Are we really living in a form of craftily designed two-headed benign dictatorship in Norneverland ,coming as it does , with a built-in “petition of concern” which can veto just about any decision which is made by a majority and overturn their view , steam-rolling any chance of change, flat on the ground? Is this really what is meant by the notion of “democracy”?How can it be a real democracy when the majority view can be trumped by a special clause? Our first Minister ,Arlene Foster, talks benignly in generalities about all the positives of leaving the EU and also the supposed negative aspects of allowing gay people to marry ,just like everyone else. I really cannot see how allowing anyone of any sex could be a harmful thing to do.How would it damage anyone?
It’s beguiling to imagine that some people are simply easily led and that’s all there is to it.It’s a certainty that many simply follow a well-worn route, unquestioningly, like sheep following a shepherd, or possibly and more likely,the same sheep are being harried and coaxed by a well-trained dog, nipping at their ankles.
What can anyone make of Arlene Foster’s and her party’s stance on a range of things affecting our daily lives, such as Brexiting the EU or the latest twist of the Gay Marriage row,
There is a general consensus that no -one has a clue as to how and what Brexit will mean and yet she promotes it at every turn , without giving us any real detail as to how she arrived at this decision .I’ve never seen her plan or her argument as to why it would be a better deal for us .In Norneverland we already know that, never mind the falling value of everything , it will inevitably lead to a more complicated life that we could all do without ; a hefty majority saw this very clearly and voted accordingly to have nothing to do with the mad , proposed Non- Plan ; even the Prime Minister of the UK really has no notion and yet even now when it is transparent that the Prime Minister hasn’t a clue, Arlene follows her blindly , clinging to every piece of insubstantial waffle slipping from Theresa May’s lips. She even repeated the same gormless chat in a party political broadcast on television last night.Enthusiasm personified in the face of nothing. No substance whatsoever.No proof.
She’s now parroting the Tory line that Brexit offers the greatest opportunity…. ever …for the UK.Sure it does ! It offers the same opportunity to learn how to swim ….and learn damned quickly, that someone has when the ship is rapidly sinking under the waves. Most of the passengers would rather fix the hole in the ship as fast as possible and stay afloat.
The rest of us see that after some three months there is no consensus and no real plan going forward. We know this because no-one has been able to utter anything remotely resembling a way forward , pretending that they have a really good poker -hand, when all they have is a clutch of blank paste-boards in their fingers.For example,no-one can see how we can have a border from the EU and not have a border, at the same time. It’s like one of those riddles of physics where a cat can be alive and dead inside a box at the same time , because we can’t see it. Neither can anyone see how we’ll all be better off by removing ourselves, having then no input at all into European laws or prices …literally consigned to being outcasts from one of the largest trading blocs on the earth….doomed to exist in a nether world of memories of great empires from along-gone past.That is what is called “faith”. Arlene doesn’t need anything else , but some of us do .Some of us need hard facts instead.
While we tussle with that one and all the uncertainties that Brexit will bring, Arlene Foster simply says nothing, keeps collecting her wages and appears to have a faith that somehow ,everything will just work out fine .Then on top of that there is her use of the dictatorial “Of Concern” process which is allowing her far-right evangelical Christian views to ride roughshod over the very idea of equality laws concerning marriage in her realm. Some specific citizens of Norneverland are obliged to fly off to parts of the UK or across the world to get married. Marriage, normally being a stabilising civic institution elsewhere ,open to anyone with or without a supernatural faith in the unknown ,is not allowed here .If a gay married couple return to their homeland in Norneverland , Ireland, they still remain unmarried in the eyes of Arlene Foster and her government. She claims to have friends who are gay, but I’m not really sure how she can square that with her position. It appears she might be as deluded about that too, as she seems to be about Brexit.I can’t imagine how she can have the gall to separate any individual citizen who pays their taxes and otherwise supports the civic laws of the land to the point of having a marriage contract, from everyone else .At bottom, it simply is not a fair thing to do and really should be an illegal thing to do to anyone ….any citizen….,no matter their their colour, creed or sexuality.
I’ve no doubt that eventually the laws of the land, sometime at an as yet ,un-named date ,will have to catch up with the faster-learners and accomodate all of its citizens equally and fairly ,as they at least attempt to do in the UK at times; not just some of them who are part of your own particular herd, but everyone , without favour or fealty ; I’ve equally no doubt, that if, and when, Theresa May eventually comes up with the magical Brexit plan that so far eludes her and her “Three Blind Mice”(as they’ve been aptly named), we will all be worse -off than we were before .Arlene might have great faith in the Great Unknown and I’m aware that many share beliefs like hers ,unquestionably and unquestioning ,but I’m personally not of that mind and I think that many are gradually making it crystal- clear that neither are they.
Where the Deputy First Minister finds room to wriggle in all of this is still a mystery to me . He opposed Brexit vehemently and he might even support Gay marriage , for all I know, but how can he continue to hold hands with someone whose views seem to have no real fairness or even material substance. It’s beginning to look as though Sinn Fein will soon need to make some very hard choices as to the company they keep. Their friends in government appear to be leading the sheep over a cliff-edge hanging on to the conservatives’ coat-tails and with no real mind of their own.


