By Jamie Bryson
In response to comments published by Ivan Little in the Sunday Life on 19 November 2017.
In yesterday’s Sunday Life Ivan Little devoted a small section of his column to advising readers that when it came to my public contributions on the debate around Sinn Fein calls for an all-Ireland football team, that I was “talking balls”.
Mr Little, besides giving a self serving overview of his illustrious career covering sport, failed to address any of the substantive points that I, or other public contributors, had raised during the debate. Instead he regaled readers with tales from his days covering international football matches.
He then finished his piece by asking who appointed me as a spokesperson for Northern Ireland fans. The answer, of course, is that I am not a spokesperson for Northern Ireland fans. I am, just like Mr Little, someone who occasionally has the opportunity to publicly articulate their opinion on matters of public debate.
Mr Little should really follow his own logic; given that he asserts- without challenging any of my substantive points- that I am “talking balls”, one would naturally presume that he disagrees with my opinion on the debate around Sinn Fein’s political demand for an all-Ireland football team. Therefore, who appointed him as a spokesperson for those who are in favour of an all-Ireland team?
In the same paper Liam Beckett wrote a fantastic piece which challenged some of the overtly political attempts to promote greater sporting ‘harmonisation’ between the separate jurisdictions of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Despite the substantive quality of Liam’s piece, I do not agree entirely on the media point. I believe that public debate is healthy because it provides an opportunity to highlight the creeping agenda of North/South harmonisation, which has now spread to the sporting sphere. I would much rather the opportunity presented by public debate, in order that the champions of this manevolent agenda can be manourved to the top of the slippery slope and then pushed right down it, until we arrive at the point that their political agenda becomes clear.
However, Liam did quite correctly raise the matter of ‘offence finding’ in relation to the national anthem and other expressions of sovereign national identity. I have previously highlighted the increasingly absurd use of the ‘parity of esteem’ principle- breathed into life by the iniquitous Belfast Agreement- to justify affirmative action and the de-britification of every aspect of Unionist identity in Northern Ireland.
It is unsurprising that this Trojan horse agenda is encouraging nationalist demands for our national team to drop the National Anthem, to opt out of wearing the poppy and to effectively roll back every expression of British identity- including the National Anthem being played at cup finals- lest it offend those whose political aspirations demand an end to what they would describe as the ‘British presence’ in Northern Ireland.
With the Trojan horse of ‘equality’- which is codeword for nationalist cultural supremacy- and parity of esteem increasingly creeping into debates around sporting issues, it is important to explain what the full roll-out of the ‘equality’ and ‘parity of esteem’ political agenda would look like in the sporting arena.
In employment in the civil service and the PSNI, the ‘equality’ agenda has seen the greening of public services. Instead of employing the best man or woman for the job, focus must be on quota-driven employment targets. If we fully implement this agenda within the sporting sphere, then the best player- regardless of their background- would not be selected based on their ability, but rather the national team would be selected on a quota-driven basis to reflect the make-up of society.
It is at this point that Ivan Little’s ‘balls’ article bounces down the slippery slope and arrives at the point of absurdity. The public debate has provided a welcome opportunity to shine on a torch on the creeping political agenda to extend the cultural war into sport.