Looking back on it, it seems that 2016 was the year of the oversight.

Early in the year, talking on Trump, some commentators bandied about figures about him having 20% of 20-24%, suggesting that the apathetic American public who recently have struggled to get over the 50% turnout, were reasonably split between the Democrat/Republican poles.  This came with an allowance for a couple of percentage points being allocated for the usual maverick billionaire with a bee-
in-his-barnet.  Trump, it was believed held the maverick card at this stage – he certainly had the barnet – and everything seemed pretty much run-of-the-mill, for the American process.  He’d run his race, and disappear into whatever oblivion vacuum that sucked up Ross Perot …

His ranting and raving had the more refined on Capitol Hill sniggering up their sleeves.  The press and television media smacked their lips in glee, but the wind-bag was expected by everyone to blow himself out by mid-summer at the latest.

Traction comes from unexpected places.

Trump maintained his bile, and despite the obvious lying, fabricating, and some bewildering back-tracking, before seemingly blowing his other foot off, the act was somehow still gaining momentum.  People didn’t know what to think across the world.  A mass under-class protest making its gripe known was the general international prognosis.  Poor white people were upset and wanted something done about their unhappy state.

What America was thinking was beyond us, looking in from outside, but America often baffles the world with its thinking.  Progressive thinking coasts combined with a sixteenth century moralistic middle don’t make for easy analysis. Trump was obviously some kind of psychopathic loon-tune with an odd personal agenda, but somehow he was staying in there.  Like a reality version of goggle-box, the worldunknown-4 scratched its collective arse, its armpits, its head, and finally shrugged in bafflement.  May arrived, and the primaries ended.  Trump was endorsed by the Republican Party.  The Democrats celebrated across the land, believing the Republicans had given up the ghost.

Not taking him seriously by June was the Democrats major oversight of the year.

June crept along and England gave all sensible thinking people a massive kick in the balls.  An idiotic bunch of warm beer swilling xenophobes had hoodwinked the normally apathetic English and Welsh into voting to leave the European Union, by not deviating from a meaningless phrase of ‘getting control of their country back’, and depicting the country as being overrun with hordes of alien foreigners trying to occupy beds in their hospitals.  A twenty year campaign from what were regarded as little-england bigots, and rural folk scared of anyone with a higher melanin count than their own milky arses, came home to roost.

Believed by the powers-that-be to have somewhat run its course, and that this was to be the final laying to bed of Farage and his bunch of odious cronies, many people in and out of power took their eyes off the ball.  An oversight by the sensible, of insensible proportions.  Corbyn disappeared from all reports, and won’t be forgiven by many people for his absence, and the BBC gonged its way into 6pm with Prime Ministerial commentaries countered by Farage, as though it was he who had become the Leader of HM’s Opposition.

Timing was Cameron’s oversight.  Only a year in to his second term (if first real term) – an unpopular time for any leader, especially one who hadn’t managed a mandate for his first term – he and his Tory chums were confident that having seen off what had seemed a much more likely independent Scottish threat, the whole Brexit hoo-hah was merely a bag of wind for the silly season of summer and would be similarly put to bed.

His oversight cost Britain its imminently sensible and beneficial relationship with the EU, and lie piled upon lie paved the bigot-enabling-path, with the media flailing and flapping about, seemingly unable to take anyone to task in a post-Paxman world.  Expecting the truth, and reasonable argument to win the day, Cameron and Osborne tried to keep to the status quo narrative (what else would a conservative do?) and their oversight in believing the fake-news pedlars, who ignored the statistics, the facts, and anything else reality might throw at them, and maintained the stream of drivel, their oversight in believing this would come to bite the liars on the arse, was perhaps the biggest cock-up of the year, and perhaps even, Tory history.

The celebrations of the fake-news brigade spread, and the possibilities for bigots everywhere just opened up.  Liberal-minded and tolerant people suddenly found themselves in conversations they’d thought had been consigned to dust-bins twenty years ago.  Seemingly, the thoughts were just in hiding, and the hate simmered along, and was even cultivated quietly through the private social networks, and caverns of hate as they have since come to be called.

