28 Mar

A Wry Eye – Remember the good old days

AHH the good old days, when all we had to worry about was the RHI scandal and who was getting a few quid to heat their shed. The good old days, when we could watch party reps in the Assembly arguing about education and health.

Now there is that thing called uncertainty. NI Secretary James Brokenshire has confirmed that further negotiations will take place to try and save Stormont. How long will they last? Will a new Executive be formed at the end? What happens if there isn’t? Are we facing another election or direct rule?

What’s certain is that the general public are getting well and truly fed up with all the carrying on! People can be heard screaming from the rooftops: “Just get on with it!” If there is to be another election, turn-out is likely to take a nose dive.

Indeed, with more postures being struck by the parties than a Strictly Come Dancing marathon, with more pouts than a convention of toddlers, the face-off between the parties would test the patience of a saint. Rumours are that St Patrick is convening a roundtable of saints to see if they can intervene with some divine guidance.

Hollywood film producers were rumoured to be considering a feature film about the election and aftermath, but it is understood that scripts have been rejected; firstly because they were too boring, and secondly because they made Game of Thrones seem more realistic than Norn Iron politics.

Civil servants have ordered in gallons of coffee and tonnes of biccies, not to sustain the talks process, but so they can sit at their desks overnight to calculate how many jobs will be lost under an emergency budget and how long granny is going to have to wait for that hip replacement.

Meanwhile, the UK Parliament is about to go into Easter Recess to allow MPs to panic about Brexit and the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum. With all that going on, I can’t image there’s too much room for concern about Northern Ireland among backbenchers.

With the horrific events last week in Westminster, maybe it is time for the rowing parties here to get a sense of perspective.

But that is maybe the cruellest thing of all. If the 90 elected MLAs were to really be given a sense of perspective of their place in the UK, Ireland, Europe, the World and the universe, they would maybe see for the first time that this region is 1.8m people among billions on this earth.

Perhaps then they would shake hands, agree a way through things and sort out the old-fashioned bread and butter issues such as health, education, economic development etc etc.

But so long as there is a mic at hand, a radio phone in host ready and a newspaper calling that seems unlikely.

Maybe the only salvation would be to ask President Trump to chair talks here. What could possibly go wrong there!

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