Reginald Maudling, a Conservative Home Secretary, reached destination despair with Northern Ireland, as Eamonn Mallie explained. Having hauled himself up the steps of the plane at Aldergrove after his first visit to Northern Ireland in 1972, he declared:
"For God’s sake bring me a large Scotch. What a bloody awful country."HBO executive Michael Lombardo also derided Belfast. Jeremy Paxman called the city one of the most “benighted” places in the world. Restauranteur Emma Bricknell called Belfast a “laughing stock”.
BBC reporter Julian O'Neil said an “image problem” may explain a fall in visitor numbers to Northern Ireland from across the border. Grayson Perry made a rather downbeat disparaging comment following a visit to Belfast, when he said:
"[Loyalism is] rooted in a vision of Britain that perhaps doesn’t completely gel with the modern 21st century idea of Britain we have nowadays."
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