Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Unweaving the web

Say No to sectarianismThis isn't something I ever saw myself doing but I feel it is the right thing to do.

There is a unionist site called A Tangled Web which is a site I have visited for quite some time, indeed since before I created United Irelander. It is quite a controversial site and has had many critics. Whenever it has been criticised, say, on Slugger O'Toole, I have defended it. When a blogger I respect alot, Gerry O'Sullivan, asked for A Tangled Web site owner David Vance to remove his link as he disliked the content there, I thought he had overreacted. When an Irish blogger, EWI from Free Stater, suggested that those who link to A Tangled Web are in a way endorsing their views, I scoffed at the notion.

I feel I was wrong on all counts.

Andrew McCann has, in my opinion, made A Tangled Web into a hate site and permit me to highlight the straw that broke the camel's back.

On Monday, anniversary of Bloody Sunday, McCann wrote this post entitled, "Roll up, Roll up for the Great MOPE fest". Let me highlight a passage from this disasterpiece:

"They do it every year. The same 7,000 - 10,000 no-brainers assemble in a bastion of Londonderry's Provodom to march in tandem in memory of 13 law-breakers who were accidentally killed by members of HM Armed Forces during an illegal procession. May I remind viewers that the illegal procession was against the principle of internment or, to use bogside-standard English, a march in support of idea that terrorists who killed dozens without warning should somehow be treated exactly the same as someone who has defaulted on their HP repayments. Without beating around the bush, this was a Provo march, in support of Provo scum, harbouring Provo scum who thought they could take pot-shots at lawfully instituted members of the Army without so much as a water pistol being fired in return. When the Army personnel on duty that fateful day said: 'Sod this for a game of terrorists', they fired back. Unfortunately they killed the wrong people: people who would be alive today but for their propensity to demonstrate implicit support for the IRA and a desire to break the law."

This is stomach-churning stuff and as someone who has written on behalf of the rights of victims here on United Irelander before, such as through my condemnation of the OTR legislation, to link to a site that posts this crap makes me appear devoid of decency. I glanced at another McCann disasterpiece from yesterday entitled "Deconstructing Twaddle". He writes:

"Imagine, if you can bear it, having to sit in an audience listening to this diatribe of Hiberno-drivel from Mary 'I'm President of Oireland but I was really born British' McAleese. She was speaking at a function at UCC examining the legacy of the 1916 terrorists, sorry, 'freedom fighters', I'll revert back to my original description, 'terrorists', in Irish history. Scroll down the coverage in Daily Provo and one can conceptualise the scenes around her. Cries of 'begorrah'; plates of bacon, colcannon and relish aplenty; shamrocks adorning the walls; renditions of the Fields of Athenry filling the atmosphere in a heady euphoric trance of worship at the images of Patrick 'Images of naked little boys and homosexuals are my biggest turn-on' Pearse scattered around the room. Our forefathers here in the UK fought against the might of a really evil regime - that of the Nazis. But could you comprehend any British politician or our Queen talking about our struggle against Hitler using such blarneyesque, schmaltzy, rhetorical sentimentality? No, our political classes are far more mature than that."

Such anti-Irish vitriol. I have turned a blind eye to it in the past but enough's enough. I took a look at this post from Jo over at JoBlog and she highlights the comments from some of the contributors to A Tangled Web. They are incredibly disappointing and pathetic comments and I have decided to take the advice of The Phantom and Jo, two bloggers I respect, as to how to deal with the site - ignore it.

I should perhaps explain why I have linked to the site for so long. I first started United Irelander having been inspired by two blogs, Slugger O'Toole and A Tangled Web. Slugger was my first real foray into Irish blogging but it was A Tangled Web that really convinced me that setting up a blog was worthwhile. I had visited the blog back when it was on Blogger rather than Typepad. When I started up United Irelander, ATW gave me plenty of support. They wrote this post in support of me while Slugger wrote this post in support of me. I appreciated that.

Let me say this to David Vance. I respect you. I respect you even though you and I agree on very little. I think you are an excellent writer who articulates his views well. I think you have alot to offer the blogosphere. However, I think Andrew McCann lets you down. He is turning your site into a hate site. He will bring you publicity sure enough, but at what cost?

The only reason I have linked to A Tangled Web for so long is because of David Vance. I've debated with him for a long time and I do honestly respect his views. McCann and I have rarely gotten along, going back to our days on Slugger. If David Vance wasn't there I never would have linked to the site in the first place. I think McCann's views are sad and I don't even bother challenging him on them any more. That's all he wants anyway.

So it's come to this. The Irish nationalist tradition of the boycott. I'm sad that it has come to this as I have spoken well of ATW in the past and I will say to David that if he parts ways with McCann I'd gladly endorse his site yet again. Only David knows the value McCann brings to his site.

In conclusion, I will now endeavour to avoid A Tangled Web and to cease commenting there. I would also appreciate it if David would remove the link to United Irelander from his site just as I have done with my link to his site. I'm not sure if my boycott of the site will have any great impact on A Tangled Web but to continue ignoring the hatred on the site makes me devoid of integrity and character.

Visitors to United Irelander can decide for themselves if the site is worth visiting and commenting on. I have visited and commented there for a very long time so I won't think any less of anyone who chooses to do so.

United Irelander no longer endorses the site though.


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