Monday, 14 March 2016

"Out of Perspective"

It seems that the Blether Region may have spoken too soon when it contended that removing the Irish word uisce from two Ballymena water-mains covers would necessitate melting them down. After the blaze of publicity surrounding TUV councillor Timothy Gaston's demand that the covers be replaced with monolingual ones, some enterprising individual has gone ahead and scraped the Irish from one of them, apparently with an angle-grinder.

It has not been reported whether the action was carried out by the contractor or illegally by another party.

However, it does appear that Mr. Gaston — the Deputy Mayor of the borough, no less — may be rowing back somewhat on his call to arms, stating on his Facebook page that the issue had been "blown out of perspective" and reminding constituents, or perhaps himself, that "There are many pressing issues relating to North Antrim and particularly the town of Ballymena which has suffered appalling job losses in recent months."

Some years ago Mr. Gaston's father Sam successfully campaigned to have Irish give-way signs bearing the word "Yield" replaced with their British equivalents at a McDonald's in the town. But that was absolutely justified, since confusion might have led to an accident, whereas the current brouhaha revolves around infantile prejudice.

Mr. Gaston is of course neither the first nor the last son of a DUP politician to be the equal of his father in his bad points but not in his good.

Meanwhile, journalists at the Belfast Telegraph may be congratulating themselves on showing up a bigot. I say "may" because, taken against the backdrop of several recent scare stories that it has published about Irish, it might just as well be the case that they have themselves contributed to whipping up the febrile atmosphere that encourages the kind of vigilante public works seen in the city of the seven towers.

Do we really want to go there, Bel-Tel?

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