Ordinarily I am wary of what might be called the ‘Eeyorish tendency’ within British society. By the Eeyorish tendency I mean the tendency to whine pessimistically, and to have the feeling that something, like our country, or possibly even the world, is inexorably going to hell in a handcart. The tendency is obviously named after the similarly cheerless donkey out of Winnie the Pooh. Examples of this would be when canvassing at election time, to be told repeatedly by members of the public that they are not going to make the short trip to their local polling station to exercise their democratic rights, because ‘they’re all the same.’ Even were one to go along with the proposition that a candidate from the British National Party or UKIP were ‘the same’ as a candidate from, say, the Green Party, or the Liberal Democrats- which I believe is both stupid and insulting- the thing that sticks in my claw about this tendency to default gloom is that it is often based on utter ignorance. I can’t help wondering how many such people can even name their local candidates. And then there is the fact that as a strategy of dealing a blow to a failing political system, the apathy policy is clearly a failure on its own terms, given that the less people vote the more it serves to narrow the political field, as candidates of the mainstream parties crowd the political centre. Looking across the Atlantic, it is surely highly likely that a third party could become viable in America, if the approx 50% of the population who cannot be bothered to vote did so. Instead we are left with a Republican and Democratic Party which people rightly complain hardly offers any choice at all on many issues. Further, this kind of Eeyorish apathy is often simply an excuse for people who cannot be bothered to do anything about a perceived problem, and wish to dress up their laziness and cynicism as some kind of protest against the perfidious machine. Read the rest of this entry
Every government wants to appear strong on something, tough on crime, a champion of the NHS but a war on council house tenants is definitely new on the political horizon.
Fraud has long been considered a white-collar crime but the new culture of sub-letting council houses brings this into question. There are currently no criminal sanctions for this immoral activity but under the Coalition’s new plans this may be about to change. Now I am all for the theory of council houses helping those who cannot afford to rent in the private sector, this is un-debatable; however, there is a line of trust in this agreement which should not be broken.
Law and order is beginning to return to the streets of London and other cities across the country. The police have adapted quickly and there is finally leadership from the government. On Wednesday David Cameron told journalists outside Downing Street that the police will get whatever resources are required. This, along with other factors, seems to have deterred more rioting. The more extreme measures that were proposed to quell the riots, most notably the use of water cannons and rubber bullets, have not materialised. Click here to keep reading
The arrival of the summer season in Northern Ireland brings with it the high-point of another season – the ‘marching season’. Union Jacks on lampposts, kerb-stones painted red, white and blue, and enormous bonfires, often featuring the Irish tricolour at their peaks; each year throughout the end of June and the beginning of July we witness mass preparations for the 12th July celebrations. ‘The Twelfth’ is a Protestant celebration in which marching bands and Members of the Orange Order commemorate the victory of King William of Orange over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne. While on one hand this annual event can be seen as a community-driven and family orientated celebration, from a nationalist point of view it is often considered to be contentious and provocative. Click here to keep reading
Saturday 25th June 2011 represented an extremely important day in the evolution of Northern Ireland’s once troubled and divided Derry City. Once the scene of arguably the most publicised event in Northern Ireland’s troubled past, Bloody Sunday, the ‘Maiden City’ has come a long way in the past twelve months.