Friday, 5 April 2013

Eye on the Hill

Missile Crisis
AS military forces line up in and around the Korean Peninsula, the US General in charge of the armies has been inspecting the troops.

After checking out the tanks and artillery of the South Koreans he declared himself impressed.

He walked beside the might of the US air force, chatting to the airmen and was delighted at their combat readiness.

Sailors from the South Korean and US Navies were lined up and he was assured by their poise and preparedness.

As he came to the end of the line there was a flatbed trailer, loaded with planks, concrete, a mixer and a clatter of bricks.

In front of it were five men, all wearing leather box jackets, with dodgy moustaches and broad Belfast accents.

Non-plussed by this sight the General asked them what they were going to bring to the battle.

“Battle mate? Nah we’re not here for a battle we’re opening an Irish Bar and a social club.”

Whatever happened to…
IT used to be a regular staple of newspaper columns; dig up some old fading star or starlet, find them working in a chippy and then run a ‘whatever happened to’ story.

In that fine tradition the Assembly will, in this coming week, have a debate on whatever happened to the Civic Forum.

Proposed by the SDLP triumvirate of Colum Eastwood, John Dallat and Dolores Kelly the motion calls for the return of the Civic Forum to help sort this benighted region…

Which is a task that even the esteemed minds of MLAs have found virtually impossible, so if anyone can, maybe the Civic Forum can?

Of course this motion will not succeed, simply because vested party interests don’t want anyone undermining their authority. What’s more it might show some people up.

With the great and good of civic society – and a few others too – sure to be disappointed by the prospect that the Civic Forum has no prospects, they are struggling to get their voices heard, especially on the media.

So, we have a suggestion – start your own TV reality show. The premise is simple: crowd of people crammed into a house with tasks to complete. First on the agenda will be economic recovery. If they manage that they’ll be let out of the house and sent to solve that wee problem in the Korean Peninsula.

We predict a riot...
To paraphrase the Kaiser Chiefs, we predict a riot this week coming. Okay in Norn Iron that’s a pretty safe prediction as 20 weeks of the year you are guaranteed some form of civil disorder.

What we are predicting is a riot when the week’s Committee business of the Assembly gets underway.

In the Education Committee there will fun and games when the Minister, John O’Dowd, comes before the members to explain Area Planning: which given all the controversy surrounding closures will mean the point scoring exercise will be well underway.

Oh, and they’ll be discussing school uniforms too…

Meanwhile this week will see the Public Accounts Committee discuss its Inquiry into the PSNI employing agency staff and its inquiry into the Organisational Review of Department Oversight at the Fire Service.

Both of which are potential tinderboxes.

During this week’s plenary session we will also see the First Minister and Deputy First Minister answering questions on the cost of their recent jaunt to the US and exactly what is going on in terms of yon Corporate Tax debacle.

And from that list there is sure to be an issue or two to provoke a media riot for rentaquotes from all the parties.

Worryingly for citizens in the Korean Peninsula the Assembly All Party Group on International Development is not scheduled to meet this week.