It was ever thus

Today is my birthday. Forty nine years living in a small place. A small, beautiful, bigoted, sectarian place.

giants causeway

What has that done to me? Who would I be if I’d moved long ago and far away?

The last two weeks have been instructive. A new political party, determinedly -if belatedly-neither ‘unionist’ nor ‘nationalist’, imploded very publicly even before the polls had closed. Dozens of candidates, new to politics, now have to consider if the harsh realities of politics are really for them, and if they can trust the men who brought them forward in the first place. I spent the days around the election glued to twitter, occasionally lifting my head to tell Spurs Fan the latest. The potential for good was great, but it all turned farcical. The one candidate who got elected is bright, enthusiastic, personable. I hope he sticks with it. A telling feature of our society was that there was no ramp for him, a wheelchair user, to get to the podium to make his acceptance speech.

Bad enough, but things have got worse.

wishing arch

Not for the first time in Northern Ireland, a so called Christian pastor preached intolerance and hatred. He harked back to days of Enoch Powell’s rivers of blood speech, praising Powell for his vision.Our First Minister, and several of his political party, have come out in support of that preacher. Peter Robinson,  our head of government, said he wouldn’t trust Muslims. Apart from going to the shop for him and bringing back the right change.

Let us remember that this is a senior politician in the UK, in 2014.

Some of our other politicians have condemned this approach, and taken abuse because of that. One of our MLAs has spoken of how the rise in racist attacks has made her, a Chinese woman, fearful of her safety. Social media is full of people telling her to ‘go home’. Those of us promoting #IstandwithAnna will have no impact on the closed minds of our countryfolk.

silent valley

I rage and rant. I grew up part of a demonised minority. I naively thought we were becoming a more equal society. I did not imagine our society would find new minorities to hate. I underestimated the need for ‘other’.

I’m discomfited. Just because it’s familiar doesn’t mean it’s right. There are more peace rallies to attend (still?) more ways of trying to get on with life. More time to focus on cake, and books and lovely things. (I even have a fab new purple handbag to show you…)

More time to wonder if I should stand up, shut up, or get out.

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23 thoughts on “It was ever thus”

  1. Happy Birthday young lady, I hope there was plenty of cake!

    Your final wonderings above are very similar to mine in recent months. Trouble is, if we were to move away, where would we go to find peace on this earth?

    1. That’s it, GM. There are issues everywhere. What can we do to make a difference where we are? Somehow, I don’t think that blogging in my pjs has a big impact…

  2. Every country seems to have more than its fair share of lunatics, religious bigots and self-righteous diehards. If we moved to another country, we’d just have to adjust to a different bunch of them. If only more people of influence would condemn the offensive remarks of people like Pastor McConnell and Peter Robinson, they would have to backtrack very rapidly.

    A great shame about NI21 imploding on the eve of the election because of the familiar scandals and miscalculations. The candidates who joined the new party with high hopes must be feeling pretty sick.

    1. Nick, I felt so bad for the candidates- some were so very young and inexperienced. They were just abandoned. I hope some of them can stick with politics- we need young idealists!!

  3. Happy 49th! Hell comes next year, at least for me. If I had known it was your birthday I would dedicated the song on my last post to you -I think it would fit you well.

    A beautiful land is that in which you live. It is unfortunate the human side causes disenchantment when the natural side is truly something to behold. Hopefully the new gets the support it needs those whom elected them. Often that is not the case.

    salut

  4. Fiona, it’s so strange to be sitting here so far away and so many years away and to know, even though I don’t know the details of the election, or all the political players in 2014, that I probably know exactly what’s happening. BTW You’d still be the same person with the same fears that bubble to the top every once in a while.
    x

  5. Happy Birthday Fi – enjoy your happiness among people who love you. Politics is a dark shadow the world over and every country has its own version of the madness.

    1. I can’t imagine I’ll do anything too quickly- rant until I run out of steam, sleep a lot, forget what annoyed me, start again 😉 Brain fog can have its uses

  6. Happy belated birthday!

    The state of mankind is a bit shocking when we ponder it too deeply. I feel it’s our vast differences that give us greatness, but it is those same differences that can tear us apart. As we can’t have one with out the other, all we can do is hope that we can keep them balanced.

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