Friday, 16 September 2011

Three-way Battle to be Leader

WELCOME ladies and gentlemen to this month’s racing calendar, with the featured race, the race to be leader of the SDLP.

The runners and riders will be shortly under starters orders in this three-horse long distance challenge.

First to the post is Patsy McGlone who is expected to make the early running in this National Hunt meeting. The Mid-Ulster MLA emerged as the favourite after his early intention to run.

Next up is the outsider, fleet of tongue and fast on his feet is Conall McDevitt. A younger runner in some people’s eyes, the South Belfast man has been around the party for a wee while now, but can he manage it over some of the higher fences.

Bringing up the rear is Alasdair McDonnell, another from the South Belfast stables. With two constituency branches putting up hurdles by declaring for McGlone, the race veteran will have a challenge to his staying power.

It’s set to be a long race ladies and gentlemen, starting at the SDLP HQ on the Ormeau Road, with a long chase up to the finishing line on Shaw’s Bridge (Ramada Hotel) in November.

Despite the long race, we’re fully expecting the race to end in a photo-finish as the contenders slow before the finishing post and ask themselves: “Do I really want this job?”

Critical Condition

There follows the transcript of a real call to the emergency services.

Operator: Which service do you require?

Caller: Ermmm, Ambulance I suppose.

Operator: Before you go on, you do know that we take prank calls very seriously?

Caller: Of course I do! This isn’t a prank!

Operator: And we don’t waste time with trivial calls!

Caller [Becoming increasingly irate!]: This is no trivial call! The patient is in a critical condition!

Operator: You see one in five calls are about stupid stuff like heart attacks or brain trauma. Have you people never heard of taxis?

Caller [Exasperated]: No, the patient really needs help!

Operator: You know one in five calls are a waste of highly trained managerial and public relations time.

Caller [Angry now]: You’re not listening! The patient needs help right now!

Operator: Are you really, really, really sure?

Caller [Yelling]: Yes, really, really, really, bloody sure!

Operator: No need to shout! I believe you now. So, what is the nature of the patient’s problem?

Caller: Haemorrhaging badly.

Operator: Badly?

Caller: Really, really badly, and sounding incoherent.

Operator: I see, well, what’s the nature of the injury?

Caller: It’s horrible! It’s flowing out of everywhere.

Operator: Everywhere?

Caller [Sobbing now]: First it was the promises, now the cash is haemorrhaging all over the place, please, please send help!

Operator: That is horrible!

Caller: First it was the cancer centre up there beyond passport controls in stroke city [Derry/Londonderry), then it was the other promises on everything, everything I tell you!

Operator: Oh, I see. Where will we send the help to then?

Caller: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Dundonald House, Belfast.

Operator: Well we can’t do that

Caller: What!

Operator: Well don’t you know we’re shutting down some A&E departments and right now there are too many people at your nearest emergency department. Can I suggest you ring the new 111 number.. If you are still having problems make begging noises outside the Department of Finance. They’re giving all that money to students to subsidise their fees but there should still be few pounds left.