betelgeuse peace walls

Snug under the canopy of my trusted umbrella , the wind is trying its damndest to tear the old bumbershoot out of my grasp. I’m watching two sooty rooks battling and seemingly playing through the hard spears of rain and I’m thinking and wondering…they really must love this kind of cold aggravation  or they’d be similarly snug as myself, canopied under a handy tree or bush.

The Secretary of State for Norneverland has just issued another of the seasonal initiatives in a  novel  “attempt” to solve the marching situation and her  concern for the few contentious parades.What she doesn’t really understand is that, like those two  playful rooks , the natives of this benign land love nothing better than a bit of contention and aggravation.Obviously a fan of baseball and its arcane intricacies, she has urged the business commmunity and civic and religious leaders to join her   bubbling enthusiam for the sport and to “step up to the plate” too..

It’s the Marching impasse again. Fewer people care every year about the backwash of it. They view it as something of a ritualised sport , in much the same way that football performs the function of a controlled war game..If  the supporters want to camp out at Twaddell for ever  and sing tribal campfire songs…let them camp..What is the problem anyway?  Take the police away and install a CCTV  camera and let them get on with it in comparative safety. Most people wouldn’t have the time to camp out all year round.They could only dream of this kind of freewheeling life without mortgages or rent to pay.What harm can it do ? You shouldn’t need anything more than  a few cameras like in any town centre and it would save a fortune in police time. They could even be solar -powered and run on daylight.

Are these people all  insane ? Madness!? Politicians are still worrying about this stuff.

This kind of thing might look very sensible when projected on the back wall of Nigel Dodds MP’s  brain ,or in UKIP’s David McNarry’s mind  too … but when they open their  mouths  to actually emote their thoughts , does Mr Dodds MP’s   irony filter never, ever kick in and stop him from putting his perfectly formed foot between his teeth? He’s not on his own …Maybe, someone got it wrong , but David McNarry MLA ,  apparently said, or was reported to have said in the newspapers, {which may be an entirely different thing}, that…..”To its shame the NIO { that’s the  Norneverland Office}.. does not operate  a pro-union , pro -British agenda befitting a government office of her majesty’s government”. This is , again , in relation to marching up and down the roads of the land .Does he think that any of this is vaguely “British”. I dare say many Britons would scratch their heads in wonder.

Now unless you’ve been living some 600 light years away  ,on the far side of  the unstable Betelgeuse ,{part of Orion, a bright winter constellation in the Northern Hemisphere…it might blow up at anytime in this next million years and we could all possibly blow up with it},…. this past fifty or one hundred , odd years , you’ll understand  that there is nothing remotely “normal” or completely pro-British  about the situation in Norneverland and there never has been  for hundreds of years…Yes, I did say “completely” ….Her Maj and her government have long-since accepted  that fact and gradually aknowledged that far from being  a completely pro-union land and in step with what is multi-cultural ,secular  “normality” in the UK, Norneverland is actually a   small alien unstable  world , too, in a situation of  constant, creeping transition and it didn’t get like that by accident. There are reasons, causes and effects that have made it so. For that reason, after much conflict ,the inhabitants of this green and pleasant land were steered into an agreement that attempted to save them from their well-entrenched hatreds  of each other and stop them from eventually turning their hands  to some kind of cultural cannibalism..Yes, they would probably , eventually have gotten around to eating each other’s flesh when there was nothing and nobody else ,  left to kill. It might only have taken another few  years or another generation  but it was coming….but then  it stopped.

So what stopped it?

A few men with a vision for a more even-handed society ,dreamed of a fairer and less violent future. Instead of hatred and  killing , there was to  be  sharing, talk, debate and a form of consensus politics that would accept that there really were  at least two sides to the story…and possibly even more… and that any kind of an agreed future would always be openly discussed and hopefully resolved  by debate.. Cultural   and tribal variations and interpretations of the law would be translated into languages so that all the Lilliputians…. both the round egg – enders , the sharp egg -enders and those who preferred omelettes  would understand each other equally ….and so it began…..

The thing that has exercised Mr Dodds  and Mr McNarry ,is the unsolved “Marching agenda”.There is an absolute stonewall right there and it is based entirely on bad behaviour in the past.There has been no agreement and no meeting of minds. It’s accepted that there  should be   a low-level  debate about behaviour and manners on particular routes in Norneverland …specifically “bad manners”.It always has revolved around bad manners, really. It’s that simple.It didn’t get that way by accident either. That’s the kind of thing that has taken generations of hatred to arrive at. It’s practically , to all intents, set in stone,  now that the  bad manners have resulted in huge  walls built to divide and protect some of the natives from their neighbours’ worst excesses; you might say that the bad manners have taken on  a “traditional” aspect ,so it’s hardly a surprise that in some areas  there would be practical problems, even  allowing the natives to  mix.It;s become traditional to have bad manners. They really do enjoy this kind of antagonism in much the same way young children enjoyed the thrill of a “good old riot” and entertained themselves nightly in ritualised  buffonery and car- stealing. You might scoff,  but It’s the kind of thing that brought  a certain piquant spice to an otherwise boring life .Changing something as unique as that behaviour , will never be easy.

