Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | April 1, 2012

1st April, 2012

The Northern Ireland tourism slogan for this year is “Your Time, Our Place”. By the sounds of it, a more fitting slogan would be “Northern Ireland 2012: Monument to Misadvanture”.

As Titanic centenary commemorations in Belfast reach a weird, inappropriately proud critical mass, in the second city they too they wouldn’t be outdone when it comes to celebrating transatlantic misfortune.  This week, City of Derry Airport is set to be named after Amelia Earhart as her historic plane voyage that started in Newfoundland ended just outside the city. Even though she was aiming for Paris and only landed in Derry due to technical trouble. But hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?

Well, no, as it goes. Just ask Ed Milliband. In an attempt to lay into the Tories’ new “pasty tax” the Labour leader went along with Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves to a Greggs to buy some pastried meaty goodness. And looked like complete berks. Mild mortification and Ed Milliband are almost synonymous at this stage, but a dismal by-election defeat to lycra-clad leftie George Galloway in Bradford West, a seat they held for nearly 40 years, is much more worrying. Gardening leave – or a chance for him to catch up on his baking – could be well on the way soon.

What doesn’t seem to be all that imminent however is a fuel shortage, even though people are acting with such frenzy that they’d do well to remember the example of Curtis E Bear, the courtesy bear. The government did nobody any favours by calmly telling people to freak out, and more embarrassing still Cabinet Minister and Shere Khan Impersonator Francis Maude got into trouble by encouraging people to store a Fight Club-level  amount of petrol in their garages. The man who looks like Roy Walker with a bit of air let out has not had a very good time of it of late, after a desperate interview on The Today Programme over David Cameron’s habit of having cosy dinners with people who give his party loads and loads and loads of cash, dismissing the Money For Menus debacle as a bit of nonsense that would be dealt with seriously all the same.

Over in Ireland Fianna Fáil are taking their corruption  woes so seriously  they’re making a very public show of it (that’s how you show contrition, right?) by getting younger members to issue the older, corrupter members their burn notice while as many cameras as they can muster float around them.  At least their worst times are behind them (lord knows they haven’t much in front of them) unlike Fine Gael and Labour, who are pushing their resented Household Charge to the hilt this week. As it stands there appear to be three kinds of people when it comes to the charge: those who hate it and will resist paying it, those who hate it but will resentfully pay it for a quiet life, and those in Fine Gael.

Compared to the problems unearthed by the tragic case of Trayvon Martin this week though the Household Charge sort of feels like small change. Shot by a lunatic zealot for the inexcusable crime of being black while walking, Trayvon’s death has been met with appeals to reassess the way we deal with young people and particularly ethnic young people with a view to by some, and with pathetically crude generalisations by others. Presidential candidate flounderer Newt Gingrich tried his best to make a point by reacting to President Obama’s “If I had a son” speech by claiming it was exclusionary and racist, but he failed in typical Newt fashion. Geraldo Rivera has been among the most prominent douches, suggesting that Trayvon’s hoodie was as dangerous as the gun of the man who followed him even after being expressly told by the police to stop. He’s apologised, but the damage is done. Meanwhile, the black population, hooded or not, in America’s prisons is around three times larger than that in the nation as a whole, and homicide is still the biggest killer of young black men . But at least the guy who shot him is still walking around.


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