ballon deflated  1

Politics are a joke in Norneverland . If that simple fact wasn’t evident during this past few days it’ll never be again. Theresa Villiers , the  Secretary of State  has begun making noises as we near Christmas time and people are distracted with shopping and planning for family re-unions, Christmas parties, charity raffles and pantomimes ; not to mention the coming of one Mr Claus to our children and grandchildren.The year’s elastic band is winding down.

She’s, just now,  poked a small hole in the balloon of “the Talks” {Remember them?} and is gradually letting  the air of expectation out  incrementally , like a slow silent fart.You know how stale air in an old tyre stinks? That’s the kind of stale foul odour she wants to sneakily emit while we are all otherwise distracted.We could have told her that the Talks circus would come to nothing, just as the political body of Stormont has failed to deliver proper politics. It  is a simple fact that no matter how many salaries have been paid out to ministers and their various busy little teams of paper- shufflers that there has been no true engagement .It’s like hiring a team of painters to finish painting your home within two weeks , only to find them still sitting drinking tea and having a smoke when you come back ….Except that these ministers  been paid already by us.They’ll be paid whether or not they do anything.

The DUP were never going to engage in any viable talks .They would rather take the money and sit on their hands than cobble out a compromise with nationalism or anyone else . Politics is the art of  compromise . They’ve never been good at this game ,so there’s nothing left for them to do but sow seeds of confusion and distraction and pretend they are actually working.The Haass talks ended with him throwing his hands in the air in total bafflement .He wasn’t baffled by their fantastic eloquence or their crystal minds .He was confounded by their lack of credible engagement and also by the stupidity and truculence of some of their followers.They’d consulted with Jamie Bryson  and Willie Fraser , for gawdsake! That was  like bringing in Daffy Duck and the Teletubbies  to debate..The company they kept wasn’t with intellectual giants after all.. He knew that their hearts weren’t in it anyway because they had to appeal  to a very unsophisticated political base, many of whose political and social  ideas had not developed beyond the sixteenth century .How was he ever going to cover those four hundred years? .He just didn’t know how he could help them to learn the game for the 21st century. There would never be enough time.

Here we are a year later , pretty much in the same place  that we were this time last year except with even more additional bitterness in the mix.. In the intervening months  much  time has been spent sowing poison as a further distraction; anything at all to hold back social progress and waste time and money. Promises and deals had already been reneged on as the Irish and British governments looked away and allowed it to happen, even though they were co-guarantors for much of it. .  It began with flags and parades but it soon evolved into tirades against foreigners, Muslims , Irish speakers, Irish culture  and homophobia. There were the usual attacks on Sinn Fein , of course , but that’s only to be expected.They are the bete noir  after all and every opportunity to give them a kicking will never be missed.Gerry Adams is fair game but he’s fit for it.He’s proven that many times, so at least he’s consistent.

I may have missed something else .Oh yes, there was also the attempt to censor a play, wasn’t there?. All of that goes against the grain of a modern British or Irish society so the wonder is that unionism , especially the more virulent sort in corners of  the DUP, actually wants to be British at all. It is a conundrum, like much of life here..

The year is closing as a pantomime  Punch and Judy show. A daily tit for tat of insults that have ground politics to a stop. One minister stands up at a conference and  insults some half of the population and is joined in applause by his companions . Some twenty four hours later another minister conversationally refers to some of those companions as “bastards”.

I don’t believe anyone was really surprised. Do you?

4 Responses to POLITICS ARE A JOKE  IN NORNEVERLAND by Harry McAvinchey

  1. Perkin Warbeck November 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    If politics are a joke in Norneverland, Harry, they go one better in the Free Southern Stateen, where they are a b. joke.

    As one must be careful with the b-word these days hence the abbreviation.to the initial b. Speaking of which, there has been some discussion in this blog of regarding one of the b-words used in Enniskillen of late and what is its proper form in the plural.

    Personally, Perkie favours Biloxi. Not least for a number of coincidental reasons. In 1988 a movie was directed by the recently deceased Mike Nichols, and based on the play by Neil Simon: ‘Biloxi Blues’. It starred b for Broderick, as in Mathew, an actor not unfamiliar with Enniskillen.

    And it contains a quote which is curiously similar to the definition given by Brendan Behan’s father for the word ‘dastard’: ‘something you have to work extremely hard to become’.

    In the fillum, a character called Toomey remarks: ‘ You need three promotions to get to be an asswhole’. Despite his surname this Toomey was not actually a Shamus, but rather a Sergeant in the military.

    Not entirely unapt considering Enniskillen for such a tidy wee town is coming down in two B for BA Regiments. Rather appropriate too that both the Fusiliers and the Dragoons plumped for the Inniskilling spelling. The third and fourth syllables are what they did and possibly still do.(B for Brigadier K. Myers, CBE, would perhaps be the b for best authority to consult on such matters of a military stripe).

