Friday, 3 May 2013

'Marketing' - "Filthy word, deleted from Unionist dictionary"




The world's biggest companies spend billions between them on marketing, advertising and psychology.

'Tractor trailer loads' of it if one wants to use a local standard measurement.

The general belief is that if you put across a positive message/image/something that can connect with a certain part of someone's psyche then they will be drawn towards your product. Now, whether that  'something' is related to food/sex/luxury or whatever, it doesn't really matter, there's a marketeer somewhere who knows which buttons to press.

Unless you're a unionist who follows the trials and tribulations of the Northern Ireland football team.

Now, for a group of people born of industrialists (Craig) and generally  wealthy know-it-alls (Randolph Churchill, Lord Carson etc) this trait of modern commerce is somewhat lost in the land of Unionism.

What your humble narrator refers to specifically is the Northern Ireland football team.

The psychological elephant in the room in this case is the illogical use by the Irish Football Association (IFA) of symbols that pretty much turn off half of the population from supporting our beleaguered team.

The symbols in question include the 'Ulster Flag' which although it was the official flag of Northern Ireland at one point, it was disbanded in the early 70's.

It is well known that half of the population of Northern Ireland don't like this flag and it helps to further push them into supporting the Republic .

Another marketing boo-boo is that of using the UK NATIONAL Anthem instead of a regional anthem like they use in Scotland or Wales.

Leaving aside for a while (if you please) the fact that for some reason the UK alone (I think? Open to correction by all means) is allowed to divide herself into 4 constituent nations (no doubt to the chagrin of the Basques) for sporting events one feels obliged to cover the inconsistencies that govern the 4 nations and their approach to their flags and anthems.


Happy, Happy, Happy.....




Scotland: Flag = St Andrew's Cross, Anthem (unofficial?) = 'Flower of Scotland'; Result at games = St Andrew's Cross and 'Flower of Scotland'

Wales: Flag = The Red Dragon, Anthem = 'Old Land of My Fathers'; Result at games = The Red Dragon and 'Old Land of My Fathers'

England: Flag = St George's Cross, Anthem = Nothing official so; Result at games = St George's Cross and ...sporting teams bounce between 'Jerusalem', 'Land of Hope and Glory', 'God Save the Queen' and 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot' (sort of...)

Northern Ireland = No official flag (De jure) but uses redundant Ulster Banner (De facto), Anthem = 'Londonderry Air' (at some Commowealth Games) or 'God Save the Queen'.

So, there you go, the other two 'Celtic' countries are happy enough with their own flag and anthem, England, understandably (being the other name for 'Britain') is so-so.

Northern Ireland on the other hand, despite being one of the worst football teams on Earth, still insists on a policy of that embraces the 'UK' national anthem ( England is the only other team so arrogant as to claim it) instead of a regional anthem as well as foisting a redundant flag.

Admittedly, there is very little choice as far as flags are concerned officially as Stormont has as much interest in creating a flag for Northern Ireland as JD wetherspoons has in creating a nice pint.

But, having said that, your humble narrator has noticed that many Irish pubs have started flying IRFU flags instead of tri-colours, why don't the IFA do something similar until (or when/if) there is a new Northern Ireland flag?

What about this one? Hmmmmm?


Surely it makes sense, in 'business terms' to have a flag and an anthem FULL STOP?

Even better if that flag and anthem can include the other half of the population?

The main argument against such a move?

Yes, you guessed it; "No Surrender!"

To have such a logical and business savvy move would obviously be giving into the popish plot to overthrow loyal Ulster.

Much better to subvert this plot by being completely sh*te at football and have no football competitions to look forward to as well as seeing potentially half of the local talent (literally, not homosexually) 'go south'.

To summarise the whole episode, here is a picture of the intellectual task force that sought reassurance from that IFA that such a logical transformation would never occur.

(NOTE: A poster on the mother of all Northern Irish blogs, '' (cheers Mick!) pointed out how the afore mentioned uber Britischers are standing beside a Celtic Cross. With shamrocks. And the word 'Irish'.)

"We're not Irish. But we love a good Celtic Cross. And Shamrocks. And the word 'Irish'. And the word 'Ireland'. 

AMENDMENT: Had to tinker with some of the wording above thanks to keeping an eye on a session over at planet Newsletter, lest ye all notice something 'fishy'...


