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To Vote or Not to Vote

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The votes are in and counted and what changes can we look forward to, probably none. With Sinn Fein taking the most seats here, the Unionists will now refuse to go back into Stormont. Of course Sinn Fein are now all about getting back to work but were happy to sit at home for three+ years after they walked out over the RHI scandal. Do they really think Unionism will accommodate them now? The thing is no one even noticed when they were all off and things just rattled along as always. Party politics has really outlived its usefulness, we don’t just need to get rid of the politicians, we need a whole new system.

The press are making a big deal out of Sinn Fein winning most seats but the reality is they haven’t won any more than they did last time around, the only difference this time is that the TUV took a couple off the DUP. The SDLP lost out most and I’m happy to report that one of their losers was Nichola Mallon. Truly well-deserved after her actions the last two years, and there will be many who will not be sorry to see her go. She was the most outspoken supporter of lockdowns, vax passes and compulsory vaccines, a real fascist at heart. I’m only disappointed Colm Eastwood isn’t joining her because he was as bad.

There were over 11,000 spoiled votes and with a turnout of 63% there were still a lot of people, more than a third actually, who didn’t vote. I will be joining their ranks next time around if the choices remain the same.

I was always a strong advocate of voting but have lost all faith in the system, it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government, or rather ‘shadow government’, always gets in. It has also been made compulsory to register to vote, this is probably so that your data can be sold on and they can keep tabs on you, so I won’t even bother to register again either.

The malaise is worse in England with only 35% turnout and as low as 13% in some areas. I don’t know how anyone can claim to speak for us on those figures. Boris Johnston could turn those Conservative losses into a big win if he finally got the UK out of the EU, dumped the protocol, stopped bowing to the woke crowd, grew up and actually showed something like leadership.

I was never a fan of Margaret Thatcher but I have to say, she wouldn’t have put up with an ounce of this garbage for five minutes, and I am sick government policy being decided by media hysteria. Of course, the next outbreak has started already, abortion this time, and off they go hysterically ramping up the screaming woke mob again. Gawd, give me strength!


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Weddin

It was only the Flu!

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Tuesday, 25 Aug 2020, 19:31

A bit of good news for our Northern Ireland citizens, the law in the Irish Republic does not apply to you so you are free to go to any beach or holiday home in Donegal if you wish, and there is nothing they can do about it. The absolute joke of this is that people in Donegal are not allowed to go to their beaches but we are!  

Other good news, you are now allowed back in the cemeteries too.  Interestingly, this move was opposed by Sinn Fascists - sorry, Sinn Fein and the Alliance Party - remember that at the next election because I certainly will.

It's interesting to see that it is the DUP who are trying to be a bit more liberal about all these issues and Arlene Foster has opposed the 2km limit for people exercising while Sinn Fein have been trying to take a harder line. No surprise there, it has been interesting to watch their arrogance increase in direct proportion to their political power. 

As the self-righteous grandstanding goes on in politics and the media, we are now faced with the problem of everyone trying to find a way out of the over-reaction and save face at the same time. The total number of deaths from 'covid' in Northern Ireland and the UK are 250 and 20,000 respectively, that's a lot less than the predicted 14,000 and 500,000 that was used to terrorise the populace when the media went into panicdemic overdrive. And 20K is about average for the flu anyway, the yearly 'pandemic' that comes and goes every other year without the hype and hysteria, although they did try hard with 'bird' flu and 'swine' flu.

Sadly, it seems people prefer the hype and hysteria, maybe they get off on it or maybe their lives are so boring it gives them something to talk about, but the funny thing is, all my friends and family know I work at the local hospital but not one of them has asked about numbers of patients, or how staff are coping with the 'crisis', or even an estimate of how many people are being treated. Not one!   But just in case anyone is interested, when I asked last week, I was told they have 'wards full of empty beds'.

Treatments have been cancelled, the economy has been crashed, millions have been thrown out of work and the voice of dissent is being censored like never before online, all because of a 'flu' and a media induced hysterical over-reaction.

But well done to the owners of the Federal Reserve, they just made 2 trillion dollars which the American people will have to pay back once this nonsense is all over. Still, it's good to see the bankers doing so well while the ordinary folk are getting shafted..again!

