Friday, 15 June 2012

Eye On The Hill

Fracking golfers!

OH for frack sake there is a time and a place for over-reaction: it’s when your football team crashes out of the European championships because they’re awful or because the referee hadn’t gone to Specsavers.

For more than 40 years over-reaction has been the stock in trade of Norn Iron’s political classes, but we all thought they’d have left that behind. Think again suckers because over-reaction is back and it is kicking up a fine storm.

First we had the aul’ will ‘e or won’t ‘e palaver about whether or not deputy first minister Martin McGuinness would shake the hand of Her Maj (nobody seems to have asked Her Maj whether she wants to shake Marty’s hand) which caused collective Sinn Féin apoplexy and unionist reciprocal fury.

Next up we had fracking – to those who still think this is a swear word, it is a bastardised word for hydraulic fracturing; the means by which the “unconventional” gas industry a extract shale gas from the ground.

This week the Co-Op showed a film questioning whether fracking was a good thing or not. Cue for minister for enterprise, trade and investment Arlene Foster – normally a sure footed politician – to pen off a missive which was not complimentary at all about the Co-Op and the film called ‘Gasland’.

In terms of over-reaction questioning the ethics of an institution that is an ethically investor scores high on the over-reaction scale, perhaps higher than the richter scale than last year’s earth tremors near Blackpool, allegedly caused by fracking.

But the over-reaction scale went through the rant-ometer rating when the National Trust, that radical left-wing Trotsky-ite revolutionary garden club, had the temerity to launch a legal challenge about a golf resort on the north coast, less than one-mile away from the entrance to the Giant’s Causeway.

Finn MacCool must be threatening a comeback at the prospect of more golf courses on the north coast…well we think that was the basis of the National Trust’s legal challenge, but we may be mistaken.

That the National Trust challenged this development, which has been the subject of planning controversy for 12 years or so, provoked a stereotypical backlash.  These included dark murmurings about the fact that the Trust had gotten Government grants towards a new visitor centre and development of facilities at the Giant’s Causeway, mutterings about biting the hand that feeds and the need for golf to relieve the stress rich businessmen and well healed tourists during the worst recession in living memory. We beg to differ on that last point, we know a great granny whose living memory extends to the Great Depression of the 30s, the current recession hasn’t even been given capital letters yet.

We do wonder at this over-reaction by the DUP in particular to this lawful challenge by the National Trust to a decision made by an SDLP minister. Let’s face it, the Giant’s Causeway will be here long after Rory McIlroy retires from the Senior Golf Tour.