Tuesday, 19 April 2011
John O'Dowd, Stephen Nolan and some VERY funny people
It’s terrible when you have to eat your words. There was me yesterday saying Ruth Dudley Edwards was my favourite comedian and now today I have to take that back. My favourite comedians are in fact all those unionist-inclined people who piled onto Facebook and other sites in reaction Stephen Nolan’s interview this morning with Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd on BBC Radio Ulster.
What was funny about that? Well, O’Dowd was on air to field questions from Nolan, along with former Queen’s University lecturer John Simpson and former BBC man Denis Murray OBE (that’s Officer of the Order of the British Empire, in case you didn’t know). It was a cheerful, lively affair : Nolan in particular confronted O’Dowd with several issues from the Sinn Féin manifesto, demanding explanation and defence. That’s what Nolan does best and he was pretty vigorous this morning.
The discussion spent most time on two issues: one, Sinn Féin’s call for a referendum on a reunited Ireland and two, what government department Sinn Féin would want most to get their hands on post-election – would it be Health, Education, what.
Now pay attention because this is the funny bit. For years, maybe decades I’ve been listening to unionist-inclined people telling me that it really was time to forget about the border, what we needed to do was concentrate on bread-and-butter issues. Since we fell into a recession that instruction has been turned up several decibels. So what happens when Sinn Féin’s O’Dowd is questioned on (i) the constitutional position; (ii) the bread-and-butter stuff? You guessed it. The people who’ve been yelling for exclusively bread-and-butter debate pile onto Facebook with their thoughts on what O’Dowd said about the constitutional position.
You couldn’t make it up. I’d go on to tell you what O’Dowd said about both only I’m cross-eyed with the giggles AND I’ve the lawn to cut. Sorry, Ruthie. You’re now Uimhir 2 (that’s Irish for ‘Number 2’ in case you didn’t know) to all those hilarious unionist-inclined mental contortionists.