Monday 7 October 2013

Submission to the Haaaasss Talks, on behalf of 1690 an all thon.

Dear Ambassador Haaaaaassss,

It is my understannin' that you and yer compatriots have been sent o'er frae the USA fur til luk intil the issues o' Flegs, Parades an' the Past, an' hiv therefur invited submissions frae intrested parties in Norn Iron.

As Heid Yin o' 1690 an all thon I wud describe messel as such an interested party, having bin knain fur til parade wi' flegs in the past, so am richt an' well qwallyfied fur til lecture ye oan all thrie issues. I hiv therefur put ma heid taegither tae come up wi the fallyin' submission:

Flegs - 

When Naomi Long climbed up oan the City Hall an' tuk doon the Union Fleg, she cannae hiv expected the backlash which was tae fally. As a direct result o' her takin' doon yin single fleg, there are now mair flegs in Norn Iron than in any o'er country in the Western Hemisphere, includin' yer ain hameplace the USA. We hiv Union flegs, Ulster flegs, UVF flegs, UDA flegs, Israeli flegs, Scotland flegs, Orange flegs, Army flegs, Upside doon flegs, French flegs, Dutch flegs an' a plethora o' made up flegs. Nat oany that, we have also seen the rise o' the "fleg protestor" as a sub-species o' Loyalism, wi' Jamie Bwyson niver aff the news, dressed up as a Comanche wi' thon dickheid Willie Fraser. Add tae that the o'er surt's flegs an' ye hiv a situation where nae lamp post is wi' oot some reg or o'er hingin' aff it, gien' the impression thit the country is hostin' some kine o' Olympics fur bigots.

Naomi, o' coorse, was oany tryin' fur til be inclusive, but whit she failed til dae when she nicked the City Hall fleg was put up a differn' fleg - a truly inclusive fleg. We naid a fleg which represents both o' oor diverse cultures, yin wi' symbols frae both communities. As yid expect, I've an idea fur it.

New inclusive fleg:

Whit I intend fur til dae is take the auld Ulster Province fleg, as a Nationalist symbol, an make some minor changes til it til plaise Unionists. The original province o' Ulster has 9 counties, fur example, sae I will reflect the loss o' three o' them til the Free State by changin' the wee shield intil some surt o' a 6 sided shape fur til reflect the 6 counties o' Norn Iron. We'll keep the Red Hand and the Red Cross fur til keep the o'er surt happy, but maybe change the background frae yellow til white til reflect the English influence, an' add some kine o' wee symbol fur the Queen, a wee crown or the like.

Thus ma new inclusive fleg will evolve frae the auld Provincial fleg, til luk somethin' like this..... Ah kin safely say thit if Naomi Long sticks this up oan the City Hall ye'll see an end til the protests.


Accordin' til some figures I read a while back but cannae remember, there were about 5000 parades in Norn Iron last year, o' which somethin' like 10% were contentious. Much debate has been expended oan considerin' how til make this 10% mair like the 90%, but I think we're comin' at it frae the wrang angle. Insteid o' makin' these parades fit wi' the rest, the lang term solution is til make sure thit every parade includes somethin' that offends someone or o'er. Eventually all parades will be so offensive that we all secretly agree they shud be banned, but at the same time everyone will be glad to see that the o'er surt are bein' offended. No one will turn up to protest, and no one will take part. Thus every parade must include Republicans, Loyalists, Gays, Lesbians, Feminists, Racists, Perverts, Satanists, Fundamentalist Christians, Homophobes and the French.

The Past:

The past in Norn Iron is a very contentious area. Naebudy unnerstans it but everybudy wants fur til live in it, an at the end o' the day there isnae enough room. The versions o' the past we attempt fur til live in are tae wee, generally quite narrow an' poorly put taegither, a bit like livin' in a caravan in Ballyhalbert. The past must therefore be extended - adding a metaphorical conservatory or a roofspace conversion - until it has a bit mair room fur differen' folk, is better lit, an' maybe has nicer curtains.

The way fur til achieve this is til pay me til write it.

Enjoy your stay Ambassador, an' mind thit if ye want to keep the peace, dinnae furget til share oot yer Fererro Rocher in a just an' equitable manner.

