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.