Although the republican council in the city changed its own identity to Derry City Council in 1984, as a symbol of its rejection of the union with the United Kingdom and desire for unification with the Republic of Ireland, the High Court confirmed in a 2007 decision that the name of the city remained unchanged. There is no confusion here, even of locals prefer to call the city ‘Derry’ its offical and legal name is Londonderry.
So a certain amount of teeth grinding was provoked today when I heard news presenters and continuity announcers on BBC Northern Ireland – the state’s public service broadcaster – constantly referring to the city as ‘Derry Londonderry’ in a crass attempt to sit on the fence over the city’s name.
Neither the UK government nor the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont have changed the name of Londonderry. So why is the state’s publicly funded broadcaster being allowed to distort the official identity of Londonderry in this ludicrous manner?
It has long been asserted that BBC NI and Ulster Television (UTV) are reservoirs of republican support and sympathies. This editorial decision by the BBC does nothing to disprove that assertion. The default position of the self loathers and socialist broadcast activists at the Continuity BBC to place a premium on any stance that undermines anything British, but surely this sop to those who reject and oppose Northern Ireland’s British identity has no place on the state broadcaster. This contortion over the city’s name is only being carried out to appease the sensitivities of republicans in Londonderry.
Should the day come that the majority in Northern Ireland choose democratically to leave the union and subsume themselves into the Republic of Ireland, and Londonderry is renamed legally, will the BBC still refer to it as ‘Derry Londonderry’ to acknowledge the sensitivities of the unionists living in the city who wish to remain part of the UK and have so far resisited the republican cultural cleansing that has been taking place to drive protestant unionists out? Not bloody likely.
The BBC is still the United Kingdom’s fifth column, it remains the enemy within. This is just another example of it.