Ha ! Censorship! The term was brought  down to new depths or maybe raised to new heights… in the inquisition of  Stephen Brimstone.You might or might not recall that he is involved in a scandal involving his party , the DUP here in Norneverland  and  is being questioned  about some dodgy deals with a company called Red Star…It all sounds like a little insular, nepotistic  bit of business jiggery -pokery , whose revelations  , we the public , are to be protected from at all costs. Is “stonewalling” actually a new form of lying ; a passive /aggressive kind of non-verbal, non committal  boxing? Well , if not , what exactly is it?

This was  his fifth appearance before the committee whose inquiry was sparked by an alleged Housing Executive scandal..Jenny Palmer , a DUP member had been put under pressure to extend contracts to the company with connections to the party. She had been pilloried for refusing and demanded an apology , which she still hasn’t received ….Five different  drafts of the apology to her have been handed to a Stormont committee which is probing claims that she was put under pressure by a party special adviser, Stephen Brimstone.He ,obviously, is under pressure from politicians in the party to keep his mouth tightly shut…or maybe not!! As the MLAs’ probe continued a few days ago , Mr Brimstone was accused of “taking refuge” in failing to remember anything ; even though it must have been playing on his mind since the events  happened  and was probably gossiped about behind closed doors to remind him.

…and DUP members of the social development committee were also charged with attempting to block the inquiry. Well , that is perfectly understandable , given the twists and wriggles going on behind the scenes.Mr Brimstone said he could not remember where he had been when he telephoned Mrs Palmer.I suppose that’s fair enough too.I can hardly remember what day it is most of the time, living as I do in a state of”perpetual weekend”, so i can hardly tell you what  I did last week.

Jenny Palmer has alleged he told her “the party comes first – you do what you are told,” in relation to a vote being taken by the Housing Executive board on extending contracts to the failed firm Red Sky.

If this had been an  old gangster movie , the man , Brimstone ,with the devilishly, sulphurish moniker would have been growling ..”I plead the  Fifth” as he gave each studied non-answer to each of his patient questioners.His head would be bowed in busy congress with his “brief” as he took instruction each time he was confronted with a question that might otherwise incriminate him.

The “fifth” being the Fifth Amendment in U.S. law  :”The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public …..bladee bladee blah!!!”

Well , this was pretty much the attitude of “the accused” Mr. Beelzebub….er , Brimstone as each question rolled off the lips of his accusers.There was no “brief”  to confer with , of course but he wasn’t going to shop any of his buddies in the DUP. This was one pup who wasn’t prepared to bite the hand that feeds , no matter how transparently guilty he appeared . He might be many things but he wasn’t going to rat anyone out!! Well, of course no one expects honesty from politicians or their familiars . Their attitude is  that as long as there is no stain on the historical record, nobody will remember whether or not they were guilty anyway. The thing is , these characters might spin their lies and half-truths for all they are worth , but anyone with  any grey matter in working order knows exactly the difference between truth and lies. There is even a handy four minute edited version  of this little trial on YouTube for anyone who is too bored to suffer through its  full detail and still  wants to recall any of it at a future time…. In it he demonstrates his ability , with a stunning variety of inflexions and po-faced acting  skills  to say… “I can’t comment”…. in a wondrous variety of differing ways that must have been a studied recitation , honed over many hours at the mirror , prior to this confrontation. I wonder did he do it in front of a mirror or maybe he tried it out on the wife  or girlfriend to see how it would work. I see a great future for him on the theatrical stages of the world, if after, keeping his bosses arses out of the fire, they quietly get rid of him in case this whole thing blows up again.

Then again it might be time now to wheel in the polygraph test or get Paul McKenna the hypnotist on the phone. Hypnotism might be the answer to  unearthing those deep-buried memories, eh?

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