FIRE IN THE HOLD

titanic1

There was a programme on Channel 4 recently about a possible contributory factor to the sinking and demise of the “Titanic”. The nub of the theory is that when it set out on its ill-fated voyage , the damage was already done deep down in the ship’s innards. A coal fire, glowing progressively below decks was already out of hand in one of the huge three -storey high coal -bunkers, but time and money was of the essence to the owners , so the mariners set sail already afire, with the hope that the projected carnage could be dug -out and contained en voyage . Thus softened and weakened by the continuous heat, the hull was not in prime shape to accept the impact of the super-hard iceberg which caused the fatal final blow. The captain , obviously wary that fuel for the voyage might run out before journey’s end, already being consumed below decks by both the fire and the engine boilers, threw caution aside and forced the good ship Titanic into the ice-field with some alacrity. This haste and the fundamental lack of enough lifeboats because of previous cost-cutting ,resulted in many deaths.
I couldn’t help but think about our own good ship “Norneverland Executive” and the fire currently roaring in its belly in the shape of the “Cash For Ash” RHI £480 million scandal while I watched this investigative drama.it’s all only a theory at this great distance of some one hundred years since the event, but there’s been a fire burning in the heart of our own society for much the same length of time. At present our own First Minister , Captain Arlene is on “holidays” in every sense of the world. She had been placed in that annointed position because her party had already abandoned both Ian Paisley and then latterly Peter Robinson in an attempt to expunge any association with the NAMA and Red Sky scandals (and a few other scandals).It was thought that the Democratic Unionist Party could rebrand itself in some way and distance itself under a new leader’s stewartship. In the event , a fire was already glowing in the bowels of that plan .It only took a year for the brand new First Minister to be branded as equally scandal-prone as her predecessors. Indeed it appears that the DUP are in most respects incapable of government of any kind due to either chicanery or simple incompetence. They cannot actually do the job they’ve been tasked to do without keeping their hands out of the till and on the tiller at the same time and now the Executive is in something of a shambles, with the sulpurous stink of larceny and foolishness ebbing from the nethers below decks. For it to stagger from one crisis to the next on an annual basis is simply not good enough and as a result , the idea of a local government has become something of a laughing-stock.

 

 

I’m inclined to think that as the new year begins and as we all scramble for any available life-boats , that the good ship”Norneverland Executive” has begun the last few leagues of its journey.It has been something of an experimental vessel …a PushmepullyoU of a ship , or more realistically an ungainly paddle steamer, with an engine at either end, port and starboard ,each pulling relentlessly on a different course .Sinn Fein aimed for a future of equality among men and the outreach of their republican plan , while the DUP were navigating to the hegemony of some long -lost past that no longer exists in the modern world.how was that supposed to work? It was always possible that it would somehow….sometime ….pull itself asunder even without a fire in the hold.

 

It’s looking more and more that we will have to accept that for the forseeable future we are not in a safe pair of hands with the current captain.She will either go down with the ship or more likely , we’ll all be forced to abandon it anyway.