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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Planes, Trains and Big Wains!
Eamon Sweeny • 10. 11. 03

Mindful as ever of the lack of actual political debate, or at least political debate that transcends the usual dirge of the sectarian divide, you would be forgiven for being shocked to hear that there is an election here in little over two weeks time.

Indeed if were not for the Keystone Cop antics of some parties in the process of what they pass as electioneering, then most of this forthcoming poll may well have passed us by altogether.

Of course it may have already passed thousands of us by considering the failure of a substantial proportion of the electorate to actually register to vote at all.

The failure of so many to register could be attributed to various factors. Highly placed amongst these of course is the normal percentage of political apathy, heartily reinforced this time around by the popular perception that nothing ever changes anyway. This time it truly won’t change anything at all. This is simply because whoever we elect won’t be going back into Stormont, straight away at least.

Other equally important considerations are that a mid-week November election will impinge directly on late night Xmas shopping, and the demands of children to see Santa at the local shopping complex will be the only producer of long queues to contribute to a poll this month.

This will be the North Pole of course!

I have been unable however to substantiate the rumours that Sinn Fein have been unable to get Lapland’s greatest export banned from the north over allegations that Santa is a “sticky”. The NIO have allegedly said that just because he dresses in bright red is not proof that the Workers Party have engaged in a cunning brainwashing communist plot against little children.

To test the strength of these allegations a panel of educational psychologists questioned a sample of these kids. They concluded not a single boy or girl replied, “…. A thirty two county socialist and democratic republic with unfettered control of the means of production…. . ” when they were asked what they wanted for Christmas.

Since we have apparently engaged in a monumental display of apathy towards the upcoming election various parties have taken it upon themselves to bring their election messages directly to us in a mixture of modes of transport.

Foremost amongst of these of course is the DUP “battlebus”, sporting a £400 number plate bearing V 123 DUP. This is of course designed to remind us that we should vote 1, 2 and 3 for the DUP. So that’s proportional representation by D’Hondt and presumbably engine by Vauxhall. Given the DUP leaders religious leanings we can only presume the bus tyres are the sleek new sulphur based brimstone hellfires, made by Firestone of course. Apparently these were chosen over the Pirelli models because of the overtly “Roman” associations.

Although, denying Italian involvement in the manufacture of Peter Robinson’s suits may prove a more difficult matter entirely. More importantly were the suits paid for in Euros I wonder? Yet Peter the Euro does not have the same ring to it as Peter the Punt. (Note to the typesetter, do not make any mistakes here for God’s sake!)

Jane Maurice of the Women’s Coalition has taken to the roads in a Morris Minor. In a devilishly clever play on her name and the name of the car, Jane has beguiled us, together with the luminous party posters a la Andy Warhol. It was Warhol who prophesised about everyone having their fifteen minutes of fame. I still have no idea about the policies of the Women’s Coalition, but I have come to realise that fifteen minutes can be a very long time
indeed. And this was after someone reminded me that the party political broadcasts only actually last five minutes.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan did not appear to fussed about his method of transport at all. But then again Mark never seems to arrive at any decisive point anyway. Rather he chose to mount an elevated cherry picker platform to deliver a pre-election speech. This is at last conclusive proof that the charismatically challenged one is not half the man his predecessor John Hume was. Hume never needed to get on a cherry picker to deliver pearls of political wisdom as his ego alone was enough to ensure he gazed down upon us all equally from a great height.

As for that other Derry based candidate Eamon McCann, it is rumoured that he will take to the hustings via the great waterways of our fair statelet. Eager as always to present an ecologically friendly front, a spokesman for McCann’s umbrella political vehicle, the Socialist Environmental Alliance, contended that no boat will be required to facilitate travelling, as Eamon can walk on water!

So to the “Simply British” party the UUP. The latest in their series of spectacularly backfiring posters was unveiled this week.

This was a red coloured Mini car sporting a Union Jack roof.

It has since been pointed out to the UUP that the Mini was originally designed by a Turk and is now manufactured in Germany. Now is that “Simply British” or just plain old simple?

If I were a UUP officer I would start investigating the notion of an IRA spy ring at their advertising agency, before “Simply British” becomes an epilogue as opposed to a current slogan and Trimble ends up selling his fish and chips from the back of the Mini to make ends meet. I would be tempted to swap a winning lottery ticket to see that fantasy become reality.

The bleak outlook of the PUP’s party political video reveals a wasteland in East Belfast. No transport theme here at all, except the burnt out shells of cars that smoulder in the streets below the now rusting shipyard cranes Samson and Goliath. There is no substance to the allegation however that when the filming for the video was over Ervine got into his second hand Jaguar and got the hell out of the area. The “Jag”was supposed to have one previous not so very careful owner. It was some guy called John White, who had to leave Belfast very quickly this summer and who now appears to favour travelling on Irish ferries with a large entourage for company instead of the four wheeled method of transport.

The notion of Gerry Kelly as a prospective future Minister Policing and Justice may want to make the big lad reconsider upgrading his own transport in the near future. Considering the salivating rabidity of Peter Robinson’s attack on him on last Sunday’s BBC1 “Politics Show” for no apparent reason other than the fact that Kelly was in the same room. I think Gerry would be as well to enlist the services of the gentleman who shunts people around west Belfast in the back of the decommissioned British Army Saracen and charges them for the priviledge. According to Robinson, Kelly would be right at home there anyway.

Ok, that’s it. I think I have given everyone that matters an equal lacing. What’s that you say? I have forgotten about The Alliance Party. Listen here, I said everyone that matters!






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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

10 November 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Address to Ard-Fheis 2003
Ruairí Ó Bradaigh


British Anti-Insurgency

Liam O Comain


From A Belfast Granny
Kathleen O Halloran


Planes, Trains and Big Wains!
Eamon Sweeney


The Most Important Election Ever, Again
Anthony McIntyre


What Went Wrong in the New South Africa?
Andrew Nowicki


7 November 2003


Ted Honderich Interview
Mark Hayes


Disappeared and Disapproved

Anthony McIntyre


HMP Maghaberry: First Flames from a Tinderbox
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh


Housebreaking Ulster Style
Brian Mór


United Irishmen
Davy Carlin


From A Granny
Kathleen Donnelly


An Enemy of the Republic
Liam O Comain


Some Count, Some Don't
Michael Youlton


If Voting Changed Anything It Would Be Made Illegal!
Sean Matthews


Hackneyed Views of Cuba
Douglas Hamilton


Colombian Trade Unionist in Belfast: Meeting
Sean Smyth




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