Trumps inauguration came about when the Democrats also misread the narrative, and the disgruntled mood upon which it rode.  Like the British, this wasn’t a mood of debate, reason, logic and understanding.  This was a mood that didn’t like words much.  People wanted change, and unless that was what they were going to be promised, that’s what they were going to have.  The oversight was not just misunderstanding the mood, but also misunderstanding how deep and mean the mood was running.

The international community, especially when it comes to American affairs, keeps its nose to itself.  It’s the way America likes it, and many were non-too-happy with the commentaries on Trump from various figures in the European capitals.  Still, believing itself impervious to external influence, and the ability of other nations to manipulate media messages with its own mastery, the American institutions and public took their eyes of their traditional foes in the Kremlin.

This may be the oversight by a nation the rest of the world trusted to maintain vigil, that we all come to ultimately regret most.  On America’s watch, will the free world give up the baton of leadership?  Will it all be because of some oversights?


via Daily Prompt: Oversight



Six Million Dollar Boys…

This particular story was particularly enjoyable to write.

Growing up in the seventies as I did, I still have memories of an overcrowded car where we alternated our positions on the backseat to kneeling-sitting-kneeling (there were only six of us then), and we still managed to go pick my grandmother up to take us all to the beach.

My brother kept pigeons, and was part of a club.  He raced them from various parts of Ireland and Scotland, and like many other ‘fanciers’ of the day, he was obsessed with Belgian pigeons.   I cleaned the sheds for pocket money, and would travel with him if he was trying to trace the path of a Belgian race.  Cavan was a regular spot for him to send young birds to, and his birds won a few races too.

It was a time of constant ‘troubles’ on the news, bootboys, skinheads, dock-strikes, cod-wars, and the Eurovision dominated the radio waves, and fellas falling over their own trousers when trying to run away filled the streets.  The whole look and feel of the time is very mixed up, and has never really been revived.  Skinny bodies with huge dandruff riddled mullet heads, trousers with six button waistbands up to the ribs, invisible dick-lines, and then baggy as tents once nearing the knee.  Shirts with gliding collars and high ribbed tank-tops … all slightly glam, until the 16 hole high boots were put on, and the whole thing became far more menacing.  The walk of the time was a ten-to-two cowboy, and if you could get hold of a crombie, you went up the ranks.

For Mash get Smash was on tv, and in the shops; Angel Delight on every Sunday table; Shoot in every boy’s bag, Jackie in every girl’s; The Beano and Dandy, currency for the week, they could be swapped for a Whizzer and Chips …

Even thinking about the story sets me off back into the seventies …

It made Kevin Barry’s shortlist for a Moth Magazine competition too, so can’t be too bad … try the link if you fancy having a read.


Book release…

Matty Monroe in Paradise has just been published on Kindle.

This is a collection of seven short stories, many of which I’ve been putting together over the last year or two.  Writing them when working on the yet to be released novel ‘By Hook or by Crooke’, I found writing the shorts both good to get my head in gear for some food, which I invariably needed, but also just to maintain that discipline with the form itself.  I often find I like the more heightened style of writing found in the short form, and if I’ve an hour or two, and have hit a wall – or gone blank for a while on the novel – messing around with a short can be enjoyable and distracting, and oddly productive too.

I now have three of these short collections completed, and will upload them all, as well as the final ‘Complete’ collection ‘Three Dead Dogs’, which will contain an extra story of the title name.

Two of the stories in the complete collection (1 each from books 2 & 3) will also have short films that you can get to via the URL links, and I can only apologise for not having a third film ready for this, the first book in the series.  The films were fun to make, and have been shot and edited by the most excellent Stormfresh Photos.  They’re a simple instructive demonstration of the process involved in making the meals, and both come in around 2 minutes long, and can either be used as a stop-start recipe to follow, or just watched, before following the written recipe, which has now become much clearer after seeing the film.

My favourite story is the title story ‘Matty Monroe in Paradise’, probably followed by ‘The Bus to Ballybeg’, which tickles me, as I’ve set it in the town I was born, but it could’ve been set almost anywhere in Ireland.  I’ve popped a link on the bottom of this, if you fancy popping along and having a look.



Read ‘Matty Monroe in Paradise’ at http://tinyurl.com/zajf6z5