The worst aspect of the EU Referendum is that the simple IN/OUT choice means unlikely bedfellows and indirectly supporting some truly awful people.
A “Leaver” may not enjoy being grouped with Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage and Kate Hoey. A “Remainer” may not enjoy being grouped with David Cameron, George Osborne, Martin McGuinness, Jeremy Corbyn.
So what about former British Prime Ministers showing up in Derry today …Magee University no less…..to talk to young people about the importance of staying inside the European Union?
Of course many in the (invited?) audience would not have been born when John Major (Tory) succeeded Margaret Thatcher in 1990 and I dont suppose many in the audience would remember Tony’s triumphant walk into Downing Street in 1997.
But just for the record, Major was not only Edwina Currie’s lover, he was Prime Minister of the “United Kingdom” when the Loughinisland murders took place in 1994.
By the way, speaking to a mostly nationalist audience, Major said the future of the “United Kingdom” is on the ballot paper, he sounded like the black sheriff in “Blazing Saddles” who threatened to shoot himself as the lynch mob advanced on him. Stand back folks, I think John Major means it.
And Blair? Well….Good Friday Agreement and the “hand of history” and all that….but ….Iraq? Who will be speaking next at Magee University? Radovan Karadzic is unavoidably detained at the moment.
We have some pretty smart young people in the North. I know this because I have met a lot of them. Yet their achilles heel is that they are incapable of recognising when they are being patronised and manipulated.
Dazzled by President Obama in the Waterfront Hall two years ago. He referenced Nobel Prize Peace laureates, John Hume and David Trimble. But somehow he omitted Mairead Corrigan. She was outside Belfast City Hall, protesting about American policy in the Middle East. Just how many young people know that Mairead Corrigan (and Betty Williams) won the Nobel Prize. But Mairead Corrigan is the wrong kinda Nobel Peace Prize winner. She is not part of the official narrative presented to young people.
So it is a pity that so many young people were used today…little more than “extras” in a phoney production. Anyone for a “selfie” for Facebook?
Who is the next discredited politician to dazzle young people?
Oops he was here last week.
If young people here are seriously intent on changing things, they need better role models and they need to stop allowing themselves to be used.
Tony Blair did put forward some good points about the common travel area.
I thought the young people asked good questions about working class benefits from the EU and Tony Blair answered that well.
I think deirdre hennan is a great asset to UU.
(Did you know blair has become a Catholic by the way.)
P’s did you see seamas de faoite there? I think he was a “plant” because I don’t think he is a student at magee and he asked a question that allowed them to rubbish villiers.
I think students from all the Norths universities were invited and probably thru inviting thru PolySoc at QUB or the university political parties.
Probably a system for asking questions but not actually “planted”.
The danger is elitism….there is a constant failure to recognise that when politicians talk about (and patronise!!!) young people, they are actually talking about Students.
Yes but he did not become a Catholic until after he left Downing Street.
I like Deirdre.
I dont think there will be any real change to the common travel area. People from the Republic going to England Scotland Wales had no trouble …no passports required.
The only restrictions were North-South.
But this break up of the United Kingdom is a powerful incentive.
What odds if he is a Catholic or not? Shouldn’t make a difference to anyone.
The break up of the union is all I need. SF are well and truly snookered. They know it makes sense but they are keeping their eye on the free state electorate. They may hope for another economic crash as I can’t see any real inroads being made with the free state electorate now. The economy needs to get worse for the free staters to turn to SF. After all they’ve went through some crap down south and yet they still brought the crap makers back I.e FF.
I think they are still growing quite a lot in the south WT.
I would argue that they may well make further gains north and south and they are the main voice for catholic voters in the north for the time being.
I think they are going to get achievements like expanding magee and better road links to derry.
In the south they can pick up disaffected ff people.
I think SF are at their limit or past it. PBP are nibbling and the big task for SF and SDLP is to increase the nationalist vote.
Likewise in the south. Yes they increased their vote and number of seats but the election was about six months too late.
Labour took a kicking but they will make a comeback just like FF in 2016.
Greens, PBP will still nibble at left wing vote.
In a sense the fact that Blair never took the step to become Catholic until he left Downing Street says a lot about him. He feared “bad publicity”.
Were there not constitutional issues to it as well? A Roman Catholic could not serve as prime minister or chancellor under the “traditions” of the unwritten constitution?
There was an actual law that a Catholic could not be Lord Chancellor and that law was changed so that Peter Rawlinson could get the post.
I dont think there was actually a law that would have prohibited Blair from being a Catholic Prime Minister. Blair certainly attended Mass with Cherie.
But I think there was/is a lot of latent prejudice against Catholics in England.
Traditionally it was about suspicion that a Catholic could not be loyal to the Monarch and when you think about it, in Tudor times good Catholic Yorkshire lads were running off to French and Flanders seminaries to learn about religion, fighting in European religious wars and coming back to England to commit terrorist acts.
It will be a long time before there is a Muslim Prime Minister.
In the 21st century, it is less to do with tradition and more to do with the attitude of liberals to a person opposed to Abortion being in Downing Street.
It is perfectly possible to be Pro-Life and Pro-Choice but would a Catholic Prime Minister be acceptable to Guardian readers.
