Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | May 27, 2010

27th May, 2010

Broken news just in: Margaret Thatcher isn’t dead.

While normally making statements on the living status of politicians would be a pointless and lengthy exercise, in this case it’s worth noting. At various points over the last few years a mixture of wild rumour and wishful thinking have suggested Thatcher was at death’s bought-off-the-council-house door, the most recent being this week.  The first clue that rumours of Thatcher’s demise were greatly exaggerated were that it appeared on the scrupulously bonkers Indymedia, the left wing website for all the news that’s morbidly out of shape to print. The second was that their source was Mark Mardell, BBC’s US correspondent, who’s probably both too far away and too busy covering BP’s horrifying ineptitude to be getting tips of that nature. 

So while the lady is still not for turning, not least in her grave, it did give a slight taster of what will happen when she does eventually head for that great pointless Argentine war in the sky: for every person who thinks she’s the best thing since bakers started using knives  and fully deserving of a state funeral and any other honorifics going, there’ll be at least two who will wake up with hangovers and aching joints the morning after she dies, such will be the extent of their drinking and dancing. When she does eventually die, contention and chaos will almost certainly ensue. I wouldn’t hold my breath though, especially considering she’ll probably out live us all anyway there’s no point giving her any extra advantage.

And speaking of things you find hard to believe are still alive, news from Northern Ireland this week makes you wonder why it was so hotly contested for so long. The latest document in their ever-burgeoning WTF Files is a letter from Nelson McCausland,  DUP MLA on the “Here Be Dragons” conservative wing of the party, Ulster-Scots enthusiast, Chairman of the Surnames As Firstnames Alliance, Northern Ireland Culture Minister and, in this case the most pertinent of all his illustrations, a top-drawer nutter.

At the best of times you’d wonder whether DUP stands for “Deuteronomy’s Unquestioning Pishtards”, but this week he’s advocated the inclusion of creationist exhibits in the Ulster Museum. Apparently, the premise is that if people believe in intelligent design, it should be represented in the nation’s museums, which denotes at very least a fundamental lack of understanding of what a museum is supposed to do. In all fairness though, there could be some benefits to such a policy:  Having a picture of Adam and Eve on show with the caption “God Did It” in a natural history museum would certainly leave loads of space for other things, like explaining how the Giants Causeway pre-dates the creation of the rest of the world by about 50 million years.

While this story is inherently comical, it’s also intensely worrying. Every party is allowed at least one outspoken lunatic in their midst, that’s how it should be, but when you have a party like the DUP that has a top brass that have at various times decried climate change as a conspiracy, suggested gayness is both apocalypse-inducing behaviour and curable with aspirin, barely concealed their hostility towards Gaelic games, habitually and publically denounced the Pope as an antichrist and led an invasion into Monaghan, then you have to wonder whether they’re a party congenitally incapable of running a country, or indeed if a museum isn’t the best place for them.

Thankfully the lunacy swirling around Oslo for the next few days is decidedly transient, as the Eurovision Song Contest pirouettes into town with laser beams attached to its forehead. Changes to the rules this year are hoped to make the show less of a geo-political back scratch exercise, but ultimately with the Eurovision it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part in the camp, surreal, lyrically dubious fun that counts.

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