Smirking From Home

Turning ideas into words.

Whose Ball is it Anyway?

There’s one thing you can almost be certain of in Northern Ireland and that’s a healthy dose of manky rain. The past three summers in the Province have been a duck’s paradise, an ideal destination for waddlers of all persuasions, except the Loyal kind. A clingy drizzle is not conducive to a pleasant dander in the middle of July. Recently we’ve been experiencing an unusual phenomenon as in it hasn’t rained in what seems like months. Admittedly it’s colder than a polar bear’s nadgers but there’s a general acceptance that as long as it’s bright and sunny, we can endure a touch of frost. You would be not alone in believing, hoping even, that this period of sustained sunshine would engender a positive attitude throughout our political establishment. The old adage of making hay while the shines would be an apt description of the opportunities available at Stormont, to progress a devolved government and get on with resuscitating a faltering economy. But for some it seems they’re only happy when it rains
Over the past few months we’re been playing a never-ending game of whose ball is it anyways. The bearpit haggling of Hillsborough was supposed to have drawn a line in the sand on the matter of devolving Police and Justice to Stormont. Naturally not everyone was fully enamoured with the agreements made but there was the glimmer of hope that at last something workable had been achieved. So it’s with no great surprise that we wake up today to find that the one of the Unionist parties has opted to throw a the whole box of spanners into the works. 
I’ve stated before that I have no political affiliations in the Province. Previously I would have leaned towards the ideologies promoted by the SDLP but even they in recent times are indulging in the whose ball is it game. It’s very hard to offer support to any political party whilst they insist on endlessly trying to score points off each other, a game which only serves to remind us that as long as our political elite remain as they are, Northern Ireland will never grow up and leave the past behind.
Today it’s the UUP throwing their rattle out of the pram. At Hillsborough it was the Shinners, followed immediately after, by the SDLP who wanted the Justice Minister ball on their side of the fence. It’ll be someone else tomorrow when the usual recriminations begin flying. At the time of writing this the Assembly vote has not occurred. The likelihood is that the vote will be carried but at what cost? Once again, at the core of all issues, will the the failure of grown men and women, predominantly educated, to look beyond their petty spites and grasp one of the final major chances at their disposal to move forward. Are we approaching the last chance saloon? For one thing, the benevolence of Dublin, London and Washington will not last forever. The financial impact of discord is immeasurable in the face of a potential and dare I say it, increasingly likely, return to violence in Northern Ireland. Only for so long will the afore-mentioned governments pledge financial support to Stormont, in the hope that Reg, Gerry, Peter, Paul and Mary, will one day agree to agree on something.
One wonders if it will ever be different. The forthcoming general election is the mouse in the pantry. All sides are positioning themselves, ready to canvass their constituencies, on the basis that they’re standing up for what they believe in and behaving accordingly. Alliances are being formed and divisions are widening, especially within Unionism. I worry for the traditional Unionist voter. It can’t being easy deciding on which brand of “No” to vote for this time. Sinn Fein may think they can sit back and look smugly upon the unfolding mayhem within Unionism but in reality, and ironically, their position will only be weakened as a result. There cannot be an exciting game of football without equal competition and more importantly, a ball to play with. And if one side decides to burst that ball then who knows whether the game will ever be re-scheduled.
As I write this the sun is cascading through my window and I’m swathed in a comfortable heat. Experience is telling me it isn’t going to last. We live in Northern Ireland after all, where the only predictability is the fact that sooner or later it’ll all go belly up. A warm summer ahead? I wouldn’t bet on it, petrol bombs or otherwise.

March 9, 2010 - Posted by | Politics

1 Comment »

  1. Belfast has been surprisingly sunny this past week, which I’m grateful for.

    I’ll not comment on the rest, cause it pretty much boils down to me wanting to tell the whole lot of those morons where to stuff a petrol bomb, in much more colourful Norn Iron of course.

    – Necrall

    Comment by Skynes | March 10, 2010 | Reply

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