Thursday, 7 April 2016

Glass Houses And Stones.

To say I enjoy elections would be somewhat of an understatement. This election however seems to be more heated than most with seemingly more emphasis being placed on that age old game of one-up-manship. This is to be expected I suppose with certain individuals intent on using anyone and anything to take the focus off themselves, their efforts and lack of. Yes folks it's election time a time when we get to witness those in big glass houses throw stones.

The candidate I have chosen to support in the upcoming assembly election is Dr Anne McCloskey. Dr Anne has recently found herself in the spotlight following comments she made at a local Hustings Event.. Comments which had been taken completely out of context as has been acknowledged by one journalist who attended the event. I don't always agree with what people have to say or how they say it, but as a rule I will defend their right to say it, it comes down to basic free speech really. Another rule I have is before passing judgment on anything I examine what is being said in the wider context, but then that's just me. Dr Anne has since issued statement adding context and detail to the comments she made at the recent event.

A receptacle for tears, snot and other fluids (my bad)

Following on from these comments a few of Dr Anne's political opponents were right on cue. First off the starting blocks was Sinn Fein's Maeve McLaughlin. Maeve said she felt that Dr Anne's comments were 'deplorable and a gross insult to all women'. Whilst Maeve is entitled to her opinion, to say that the comments were insulting to all women is just not true as I'm a woman and it takes a lot more than a few words taken out of context to insult me, and trust me Maeve McLaughlin doesn't speak for me or plenty of other women I know. Maeve does seem to be quite a sensitive soul though which is surprising when you consider some of the claptrap and shenanigans attributed to her party and their 'ahem' associates.

Off the top of my head I'm thinking back to 2014 when former Sinn Fein MLA Sue Ramsey caused considerable controversy after misrepresenting the views of the Bishop of Dromore. Letters were sent to constituents in Ms.Ramsey's name and that of Councillor Matt Garrett misquoting the Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey in respect of his position on abortion. How embarrassing, deplorable and insulting!

In 2015 when addressing the issue of Jean McConville’s death Sinn Fein president for life Gerry Adams said “That’s what happens in wars.” Deplorable and insulting?

What about Maeve's party colleague Martina Anderson who accused 2 Derry women/victims campaigners of vandalising a mural when they were actually fixing it.

On a social level I also find the following deplorable and insulting:

The fact that only one elected representative from Derry made a submission to the consultation on the need for a detox centre in Derry, a city with a growing addiction crisis.

In parts of this city 2 out of 3 children are living in poverty.

Another thing that sticks out is a certain Derry man welcoming jobs to Belfast which had been previously based in Derry, a city with a high unemployment rate. Added to this the same man signed off on project Kelvin going to Coleraine when it had been earmarked for the city. Still Martin McGuiness hopes to represent Derry and is contesting the Assembly election. With friends like that, who needs enemies!

I could go on but I'm sure by now those reading this will have got the message which is; when sitting in a big glass house you're best not to throw stones.

And on the subject of big glass houses Eamon McCann the candidate from Derry's pop up People Before Profit Party described Dr McCloskey's comments as 'disgraceful.' Eamon like Maeve is entitled to his opinion but the word disgraceful has reminded me on comments made by a member of his '32 county Campaigning Organisation' in 2011. In this instance the member made a joke out of Sinn fein's emphasis on how they had a 'gay' candidate. Her comments just like Dr Anne's were later centre in a game of political football having been described by senior Sinn Fein members as 'disgraceful'. In fairness to the shinners on paper they could have sold this comment as that but having read the girl's explanation it was clear to see that this was her idea of humour. That coupled with the fact that anyone who knows this woman would attest that she hasn't a bad bone in her body. But hey why let the truth get in the way of politicking! The point I'm making here is what we write and say is open to interpretation and more so when deliberately taken out of context. So Eamon next time you use a word as strong as 'disgraceful' stop and think for a moment in the off chance that it could be batted right back at you.

From my observations both online and off the biggest problem Dr Anne's opponents seem to have with her is her pro-life stance. Out of all the issues she's standing on this issue seems to rear it's head the most. From a common sense perspective I would agree that prevention is better than remedy when it comes to promoting good sexual health and part of this does require better education. Even Dr Anne's critics would have had difficulty in disagreeing with this had they have published her sentiments in their entirety and in context, something the editor of the Derry News Ciaran O'Neill challenged journalist Paul Gosling on when Mr Gosling tweeted Dr.McCloskey's comments out of context.

The subject of abortion is a sensitive one that polarises and brings out extreme positions on both sides of the debate. On todays BBC News at 6pm Dr Paul Bell of the Royal College of Psychiatrists spoke about the dangers of people taking abortion drugs bought online. The report stated that such drugs are unregulated and illegal for a reason. Dr Bell also related that when prescribed there are strict guidelines and these drugs should be administered under medical supervision as there are dangers of side effects. And here's the thing, there are an increasing number of people who are admitting that they are procuring and supplying illegal abortion drugs. To say that this is irresponsible is an understatement, to me someone supplying these drugs is disgraceful and deplorable. I wonder would these people be as forthcoming in holding their hands up if someone they supplied these drugs to took an adverse reaction to them? I just hope and pray it doesn't come to that.

As the election machines begin to gather momentum there will be a lot of muck raking and throwing, and as the parties vie for position they will as usual forget the fact that there are people who will continue to bear the brunt of their failed policies. These would include the people who turn to people like Dr Anne for support and help, trained professionals, not career politicians who will use whatever they can to 'expose' the opposition as unfit for office, whether true or not. I would say without equivocation that the track record of the Stormont politicians tasked to date with representing this city demonstrates that they are unfit for office. Then again I've always said that they're akin to a bunch of cowboys masquerading as a government. A group who should be of real interest to the BBC's Rip off Britain team.

And as for those folks in their glass houses like Maeve... Just remember to check your election literature, we wouldn't want another boob like Sinn Fein's 'Booby Sands' leaflet, but would that be making something out of nothing when truthfully it was a non issue to begin with?

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