missed some of the election fun and games.unfortunately .I’d been watching television throughout the afternoon as the votes were counted and the panel of politicians and pundits squabbled.Things were getting very interesting but I’d previously arranged to be in Belfast for the latter part of the day attending a gig at the excellent Nashville/Belfast 13th Songwriters’ Festival so I had to prematurely tear myself away from the ongoing drama and buzz of the television . It was raining hard as we barrelled down the motorway .As we supped pints of ale and the ladies sipped Tanquerey and Tonic, it was only the background television running with sub-titles that continued to tell the soundless story of the election on the day after the Green Nationalist Crocodiles awoke from their slumber to make their voices finally heard .Were these the new generation of youngsters finally getting their voting shoes on for the first time?
Ulster Unionist TV Mike Nesbitt ‘s demise was relayed against the hubbub of conversation in the bar.The man had tried a different approach but it was never going to pay off in a unionist community which had been scared near to death by the proposed “republican radical agenda” of “Bogeyman Adams” , that had been threatened. Most people around us were actually uninterested in the images flashing by in the background .Political careers were ending among the clattering of tableware, the rustle of paper napkins and the chink of beer-glasses on the table-tops. The young women chattering behind me seemed more interested in other things. such as the two young ,good -looking bearded Italian nurses from the “Royal”whom we’d engaged in conversation.Some others were surveying the bar-food menu to see what might sate their hunger…”Chicken breast cooked in buttermilk… what about a bar snack of some chicken -fries and goujons maybe…?”
I craned my neck to see TV Mike Nesbitt filmed like a lonely , lost soul in some car-park in a rugby jacket and then there was the TUV leader, Jim Allister who appeared to have lost his usual ascerbic sense of humour with steam pouring out of his ears ,as though experiencing an apoplectic seizure of some sort .I could only strain to read a few of his words between mouthfulls of stinging ale ;some of these ales were tasty alright ;all of this playing in the background as some absurd silent film with sub-titles.As notes and tweets flashed by on screen , most too quickly to read ,the owlish ,Bunterish, Nelson McCausland appeared to have lost his position, as did Alex Atwood. These old familiar faces were about to be culled from the political herd. Danny Kennedy and Jo-Anne Dobson fell too and Emma Pengelly. Sadly I could not enjoy some of the more emotive sound-bites . I didn’t see Edwin Poots’ apparent breakdown at the news of Sinn Fein’s resurgence ; there was talk of Mr”Lord” Morrow dropping too and Arlene Foster seemed nowhere to be seen anywhere.The talk was that she and elements of her party were huffing with the BBC for not consistently basting their posteriors enough with bon mots and were keeping away from any microphones . Arlene had been huffing for weeks anyway and was obviously now on a short leash, lest she make a bad situation even worse.Gerry Adams appeared suddenly to collect his identity lanyard and hug Sinn Fein supporters and was eventually corralled to make a interview in which he quietly discussed just why the previous First Minister had brought this result down on her head and what she might need to do to allow the DUP to take up offices again..It was obvious that she had called it wrong and many had actually wanted and voted for her feared “radical republican agenda” after all. Well …if that’s what an equal proportion of the public wanted …what next?
She’d very obviously awakened an awful lot of green ,nationalist crocodiles from their slumber by her antics in the previous year.
Meanwhile we were off into the rain again to enjoy an evening with some old friends , one of whom I hadn’t seen in some forty years ,in the company of the very talented Grammy -nominated singer, songwriter and guitarist Darrel Scott.
He didn’t dissappoint either.What a day!!