Saturday, February 20, 2010

Scared of the Other (part 3) // Muslims

I didn’t intend to start a “scared of the other” series of posts, but something I thought about writing ten days ago, but didn’t, has continued bubbling in my mind and now spilled out.

David Vance: Yes, no Muslims in the audience…one upside

Question Time and David Dimbleby came to Belfast’s Waterfront Hall back on Thursday 11 February. The panel included Jim Allister (TUV), Gerry Kelly (SF), Margaret Ritchie (SDLP), Lord Trimble (UUP/Cons), Sammy Wilson (DUP) and Shaun Woodward (Lab).

There were at least a couple of live blogs following the questions and answers: over on Slugger O’Toole, and on Biased BBC. Live blogs do have a tendency to become pass-remarkable. They’re informal, offhand and snippy rather than being an authoritative account of the event.

excerpt from Biased BBC live blog of Belfast Question Time

One comment in particular stuck out from the Biased BBC coverage. It was written by that blog’s main organiser and writer David Vance, an anti-agreement unionist commentator who can often be heard on radio and TV, and is currently a spokesperson for the TUV (and tipped to be their Westminster candidate in East Belfast).

Responding to a comment by “Julio”

Julio: not enough muslims on this edition

David Vance responded a few seconds alter with the words

David Vance: Yes, no Muslims in the audience…one upside

Last time I checked, Muslims didn’t wear a special badge, wear a uniform, share a particular style of haircut … or all have the same colour of skin. You can’t spot a Muslim in an audience any more than you can spot a Christian, an atheist, a gay, an accountant, a lawyer, a fluent Irish speaker, or a TUV voter.

Stating that there were no Muslims in the audience – to me – implies prejudice, religious intolerance and plain ignorance. Fear of the other.

The comment got some debate over on Slugger at the time, though no direct response from David Vance on that point.

Incidentally, the TUV are pretty vocal against the Irish language. David Vance recently issued a statement on the matter, and the TUV’s vice-chair and election candidate for Lagan Valley Keith Harbinson caused a fuss a few months ago when he issued a statement (later amended) calling it a "leprechaun language".


Manuel said...

David Vance appears, to me, to be against everything...I used to get quite angry about his posts and his blog in general, sometimes I still do, until I realised he's just an angry man shouting...

we've had enough of them

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Manuel - As a party, the TUV are very definitely defined by what they are against. I can't believe - as a political party - how rarely they propose being positive about something. I expect David will pop along with a comment soon ...

PS: Congrats on the mention in the Sunday Times and the Irish Blog Awards nominations. Much deserved. Shockingly (!), A Tangled Web isn't on the looong list.

Aly McLoughlin-Harte said...

Alan ,

Thanks for your comment. I am making it my goal to become more familiar with how my blog works! I also found your comment about the baubles from December and really appreciate the plug (even if I'm two months late!).
As for your latest blog, fair play to you for entertaining the world of Politics! It is so often beyond my way of thinking but your posts are a good eye opener!


Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Aly - If the political process is opened up and exposed then I'm guessing it'll be less frightening and more possible for people to engage with it and make it work. At the end of the day, how often bins get collected, how tall hedges are, how many police are out catching people who are burgling pensioners are all things that politicians in the politic system have power over.

Jo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Jo - Can't let your comment remain on the blog. The post was about religion, not sexuality. Making allegations about David Vance's family isn't on.