Adrian O'Neill, Irish ambassador to the UK, had a letter in The Spectator last week complaining about a "snide and hostile" article by Robert Hardman, querying why the Irish Government refuses to rejoin the English-speaking Commonwealth it left 70 years ago, yet has recently enthusiastically embraced junior status in the French-speaking Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).
I was caught unawares last Tuesday on BBC Radio Ulster's Stephen Nolan morning show by Mary Lou McDonald's latest gaffe. I had come on to talk about votes at 16, but the person I was supposed to be disagreeing with wasn't there so I was asked to comment instead on what Ms McDonald had said last Monday night about the selection of the next PSNI Chief Constable.
'I want to build a Belfast, which is a City for All," wrote SDLP Councillor Tim Attwood in a recent letter to a Belfast newspaper, protesting about an attack in Belfast City Council on the late Paddy Devlin - one of those proposed by all parties except Sinn Fein as a suitable subject for a commemorative statue.
'Whoever is responsible for this bomb in our Beautiful City tonight," tweeted Fiachra McGuinness, proud son of Martin, last weekend after the Derry bomb, "live in Planet hate." Irritated by his sheer effrontery, I responded: "They are merely doing the kind of thing your father organised for decades, Mr McGuinness. Fortunately, unlike him, this time they didn't manage to murder anyone."
I write this from a land imperilled by the Brexiteers "who espouse a romantic notion of returning to the British Empire's glory days, characterised by an independence in trade, free of the shackles imposed by Brussels, while knowing deep down in their hearts and minds that leaving the EU can only mean a much poorer future for most citizens in the United Kingdom".
I'm struggling with my latest satirical crime novel, Death of a Snowflake, which is set on a campus dominated by virtue-signalling, no-platforming, trigger warnings, safe spaces, trauma councillors, animal therapists and hysterical accusations against anyone transgressing against fashionable orthodoxies. When events seem to be beyond satire, times are tough for satirists.
Try as I might, I can't yet find a candidate to cheer for in the presidential race. It may be that in the line-up there is a dark horse who might surprise us all, but they'd better get a move on. Mind you, with Ireland in its present mood, I guess we should be grateful that the electorate aren't being given the option to vote for Ivana Bacik, Panti Bliss or Dustin the Turkey.
The late Siobhan O'Hanlon, for many years Gerry Adams's personal assistant, had the robust attitude to dealing with child abuse that you'd expect of a convicted terrorist who on release was part of a conspiracy to set off a car bomb in Gibraltar. Faced in 1998 with a weeping 16-year-old cousin telling her of repeated rapes and various revolting assaults by an uncle in whose house she was staying at his and her aunt's invitation, she said: "Drink a couple of Rumple Minze and go tell him to stop doing it."
I'm rejoicing that the brave and dogged Mairia Cahill has been vindicated, that the PSNI Chief Constable has apologised "unequivocally for the hurt and distress" caused by policing failures and that Mary Lou McDonald is being put on the spot over what Mairia has rightly described as her "cowardly and woeful" weasel-worded apology that mandatory reporting of abuse procedures "were not in place at the time of Mairia Cahill's disclosures" - with nothing said about the cover-up.
'It was a censorious, bleak, closed-minded, unforgiving society of squinting windows and banned books and hellfire sermons. Dissent was difficult, differences deemed threatening, a society where even The Irish Times endorsed the 1930s clampdown on dances."
What on earth is going on with Leo Varadkar? Is he trying to appeal to Sinn Fein voters by making a bogus fuss about the Border and becoming a bete noire of The Sun, which calls him a bigmouth, a fool and 'Liability Leo'. What propelled his lunatic suggestion that British planes might be banned from Irish skies, despite freedoms of the air being guaranteed not by the EU but by a multilateral international treaty? Is he being controlled by Brussels Central? Or is it something deeper?
