Friday, 18 January 2013

Eye on the Hill

All aboard the Nolan boat!
HE is a man with broad shoulders and a man who makes a work ethic look like a lifetime of idleness (he works seven days a week on BBC Radio Ulster and Radio Five Live as well as his TV appearances), but this week it was a rocky road rather than a rocky biscuit in the Nolan studio
As the ‘fleg’ protests wended their merry way to destroying Belfast’s economy, the Nolan show teetered on the edge of farce as haranguing and harrying voices expounded ‘views’ on the flags.
Meanwhile the costs mounted up and traders were faced with a road works nightmare on top of the ‘fleg’ protests.
We wholeheartedly support the democratic right of anyone to stage a legal protest and express their opinion, but we have been wrestling with any ways that we can cut through this Gordian Knot.
And, we have come up with one solution. The real or imaginary discovery of oil underneath City Hall requiring its complete and urgent demolition and re-location to somewhere where nobody will be able to see whether it has a flag flying or not. Perhaps beside Parliament Buildings…

The woes of Mike
LIKE A tragedy actor in a Greek play, or a mournful character in a Shakespearian melodrama, Mike Nesbitt must feel like he is presiding over the collapse of a kingdom as intrigue boils around him.
Indeed whether he is King Lear or Gloucester from the same play, remains to be seen.
Not only is one of his most media savvy spokespeople, Basil McCrea, readying himself for a disciplinary hearing, but he felt the dagger of distrust thrust further into his leadership when former north Belfast MLA Fred Cobain jumped ship to the DUP.
Mr Cobain may have lost his UUP seat in north Belfast, but this defection means the UUP is effectively side-lined in a swathe of the city, leaving it with no profile in this divided constituency.
How much of this can be laid at the door of Nesbitt is a matter of proportionality. Is his leadership style to blame? Is the ambiguity over relationships with the DUP to blame? Or was the party in terminal decline before he took up the reins.
Mr Nesbitt may feel that the time is right to make his “shrink to grow” aim more solid while he still has some elected representatives to rally round the banner.

Lifetime use for recycled statements
Minister for the Environment, Alex Attwood has been able to pass through the Assembly the ‘Bag Tax” meaning that each carrier bag will cost you five pence when dispensed to you by your friendly supplier of beef and horse burgers.
Mr Attwood said this would clean up the hedgerows from unsightly mess and project the image of Norn Iron as “clean and green”. Of course the protestors will no doubt see the description of Norn Iron as ‘green’ an affront requiring more demonstrations.
And as to Norn Iron being clean…council and road service staff will be out in the early hours in case anyone notices the broken bricks, scorched tarmac and carpet of broken glass post-riots.
But we also hope Mr Attwood will place a levy on recycled statements from MLAs, MPs and councillors.