Belfast Telegraph

All I want for Christmas is a Sanity Claus to give us some sense

By Nuala McKeever

Dear Santa Claus, I've been a moderately good person this year and so I'd like you to bring me some gifts. That's how this works, isn't it? We have an unwritten agreement (I think it might have been started somewhere in the bowels of Toys R Us and Hamleys) that I behave and you are obliged to bring me goods and services of my choosing.

This year I'd like some "gay apparel" from the carol Deck the Halls; a cake with "Support Tolerance" iced on it (that should be wee buns for you); some human rights (mine seem to be in danger of being eroded by the DUP's Whether-You-Like-It-Or-Not bomb), and a big pudding. (If you can't manage the pudding, a picture of David Cameron will do instead).

Yours, Phil M'Boots.

Dear Phil,

Your letter was passed to me by my cousin Santa Claus. My name is Conscience Claus and I've been asked to step in to save Northern Ireland from sodomy, sorry, I mean, from the Christmas rush.

I've read your requests several times and mulled them over (but not with wine, you understand, none of that spirit round here, we're dry by wit, dry by drink habits, us) and this is my considered response, "No, no, no!" (This is our traditional greeting to everything. My cousin Santa, being the black sheep of the Claus clan, drank from the happy cup one day and started using his own version, "Ho, ho, ho!" but we strongly discourage such reckless use of jollity.)

If it's something to wear that you want, I will supply you with a shirt - brown or black, according to your preference - we like to wear them as we goose-step through the town, sorry, spread festive cheer. If I say so myself, we cut quite a dash in our serried rows, all identical, everyone in step, left, right, left, right, right, right, right, right. Ah, that might explain why we go round in circles ...

Confectionery-wise, it is against my nature to offer anything sugar-coated. Plain, dry, hard - that's the way I like it. So no cake. But I could easily make you crackers.

You ask for human rights. Well now. I have no problem with the "right" part of that. I favour everything on the right. But if we take the right out, we're left with humans, and that's where things start to get a little sticky. You see, human rights tend actually to be very leftist, favouring all those appalling concepts like equality, freedom of expression, respect and love. It's all very well for the likes of Sainsbury's to tell us that "Christmas is for Sharing", but I have to draw a line somewhere. I'd be more comfortable with "Christmas is for Sharia", to be honest.

At least you know where you stand with the Sharia law crowd. An eye for an eye, a hand for a theft, a refusal for a gay or anyone else who doesn't agree with your own viewpoint. Who wouldn't love a whole sackful of THAT coming down their chimney this Christmas, eh? Who needs fun when you can have fundamentalism?!?!

Finally, I can definitely get you the picture of David Cameron. I know it's not a traditional big pudding, but you should still be able to pour brandy on it, set it alight and watch it disappear in moments after your Christmas dinner.

Must dash, off to see a play about an innkeeper refusing to let a Palestinian couple (she's pregnant but he's not the father) stay in his B&B.

My kind of guy!

Yours, Conscience Claus

Let's cut the fuse on all this jargon

So, just to be clear ... "weather bomb" - that's when the weather's supposed to be going to be horrendous but it turns out not to be all that bad really? So, it's basically building something up which turns out to be a damp squib?

So, should we expect to hear about inter-party talks bomb? Russell Brand bomb? Traffic chaos due to a hoax bomb bomb?

Where does it stop once one of these newly-invented terms is allowed to run riot? I suggest we defuse weather bomb as an acceptable term before we need an amber alert for its usage.

Nothing compares to wacky Sinead

It's been seven hours and five-and-a-half days, since Sinead O'Connor announced she was joining Sinn Fein and demanding that the leadership step down. This just after they topped the polls for popularity down south.

Hmm ... maybe for Sinead it was a case of December nearing an end and she discovered she still hadn't used up her yearly quota of wacky declarations. Good on her, why shouldn't she exercise her right to grab headlines every few months? Not sure the Shinners have evacuated HQ due to this latest Sinead Bomb yet but I'd say they're on Orange Alert.

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