This plague on house of Stormont leaves us all losers... but maybe we as voters have only ourselves to blame for that
There's been a bit of a trend in the housing market of late, where fabulous homes with swimming pools, snooker rooms, private cinemas and, at a minimum, a dozen bathrooms can be yours for around 25 quid.
The catch - there's always a catch - is that these homes aren't actually up for sale. They're being raffled because, according to the owners, they've found them difficult to sell in the usual way.
As one of the latest vendors to attempt this novel means of shifting property puts it: "It seems people don't have £3m to spend on a house at the moment."
We feel your pain, mate.
The owners can't lose because if they fail to sell enough tickets in the house raffle, the get-out clause is they have to provide a cash prize to the winner.
Anyway, I was reading this story about mansion raffling the other day, when another headline caught my eye.
"What can be done about Stormont?"
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It struck me - we have an option here, surely.
We could make a bit of profit. And it would be great to see that big house being used again.
I have a vision that the Stormont interior these days is beginning to resemble Miss Havisham's house in Great Expectations. All the clocks stopped, the desks carpeted in dust, the windows curtained with mammoth cobwebs ...
Okay. A bit of an exaggeration.
But, joking aside, this Stormont shutdown farce, I think we can all agree, has been going on for way, way too long.
The big question - why are we all putting up with this?
Of course there will be party diehards on both sides of the impasse who will assure you they can pinpoint exactly who is the blame for it. Them 'uns. The other lot.
But I think differently.
I think it's us.
It's us, the decent people of this country, who want to see its institutions, its health service, all its emergency services, its schools, its transport network, and its many and varied offices being run properly for the good of all.
We want to have decisions made by the representatives we elected to do that job and not by faceless, unaccountable civil servants. (And in fairness, I would wager the faceless, unaccountable civil servants would probably agree.) Above all, we want to see our politicians acting like adults showing some sense of responsibility and yes, of shame too that this current shambles has been allowed to go on so long.
Which is why then, I wonder why we, the public, continue to tolerate this pathetic nonsense?
Why aren't we crying out to show how very angry we really feel about it?
Not all political parties here are involved in the stand-off. So I'm also wondering why those who aren't, can't get off their backsides, get back up the hill, boot that door in (I'm speaking figuratively) and at the very least get talking up there again.
And I'm wondering too why the millennial generation whose future is being so casually trashed by this dereliction of duty haven't already launched some sort of revolution aimed at sweeping away the whole useless, entrenched lot of them.
Right now Prime Minister Theresa May seems to be too busy with Brexit to sort the issue. But Theresa's where the buck stops. She needs to waken up to that. This just can't be allowed to just drift and drift.
At least with the big house raffle scheme you know there's always going to be at least one guaranteed winner.
With the long sleep of Stormont, however, we are all losers.
And that applies also to - especially to - the two major political parties now locking horns over petty back-to-business pre-conditions.
Voters aren't mugs. But we are being taken for mugs. And we know it. And we will not easily forgive the two parties who are doing it.
A plague, as the man said, on both your houses.
Don't call me, I'll call you about my privacy
If you have changed it (you've been forced to, haven't you?) well and good. And if I ever need to know what's in it, I'll be in touch.
Getting a bit lippy over royal conversations
Still on the privacy thing and one of the interesting aspects of the Royal wedding was the copious work it provided for a new genre of media "expert" - the lip-reader.
Thus we've had acres over the last few days about what Meghan said to Harry, what Harry said to his da, what Kate said to little Charlotte and what the Queen said to the Duke. ("Keep waving," apparently. Really?)
Such mundane conversation detail aside, I'm surprised someone hasn't been on their high horse by now, about this being a privacy invasion issue. No more of your oul' lip?