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Good News/ Bad News

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Saturday, 14 Dec 2019, 10:12

It's been a good news/bad news sort of a week. Good news, in that Boris won the election with a sizeable majority so now we can finally get on with Brexit and leaving the EU. I never thought I would be glad to see a Tory Government elected but like many working class, Boris was the only choice to finally settle the debate and I would like to say a huge thank you to the people of England who turned out to vote and make it happen. I feel, for the first time in a very long time, hopeful and optimistic about the future of the country and I think the UK will thrive from here on and that we have a lot to look forward to.

The sheep here turned out to vote for the tribes, as usual. However, there were a few upsets. Sinn Fein lost Foyle to the SDLP and the DUP's, Nigel Dodd’s lost his seat too.  Unfortunately, it was to Sinn Fein so that was a bit of a double-edged sword!  

With the EU out of the way, the buck will now stop in Westminster (at least, it will once we are out) and our politicians will now (hopefully!) be more accountable for their policies and actions.  At least, it will be easier to hold them to account.

Other good news on the election front, was the non-election of Jo Swinson who got a lesson in reality - self-righteous pontificating isn't really much of a policy and a bit of advice for Jo, just because The Guardian say it, doesn't make it true. Now, Jo will have to get a real job and work for a living. Welcome to the real world!

Labour too, got a hard lesson in reality. They deserted the working-classes and now the working-classes have deserted them, at least, temporarily. Although, I was sorry to see Dennis Skinner lose his seat. 

Labour hasn't been a working-class party for years, like the politics of Northern Ireland, their view of the world is out of date and so are most of their policies. What we have also seen, is that reality trumps ideology and we are now moving towards a post-ideological world.  The extremes of right and left ideology no longer work when faced with the practical reality of life. Labour needs to restructure and start living in the real world and not in some 'socialist' Utopian ideal that exists only in the minds of those who have only ever lived comfortable, middle-class lives. Especially, when in recent years, they pontificate and insult their voting heartlands with their self-righteous grand-standing and try to ignore the voice of that majority.

On the bad news front, we lost Dr David Bellamy, the naturalist and critic of the 'climate change' fraud. His opposition to that fraud saw him side-lined by the media and many of the environmental groups he was involved with. I hope the day is coming soon when the lies of the mainstream media are finally exposed on this and with the EU out of the way, that will, I hope, be the end to their funding of the propaganda and distortions of the truth.

And if anyone is still in doubt about 'climate change', answer this one simple question (even Jo Swinson could work this one out!) 

Who is more likely to tell you the truth about the effects of Co2 on the climate of this planet?

A - An American politician, Al Gore?

B - An unqualified and uneducated, 16 year old with a learning disability, Greta Thunberg?

C - A naturalist and environmentalist with a Phd in Botany and over 40 years of campaigning on the environment, Dr David Bellamy?

On the news/news front, since you cannot trust the BBC or any of the mainstream services, I would recommend Sky News Australia.  A completely different beast from Sky News UK which, I would never allow in the door but a great channel with some great commentators. You can find it on Youtube.

So, roll on 2020, and the US election.  This will probably return a massive vote for Trump since the US is also enduring the same self-righteous grandstanding that we have endured from the Neo-Liberal Fascist's in our midst but from the Democratic Party in their propaganda war of lies as they try to cover up Biden's dirty deals in Ukraine.  Watch this space...

 


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Idealism vs Reality

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 12 May 2022, 14:07

We haven't had a working government in Stormont for 2 years now.  It's a political stalemate between the 2 extremes of Irish Republicanism (Sinn Fein) and Unionism (DUP) which are, in all probability, irreconcilable.  Especially, since the DUP hold the balance of power in Westminster and are keeping Theresa May in office and the Conservatives in government.

The same political stalemate is happening in the US with the stand-off between a Republican president threatening to close down the Government again and the Democrat-controlled Senate refusing to fund his wall.

Then, we have the political shambles of Brexit with Theresa May incompetently lurching from one crisis to the next and unable to deliver a 'deal'.  There is political stalemate with Europe refusing to renegotiate and neither the Left nor the Right anywhere able to fully grasp the reality of life outside the Parliamentary bubble for the rest of us and deliver what we want and need and not just on Brexit.

