Sinead Ryan: 'Rise? Maybe Risible would work better...'
They say the first item on the agenda of any new political party is to manage the split.
In a Pythonesque move, Paul Murphy has left the Judean People's Front in order to set up the People's Front of Judea. The new socialist party is called Rise, which is a relief, as the acronym will avoid us having to remember "Radical, Internationalist, Socialist, Environmentalist" which isn't easy to chant at a sit-in. It's a brave move setting up a new party at any time, and hopefully the generous taxpayer supports given to support democracy and its leaders will help it along.
However it's not technically a new party, we're told, but a "group" within the People Before Profit party, which incorporates the Socialist Workers Party, and latterly the United Left Alliance. Then there's Solidarity. Not to mention the Anti-Austerity Alliance. Do keep up.
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"It is not Podemos. It is not Syriza. It is not the Labour party in Britain. It is not the Democratic Socialists of America," Murphy clarified, to everyone's relief.
Some wags on Twitter suggested the party stands for "Really Inevitable Split Eventually". Others pointed out Rise is Éirígí in English - but Éirígí is the name of another socialist, republican grouping - so not confusing at all.
Always look on the bright side of life, eh?
All the comforts of home in a Portuguese prison
They say 70 is the new 60 which is just as well for those of us on the wrong side of a big roundy birthday. The days are long gone when pensioners, upon reaching retirement, collected their carriage clock, put on the slippers and hoped to get a couple of years of 'Gardeners' World' in before shuffling off their mortal coil.
These days the 'third age' has taken on a life of its own along with massive expectations and a dollop of keeping up with the Joneses.
Climbing Machu Picchu? Oh, yes, Thursday we think. Swimming with turtles in the Galapagos? Probably springtime... But all the hobbies, travel and living the dream comes at a price as pensioners Roger and Sue Clarke, both in their 70s, found out.
Their penchant for luxury cruises had their friends and neighbours envious. Had they made brilliant pension choices? Canny investments over the years? Won on the prize bonds?
It turned out their retirement income was in fact rather modest, just £1,150 (€1,290) a month, but that didn't stop them taking yet another £18,000 (€20,000) cruise to the Caribbean where they were unfortunately collared by Portuguese police for smuggling cocaine worth £1m (€1.12m) after docking in Lisbon. If the couple thought they could evade justice with the implausible story the four fancy suitcases they had taken on board stuffed with drugs weren't theirs at all, but given to them by a mysterious friend called Lee in St Lucia (sounds legit) for re-sale in Harrods at a profit, they were mistaken.
Sentenced to eight years each last month, the septuagenarians can at least look forward to a life of three square meals a day and the opportunity to do some gentle reading and crafts in the prison workshop.
It's more than many OAPs enjoy.
Billionaire... Idiot... Pope... or plain Mr?
"Let us learn to call people by their name, as the Lord does with us, and to give up using adjectives," pleaded Pope Francis in a recent tweet.
I'm not quite sure what he's getting at, but presumably it's a pop at celebrity culture where everyone has to have a moniker these days ... Billionaire Kylie Jenner, for instance, or Idiot Boris Johnson.
So which would Francis prefer then? Jorge or Mr Bergoglio.