The first is that the price of houses in the dear wee north is on the up again. A survey of 1407 house sales in the first three months of this year showed that bungalows, for one of which yours truly is the proud mortgage holder, made modest gains. But the University of Ulster warned that the recovery could be slow or even short lived so we shall not break open the champagne just yet.
While he is here, Barack has decided to visit the delights of Belfast. Delights in Belfast, if he can find any, shall be a distraction for Mr Obama who seems to be haunted by a few good old fashioned scandals across the pond. In fact there are three scandals which show no signs of going away and not even Mr Obama with his Midas touch can shake them off.
“The crisis arises from the convergence of three separate scandals, each of which was serious enough in its own right. In one, new information has resurrected suspicions the White House deliberately misled Americans about a terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year, to avoid harming Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign. In the second, the federal tax office admitted targeting organizations critical of Obama for extra scrutiny in a co-ordinated campaign over an extended period. In the third, the Justice Department secretly seized phone records from the Associated Press so it could track reporters’ calls in hopes of tracking down leaks.”
This quote from CNN shows that Mr Obama is suspected of some rather dirty goings on. If they are proved the clean cut image of Mr Obama shall take a severe battering; but as any voter knows—all is fair in love and elections.
I would vote for Jennie Runk if she stood for Lord Mayor of Clady. Jennie is the rarest of the rare; she is a beautiful full figured model who looks like she has enjoyed many a good meal. Jennie is, wait for it, ‘A Plus Size’ model. According to the news Jennie is a massive size 16.
Maybe it is my eyesight or maybe my idea of beauty has somehow gone eschew, but in the photo I saw of Ms Runk, she did not look ‘Plus Size’ to me.
Of course the major story of the week was not the war in Syria or the starving millions in Africa, but the devastating news that David Beckham is to retire from football at the end of the season.
This next bit is serious—I am not being sarcastic, but a leading United States news agency ran an article about how Beckham had redefined masculinity. In my humble opinion all he ever did was look good and marry a ‘Minus Size’ minor pop artist.
If anyone can tell me how he redefined masculinity please let me know.
The unusual thing is that he actually announced that he was going to give himself up to the authorities on a certain day at a certain time.
Of course he was fifteen minutes late. Any ODC (ordinary decent criminal), as we used to call them here, would never be on time; his fans needed a bit of suspense: ‘will he, won’t he’ type of thing.
Poor Peppe, had he been born in Northern Ireland and indulged in a little bit of criminality he would have been out long ago.
However, the goings on in Europe may soon be no concern of ours; we are going to get a referendum about whether or not we want to stay in Europe. Eighty one Tory MPs signed a motion criticizing the Queen for not promising a referendum in her speech to parliament and soon David Cameron had a backbencher bringing in a private members bill.
It makes it appear as if Mr Cameron is making policy on the hoof. The problem with this is that we have policy appearing to be made by public opinion. On the face of it this sounds very well and good. But what if one man’s public opinion is another woman’s nightmare?
Just because the majority wants something does not mean that it is right. If you hold that line of thinking, then you have to hold that the men of Saudi Arabia are entitled to treat the women as little better than slaves because that is what public opinion in that country wants. No right thinking person from the west could agree with that.
In the same way, there was a time here when the majority did not mind discrimination against Catholics. Did that make it right?
Leadership is about providing the members of its society with the means for a livelihood free from dangers and corruption. What has happened to us in our day is that leadership has become about popularity and pleasing as many people as possible about as many subjects as possible. The one country where this is not the case is Ireland. As the Independent said last week:
“The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), John McGuinness, has warned that ‘powerful people’ would prefer an inquiry into the collapse of the banks ‘never happened or was watered down to the point of being worthless.’
And economist Colm McCarthy writes: ‘Public willingness to accept unavoidable cutbacks and tax increases is diluted by the perception that bankers, regulators and public officials have not been asked to account publicly for their role in the affair.’
The authority of the Government is weakened and the credibility of snake-oil purveyors enhanced. It is entirely possible that some of the 'won't pay' mortgage defaulters find some moral justification in the failure to account for the banking debacle.”
That’s a long quote but the real question is not about the powerful people or the public accounts committee.
It is deliberately destroying the economy, punishing the people, particularly the poor, chasing the young off to Australia and watching people lose all hope because a faceless Troika says they must.
A government who has to do what it is told by outsiders has no authority. They are quislings.
Quisling is an interesting word.
It came into the English language as a metaphor for traitors during the WWII. Vidkun Quisling was the Nazi backed prime minister of Norway. He was a collaborator in the humiliation and invasion of his country. He was shot for treason in October 1945.
I’ll say no more; either about who is the authority in Ireland, what should happen to quislings or the length of the queue for the job should it ever be advertised.
Do you ever remember your mother saying to you something like; “You have a bare faced cheek on ye!”