The stagnation of politics in the West at the present time is because we are caught between 2 irreconcilable positions, the Left and the Right, or public vs private and there is no-one of competence, capable of stepping up and delivering a coherent and practical alternative. (Well, apart from me!)

The other problem is that the political structure and the policies of the Left and Right are years out of date and do not serve the world of today.  The Right dominates at the moment because the Left have collapsed and failed to address the reasons for this.  Tony Blair did attempt to move Labour from the old policies of the 70’s that had kept them out of office and towards the middle but unfortunately, he kept going in that direction and ended up more right-wing than some Tories. 

The Right believe in capitalism, especially Free Market Capitalism which has been the doctrine since the 1980’s.  It doesn’t matter that it collapsed in 2008; those on the Right still refuse to acknowledge its failure or to acknowledge that it worked best when it came with a social conscience as it did in the time of people like Cadbury and Rowntree.

The political doctrines of the left and right were drawn up when the parties were formed, either in response to or opposition to, events or social and political conditions as Labour did after the Second World War when the populace demanded change.  The Welfare State was set up to address the demand for better health care, education and housing and to provide a safety net against poverty.  However, the Conservative Party detest the Welfare State and have been doing their best to dismantle it since then.  Their belief in the private over public is best seen in the way they sold off and privatised all the nationalised industries. 

Here in the North, Sinn Fein are becoming strangulated by their ‘ideals’.  Their refusal to sit in Parliament was a policy drawn up a hundred years ago as a protest against British rule in Ireland.  Since they have signed and accepted the Good Friday Agreement, they have accepted British rule in the North so why are they not taking their seats?  They also have a problem with the oath to the Queen but let’s be realistic about it, would anyone think they really meant it? Or they could do what Tony Benn always did and cross their fingers.  If they were in Parliament, they could at least drum up support against the oath from other Parliamentarians and get rid of it altogether.  Ironically, if they had taken the seven seats they won after the last election, they could have made life very difficult for the Government and since they were able to change their position on the EU from anti to pro within a couple of years, I don’t see why they can’t make that change.

The doctrines of the Left and Right, like Sinn Fein and the DUP are based on certain ideals.  Each has their own belief in what the world should be from their perspective and they try and shape it to fit in with those ideals.  That’s not to say that having ideals is necessarily a bad thing but when it translates into policies and dogma that are unchangeable and cause political stagnation then it becomes a problem. 

The politic world is ripe for change, a middle way has to be found between left and right, a balance between public and private because as history has shown us, neither of these options has worked when put into practice. It is time to abandon the doctrines of the past and move towards a new way of working. Brexit has shown that issue-based politics has driven a wedge through the left and the right but it also offers hope of a better way of working in the future.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) it would mean the parties within Westminster would have to abandon their dogmatic political position and work to deliver a solution where politicians would work together to resolve the issues instead of trying to impose a party-based solution more concerned with keeping a government in power but which cannot deliver in the long term.

We need a complete restructuring of the political landscape.  We should decide on the issues, healthcare, housing, transport, security, education, what are we willing to support through taxation, what kind of society do we want and what are we willing to do to create it?  In abandoning party politics and moving towards issue-based politics, we would be dealing with the actual problems, free from the dogma and rhetoric of the past and instead, focussed on finding a solution to today’s problems. It would also mean a reduction in government and an end to cronyism and corporate predominance. 

There should also be rules in place so that only people who actually live in a constituency have the right to stand for election in that constituency. This would get rid of the London-centric politics which has split the country and left those outside the London and Parliamentary bubble feeling disconnected and forgotten.   

While many are worried about Brexit, we should see it as an opportunity to redraw the political landscape.  Once Britain is free from Brussels, we have the chance to start over, to wipe the slate clean and rebuild society and the political structure.  Margaret Thatcher once said ‘there is no such thing as society’, this was a very famous quote but it was only part of what she said, she went on to say, ‘There are individual men and women, and there are families.  And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after ourselves and then look after our neighbour.  It is time to look after ourselves. 

