Why I'm voting for a party that's looking forward not backward
Do you remember doing maths at school? Remember when you got to draw in your exercise book when you were learning about sets? There was a rectangle - that was the Universal Set, ie, everything. It was denoted by the letter U in the top corner.
Then inside this box you could draw circles, or what approximated to circles, if you'd forgotten to bring your protractor in that day because a) you'd forgotten it, or b) you'd lied about actually owning one in the first place (not saying that's what I did, honest).
The circles might represent sets, like "People". Then another circle would be inside the People set. This could be "Men". Because all men are people, but all people aren't men. (Thank goodness.)
Intersecting with the Men set could be a set called DUP members. Because some Men are DUP members, but not all are. (Double thank goodness).
To this day, I can't recall the point of sets, I just enjoyed the drawing.
And, yet, I often see life in terms of sets. What struck me this week is that I am not just in a set called Women, or People, or any of those other identifiers we use to describe ourselves.
What struck me was that, actually, while I am in all those sets, I am also, crucially, the Universal Set itself. I am Everything. I am Life itself. Life itself, spirit, soul, god, call it what you will, is expressed through me and through everything in the universe.
And I think we're not just bits of it, we are, like a holograph, all the same in every molecule. We are all made of the same stuff. We are all U.
So what? Well, it has helped me to arrive at a sense of balance, in the face of all that comes at us in this crazy human world. In the Universal Set, in the great overall, there is always balance. It's good to remember this, when things happen.
The DUP say they could hold the balance of power in the next parliament. Wow. Balance and DUP aren't terms often found in the same sentence. Unless the word balance is preceded by the words "completely off-...".
Och now, maybe that's not fair. I suppose they do achieve equilibrium overall. On the one side, they have their narrow, controlling views on everyone else's private business and on the other they have all their pat excuses and justifications for every time one of them behaves in a way that in any other civilised parliamentary set-up, would have that member resigning.
Fear and control on one hand, duckin' and weasling on the other. I suppose that's a kind of balance right there.
The Shinners aren't bad at balance, either. They don't recognise the state of Northern Ireland (God knows why not, since they've been living in it all their lives, you think they'd know it when they saw it by now), but not recognising it hasn't stopped them announcing they'll be seeking £1.5bn for it after the election.
So, on the one hand, heading into the sub-set called Election Time, we have a party that spouts homophobic views without fear of consequence and, on the other, a party whose practices contradict its espoused ideology.
Rock. Hard place. See-saw.
Of course, other choices are available at election time. People are standing who actually are facing forward as they walk forward, as opposed to walking forward while facing the past.
Some of these I would put into a set called "Positive Choices for a Balanced Future". Please tick that box.
Well, I have to say that's quite a slip
Well, well, well. Sorry, that's three Wells. Obviously, one Well is more than enough.
When is an apology not an apology? When it's clear that the person apologising is only sorry he got caught; does not believe what he said was a problem; does not respect the people to whom he's apologising; does not even believe himself when he says it was a slip of the tongue, because he knows he believes it and when the actual apology is prefaced by something like, "I have to apologise for ...".
A real apology doesn't come out of the "have to" box, Jim Wells.
A rail winner for two grand apiece
There's a luxury train coming to Ireland and you can spend two nights on it going from Dublin to Belfast to the North Coast for just two grand per person.
At that price you'd think it would get there in a couple of hours, but then, maybe it's not the destination that's the big thing, it's the journey (Zen for rich people).
Just as well the destination isn't the highlight, if it's ending up at the Giant's Causeway. With luck, champagne and no poor people will take the sting out of the "Is that it? That's the Giant's Causeway everyone goes on about?" factor.