Squinter has been a regular feature of the Andersonstown News since the early 1970s. The diary column has been written by a number of people over the years and the present incumbent has been taking a sideways look at the week just gone – or indeed the one to come – for over 20 years now. The column has a wide remit, wandering from humorous items of local interest to local and national politics. See Squinter on Twitter for daily doses of the funny, the strange and the totally bonkers.
VLADIMIR Putin is an egomaniac and the world would be an infinitely better place without him as Russian dictator.
SQUINTER must confess to not knowing a lot about Cool FM. Mid-Atlantic accents; Taylor Swift songs; cash competitions; co-presenters producing a lot of forced laughter – does that sound about right?
NEW Assembly Speaker Edwin Poots, when asked in his first interview in the job about TUV leader Jim Allister, said he’d like to “clean his clock” – an informal phrase meaning to punch someone in the face.
SQUINTER has stopped drinking. Regular readers of this column will know that the Roddy’s looms large in Squinter’s life story, and one or two may even find themselves shocked that the spell that sport and beer have over Squinter has been broken – even if its permanence is yet to be confirmed.
CARRICK DUP Councillor David Clarke’s had a fraught few months – even by the standards of a party for whom fraught is mission statement. Four months ago he sort of fell into frontline politics when he was co-opted to fill the Carrick Council boots of colleague Cheryl Brownlee, who herself was co-opted to take the Assembly seat of the late MLA David Hilditch. And obviously the word ‘seat’ in the context of the DUP’s Stormont means not a seat in the chamber but a seat in the living room watching Homes Under the Hammer and Murder, She Wrote.
REGULAR readers of this column will know that Squinter enjoys a punt. Whether it’s in his DNA or whether it’s learned behaviour, it’s not possible to say. Squinter’s da used to send him to the bookies as a child – the exact money, the bet written on the docket, and Squinter would say to the first punter who passed at betting shop door: “Mister, my da says will you do this for him?” The boy Squinter always got the job done and never once did the money (admittedly modest amounts) disappear out a side door with the obliging customer.
BELFAST Telegraph journalist Sam McBride on Monday joined the serried ranks of journalists and politicians outraged by the suggestion of Victims’ Commissioner Ian Jeffers that compensation should be paid to the families of all victims of the conflict here. Sam was singing a familiar tune, but for Squinter this was somewhat different as Sam’s among the small number of reporters here who aren’t afraid of getting stuck into everybody – regardless of what rosette they’re wearing on your doorstep come election time.
JULYNOT much point in a House of Commons Early Day Motion, if the truth be told. They’re motions that are put forward without an allocated time and so very few EDMs are actually debated.
IT’S that time of year when the newspapers, the glossy magazines and social media are full of 10-best festive lists:
THE sales figures for Top Toys of Christmas Present aren’t in yet, but it’s thought that the evergreen Barbie franchise will be well represented on the list, given the huge summer success of the Barbie movie.
ISRAEL’S Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday led the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, on a guided tour of the sites where Hamas slaughtered over a thousand people on October 7 – stopping at one stage to look suitably sombre at a baby’s cot.
THE spectre of anti-semitism is again stalking the streets, we’re told – and there’s no doubt in Squinter’s mind that as Israel’s genocidal assault on what’s left of Gaza continues, many Jews in Ireland and Britain are apprehensive. That’s because anti-semitism is A Thing, despite the opinion of some extremists on the left who presume to place themselves in the minds of others and assure Jewish people that their worries are groundless.
THE Orange Order dispatched an expeditionary force to the Tommy Robinson march at the London Cenotaph on Saturday. As the lads from the Rising Sons of Lenny LOL 1690 set off from Belfast Port with a brass band playing Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye, they leaned over the side of the departing Stena Voyager and blew kisses as the girls they left behind wept into their union jack hankies.
THE President of Israel, Isaac Herzog (whose da was born in Belfast), disagrees with the controversial and inflammatory assertion that there are civilians in Gaza. Squinter had been labouring under the misapprehension that the people living in the high-rise homes in one of the world’s most densely-populated areas were families, but he was put right on that when the head of the ‘Apartheid State’* (*Amnesty International quote) spoke out last week about the reality on the ground.
£2.50 for four slices of potato bread. That’s dear, isn’t it? Well, Squinter thought it was as he wandered a supermarket at 9.30 on Sunday morning in search of a few breakfast bits and bobs. (Not one of the big supermarkets, obvs, because they’re still closed on Sunday mornings so the Bible-worriers don’t have to get so upset about the swings being unchained.)