Jude Collins

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Thinking big with Ian Óg

Are we a parochial people? I would say so. We think in local terms, sometimes at the expense of the bigger picture. I remember an ex-student of mine complaining that there were no English teacher jobs going. “But I thought I saw an ad for an English teacher in Enniskillen the other day” I said. 
“That’s no good - I’d have to leave Belfast if I got it” the young woman told me. And if you haven’t seen the Gaelic football rivalry between different clubs/parishes in Tyrone or Derry, you’ve led a sheltered life.

There’s a plus to all this. The fact that people tend to stay as close to their place of origin as possible makes for tightly-knit communities. Nobody gets born, married or dies without, to a greater or lesser extent, the whole community being part of it. People fit into a network that sometimes extends back several generations. 

The downside is that we begin to think that all things of value reside where we reside, and the further we get from our home base, the more uneasy and critical we become. I remember going to Canada in the late 1960s and noticing that a lot of the men wore big, obvious rings. Graduation rings, I think they were. Instead of accepting that this was part of their culture, I inwardly felt contempt for people who had such poor taste in personal accessories. 

We’re told we all now live in a global village. If that’s true, it’s a village with a lot of very high walls between neighbours. We’re used to the parochialism of those who think that south of the border is a foreign country, that they talk funny down there and that they’re all lazy shysters who would steal the eye out of your head. Ian Paisley Jr was on the radio this morning. He was being asked about the up-coming development of the Frosses Road in north Antrim - he’s the MP for the area. Naturally he was all for it, emphasised the value of it in many ways. Then he was asked what he felt about this money coming at the expense of the development/non-development of the A5 road as a western transport corridor. I can’t remember Ian Óg’s exact words but he said in effect that he couldn't care less about the A5 development, he was just pleased to have the Frosses development.

No politician opens his/her mouth without thought at some level as to how this will go down with his/her constituents. You can see how Ian Óg believes his constituents think. It's called the laager mentality.


  1. ''No politician opens his/her mouth without thought at some level as to how this will go down with his/her constituents''

    True although Ian usually opens his mouth without any thought, the list is long and controversial so I wont bother but the most recent brain fart moment is still one of my favourites 'Do I look like a guy under threat mate' - classic, he gets my vote!

  2. I seem to remember Gerry Adams a few years back suggesting to his constituents in the shankill area to vote Sinn Fein, reminding them that they had the lowest levels of academic achievment in the country. Now that could be seen as genuine concern from Mr Adams if it wasn't for the fact that he was their elected representive at Westminster and 4 of the 5 MLA's representing their interests in the N I assembly were Sinn Fein, the other being Alex Atwood. What Mr Adams was really telling the Shankill was to vote Sinn Fein or he and his party would do cuss all for them and their academic achievment levels. But then again Mr Adams did have some pevious in his contempt for Shankill people. And if the A5 wasn't linking two jurisdictions you wouldn't give a cuss about it either, just like Mr Paisley Jnr. I didn't hear about the Frosses Rd scandal this morning though i did hear about quite a few others.

  3. Do you think that Ian Og is unique in this respect?Just because he is indifferent to the development of the A 5(one of the Shinners pet projects) doesn't make him a bad person.He seems quite typical of the politician class.Their first priority is to get re-elected and if that means they have to be parochial ,that's what they will do!Have a look at Barry Mc Elduff on Twitter and you'll see little difference.

  4. I think he said he didn't care where the money came from as long as the road was built. A politician trying to get funding for a project in his constituency. Shocking.
    Ian Og is hardly any different in this from any other politician.
    If by laager mentality you mean a circular wagon fort, are you suggesting this road will end up going round in circles?