Wednesday, February 15, 2006

You're Not Good Enough




STORMONT PARLIAMENT BUILDING, BELFAST


When I was a kid we lived in a house that adjoined the Stormont Parliament grounds in east Belfast. The building had been mothballed at that stage; the last devolved Unionist government having been dissolved by Edward Heath in 1973.

My mates and I used to climb over a fence at the bottom of the garden and play in the woodland in the grounds. I suppose we were trespassing, but no one ever said anything. It was excellent cowboys and Indians territory, and there was much whooping and hollering.

These days I have ambivalent feelings about the Stormont building. It has a magnificent neo classical frontage, and sits on a hill at the end of a mile long drive. It is imposing, but not in the right way. The building, with its statue of a belligerent Edward Carson outside, seems to be announcing to the populace of Northern Ireland that they aren’t good enough. Imposing architecture quite often has that effect, cowing the people whose sovereignty it represents.

John Hume was once asked what he thought should be the role of Stormont. He replied that it should be turned into a golf club. I’ve always regarded Hume as an irascible wee shite, but I’m inclined to agree with him.

Northern Ireland should have a new Parliament building like Scotland. Stormont is so heavily weighted with unpleasant history and negative imagery that it can never serve a society as divided as Ulster. It would make an excellent hotel and conference centre, and I’m sure there must be room for an eighteen hole golf course in the enormous grounds.

Images and symbols are potent. If Northern Ireland wants to start afresh a new building would be a good place to begin.

12 comments:

Wyndham said...

Nice car, though.

MHN for short said...

18 hole golf course with a nice convention center or hotel attached would be just the ticket.

So, who do you need to contact so you can get credit for that lovely idea of yours?

garfer said...

1967 Ford Anglia. Lovely black vinyl seats and a 70mph top speed.

Nifty.

The politicians probably wouldn't have much time for my idea. Then again, nobody has much time for the politicians.

Sniffy said...

They could build a new Parliament building, but have something that doubled as a huge shopping centre so that they could recoup some of the overspend that's bound to occur.

garfer said...

The Scottish parliament was supposed to cost £40 million. It ended up costing £400 million.

Naturally nobody got sacked. The mp's offices have 'think pods'. They should spend more time there and think themselves out of existence.

garfer said...

I hate the very idea of MENSA. A society for clever people, how crap is that?

MHN for short said...

Now, now sounds like sour grapes. Are you sure that you are not a member of MENSA? You certainly are smart enough.

Kyahgirl said...

I think its a pretty good idea too. But then, why would they capitalize on a good idea? They'll probably just do something wasteful and unproductive with the property.

Its a beautiful property though.

funny thing said...

Ford Anglias rock. We had one when I was a kid... in the summer the seats got so hot that you needed a skin graft on the backs of your legs if you wore a skirt.
Which I did, under protest.

Turn it into a nightclub. Or a paintballing venue.

garfer said...

I suppose it could be turned into an upmarket pole dancing venue, but the Rev Ian Paisley might have a few things to say about that.

S.I.D. said...

I agree!
Have you ever been in it garfer?

I was in it just before they all buggered off.

Its absolutely disgusting, filthy.
Its should be closed as a health risk.

Dirty bastards

MHN for short said...

Hey Garfer. Come by and take a look at my latest post. I think you'll get a kick out of it. ;-D