Soon the place is in disarray as nothing is good and only rubbish compared to ‘what we get back home.’ Yip, we have all been there and we don’t ever want to hear it again.
Nancy Soderberg is not a loud mouthed yank. If she was we could dismiss what she says with the same shrug we gave to Phil from Philadelphia and have a wee laugh behind her back.
Nancy Soderberg is an accomplished politician who knows a thing or two about her trade and recognises a good leader when she sees one.
She saw no such leaders here, and she was not afraid to say so, fair play to her.
“A senior aide to former US president Bill Clinton has accused Northern Ireland politicians of an ‘abysmal abdication of leadership’.
Nancy Soderberg said unionist and nationalists were ‘far too stuck in the past, making progress vulnerable and even reversible’.”
Imagine having the ego of some of our lads on the hill and hearing that said about you! Look at the words again: an ‘abysmal abdication of leadership’.
For a politician that is about as insulting as it gets. But our wee lass, Nancy Soderberg, can back it up with sound argument:
“She looked back at the Northern Ireland peace process in the article to mark the 20th anniversary of the IRA ceasefire in 1994.
She said in the years since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, progress had been made on ‘governing, on policing and holding the peace’.
But she added: ‘The two communities remain far too focused on the injustices of the past.’
I think she was hinting at a little forgiveness, but sure we would never dream of that!
Ms Soderberg, who was also an ambassador to the United Nations, wrote: ‘Good leaders would be able to recognise the righteousness of the other side and step forward to compromise and build a more prosperous future.’
‘Good leaders would get past the flags, parades and the legacy of the violence of the Troubles and work together to attract investment, technology, and build the best schools which are no longer segregated.’
It's time to get beyond the past and build a Northern Ireland that can compete and thrive in the 21st century.”
Where would you get a better analysis of our situation than that? Thank you, Nancy Soderberg, for telling us the truth that we all know but cannot say for fear of being branded a Lundy.
And now we have a couple of other things that we dare not do in the New North; we dare not get sick nor can we afford to grow old.
Here is a summary of a report in the media last week; it concerned health cuts and Edwin Poots.
“Health Minister Edwin Poots has outlined how the health service will be impacted by potential cuts in a paper seen by the BBC.
The paper shows that cuts could restrain pay for health sector staff, lower the number of agency staff and reduce spending on home care packages
Mr Poots has said his department faces a £140m shortfall.
It says that without further funding, the number of people waiting over 15 weeks for assessment will increase by 20,000 and the numbers waiting over 26 weeks for treatment in particular specialities will increase by approximately 7,000.
The paper also shows that millions would be taken away from care packages for the elderly and there would be less money for drug therapies for conditions such as cancer, arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS).”
I have no idea of the rights and wrongs of the political game-playing going on up in Stormont but this is the outworking of what Nancy Soderberg was saying. When you think about it, the people we vote for would rather play politics than care for the voters.
A man who would seem to know a little about these things had something to say. His name is Dr Tom Black.
“Dr Black, who is chair of the GP committee in the British Medical Association (BMA), said he believed patients' lives would be at risk if the cuts were enforced.
Hospitals and general practice are under pressure from work and from lack of resources already. I don't think we can stand or sustain a cut of £140m. Patient care will come to harm.
We'll see long waits at A&E, long waits in general practice, long waits in GP out-of-hours.
Outpatient appointment times will get longer, patients will wait longer for operations and in some cases, probably not get them.”
But we will march and we will fight over flags and when our elderly neighbours suffer we will nod sympathetically.
There is also a hard lesson for us here and we need to be sure to take it. Northern Ireland is more ungovernable today as it was in 1969 at the start of the troubles, simply because both sides would rather starve than see justice done to all.
To take my mind off these worries Mrs Q and I went out to the local dance last weekend. There were a couple of good looking redheaded women, who are regulars at these events, missing. My enquiries led me to learn about a society that I had never heard of before: the Irish Redhead Convention.
It appears that the redheaded people of Ireland have decided to form themselves into a charity and do good work for people. This year they held their “Whacky Festival of Ginger Loving Madness” in Crosshaven Co Cork at the weekend.
“Everything about the convention is a celebration of red hair from the famed carrot tossing championships, to weird and wonderful competitions such as the best red eyebrows and the most freckles per square inch! The highlight of the weekend activities is the crowning of our new ginger King and Queen. But we have lots of other great activities planned such as exhibitions, informative seminars and lots more, all themed around red hair!”
The money raised from the festival is going to the Irish Cancer Society.
The Redhead Convention is the brainchild of redhead brother and sister, Joleen and Denis Cronin and took place for the fourth year running in the beautiful sailing village of Crosshaven in County Cork. It started as a joke in their family pub and succeeded in becoming a gathering of extraordinary uniqueness, attracting hundreds of redheads from all over Ireland and the world.
