Over the past few days residents of Northern Ireland have been both horrified and amused by a "report" issued by the Orange Order detailing the chilling effects of Catholic crack on its shrinking violet civil servant members, including such shocking subjects of conversation as the weekend GAA match, church attendance and children's confirmations — all against a freakish backdrop of mass cards and ash crosses.
The Order's "Grand Secretary" (we're sure he's good), Drew Nelson,
"also claimed the circulation of an Irish language magazine in the civil service was 'a major breach' of the civil service's own dignity at work policy.
'That is material that should not be circulated and our members do not want it,' he said."But "resolute action to promote the language" has been an accepted part of UK Government policy since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Moreover, in an era of devolution, it clearly falls upon the individual Northern Ireland Departments to fulfil it.
Nor is there any contradiction with "dignity at work", since there is nothing inherently offensive about Irish. A very similar language is spoken in Scotland, after all. Or are we to believe that Irish annoys Orangemen because it differentiates between the habitual and the future?
Of course not, it annoys them because they cannot differentiate between the present and the past.