High drama in high places

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Sometimes – in fact almost always- disastrous political events make edge-of-seat TV viewing. I remember Watergate and the slow political death of Nixon. I was living in Canada at the time and night after night, the American network channels came on with yet another jaw-dropping development as  the tide of deceit and brutality grew higher and higher, until Richard Nixon finally went down glugging his resentment.

The political events we’re living through aren’t quite as gripping but they’re near enough, near enough.

Take the Brussels parliament yesterday. Nigel Farage showed how life can imitate art, almost down to the exact dialogue. When the shambling Jonah Ryan character in Veep gets elected to Congress, his first words in his acceptance speech are directed at his high school classmates who always claimed he’d amount to nothing. “Well, who’s laughing now?” Jonah yells. In Brussels yesterday, Nigel Farage: “Seventeen years ago when I said I wanted Britain to leave the EU, you all laughed. Well, you’re not laughing now!” In fiction, it’s a hoot. In reality, it’s undignified and truly nasty. But riveting viewing.

Aly Smith, the SNP MEP, got to his feet waving a map of Scotland and calling for “cool heads and warm hearts”, as he begged the EU “not to let Scotland down”. At which point  the rest of the parliament rose to their feet in thunderous applause.

Martina Anderson had a go at a reprise of Smith’s performance: “If English votes drag us out of the EU, that would be like Britannia waives the rules again!”. I’m not sure how many of the translations caught her play on words, but the acceptance of her words, delivered with unbridled passion (have Sinn Féin put something in her porridge recently?) was clear. The EU now know, if they ever doubted,  that parts of the UK are unhappy, even angry with the idea of leaving Europe.

Back in Britain, we had a ringside seat as Jeremy Corbyn called a meeting of Labour MPs. The result:   loads of empty seats. Beside Corbyn his deputy party leader Tom Watson looked like someone on a date wondering  how the hell he can get away? The BBC obligingly gave us sub-titles so we could see that Corbyn was telling his spin-meister Seumas Milne  that he didn’t think this was a good idea, and almost instantly the meeting was abandoned.

Much politics must be unbearably tedious, as  wind-bags  in love with the sound of their own voices chunter on about some pet project.  Over the past few days Brussels and London  have given us a ringside seat to watch the political gladiators fight to the death.  There are those who detest Gerry Adams, and especially his tweets. But with masterly understatement he summed up what we’re all going through at the moment: ‘Interesting times’.

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17 Responses to High drama in high places

  1. john Patton June 29, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    Alyn Smith may equally have had a new ingredient in his porridge but it was a memorable speech which the EU Parliament wanted to hear and a rousing overture to the FM’s visit to Brussels today. It also struck a chord with the home audience which is determined not to be sidelined by the result of the Referendum.

  2. billy June 29, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    interesting times………stormont doesnt seem to think so,they have just closed up shop for a 10week holiday in the middle of it all,some representation we have lol.aly smith thought that was his braveheart moment it lasted about 30seconds,i couldnt understand half of what anderson was saying because of the high pitch shouting.farage puts it up to them thats why they hate him.back in britian corbyn will never make pm he just hasnt a clue.as you say windbags.

  3. Antaine de Brún June 29, 2016 at 9:31 am #

    Mr Nixon once said:

    “I’m glad I’m not Brezhnev, in the Kremlin you never know if someone’s tape recording what you say.”

    The thoughts of some politicians are now a matter of record in the wake of the referendum.

    Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister is talking to Nicola Sturgeon about various options concerning Gibraltar and Scotland as Spanish politicians raise the issue of Spanish sovereignty.

    The leader of Plaid Cymru has also called for the people of Wales to start discussing
    the possibility of the country becoming independent. Plaid has long advocated
    independence for Wales.

    Martina Anderson and Diane Dodds articulated deep divisions with their respective
    comments in Brussels yesterday, while back home in the Assembly, it’s holiday time,
    however, every exit implies an entrance to somewhere else and a week is a long time
    in politics.

    • Belfastdan June 29, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

      I am afraid Wales is going nowhere. The Welsh save their patriotism for sport, but they are joined by the hip to England and as a country voted for Brexit.

      One has only to see the increased vote for UKIP in the Welsh Assembly elections to see that there is no desire at all in Wales for independence.

      • Ryan June 29, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

        I think your right Belfastdan.

        I don’t know if that footage of the Welsh soccer team cheering and celebrating wildly when England was humiliated by Iceland was genuine but one thing is for sure, the Welsh are joined at the hip with the English when it comes to politics. Why is this? Well again I believe its a low self esteem amongst Welsh people, Wales is maybe the smallest nation in the UK and one of the smallest in the EU. I suppose many Welsh don’t believe Wales can fend for itself and feel naked without the English handing their hand on the World Stage. Wales may be very confident culturally (around 50% of Welsh people have a good knowledge or are fluent in Welsh) but when it comes to serious politics, I don’t think many of them have the guts to take that plunge for Independence.

