Jude Collins

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The BBC and Specsavers

Police dressed in riot gear remove Nationalists blocking the Crumlin Road in the Ardoyne area, north Belfast July 12, 2010. Nationalists in Northern Ireland attacked police with petrol bombs and other missiles during parades by the pro-British Orange Order on Monday, witnesses said.  REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton (NORTHERN IRELAND - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW) 
Should the BBC be going to Specsavers? I was listening to BBC Radio Ulster’s ‘Good Morning Ulster’  (a lot of Ulsters in there) this morning and they were reporting on the rioting at Ardoyne shops last night.  A group of people blocked the road in advance of the Orangemen coming back and parading through the area, and the PSNI moved in wearing full riot gear and dragged them clear. Rioting followed.

This morning, Karen Patterson had a senior police officer in the studio, who talked  about the cost of the policing operation (£650,000) and said that  what was needed was a ‘systemic solution’, whatever that is. Karen asked after the condition of a woman police officer hurt in the rioting. The  senior police officer admitted that some civilians had been hurt, in particular a woman hit by an iron bar (i.e., the rioters hurt her, not the police).  We had Gerry Kelly MLA on saying that ‘the parade is the issue’ and Nigel Dodds on saying rioting was never right, not now or ten or fifteen years ago. Both politicians denounced last night’s protestors.

What we didn’t have was a single interview with a single protestor. The TV cameras showed them with  big signs reading ‘WE’RE RESIDENTS, NOT DISSIDENTS’ but no attempt was made to establish if this were true. No one spoke to them to find out  why they saw fit to block the road, what they hoped to achieve, whether they thought they were damaging the community. We were told that among the protestors were members of  éirígí.  Why then was none of them asked questions? The last time I checked, éirígí was a legal political organisation. Come to that, why weren’t there live cameras down at the protest? That way, we could have seen for ourselves what the protestors and those behind them were doing and how the police responded, rather than being given a heavily-edited film tape.

We’re told repeatedly that these people are anti-social thugs, but it looks increasingly as though they’re something more.  The job of  the media is to seek out the truth and report it.  If they  aren’t getting the cameras down to show things as they happen and they aren’t seeking to hear the views of those involved in rioting, you begin to think they’re perhaps nervous of what they might see and hear. And correspondingly, what we might see and hear.

We had all this twenty years ago with the ludicrous broadcasting ban on Sinn Féin. Are we now going to have more of the same sort of thing, except this time it’s not the British government that’s muffling the media, it’s themselves.


  1. Farm boss Michelle Gildernew, not ex-Derry Provo chief Marty McGuinness is the Shinner Orangemen should fear most as they gather at 12 July demonstrations across the North today (Monday).

    The theme of this year's Orange speeches is that ancient political chestnut, Unionist unity.

    Orangemen have got their Union Jack knickers in a twist on how to stop current deputy First Minister McGuinness becoming the North's Sinn Féin Prime Minister next May.

    What Unionists don't realise is that young mum Michelle has really cracked Orange political nuts on how to hoodwink Protestant voters.

    Yip, Michelle does descend from a staunchly republican family dating back to the iconic Caledon sit-in, well before the Provos kicked off their campaign of mayhem, maiming and murder.

    But Minister Gildernew professionally espouses the perfectly acceptable face of republicanism – a very competent agriculture chief who doesn't rant publicly about dead IRA terrorists.

    Her tactics in the Fermanagh Commons battle were brilliantly simple – don't mention the war!

    The end result was that despite facing a celebrity Stoop candidate and Unionist unity runner, she held her Westminster seat of nine years by four votes.

    How many Protestants, Unionists and Orange Order members stayed at home in Fermanagh because they did not see Michelle as a 'political threat'? Enough to guarantee a Sinn Féin victory.

    If Shinners employ the Michelle Method across the North in next year's Stormont and council elections, they will collect a bagful of previously safe Unionist seats.

    Orange bosses have been spoofing about Unionist unity for a generation. But this myth has now turned to voter apathy.