  1. The IFA, it's clubs and fans can hardly be blamed for the fact that Northern Ireland doesn't have an official flag or unique national anthem. The official flag is the Union jack and the official anthem in GSTQ so it shouldn't be a surprise that this is what's used. I think there is a decent amount of support amongst NI fans that we have our own anthem. I don't think they all have the "not an inch" attitude you may be suggesting. I would personally like to see something like Danny Boy/Londonderry Air being used. As for the Ulster banner, although it is no longer official it is still the only flag that uniquely represents Northern Ireland and is used in many other sports which represents individuals or teams from NI.

    I think it's a little like the attempts to have St Patrick's saltire used in St. Paddy's day celebrations in belfast and broader NI in order to make it appeal to both communities but you'll still see the tricolour vastly outnumber the former so "flegs", as you put it, is hardly a issue unique to unionists. The saltire means little to most nationalists, as would your or anybody else's attempts at an alternative flag to appeal to the unionists of NI. Fans of national football teams are there to support their country so they are going to fly the national flag/flags even if that does unfortunately tend to alienate a large portion of society.

    I have to ask though, why are the same pressures not put on the Irish Olympic team, which is supposed to represent the whole island, to change their flag in order to appeal to northern Unionists?

  2. On a side note, after partition Northern Ireland continued to play under the name Ireland. It wasn't until a complaint from the Republic to UEFA in the 1950's (the south seemingly weren't that interested in soccer previously) that the ruling body stated that neither team were allowed to go solely by the name of Ireland. NI continued to be commonly referred to as 'Ireland' up until the 1970's.

  3. Hello Citizen69!

    Thanks for commenting, intelligent feedback is most welcome!

    Firstly, you're correct in that they can't be held responsible, but they're certainly in a position to influence it.

    If they even came out with their own 'this'll do for the time being lads, till the politicians get their finger out'-flag then we at least would have some movement on the matter.

    But as far as I'm aware (and by all means correct me as necessary) they've done very little about it.

    Regarding GSTQ and the Union flag, well, my point of view is highlighted quite clearly in the blog: All the other countries are UK too but they have their own flags and anthems (to a lesser extent).
    Why are we different?
    What's stopping us?

    We certainly can't blame SF.

    Personally, I give a hearty 2 thumbs up to 'Londonderry Air/Danny Boy'

    As for for the flag situation I simply can't agree with using a flag that is endorsed and (fairly or unfairly) associated with Loyalism.

    So, some one needs to make a move, the IFA stand to benefit long term.

    Initially there'll be uproar and trouble, but in a generation's time I believe we'll benefit from it.

    As for the Olympics, firstly, when you ask 'the same pressures', do you mean simply why have I personally not written a blog about it?
    Or why is it not such a big issue?
    Does it strike you as unfair and unbalanced?

    Well, firstly, I feel quite strongly about it.
    I wrote to the IABA about something similar.

    I wrote to Tim Pat Coogan about it when he advocated getting rid of 'shoulder to shoulder' for the rugby and replacing it simply with the Republic's anthem i.e. just ignoring 'themuns' up north,

    It also irks me for St Patricks day.

    It's an IRISH day, not an IRISH REPUBLIC DAY. Hence the flags should be representative of the island, not just them down south.
    I'd personally be happy with the old Irish flag, green background and a harp.

    I haven't written anything about it yet because this blog is born out of frustration for my own community (the Protestant/Unionist community).

    I can bang my head against the wall and pester the Southern bodies or bang my head against the wall and highlight shortcomings in my own 'tribe'.

    Somebody, somewhere may listen. Even if it's only one person, that's good enough for me.

    I think if the Northern Protestants can clean up their act, remove all paradoxes and hypocritical stances then they'll be in a much better to exact change.

    A moral high ground if you will.

    Northern Ireland is no longer just for the Protestants.

    We love it when a Catholic plays for 'our wee country' so why can't we just show a little bit of respect and have a flag that isn't plastered across the world's papers and news networks when Loyalists are coaxed into going on the rampage.

    As for GSTQ, like I said the UK's anthem, we are part of the UK, not the UK itself.


    PS I was not aware of that fact in your side note. Most appreciated

  4. Hi,

    Regarding the Olympics, I didn’t mean ‘the same pressure’ from you personally (although I’m glad to hear you highlighted this issue). I have seen several newspaper columns and web articles similar to your blog post regarding the NI team, flags & anthems but little about an All Ireland Olympic team that officially uses the Republic’s flag & anthem to represent the whole island, which I believe is probably more of an issue than the IFA situation.

