Unionists. Be careful what you wish for.

With all the recent furore about the Assembly I think it’s about time that unionists (particularly the DUP) should take a moment to reflect on a few facts.

David Cameron did not bow to threats from Peter Robinson and the DUP. No doubt this is a shock to Peter, the DUP and unionism in general but here’s the rub. David Cameron offered the Scottish people a referendum on whether or not they wanted to remain part of the UK. Scotland generates billions of pounds for the British exchequer, billions. Northern Ireland on the other hand creates bills, problems and costs billions to maintain. One of the first things that David Cameron crowed about on the day of the Scottish referendum result was English votes for English laws. Whilst the DUP et al might have secured a postponement back in July the dynamic has now shifted.

There is nothing to stop Cameron laying the ground for an English referendum on the future of Northern Ireland – the Scottish referendum was a shot across the bow, if you like.

It’s an easy sell. He only has to pitch that the money spent on NI could keep English fathers, mothers, sons and daughters in gainful waged employment for life. That he could use it to build affordable social housing, that he could invest it in infrastructure throughout England, that cutting loose NI would do away with a sizeable security threat, that the antics of it’s citizenry each July would no longer be a source of international embarrassment and shame etc.

It’s a “no brainer”.

The DUP and Sinn Fein are playing fast and loose with the Assembly but it is the DUP who have more to lose than Sinn Fein in the event that direct rule is adopted. Do they really think that the rather convenient imposition / legislation for welfare reform will be the only thing that  will be imposed that they and Sinn Fein can cry “Well, it wasn’t us who imposed it”?

In the event that the Assembly is driven to suspension as a result of the DUP antics they will be paving the way for equal rights as far as gay marriage goes and the right of gay people to donate blood – to name but two pieces of UK legislation they have stymied and denied the electorate on the basis of their fundamentalist christian beliefs. Whilst any such legislation is to be welcomed it will leave the DUP as a marginalised spent force in a cap in hand handout charity basket case backwater that the English would happily offload if encouraged to do so.

They might want to think about that.

Posted in Bigotry, Bollocks, Cameron, First minister, History of Ireland, Loyalist riots, Northern Ireland Assembly, Peter Robinson., Political views, Rioting, Sinn Fein | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The battle of the Boyne 1690.

Everyone knows that each year on the twelfth of July Northern Ireland is portrayed across the world as a backward, inward looking cess pit of sectarian hatred. The world peers in on our tribal differences and shakes its head in collective disapproval and disbelief.

The reputational damage that this yearly period of rioting and upheaval causes internationally is immense. And in the name of what, exactly?

It’s a curious thing that a “battle” should have taken place and not a single solitary artefact with any proven provenance exists. Why are there no remains, no uniforms or ordnance at the site, or elsewhere, that prove a battle took place? Why is everything “Believed to have been used at the battle of the Boyne” or “Similar to weapons that would have been in use at the time of the battle of the Boyne” (as stated by the Battle of the Boyne Visitors Centre)? 

Any other battle in history has clear irrefutable evidence of it having taken place and material evidence to corroborate the fact, but not the battle of the Boyne. As far as I am aware there is one cannonball, a musket and several musket balls alleged (there is no provenance to any of these items) to have been fired at the “battle” of the Boyne. That’s a bizarrely small collection, don’t you think?

Other notable battles in Irish history have been studied and, where appropriate, historically revised to reflect fact rather than fiction. Most recently the Battle of the ford of biscuit is a case in point. Why then can we not revisit the issue of the supposed “battle” of the Boyne?

The reason is clear. To contemplate that there was no physical battle, or to even countenance an investigation of same whereby proof would be required to establish the veracity of claims of such, would undermine over three hundred years of protestant triumphalism.

Is it not time that we thoroughly investigated this mysterious lack of artefacts and provenance? 

Posted in History of Ireland, holiday Ireland, Irish history, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simpsons “Case” pure badger shaving brush. Avoid.

 It’s a sad state of affairs when an industry stalwart like Simpson lets their quality control slip to the point that their products, quite literally, fall apart in your hands. Sadly that has been the case (no pun intended) with my most recently bought “Case” pure badger shaving brush.

As you can see from this photo (taken after my shave this morning) it is shedding bristles like a badger with alopecia. Interestingly a lot of the bristles appear to have snapped broken.

I’ve been a user of Simpson brushes for the past twenty plus years (the Eagle &  Case being two of my favourite regular use brushes) and I’ve never encountered bristle shedding like this in all those years. All of my past experience has been extremely positive but I have to admit I’m very disappointed by the lack of interest shown by Simpson when I communicated with them on this very same issue previously. Essentially the Managing Director Mark Watterson stated that many of their brushes splay in different ways and that I should simply put up with the fact.

Having been accustomed to excellent goods from Simpson in the past I can only assume that something has gone seriously awry with their quality control since the involvement of Vulfix who appear to have taken over Simpson.

In short, if you are thinking of buying a Simpson pure badger shaving brush my advice is to think again. There are many alternatives on the market for much less than the £25.00 the “Case” brush will cost you. For example you could pick up four synthetic brushes from Wilkinson which will last you four lifetimes without shedding or splaying.

It’s a real shame to see a company like Simpson adopt this type of couldn’t care less approach but in the long run it will be they who lose out as another iconic brand fades into obscurity.

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Lisburn “and Castlereagh” city – they don’t want a fenian about the place.

