Every Friday, usually. 18th May 2001


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Headcount 2001
It's the Portadown News election special!

The ballots have been printed, the speeches have been written, the alcopop bottles have been filled with smuggled petrol. Yes - election fever has gripped Portadown. Once again the good people of our beloved town ask that all-important question: "Are there still more Protestants than Catholics?"

To guide you through the difficult decisions that lie ahead, namely: "What kind of Protestant or Catholic are you?" we've asked the candidates to summarise their positions.

David Tremble
Ulster Unionist Party
Portadown holds a special place in my heart. After all, I wouldn't be party leader if I hadn't caused all that trouble at Drumcree back in 1995. Now piss off.

Marvin Currie
Democratic Unionist Party
The message I'll be taking to Westminster is: "Pope John Paul is The Antichrist". Once the English understand that, their whole attitude to Ulster will change.

Aoife Rotter
I'll be continuing our policy of saying nice things on TV, while secretly plotting the downfall of civilisation.
Tiocfaidh Ar La!

Brendan Puppet
Sinn Fein
I'll ensure that the Catholic people of Portadown never again feel intimidated by their Protestant neighbours. Intimidating Catholics is our job.

John Hogan
I'll be having some friends around for a meal, then watching the results on Newsnight. You're not invited.


Tom Belgium
Worker's Party
After the all-Ireland socialist revolution, there'll be peace and jobs for everyone. Also, Christmas will be the way it was when you were little, and it will only ever rain at night.

Barbara Menary
Women's Coalition
You don't need a dick to succeed in Ulster politics. You just need to BE a dick.


Identify yourself!
It's important to bring the correct identification with you when you go to vote. To accommodate Portadown's social diversity, a wide range of documentation is now acceptable:

Electoral Ward A. . . . . . . Electoral Ward B
British Passport. . . . . . . . . . Irish Passport
TV licence. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Court summons
Mortgage statement. . . . . . .Rent arrears notice
Wage slip. . . . . . . . . . . . . . UB40
Gun licence. . . . . . . . . . . . . Gun

How to Vote
Peaceful political participation can be confusing for many people in Portadown, and the proportional representation system only complicates matters. The Portadown News has compiled this handy cut-out-and-keep guide to voting in Northern Ireland:

  1. As you approach the polling station, accept all leaflets offered to you. These people will remember your face.
  2. Say hello to the policeman or 'community representative'
    guarding the door.
  3. Point at any UN Observers present and shout
    "Shouldn't you be in Zimbabwe?"
  4. Show your identification to the nice old lady.
  5. Receive your ballot, noting with alarm the unique serial
    number printed on the bottom.
  6. Enter the booth, and savour the illusion of power.
  7. Write '1' beside the candidate who has threatened you most recently.
  8. Write '2' beside a moderate candidate, so you can kid yourself you're not really as bigoted as everyone else in this town.
  9. Write '3' beside the Women's Coalition candidate, because they could use a bit more talent on 'Newsline'.
  10. Think to yourself: "That'll change the fucking world, eh?"

Note: Sinn Fein voters should repeat this procedure until their bus leaves for the next constituency.

'Jesus votes DUP' - claim
by our religious affairs correspondent, Helen Brimstone

Jesus would vote DUP claims Ken Elliot, High Priest at Portadown's Bethany First Presbyterian Church. The controversial claim was made during Mr Elliot's Sunday sermon.

"The signs are clear, to the righteous," screamed Mr Elliot from his pulpit. "Jesus was unemployed, lived with his mum, hung around with his mates all day talking politics, and was always getting into trouble with the Romans. Clearly he was a DUP supporter."

However a spokesperson for the Electoral Commission has denied Mr Elliot's claims. "Mr Christ has been removed from the voting register," she told us, "as he has been dead for 1,972 years."

US fact-finding mission
by our American correspondent, Brad Cheeseburger

Arizona Senator Mick O'Malley is back in Portadown for another election 'fact-finding' mission. Speaking to our reporter yesterday, the Senator outlined the facts he hopes to find.

"The main facts I plan to find concern British human rights abuses, RUC brutality, and harassment of Sinn Fein community representatives," he explained. "I may find some other facts, but those are the ones I'm really interested in."

Senator O'Malley has a long history of fact-finding in Northern Ireland. His previous discoveries include:

  • Republican paramilitaries don't sell drugs
  • RUC patrols regularly kill and eat children
  • Queen Victoria personally ordered the potato famine

By complete coincidence Senator O'Malley is himself currently campaigning for re-election in Arizona, under the slogan: "O'Malley Electrocutes More Blacks".

The Issues
Health, education, transport: these are the issues we'd be voting on if we lived in a normal country. But as the candidates know we'll be voting along purely sectarian lines, they'll be careful not to raise these subjects during the campaign. To remind our readers of what will be happening behind the scenes while we continue our 400-year-old pointless argument, we've taken a closer look at the stories that really affect our lives.

Wards may close
In-patient services at Craigavon Hospital are under threat again after the Health Trust spent 250,000 on a coffee machine for the trustees' boardroom. The hand-built gold-plated Italian machine is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, delivering what some experts have described as:
"A blend to die for."

After a public meeting yesterday in Portadown Golf Club's Strictly Private Room, the Health Trust issued a statement defending its decision.

"We appreciate that people without private health insurance might be worried by this development," said the statement. "However we would remind the public that when you've to work late into the afternoon appointing your wives and boyfriends to health quangos, you need the best damn coffee money can buy."

Smaller class sizes
Education Minister Martin McGuinness has promised to halve class sizes across Northern Ireland. Over the summer holidays, contractors will install wooden partitions in classrooms, bringing the average class size down from 600 sq.ft to 300 sq.ft.

"As you know I'm no fan of partition, but budgets have to be cut," explained Mr McGuinness yesterday. "Once people had jobs AND children, but now they tend to have either jobs OR children. Consequently it is unfair to make working people pay for schools."

The Education Minister's new programme has received the support of Dr Penny Guardian, Professor of Sociology at Queen's University. "Only stupid lazy people have children these days," says Professor Guardian. "Consequently children are increasingly stupid and lazy as well. In my opinion, educating the present generation is a complete waste of money."

Council unveils transport plan
The future of local transport was revealed yesterday with the publication of Craigavon Borough Council's "Transport 2020" plan. The 2-million consultant's report was compiled in the bar at the Silverwood Hotel, with additional input from hauliers, car dealers and people who own land near the motorway.

Its proposals cover five main areas:

The Council will lobby the Government to reclassify obesity as a disability. This will entitle most local women to a free car.

To prevent further disruption to rail services, the main line through Lurgan will be ripped up and sold to the gypsies. Passengers will be transferred between Moira and Portadown by army helicopter.
Kilwilkee Community Representative Brendan McAlinden has described the proposal as "A victory for common sense."

To discourage stone-throwing, buses will no longer have windows. Drivers will navigate using GPS satellite equipment, while passengers will identify their stop by smell.

To prevent fertility problems, all cyclists will be required to tie a pillow onto their saddle for any journey of more than 3 miles. To reduce punctures on the cycle path network, Buckfast will be sold only in plastic bottles.

The canal network will be completely restored. This will allow local councillors to travel to tourism conferences.

The Portadown News 'Last Word'
"Democracy is the worst possible type of government, except all the others that have been tried" - Sir Winston Churchill