  1. billy October 30, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    you cant have it every way.dont you encourage people to vote for these people.

    • paddykool October 30, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

      I don’t encourage anybody to vote for any of “these people”, billy.I let them figure that all out for themselves, I’m afraid…

  2. Eddie Barrett October 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    It looks to me “Billy” that the ball is actually in the court of Arlene Foster and her DUP Party.

    She must realise, when eventually , the penny drops, that as the section of Ireland, which she and Martin are in partnership together to manage , slips into the post BRIXET abyss , that she will realise that there is much more that unites us economically then divides us !

    Remember , the huge subsidies that are coming from Brussels to The Six Counties, will cease too !

    • billy October 30, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

      huge subsidies that are coming from brussels to the six counties,will cease too…….
      none of the huge subsidies reach the most deprived areas here,so it will hardly matter,it might effect the quangos and rich farmers but they will just have to learn and get over it.

  3. Wolfe tone October 30, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

    I can’t understand why folk are voicing concerns over the use of the ‘petition of concern’. Was it not democratically agreed by voters that this clause(p.o.c) would be part of a stormont regime? The DUP have every right to use this clause and that’s that. Those ‘democrats’ who object and want the p.o.c scrapped add fuel to the theory(conspiracy?) that there’s no such thing as democracy rather there is the illusion of it.

  4. Perkin Warbeck October 30, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    On the station of the nation this very lunch time, Protean Paddycool, Arlene Foster modesty described herself thus in a three-part term:

    -I’m a pretty, straight-talking girl.

    Now, while there may well be those ungal-lant gentlemen (alleged) out there who might disagree with the Lady on not one, not two but even (gasp ) on all three of those descriptive terms, happily Gorman of RTE is not numbered among them. Not only was he conducting the interview with his fluff microphone in hand but indeed, one is delighted to report, conducted himself in the manner exemplary.

    That is, by not challenging the Lady on all or indeed (gasp) any one of the above self-assertions.

    Re-spect to the RTE reporter.

    The tile of this blog invariably brings to mind two wonderful works of art: one literary, the other visual.

    The Poem:

    Into the mellifluous mouth of Queen Gertrude (both mother and surrogate aunt of Hamlet) did The Great Shakes transfuse this passage of surpassing poetry, to do with the death by drowning of Prince Hamlet’s rejected putative Princess, Ophelia:

    -There is a willow grows aslant a brook
    That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream
    There with fantastic garlands did they come
    Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies and long purples
    That liberal shephers give a grossser name
    But our cold maids do dead mens’ fingers call them’.

    Hold it there, Perkin !

    Whatever on earth or indeed on water can those two last, lust-laden lines actually allude to?

    Perhaps a certain pretty, straight-talking girl who, happily, was brought up on a farm (she never tires of reminding the generality, endlessly) might be able to throw a little light on the second last line, in particular.

