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‘Best of the Web’

This article first appeared in the News Letter on Friday October 29…

The Minister's Pen blog

By Geoff McGimpsey

I’m about to say something which my wife has been telling me for years. Bloggers are SAD. I mean, really, really SAD.

Although, before I get a welcome-back-to-the-real-world-style pat on the back, I should qualify that by saying SAD isn’t a character assessment, it’s a medical condition. Because there’s a dark mood infecting bloggers at the moment, and I’m putting it down to a severe bout of Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) ie. ‘winter blues’.

First up, Eye On The Hill with one of the cheeriest intros I’ve ever read to a post: “It’s true – the world as we know it has come to an end. We’re doomed.”

Well, that’s me depressed. The blog went on to predict that the only certainty about public finances is that “we’re going to have to listen to whinging and whining ahead of next year’s elections: after all many politicians’ raisin d’étre (sic) is to get back into power, not necessarily to sort out the mess”.

Jeez, that really is depressing.

Equally depressing is the state of the legal system here, and A Tangled Web has demanded a more muscular approach. Reacting to reports that around one-third of violent criminals here re-offend within a year of leaving prison, David Vance said: “There is an issue here concerning just how flabby and soft our judicial system has become after decades of liberal assault.”

Needless to say, one commenter believed the rule of law should literally involve rulers.

“Compare the US and UK recidivism rate of 60% and 50% with 25% in Singapore. Controversial it may be, but caning criminals might be more effective than imprisonment.”

Also in need of a well-smacked bottom is the architect of the new criminal justice legislation here. The blog of barrister (and ex-UCUNF candidate) Rodney McCune suggests that the bill emerging from David Ford’s department aids the ‘liberal assault’ and errs too heavily toward the perpetrator.

Rodney said that one particular proposal “… weakens guards against convicted criminals being involved in holding the Police Service to account….I wonder who came up with those proposals…..and who took their eye off the ball?”

But if you think that’s a mess, then consider this admission in the personal blog of UUP communications director Davy Sims.

“I used to have a messy desk using the ‘volcano’ filing system; important stuff goes to the centre, unimportant stuff falls to the floor and eventually goes into the bin. Since computers came along, my desk is tidier – but my electronic files are a mess.”

Unfortunately, computers haven’t corrected my own volcanic behaviour. In addition to which, there’s ominous rumblings coming from the blog of Nelson McCausland. The Minister is annoyed about another type of ‘winter blues’: swearing!

Considering the content of contemporary plays, Nelson blogged: “Why is it that some modern playwrights feel obliged to pepper their work with so much bad language? Yes, I know that many people swear. I hear the occasional swear word in the street or some other public place and some people are particularly prone to swear.”

Given the state of public finances, and the decisions politicians are going to be forced to make, I predict that Nelson will be hearing a lot more swearing in the street from now on. Time to wear earmuffs and blame the weather, I reckon.

(And chin up everyone!)



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