Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell: Everyone’s so angry these days... is it any wonder that we feel like we’re going mad?

Unprecedented scenes: an image from this week‘s frenetic Commons business
Unprecedented scenes: an image from this week‘s frenetic Commons business

By Lindy McDowell

A week, as we're constantly being reminded, is a long time in politics. Is it just me or are these political weeks now getting longer and longer?

This one was a corker - way more fractious than usual and so utterly confusing I doubt even Robert Peston still has a handle on it.

It was a week in which the Speaker got sat upon - and Boris didn't exactly have a great time either.

And it wasn't just politicians going doolally. Hysteria, kerfuffle, sackings, pie in the sky and pie in a tin, where do we even start to sum up a week like the one we've just had?

Kicking off the drama was Meltdown in the Mother of Parliaments when MPs, outraged at the PM's cunning plan to evict them (official term - prorogation), went ballistic.

One bloke threw himself across the Speaker like a poor man's Emmeline Pankhurst. There was even a singsong. Po-faced MPs held up sad wee posters saying "Silenced" (If only).

We've since seen more court action than Judge Rinder. In England, Scotland and here in Northern Ireland it's been a United Kingdom of litigation.

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Westminster became soap opera.

But nobody does soap drama quite like soap stars themselves...

Over then, to the mid-week TV Choice awards ceremony where Emmerdale actor Asan N'Jie let loose at a fellow luvvie from Hollyoaks over... who knows what? A Love Island person and a Corrie star then piled in to try and calm things down. Someone assuming it was a row over failure to get a gong cried: "It's only a TV Choice award!"

(On the back of that slight to the awards hosts, I doubt he himself will be on the winners' shortlist next year.)

The Emmerdale fella shouted that he was going to effing kill the Hollyoaks guy. And also effing knife him...

This would have been bad enough in any circumstances but since the Emmerdale Mr Angry has been central to a storyline highlighting the horror of knife crime, it was never going to play well with his bosses. He got sacked.

But he wasn't the only drama queen this week...

Prince Andrew (who else?) was reported to have been involved in a very "heated" spat with a royal aide. So heated that Prince Charles had to demand his brother apologise. You'd think that with his Jeffrey Epstein issues Andrew would want to keep his head down. But this is a man who doesn't do humble pie.

Unlike the Queen who apparently does - in a very literal sense.

In the oddest revelation of the week it's reported that the monarch has a fondness for Fray Bentos pie. Yup. The pie in a tin that is a heady mix of meat and flabby pastry topped with a slick of gravy. Yum.

Only last week it was also claimed that Her Maj occasionally sends out for a fish supper too.

Is the Queen going all working class on us?

Or are we being fed these stories of down-to-earth dining to balance out reports about extravagant Harry and Meghan Markle throwing around more money than a Sinn Fein-supporting car mechanic?

Making free with very large sums of money brings us back (yet again) to Boris and his pie in the sky plans for a very expensive bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Now I am not a construction engineer and, who knows, maybe it could work. But would you want to drive across it?

Especially in a high-sided haulage vehicle. In our weather. On a journey of 20-plus miles across the North Channel on a roadway pinioned way, way down there in the deep amid, reportedly, discarded bombs and dumped radioactive waste.

It's been some week, this has. So much quarrelling, so much madness.

Remainers v Leavers. Tories v Labour. Tories v Tories. Boris v Parliament. Regina v PM.

Everybody v everything and everybody. You start to think somebody's putting something in the water.

How much more of this can we take?

Conspiracy theory is an insult to 9/11 dead

Social media insanity. The White House has been forced to issue a statement over conspiracy theories about the stitching on the back flap of the coat worn by Melania Trump at last year's 9/11 commemoration. Some wing nuts claim it resembles a plane flying into a tower and is a sneaky tribute to the attackers.

This silly, unseemly row over a seam isn't just disrespectful to Melania.

It also belittles the tragedy of all those poor people who lost their lives that day.

Being mature at 26 doesn’t add up

According to a scientific study, 26 years of age is the new Kevin the Teenager. Apparently that's the age at which modern youth finally transitions into the well-rounded, clear-thinking, mature beings the rest of us over-26s obviously are. Really? Some say it's a bit old to grow up. But I'm not sure some of us ever truly leave behind callow adolescence. As Kevin himself used to moan: "It's just so unfair."

Don’t panic, keep calm, get a grip

In a week with not a whole lot of smiles to be had, Police Scotland added to the gaiety of the nation with their latest campaign - Preparing for Armageddon.

Or, as they would put it, have you got your grab bag ready? Now, when you hear that phrase your first thought might well be Doritos.

But no. The police appear to be talking nuclear holocaust here. Or incoming asteroid. Or maybe just Tesco running out of HobNobs.

Whatever. Best be prepared.

Your grab bag is, naturally enough, a bag to be grabbed in times of such dire emergency. Police Scotland helpfully advise that it should contain items like food, water, personal toiletries (that's a suitcase filled already), notebook and pen, phone charger, torch, first aid kit and - my favourite - a whistle. Also an emergency plan. For what sort of emergency is not specified. But if it requires a torch and a whistle it must be bad.

Social media has been having great fun over this guff with people posting pics of their ideal grab bags containing the likes of vodka, Irn Bru, adequate supplies of Buckfast etc.

Police Scotland have denied that the initiative has anything to do with impending Brexit.

It comes from America where all months are designated special status. September seems to be the month for worrying about things that may never happen.

But if it does, the message is, you should root around wasting precious time trying to find a bag with a notebook and a whistle in it. It's not a grab bag Police Scotland need. They need to get a grip.

Belfast Telegraph


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