        When it comes to Ireland and Scotland, both have the guts to take the plunge for Independence and stand on their own two feet. They don’t need to suckle on the teat of “Mother England” to survive. When you think about it Ireland and Scotland are of similar size, indeed Ireland alone is around 3 times bigger than Belgium and the Netherlands combined.

        I think Wales and England will always be one political entity. I don’t think the likes of Cornwall will ever become a real nation, never mind break away and get their own independence.

  4. jessica June 29, 2016 at 9:34 am #

    We are heading for a battle of wills.

    Germany cannot risk other countries leaving the EU or the whole house of cards could collapse.

    If they are too lenient on England, other countries will also want the same deal as it is fact that many are unhappy with the current EU direction.

    But even if England get a better deal, other nations including Ireland will not, unless they choose sides now and side with England.

    The longer talks go on prior to article 50 being activated, the better it will be for England to get the deal we would want.

    If England stubbornly hold out for a deal prior to activating article 50, then the wheels will gradually become unsteady on the EU bandwagon and Germans will start to worry.

    Especially if the Netherlands sides with England as they have a gas line interconnector which provides an energy inlet from Russia, which in turn feeds Ireland we should not forget.

    In Ireland 70% of our electricity comes from fossil gas, with 95% of the supply coming from overseas, mainly via GB.

    Things have changed and changed utterly, one of a few major landmark changes due to hit us over the coming decade.

    We need to do what is best for Ireland and that means choosing sides between England and the EU.

    A referendum in the Netherlands would allow a delay in the decision to activate article 50, another referendum in Ireland (all of it as one vote) is essential.

    I know what way I will be voting already.

    If there is to be a referendum in Ireland or Scotland, then it cannot be simply in or out, there is now an alternative which will be a new relationship with England and the other EU countries who will be backing them.

    Interesting times indeed but also an opportunity not to be wasted.

  5. Wolfe tone June 29, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    If Corbyn has any sense he will watch Tom Watson closely. He’s is danger man. The man who I suspect will try and drive the final blow to Corbyns tenure. Watson is definitely on the payroll of the deep state. There’s no way he’d have been given all them leaks about child abuse if he wasn’t…..control the opposition, control the narrative.

  6. Perkin Warbeck June 29, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    The Jarvey is a Leprechaun

    Down by Killarney’s lakes and fells
    No horse droppings,no foul smells
    Sez Enda to Charlie: lookit
    You act the plastic bucket
    And collect the Brexit ground swells.

  7. truthrevisionist June 29, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    Every word that Nigel Farage spoke yesterday was truth.

    You may not like that – because you have been contaminated by the ‘media whores’ and fawning ‘presstitutes’ that feed you, your daily diet of lies, subversion and distractions.

    (Ken Livingstone told the truth and look what your media vultures did to him.)

    Ten thousand refugees from North Africa arrived in Italy over a 4 day period last weekend.

    This is happening twice a week – EVERY week.

    The customs and rescue services in Italy are mandated to wear gloves and face masks because of the massive incidence – (75%) – of scabies, TB, Hepatitis B and C, Aids, Malaria, intestinal parasites and a multitude of other sexual and non- sexual infectious diseases.

    Your bought and paid for BBC didn’t report that to its humble licence payers.

    By god they have you so pathologically deranged with subservience, you actually pay them to tell you lies. Ask them about the pending European court case referred,- two months ago – regarding the complete ‘fakery’ and use of ‘crisis actors’ in their Syrian ‘chemical weapons attack’ reports last year.

    Sorry – maybe you’re too busy watching ‘Strictly Dancing’

    No one – And I mean NO ONE – has stuck to his principles over the last 17 years so tenaciously, as did Mr Farage, including the duplicitous SF, Labour, Tories and any of the other mixes of political ‘shoe-shine boys’ club members you care to mention.

    As for the whingeing, wailing ‘windbag’ from Derry and her concern for the ‘martyred multitudes’.

    Well it was hardly epic – ‘I have a Dream’, material.

    More like ‘Je ne comprends pas ce quil dit’ !!

    • Jude Collins June 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

      tr – I admire your passion but your choice of heroes leaves something to be desired…

      • truthrevisionist June 29, 2016 at 3:05 pm #


        I don’t have heroes, but….

        History has often been kind to me in my choice of the few, in whose qualities I have quietly evangelised.

        All of your self -serving ‘junk’ historians are ‘two a penny’. Bought by their owners.

        Truth, mostly goes unpublished or is suppressed – and the ‘agents of deception’ frequently work their ‘wordcraft’ into history, for geo- political outcomes.

        So I tend not to ingest the toxic poisons, of the ‘snake-oil salesmen’, who render to most of the zombified legions of ‘lemmings’ and comprise the ‘mindlocked masses’.

