Have I told you the joke about acceptable levels of violence?


Orde makes idiotic gaffe 
and needs to apologise
Looks like Sir Hugh Orde has done a wee gaff. The Belfast Telegraph reports that Hugh was speaking at Oxford as President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)

The former PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde gave an 'outside-in' assessment of dissident activities in Northern Ireland.

While the Bel Tel gave a fairly rounded report of what he said, and I can't find his speech anywhere (if you know where please let me know!), it did smack a little of an aloofness and callousness and he should have known better.

What, you ask, did he say?

The Bel Tel reports that he said,
"To borrow a phrase from the past, we may be at an 'acceptable level of violence' - albeit at a far lower level than when the phrase was first coined."
To put it in some third hand context, the Bel Tel said that he meant if the dissidents cannot be persuaded to stop, then there must an acceptance that the threat will remain - and violence will continue.

I can understand where he is coming from. If people living in our communities are determined to ignore the democratic and peaceful feelings of 99% of the people living in Northern Ireland and determined to bully, maim, and murder against the wishes of 99% of the people, then terrorist violence will continue.  But does that mean we have to accept it?

To use the phrase 'acceptable level of violence', a phrase used stupidly in the 1970s by Reginald Maudling, then Home Secretary, is in itself not acceptable.

What it means to a lot of people in safe places is, 'we are happy to be able to contain any unruly nastiness to Northern Ireland'.  The people of Northern Ireland deserve more respect than that. 

It states to those who have lost loved ones during the Troubles that their loss was 'acceptable'.  Those left behind, or left to care for survivors , deserve more than a repulsive quip.

It is one of the most unfortunate phrases to ever be used by so-called intelligent people. Does that mean that our police forces have an acceptable level of burglary? or rape? or car theft? or paedophilia? Does Hugh Orde really find these other crimes acceptable, so long as not too much of them go on?

No level of violence is acceptable.

The President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, especially one who was the Chief Constable of the PSNI, should know better and be very aware of the sensitivities that such language can cause real offence to people.  

Orde should come forward and apologise for using this inappropriate and offensive phrase.

UTV now to provide all NI parties with celebrities


Fearghal McKinney
standing for SDLP
Now its getting very interesting in politics. 

First we had Mike Nesbitt standing for the UUP/Conservatives in Strangford constituency, and now we have Fearghal McKinney looking to stand for the SDLP in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

UTV has gagged Lynda Bryans (Mike's Wife who still works in UTV) because regulations on coverage of elections meant Lynda could not present the programme until after the election.  OK, understand the need to be politically neutral and be seen to be politically neutral.  But is it a difficulty for UTV that its ex-presenters are becoming more political?

In a bid to remain completely neutral, UTV could extend its neutrality by providing the other parties with a list of Ex-UTV presenters, so that all political parties can have an equal shot of having a UTV personality on their election tickets.  And will the BBC also step in help by providing a list to every party of their own ex-BBC personalities?

I had suggested May McFettridge could be the SDLP celeb, but she may now be picked up by some other party.  Any takers?

Suggestions on who could be on the UTV and BBC lists for parties to pick from in the comment box please.

Working 9 to 5 (for your expenses)


Yes, it has been picked up elsewhere, but i thought it an interesting piece to bring up again.

The Belfast Telegraph picked up an interesting issue from the Irish Independent on the 'clock in, clock out' instituted in the Oireachtas.

From the beginning of March TDs and senators had to start clocking in for work.  This is part of the new expenses regime, requiring the representatives to clock in to claim allowances such as travel and overnight rates.

The Oireachtas politicians will now have a fob to tag themselves in at at Leinster House campus and they have to be on site 80% of the time in order to claim their allowances.

I love the tongue in cheek reporting from the Irish Independent.
It took a year to get this far on the issue, in the face of protests from some members.

The oireachtas chiefs have thought of everything, even closing the 'I don't know how to use the new system' loophole which may have cropped up. For those elected representatives who are technologically challenged, an old-fashioned way of signing in -- with a book and a pen -- will be available in the Leinster House 2000 extension.

Politicians should be advised that this is not a book of condolence for the recently buried political careers of Willie O'Dea, Trevor Sargent, Deirdre de Burca and George Lee. Neither is it a petition to get Taoiseach Brian Cowen to call an election or a recruiting post for the Tanaiste's newly founded Kildare Street branch of the Irish Feminist Movement.

Also unsubstantiated are rumours that Government Chief Whip Pat Carey asked for electronic ankle tags to be put on all TDs so he could pinpoint their precise locations. Mr Carey has had to put some manners on errant Fianna Fail TDs who have been missing for votes, such as Castlebar's finest, Beverly Flynn.
Great satire indeed.

I wonder if something similar is being looked at for our own Assembly? Would that help to increase the issue of public confidence in our political institutions?

Assembly to set up group on America in hope of free trips.


'Junkets to the USA'
Do you fancy a possible trip to the USA?

Looks like our MLAs do.  Our wee province has so many international issues to solve, one being relations with the USA, that wee country that we like to help out every so often by providing them a welcome foreign affairs distraction so they can quietly ignore domestic issues or places outside the US like Iraq.

We have provided many a US President with wonderful opportunities to get in touch with their 'Oirish' side, drink some Guinness for photo opportunities and grandstand on a massive media platform on how they can bring peace to the infighting natives.

So what does oor wee Assembly do? They set up an All Party USA Group

Its good to know that our MLAs will probably have set their sights on junkets fact finding missions in order to garner more information for the All Party USA Group.  This will bring the number of All Party Groups and All Party Assembly Groups to 18. 

Just so you all know All Party Assembly Groups are made up with a membership of Assembly Members only. All Party Groups has a membership open to both MLAs and non-MLAs (i.e. you and me).  Maybe a few wealthy Americans might be able to pay for the unavoidable trips to the States then.

SDLP want a 'Mike Nesbitt' too??


Could May be standing for Westminster
Reading the Sunday Life (only in the real life copy) and found a tiny little piece on the possibility of a 'celebrity' SDLP  candidate for the Fermanagh and South Tyrone Westminster seat in the 2010 general elections.

Now where have i heard this before? Oh yes, Mike Nesbitt is the UUP celebrity candidate running in Strangford constituency.

Now there are a few questions raised by this rumour.  It is Northern Ireland and that means the likes of May McFettridge counts as a celebrity.  Hmmmm, you could almost see it now.  May McFettridge out electioneering so that she can be elected to one of the biggest and longest running pantomimes in the world.  

This would mean she would not have to wait for Christmas anymore.

Or perhaps the SDLP have snagged their very own tv or radio star.  We shall wait and see.


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