The huge fifteen or twenty foot high walls  that they’ve built ,might give all of them a sense of security , but they are hardly “normal” or very “British”. If they are going to insult each other and throw objects over these walls at each other , nothing will ever change  anytime soon anyway.They’ll all have to have a lot of civilised conversations before there is a solution to any of this.  So far none of these real conversations have happened .i imagine the walls will still be there in another generation because the natives have gotten used to them by now.They have now also become traditional.They are a cultural expression.

As Mr Dodds already knows , there is nowhere else  in any  other part of the UK or on the island of  Ireland that has huge edifices built to separate the population.

In this obviously transitional period between darkness and the hopefully ,coming- light , the government of Her Maj has decided in their undoubtedly , hard- won  wisdom ,that the position of Secretary of State should be in the safe hands of someone who will not say yea or nay and who will work in such an even-handed way that she will never frighten the skittering  horses  of either tribe. She must remain as bland as pablum and as child -safe as semolina at all times, so as not to encourage either side to believe that they are being played as favourites.

In that respect Theresa Villiers  can be seen to have done a sterling job by saying not very much at all  and in ably mastering the cliches of government. Her successor will doubtless be “stepping up to yet another  plate ” sometime soon too. The best way to deal with the natives of Norneverland is to constantly change  the Secretary of State and  allow the natives some space to talk or not to talk or whatever it is they reallt want to do..She is probably , even now preparing  gradually for an end to her tenure in Norneverland . Her replacement is in all likelihood , now being  quietly briefed  in some dimly- lit room for the eventual handover of the reins , while he or she awaits the tribes entry into the much- heralded future debate on marching and its associated issues. This is one for the natives to sort out themselves.

Of course the government of Her Maj doesn’t really expect that to be anytime soon..

2 Responses to AT THE FAR SIDE OF BETELGEUSE by Harry McAvinchey

  1. Iolar February 23, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

    “Always marching, never forward…”

    The current furore concerning the alleged racist abuse of a black man attempting to board a Paris Métro is currently the subject of a rigorous investigation, which is appropriate in the circumstances. The alleged incident sparked outrage and condemnation. The response provides food for thought in the context of sectarianism and racism in the north of Ireland.

    In contrast to the reaction concerning alleged racism in Paris, it would appear that no one bats an eyelid when children appear at a bonfire with the initials, “KAT” on their foreheads. No concerns about suspected or actual child abuse? Adults using cherry pickers to construct bonfires appear to be the norm. Tyres are disposed of on bonfires with apparent disregard for property or the environment. “Hate your next door neighbour, but don’t forget to say grace… .” Perhaps it is just a tale of two cities?

    “You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden.” Allen Ginsberg

  2. Perkin Warbeck February 24, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    The prospect on the Island of Ireland of Nigel Dodds becoming First Minister in the North while Enda Kenny is Prime Minister / T in the South is remote.

    Nonetheless, the very mental impulse alone is sufficient to send a chill marching up and down the spine of even the most genial and warm-hearted of invertebrates. Just imagine the blue skies which would hang high over the I of I during the simultaneous rule of the two Primes: the Prim and the Priimitve.

    The Primate of Ireland meets the Primate of All Ireland.

    Though the chance of its happening are are not on the cards / ar chomhcheim le iomanaithe Antroma ag leagadh lamha ar Liam McCarthy, still the old adage ought not be discounted: a week T is a a long time in politics. As any Nordie who comes to Southie has discovered.Never not say Neanderthal is another wise old saw-toothed saw in public affairs, which one discounts as one’s Beryl the Peril..

    Nige may well have to content himself with his sterling work in matters both rsik-free and fiscal. And this is where he bears an uncanny resemblance to another Nordie whose influence got up on its bike and pedalled south of the Black Pig’s Dyke.

    Take a bow/ bualadh bas for Ernest Blythe/Earnan de Bladhd. This blythe spirit (Jailbird thou never were) it was who, as Minister for Finance in the Free Southern Stateen, snipped off one penny from the ten penny weekly pension for the hard-up and wrinkled. And smiled that same feline smile of Chesire as he nodded his approval of the die-hards to be ripped in front of the firing squad during the Swivel War.

    Earnanomics, it’s called. Nige has more than, erm, earned his spurs to be classified as a genuine Earnomicist. Dismal, rather.

    And then thee is the bank link which linketh. Keen students of the human physiognomy often wonder at Nigel Dodds’s visceral need to be in the public eye. They point to his obsessional devotion to the face book as the evidence which puzzleth.

    But refer to his framed portrait which he insisted be hung in the foyer of the new House of Primates in Belfast Zoo (check it out !) as the evidence which truly baffleth and passeth all mere human understanding. This hanging took place under his watch during his spell in ermined office as the alderberry-chewing Alderman or some ceemonial role as such.

    It may well turn out to the most enduring of his political legacies..

    Let Cave Hill stave off Forgetfulness

    Dodds can’t have enough of stuff like tripods
    Or the marching rough-shod in July by Prods
    Like Ernest B he says
    Self importance pays
    Tight-wads give haircuts unlike Sweeny Todds.

    Know wot ah mean, ‘arry?