Mary Kelly: Personally I'd go ahead and travel abroad – but I'm not a politician

I felt sorry for the Alliance MLA when she went on the Nolan show. At home, sighing deeply, the Bradshaws were already packing away the Italian phrasebook and the sunblock

Nidirect says unequivocally that you should not travel abroad unless your journey is essential but then there’s a helpful link to the list of countries you can travel to without having to quarantine
Mary Kelly

IT’S not easy being a politician, especially when you have a family. Can you imagine the scene in the Bradshaw household last Monday? Er... about that holiday at an all-inclusive hotel in Italy... who’s up for Portrush instead?

I have to say I felt sorry for the Alliance MLA and, er, member of the health committee, when she honestly, if Ill advisedly, went on the Nolan show to defend her holiday plans. “Welcome to my parlour,” said the spider to the fly.

A few seconds in and she was stammering over guidelines versus regulations and how she had always respected safety protocols and would also do so in Italy. At home, sighing deeply, the Bradshaws were already packing away the Italian phrasebook and the sunblock.

Let’s face it, the regulations have been messy and Paula Bradshaw hasn't been the only one to get confused. The government website, nidirect, said unequivocally that you should not travel abroad unless your journey was essential but then there was a helpful link to the list of countries you could travel to without having to quarantine, which of course included Italy.

Then Michelle O'Neill lobbed a grenade into the political discourse by suggesting people travelling here from Britain should quarantine for 14 days. Why? Because that’s what they’re doing in the Republic and she wants an all-Ireland strategy. Not so much Brits Out as don’t let them in here in the first place.

Of course she doesn’t accept there’s been any damage to her credibility by her attendance at the Storey funeral because, like the emperor with no clothes, she saw no wrong had been done. Crowds? What crowds?

Though hearing Jeffrey Donaldson on the radio soon afterwards complaining about her politicking was a bit rich, to say the least.

Why don’t we just have proper checks at airports to take temperatures and offer Covid tests then track and trace any potential cases?

Personally I am looking forward to a trip abroad, though I’m waiting for things to improve. Had I booked one in advance I would wait to see if it was cancelled by the holiday company. If it wasn’t, I would go ahead and travel. But then I am not a politician.

* * *

SO NOW we no longer need wonder why Boris Johnson delayed publishing that damning intelligence committee report on alleged Russian influence for nine months. We found out that the British government and intelligence services failed to find evidence of Kremlin interference into politics in the UK, including the Brexit referendum, because it didn’t look for it.

The report also noted that a number of members of the House of Lords have business interests linked to Russia or work directly for Russian companies which need scrutiny. And it warned that action should be taken to stop London being used as a laundromat for dodgy Russian oligarchs who’ve bought up half the city.

When Kim Philby and his Russian spy chums were at their work, you needed a first class Cambridge education to infiltrate the British establishment. Now all you need is to bung them a few quid. This is the best government money can buy.

Just imagine if Jeremy Corbyn had been prime minister when a report like this came out. He’d have been hauled off to the Tower of London with every newspaper in the land denouncing him as a traitor.

* * *

THERE was a fantastic story in the weekend papers about Morgan Bullock, an African American girl who has become a sensation after she posted a video on TikTok of herself Irish dancing.

The video went viral, notching up over one million views. Even Beyoncé's mum reposted it. The then taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, tweeted an invitation to Ireland for St Patrick's Day and eventually she got an offer to dance with the Riverdance troupe when they perform in her home state, Virginia.

She didn’t limit herself to just Irish music but used the rhythms of hip hop and other music including Drake and the Jacksons. It was magic and it’s popularity led to many other African American kids taking up what had previously been a largely white dance form.

Of course there’s always some trolls on social media who accused her of cultural misappropriation. But Irish dance, like Irish music, is created to be shared.

I don’t know why there weren’t more complaint about the cultural influence of American pageants on Irish dancing which led to the horrific curly wigs, overdone make-up and fake tans. No wonder Morgan said she was the only one dancing in competitions whose face and legs colour matched.

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