For the first time this year, the redhead convention was over the course of a full weekend from Friday August 23rd to Sunday 25th. As fair skinned, freckled beauties, they raised funds for the Irish Cancer Society; a national charity who raise cancer awareness, provide care and support and fund cancer research throughout the country.
Well done Joleen and Denis. Their family owns a pub in Crosshaven, things are a bit slacker, I guess, with all the chat about the recession, and this young brother and sister come up with a great idea to bring a few hundred people to the village in the middle of summer.
Situated about forty miles south of Cork, there is not a lot in Crosshaven. There are plenty of boats as it is on the sea and has the oldest yacht club in the world but like most places, it would need all the help it can get.
I wonder could we learn anything from Joleen and Denis Cronin; what could we run to make Northern Ireland a few extra pounds and give it to the health service.
We could run a concert in Belfast and see who could come out with the most vitriolic hate speech. Who would we get to judge such an event?
Well, the ancient Druids were supposedly good judges of language and its use.
“Police have said they are investigating two complaints relating to a north Belfast festival after claims that an event on Sunday featured "hate speech".
The DUP and TUV said they had reported comments made by musical act The Druids at the Ardoyne Fleadh to the police.”
I have heard much in Northern Ireland over the years but this has to take the biscuit. In a land where respectable preachers speak vile hatred to their Sunday morning flocks about all things Catholic and Irish, complaints about whatever the Druids say, is a bit rich.
As Catholics we have heard our faith, our country and our heritage ridiculed and threatened every July and there is never a word about it. We have heard threats to kill us with no response from a Unionist politician.
Remember those unionist politicians who would not condemn their friends who murdered Catholics in the troubles……what a world we live in!
To add insult to all of this, a big report came out last week about the effect that the Troubles had on all of us. We are all deprived and traumatised in some way by what went on here for years.
Surely we should be able to sue someone for what has happened to us. Every Catholic in Northern Ireland has had their self-esteem hit by the ranting of loyalists and unionists over the years; we must be able to claim from someone.
What about all those children from the Garvahy Road and such like places? They have had every summer of their childhood ruined by the debacle we call a ‘marching season.’
Each ruined summer has to be worth a few grand in lost childhood: we could all claim, get the money from the Brits, for it is ultimately their responsibility, and as an act of charity, give the money to the health service.
We could call it the ‘marching season charity fund.’
What a world we live in: our whole society is changing fundamentally and no one even notices. What did Lenin say, “Keep the buses running and the people won’t notice who is running the country.”
We have no money for health, a little more for education and in the Mother Country the people are beginning to show signs of malnutrition.
“More people are suffering from malnutrition as a result of worsening food poverty, experts have warned.
The Faculty of Public Health said conditions like rickets were becoming more apparent because people could not afford quality food in their diet.
It comes after health figures recently revealed a 19% increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with malnutrition over the past year.”
This is mighty England that once ruled the waves.
Vice president of the Faculty of Public Health, John Middleton, said food-related ill health was getting worse "through extreme poverty and the use of food banks".
"It's getting worse because people can't afford good quality food. It's getting worse where malnutrition, rickets and other manifestations of extreme poor diet are becoming apparent," he said.
When are we going to face up to reality and start to pull together to make our land a better place? We might all have to return to the land and grow our own spuds…but as usual the women are beating us to it.
I heard last week as I drove through the countryside that women are taking up farming in every increasing numbers. It appears that the lure of the land is crossing the sexual divide and we will soon see women on quads in every field in the land.
This news came from the ‘Census of Employment statistics’ and I thought to myself, have these people nothing better to do.
Women have always worked the land in this country. Val Doonican told us all about them and I remember jiving in the Gap Ballroom with many good-looking and pleasant girls from farming families, as the Indians or some other group sang his song: The Agricultural Irish Girl.
“That She's a fine big strong lump
Of agricultural Irish girl
She neither paints nor powders
And her figure is all her own
But She can hit that hard Ohh
You would think the kick of a mule you got
The full of my arms of Irish love
Is Mary Ann Malone.
At least we’ll never run out of spuds!
And finally, we are going to have a branch of the biggest law firm in the world in Belfast.
“Chicago-based Baker and McKenzie employs more than 10,000 people, and had annual revenues of more than $2.5bn (£1.5bn) in 2013.
The Belfast back-office operation will employ 70 staff in legal services, and 185 in support roles like IT and billing.”
It’s good to see the jobs coming, but God forgive me, I could not help but laugh:
Harry the Hammer is arrested in New York and gets his one telephone call; he is put through to Shankill Sammy in Belfast and tells his tale of woe, having been caught red-handed with a loaded revolver at the scene of the crime.
“Don’t worry, wee fella,” says Shankill Sammy, “You’ll only get twenty years; sure no borrar to ye: no surrender. Hi, Hammer, would any of your mates have a market for a lorry load of iffy spuds or a thousand Val Doonican tapes?”
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