FOOT IN MOUTH DISEASE IN NORNEVERLAND

durgs ruin lifes

Gregory Campbell , one of our local DUP ministers,put his foot in his mouth again. He stood up as a minister and insulted his partners in government by trying to clumsily poke fun at the Irish speakers in Northern Ireland.”Curry my yoghurt”.,he railed at the assembled company in the  awful awkward Norneverland  attempt at humour. He probably thought this would get a rise from the more asinine  members of the room, who doubtless also imagine themselves as great wits in the calibre of Wilde or Milligan.  This was supposed to be poking fun at Irish speakers , but it ,so obviously,  had its roots in a hate for anything Irish or vaguely  Irish nationalist{ as opposed to British nationalist} .The same kind of thing that has him refusing to say “Derry” instead of “Londonderry”,in a lapsed moment like everyone else in  colloquial Ireland.   The fact  that even every place-name that surrounds him, originated in the gaelic tongue ,seems to escape him and is part of his own local  heritage. Had his “joke” been skilfully done by Billy Connolly or a comic with some wit, he may have rallied a bit of a humorous response.In the event he proffered an ignorance of anything outside his own tiny personal gene-pool of “culture”.

Some nationalists and some unionists have a love of the local customs and  language and wish to exercise their enshrined  rights to speak it at every opportunity. Gregory Campbell has an antipathy to anything of an Irish influence, of course. He sees that kind of thing as a threat rather than a promotion of an additional culture. Something else to have and to hold …another arrow in his cultural quiver.An addition…. Like listening to the Beatles and Mozart too.Losing nothing but gaining more. He would have no problem if  one of his own party rattled out a few phrases in the even more localised Ulster Scots dialect, I suppose,  but maybe he’d take offence at that too..The fact that some of us also have  some Hugenot blood mixed in our veins should give him food for thought too.We might spout the odd verse en francais.Surely it makes us all the richer?

Gregory Campbell came across as a pedant whose very fibre  abhorred anything of a gaelic bent, but in making a cack-handed joke of his fellow countrymen’s desire to expand their knowledge of a language other than English he also  came across as somewhat vindictive and foolish. He may be able to debate his point of view with gusto but his words showed an intolerance of anyone  and everyone else in the community, whether or not they wanted to expound on their cultural heritage or simply expand their language skills. Surely that’s their privilege?Behind his  foolish , amateur joke of course lies his detestation of his fellow Sinn Fein ministers and partners. That’s really the nub of it. He has every right to his opinions outside of course, but not while representing everyone while in government .It is a mistake of social etiquette that the DUP, in particular don’t seem able to manage with any decorum .If they cannot somehow learn these simple , civic skills of social interaction , our local society will never attain anything approaching normality.

To many people throughout Ireland , education in any language is a fine thing to be promoted and encouraged ,  should it be Irish, Spanish or a Chinese dialect. That’s education.Only yesterday the graffito “Durgs Ruin Lifes”  appeared on  a gable wall in Larne . No , that’s not me messing with spellcheck , It’s right up there with “Billy Wright is our Herio” as a  flashing light to tell everyone that what we really need is more  education in communication and not less.We all know that most of us are raised speaking the seemingly universal English language  because of past world conquests by an aggressive British Empire, but that should not be any reason to stop learning several more languages and especially one that is local to  many and  their  gaelic heritage. I was taught it in school alongside English Language , French and Latin .I only wish i had paid even more attention than I did at the time. Still, it is always useful to have a smattering of understanding, however scant..

Ignorance, arrogance and disrespect  seem to be the only things Mr Campbell  seems to promote .In fact his social ignorance is such that he has no self -awareness of it.In that respect he is no different than the the ill-educated  graffiti artists who in promoting their awful agendas scream their foolishness to the world. They  only  seem to blast their ignorance very loudly to the heavens.

How did we get to a position like this where we can even condone behaviour like this in our local government;when we have another DUP minister , Sammy Wilson, calling a fellow minister a “thug” how can we possibly ever take umbrage with some poor cack-handed, ill educated graffiti artist and his own beleagured  attempts at social commentary? Or maybe these people that the community has chosen to represent them are only a sad reflection staring back at themselves from that distorted fairground mirror.

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