    Sinn Féin should not fear talk of a single Unionist Party because the internal Protestant political rifts are so deep it will take well past the centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016 for them to realistically heal.

    Unionists have become so fixated on stopping McGuinness – who has an IRA past – they fail to notice the increasing number of politically gifted Shinners entering politics who have never served an apprenticeship in the Provos.

    At first glance, the Shinner bandwagon seems unstoppable. But republicans do have an Achilles' Heel – if the 'stay at home' Unionists get off their asses and come out to vote.

    One Orange speech today will say the following: "Likewise, as Unionists, we have become so entrenched in our own party politics that we have lost the vision of the greater good for the Unionist family.

    "This leads to another fundamental question which demands an urgent solution – where do we go as a Unionist family from here; from our demonstration fields and platforms?

    "There's great talk about a single Unionist Party again. But the family wounds of the past have not yet been healed.

    "We could make a start by ensuring that at the next elections, we stop the practice of only voting for the representatives of the particular Unionist party we espouse, but instead vote down the ballot paper for all Unionists of whatever party.

    "Even if only every past and serving Orange and loyalist band member adopted this advice, McGuinness' dream of being the North's First Minister will lie in tatters."

    Then again, if Michelle's Shinners can implement a way of bracing the North against the Cameron/Clegg cuts, heaven knows how many Protestants might secretly start to vote Sinn Féin.

    John Coulter taken from the Daily Star

  2. 唯有學習不已的老師,才能認真的教,唯有燃燒自己,才能點亮他人的燈............................................................

  3. I found it strange there was no rep from any of the protesters/residents on any news coverage of the scenes in Ardoyne.

    I don't know if this was because they declined to be interviewed or simply were not asked, however I think SF are between a rock and a hard place on this issue.
    They can't just tar the protesters as 'dissidents' and 'thugs' when there are residents amongst them.

    The Orange order won't even talk to the residents yet they are granted permission by the parades commission to march where they are not wanted, it's not right and SF know it and wish the issue would disappear.

    Media very quick to report on the costs of the rioting but how much to police Orange parades every year, and how many hospital wards would that pay for?

  4. Eirigi were on TalkBack - where they performed not brilliantly.

    And isn't your SF/ eirigi analogy a bit faulty? Show me eirigi's votes/mandate.

  5. http://sluggerotoole.com/2010/07/13/photographs-of-the-day-12th-photographs-at-barnett-demense/

  6. LONDON: The Indian Community Centre in Belfast has received a threat letter from Protestant extremists asking immigrants to leave Northern ireland or face bomb attacks.

    Besides the Indian centre, the threat letter has been sent to the Belfast Islamic Centre and the Polish Association, reports from Belfast said.

    The letter, threatening of racist violence, from the youth wing of the Ulster Defence Association warned: "No sympathy for foreigners, get out of our Queen's country before our bonfire night (July 11) and parade day (July 12).

    "Other than that your building will be blown up. Keep Northern Ireland white. Northern Ireland is only for white British."

    Patrick Yu, executive director at the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (Nicem), said race-hate crime had grown steadily in Northern Ireland recent years, with increasing incidents of assaults, intimidation, harassment and robberies.

    Belfast has a small Indian community comprising entrepreneurs and professionals, including prominent businessman and consul-general of India, Lord Diljit Rana.

    Some Indian IT companies also have a base in Belfast and other cities in Northern Ireland.

    The Indian centre in Belfast is a voluntary organisation which was established in 1981 in the Carlisle Methodist Memorial Church Hall. The centre works towards the promotion and greater understanding of Indian culture and traditions in Northern Ireland.

    It has long been a hub for arts and cultural activities for the Indian community in Northern Ireland, and has always sought to include the wider community wherever possible.

    The centre which is also an information point for the Indian community, and is a regular point of contact, runs many activities. It participates in the advocacy and representation of the Indian community at all levels.

    Yu added that the extremists "just want to scare people" and discourage foreigners from feeling at home in Northern Ireland.