With a fortnight to go before people go to the ballot (or more to the point, go 'Oh Christ, was that today?') election fever has firmly gripped the political classes, and some are sweating more buckets than others.
In Northern Ireland, the normal lunacy that people take quite for granted has been cranked up significantly, as the interface between issues long swept under the carpet in the name of peace and that which bubbled up under the surface has become as impossible to ignore as the non-metaphorical interfaces.
Gerry Adams' arrest over what he knew or did about the murder of Jean McConville has set a fire under tribal camps in recent weeks, both sides seeing conspiracies everywhere proving the police force are unreconstructed taig haters hellbent on torpedoing the upcoming election / in the pocket of Republican terrorists / delete as appropriate. The reality a man was brought in for justifiable questioning, he was questioned, and then he was released. The fact the man was once considered so dangerous the government decided an actor needed to voice his words in case he brainwashed people shouldn't deflect from that. The sectarian Rorschach Test has even found it's way to normally sensible Queens University Belfast, where a (failed) proposal was tabled to ban the poppy on campus. The war commemoration badge, you understand. There weren't students doing a Breaking Bad with morphine or anything.
On the mainland UKIP are still doing well in the polls, but their support among post office workers after this campaign may be low, as people have taken to exploiting UKIP's freepost leaflet appeal and sending really heavy shit to them that they have to pay for. And in some cases, they've just been sending shit. But you never know, maybe they'll get some Latvian votes, as that's who they've hired to dole out leaflets to unemployed English people.
In Ireland because of the PR system of voting, independents are always a much better bet to get elected and people are a lot more game to run as independents, even if they don't have much in the line of funding. Or spell checkers. But one hopeful who's got attention is Edvard Hund. Though maybe it's because everyone wants to tell him what a good candidate he is, yes he is!
God knows he has more chance of getting elected than Mary Hanafin, who having once been in the frame to take over as leader of Fianna Fail is now struggling to get on their ticket for local council. The whole debacle couldn't be more embarrassing if Hanafin was naked and crying at the convention, although Hanafin has given it a go by protesting that HQ are backpeddling to avoid bad press (farewell, that sturdy ship) and claimed she had leaflets made up and everything. LEAFLETS! In more pressing thin paper news, the Minister for Justice and Defence Alan Shatter has been given his pink slip, because he, well, broke the law. It's nice to know that's cause for resignation in Ireland nowadays.
As the CIA World Factbook changes the status of the Irish Justice Ministry to "It's complicated" on their books, another diplomatic dossier could well do with making a few alterations themselves. In a brochure for the Kazakhstan embassy - which they published themselves - their list of famous musicians contains one 'Billy Sexcrime'. Avid genealogists will know Sexcrime is not a Central Asian surname, and film buffs will know it's a reference to the film Borat. As are most international references to Kazakhstan nowadays. Blunder though that is, it's not quite as bad as Fox News (though what is?). In covering the Korean ferry disaster, they used several seconds of footage from an avalanche in Tibet, presumably because somebody picked up the tape marked 'Asian People Crying, Vol 2' and just went with it.
Altogether more discerning ethnic celebration was on show at Eurovision, although the inevitable diplomatic shadow boxing made way for active dissent at one point. When Russia's entry, clones of Rapunzel imprisoned on a see saw, made it through, the crowd booed like they were at the launch of An Anthology of Hard To Decipher Racist Rhymes, by Jeremy Clarkson. It may have been to do with Putin's belligerence and homophobia, or maybe they had just come to realise Latvia weren't going to make it through.
After so much build up and expectation and slick spectacle, Eurovision will pack up again on Saturday. The way ITV are going, they may try a similar tack on Good Morning Britain soon. Having rebooted GMTV only to see the blue screen of death over and over, ITV hoped their sleek new bit of Americana on the South Bank would win viewers over. But this week, initial curiosity subsiding, and the realisation that Susanna Reid is a journalist and not a bloody burlesque performer, the show has polled only a few points above a BNP party political broadcast. Which, on the plus side, probably rules out Nick Griffin and Lorainne Kelly as replacement presenter duo. Hopefully ITV will give it time to settle, but as 'an industry source' said in the above link: 'if people don't like the show, you're in trouble.'
Wise words. Wise, blindingly obvious words.