Last week it was all quiet on the political front so you may notice a shortage of political comment in this column. MLAs were on their well-deserved half term break. It’s probably the only time some of them get to see other members of their family. For others it may be the only time they get a break from them!
Anyway, all that traipsing in and out of the chamber two days a week for the 12 weeks of the ‘parliamentary’ term must be exhausting. They have to pack into the benches behind their ministers while they’re televised fielding questions. So the ministers have a crowd behind them as they talk to virtually deserted benches opposite. Then, the whole process is reversed so that the other lot’s ministers get their turn to talk to empty benches. Isn’t that how it ‘works’ or am I being too cynical? That’s how it appears on TV. It must be tricky. You wouldn’t want to be in when you should be out or out when you should be in. In any case, all that endless point-scoring must be tiring.
Anyway, apart from politics, it’s remarkable how Hallowe’en changes the character of our towns. That’s not just here in Derry on the big night itself when so many dress up to enjoy the fireworks and the subsequent shenanigans. All week the town centre is far busier than in the preceding weeks. So many young people are off school it makes a huge difference. They get dressed up and meet their friends in town for shopping and socialising in the many cafés. It really does give Derry a different ‘feel’. There’s a much livelier atmosphere.