Having recently divested themselves of several tens of thousands of catholic residents under the terms of the new super councils Lisburn was giddy with the prospect of, once again, asserting itself a city not “For everyone” as their blurb says, but for a predominantly protestant population.

The ink had hardly dried on the new borough and district council maps when Lisburn rather hastily, and questionably, rebranded itself “Lisburn and Castlereagh city”. New welcome signs were erected at city boundaries proclaiming “Welcome to Lisburn and Castlereagh city”.

This, quite understandably, caused some raised eyebrows and questions to be asked.

According to an unnamed spokeswoman for the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council speaking with the Irish News the position was that “Leading up to local government reform, Local Government (Transitional, Incidental and Consequential and Supplemental Provisions) Regulations (NI) 2015 allowed new councils, of which Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council is one, to take decisions in relation to charters, status and names. As per the regulations the legislation permitted the application of the borough charter to all of the new area, incorporating part of Castlereagh”.

The problem with this statement is that it doesn’t appear to be true. Nowhere in that particular  legislation is a right conferred to change the name of a city. The legislation is specific to councils and boroughs, not cities.

An astute observer had already highlighted this to Lisburn and Castlereagh City council and is awaiting a reply. Other questions have also been raised by the same individual both here and here.

Clearly, from their answer,  transportNI are of the opinion that there is no city called “Lisburn and Castlereagh city” for they continue to treat them as two separate entities.

Hopefully Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council will reply in a full, honest and transparent manner otherwise people might conclude that this renaming is in effect a celebration of what amounts to little more than religious ethnic cleansing where having offloaded a very considerable  number of their catholic residents (almost 21% of Lisburn’s total population) and in the course of doing so acquiring 62% of a borough council consisting of almost 68% protestant residents they are seeking to reassert some sort of sectarian or puritanical garrison town “We don’t want a fenian about the place” mentality.

It’s sad in this day and age that we apparently still have to endure this type of blatant sectarian bigotry.

Posted in Bigotry, Castlereagh, Dunmurry, Gerrymandering, Lisburn, Lisburn and Castlereagh city, Religious ethnic cleansing, West Belfast | Leave a comment

Greys / Hardy Greys “Unconditional lifetime guarantee” and customer services – update.

Well, further to my earlier post here after eight (8) days I’ve received a reply from Greys Customer Services. They tell me that the Missionary 10′ 3″ #7/8 is no longer in production so they cannot replace the broken tip section. They are suggesting a replacement rod at a 50% discounted price.

Some readers might find that type of deal acceptable but I have to say I have an issue with the offer.

My rod at the time of purchase was covered by a heavily advertized “Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee”, a fact that influenced my original purchase and subsequent purchases of Greys Missionary Rods. That “Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee” stated “Greys provide on all their rods an unconditional warranty good for the lifetime of the original owner. This is given in addition to your statutory rights, and covers fault or damage from any cause” Yes, that’s right, “Good for the lifetime of the original owner”, not for the lifetime of the rod itself.

Trading Standards give a fairly comprehensive synopsis of what a Guarantee is. It certainly doesn’t mention, nor does the original unconditional lifetime guarantee from Greys to which I subscribed, customers having to pay for a replacement item where they, as a result of their own actions, are unable to meet the terms of their own guarantee.

If Greys make a commercial decision to discontinue production of certain rods (and not carry parts) that is entirely their right. They do not however, as a result of any such decision, have the right to charge me for their failure to honour their responsibilities to me as defined under their unconditional lifetime guarantee terms which we entered into at the time of my purchase.

There is much speculation in angling circles about the quality of Greys rods having reduced somewhat since production was moved abroad and perhaps that is why they have tightened up on the terms of their current unconditional lifetime guarantee.

I have gone back to Greys seeking clarification on several points, including those above, and will post an update in the event that they reply.

In the meantime, tight lines.

Posted in Customer services, Greys, Hardy Greys | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greys / Hardy Greys fishing tackle. Their “unconditional lifetime guarantee” & “customer service”.


That’s the first piece of advice I’d give anyone contemplating buying anything of these two companies. Their supposed “Unconditional lifetime guarantee” is useless (little more than a con) and their “customer service” is atrocious.

Over the past few years I’ve spent in excess of £1000 on rods, reels, lines and other sundry items from Greys – in part due to the supposed reassurance offered by their unconditional lifetime guarantee – only to find this past week that they couldn’t care less about me as a customer or their reputation as a manufacturer.

My fly rod broke during set up a week ago today and I emailed then via their site under the terms of the lifetime guarantee afforded to their rods. To date, despite emails to sales@hardygreys.com and other approaches via their poorly (if at all) maintained social media “presence”, I have heard nothing whatsoever apart from the automated acknowledgement to my initial email via their site.

Their site is another joke. For the past seven days the “contact us” page reads as follows (even on weekends when they are closed).

fly.greysfishing.com 2014-8-11 12 30 43Clearly this is a company who once they’ve got your cash couldn’t care less about you.

I for one will never buy another Greys product and I will do my level best to ensure that other anglers I meet on the river bank, lakeside, fisheries, beaches and piers (and socially) don’t fall for their sales bluster and are made fully aware of their blatant disregard for anglers who face issues with items covered by their supposed “lifetime unconditional guarantee”.

I’ll be advising each and every one of them to research the market rather than going with a company who appear professional on the surface but engage in bait and switch once they have you hooked.

Goodbye Greys.

Posted in Poor customer service | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s been a complete fucking disHaasster.


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