Change will come, the disaffection of the people with politicians and the political structure is evident across the world.  We have hit an impasse and Brexit has revealed the failure of the Left and Right to find a way forward or to offer a solution.  If we are to move forward, then we have to address the realities of the world today and create a political structure that serves the needs of the people and the country first.  The day of party politics is coming to an end, change can be frightening but with a little courage and imagination, there is no telling what kind of society we could create.  All it takes is the will to make it happen, we can be idealistic and wish for a better world but at the end of the day, it is up to us to create it.  Idealism does have its place, it can and does inspire us to action, great men like Mahatma Ghandi were idealistic and achieved so much but it was achieved through action and by facing and dealing with the realities of the day.  

Idealism fails when it doesn’t deal with reality as we have seen only too well in the last century. 

Albert Einstein once said, ’Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow’.  I think we should learn from yesterday, act today and tomorrow will take care of itself’.

A few weeks ago, a bomb went off in Derry; a stark reminder of what can happen when the ‘ideals’ of the past, impinge on the present reality.  When vacuums open up in politics and leadership (quite often between their ears!), the worst elements step in and try to fill them. 

 


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Brexit again and finally

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 15 Jan 2018, 19:28

I sent this letter to the local paper which was printed just after Christmas.  I’ve edited it again for the blog.  I’ve pulled together all my reasons for voting Leave so apologies in advance to those points I’ve already mentioned before and this will probably be my last word on the subject…

 As a Brexiteer, I made my decision to vote Leave, on the basis of careful consideration of what I believe to be, legitimate concerns about the political direction of the EU.   As well as the lack of democratic accountability within the European Commission, I believe the EU is working in the interests of the corporate elite and not the people of Europe, consider also, if you will, the following;

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP 

This trade agreement was drawn up between the EU and the US and was, in effect, handing over the democratic institutions of the countries of Europe to global corporations.  Part of the TTIP agreement was ISDS, which stands for Investor State Dispute Settlement.  This would have allowed corporations to sue governments in secret courts, if they brought in legislation that affected their business profits.  The Philip Morris conglomerate did this in Uruguay and Australia, over anti-smoking legislation.  Ironically, we have Donald Trump to thank for getting rid of it.

The Euro 

The introduction and subsequent collapse of the Euro has wrecked the economies of Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, and has allowed the corporate elite through the EU, the IMF and the World Bank to come in and asset strip the public sector and privatise public utilities.  The people of Ireland will know this through the attempted imposition of water charges that they fought so successfully against last year. The people of Greece too, know this as their public utilities have been sold off and they have been saddled with debt, in the form of loans from the IMF and World Bank, which their grandchildren will be paying for.

EU Army  

When did the EU change from a ‘common market’ to a United States of Europe with its own army?  Why does the EU need an army and more importantly, who will control it?  Why are they continuing to expand eastwards and why did they try and provoke a conflict with Russia over Ukraine, 2 years ago?  If the governments of Europe are really interested in peace then why do they not support Russian membership of NATO?  In whose interest is it to continue to paint Russia as an enemy of the West?

 The EU and the Bilderburg Group 

The Bilderburg Group are an elite group of 120 -150 bankers and corporate CEO’s who hold secret meetings every year to decide political policy in the EU and the US. They were formed after the Second World War and were instrumental in setting up the EU.  These are the people who control the government which is why for the last 37 years; policy has remained the same, regardless of who was Prime Minister. 

Costs and waste

The EU moves every month from Brussels to Strasbourg and back again at a cost of millions.  It costs £250,000 just to move the files.  It also has its own shopping centre and pays for private schools for the children of their staff.  This is only a small sample of how it wastes resources but if you research online you will find plenty more.

 Free Movement

There is no free movement of goods and services.  All the talk about hard borders and customs is propaganda dressed up in media hype and fear-mongering.  Anyone who trades within the EU will know that customs papers still have, and always had to be filled out and anyone who imports or exports within the EU will know about Intrastat reports where every item has to be coded, accounted for and submitted to the tax authorities every month.  The customs have never gone away, the only thing that happened is the actual barriers on the road were taken down and if you still believe in free movement, ask anyone from Ireland if they can buy a car anywhere in Europe and bring it back without having to pay import duty. 

