Light relief came at the SDLP conference when party member Paul Hoban got up onto the platform to support the party’s two Haass talks representatives with a poetic – and eccentric – contribution:
A missionary Yankee called Haass
Was given a difficult task.
Unite extremists […] to respect each’s past
No deal, so plan B comes to pass.
The people were angry
Haass enforcer flew in
The non-talking leaders launched into space
“Stay up there ‘til you settle” he said with a grin
Be you starving or aliens crawls out of your face.
But inside that spaceship conditions were dire
Proximity the closest, their world upside down
Foul odours, then blackout, someone knocked out the wire,
They screeched to their gods, but from Houston no sound.
A constitution came swift through the toss of a coin,
DUP to sack bigots, and taigs to love prods,
Real sharing to Stormont, marches only at the Boyne,
Robinson sedated, to each youngster a job.
Paul Hoban received applause when he observed “all this talk about how things are not going to change” will be true “if our party doesn’t get moving”. He also had views on invisible party workers, complainers who weren’t on the electoral register, and history being taken from Wikipedia. He finished:
Please, kick arses back in your branch. Tell them, pay your bloody sub. Come and canvass. Get on the bloody register and get your sons and your bloody grandsons to join the party and work for this party. (cheers and applause)
At last, some unscripted colour and passion at a party conference!