Interesting times in Northern Ireland today, where the two main political parties were supposed to nominate their representatives for the posts of "First Minister" and "Deputy First Minister" in the stalled devolved governmental assembly. The nominees were expected to be the Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of the DUP and Martin McGuinness, leader of Sinn Fein.
Paisley has loomed like a malevolent ogre over Northern Irish politics since I was a child. A fundamentalist Christian, he has risen to power supported by those who see negativity and intransigence as a virtue in a country where compromise is essential. His bigotry is the stuff of legend (he once put forward the view that The Pope was the antichrist). The thought that this demented cleric could rise to power says much about the lunacy of the Northern Ireland Protestant electorate and proves that they would vote for a monkey as long as it was wearing an Orange sash. Ian Paisley is determined that Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom.
McGuinness is no better. A convicted terrorist, he is consistently sulky and self-righteous, steadfastly refusing to acknowledge that republicans can ever be in the wrong. He is an enthusiastic embracer of The Holocaust Excuse (which states that any behaviour, however evil, can be justified by referring to wicked acts carried out against the perpetrators in the past.) Interrogated on the concept of "terrorism" following the September 11th attacks, he stated that the I.R.A. were not terrorists, but rather "patriots who made some mistakes", which no doubt came as great comfort to the burned, blinded, faceless, legless and bereaved. Martin McGuinness is determined that Northern Ireland will become part of the Republic of Ireland.
That these two buffoons can prosper in Northern Ireland is proof if proof were needed that the Northern Irish are entirely unfit to govern themselves, and why they're allowed to vote is a mystery to me. The only light relief in today's sorry proceedings was when lovable old Michael Stone strolled into into the government building at Stormont with a knife, a gun, a bomb and a specially trained genetically-engineered carnivorous giraffe off its tits on crystal meth and thirsting for Catholic blood. I'm not completely sure about the giraffe, to tell you the truth.
How Stone, who was jailed in 1988 for the cold-blooded murder of three Catholics at an I.R.A. funeral but released as part of the Good Friday Agreement, and clearly ought to be not only heavily sedated but permanently manacled to a large and immovable object in a padded cell, was able to get into a building full of prominent politicians beggars belief, bearing mind that in the rest of the U.K. the police apparently have carte blanche to shoot people dead for just being brown.
Anyway, to paraphrase a politician who's name for the moment escapes me, overheard settling, exhausted, into his aeroplane seat after his first visit to Belfast. "What a bloody awful place. I need a drink."