Professor Billy McWilliams.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Edwin Poots to build "Giant Ark".

"Sure why not?" says Minister.

In an interview due to be published at some point in the near future*, Stormont's controversial Minister for Health Edwin Poots has revealed that he intends to build a gigantic boat of biblical proportions in a field outside Culcavy.

"God's vengeful wrath is a very clear and present danger" he argued, "and all the other big boats we have in Northern Ireland aren't fit for purpose when it comes to saving a small amount of folk and bastes in the event of a global flood. The way I see it, the Lord must be at the end of his rope with our behaviour. Everywhere you look it's wall to wall fruits, people drinking alcohol after 10pm, women not wearing hats, the BBC picking on me and builders swearing at themselves during working hours. I, for one, have had enough."

Asked why he intended to use public money to pay for what amounted to a personal crusade, rather than seek funding through religious organisations, the Minister was quick to defend his proposal. "I am the Minister for Health," he explained, "and what could be more important to the health of the nation than saving mankind from a watery demise? Anyway, the jobs boost for the Lagan Valley area will more that justify the expense."

Warming to his topic, Minister Poots went on to elaborate on the logistics of his plan. "The Ark will be bigger than any boat ever seen in the Culcavy area, and I'll make sure that we bring in two of every type of Presbyterian, and of every edible animal. If there's room we'll allow Methodists on, and Lemurs. I like Lemurs."

The Minister was then further pressed on his justification for such a massive drain on public finances. "Look, I've read the Bible," he explained, "and pretty much nothing annoys Jesus more than two boys kissing, apart from maybe two boys kissing in a pub after 10pm in a city with no flag on its council offices . All that loving your neighbour stuff comes second to boys kissing and, by coincidence, other things I don't like. Therefore I am right and youse are all wrong."

"Anyway, the SDLP are going to spend all that plastic bag tax money on building a giant statue of the Pope in Downpatrick, and Sinn Fein are moving the Grand Opera House to Crossmaglen."

"It's called democracy."

*interview may not take place.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Say it loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud.

Dear Belfast Newsletter, 

By the time youse read this letter we will have drawn the curtain on that most hallowed time of the year - the marching season. At this stage only the Royal Black Preceptory's special day out - Black Saturday - remains, and as usual I have perused the pages of this fine newspaper to locate the various parades. I thus note that the Sir Knights (a bit of tautology there perhaps?) of Co Down are assembling in Banbridge, for what will surely be a most auspicious parade. 

However I also note an event clash of epic proportions in that County for on the same day there is a Big Jessie event thing in Newry - namely their Gay Pride Festival. 

"This cannot be right", thunk I. "What of the Sir Knight who plays for the other team and wishes to join in the festivities of Newry? And what of those folk at Newry Pride who accept that oranges are not the only fruit, and would like to enjoy the parade in Banbridge?" 

This is clearly an oversight on the part of the organisers of each event, and a clash that should be avoided in future years. However it has a occurred to me that we should treat this as an opportunity rather than as a problem. For why shouldn't the two groups sit down and come up with a combined event in Newry City in 2014? The benefits for each side are manifold, as I shall detail below:
  • The Loyal Orders get to hold a parade in Newry - by now a mainly Nationalist town full of the other surt. 
  • The Shinners and their puppet resident's groups can't object for they like to let on they're all into the Gays, and wouldn't want to be accused of being homophones.
  • The Gays get a whole load of men in uniform to take part in their parade and lots of folk to look at them.
  • By calling it "Black Pride" we might even get coloured folk to join in, and they could bring over some of those steel bands from thon big Twelfth type parade they have in Notting Hill.
  • This is bound to be coming down with grants, for it has more communities in it than you can shake a stick at, so we'd all be quids in.
I, of course, am happy to make myself available to co-ordinate the efforts to combine these events, in return for a large fee.

Lots of Love
Professor Billy McWilliams

Saturday 17 August 2013

An Open Letter from Peter Rabinson.

