Friday, 24 March 2017

Out On Blue Six: Public Service Broadcasting, and some words about London

When it comes to news events, I've found myself at a loss for words this week. If you've expected some comment before now, please know that I've struggled to say anything that felt 'right'. 

The death of Martin McGuinness, a figure still so extremely and understandably divisive, followed by the reactions that ranged from the inspiring and forgiving (Colin Parry) to the, probably as expected, hostile and disgusting (Norman Tebbit) was one of the first incidents this week to have me struck dumb. 

And then Wednesday happened.

Naturally it goes without saying that my thoughts have been with those who lost someone during that incident, along with those injured and those who were there and were fortunate enough to survive unscathed. But equally my thoughts have been a jumble of horror and confusion. That something like this could happen, that the media dwelt on the suffering in a way I found offensive, and that those purveyors of hate who profess to be self-appointed guardians of our culture are using this tragedy to not only spread their anti-Islam/anti-immigration bile and venom but to also spread fear and paranoia amongst people.

I don't really know what to say, but I do know from our history and our very culture and values that London can take it, and so I am grateful for Public Service Broadcasting to speak for me...

End Transmission


  1. You are right that London can take it, we did also in 2005 when I was working there and unable to get home, and I lived in London during the 1970s when we coped with the IRA bombs - I was caught up in one of those too. It was not fun being Irish then, so I feel for Muslims now as the fanatics tarnish their religion, because lets face it all these outrage are the work of deluded Islamic fanatics. At least the IRA did not want to blow themselves up as well - too flippiant? I don't know anymore. All terrorists become 'freedom fighters' and 'peacemakers' in the end it seems, but as a friend in Derry said it is not how you start your life but but how you end it that matters, small consolation to all those killed in the process.
    As for Tebbit of course he is bitter, his wife was left paralysed by the Brighton bomb, not everyone can forgive like Mr Parry.

    1. That's my stance re McGuinness too, and I think Colin Parry said the same thing; we have to reflect on where he ended his life. Whatever your views on his politics or his past, without him coming to the table in the tail end of the 90s and early 00s we would not have the peace we have now.

      But Tebbit...I struggle with. I sympathise that he was caught up in the blast and that his wife has been severely disabled ever since, but his views are almost always selfish. You would think that someone who has cared for a disabled partner since the mid 80s would be more sympathetic towards the lives of everyone in our society who also care for sick and disabled partners and relations. But no, he routinely votes to increase cuts to the NHS, to the welfare state and to our social care.

      Tebbit is a man who can revel in the death of McGuinness and yet have a kind word to say for Jimmy Savile, advising caution that the former Tory party donor could not possibly have abused so many people in his lifetime.

      You raise a very important point there Michael from you own experiences; being Irish at the time of such mainland terror must have been incredibly difficult, just as it is now for ordinary Muslims. Unfortunately, we have learnt nothing in the past 40 or so years and we still view innocent people with the upmost suspicion and paranoia and some people - the Farage's and Katie Hopkins' of this world - positively feed off those fears and seek to propogate them further.

  2. I actually feel sorry for these lone wolf attackers - they cannot be part of or fit in to our western way of life so they have to attack it and seem to want to get shot, maybe they see no other future for themselves, as per the similar events in Europe ....

    1. Exactly, and they're just pawns in a game as well - brainwashed to believing this is their religious duty. The fact that this man was in his 50s has surprised many of us, but it just goes to show there's no limit to naivety or dissatisfaction.

      That 'tarring with the same brush' thing is discussed here;

      My heart goes out to her and I condemn those fear mongers who are tailoring events to suit the narrative in the same way that the hate clerics they supposedly despise do.