Mr Micawber and the Stormont House Agreement


Charles Dickens’s Mr Micawber was the hapless character who stumbled through life, hoping against hope that “something would turn up”. As we near the end of 2014, it looks as though the British and Irish governments, along with our political parties, have done the same.  They’ve addressed all the problems and postponed the evil day – but only postponed.

We’ve been ‘given’ £2billion –  but most of it is actually lent and will have to be paid back somewhere down the road. We’ve got or will get a Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition – but it won’t be reporting until two years from now. We’re to get a Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) which will be reporting in five years time. We’re to have an Independent Commission on Information Retrieval, set up jointly by the British and Irish governments. Any information it’s given will not be disclosed to law enforcement agencies (where have I heard that before?).  But it won’t be reporting until five years after its establishment. The Assembly will have fewer MLAs – just in time for the 2021 election.

You see  the pattern? The things that matter have been targeted, Something is being done – but nobody will know if it bore fruit until five years or more. In the meantime, who knows what will turn up?  Harold MacMillan knew: ‘Events, dear boy, events’.  For a start there definitely will be one election in the coming year (Westminster) but there might be two (the next Assembly is scheduled for 2016 but…) or even three (the Dail). Events like that would toss all the balls in the air. You could  conceivably have Martin McGuinness, First Minister of Northern Ireland, meeting with An Taoiseach Gerry Adams before Christmas 2015. Who would have envisaged such an appalling vista ten years ago? Or even five?  Events, dear boy, events. The only thing we know about the future is that it won’t be what we expected.



14 Responses to Mr Micawber and the Stormont House Agreement

  1. Am Ghobsmacht December 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Is this not a tad ‘ass-about-face’? Should our politicians not solve the problems first and then be ‘rewarded’?

    Should I be resident in no 10 Downing st I would quite simply have said “no money till ye wise up” and leave a list of demands (compiled by Mr Haass).

    And if the unionists kick off I’d whisper something about the increased likelihood of a border poll.


    • paddykool December 29, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

      Happy New Year Am Ghob …Hah Hah! Why is there no pop-eyed surprise at the conclusion of those talks? My attitude would be the same as yours. Where’s the product …? then I’ll show you the money. We have to wait years and years while they all sit on their hands getting a goodly wage …mulling over the same old stuff under new committee names….same old …same old with all of Haass’s conclusions shoved into the back of the drawer

      • Am Ghobsmacht December 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

        Happy new year to you too PK. My own expectations for the new year have taken a dramatic turn in the past 5mins with the kindly donation to myself by my in laws of some fiendishly strong liquor
        (NOTE: Dr C, on account of the afore mentioned moonshine could I ask that you be extra ‘Mary Whitehouse’ with regards to any of my late night contributions in the weeks to come…)

        • Jude Collins December 29, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

          Message received, AG. Over and out…

  2. Perkin Warbeck December 29, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    Such a tonic to see the gin-kneaded face of W.C. Fields in the role of Mr. Micawber in the role of Dickens Major, adorn today’s blography.

    Funny too how a comic genius with the initials he had should have so many of his most celebrated quips inspired by H2O. Such as: ‘You can’t trust water. Even a straight stick turns crooked in the stuff’.

    One has only to shy the most perfunctory of glances at the scissors-sister papers of The Unionist Times and the Sunday Independent Cult on Liffeyside to appreciate the truth of that observation. Whereas the former is staffed with the straightest of sticks the latter is up to its gills in long drinks of lukewarm water.

    The ‘scissors’ accessory there is fully justified: one must have a scissors to hand to snip the uproarious instances of droll humour with which both organs never fail to come replete. All of which humour being of the strictly unintentional kind, gan dabht/ of course.

    Take the garland of roses bedecked around the neck of the hero of the Belfast Talks in yesterday’s Sunday Independent Cult (sic). The hero who singlehanded knocked heads together and broke the deadlock, even as the seconds on the clock tick-tocked down.

    Well, actually, the hero who double-handed headlocked the Shinners, for it was they and they alone who were causing the logjam. (This is, after all, the Sunday Independent Cult,folks.)

    And the hero who goes un-namechecked in today’s blog. But, understandably so, as the face in the photo gives a clue obvious to all and Sundry but to the slowest of tardy thinkers and the quickest of Bacardi drinkers.

    One of course is referring to the fun-guy faced Foreign Affairs Minister of the Free Southern Stateen himself. Who else but he who selflessly cut short his junket on a junk ship down the Yangtze River to return home and away to Belfast. Not on a slow boat from China but a crafty aircraft. Who else, but the globetrotting Gael, lover of fine wines, and turbofan of turbojets, Charlie Chanagan.

