Let us compare mythologies”, as the bard ,Leonard Cohen ,would title his rare 1956 book.At this moment the election machines are cranking up for another tilt at the windmills of power .We’re experts on elections in Norneverland so there is now no novelty left in the process. How many times have I voted in this past forty-something years since I reached the use of the franchise? “The Dear knows”,as my late mother would say ,I’ve lost count ; there have been so many of these bloody things. This time around is a bit different though , given that I doubt that anyone really knows what they are voting for at all,as the very idea of a working local government at all, is something of a chimera. How could any of us be convinced that it will ever work ?
Local government collapsed after a succession of financial scandals which ended in the DUP’s huge £490 billion “Cash for Ash” one, which surpassed all others . It was really only the cherry on top of a festering wedding cake of culminating scandals of every kind and description , which have exposed corruption, homophobia, racism ,bigotry,sexism and intolerence at the heart of the local government. We are obviously not going to be able to do joined -up government if we re-instate the same idiots who got us to this current position seems to be the play.That is how I am inclined see it .Some of the politicians working for us sadly even appear to have little knowledge of geography, geology , physics,biology , ecology, evolution, mathematics, art , literature or the very stuff that gives living on earth any semblance of rational coherence. Many appear to have no scientific or biological knowledge of the physical, rational world they inhabit and subsequently live lives of myth and illogic which few can penetrate. There appears to be no real understanding of cause and effect and how things really work in nature.
They say that to tackle a problem you have to admit to it first and then begin to deal with it, otherwise the same behaviour will forever be recreated ad finitum. that is what appears to be happening again like a version of Groundhog Day where the same actions repeat over and over and nothing new is ever learned.
Take a look at the election promos that are currently being screened in three-minute slots on local television.The first one is Sinn Fein’s reading of the situation. As far as they are concerned this election is a fight for new respect across the board .Their vision of this is that it can be achieved within a United Ireland context and their new Northern leader spells out what she hopes to fix that is wrong .She explains who exactly would gain from her vision.She feels that everyone would be a winner. That seems to be an exercise in positivity and forward -thinking. She see no real negatives in her worldview.
The DUP’s 2017 election broadcast is more inward -looking and speaks of the local state as though it was the most beautiful parish in the world, unstained by bigotry or any of the horrors that have corrupted it in the past .There are lovingly- filmed panoramic shots in slo-mo of the prize that is Stormont ,awaiting the lucky voters and winners of the election; the much desired reinstatement of all that represents a sort of stability for some.It is a beautiful vision but it hardly rings true for many , given our past and the last ten years of arrogance in power .In the video the DUP’s current leader talks of the great economic advances she has made, forgetting to mention that she made those advances in the capacity of a minister within a Joint Government and within that same office, was also responsible for the outworkings of the biggest financial scandal we have ever experienced. Her previous leader was also involved in several scandals too .She had only been in her Joint FMDFM post some twelve months when the entire experiment collapsed under her watch. She was unable to negotiate the politics of survival required of her position and indeed oversaw the office in which the huge financial scandal was fully set- up. She did not accept that responsibility at all but blamed everyone else and threw one of her fellow ministers to the wolves as sacrifice .It was her Special Advisors and her civil -servants who made the mes, she said , leaving us to ask what her function actually was at all. She asked for popular support on the basis that she will be the best person to improve the economy after making a mess of it .It is a hard circle to square but she obviously feels that this is what we all want to improve our future.
The Ulster Unionist Party ‘s broadcast of February 2017 takes a different route and spends some five minutes on its story .It begins with a befuddled looking fellow walking through the streets in his pajamas , slippers and a hastily thrown on overcoat. He’s obviously somewhat sleepy and stunned, wringing his hands and owlishly peering about from within his rheumy ,sleep- walking dream. This might be a modern -day Rip Van Winkle who has partially awoken from his own hundred- year sleep , attempting to make some sense of the modern world and specifically the morass of politics in modern-day Norneverland . This poor, wretched everyman stops before the offices of the Ulster Unionist Party. This man badly needs advice and guidance and enters tentativly accompanied by an attractive blonde lady, representing good -sense and sleek modernism, who invites him in and offers him coffee and advice , plus a potted history lesson of recent political changes.Of course , the story relayed to the puzzled punter is as surreal as life in Norneverland is oddly weird anyway .
The source material of the recent historical record seems hardly real at all. Like some old “Alias Smith and Jones “two-header comedy sketch ,incredulity gradually creeps across the newly-awakened face as mention is made of the “Chuckle Brothers” double-act of Ian Paisley and Martin Maguinness in their tag-team stint together which bound Sinn Fein and the DUP jointly in power.Peter Robinson’s stint in the double-act which followed Paisley’s tenure was deemed ….unexplainably ….”complicated”….too difficult for this poor man’s brain to contend with .Arlene Foster’s rise from her defection from this same UUP to sharing power with Sinn Fein is referenced as Mr Pajamas idly fiddles with the little wooden nuggets associated with her Cash For Ash scandal, which he appears to be using as his own personal worry-rosary .There would be nothing so crass as outright condemnation in this this very polite conversation , just yet ,before the homely fire blazing in the grate .Then at this point, the moment arrives as reference is made to the new leader of the UUP and the evocation from Mr Pajamas that” it sounds like NornIreland needs changin’issues ,Mike Nesbitt quickly enters from Stage Right and sits in the central seat like some urbane Steven Fry character who will now take the reins of the conversation from his underling and sort everything out for the nice man.TV Mike begins to explain as an understanding father might explain to a frightened child how things should really be run in the realm.”Corruption” is mentioned as Mr Pajamas fiddles with his little wooden nuggets again , slowly taking in the enormity of the mess he has just slept through.The economy …arrogance …fresh starts…corruption…the failing Health Service….”and on top of that one of the biggest financial scandals ever” …intones TVMike , in his most reasonable manner.He brings it back to the wood pellets of the Renewable Heating Scheme ,some of which have been spread in abundance across the lovely white table-cloth as a constant reminder to focus. ….those same pellets that Mr Pajamas is absent-mindedly fiddling with. He goes on to lump Sinn Fein into the scandal on the basis that they were in Joint Office with the DUP at the time.He forgot to mention that Arlene Foster had no notion that it was a Joint Office at any time and worked alone or that she and many of her colleagues did not actually respect theoriginal agreement that had put them there into power in the first place.
Mr Pajamas would simply assume that both parties had not tried hard enough and were both foolish to boot.Then again ,TVMike’s appeal was not directed at the potential Sinn Fein party voters at all but rather those voters who would never vote for them at any time anyway. He was very obviously after rattled DUP voters. He summed it up and Mr Pajamas was left to make up his own sleepy mind.