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Help us !!

I’m having my first cup of Punjana and Ian Paisley Junior {Is he still junior?} is on the “Nolan”  radio show blaming Martina Anderson of Sinn Fein for the impending closure of the Gallaher factory in  Ballymena. He ‘s basically thrashing about looking for a scapegoat I suppose .He wants someone to blame because he doesn’t fancy carrying this stinking bucket that has landed  on his patch.He’s obviously taking the news as a personal affront and when that happens with Mr. Paisley , rationality flies out the door on golden wings. .I thought it was a cheap and unthought- out shot  though. It’s blame somebody time again, anyway and when it comes to women , Ian likes to try and put these lesser beings in their rightful place . That would be about five paces behind and to the right.  It appears to be one of his less agreeable tics. This closure, of course, for all the rattling, raving and ranting,  is about nothing but filthy lucre and it is something that is happening throughout the world. It’s the same thing that has occurred  with the clothing industry . For those with  long enough memories, our once unassailable, linen industry, went too.If the clothes can be made in sweatshops in China or India by poorly -paid children   cheaper than here , that’s where they’ll be made. Until a stink is kicked up and the company moves on to a lesser -human rights friendly  corner , where people can be abused a little more easily. This has nothing to do with the jiggery- pokery of packaging or advertising a product that can kill you. It’s an opportune moment to simply upsticks.

Mr Paisley has obviously inherited some of his father’s  belligerence because he lost his temper when  it was reasonably pointed out that he needed to get up to speed on how globalisation actually works . He was already crying down doom and gloom on Northern Ireland and  prophesying that the loss of Gallahers would bring down a crime wave on all our heads .Idle hands and all that.Already being used to having  inherited some modicum of power from his father, in a very small pond ,he couldn’t  simply accept his powerlessness in face of outside, uncontrollable  forces, but he had no problem blaming Martina Anderson of Sinn Fein  for everything that was falling on his head.Unfortunately no one could offer him succour..

There is no doubt that the tobacco industry has been caught between a rock and a hard place  for years now .The product was once socially acceptable, glamourous even, but is no pushed to the margins of society. Government has stopped short of total prohibition in face of the  known illness and Health Service facilities that  tobacco use  inspires. Mr Paisley  had obviously and transparently been  been waiting to pounce with his acrid vitriolic stream.It was the usual blitzkrieg of chaff and thunder …a smokescreen to mask his own fears  .The immaturity of his attack , redolent of a schoolboy  fighting over who got the bigger half of the penny chew. He simply couldn’t wait to insult rather than debate and in doing so exposed the paucity and shallowness of his political debate. This was not going to be University Challenge.This was what the corridors of Stormont must look like on a daily basis. A hanging bitterness of any opposition  ,even though an agreement for government  was reached long ago. Democracy at work in its finest form.

Within a period  ten years no one is allowed to smoke indoors. Pubs and restaurants are now smoke free zones. More and more people no longer allow smoking inside their own homes.Everyone goes outside for fear of stinking up the place or contaminating everyone’s lungs. It is basically now pushed to the margins of society. Cigarette packs are no longer beautifully designed  . They now carry warnings of terrible diseases and death. Ian Paisley , in face of  reasoned commentary , resorted to his usual bullying tactics and when that didn’t work , he began accusing Martina Anderson of  bombing children as though  this was now 1970 and we’d all been returned  in the Tardis ,to a time of  ongoing conflict. He came across as some petulant little schoolboy , thrashing about looking for someone to blame. The transparency of his tirade was embarrassing. He couldn’t really see that there was nothing, nor no-one, to blame but  global  money. Tobacco companies are producing a drug which is a drain on  our health services  and is killing our citizens so it’s a bit of a conundrum to  find our right- wing religious  politicians moralising about its production. These are the same politicians that would rush to the podium to ban marijuana which is not nearly as  toxic as their beloved  tobacco.

Now there’s an idea .Maybe the Gallaher factory could be converted into a  Marijuana production plant   like some of those places in certain American states like Colorado. Said production and use of marijuana or its derivetives   might mellow  the good folk of Ballymena and Northern Ireland out a bit..It may even have a major effect on the voting patterns of Northern Ireland and steer our citizenry in a “greener” and more cerebral direction.

It would find ready buyers worldwide if it was a quality product and could also be taxed while replacing all those lost jobs. Whether it was used locally or exported to more enlightened places,it would certainly make a lot of people a little more more thoughtful and happy. It might even put a smile on to Ian Paisley’s face, take a few knots out of his spine and calm him down a bit.

Thinking outside the box idea number three. What have they all got to lose?

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