Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell on Serena Williams and Kirstie Allsopp and Ian Bone: Nothing more childish than a so-called adult losing the bap

Serena Williams remonstrates with referee Brian Earley during the final of the US Open
Serena Williams remonstrates with referee Brian Earley during the final of the US Open

By Lindy McDowell

It's been a week of tantrums and tears, meltdowns and madness. And mounting evidence that adults are the new infants. Over we go first to the US Open where tennis diva Serena Williams kicked off (literally) an action-packed few days by smashing up a racquet and then creating a racket by calling an umpire, whose penalty decision she disputed, a thief and a liar.

She defended her histrionics by saying she was "fighting for women". Ummm, right.

Her argument is that women get a tougher time from tennis umpires than do the Nadals and Federers. And possibly she has a point.

But the one woman Serena's smashing stand for women's rights didn't do a whole lot for was the gracious tournament winner, 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, whose moment in the sun was entirely eclipsed by this screeching, stomping fit of pique.

When you lose the bap, act the adult and admit to it. Don't try to dress it up as constructive rage.

Which leads us to Kirstie Allsopp...

Ms Allsop boasted/admitted this week that when she'd caught her sons overshooting the limit she'd previously imposed on screen time, she seized their iPads and smashed them against the table leg (the iPads, that is, not the kids).

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Again, while it most definitely does send a firm - and expensive - message to gaming youth about the price of disobedience, where this falls down is as an example of mature behaviour.

That said, I suppose if you can't occasionally get a bit shouty and irrational in the privacy of your own home, when can you?

Kirstie's biggest mistake, really, was not having the nous to know that publicly describing her moment of madness was inevitably going to bring the wrath of the Twitterati down on her head.

She's since closed her account (on the plus side, her kids - relieved of their technology - won't now be exposed to the ensuing online criticism of their ma's hissy fit).

And there was, this week, a much more serious example of an adult behaving like an utter plonker in front of children.

Septuagenarian Ian Bone is old enough, you would think, to pick on someone a little older than six.

But Bone, a self-styled anarchist, preserved in his own obnoxious brand of fist-pumping bile and vinegar took on the small son of Jacob Rees Mogg MP.

You don't have to like Mogg - or his politics - to wince watching this week's viral video of oul' Bone laying into the little boy.

People hate your daddy, the 71-year-old yelled at the child.

There have since been questions asked about why police officers in attendance didn't do something to stop this.

Why didn't the child's father or mother, I'd like to know.

But the inaction of the other adults still doesn't detract from the fact that the real baddie here was bullying Bone, who didn't even seem to cop how awful his behaviour would look to the wider world.

There's a man who doesn't just need to shut up.

He needs to grow up.

Why Brexit may not be so sweet

We've had many a bunfight in Belfast. But the Krispy Kreme doughnut-giveaway feeding frenzy was something else.

The firm who make the buns is opening a shop in Dublin and, as a PR stunt, sent emissaries up north this week to distribute sugar-laden largesse.

Maybe it thinks it will encourage local fans to drive 100 miles down south to fill up in future.

Anyway, the giveaway was greatly appreciated - at least until the council stepped in and stopped the handouts. No permits, apparently.

Post-Brexit, sadly, we're unlikely to see much more of this sort of cross-border calorie outreach.

Whether it's a hard border or a soft border, we do know it's not going to have a custard filling.

One secret the EU can gladly keep

I didn't vote for Brexit and I really do not think it's a good thing.

But sometimes you do get the sense that they're stretching it a bit with warnings about some of the fearsome things that might happen as a result of a "no deal".

For example, apparently one concern now is that if we crash out of the EU, Brussels might not, henceforth, warn us about incoming asteroids.

Seriously? And how exactly would they keep it from us, then? Assuming, that is, they decide to inform the populations of the many other European nations. Don't they think we mightn't somehow catch on?

Also, if an asteroid is about to hit, is there really anything, anybody anywhere can do to stop it?

So, maybe we'd actually be better not knowing...

Bradley is a victim of our blame game

Secretary of State Karen Bradley has admitted — how could she? — that before she was landed with the Northern Ireland portfolio she wasn’t entirely au fait with our tribal voting pattern.

Needless to say outrage has since ensued, and Ms Bradley has been forced to attempt damage limitation.

The old “quoted out of context” defence, in other words.

But, here’s the thing. Why should we all be getting on our high horses in Northern Ireland — assuming we should be constantly central to everybody’s knowledge, concern and indeed, interest in our affairs?

OK, she’s now the Secretary of State. But previous to that, it might be fair enough to assume, Ms Bradley may not have been totally on top of local politics. Why should she?

And now, by the sound of it, she’s expected not only to grasp all the nuances, but also to have all the answers. After a meeting with local party head honchos this week, all-round dismay was expressed that she didn’t come armed with a magic wand.

Michelle O’Neill accused her of “pandering”.

Robin Swann said the meeting had been “underwhelming”.

And Alliance’s Stephen Farry talked about how it was “incumbent upon all the governments to really energise a process...”

It’s always incumbent on everyone else, of course. Which is why it’s great to have a Karen Bradley to blame.

No chance that local politicians might ever decide that actually it may be incumbent upon the lot of them to try to sort this homemade mess?

Belfast Telegraph


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