If I recall correctly, there was an interview in the “Independent” with the priest who instructed Blair.
If I recall correctly he was a priest in Westminster, rather than the Brompton Oratory (the traditional place where upper crust converts are instructed).
I don’t think so because there have been catholic Tory leaders in recent years who were expecting to proceed to prime minister..
Ian Duncan Smith.
I am pretty convinced he was based in Ballymurphy during an IRA ceasefire and a group led by officers used to go to Mass in Corpus Christi church.
I think andy Burnham who ran to be lab leader is a Catholic.
There was a.very devout Catholic from Limavady called Ruth Kelly who was in blair government. She had traditional catholic values.
I think its important to say that Catholic and Protestant values do not begin and end with Abortion and related issues.
Many people in a lot of parties are motivated by Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish values that they learned at school, church, chapel, mosque and synagogue….and in the home.
Many of the same politicians would claim that they have given up formal religion…but they are often motivated by workers rights, health issues, education, poverty, Third World.
While I have no difficulty testifying that what I learned at school, at church and in the home informs my adult conscience (a bit of a lefty), I have absolutely no difficulty in accepting that other folks supporting other parties have well informed consciences and that they manifest this in their own way.
Having said that….Tony B Liars conversion to Christianity/Catholicism is something that embarrasses me.
They are indeed be the main voice for the Catholic/nationalist vote in the north but there’s a seriously lack of interest in the northern nationalist electorate. Have they overestimated the extent Catholics view same sex marriage, abortion etc? In their attempts to get along with unionism they have at times mirriored unionism? If so they could again cause nationalists voter turnout to fall even more. Added to that the EU debate has SF supporters bewildered as its in their dna to put the boot into the Brit establishment(well at least it should be) and yet they are being told to support Britain?
Btw, the relative ease in which SF handed the touchy portfolio of justice to a unionist suggests a ‘deal’ has been struck. If that means a Magee campus or a road here and there then it isn’t much of a deal. No irish language act or the maze project on the horizon yet.
“there’s a seriously lack of interest in the northern nationalist electorate.”
That’s not right. Sinn Féin works hard on the ground in the north.
“Have they overestimated the extent Catholics view same sex marriage, abortion etc? ”
SF got a great vote from Catholics, more than any other group in fact.
” In their attempts to get along with unionism they have at times mirriored unionism? ”
I don’t think the unionists would agree.
“Added to that the EU debate has SF supporters bewildered as its in their dna to put the boot into the Brit establishment(well at least it should be) and yet they are being told to support Britain?”
Staying in the EU is supporting Ireland, north and south.
“Btw, the relative ease in which SF handed the touchy portfolio of justice to a unionist suggests a ‘deal’ has been struck. If that means a Magee campus or a road here and there then it isn’t much of a deal.”
These are issues that are good for the North West economy and voters care about them.
Just wanted to rebut a few points which I thought were unfair on SF.
I never see or hear SF in my town. Other than when they are holdin a reception in a council chamber or whatever. Besides all that, can you tell me what is SF take on the dour turnout of the nationalist electorate at the last few elections?
I know plenty of Catholics who will not vote SF over their populist stances on abortion etc. It’s just cynical electioneering, a bit like the Clintons.
Btw you should know by now unionists may say they arnt happy about things but their actions speak louder. And if you try and use the flag issue furore as some sort of victory…..just don’t. It’s a smokescreen.
SF are fast producing wee northernirelanders with their mirroring of unionism which doesn’t augur well for their border poll. They can’t teach the up and coming youth their true history as it will likely cause them to ask what the hell. So they confuse them with silly point scoring victories.
The unionists will willingly roar and stamp their feet and handover pyrrhic victories like a flag on a city hall but they know that’s not the real battle…..hearts and minds. Project Northern Ireland is bounding along nicely, you better believe it. Dumbing down and taming is all it is.
Just to rebut a few more points:
“I never see or hear SF in my town. Other than when they are holdin a reception in a council chamber or whatever.”
COMMENT DELETED. “SInn Féin Supporter in Tyrone” does not know the meaning of the word REBUTTAL. “WOlfe Tone” refers specifically to his town. CLearly that has to be accepted in good faith. “SInn Féin Supporter” is not in a position to challenge this.
The most interesting thing about Blair’s appearance was exactly that: he appeared in public. It seems now that NI is the only place in the UK he thinks he can credibly appear publicly (rather than in a TV studio) and promote his views.
That he has greatest credibility in the part of the UK where he never sought a mandate for his government is particularly ironic: and ironically rather appropriate.
I do think they were very careful not to pre-announce the location, though.
A magical mystery tour?
Did they blindfold the driver?
I am pretty sure that this was an invited audience and that they were on their very best behaviour.
But a student audience in England, SCotland or Wales would have been more hostile…and its entirely justified.
There was an old 196os “music” joke that SAn Francisco was five years ahead of London and London was five years ahead of Belfast.
What I find really strange is that “New Labour” is entirely discredited in Britain and too many lefties here still think “New Labour” figures ….Mandelson, Kendall, Cooper have any credibility.
I suspect there were no young DUP members invited.
I dont know if it would be that “blatant”. It could well be it was an audience of young people who were signed up as volunteers to the IN campaign.