Sorry that this is a bit late, and a bit short. The election is now very near, and our tiny team of Old Greens (augmented by the youthful Rory in the afternoon) is trying to spread our message to as many people as we can this week.
Talking of Rory, here’s his friend and fellow poet and Red Pill member Alice McCullough narrating our party election broadcast. Please feel free to share it around.
It doesn’t have anything directly to do with this election, except in as much as biodiversity and sustainability and animal welfare and the Majority World and the question of how we deal with the colonial and apartheid legacies are all issues addressed by Green politics, but mentioning wildebeest yesterday reminded me of this.
It’s a very short video I made nearly four years ago in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, following Gawain and Sue’s wedding. It’s worse than amateur, with the camera jumping about all over the place, but it’s genuine, and has a real zebra crossing, giraffes, rhino, elephants, hippos, a brief glimpse of a lion, and a very endearing baby baboon. Oh, and the wildebeest of course. And the soundtrack is by the long-lamented Imperfect Scribble, which included, and was named by, Rory.
Aidan and Rory arrived this morning on the bus from Belfast, so we’re ready for festivities now. Rory claimed to have a gig in Newry, but Aidan couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough to escape from the board games. This is actually Knightmare chess, with lots of bizarre cards changing and adding moves. I was entirely discombobulated by the ninety degree move of the board, and Aidan’s consequent three queens, which serves me right. Oh, and while he had a nap (still recovering from the OccupyQUB sleep deprivation) I put some words and pictures (mostly pictures) on my post for 12th December (the one with all the climate justice actions).
Doing our bit for progressive politics on both sides of the Atlantic … This photograph was taken in Belfast during the frack-free march just before the G8 summit. A group from Lancashire had come over to support us, and our Rory (right of picture) was giving them a hand holding up their banner and looking very noble and heroic. Just behind them is Steven Agnew with a Green Party flag, and I was a few rows further back. Good to see that our chaps are the role models….
Here is the new Ulster Slam Poetry Champion, following tonight’s competition held in Blakes of the Hollow, Enniskillen as part of the excellent Fermanagh Live Festival. Congratulations, Rory! He won the Belfast heat a few weeks ago, and now will represent Ulster in the All Ireland finals. It’s been a good year for Rory’s poetry as he also won the Glastonbury Poetry Slam in the summer, which entitles him to a performance slot in next year’s festival (to which I’m delighted to be going, after missing this year’s).
And below is a short video of Rory performing I bought an iPhone for my iPhone, the poem which won him the final round. Others are available on his YouTube channel here. If we shout loudly enough, we might persuade him to upload a few more.
Tomorrow’s post is going to be a long one (I’ve spent most of today writing it), so let’s pace ourselves and keep this one short. Last night’s faith and politics seminar was inspiring and encouraging, with lots of talk about the common good, social justice and non-violence, reinforcing the connections between Gospel values and Green politics, and strengthening my conviction that I am doing the right thing. And this evening son no. 2, Rory the poet, arrived for the weekend. Here’s a link to his new album which I would really like even if I wasn’t his mum.
To Stormont today, to meet a group of students from Enniskillen Collegiate and Mount Lourdes Grammar Schools and to talk to them about the Green Party. Fortunately Translink’s Ramber bus ticket applied, so I was able to travel all the way to Stormont and back again for only £9. I got up early, hoping to pack up the weekend’s post (my ‘day job’ is as an online bookseller at Crystal Bard Books) and to have some breakfast before I left to catch the bus. But as the packing slips slid out of the front of the printer, M noticed that green ink was pouring out of the back, so the time slot allocated to peanut butter on toast was instead taken up with absorbent cloths and baby wipes. The fallback gastronomic option was brunch in the Stormont coffee shop, but there were more fracking developments to discuss, so that didn’t happen either. I don’t think I introduced myself to the Enniskillen students by saying ‘My name is Tanya Jones and I’m really hungry”, but I can’t guarantee it. Whatever I said, it elicited some interesting questions, about the feasibility of a political career for women in Northern Ireland, the relationship between the economy and the environment, and the connections between faith and Green politics.
And food, when it finally materialised, sometime around half past three, was worth waiting for, as I met Rory at the Common Grounds cafe on University Avenue. Common Grounds is a non-profit business which serves fantastic fair trade coffee and wonderful food (the onion chutney sandwich today was absolute perfection) and gives away its profits (over £55,000 to date) to support humanitarian projects in the majority world and to raise awareness of issues that affect the global poor. It was the venue earlier this year for the launch of the latest Green Party in Northern Ireland manifesto, and is a perfect illustration of the ways in which, as I had just said in Stormont, Green politics and Gospel values encapsulate the same vision: of care for creation, protection of the most vulnerable, redistribution of resources from the rich to the poor and the bringing about of peace and reconciliation. I’m always delighted and humbled to be there, even when I’m not quite so hungry as today….