Youse will all be aware that Peter Rabinson signaled a change in DUP palicy on the future of the Maze Prison site with a big long letter til the papers during the week there. What yis might nat know, is that this letter was was Rabinson's second attempt to negotiate the complex issue, and that an earlier version of the letter was drawn up by himself and senior party colleagues. However the First Minister got cold feet , and instead writ the letter which caused such a furoary during the week.

That first draft of the letter has been passed to us here at the 1690 affices by a DUP insider, and we can exclusively reveal Rabinson's original thoughts on the matter - with pictures, the lot.

An Open Letter from First Minister P
eter Robinson, MP, MLA.

Dear DUP Folk, Unionist People, Jim Allister, Belfast Newsletter, Jimmy Nesbitt and Marty,

As youse will all know I am on my holidays in the America with Iris, but even while relaxing abroad I have been giving a wild lot of thought to the Maze Prison and what should be done with it. I've decided that the current plans are not cross community enough, failing til reflect all of the different aspects of our troubled history. Therefore I have come up with a class plan that will cover all the angles, with a range of buildings and facilities that will interpret our past in a sensitive and equitable manner. This I would like to present til youse now for til look at.

The Car Park.

The first thing any visitor sees when they go to somewhere is the car park. This facility should be as inclusive as possible, a facility which looks to the future while at the same time addressing our troubled past. Thus all signage in the carpark should be multi-bilingual - Car Park for English speakers, An Cyar Parc for Irish Language enthusiasts, and Yoke Spat for the Ulster Scot. In order to help visitors gain an insight into life here during the troubles all vehicles will be searched by a military patrol on arrival, with one random car a day blown up by the army in a controlled explosion.

The Visitor Centre

If allowed to park by the army, visitors will then make their way to the Welcome Area, or "Holding Centre" as it will also be known. They will be greeted by some civilian searchers and frisked thoroughly before paying a huge sum of money and making their way through a set of security gates into the centre itself. It is essential that the site's exhibition provides the visitor with a fair, unbiased and historically accurate interpretation of our past, so all visitors will be asked which foot they kick with on arrival. Depending on their answer, they will make their way into one of two separate facilities, each one thoroughly examining how themuns started it.

The Gift Shap/Canteen

No visitor experience is complete without a badly made, overpriced sangwich and the purchase of a piece of souvenir plastic tat, and the Maze prison will be no exception. The Bobby Sands Canteen will have something for all tastes, offering snacks and meals in a relaxed yet politically charged environment, with chicken suppers a speciality. Meanwhile the Gusty Spence gift shap will sell all manner of troubles related memorabilia as well as a wide range of illegal substances and protection services. I'm not sure who will run the gift shap, but Iris reckons she has just the boy to help out in the canteen.

Toilet facilities. 

Goes without saying that these must be covered in shite at all times.

The Peace and Reconciliation Centre. 

I have thunk long and hard about this, and have come to the conclusion that whatever we build at the Maze must help to build a better future, as well a interpreting our difficult past. Therefore I am proposing that we turn the centre into a 'micro-campus' of themed buildings, dedicated to the promotion of both Business and the Arts. Each one must help to improve the employment prospects of our people, while at the same time acknowledging the role of key individuals from across the political divide. These will include.....

The Lord Laird of Artigarvan School of Marketing. 

Students at this centre will be invited to learn the key tenets of business and marketing by studying the work of one of Ulster Unionism's finest brains. Marvel at how he turned the Belfast Twelfth into the cultural extravaganza that is Orangefest, leaving behind the drunken violence of the past, learn how you too can be paid by different interest groups for doing absolutely nothing in the House of Lords.

The Gerry Kelly School of Escapology. 

Dog acts and urban dance troupes have been sweeping the boards at Britain's Got Talent, but where is the 21st Century's Harry Houdini? He is, of course, up at Stormont, but is willing to share his knowledge with a new generation of young people eager to learn how to get out of chained up boxes dangling from helicopters. Kelly will demonstrate his patented escapology techniques, including Tunneling, Landrover Hang Gliding and Historical Airbrushing.

The Michael Stone Academy of the Performing Arts

Northern Ireland has produced many great artists but few can surpass the genius of Michael Stone. Although indisposed at the moment, Stone has kindly agreed to provide video lectures on some of his finest work, including "Fat Man Stuck in a Door" and "A Walk in the Graveyard".

