Wilde in Merrion Square Dublin
I was there less than two weeks ago; I saw the posters, understood what it was about and knew what the opinion polls were saying and heard the anecdotal opinions of the people I met. Yet on Saturday afternoon, as the result of the Irish Equal Marriage Referendum became clear, something utterly astonishing has taken place in Ireland. It is no exaggeration to say that the entire country has experienced a societal seismic shift overnight.
With a national turn-out of 60 per cent and with 62 per cent voting “Yes”, talk of a landslide is probably a bit of the blarney but the sands have shifted irrevocably and, to my mind at least, a Catholic State has become an Irish Nation. The figures demonstrate that a sizable majority of the population regardless of age, faith, ethnicity or gender who would never in a month of Sundays describe themselves as LGBT have voted for equality, compassion, respect and (wait for it) love as basic human rights extended to their fellow citizens. (more…)
The snag with silver linings is that they are invariably accompanied by enormous, dark and threatening clouds. Quite how the UK electorate decided on another five years of Cameron, free at last of those pesky Liberal Democrats, is as baffling as it is disturbing.
It is as if the populous are channelling their collective unconscious duty after centuries of serfdom into obedience of aristocratic masters. Perhaps we have become a nation of masochists or we are possibly suffering a mass outbreak of Stockholm syndrome. It`s not good, but that`s how democracy works and the result has to be accepted because the result is the will of the people. Daubing graffiti on war memorials and chucking traffic cones at policemen is as sensible as invading the pitch after the skilled away team scores a goal against the useless home team. It`s not that Labour were useless, it`s that Lynton Crosby and that American bloke were more clever and more ruthless. (more…)
Ask any reasonably competent comedy stage hypnotist how he or she can seemingly control minds, they will lie and say that it is a mysterious gift. The truth is less arcane and far more plausible. The trick is that anyone willing to part with money to be entertained by such hokum is already in some sort of susceptible trace. All the mesmerist need do is spot the audience members on the edge of their seats, wide-eyed and grinning, wanting to believe and participate and he has his “subjects” for the evening.
Separating the gullible from their money is relatively simple for a smooth operator but extracting votes from anxious people requires even less finesse. As the undisputed champion pub bore of all England, the shy, retiring and modest Farage creature keeps his primary ability carefully hidden to avoid exposure as a charlatan; he is an acknowledged master of stage hypnotism. Spotting fear and ignorance in the audience, he has indeed caused a political earthquake that will change the course of society and the future. He has made overt racism respectable once again. (more…)
Image credit: plastic hippo
In case you haven`t noticed, apparently we are about to have a election and the charming parliamentary constituency of Walsall South has proved to be the unlikely setting for what that election will be about.
Talking the borrowed dog for a Sunday morning walk in the magnificent Arboretum, I noticed a sign affixed to the bay window of a fairly average terraced house. There is nothing unusual or indeed wrong with people nailing their political colours to the mast especially when we are apparently about to have an election. Something else, however, caught my eye. There were two hand-written notes attached to the sign which at first glance resembled the sort of documents you find on your windscreen after you have parked the four by four across the gates of a crematorium or the public notices cable-tied to lamp posts informing you that your local primary school is about to be converted into an “aspirational” executive apartment complex to suit the lifestyles of heroic entrepreneurial wealth creators. (more…)
Castle Howard image via Mike Kiping
The prospect of yet another half term holiday has, until fairly recently, provoked little more than dreadful resignation. After years of forcing unwilling children into art galleries, museums, willow weaving workshops, face painting and truly awful organised “creative play experiences”, the endeavour to inform and equip young minds has always been an uphill struggle in a non-school setting.
Amazingly, even after inflicting the horrors of camping or enduring nights in freezing, derelict farm outbuildings described in the brochure as “luxurious holiday rental cottages”, the children do not seem to harbour any malignant hatred toward us. Even more astonishing is that after dragging them across barren fells in horizontal rain, so far at least, they have not attempted to kill me. Of late, though, things have changed; they have become older and frighteningly independent. (more…)