Last week, channelling his inner Maggie Thatcher, and offering his opinion as to what the so-called ‘Iron Lady’ would have thought of the whole Brexit border challenge, Stanley Johnson, champion of the over-privileged and, given his insensitive comments, pitiless prat, said “If the Irish want to shoot each other they will shoot each other whether there’s a hard border or whether there’s a soft border”.
Speaking on TV show Good Morning Britain, Boris Johnson’s inconsiderate pompous father callously dismissed every devastating and destabilising era in our history as if they were collectively a batch of fun-filled, frivolous pastimes, only occasionally resulting in the disfigurement and death of our people. I mean, what does this clearly intellectually challenged Olympic standard buffoon think we are…a pack of wild savages? And, eh by the way Stanley, we didn’t ‘shoot each other,’ the fact is, historically, many of your fellow countrymen (not all, because I won’t see decent British people maligned), were guilty of starving, torturing and shooting us; but alas, perhaps they didn’t teach you verifiable specifics at your expensive Exeter College?
Now at this point folks, despite the fact I’m positively livid with Johnson, and with him alone, I feel I must state that I have many UK friends, and I’m married to an Englishman, so I’m fully aware there are righteous, hard-working and honourable British nationals living in Roscommon, so I neither mean, nor do I bear, any ill will toward them whatsoever. In my view, we’ve put our fractured history firmly behind us in the name of peace, love, friendship, and in affording the Queen a warm céad míle fáilte, and I for one wholeheartedly embrace and welcome our British neighbours with open arms and the respect they truly deserve.
However, in light of Johnson’s statement last week, I have to question if, indeed, we can fully depend on the UK truly being our close friend, or, (and I’m just throwing it out here), does the former MP’s very public lapsus linguae, (that’s slip of the tongue for those wot didn’t do Latin in skule), mean there worryingly still exists – across the water – a band of supercilious ‘ruling-class’ snobs who believe the British historical and tyrannical oppression of our little country, not to mention their former attempt to annihilate our Irish culture, was simply just their little way of ‘aving a right old larf? And, if so, is this belief so deeply ingrained, it has distressingly been passed down through generations? Nah, maybe this is just a Johnson family thing?
Nevertheless, if the former is the case, (and I’m certain it’s not), but, what if it were, does it mean there’s possibly a cohort of rich gits, totally unburdened by the harsh realities of everyday life, going about dismissing the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process with the same vulgarity displayed by Johnson, hence trying to sour the now solid, trusting relationship we’ve so painstakingly managed to build with our nearest and dearest neighbours? It’s enough to make to one extremely nervous, isn’t it?
Stanley Johnson’s ill-timed comments were not only uncomfortable for us Irish to bear; I’d imagine they’ve also made many of our distinguished British friends feel twitchy.
It’s my opinion that the former British Foreign Secretary’s father is not just a public embarrassment; he’s also the owner of a dangerous Machiavellian mouth! As someone who used to produce live TV, my advice to UK broadcasters, given we’re now into end-game scenario regarding Brexit, would be to keep this pompous individual whose grasp of history, and delicate political situations, is as naff as his trademark fluff ball, helmet of hair, (which, strangely is probably the most impressive attribute the 78 year old possesses), off the air until the entire situation is safely, securely and harmoniously resolved.
Blasphemy: Do you know what you’re voting for?
Tomorrow (Friday), sees us going to the polls to vote on a law relating to the offence of Blasphemy. Currently, if an individual is found guilty of what is defined as ‘the action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things,’ they could be slapped with a fine of €25,000. There is no prison sentence attached to this offence.
Now, while our Constitution, i.e. Bunreacht na hÉireann, came into effect on 29th December, 1937, on what’s called Constitution Day, the fact is that Blasphemy was never clearly defined…are ya with me? Therefore, in order to give the offence, (of which nobody has ever been convicted), a clear definition in law, the Defamation Act 2009 says that an individual is guilty of blasphemy if they ‘Publish or say something that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and intend to cause that outrage’. However, I must point out that there is a defence in place if the accused can prove that a reasonable person would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific or academic value in what they have published or said.
Still with me?
Now, all of the above aside, while I’m of the opinion that holding a stand-alone referendum to remove the offence of Blasphemy is a waste of taxpayers’ money, I also believe this ridiculous law has absolutely no place in a civilised, democratic society where we should all be allowed and entitled to express our views. So, while a referendum is an expense we cannot afford, the offence of blasphemy is a clear encroachment on free speech in this country and the Oireachtas needs to be able to change the law so that it is no longer an offence. But that’s just my opinion; it’s up to you to make up your own minds folks.