Weeks later…or is it months now? This “Cash for “Ash or “Soot for Loot ” scandal ,as our own Perkin Warbeck so succinctly and colourfully put it , seems to have been running forever now . We’ve chewed over all of the details and masticated every nuance and slippery phrase until it has been rendered pablum .A child could understand it all now .You pay £1.oo and the government gives you back £1.60 and there’s no limit .It’s free money and it was all presided over by our now First Minister !! Surely that’s easy enough for everyone to understand?
…and yet….and yet …. , it is only now , months later ,that outsiders beyond the plexiglass dome that covers the gloomy church steeples of the lost Land of Norneverland, Ireland have actually caught wind of the very latest of our ludicrous affairs.Messages borne on ravens claws have finally reached out beyond the realm , cawing loudly that all is not well with the governance of this tiny realm .We’ve been taking Westminster’s money and handing it out to a selected bunch of our citizenry while also bleeding our own people of resources for the next twenty years.All this at a time when we cannot build enough hospitals or pay our teachers and nurses a decent wage; all this when we cannot get money to build roads or even spare a few thousand pounds for the Irish language.Billions have been mentioned , but we take such waste for granted anyway , running separate micro-economies for the differing tribes ,as we do. Further afield this may not have been known or properly spelled out before now.The citizens of Lancashire and Yorkshire or closer at hand in Dublin and Cork, no doubt had no notion that we enjoyed burning our master’s money or filling the pockets of our friends with it .Either way it works out much the same. There is more money spendt per head of the population than there is in any county in england or Wales.Do yo usuppose they know that over there? I wouldn’t think so , because if they did they’d drop us like ahot spud. Maybe someone should inform them of the fact….some whistleblower, eh? That’s the vogue word of the moment.
Until now, barely a word was heard about this latest scandal other than in the local broadsheets or in the songs of strolling minstrels. There was one probing interview on BBC Radio 4 but generally the public further abroad have little idea of the incompetence and /or the corruption at the heart of this or if the do know something, they are being very quiet about it.Our First Minister took to the airwaves on Sky News but used her time to talk about anything but her competence or otherwise.Now that news of the possible demise of our local government has begun to be heard, there is a flurry of catch-up activity in the neighbouring lands . Local editions of the imported “Sunday Times” from London/Dublin are now carrying this old story of ours as a front-page news item .Some might say that the editor may have deigned to look closely a little too late. In a newspaper known usually for its vitriolic attacks on northern nationalists, what advice or critique could possibly be given at this late hour, when it is those same northern nationalists who are in the right this time , while their unionist counterparts have proven to be either insanely incompetent or possibly a cabal of criminality ?Well …we all know the kind of mischief that has been our daily bread ever since the St Andrews Agreement was signed. At every step the great idealism of a shared future has been carefully hollowed out like a Halloween lantern until nothing is left but some insanely grinning face with a flickering fire gleaming behind the mad eyes.
The scandal could never have been avoided, but the crash of government might well have been ,had the First Minister taken advice from far wiser heads than hers. The lowliest drone working in a call- centre could have told her that if there was only the slightest sniff of impropriety in the outworkings of his job, that he would have been suspended from his post while investigations took place.He would have been put on “gardening leave”. The First Minster has obviously lived in such a rarified mental state for such a long time that she believed that she was above such menial considerations as potting- up plants or weeding the cabbages ,but those rules apply for the lowliest to the highest in every job and in every walk of life right across society , so why would she think she was beyond such considerations if she was not already insane?

The insanity appears to be the key . The stress of her position has finally made mulch of her thinking.In the meantime the Deputy First Minister has had his own misgivings and has offered sage advice which she has chosen to ignore, so it is likely that he will be inclined to step down himself .His own health is a consideration now too. When he does step down , the most likely scenario will be that the men with strait jackets will be obliged to enter the Executive and section the First Minister who appears to have assumed the dimensions of the mad queen in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Where all of this leaves our neighbours on the verge of fraught Brexit negotiations as to their own futures, is anyone’s guess, but they should have been paying a little more attention to the chicanery in front of their noses.Had they done so , they and we might have avoided this unecessary complication.


  1. Colmán January 9, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    “At every step the great idealism of a shared future has been carefully hollowed out like a Halloween lantern until nothing is left but some insanely grinning face with a flickering fire gleaming behind the mad eyes”

    That is good writing Harry.

    • paddykool January 9, 2017 at 11:43 am #

      Why thank you ,Colman. it makes a change from being kicked in the shins..

  2. fiosrach January 9, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    Pretty all encompassing, Harry, but wasted on us. We are all aware of the morality and the mentality of the majority here but the real Britishers across the water are ignorant of our little spats. Everybody in the scheme couldn’t believe that the stupid English government would pony up for such a windfall. They deserve to know how the colonials are squandering their money and maybe they are deliberately ignoring it. Their investigative Press certainly seem to be.

    • paddykool January 9, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

      I know it is wasted in the sense that we actually know the craziness of it all first -hand and actually take if for granted as some kind of ludicrous reality, but it still has to be said out loud …if only for our own sanity.That was the real point I was making fiosrach, within the fantastical world of necessary disbelief.
      No -one would really believe this is anything other than some madcap fantasy brought on by too many infusions of laudanum. Even if we don’t say it …we all know that something is ultimately , utterly daft about the way we have to live our lives with this nonsense as a background hum.
      It’s very true that in the UK and indeed within the citizens of the republic down below the waterline they are obviously very oblivious to the story we are experiencing here daily . I believe that might be because it makes no real logical sense .The Observer yesterday had not one single reference to the impending implosion of Norneverland.They obviously think their readers would have no interest.There are articles about Poles not reporting hate crimes…articles about Hull , the new city of Culture…bits about May, Corbyn , immigration and Brexit . Robbie Williams even gets a mention …but not a line about the “£1.60 for £1.00 Soot for Loot” which they are funding .The Sunday Times in whichever edition I saw had a couple of pieces basically calling it straight and calling Arlene Foster a prat for letting it get to this , but i doubt that in the London editions there’ll be any mention at all. As for the redtop papers, well I wouldn’t have anotion what they might say .My feeling is that in the UK they feel that throwing a few quid at us will keep the paddies quiet and stop them from getting any ideas about blowing up Canary Wharf again and that’s about the size of it. The “Keep The Paddies Quiet” money is money well-spent as far as I can tell. Let the Paddies believe they have a government and they ‘ll be alright.In the meantime our First Minister thinks she’s engaged in a “game of chicken” like some crazy teenager. I’m sure the man in the street has no notion of how his tax money is being wasted though.How would we go about telling them?

      • Sherdy January 9, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

        Arlene may think she’s engaged in a game of chicken –
        but does our leader have to be a headless chicken?

        • paddykool January 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

          When it’s an oven -ready one, Sherdy….only then… this leader is toast…

  3. fiosrach January 9, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

    I am led to believe that the Sunday Business Post had a lot of space devoted to it yesterday. Of course you can’t expect the parliament in Westminster to be across every jot and tittle of affairs in the colonies. As you say, the money spent on keeping Paddy quiet is well spent. It is called sublimation, I think.