    Things tend to come in twos in Enniskillen. Like the two Dublin dramatists educated in the local Portora School, neither of whom was the above mentioned, B. Behan. They were, of course, B for Beckett and W for Wilde.

    Like the novel in leprechaun ‘Mo Dha Mhici’ by local novelist, Seamas Mac Annaidh. Perkie’s inner prude would not even wet dream about translating the title. Much less suggest Big Chief Crooked Mouth buy a copy for Nollaig/Christmas as a way of currying yoghurt-flavoured favour with the local MLA, Arlene the Ultramarine. Sure, the wee girleen wouldn’t even know where to begin with a book with a double-barrelled title like that.

    Mind you, it was the T-word which most exercised the gawmentariat south of the Black Pig’s Dyke after the brace of b-words had shot their b for bolt. That would be the T for Trojan Horse.

    Even the unspeakable Cola Can in Sinister House suffered a convulsion of the hissy fits for the second week on the trot as he threshed around, whinnying like a highly strung thoroughbred in a wooden horse box on the way to the Cheltenham GCHQ Listening Post, oops, meant to write Festival which involves first past the post races.

    It should be pointed out, in fairness (footy speak) that Sean Barrett, TD (for it is he) was not just any old insurance broker before he broke into politics, but rather, a b for bloodstock insurer, to be sure, to be sure. Hence, his perfectly understandable touchiness where T-horses are concerned. There’ll be no buttering of their hay on his watch.

    Sean of couse is the leprechaun for John which is not by way of a prelude to the assertion that his grandfather was either a jarvey or a leprechaun itself but rather to note the coincidence of another John making the hoarse head lines during the week.

    For murdering while in someone else’s Bath Inn, a ballad in memory of Joe McDonnell who did nothing to deserve that fate. Speaking of trots, incidentally, (see above) one wonders what the Man who is Thursday in The Unionist Times makes of this recent sixpenny spat about a song. Put money in thy purse, indeed.

    The columnists of the sacred and pontifical TUT are not known as the St Ainthood for nothing, compirsing as they entirely do of those drawn from the ranks of the St aters, St oops and St icks.

    According to the nursery rhyme ‘Thursday’s child has far to go’ and who is there to deny that wee Eamonn McCann (for it is he !) has come a long way: from the Foyle to the Liffey, from the b for the barricaded barrio of the Bogside to the n for the nice and nosebagged niche in TUT.

    This is the organ of record, of course, which is located on Easy Street where the effete meet to bleat and compete with one another to see who can best make their ‘n’s’ meet. Looking at the last letters of the name in question, both first and surname, the rest are only trotting after Thursday’s child.

    He had a most moving piece on the Great Donkey Derby 14-18 recently in which he showed he is as adept at wielding a shovel-ready cliche with the best of them. Naturally he devoted a trench-long chunk of the column to the impromptu ceasefire on Xmas Day (somehow in Perkie’s opinion a more suitable designation for the festival of death that was in it) when the opposing muddy squaddies threw down their blah blah blah blah.

    What caught Perkie’s attention was the copious use of the F-word. F for Football. Now, one is all too cognisant of the fact that the columnist in q. is a loyal follower of the bandy-legged boys in Candystripes who play in the Brandywell and nothing at all wrong (or untoward, to employ an adjective from the TUT-approved terminology) with that. Far from it.

    But, doesn’t the name of the game they play and ploy their trade at, not called by the s word, soccer?

    One hears M. O’Neill, OBE from Kilrea in the County of Londonderry use the F-word quite a deal too. Not least as he wears his poppy proudly in his loyal lapel. This wee M.O.N. of course is also known as the A.T.M. (as in Adjuster of Thoughful Myopia-coping spectacles).

    What Perkie’s rather flummoxed inner member of Densa would like for The Man who is Thursday to clarify is as follows: if the muddied squaddies with their hearts of oak were playing F for Football what were such Oakies as Gentleman Jim McKeever, Sean McConnell, Hugh Francis McGribben, Malachy McAfee, Eamonn Coleman, Anthony Tohill, and others too n. to mention in the b for Brolly Organisation aka the GAH playing all these years?

    Or to put it more simply: what exactly was Gerry McElhinney at before he switched to, erm, F for Football?

    Could it – Dia idir sinn agus Londaindoire ! – have been …. the B for Bogball?

    Politics may well be political in its own way but it’s nothing half as political as S for Sport.

  2. paddykool November 29, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    Mighty Perk…..I think you just sucked all the air out of the room…..!

  3. michael c November 29, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Eamon would never have got within a donkey’s roar of the INM group or the paper of record when he was classed as a “provo trot” by Harris and co.He is now suitably house trained as evidenced by his unrelenting use of ” Northern Ireland” and regurgitating of sindo nonsense as fact.

  4. Randall Stephen Hall November 30, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    I could not agree more Harry. Frustrating, isn’t it?