Do politicians know their arse from their elbow? Do the politicians know what they are supposed to be agreeing to ? The Stormont House Agreement that the Big Talks was all about ,just before Christmas, in Norneverland ,seems to be as oblique and as opaque as ever . They’ve argued the entire thing out over three months but they don’t seem to know what they agreed to . They made a merry song and dance about it too. I’d hate to see any of them haggling for a rug in a Marrakech souk. By the time they got around to closing the deal and sharing the mint tea, they wouldn’t even know what they were buying in the first place.TV Mike Nesbit has talked of his fear that the agreement could easily unravel because the language used in the document they agreed to was so wooly and ambiguous that they could really have agreed to just about anything depending on how you’d want to interpret it . Well is that not always the case with politicians, anyway? it begins to sound and look like a lovely surreal episode of “Yes Minister” . Is n’t that what politics are really like? In fact ,isn’t that what politics are really about?
Politics are no place for people who are set in their ways ; people who like to call a spade …a spade.For example, you would need to be able to argue yourself in and out of hell and place yourself in your opponents shoes too.You ‘d need to be able to stand up and blether, fillibustering for hours on end.You should be able to argue that black was white and why you thought that ..yes , pigs might actually be able to fly after all.You should be able to debate why you thought that a tomato really shouldn’t be a fruit after all .It had more of the vegetable about it after all . My long -gone grandfather insisted on sprinkling sugar on his tomato. He thought it was only right that a fruit should taste sweet and “fruity “; A fruit as brightly coloured as a tomato …should be sweet as a fruit pastille…. the sweeter the better. Politicians should be able to argue that fowl were fish and fish was fowl, shouldn’t they? It should be part and parcel of their skillset before thinking of ever becoming a politician at all.
Speaking of fish. I do like a nice bit of fish .The thing about fish is that once you’ve tasted absolutely fresh fish, you are spoilt forever. There is no substitute for the texture and flavour of it. Those wee stiff frozen boards from the frozen pack in the Birds Eye freezer cabinet will never cut the mustard again. You’ll be ruined for all time. It will be as ashes on your tongue.Which brings me to a small problem . This is not a good time of year for our fishermen. The weather is against them .I dare say not one of us would volunteer to go out on the ocean with the snow falling hard ,chasing those silver darlings . That simply means that fresh fish is a lot rarer in the winter months. It is usually expensive too. I am inclined not to buy as much of it from my local “fish man” at this time of year as the stuff on sale seems mostly taken from a deep -freeze and there is a real difference in taste.Spoilt subtley, but still perfectly edible , you see. It doesn’t take long for that to happen.
Of all the fishes that are available locally , I still favour a nice piece of haddock fillet .Of couse, you have to be careful not to overcook a bit of fish .My favourite and simplest way is to wash the fillets well and make sure there are no bones . There’s nothing worse than a mouthful of fishbones…..A Mouthful of Fishbones …it sounds like the title of a Tom Waits’ song somehow .Anyway , every one of those wee spiney buggers need to be removed . I then place the fillets in a shallow oven dish , grind on some black pepper and a pinch of good salt flakes; a wee shake of dry rosemary and a little parsley goes well with it …not too much!: a little milk ..just enough to stop the fish sticking ; pop into a pre-heated oven for exactly twelve and a half minutes and get it out quickly onto warm plate and serve up with creamy champ and whatever vegetable takes your fancy.It’s even good with sticky chipotle chillie beans.Perfect.. just don’t let it cook any longer …and the fresh fish costs only about three quid per person for a good portion .What’s not to like? So support your hard=working local fishermen , when you can.
It’s a pity politics weren’t as easy to support..