    The hero who had but to utter his mantra and the job was oxo: ‘Waiting for tomorrow, waste of today’.

    Little wonder therefore that another of Charlie Chanagan’s throwaway aphorisms inspired the advertising jingle for the Sunday Independent Cult: ‘Before you make up your mind, open it’.

    The aphorism in question from being of a suitably aeronauctical stripe from the frequent flyer of FG: ‘Mind like parachute – only work when open’.

    (Point of information: although the junk ship was first developed during the, erm, Ming Dynasty, the Foreign Minister of the FSS say: ‘Same surname, no relation’).

    The other uproarious rip-tickler of an article over the weekend came from the almost empty biro of Ireland’s finest and Finest mind, Fintan ‘too poor to purchase a Parker’ O’Toole. In which he solemnly yet at the same time mischievously reminisced about the deprivations of his childhood Christmas in Chez O’Toole in the Calcutta-like slums of Crumlin in Darkest Dublin.

    And how the mammy was reduced to knitting a prezzi which would have done justice to Missus Fezziwig herself: certainly it brought one vast substantial smile to the face of Mother Ireland, while the rest of us – or at least Perkie’s inner Ebenezer anyway – were in knots and stitches even as the tears of sorrowful laughter tsunaimed down our cheeks.

    In a curious way, reading FOT in TUT is not unlike purchasing a roll of toilet paper: one does not wish to be seen doing so, but it is a chore as necessary as it is unavoidable.

    Charlie Chanagan say: ‘Buy toilet roll when you barf, read FOT when you want larf’.

    Which, curiously, by a commodious vicus of recirculation brings one back to where one started: WC Fields.

    Could the great Philly comedian have been of Irish descent, one wonders, and if so, which of the Four Greens could claim him?

    Perkie’s inner ‘user of perennial grass’ has his own opinion which he has scribbled down on his roll of t. paper with a view to including it in his time capsule.

    • Jude Collins December 29, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

      Love it, Perkie, Looooove it…Didn’t the bould W C F also reject H2O on the grounds (?) that fish screw in it? Many’s the true word is spoken in jest…And in vino, which of course has nothing to do with the publishing house Veritas.

  3. Iolar December 29, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    Brief survey

    It would appear that the foundations of the Stormont House Disagreement have no load bearing capacity given the discovery of cracks at a number of access points which were discovered during the Christmas truce. The lack of chivalry between the occupants of the house on the hill resembles the so-called Christmas truce of 1914 and the subsequent hostilities.

    The transition from democratic deficit to democratic institutions will remain problematic if there is no meaningful attempt to deal with legacy issues such as internment, torture, repression and extra-legal executions. Putting the past on the long finger will simply create a space for myths to flourish. The Great War was supposed to be the war that would end all wars, tell that to people in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.

  4. neill December 30, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    Am Ghobsmacht i have often wondered if you enjoyed one or two appetisers now i know!

    As for a border poll wouldnt cause me one iota of annoyance we would win it and to see SF admistrating british justice in Northern Ireland would cause me to have a very big chuckle indeed

    • Am Ghobsmacht December 31, 2014 at 7:47 am #

      Well Neill, I wasn’t thinking of you when I suggested the border poll as a stick to beat political unionism. They don’t want one as once the genie is out of that bottle he ain’t going back in.

  5. Argenta December 30, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    First Minister Mc Guinness meeting with An Taoiseach Gerry Adams! There’s more chance of Martin assuming that title than Gerry being the equivalent in Dublin.Is he not content with settling for Tanaiste in a future coalition.Whatever the disposition of the Southern electorate,I can’t see them voting in a Taoiseach whose associates were involved in the killing of Garda Mc Cabe.

    • Jude Collins December 30, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

      You could be right, Argenta. Mind you, enough of them voted to make SF the biggest party in Ireland.

      • Argenta December 31, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

        Is there not a difference between protest votes for a party in opposition and voting to put that party and its leader into power as the dominant grouping?Whatever your hopes,I can’t see Gerry Adams as Taoiseach.

        • Jude Collins December 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

          Logic-check required I think, Argenta. You are quite right that there’s a difference between a protest vote for an opposition party and a vote to put that party in power. However you haven’t offered any evidence that votes for SF (I assume you’re referring to them?) were for an opposition party by way of protest and would not be given in a general election. So it’s a baseless assumption – which may of course be right; but equally may be totally up the left…

          • Argenta January 1, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

            Only time will tell,Jude.