The Metro-Textual

Having failed miserably to get “letsgetalongerism” and “the political overclass” into the Oxford English Dictionary, I am trying again with……..”Metro-Textual”. I hope it is original.

What is a Metro-Textual????

Well ……..let me put it this way. Being a political anorak and blogger is a lonely and difficult business. And frankly a bit tedious (as anyone who has read my stuff can testify).

But the tedium of being a blogger is relieved by looking at Twitter and Facebook and watching the Metro-Textuals at play. As a Blogger, I look on Metro-Textuals….in the same way I as a 60 year old Toy Soldier Collector looks at Dungeons and Dragons. It looks like fun……but I am a bit too old to start getting interested.

The Metro-Textual considers himself…….and herself as politically involved. …in much the same way that a fat man (or woman) considers themselves involved in Football because they wear a replica shirt. They are of course deluding themselves.

Friending Mark Durkan on Facebook (he has 4,608 friends already) and following Mark Devenport on Twitter (8,790 already) does NOT constitute political involvement.

It is merely one step up from swapping Panini Premiership stickers in the school playground. And this must make for great conversations in the school playground….(QUB Politics Society ?) of the Metro-Textuals.

“Oh my God….oh my God….Ken Reid (9,875 followers) just re-tweeted my tweet about Everton”

“Thats nothing………Naomi Long (4,273 friends) just wished me a happy birthday on Facebook”.

So who exactly is the Metro-Textual. Well……….political professionals and staffers certainly, journalists, trade unionists, politics students, Stratagem interns, lobbyists, charity and campaign activists and anyone who has ever had a vol au vent in the Long Gallery at Stormont. In other words not actually political activists at all…(only a small proportion could handle a Disability Living Allowance claim for a REAL person)…..they are networkers hoping for a little advancement.

Eveidence of this is that their choice of Friends/Followers is rather “wide”. Working for or membership of Sinn Féin, Alliance, UUP, SDLP, DUP……..they find kindred souls in other parties.

Where do they live? Well Tinternet means that technically they can live anywhere but the natural habitat is South Belfast, Queens University, East Belfast and North Down. And any coffee shop in the Cathedral Quarter that has an internet connexion.

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11 Responses to The Metro-Textual

  1. bangordub says:

    Mr Fitz,
    The question is of course, will you remain inside the SDLP tent now that you are no longer a member, technically? Or am I sensing a certain frustration?

    • I think Politics is actually the small picture.
      History is the bigger picture.
      To some extent no politician thinks beyond the next election.
      The work I am doing for Texas….a lot of is reviewing the 1960s 1970s etc…is running alongside contemporary stuff for this Blog. To give an example the City Hall Flegs Debate happened the same date, I had just prepared a piece for Texas on the Flags and Emblems Act, Divis Street Riots etc.
      I think I am much more interested in (say) 2025.
      Too many are focused on short term or isolated incidents.

      • factual says:

        Hi is 2025 the year you expect a UI to be achieved?

      • No ….2024.
        Take a look at the Star Trek:Next Generation episode “The High Ground”, you will note that Data refers to Irish Unity having taken place in 2024.

        I think that nobody can predict the Future. Ireland in any form will certainly outlast any political philosophy and I chose 2025 because I will be 73 years old and near the end of my (active) life.
        So the next 12 or so years will determine how I end my days.

        Its not just about Irish Unity. The lesson of History is surely that Ireland is dependent on other events. For example the “Glorious” Revolution in 1688 and subsequent Hacobite Wars, the American and French Revolutions, World War One, World War Two……….the Famine, periodic Depressions including the current economic melt down.
        And the attempt to control the agenda with (say) a Decade of Centenaries is already I suggest a disaster. Even as recently as two months ago there were people who believed Peter Robinsons outreach to Catholics was THE big dea that would save the Union. But on 2nd January….the Flags dispute and the Census has exposed the folly of all that.
        So for nationalists and unionists alike there are some very unpredictable traps out there.
        For example if a global war DID break out in the Middle East or Indian sub continent it would have an effect here. If tensions between northern and southern Europe got so much that it actually led to terrorism, fighting between national armies and European federalists……it would have an effect.
        And there are potential game changers here….dissident republican or loyalist violence or perhaps the whole Agreement breaking up over the arrest/s of 1970s people.
        There are just too many things we cannot predict.
        And likely as not the “issue” will be a very small one.

  2. factual says:

    Interesting to read from Bangordub that you have left the SDLP.

    Only Sinn Féin can deliver a fairer Ireland, committed to redistribution from rich to poor

    • Jesus wept. I have NOT left the SDLP
      My subscription like everybody elses subscription was due on New Years Day and in the next few days a letter so advising will drop thru the letter-box. And I daresay next time I am in Belfast, I will pop into the office and hand over some cash and probably try to claim a discount as a senior citizen.
      Do you get a student discount with Sinn Féin?

    • bangordub says:

      I have to add this for your own good factual.
      I too believe in a fair distribution of wealth and a fair Ireland. Please explain how ONLY SF can deliver this.

  3. bangordub says:

    For accuracy, I was questioning whether Mr Fitz was going to leave, not that he had. If you want to argue the SF agenda go for it, btw

  4. Metro-textuals, I like that one FJH. They have many, many names including hipsters, try-hards and my favorite, dickheads. Granted, all of the previous are usually primarily for fashion, music and art but in Belfast this is all largely the same crowd.

    Soooooo, my gift this New Year is this little ditty we all laughed to over when I worked in LDN; I’m sure you guys will like…

  5. factual says:


    The recent Lucid Talk poll suggests that the SDLP are in decline and won’t have the power to bring about labour policies.

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