    Elucidation, once again, s’il vous plait/ led thoil, Madame. And of the Mother Earth, earthy
    The Painting:

    In 1851/1852 Sir John E. Millais completed his emblematic Pre-Raphaelite painting called, simply:


    In which he depicts the tragic heroine lying supine in a flower-bowered steam, fully dressed and still alive, with eyes and mouth open as if singing a song.

    Not only did the artist belong to the Pre-Raphaelite school of painting but he seems to have also belonged to a prototype hedge school of, erm, Pre-Remembrance Peep O’Day Boys. If one is to judge by the inclusion in the canvas of a particular flower not namechecked by the original poet:

    -the (gulp) Red Poppy.

    Symbolising as it did, sadly, sleep and death. Both at the going down of the sun, and in the morning.

    Another artist with the same initials as ‘Sleep and Death’ (not to mention a certain political party) – but that’s where any resemblance begins and ends – described his response to the painting in 1936:

    -How could Salvador Dali (for it was he writing writing about Himself !) fail to be dazzled by the flagrant surrealism of English Pre-Raphaelism?’.

    One man, however, who wasn’t so impressed was (gulp) an Englishman. That would have been the father of Elizabeth Siddall, the 19 year old girl who modelled the role of Ophelia. For this task, the painter had her pose, fully clothed, in (gulp) a bath tup filled with cold water. Being in the depths of winter, Elizabeth unsurprisingly almost went the whole hog by emulating.

    While she did indeed catch a severe chill it stopped just short of being her death of cold.

    Her irate pater promptly sent off a bill of 50 squids to cover her medical expenses to the artist. While he demurred, it did not quite come to a melee with Millais as he later settled. And though he did manage to beat the sum down there is no suggestion that the artist fiddled Mr. Siddall.

    As a particular, erm, pretty, straight-talking girl (of an agricultural upbringing) might remark: art, not unlike the art of the possible, is reduced, in the manner of Farmer McBreen, to p., shillings and more p.:

    -But still there’s not the differ in the price of a heifer
    Between the pretty and the plain.

    Ah, the plain-talking pretty person.

    • paddykool October 30, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

      Jeezis Mighty Perk !….why didn’t I think to slip in that Shakey quote at the start…What an opener…

      .”Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies and long purples
      That liberal shephers give a grossser name
      But our cold maids do dead mens’ fingers call them’.,…..”

      …Now what is a crow -flower when it’s at home, eh? Pre-Raph buttercups , maybe?

  5. Sherdy October 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    The Deputy First Minister and wiggle room – I have been wondering if we actually have a DFM!
    Since this coalition came into being all decisions have been made by the DUP and Marty’s boss Arlene. But this has been happening without a whimper from Sinn Fein.
    Why the hell did people vote SF?
    It certainly wasn’t for them to sit on their hands and murmur ‘Yes Arlene, no Arlene’ in subjugated acceptance of any of her bigoted decisions!
    Come the next election time, I can foresee a serious drop in support for Silent Sinn Fein!

    • paddykool October 30, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

      I have to tell the truth….I’m not sure anymore , Sherdy. Lately I’ve been starting to think that there may be little difference …There’s conservatism right across the board in many of the the followers of Sinn Fein and their mirror -image in the DUP. When all is said and done , Norneverland ,and indeed Ireland itself , is a fairly conservative place when the surface is even lightly scratched.Both parties seem to share some very conservative notions about many things, so maybe both parties have simply transformed themselves from what was once the UUP and the SDLP into what we have now…same kind of people really …with only different clothes, eh? It’s unlikely that there will be any new and radical ideas appearing anytime soon and we’ll just have to muddle along with this circus for years to come….each, especially Sinn Fein, it seems , afraid to step on too many toes)…in case they upset the status quo too much…

  6. fiosrach October 30, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

    The Dept that runs the province/country/ nation into £20 Bn debt for a no brained heating scheme had at it’s head one Arlene Foster. She was unaware that this was happening and accepts no responsibility for the mishmash whatsoever. How dare any body even expect her to know what was going on? In a hard hitting statement from Sinn Féin, we read ” We do not recognise the court” or ” Those bloody lights”. Anyway as a minority partner in this xmas panto, what can they do?