 The people of Ireland seem to have forgotten that they rejected the Lisbon Treaty but were bullied into another referendum with the threat that they will continue until the powers that be get the result they wanted.  Sinn Fein at the time, were also opposed, a fact that seems to have been forgotten lately. 

 Trade Deal

China is one of the biggest and fastest growing economies in the world at present.  China does not have a trade agreement with the EU, yet most of what we buy seems to be made in China. 

 Immigration

The narrative created and promoted by the media that anyone who voted Leave is an ignorant racist and shouldn't be allowed to breed, let alone vote, is to distract from genuine concerns in relation to the lives of the working-classes and while I believe we in Ireland, North and South, have benefitted from immigration, I do recognize the reality of life in working-class areas of Britain where immigrants have been placed disproportionally in working-class, as opposed to middle-class, areas. 

 On top of this demographic reality, jobs that used to be done by the working-classes have been allowed by successive governments and the EU to walk offshore.  The work that used to be done in factories here and in Britain are now in China, South Korea, India and a number of other 2nd and 3rd world, exploitable economies.  The jobs that are left are insecure with no guarantee of hours or permanency, union rights or protection. 

 The last 37 years have also seen the decimation of Britain’s coal, steel and car manufacturing industry and a fisheries policy that has led to the seas around Britain and Ireland being fished dry.

So, when working-class people in Britain complain about immigration and job losses, this is the reality of what has happened in working-class areas over many years.  This isn't necessarily racist although it suits many in the national press to twist this into a narrative that appears racist and an idea for others to exploit.  That's not to say, there aren't some people who are racist.  Of course, there are, that's reality.  However, to be anti-EU is not necessarily to be anti-Europe or anti-European.

John Pilger, in his article ‘Why the British said no to Europe’ called the Brexit vote, ‘an act of raw democracy’ where millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied and intimidated by business leaders, bankers,  media commentators and political ‘representatives’.  I would encourage everyone to read it.

 Tony Benn in his book, Letters to my Grandchildren, states that the ‘first basic right in a democracy must be the right of people to elect those who make their laws and the right to remove them’ and rejected the ‘European Empire’ and the unelected and unaccountable, bureaucratic elite who run it. 

 In the midst of all the negative rhetoric and fear-mongering that took place prior to the vote, we were bombarded with propaganda, threats, and all manner of doomsday scenarios were trotted out by economists.  These were the same economists who said that business in Britain would be destroyed by not joining the Euro, and yet completely failed to warn us of the great economic crash that came in 2008.  A further blow to the working classes, who have disproportionally paid for the recklessness of the bankers who caused it, through the Conservative’s ‘austerity’ policies.

 The DUP and Sinn Fein are, as usual, on opposite sides of this debate but are both political cowards.  Sinn Fein fought against tugging the forelock to Britain but go down on their knees to the EU with a begging bowl.  The DUP are like scared children, afraid to let go of Britannia’s apron strings and running away from fighting their corner in a united Ireland that makes practical and economic sense. 

 Have neither of them the imagination to envisage an economic union first and foremost within the UK?  Instead of worrying about a divorce bill from the EU, it would suit Britain and Ireland better to redraw the terms and conditions of the UK with 4 independent nations - Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales - united and working together for the benefit of all the people here and not just the elite. 

 

                                ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 One other point I didn’t mention but may have mentioned elsewhere on the blog was that this was the first time in many, many years that I had the chance to stick one to the governing elite and in spite of all the rhetoric and arguments since, if I had to vote again tomorrow, I’d still vote Leave.

 

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1690 VS 1916

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 22 Nov 2017, 22:12

Well Jimmy, can you believe it?  The fight we have all been waiting for is finally on!  The 2 big hitters of the Northern Ireland political scene, Sinn Fein and the DUP are finally set to slug it our in a clash that has been dubbed 1690 vs 1916!

These two have been dancing around one another for years and there have been many skirmishes along the way but there was never a decisive victory that one could claim over the other.  But here we are now and who could even begin to try and predict the outcome of this?  The line has been drawn between them for the first time in over 40 years and the last election has ironically, strengthened bother their hands. Red hands at that! (That's just a little 'in' joke for the Ulster folk)

They have laid waste to the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists, those former giants of the political arena whose glory days now seem, sadly, behind them.  How this will turn out, is anybody's guess!

