Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell: May-hem... little wonder scowling Theresa’s looking back in anger

Theresa May addresses the nation on Wednesday
Theresa May addresses the nation on Wednesday
Theresa May trudging off after her speech
Brendan McCarthy
Cher

By Lindy McDowell

It wasn't so much a speech as a telling off. Gripping the Number 10 lectern, thwarted Prime Minister Theresa May let rip at MPs who she felt had hitherto stymied her deal. Her unusual "address to the nation" this week was short and nothing much new was laid before us.

Brexit means Brexit. Let's get on with it. And that closing line she's used several times before about how she's the girl determined to deliver.

What was new was her tone.

The strangled note of fury in her voice. Theresa was raging.

We could see this because as soon as she finished her little tirade, she spun on her kitten heels before doing what those charming Gallagher brothers have always advised against.

Looking back in anger.

The face on her! That was the one thing about the much-debated speech that struck me.

It was the sort of dirty look you might get from another driver in the supermarket car park when you nip in to take what they had obviously earmarked as their space.

Theresa may have been aiming it at the Moggies and Boris and, even perhaps, Nigel.

But when she glared directly into the camera like that, it felt personal. It felt like she was scowling at me.

As she stomped off into the Number 10 inner sanctum I got the impression of a woman ready to vent her fury on the first thing she came across.

A waste paper bin, perhaps, kicked the length of the corridor.

And dear help poor old Philip, I thought, waiting up there in their private apartment for his wife to return, presumably preparing that nutritious meal of baked beans he rustles up for her when the pressure is on.

I had an image of her kicking open the door, slamming it behind her and then biffing the proffered plate aside.

"I, as Prime Minister, have had enough."

We are finally down to the wire this week in what genuinely will be one of the most critical weeks in the history of the House of Commons.

Not to mention a testing one for the rest of us too.

Like the formerly mild-mannered Mrs May, we have all got ourselves in a state about Brexit.

What had been billed as our divorce from the EU now feels like a fearsome marital break-up within the UK itself with millions of people taking one side or the other. There's squabbling, threatening, huffing, demanding, calling for court action and refusing to even countenance compromise.

Glowering at each other and speaking of treachery.

How have we allowed it to get so bad?

I think the short answer is that we live in an age when people generally no longer feel the need to consider or even try to see another's point of view.

You're wrong. I'm right. End of. It's vitriol and bile on social media - and placards at dawn outside Westminster.

Passion is one thing, debate is vital. But this has become a national (and in some cases international) slanging match. The focus has been entirely on the UK reaching some sort of agreement with the EU.

But there needs to be discussion too about how when it's all over (if it ever is) the population of the country can be encouraged to find agreement on how to disagree. To all just calm down a bit. To neuter the nastiness.

Heaven knows what new hell the weeks ahead will bring.

But it's a safe bet that by the time it's resolved, sour-faced Mrs May won't be the only one looking back in anger.

NI stars promote beautiful game

Northern Ireland players Josh Magennis and Niall McGinn this week visited Maghaberry prison to share their skills in the IFA's Stay Onside scheme which uses football to encourage young people away from offending. Prison governor David Kennedy described the scheme as "so well received by prisoners". It does sound like a great idea. And fair play to those inspirational sports stars Magennis and McGinn - heroes not only on the pitch but also off it.

Cher’s been feeling a bit shirty

Into every life a little rain must fall and singer Cher this week revealed that she's lost her favourite T-shirt which was around 30 years old. In case you come across it, it's the one decorated with rhinestones and the slogan 'Eat the Rich'. Cher tweeted she's "asking St Anthony to get involved. He finds everything". Then again St Anthony may have better things to do than go around looking for lost clothing for mega-wealthy stars with no sense of irony.

The tattooist who needed to ink again about his work...

The interesting ethical conundrum of the week was raised by the news that a man called Dr Evil was sent to prison after a series of cases where he cut off people's ears and nipples, split their tongues and coloured their eyeballs.

On the face of it (literally) it would seem a pretty open and shut case.

The monster. How could he? Those poor people...

Until, that is, you learn Dr Evil (his real name is Brendan McCarthy) is a tattooist performing what is described as "body modification" and that far from wishing to see him banged up for all eternity, his bodily-modified clients are generally happy and indeed enthusiastic about his work.

One man appeared on the news with his face covered with more swirls than your granny's living room curtains to describe his own many modifications.

He had a hole cut below his bottom lip through which he pushed something. It being tea time I couldn't bear to watch much more. But each to their own I suppose. I've never had a tattoo because nature has already tattooed me with freckles.

Dr Evil (the name apparently, is a jokey one bestowed by a client) felt he was offering a service. But he fell foul of the law because, understandably enough, his body modification business raised major health and safety concerns. Lopping off people's ears and other body parts is not without clinical risk.

And yet tattooing is mainstream now, so there will always be those who'll want to go that step further, seeking ever more outrageous body embellishment.

As the customer said to the tattooist, where do you draw the line?

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