'The fawning over #HarryandMeghan has been pretty nauseating," tweeted The Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland last Wednesday. "For clarity, Meghan is no feminist if we care about all women's rights. They're a vestige of feudalism and not the company progressive people should keep. A lot of people should have known better."
As I was ruminating on the implications of Leo Varadkar allegedly telling Fine Gael TDs that "the plates are shifting in Irish politics", I accidentally came across a news item about a Dungannon hurling club that made me laugh - but also provided insight into the big issue.
Last Thursday, Dr Colum McCaffrey who taught Political Communication for 20 years in UCD, blogged about media partiality during the referendum campaign for Mary Lou McDonald as a Yes spokesperson. "Over the past few weeks journalists and programme producers - especially at RTE - time and again selected her." Although he thought she did it very well and he agreed with her arguments, he could see nothing in what she said that could not have been said by many others.
Of course I know that the bloodstained record it defends, and the lies, corruption and destructiveness of the contemporary Irish republican movement are the important reasons to oppose its pretensions to power, but on a daily basis, as I follow Irish politics, it's the unrelenting pettiness that irritates me most.
Mary Lou McDonald's honeymoon with the electorate is going well so far, if today's and other recent polls have got it right. And well it might, since she's astutely selling herself at every opportunity to display herself as a new, approachable, modern leader who has put her male, pale and stale predecessor back in his box.
Barbara Bush, tougher than her husband and known to her family as 'The Enforcer', is probably the most popular of all ex-US first ladies of recent times. Jackie Kennedy is remembered across the globe for elegance and tragedy, but she was not loved. Rosalynn Carter worked hard and was a noted campaigner on issues of mental health, but she has suffered in retrospect because of her bitterness at his defeat by Ronald Reagan, who is widely perceived to have been as great a success as Carter was a failure. The brittle Nancy Reagan was an essential support to her husband, but was thought to care little for anyone else. Hillary Clinton was loathed by those who thought her a careerist. The likeable Laura Bush did a lot of useful work but lacked her mother-in-law's commanding personality. And although Michelle Obama had rock-star status, that has diminished as she and her husband embrace luxury and celebrity. Betty Ford is probably the closest rival, having been far more effective and formidable than her husband Gerald, the 38th president, and still having a posthumous reputation for her prowess as a campaigner on addiction, not least because so many of the famous troop to the Betty Ford Clinic.
'Faceless bureaucrats" is a frequent insult levelled at our rulers in Brussels but, latterly, we're getting to know them better. What with his tendency to over-enthusiastic conviviality and entertaining outbursts, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the Commission, is a star of many a YouTube clip.
Last week an article of mine in The Daily Telegraph sparked off a big row between Brexiteers and Remainers over the Irish dimension. With the headline 'The collapse of power-sharing in Northern Ireland shows the Good Friday Agreement has outlived its use', it was retweeted by many others, enthusiastic Brexiteers like Conservatives ex-Secretary of State Owen Paterson and MEP Dan Hannan, and Labour MP Kate Hoey.
In normal political parties almost everyone wants to be leader. But how many senior people in Sinn Fein truly envy Mary Lou McDonald as - in theory at least - she takes control of the morass that is the island-wide party? The presidential chalice may be shiny but the contents are toxic.
"Last Tango in The Balmoral," began a tweet from Gerry Adams on Friday, attaching his most recent blog, which appears weekly in Sinn Fein's remaining Pravda (An Phoblact is now on-line only) - the Anderstonstown News - describing a dance he had had with Michelle O'Neill, now known as the "Leader of the North" - a title the Master Blogger Mick Fealty describes as "a bit Game of Thrones."
As well as the kerfuffle about embarrassing comments from anti-IRA clergy in newly released State papers, there was a row last week about the T-shirt for sale by the Sinn Fein online bookshop bearing the legend 'IRA UNDEFEATED ARMY' and illustrated with images of dashing young chaps in balaclavas carrying Kalashnikovs.
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