Talkback: you’re becoming a pain in the ear

I’ve just been eavesdropping on a smugfest on TalkBack. Identity politics. Orange and green. Two tribes. Evolve beyond. And whatever you’re having yourself – you are Northern Irish, aren’t you?

Oh dear.

Talkback, please don’t talk about people being stuck in the same old same old Orange and Green rut. Or the Protestant or Catholic rut. There are tens of thousands of people, nationalist, republican and unionist, who don’t see themselves stuck in a rut at all. While it would be handy for the Alliance Party if all those who feel strongly about the union with Britain or about a reunited Ireland – if all of them were to ‘move beyond’ these labels. But they don’t, for the very good reason that who is in charge of the state you live in matters. That should be obvious to the dullest-witted  centre-of-the-road-ist.

Of course economic matters are important -today more than ever. But being concerned about the cost of living doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have strong feelings about who’s in charge of the state in which you live. You wouldn’t put up with it in your personal life – someone else in charge – and you wouldn’t condescend to those  who saw this as an important area. It matters. If it didn’t, the Ukrainians would today be sitting at home having a cup of tea or a quiet vodka and discussing the cost of living, rather than engaged in a life-and-death struggle. So far I haven’t heard  anyone on the BBC criticise them for it. So how is it that anyone who cares about the links or severed links with Britain gets dismissed as a relic from a less enlightened age?

When you start assuming your listeners will swallow any tripe as long as it’s laced with  moral superiority, you better start counting your listener ratings.


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