New bridge but same old negativity
Executive minister Arlene Foster recently criticised what she called "rising levels of negativity" here. She was wrong then but the negativity levels did rise in recent days. This time the culprit was her party colleague, Gregory Campbell.
It's all very well for Dublin Minister Michel Martin TD to be relaxed about what to call this place but it's completely different for our local politicians.
After all there are few, if any, votes in the long-running Derry/Londonderry issue for southerners but it's a 'cash cow' for our lot. It can be milked over and over again for every last drop or every last vote. But should we allow them to get away with it?
Gregory was pleased by Michel's decision that people can have "Londonderry" recorded as their place of birth on Irish passports. (It left many wondering why unionists would want an Irish passport in the first place, never mind one with "Londonderry" on it.) But he was annoyed again just a few days later when "Londonderry" got only one mention at the unveiling of plans for the new bridge.
Mr Campbell is a busy man. He's a councillor, an MLA, a minister in the Northern Ireland Executive and a Westminster MP, representing two different constituencies. We know there's a lot of tiring travel to be done not to mention the media work involved, yet give him his due, he never misses a trick on the Derry/Londonderry issue. He was in to bat on it twice last week. It was his umpteenth appearance, batting on the same wicket. Good man, Gregory!
By any yardstick, the new bridge is something to get excited about. The design is beautiful. It will be a special feature drawing attention to our world-class waterfront and a wonderful symbol of modernity and progress. But instead of keeping the focus on such positives, with "rising levels of negativity" Gregory just had to express his annoyance that speakers called the city Derry.
Is there any chance of a break from this tedious argument? Even if our so-called 'leaders' are incapable of giving us a sensible steer, is there any chance of the rest of us moving on? Sadly, probably not. Too many people have a vested interest in keeping the pot boiling. Personally I'm as sick as a parrot of it, but then I probably just lack emotional stamina and I'm not looking for votes.A clear majority prefer the name "Derry" and until very recently weren't unionists always lecturing us about the need for majority rule?
So, can't we just get over it? In any case, with a bit of commonsense and goodwill, it would be relatively easy to give due recognition to the London link in Derry's past.
Meanwhile, the Belfast Telegraph had many emails on the subject of loyalists flocking to get Irish passports. Most expressed amazement that they would want them. The comment from "Oh no, not again" was typical. "I would rather stay at home with a British passport and pay more money for it than go abroad on an Irish passport and lose my identity on the cheap," he wrote. Strange logic there. Why pay more for a British passport and then stay at home? But I think we know what "Oh no, not again" means.
Then there was the comment from "Steven 73". He wrote, "A loyalist applying for an Irish passport? That would be like Gerry Adams accepting a knighthood from the Queen, it just wouldn't happen..."
It's strange all right. The next thing we'll be hearing is that President McAleese's husband Martin has been helping golf-playing loyalists to get their passport applications fast-tracked in time for Ranger's matches. Steady on, that would be going too far, wouldn't it? Would top loyalist 'Brigadier' Jackie McDonald know if it's possible to get help from Martin McAleese with an Irish passport application? Can it be the case that unionists are jumping a sinking ship?
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Derry
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west