Irony In High Places Stormont is our seat of Devolved Government in Northern Ireland. It is there our elected representatives determine what is good for us. There are some, with an extreme Republican brief, who wish to and are allowed to conduct their affairs in Irish, to the annoyance of the majority which either has no Irish or a smattering. On Thursday 4th October, there was a news item on lunchtime TV about a furore concerning a female MLA who gave a dissertation in Irish on the floor of the House. Later she was asked by a TV reporter why she did so, and I was amused to find that she justified her actions in English. Her priorities suddenly became clear, what she had to say about herself was clearly more newsworthy than what was reported earlier as a recording of the proceedings which she made in Irish. I’m not too sure whether she is making a fool of herself or of the electorate.
Personal Security. I’ve heard of a person who had her driving licence stolen from her handbag, and after a lapse of time she found that her joint accounts, in different banks, had been raided on more than one occasion, and sizeable sums removed. It would seem that the information obtained from a driving licence somehow then led to her pin numbers on more than one of her accounts.
A member of my family who uses eBay and other Internet shopping, pointed out that first of all, sending a cheque gave a lot of information about your bank, your account number and your signature. In consequence she now deals mostly in cash, and uses a security system ‘paypal’ on the Internet which vets financial transactions for the individual.
Inheritance Tax, I have written about this on several occasions because we, the elderly, are initially affected, but the rest of the family become affected as a knock-on effect from this insidious tax. David Cameron in his urge to achieve popularity and in consequence votes, is suggesting that he proposes to put a threshold of inheritance tax at £1 million. I know one or two people who are recognised as being millionaires, and that it is not really difficult today to reach that figure when an ordinary five bedroom house can go for nearly a million. One must assume that he has reason for thinking there are sufficient people in this category to warrant this level of threshold. My first reaction is that it is pure electioneering, with people so relieved by the switch that they don’t assess all the parameters that this will encompass. How many millionaires do you know intimately who are likely to be of an age that this will affect? It would seem that the pendulum has nearly swung off the scale, while with Labour, the reverse was proposed, that the seven-year period of this being free of taxation, was to be modified or rescinded. I think we’ll have quite a bit of this political tennis over the next few weeks, to the extent that the two parties will cancel one another out and we’ll go back to people voting for parties rather than ideas.
Dieting. If you are of a sensitive nature, skip the next couple of sentences. I first heard about dieting when I was a child and I heard the adults in my family discussing the latest diet product for reducing weight. Apparently one could buy some form of alleged medicine, which, while the patient was not aware of it, contained the eggs of the tapeworm, the sure-fire way of losing weight if not your life. Since then various members of the family since the end of World War II right up to today, including myself, have at times done their best to lose weight. Christmas is always a killer to any resolutions one might make. You have just about got yourself down to where you want to be, by whatever means, Christmas comes along, and you might just as well not have bothered. I’m writing this because I am in the throes of losing weight in order to relieve the pressure on arthritic hip joints. I have discovered, as a result of listening to my daughter, that home-made bread, in one of these bread-making machines is less likely to put very much weight on compared with commercial loafs and buns, which contain so many additives today that tend to put weight on. There are so many diet products on the market, advertised on television, some cheap some costing a fortune, and none guaranteed. Self-will, with a reduction in portions rather than the change of diet, and eschewing additives, seems to me my only solution, and it does work, however slowly. One disadvantage though is I married a good cook who doesn’t need to slim and likes her food. As somebody once said to me ‘God help your wit’ – it is like pushing a pea up a uphill with your nose.