Hi everyone,

I have been stricken by an unforeseen eyesight problem in the last few days so please forgive my lack of activity on the sight. Here’s Sammy’s take on the weeks events: BD Edited by Mrs Bangordub!!!!

It was a week that saw the (almost) universal honouring of Nelson Mandela as he lay in state in South Africa – a remarkable achievement for a man who had spent many years as a political prisoner and who had (formerly) supported the violent overthrow of the state.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/obituary-freedom-fighter-turned-premier-1.1618473

…and it was also a week that saw the (at times embarrassing) efforts of western political leaders as they sought to portray themselves and their parties – as Nelson’s bestest friends.

As we know in Ulster, just as in South Africa, being (allegedly) involved in political violence against the state doesn’t always end in tears – as the case of former Ulster Unionist party leaders Trimble and Empey illustrates.  Davey and Wee Reggie, having both striven, in tandem with loyalist paramilitaries during the Ulster Workers Strike to limit Dublin’s influence in the 4th Green field – but both having nevertheless ended up sitting comfortably in Her Majesty’s House of Lords – rather than being detained less comfortably at Her Majesty’s pleasure. 

So too with SF – with Gerry and Marty, who also (allegedly) struggled violently to increase Dublin’s influence in Green field number 4 – as well as (allegedly) assisting Nelson during his less peaceful days. Now the two (former) rebel leaders are to be found sitting equally comfortably in the Dail and Stormo (Although to be fair they did previously spend some time being detained against their will.)

As the politicians from around the world paid their last respects to the great man in Johannesburg concerns about the direction South Africa might take after Nelson’s death were at least partially overshadowed by the embarrassing image of Obama and Cameron trying to squeeze as close as possible to the (blonde) Danish (female) PM, using the cover of taking a photo. (Luckily for Barack his nuzzling took place just out of the handbag range of Michelle). But with the South African President being booed and the American President being cheered there must be a worry that South Africa can continue to be the model for peace and reconciliation which Nelson did so much to put in place.

http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/hello-helle-danish-pm-thorningschmidt-and-how-she-charmed-barack-obama-and-david-cameron-8999818.html

Back in Green field number 4, where the good people of Ulster still await some reconciliation after the peace – and with Obama’s fixer Richard Haas in town to sort it all out – things do not look good. In what may not have been a helpful intervention (another) former Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott compared the IRA to Al Qaeda during the (Haas) talks.  One has to wonder if the Tommy is quite as critical of Reggie and Davey and their colleagues (of the time) in the UVF and the UDA?

http://www.impartialreporter.com/news/roundup/articles/2013/12/12/403333-elliott-compares-ira-to-al-qaeda-during-the-haass-talks/

Down South, as the war waged over Nelson’s (past) affections – each party in the Dail was allowed their spake. It is at times like these that the boul Charlie (Haughey) is sorely missed – he would perhaps have been regaled the House with (tall) tales of the close links between the Haughey and Mandela families. As it was, it was left to Gerry, (allegedly a former insurgent like Nelson) to steal the show by sharing the details of the entry on the 5th May 1981 in Nelson’s prison calendar which marked the death of the SF MP – ‘Martyr Bobby Sands’.  A touché moment for Gerry which the Irish press seemed (un-surprisingly) to ignore.

Of course when it comes to Gerry, the Irish press have other Gerry stories to be telling, with Eilis O’Hanlon in the Irish Independent lamenting the death of Nelson – not because the world’s greatest statesman had passed away but because it ‘sent the Shinners off down memory lane’.

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/adams-sees-the-words-but-just-doesnt-get-the-picture-29819297.html

Quality journalism no doubt which was given (badly needed) fresh legs up in Sluggerland where concerns as to ‘how long Gerry can last’ and ‘how has Gerry lasted this long’ continue ad hominem and ad infinitum.

http://sluggerotoole.com/2013/12/09/is-there-anyone-in-sf-telling-gerry-adams-what-he-needs-to-hear/

Still there was genuine good news this week as Ireland (3 Green fields only) exited the bailout

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/most-of-the-people-who-were-involved-in-the-background-of-the-troika-were-very-smart-but-they-weren-t-very-good-at-politics-1.1625850

And more good news as the 4 Green Fields all won in the Heineken Cup – including in one of the biggest ever Ruggerball upsets as Connacht beat Toulouse –  in Toulouse.

http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/great-weekend-for-the-irish-provinces-might-be-down-to-elite-european-cup-standard-dropping-1.1623490

..in other good news – the battle for the moral high ground between the Dissers and the Flaggers  – the Flaggers have nudged ahead  with their statement

“This decision was taken after listening to city center traders and the local community; and in light of the heightened level of security due to republican terrorism”

http://www.newsletter.co.uk/life/loyal-orders/the-twelfth-2013/orange-order-calls-off-belfast-parade-in-act-of-goodwill-1-5738817

..and that means there are now 10 flag-free-protest-days left till Xmas. 

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