    Staying with the Olympics, I remember back when Wayne McCullough, a young working class protestant boxer from the Shankill area carried the Irish tricolour for the Irish team in the Barcelona Olympics. I remember this was generally seen by both the print & TV media at the time as a good positive news story (that’s how I saw it also)… but if you contrast that to Rory McIlroy, a young Catholic golfer, celebrating with the Ulster banner after a Great Ryder cup win for Europe, most of the media either ignored it, raised a disapproving eyebrow or queried if it was an ill-advised thing to do. Some even questioned if Rory truly grasped the history of the troubles having lived in the sheltered hills of middle class protestant Holywood. No such eyebrow raising when Paddy Barnes or other northern athletes drape themselves in tricolours.

    Maybe I’m just being a bit sensitive here but to me Rory was just taking pride in his Northern Irish identity, just as his European team-mates displayed national pride when they draped themselves in their own flags. As someone who was born, reared and still lives in a loyalist area of North Belfast I could totally relate and share in that pride, which just for a moment seemed to be given legitimacy on an island where everyday someone is insisting that our “occupied six county statelet” is an illegitimate basket-case (and by association, so are we). I despise loyalist paramilitaries and detest the thuggish image of a lot of loyalists but I don’t see that flag as a loyalist flag. It’s the flag of Northern Ireland, my wee country, a place I (for the most part) have pride in. Even if it is abused by extremists, as all national flags are, it still transcends that in my mind and I am not someone obsessed with flags or nationality. I’d much rather see the flag used in sporting events or being hoisted by Rory McIlroy than tied to a thousand lamp posts in unionist ghettos.

    I just think asking the average football fan to drop their national flag a big ask and of course loyalists aren’t exactly known for taking the moral high ground. The IFA can’t just come out and ban the de-facto NI flag or Union flag, it would be suicide. You mentioned you have noticed many pubs flying the IRFU flag rather than the tricolour during rugby promotions (as they should seeing as it’s not a RoI team) but I can’t really see fans on either side of the border taking much pride in that flag in itself, and Landsdowne road will still be full of tricolours… a bland neutral flag inspires nobody. However I would like to see NI move more towards the example of Ulster rugby games where yellow nine county Ulster flags, the Ulster banner & the St. Patrick’s saltire are all flown in the crowd. I’m all for changing the anthem to something more regional BTW, just as long as it’s not anything by Snow Patrol!

    Sorry for the long winded reply but on a final, lighter point…. You mentioned the IFA crest with it’s celtic cross and shamrocks. I own a reproduction kit of an IFA jersey from 1880 and I am not sure if you have ever seen the original IFA crest? It was still the celtic cross with shamrocks but with an Irish harp in the middle. The whole design of it looks more Gaelic than any GAA jersey I have ever seen! The Northern Ireland team wore the retro kit during their 125th anniversary year in 2005.

  5. Hello again

    Some good input there.

    The bottom line is, it's harder to be Northern Irish than just Irish.

    If some one from the Unionist community carries a tricolour, then that person will be in for criticism from X% of the Unionist community.

    i.e. Potentially hundreds of thousands of people as opposed to the potential MILLIONS of people around the world who will view 'an Irishman carrying an Irish flag' as a normal thing to do e.g. Wayne McCollough.

    There's a perception of a certain amount of illegitimacy about NI, one that can only be addressed by good PR.
    And the Ulster flag stands in the way of that PR.

    They way Unionist culture and ergo propaganda has fused over the past few decades has given rise to the global view that the Unionists i.e. 'The British' are just a bunch of English people in Ireland.

    As opposed to what they were back in the Unionist hey-day, Irish people with a Pro-British political stance.

    Ergo we have less sympathy for our cause as, understandably, why would people support 'English' people in some one else's country?

    (Outside of the UK, the words British and English are pretty much interchangeable. a harsh fact that nothing can be done about).

    With regards to the Ulster flag, I'm afraid I'm a bit detached from it as my engineer brain just views it logically:

    1/ It's done and dusted. Redundant as of '73
    2/ It's been hijacked too much by loyalist thugs.
    3/ Northern Ireland is half Catholic, for the sake of Northern Ireland's future we need a fresh flag

    I am asking a lot.

    But, in truth, I'm just highlighting the matter first.

    People don't even think about the matter.

    I don't expect to make any friends from these points.

    But they are awkward questions that need to be asked, it's all about the bigger picture I'm afraid.

    BTW, any chance you could post a photo of that badge on my Iam Ghobsmacht facebook? I'd LOVE to see something like that!

    Kind regards


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