then sit back and enjoy. Please let me in the gallery when the first Ulster Scot comes before the court with his interpreter.

    • Tam August 31, 2017 at 10:57 pm #

      I don’t understand what point you are making.

  11. fiosrach September 1, 2017 at 9:47 am #

    As I said, the old blogs are still open for comments. We could still do what we’ve always done I.e. say your say regardless of the blog contents 🙂

    • giordanobruno September 1, 2017 at 10:20 am #

      A loophole!
      Quick lets engage in some pointless abuse before Jude closes it.

  12. fiosrach September 1, 2017 at 11:18 am #

    My da could beat your da.

    • giordanobruno September 1, 2017 at 11:51 am #

      My da is your da.

  13. fiosrach September 1, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    I bet you that Jude already has withdrawal symptoms. It’s only a matter of time til his wife get passed off looking at him mooning about the house and forces him back to the desk.