Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Why I feel so sorry for poor old Mr Brown

It is strange how your view of politicians change. Everything bad that has happened in the last while — rising fuel and food prices and, yes, even the bad weather — are all the fault of Gordon Brown.



Well, somebody has got to take the blame. Needless to say, he would not get my vote — even if I could vote for him.

That said, my position on the cold-hearted, inept Mr Brown changed completely when I heard that he is coming here to chair talks with the DUP and Sinn Féin.

Poor Gordon Brown! No politician deserves that. He is suffering enough. Leave him alone.

The power of this small place to still draw politicians into its orbit is astounding.

Barack Obama might like to point to the horizon and shout: "Yes, we can." However, when it comes to politics here it is most certainly a case of our two biggest parties shouting: "No, we can't."

Even Obama has been browbeaten into taking a more active interest in our affairs by the Irish-American lobby. He might want to conjure up a new dispensation for US politics but he won't be allowed until he deals with our not-so-new dispensation.

Of course, you have to be a hard-nosed, tough politician to step into the ring again and again with the DUP and Sinn Féin and not everyone is fit for the task.

Politicians have been driven to drink because of the stress of Northern politics. The case of the former prime minister, Tony Blair, was probably the worst case of Northern Ireland Syndrome ever recorded — he was not driven to drink but to converting to Catholicism. Apparently, he found the mysteries of the Catholic faith far easier to understand than the mystery of what constituted a deal here.

Indeed, it is rumoured that he also finds the philosophical works of Saint Thomas Aquinas easier to understand than the Saint Andrews Agreement.

I once heard too that Saddam Hussein had been approached and given a choice between hanging or chairing cross-party talks in Stormont.

The old mass murderer immediately said: "Give me the rope. Quickly! I may be a killer but I would prefer to hang once than haggle for all eternity in Stormont."

Radovan Karadzic, who is on trial for crimes against humanity in the Hague, has told his lawyers that he will 0not accept the deal being offered by prosecutors.

They have said that if he is convicted he will have to spend 30 years in solitary confinement and will probably die in prison.

However if he pleads guilty, they will reduce the sentence to 10 years hard labour as a permanent Northern Ireland negotiator with special responsibility for devolving Police and Justice powers and drafting Irish-language legislation. Needless to say, Karadzic has said he would rather take solitary. Poor old Gordon Brown.

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