In the green corner, we have Sinn Fein or the Shinners as they are affectionately known, thought not by the DUP!!  Sinn Fein are the political wing of the now retired IRA. (they haven't gone away, ye know!)  They were on the 'Catholic' side during the Troubles.  They fought for many years in the 'armed struggle'...sorry, I have to apologise, it seems I got that wrong!  They didn't fight but they 'supported' the armed struggle or as they called it 'the fight to free Ireland from the yoke of British Imperialism'.  Although the DUP would have a lot more to say about that and still consider them a 'bunch of bloody terrorists!'.  Okay, what a pair!  This is hotting up to be the fight of the century, although I'm not entirely sure what century we're talking about, but the trash talk had been going on for years!

Anyway, they have now laid claim to the nationalist mandate in the North and have grown in political strength and confidence since the end of the Troubles.  However, the big question remains - will they ever really have the confidence to get over the past or themselves and take the fight to the Wembley Stadium of politics (or should that be Croke Park!) the British Parliament???

The only all-Ireland party, they're also a growing political force across the border in the Irish Republic or their 'true' home and where last year, they fought the good fight against the introduction of water charges.  A big pro-EU party, which is ironic considering their name and their history.  Sinn Fein translates as 'ourselves alone' and they have fought for years against British rule in Ireland! 

Their big date in the calendar is Easter when they have rallies and marches to commemorate the Easter Rising and last year was the biggie as it was the 100th anniversary.  This was when Ireland started the fight that led to the founding of  the Irish Free State.  Strange that the Shinners seem quite happy to hand over the sovereignty of the country to the EU, the IMF and the World Bank after all that, but there you go...although, I think if truth be told, I think the Irish government have already done that!!

We don't really know how determined they are in their support for the EU, after all, it was that very same EU that imposed the water charges they fought so hard against recently!!  There are a few theories on this, some say that since they are newcomers to the international political scene, they want to enjoy the ride on the old gravy train to Brussels for a while longer and don't want to give up the perks and benefits of the EU especially since they have only just got their snouts in the trough!  Others think it's just the same old; whatever the DUP are for, they're against!

Anyway, whatever the reason, they have now moved up into the political heavy-weight class and there seems to be no one who can slow them down or stop them!!  And that, ladies and gentlemen, are Sinnnn Feeeiiiinnnn!!

Over in the red corner, we have the DUP or the Dupers, as some like to call them and not affectionately at that!  But don't mistake the 'red' in their corner for the colour of their politics because they are as far away from 'red' as you'll ever get!! 

Stalwarts of the political scene in Northern Ireland, they have been around forever, going right back to the early days of the troubles.  There are those who say there might not have been any troubles if that 'big mouth Paisley had shut up'.  Not my words, Jimmy, just the word on the street...

Anyway, if any party ever gave credence to the saying, 'politics is showbiz for ugly people', then it's the DUP.  Anti-EU, pro Brexit, they don't really need the trough of Brussels as they've just been given free rein to the British public purse.  (Seems there was a magic money tree after all!!!)  They were always able to depend on government support throughout the years of the Troubles, a reward for their staunch loyalty to all things British, even threatening the government when it seemed they weren't being British enough.  We'll never forget the 3rd Force or the Anglo - Irish Agreement protests, will we, Jimmy?

The DUP were on the 'Protestant' side during the Troubles, albeit a very conservative right-wing version of Protestantism.  They once refused to allow ELO to play in Ballymena as it was deemed to be too decadent!  Kidding???  I wish I was!

Like Sinn Fein, there's a big day out in the calendar for the DUP too, the 12th of July!  This is the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne when King William of Orange (Protestant) beat King James (Catholic) in a battle for the throne of England back in, yes, you've guessed it, 1690!  And they've been celebrating ever since which is ironic as the DUP aren't exactly renowned for being party people!  Another ironic fact about this is that King William (or Billy as he's also known) was, as one historian described, an 'avaricious homosexual'.  The DUP are well know /get rid of former DUP rising star, Paul Berry when he was reported to have indulged in some 'compromising' behaviour in a hotel somewhere in Belfast, a few years back.  Last seen, wandering in the political wasteland with a couple of unseated Ulster Unionists.  Awwww, shame...

