Letters to the Editor

Being educated doesn't necessarily make people any more enlightened

Never mind the width... feel the quality. The reverse of this is somewhat better known. It is usually intended to mean that quantity is better/more important than quality. For example a restaurant might be assessed more on the amount of nourishment on offer rather than on the quality of the dishes, the bigger the mound the better. Of course when it comes to people it is a different matter – ‘All men are created equal’ after all (slaves excepted of course).

Indeed we had civil rights’ movements around the world, including here, campaigning for and demanding just that.

You could say the present hiatus up there is, at least in part predicated on exactly that – although admittedly there are other burning issues.

It was interesting therefore to hear the debate on BBC Talkback on the letter by northern nationalists (published in The Irish News) to Leo Varadkar demanding that they not be forgotten in the aftermath of the Brexit package.
Brian Feeney seems to have been a prime mover in the development of the correspondence and in explaining how the list was put together he said it was a question of quality rather than quantity. 
Indeed the others in the studio seemed equally impressed with the quality of the signatories.

Now just pause and think what this implies. It suggests that some nationalists have more ‘quality’ than others, based on education and profession. It is a short way from there to ‘smarter equals better’... elitism of the first order.  Surely this should be anathema to a commentator of his ilk.

If after all smarter did equal better, then our troubles would be over thanks to our elders and betters.

Of course we lesser quality know that being educated does not necessarily make people any more enlightened, but can make them more articulate in promoting their narrow/ineqalitarian/bigoted point of view.

We should not be surprised that the smarter equal better equation is so widely held. It underpins our education system.

When there is talk of young people emigrating it is often said we are losing our best people, our quality – those with academic qualifications. 

What does this say about the majority, the quantity? (There is even an echo of this in the view that it was young university educated Catholics who were instrumental in the formation and development of the Civil Rights movement and campaign)

Rejecting it is fundamental, a red line for socialists. Those holding and promoting this view and linking it to remaining in the EU are, in effect, fellow travellers of the neo-liberal ‘project’.

They say we have long memories here, but it would seem some people have very short memories when it comes to the role the EU played in Ireland and other EU countries... and a degree of myopia when it comes to egalitarian values.



Justice system at risk of turning into kangaroo courts

Our justice system is based on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”. Both plaintiff and defendant should enter the courtroom on an equal footing, with no presumptions made beforehand about either side’s credibility. Otherwise we prejudice the outcome and undermine the principles of justice. 

Allison Morris (November 21), claims only “a small minority” of rape accusations are false. Rather than presuming innocence until proven guilty, Allison appears to presume guilt in all but a few of these cases. 

Former British cabinet minister Ann Widdecombe, takes a different view. In her (Daily Express) newspaper column last year Ms Widdecombe said that rape “has been politicised with the playing field tilted at an ever steeper angle against the accused and false allegations hardly ever prosecuted”.

Back in 2012 Ms Widdecombe stated: “If a woman cries rape or a child abuse then the presumption is that must be the truth when all too often it is not. The proverbial pendulum has swung from heartlessly dismissing such claims to unthinkingly accepting them”.

A worrying recent trend, on social media and at feminist rallies, has seen alleged victims being told “we believe you” before due process has taken place.
This equates to telling the accused “we do not believe you” and pressure is being placed on the police and judiciary to sign up to this biased approach. If this trend continues, we risk turning our justice system into a kangaroo court. 

Derrynoose, Co Armagh


Don’t let May sell Britain to EU wolves

One may wonder that coming 83 years of age why should I be concerned about Brexit or Britain?

I am enjoying a happy retirement; my family as secure as is possible in such times we are living in, so what drives me to express any political opinion one may ask? Simple, I love the country I was born and bred in and shudder the future way it is heading.

For a start the people pay taxes to pay for politicians, to make laws to govern us. So I ask why should we also have to pay taxes to a EU of mainly foreign politicians ?

Politicians I may add, who accept no responsibility for our health, welfare and economy. A  political union whose members enjoy having six figure salaries and pensions.

Now leaving that aside, why should the British and Irish people pay for any other armed force than what we have at the moment ?

The media is lambasting the DUP for opposing the dreams of Theresa May and Monsieur Barnier  yet they fail to mention that on this issue  they are only a cog in this
big wheel.

So I say to the DUP, come decision time when parliament votes on the Brexit issue do not abstain, vote against Theresa May’s undemocratic proposal of selling her own country to the wolves of the European Union.

Kircubbin, Co Down


Beware Greeks bearing gifts

It would be imagined that if a Trojan Horse appeared in the middle of any street in any given community here in the north, then residents –  or at least some of them –would be curious as to how it got there and exactly what it housed inside.

Sadly and quite unbelievably that is no longer the case, because rather than look closely at the occupants of these horses that move in and out of our districts with such ease, residents now digest that which was once considered the unthinkable through a seemingly apathetic haze.

The  latest Trojan Horse, the unaptly named ‘Fresh Start’ had been initially sold to a seriously confused community as treacherous Tory cuts, then, quite unbelievably the First and Deputy First Minister described this piece of misery, as the panacea that no self-respecting community can realistically thrive without. Now the residents of the horse are out and about amongst the community again. This time the label, cloak or guise is, ‘The Paramilitary Task Torce’, and just like the agreement that breathed life into this construct, it most certainly isn’t being rolled out as a panacea for community ills.

Irrespective of how the packaging looks on the gifts the Greeks are handing out to the community, this task force has been set up to put the final nails into the republican coffin, thus ensuring that anyone offering any resistance to the Trojan ‘normalisation’ horse is dealt with.

Belfast BT13

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