Too many distractions get in way of Christmas

Queen Elizabeth II unveils a portrait of herself by artist Theodore Ramos at the Guildhall in Windsor, 03 June 2002, to mark her Golden Jubilee. A 1954 painting of the Queen hangs on the wall in the background.   (Photo credit should read MARTIN HAYHOW/AFP/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II unveils a portrait of herself by artist Theodore Ramos at the Guildhall in Windsor, 03 June 2002, to mark her Golden Jubilee. A 1954 painting of the Queen hangs on the wall in the background. (Photo credit should read MARTIN HAYHOW/AFP/Getty Images)
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Only five days to Polling Day and I’m not sure what is more important in the minds of the public just now – Christmas preparations or the election.

I get a very mixed reaction from those I talk to. Mostly the election, then Brexit, are the main topics but soon boredom sets in and Christmas takes over. I was baking Christmas cakes this week so I was quite happy to shift the discussion to the length of time it takes icing to harden and how long until it becomes so hard not even a saw will go through it, because I refuse to use the bought stuff which feels and tastes like chewing gum. I know this will sound trivial to some but getting icing right is far more important to me than politics right now.

Such distractions are essential if I’m to survive the next five days shouting insults at politicians talking drivel on television. The world is changing physically all around us, our oceans are polluted, mammals are washing up on beaches, their stomachs filled with rubbish humans have seen fit to throw into the water, the need (really?) for palm oil is destroying the habitat of some of our most wonderful creatures and poverty, not just in Africa but closer to home, is heart-breaking.

A perfect distraction for some, of course, will have been the alleged lewd shenanigans of a Royal Prince. Our Queen has led an exemplary life, rarely having put a foot wrong. No doubt she will be out at Church on Christmas Day with Team Royal in tow. Will her second son be at the end of the queue or will she leave him behind to walk her corgis, out of sight? Will the bookies be taking bets on it? Or is that sort of thing done on-line now?

Riding in to keep us focused on the things that should matter was no less than President Trump, accompanied by the First Lady. Despite Jeremy Corbyn claiming that Boris was going to do some kind of Brexit-trade deal with America over the NHS, the President declared he had no interest in the NHS `not even if you handed it to me on a silver platter’.

I wondered what all those striking NHS staff made of that? Aren’t they asking themselves why America is not even interested in them? Surely that was one in the eye for their trade union?

Now, I happen to think highly of the NHS and like many others I’m fed up with it being used and abused by the drunks, drug addicts and those who go out at night to start a fight because they are bored. I’m also cheesed off with those who think that elderly care is a burden on the NHS. Not one person in this world is safe from old age. It leads to vulnerability, illness, isolation and disrespect from the younger generation who must think they are the only ones who matter.

Our politicians have not protected the NHS and their neglect could lead soon to GPs working only part time, and other would-be doctors choosing something else to graduate in. It’s just possible, of course, that our NHS will survive due to new research which, for example, promises to repair damage to the brain caused by Alzheimer’s, or prevents babies being born with inherited disabling diseases, the sort of problems that cost the NHS dearly.

Locally our Health Services is in a critical state due to lack of political leadership, down to the two main political parties disagreeing over an Irish language Act. Last weekend, I was in the South and ended up in a pub to watch a rugby match. It was a convivial night but not once did I hear a word of Irish being spoken.

In the News Letter this week, Peadar Toibin, leader of the anti-abortion and republican party Aontu “criticised Sinn Fein for refusing to return to Stormont until there is a commitment to an Irish language act”.

It was, he said “unacceptable for the demand to be used to hold other issues hostage.” Our politicians cost money. Isn’t it time for a pay-cut?