Belfast Telegraph

Imagine if Stephen Nolan did a show on power of positive thinking

By Nuala McKeever

The famous anti-smoking campaigner, Alan Carr, wrote in one of his books that smoking cigarettes was like putting on a pair of tight shoes, just for the relief of taking them off. You smoke each fag, in order to relieve the craving of wanting a fag.

The healthier thing to do in the long run is to wean yourself off the addiction to nicotine in the first place.

The emotional/social/political equivalent of that here must be listening to the Stephen Nolan show.

It's awful, but you do it anyway.

The more healthy approach in the long run would, obviously, be to wean yourself off the need for a fix of pointless, finger-pointing, tribal, unhelpful whataboutery.

Stop me if I've said this before, (sorry, I forgot, we don't call it beating the same tired old drum here, we call it expressing your culture), but I would love to watch or listen to a programme about life here, where the participants were only allowed to speak in positive sentences about what they would do, positively, in each situation. (Some might say Peter Robinson threatening to resign WAS positive).

If we say we want a peaceful, shared future, that ought to be possible, oughtn't it?

And if a person cannot come up with a positive, pro-active approach and express it verbally, then he or she is clearly not the person to be leading policy-making.

He or she belongs in the classroom, learning how to take responsibility and have integrity, or in the pub, moaning and wallowing in being right that it's all the fault of themmins.

It's easy and sometimes, I suppose it's even fun for a while, to indulge in the speculation and opinion-giving that passes for political debate and commentary here. Robinson won't resign, will resign, should resign, could, would, might, probably won't, definitely ought to ... the list goes on and on and on.

They knew all along, they didn't know, this document shows they knew, this politician vehemently denies they knew, the Queen knew, the PM knew, the Policing Board knew, Bradley-Eames knew, the dogs on the street knew, Peter never heard tell of it 'til last week, oh yes he did, oh no he didn't, it's a crisis, he'll resign, no, he won't ...

It's great. It fills a few minutes of small talk or in the case of Jim Allister on the Nolan Show, many many minutes of talk. And the talk all goes up into the air and disappears.

For a moment last Thursday I had a wee sense of anxiety. Oh God, what if Robinson does resign and calls an election and Stormont collapses and it causes trouble and it all escalates and the Troubles start again and life as we know and love it, goes back to the horrible pre-cappucino days? Help!!!

Then I thought, "Wise up Nuala. How many times have we been to the brink before?".

And I read a foreign newspaper online and discovered that in South America nobody's talking about Peter Robinson and the OTRs in NI. So I don't think it's the apocalypse just yet.

So why are we seemingly addicted to crisis here?

Is it because it diverts attention from the fact that we haven't much to say that's imaginative and positive?

Are we hooked on it from the old days and unable to relax into a world where there doesn't HAVE to be something wrong and someone to blame, before we can get out of bed in the morning? Time to reset the hard drive to positive and let go of the controls.

Belfast Telegraph

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