Jude Collins

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Being Ordered

I see where a principal of a Catholic secondary school in West Belfast has been awarded an OBE in the recent round of baubles from Buck House. This principal, like most OBE-ed Catholic principals in this tormented little corner of ours, is a woman. They usually are: if you visit Derry, you could hardly throw a stone without hitting an OBE-ed female Catholic principal. The Maiden City has even got a Catholic principal Dame.

So how come it's usually a woman principal gets the call? Hard to say. Maybe Catholic male principals find royal ceremony a royal pain, whereas Catholic female principals get moist and gaspy at the prospect. I once broached the subject with a sister of mine who was a teacher and would regard herself as an Irish nationalist. She said she'd be on the plane to Buckingham Palace ten minutes after getting the invitation. Maybe it's the wedding-day syndrome - any excuse for dressing up and going through a ceremony - but it's sort of scary how many Catholic women from here can't wait to get themselves declared an official part of the British Empire. I mean, if you're a nationalist, does it make sense to want to have Made In Britain stamped on your bosom? Oh OK, they don't get bosom-stamped, they just collect some coloured beads and bits of mirror from a woman who wouldn't have her job only her father was who he was. I mean, come on, sisters. The British Empire has spilt more blood and inflicted more misery than any terrorist organisation that ever was, is or will be, and you're busting a gut to join it? Seems a high price to pay for a new frock.

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