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Speaking of trips into the fantastic… May 18, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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A strange letter from EH in the IT at the weekend, where yet again he claims that there is nothing wrong in journalists fighting Sinn Féin, or all but ignores the fact he’s subject to at least two lawsuits from those aggrieved at the conduct of the twitter account at the centre of this. The complaint that he needed more, something to reach out to unionists no less, is also made as is the compliant that any criticism about the account is irrelevant because it is from Sinn Féin trolls. He appears blithely unaware that many beyond SF would think the behaviours described as worthy of criticism and deeply inappropriate – and worth noting that there’s a distinction between commentators and journalists, a distinction he appears unable or unwilling to make.

The Phoenix noted that:

In the Sunday morning slot on RTÉ Radio One, long the crucible of Establishment anxiety over faceless social media invective, listeners were subjected to a rather morose and tightly controlled discussion with Brendan O’Connor and Conor Skeehan concentrating on what they agreed is the internet’s corrosive influence more than with the Harris issue.

Only a week earlier the same programme had, on more comfortable ground, prompted by the retirement of Eoghan Murphy, dedicated an entire discussion to the “abuse” received by those in public life, but anyone expecting any fresh insight on Harris from O’Connor and his panel will have been disappointed.

The problem being that abuse is abuse – and painting it as anti-SF, an SF that has been part and part of a peace process, agreed to institutions, policing and so on, and thereby justified isn’t enough in a democracy. As noted previously – there’s good reasons to critique SF and criticise it too when necessary, but for what it is, not for what it is not.

But then it doesn’t take much to see how narrow his vision on these matters.

For example, Harris stated this last week that he was close friends with David Ervine and Gusty Spence. Telling to see the following:

Dawn Purvis@dawnpurvisReplying to @drivetimerte and @SarahAMcInerneyHis claim to be close friends with David Ervine and Gusty Spence are complete fantasy. He had written a very nasty column about David who was seeking legal advice on its content shortly before he died.

And it is Kathy Sheridan who points up the sheer absurdity of both the assertion by Harris and one other point he sought to make in his defence:

Harris’s defenders accuse critics of kicking him when he’s down or of failing to expose him long ago. Which is to miss the point. Where is that spirited bunch of “older” unionists/trade unionists/historians/businesspeople et al who contributed their pensées to the Barbara Pym club? Where are they hiding now that their founder has lost his paid work? 

Can any of them explain how a secret cabal of historians/unionists/businesspeople repeatedly targeting female journalists, politicians and academics among others, was supposed to reassure unionists who are hopping mad about the NI Protocol? Is this what we must expect on a shared island ? If that was indeed the strategy, as Harris suggested, it was risibly counter-productive.

The mixture of solipsism and absurdity in the idea one (or nine) anonymous twitter accounts would ‘reassure unionists’ is breathtaking. What does unionism care about a small number of commentators and who knows what in Dublin? And what possible reassurance could a small number of commentators and who knows what give to unionism? To ask those questions is to see the answers. None at all. They’re an irrelevance. No functional or other utility whatsoever. And by the by, would a unionism that saw the downward trajectory of Trimble and the UUP – advised by none other than a certain personage, have any confidence at all in the ‘reassurance’ offered?

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