A Wry Eye
Deadlines? What deadlines?
THE late Douglas Adams, sci-fi comedic and travel writer, once said: “I love deadlines. I love the whoosing noise they make as they go by”. He must have been thinking about Northern Ireland and not print deadlines.
We are about to have another extension on the deadline that passed by and have another deadline.
Of course, it’s all Teresa May’s fault. Just as were expecting another failure between the parties in the talks process the Prime Minister throws a huge electoral spanner in the works.
Thanks for that. Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, has now said we’ll hang on until the Westminster election is over and have another couple of weeks after that for more nattering and coffee consumption.
It could be Mr Brokenshire is unintentionally on to something. Yep, we here in Northern Ireland reserve the months of July and August for parading, holidays in caravan parks in Portrush and Newcastle with occasional rioting and righteous indignation about ‘them-uns’.
No-one is allowed to interrupt those sacred days, so unless there is an extension through to September time, the politicians will have to get something agreed by the end of June, even if it is just agreeing to disagree…
At least we have the comfort that we’ll be able to pay our rates bills.
However, we now have the serious business of an election. Yes, it’s turning out to be seriously funny. Electoral pacts may have seemed so 2015, but they are back in vogue.
The battlegrounds are established, the chats have begun about which seats the UUP and DUP will be horse-trading over, while the anti-brexiteers (that’s not a real word but everyone else is using it) are having a chin-wag over whether they can agree a similar strategy – except for the Alliance Party.
Of course, there’s some return to familiar ground with the DUP’s Jim Wells telling reporters that any attempt to bring in same-sex marriage legislation will be “strangled at birth”.
Expect the chorus to be raised on both sides of this well-trodden orchestration of arguments to exclaim their disapproval of whatever else the other side is saying.
Is this a distraction from the ‘real’ issues? Health services struggling, reports of schools in crisis mode, library opening hours and staff being cut, as well as the economic woes we may (or may not) face attracting new business.
However, we did get some good news. The official residence of the Secretary of State, Hillsborough Castle is to be throwing open its doors to the public after a £4.8m lottery funded upgrade.
Of course, the castle can open to the public as Mr Brokenshire won’t be there. He’ll be too busy canvassing his constituents in Old Bexley and Sidcup to worry about a little thing like Northern Ireland…