Anyway, there success in the recent Parliamentary election has added to their strength and power and they have teamed up with their natural allies...The KKK?  No, not at all, the Tories!  So, Arlene, has climbed into bed with Theresa (metaphorically, of course!) in the biggest act of political prostitution ever and the DUP are laughing all the way to the bank!  Oh what a party!

Money is what the DUP are all about, (Protestant work ethic and all that) and they do love to spend it, especially when it isn't theirs!  Always in the top rankings for MP's expenses, in 2015 the DUP took the top 2 places in the list with Jim Shannon claiming £205,798.23 and Ian Paisley Jnr, £195,247.59. 

They're also involved in a bit of trouble back in Norn Iron at the moment, in the Cash for Ash scandal where they paid businesses £1.60 for every £1 spent in a heating renewal scheme that is set to cost the taxpayer £490m over 20 years!  We won't even mention the Invest NI building, the most expensive rental property in Belfast at £25 a square foot which is going to cost the taxpayer another £120m also over 20 years!  This property was built as part of a PFI scheme and here's the real joke, after 20 years, the property developer is still going to own the building!  Oh, this is too much!!  You couldn't make it up!!

So, we are now poised to watch the 2 heavy-weights of Northern Irish politics fight it out to the bitter end (cos no one does bitter like they do here!!)  What do you think Jimmy, are the Shinners punching above their weight or will the brash newcomers take out the old dinosaurs!!

It's a tough one to call, Saint, Unionism isn't exactly known for standing their ground when it comes to a real fight,  They ran away from an Irish Republic back in the day, too afraid to let go of the old apron strings of Britannia and still don't seem to have the bottle to take on a United Ireland and fight their corner.

Sinn Fein, I have to say, seem hungrier for success.  For years, they liked to play the victim card blaming the British and the Unionists for repressing them but, changed times, Saint, and you can see their confidence growing with every election.  Who, 20 years ago, would ever have thought the 'bad boys' of Irish Republicanism would ever sit in Stormont with the DUP?  Or rather, the DUP would sit with them!  It seems 'Never! Never! Never!' was only until big Ian got the top job and the big pay packet.

Still, it's a close one to call, Saint, but if I had to pick a winner, I would have to put my money on the Dupers.  They've been doing the politics thing a lot longer and that experience has stood them in good stead in the past.  And big Arlene, I'd think twice about tackling her myself, a tough old cookie or as they say in Ulster Scots, 'a grand big cuddy!'.

The Shinners might be younger and hungrier but they don't have the experience of the old dinosaurs and you have to ask yourself if they are capable of delivering that knock-out punch when needed.

Ok, Jimmy, thank-you for that and I have to agree and go with the DUP too.  At the end of the day, they have the government on their side and as long as Theresa can hang on to power, they'll have the upper hand.  Mind you, you know the old saying, 'a week is a long time in politics', and we've seen some storms in the past year with Brexit, Trump and Corbyn all defying the pollsters!

And as if things weren't hot enough, the 12th is just around the corner and we all know what that means!  The old sectarian divisions will be ripped wide open again!  Bonfires!  Riots!  And you won't believe this Jimmy, on top of all that, Linfield (Norn Iron's version of Rangers) are set to play Celtic on July 11th in Belfast!!  What is going on in the world???

Hold on, Jimmy, I'm getting some news...just announced...apparently the Stormont Assembly is on hold, Sinn Fein are stalling over a promised Irish Language Act from Tony Bliar, sorry, Blair!  But you know Norn Iron, you can't have one side getting something without the other getting something too, so the DUP are demanding equality of footing for Ulster Scots!  See you, Jimmy!  Ah hah, what a game!

There are rumours that the Shinners are really holding our so Arlene won't get to spend the big bribe...sorry, pay off...sorry, what is it then??  What?  'The price of strong and stable government'... Really?  Is she still using that old line?  Well, I never...

Hold on, more breaking news...it's...it's...it's all off!!  Summer recess, they've all gone off on holiday to September.

So, what do we do now, Saint?

I'm f*cked if I know, Jimmy!

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