The Jamie Bryson School of Oratory.

If we are going to take our place in the global marketplace it is essential that we promote our country as a place to do business. In recent years no-one has done more to promote Northern Ireland on the world stage than Jamie Bryson, with his fleg protests putting us on front pages around the world. Part of this must come down to Bryson's charismatic leadership, and he has very kindly agreed to provide lessons in speech writing, deportment and elocution for the political and business leaders of the future.

Child Care

The children of Northern Ireland attend separate schools, they visit different play parks, play different sports, support different teams. If we are to move forward as a people and as a country, it is essential that we build on this division, ensuring that the voters of the future know which camp they are in.

Thus while the adults learn at the feet of some of Northern Ireland's finest brains, their children can play at the Long Creche childcare facility, with a series of historically themed workshops run by bigots that are guaranteed to keep their young minds closed. If they get sick of that they can have a go on a giant inflatable bouncy H Block or play Pin the Tail on Jim Allister.


And so I must return to my holiday. A cool beer is waiting for me by the pool and Iris is getting ready to rub the factor 30 into my manly shoulders. But as I sign off I would urge all right thinking people to get behind these proposals, to accept the need to address our shared history, and to back me, Peter Rabinson, as we move forward into the 20th century.

Peter Rabinson. MP, MLA
First and Deputy First Minister of Ulster.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Fleg Crisis Solved.

Those of you what have fallyed this wabsite over the last wheen o' years will have noted that Ah havnae been postin' tae much o' late, somethin' fur whit Ah kin oany apalagise. Thus Ah hiv remained quiet durin' some momentous events - the G12 Summit, the Queen goin oan her hallydays til the Free State, the Arab Spring, and, o' coorse, the Fleg Crisis.

As a tap academic Ah chose fur til remain aloof frae the proceedings, leaving the palitics til the paliticians an' thon boy Willie Frazer, bidin' ma time til quietly in the backgroun'. Howiver Ah think Ah micht hiv hit oan a solution til this crisis - yin which will allow both sides til move oan wi'oot loosin' face, an hiv thus contacted Belfast's new Laird Murr, a Shinner by the name o' Martin O'Muilleoir, wi ma proposal. This Ah hiv set oot fur yis below - it isnae in Ulster Scots, fur judgin' by the way he spells his name he'd hiv nae clue whit Ah' was oan aboot. Ah'm sure he kin git someyin til translate it frae English fur him.

The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, Councillor Martin O'Muilleoir*

Dear Lord Mayor

You will no doubt be aware that there has been something of a crisis in community relations in Belfast since the Alliance Party took the fleg down off City Hall last November. This crisis has been brewing for a long time, and it is now the perception amongst those of a Unionist persuasion that they are becoming second rate citizens in their own city. This is spilling over into all kind of bother, and I, for one, reckon that the marching season might be quare crack this year as a result.

However I think that I might have hit on a possible solution to this problem, and therefore thought I'd get on til you. What is needed is a gesture from the Nationalist Camp which shows that they aren't always nicking stuff like flegs, and as a Shinner Mayor you'd be just the man to take my proposal forward - namely the renaming of the Comber Greenway as the Comber Orangeway.

Now - I know what you're thinking - you're thinking 'That's crazy talk, McWilliams, that will never work!', but you'd be wrong. You see, a bit like the fleg being on the City Hall 365 days a year before Naomi Long took it down, the Greenway is called the GREENway 365 days a year. Green is, of course, the colour of the Free State (no offence) and, as such, it is a divisive colour which makes Unionists feel unwelcome. In the interests of parity of a steam it should be renamed the ORANGEway, thus reflecting the fact that it mainly passes through Unionist areas.

However I accept that calling it the Orangeway all year round might irritate yousuns and, to be fair, it is right and Green in colour, so it could be called the Greenway on designated days - the anniversary of the Easter Rising for example, or Gerry Adams' Birthday.

Anyway, you think about it, and give me a shout if you need any further advice on this or any other matter. (if it helps with your deliberations I've made a picture for you to look at.)

Professor Billy McWilliams.