Well, the winner of this week’s “Bare Faced Cheek Award” undoubtedly is John Bruton, former Taoiseach, European job holder, receiver of a couple of good pensions and all round good guy.
John, God bless him, who has had a hard life rising from the middle classes to the upper classes, has told the poor of the Free State that they ‘should tighten their belts.’
“FORMER Taoiseach John Bruton told the public to tighten their belts and put up with austerity, as he poured scorn over President Michael D Higgins's call for relief.
Mr Bruton – who enjoys a €140,000 pension and is now a lobbyist for the IFSC – insisted Irish people must get used to living with less.
He said the country had to ‘change its economic model. Change, which people are calling as a term of abuse 'austerity', is always painful,’ he said.”
The next day Donal O’Donovan told Uncle John a few home truths:
“The former Taoiseach is lecturing a struggling nation from a position where he is protected from the policies he's advocating. He's protected as the beneficiary of the generous terms he and other politicians set for themselves over decades, including pension arrangements that provide for something much more than simply comfort in his old age.”
You know, if there weren’t people in the Free State living in absolute poverty, if there weren’t people dying by suicide because of economic problems and if the elderly on the old age pension could afford coal for the fire, then all this would be laughable.
But while the heart burns out of the country and Ireland is dying on its feet, the elite in their emperor’s villas play nonchalantly on their fiddles.
that no one could afford to finish... as Eurozone slumps into longest
Despite the completion of around 70 percent of the 12.5 km project it was stopped when it was discovered that it cut across the proposed route of the Madrid to Barcelona high-speed railway.
As the late great Frank Carson would say, ‘that’s a clinker.’
It takes a special type of stupidity in a city’s planning division to start to build a road and a railway without checking to see if the two routes are compatible.
But planning disasters in one era can become another era’s icon. When it was built the Sydney Opera House was ridiculed for being a laughing stock. In 1980 Sir Peter Geoffrey Hall, who is an English town planner, urbanist and geographer, wrote a book called “Great Planning Disasters,” and he named Sydney Opera House basically as a waste of money.
Peter Hall isn’t just a Joe Nobody with a gripe; this Cambridge educated man is the Bartlett Professor of Planning and Regeneration at The Bartlett, University College London and President of both the Town and Country Planning Association and the Regional Studies Association.
Now the Sydney Opera House is the most recognised building in the world and an icon of the age. People fly into Sydney just to see it from the air.
Why am I saying all this?
Because public opinion changes like the wind; in the 70s and 80s the Provos were criminals, in the 90s they were set free.
In the 50s and 60s a model was at least a size 14 then she had to be almost anorexic and now we are back to plus sizes.
For decades property was a sure bet now you can hardly give houses away.
Six years ago Mr Obama was the new messiah.....now he has feet of clay.
Seven years ago the Irish bankers could walk on water, now they can’t even swim and John Bruton is no longer the Mr Nice Guy of Irish politics.
And there may be worse to come. Tonight is the night of the Eurovision Song Contest and my favourite singer from my days of following pop music could well make a fool of herself.
Well, Bonnie didn’t do so good. She got 23 points and finished 19th out of 26.
Ireland should never have sent Dustin the Turkey. I don’t think anyone in the Eurovision song contest has forgiven them for that and it showed again last night when they came last. Ah well, that’s it for another year. What’s Another Year, anyway!
On Sunday the papers were full of the Tories being united on Europe; no one believes a word of it. Politics in the UK and the rest of Western society has become something like a funfair carousel: roll out what you think the people want.
Do you remember when Tony Blair started the ‘focus groups’ craze in UK elections?
A group of people was asked to come to a meeting and then the policies of the parties were decided to a large degree, by the reactions of these groups of people.
A leader should lead, not run scared of the electorate.
Take the Euro crisis; every time anything needs to be done it is not what is right that is done but what can be, considering the reaction of the people back home.
In other words, the politicians do not consider what is best for Europe, the people or even their own country; what they consider is ‘how will the electorate at home react.’
And they are not in the least bit ashamed of ‘leading’ in this way. Public opinion rules the day!
The offshoot of this is that politicians need to be seen to be doing something; anything, just as long as they are doing something. How many changes in the NHS have we seen?
Does anyone really believe our children are getting a good education after all the changes and additions of red tape?
We don’t have leaders; we have PR responsive, clean cut, professional politicians.
But the biggest result of all this is that the government is stuck in every detail of our lives. In England there are serious proposals, because public opinion wants it, to pay no child benefit to families with more than two children.
The government is going to control family size, all in the name of pleasing public opinion; judges are losing control of sentencing and teachers have to teach exactly what is on the curriculum, nothing else.
Public opinion changes so quickly and is so fickle. Real leaders lead. It’s a pity we can’t find any, UK or Ireland, who would take a few hard decisions and try to get us out of this stagnation which is soaking the life blood out of our society.
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