        Empirical evidence, courage and an open mind will free you from your bondage.

        You should try it sometime Jude.

        Start with this…

        ‘Everything you have been taught and told is Lies………’

        • Jude Collins June 29, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

          Does that include what you’ve just told me, TR??

          • truthrevisionist June 29, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

            Course not Jude.

            Haven’t you read my name ?

            What I’ve just told you is ‘Your starter for 10’

            Attaboy !

  8. Sherdy June 29, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

    Just noticed the uber Brit Nigel Farage yesterday showing how to win friends and influence people, had his little fancy union jack on his desk, lest we should be unsure of what he is – unfortunately it showed what he is – the little fleg was displayed upside down!
    ‘Who’s laughing now?’ reminded me of the old Bob Monkhouse story: ‘They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian – they’re not laughing now’!
    Tom Watson is following Jeremy Corbyn around like a Doberman watchdog – he has already told his boss to get lost!
    Certainly doesn’t indicate he’s a man of any principle.

  9. Ryan June 29, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

    They are very interesting times indeed Jude. I was reading an article in the Belfast Telegraph from a Scottish political commentator that said that the North will pay a “hefty” price if Scotland leaves the Union. He said that only “fools” would bet against the Scottish nationalists losing the next Scottish Independence referendum, which he said is now inevitable. I see his point completely, nearly every Scottish poll I have seen has a Yes vote to Scottish Independence, some polls even showing 60+% of Scots wanting Independence now.

    So what is this “hefty” price that the Scottish commentator referred to when he spoke of NI? Well obviously he was referring to the fact NI would be completely alienated if Scotland left the UK. The Unionists here have absolutely nothing in common with the English/Welsh. I even think the English will tell Unionists straight that its time they faced up to the harsh reality and entered talks with Dublin on how a United Ireland will be formed. Maybe an Independent NI would be on the table? Though I think such a option would be doomed to failure since we’re barely stable with the muscle of Westminster behind us, what will we be like if we were left on our own? Tony Blair and John Major, both ex British PM’s, said that violence could break out again in NI if there’s a Brexit and I think they are both right.

    I was also skimming through the Newsletter website last night and came across a letter from a Protestant in Bangor. He says that on the day before the Brexit vote that he was a Unionist but now he supports a United Ireland. Indeed traditional upper class Unionist areas all voted Remain in the referendum, such as North Down and Strangford. Why? Well the likely explanation is most have businesses that trade with other EU states, that trade over the border with the South and that they also see how the EU has brought great economic benefits and also stability to the North of Ireland. They may also see themselves as more Irish or European than British now, judging by the flood from Unionist areas for Irish passports.

    The argument to stay in the UK is much weaker now than it ever was. I think the likes of the DUP are in denial about this. David Cameron resigned after losing the referendum, why isn’t Arlene Foster? She campaigned for Brexit in NI and a majority here voted for Remain. Between Brexit, the demographics here changing in Republicanisms favour, etc I really don’t see how NI will survive as a state in the UK for much longer. If Scotland votes for Independence that will be the death blow not only for the state of Northern Ireland but for the entire UK itself…..

    • jessica June 30, 2016 at 9:43 am #

      The UK is finished as an entity Ryan.
      NI is irrelevant as it only existed within the UK.
      We are still part of Ireland and it is the actual countries on these islands that have decisions to make, not regions within them.

      Dublin can no longer make decisions that exclude the border and the north.

      The north on its own, well lets say no-one would be interested in any decision we would make even if we could agree on one.

      Scotland’s only chance of joining the EU would be to hand over the deeds including its natural resources and that would lead to sectarian division in GB that would make the troubles in Ireland a schoolyard brawl.

      I would bet you that Scotland will fail to get a majority support for independence within the EU.

      What we should be more concerned with, is for how much longer will the barnet formula remain in place for?

      Perhaps Scotland will have independence put on it by England like it or not. Likewise, the subvention for Ireland is at risk. See how British people here feel when that happens

      • Ryan July 1, 2016 at 4:51 am #

        “I would bet you that Scotland will fail to get a majority support for independence within the EU.”

        Have to disagree with you Jessica, polls have dramatically changed since Brexit and most Scots (in one case 80%) supported Independence simply because they wanted Scotland to remain in the EU. That’s the only way Scotland can remain in the EU now and that is to go Independent, a panel of experts said exactly the same thing to the EU Commission yesterday.

        As you know already I oppose the EU but the EU can potentially, even likely, break up the UK and cause Irish Unity in a very short time.

        The EU is a failed political project, it’ll sink sooner or later but I wouldn’t mind it sinking the UK too, hence one of the main reasons why I voted Leave with the hope that the majority in Scotland/NI will choose Remain but with England dragging us all out. Thankfully things turned out that way.