Berlin 1936…Portrush 2019

Back in 1936 the Olympic Games were intended to showcase Hitler’s regime.

Since the Good Friday Agreement, there have been attempts to showcase Norn Iron and how wonderfully well we get on together.

Remember Derry as the City of Culture? Tall Ships Race? Remember the MTV Awards from Belfast? Titanic? Game of Thrones? The Giro d’Italia Cycle Race?  But showcasing Norn Iron is a bit like putting lipstick on a pig.

It seems that staging the “British” Open Golf Championship at “Royal” Portrush is another showcase event. The added bonus being that the North’s Rory McIlroy is one of the leading golfers in the world.

What could possibly go wrong?

I am with Mark Twain on the subject of Golf. A good walk ruined. But I am a general sports fan and any Irish success from Athletics to Show Jumping to Boxing to Water Polo is a good thing.

Grinning BBC and Ulster TV anchors and presenters went to Portrush to play their part in the showcase.

Mostly this consisted of interviewing locals who were looking forward to a week of big profits. When someone says “good for the economy” this actually means “good for rich people” and a trickle down to others….including waitresses and barmen. I hope those golf bores are big tippers.

Putting a microphone under the nose of a golf journalist from England or United States and asking “what do you think of the people of Norn Iron”?………..well what do you think the reply might be?

Is it…..”the people are so friendly, this scenery is so amazing. I love Norn Iron. So wonderful how it has changed since…..”?

Or is the reply ………”Norn Iron is a squalid sectarian hell-hole, the people are terrible and just look at the Twelfth of July and burning the Irish National Flag, nationalist election posters and Catholic symbols on bonfires”.

Well you guessed it. It was all positive.

What went wrong for Hitler’s Olympics in 1936 was a man called Jesse Owens and the undermining of his racist nonsense. But two years later in Berlin in 1938, the English football team were under (Foreign Office) orders giving a Nazi salute.

And Portrush….

Best case scenario for conflict resolutionists was Rory McIlroy winning. We all love Rory and there is a degree of ambiguity about his nationality. He plays under the Norn Iron flag but (he tells us) will play for Ireland in the 2020 Olympics.

Another scenario…a British win……Fleetwood, Rose….also good.

Another scenario……an American or European or other win and the release of chauvinism and USA or Swedish or South African flags . Cue post-18th hole interviews “best fans in the world, lovely golf course……blah blah blah.

And worst case scenario…..an unambiguous Irish win.

And in Portrush in North Antrim (Paisley territory) and East Derry (Gregory Campbell’s constituency)

And so Shane Lowry from County Offaly. And …wasnt it great. Our very own Jesse Owens.

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13 Responses to Berlin 1936…Portrush 2019

    • Thanx…the last thing the Tourist Board wanted was Irish Flags and The Fields of Athenry in the bars of Portrush, Portsewart and Coleraine.
      Another defeat for Letsgetalongerismand the event hyped on Slugger O’Toole but theyall went very quiet when Shane Lowry won.

      • Wolfe tone says:

        Yes I had a chuckle to myself when Lowry won. The ‘feel good factor’ didn’t turn out as planned for some, but it felt pretty good to me! There’s must be a God after all!!

      • I need to find a way of mentioning Jesse Owens and Shane Lowry in the same sentence on a rival message board.

  1. hoboroad says:

    Policy Exchange think-tank outlining how a massive infrastructure spending programme alongside a cultural renewal in Britain would help protect against the break-up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    The cultural ideas including putting Test cricket back on terrestrial TV, making Remembrance Day a bank holiday and bringing in red, white and blue number plates.

    Other ideas include allowing regions to levy a tourist tax that would be ring-fenced for local investment.

  2. SDLP Activist - North Down says:

    I see you have been hired by Slugger!

    • Ive only written three pieces. And invited to do so as some comments I had made were deemed interesting.
      I think I will have a very limited shelf-life there as I am not really signed up to the agenda..

  3. Political Tourist says:

    One of the most informative posters on Slugger.

  4. SDLP Activist - North Down says:

    As an SDLP grandee what is your take on which seats we can win. Can we win back all three?

    • No.
      I view Westminster especially this time as 650 different elections and effectively 18 in Norn Iron.
      From a SDLP perspective, I hope all seats are contested. It is vital that everyone has an opportunity to vote for the five main parties. SDLP did not stand enough candidates in the locals and gave easy vistories to Alliance in say Newtownards, Carrick and Bangor. Would SDLP have wo a seat there?….probably not but there are bigger contests at Stormont and Westminster. That said, some candidates will be “paper only” and thats ok. Voters will make up their own minds about pacts but no party should enter into one.
      From a SDLP perspective, SF and Alliance are rivals for often the same vote.
      Too much will be made of percentage drops in East Derry, Mid Ulster or whatever……but the three seats that matter are Foyle, South Belfast and South Down.
      The Timing seems all wrong. I am not sure that we are ready and theres been no lift from the locals (average) and Euros (poor).
      So
      Foyle….Eastwood should win and more so he MUST win. He starts as favourite. But does that mean another leadership election? Mark Durkan (senior) might have taken the seat back and probably deserved the chance but Eastwood is the most popular SDLP figure there.
      Yet I detect factions in Derry. That might be a factor.

      South Belfast….I am not a fan of Claire Hanna. And never was. At the start of this year she was agonising about the Fianna Fáil link up and taking references to SDLP off her Twitter page….now she is gung ho about standing for SDLP and it seems her sulk is forgotten but surely it will damage her.
      It seems a three way contest between Pengelley, Paula Bradshaw-Parsley and Claire.
      Of the three, Id obviously want Claire but I fear the initiative is with Mrs Ian Parsley.
      South Down….I keep hearing that SDLP will select a surprise but I am not sure if this is a stroke of genius or desperation.
      The Party has been losing ground to Alliance in the Downpatrick area and I am not a fan of Colin McGrath.
      Basically Downpatrick was safe with McGrady. Margaret Ritchie was not a great politician. She was just McGradys protege. And really McGrath is nothing other than a protege of Ritchie and Ritchie is tainted with the House of Lords nonsense.
      I like Sinead Bradley and she is a better candidate and maybe even Laura Devlin. The important thing here is not so much winning back the Westminster seat as holding two Assembly seats….and with McGrath that would be impossible.
      Foyle…yes.
      South Belfast..possible
      South Down…no.

      • SDLP Activist - North Down says:

        Thank you. Do you think that the link with Fianna Fail is going well and do you think it will allow the SDLP to attract votes from Sinn Féin?

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