INDEPENDENT NEWS

Irish Eyes: Peace The Weather And The WTO

Published: Tue 30 Nov 1999 01:39 PM
On an historic day for the island of Ireland Greg Meylan looks at what this might mean for the stability of the weather, world trade and explains the processes involved in great detail, before heading off in another direction.
First an explanation of the key terms in what has happened today in Northern Ireland.
The d'Hondt process
The d'Hondt process is a highly complicated yet universally flexible system for bringing together acronyms; UUP, DUP, SDLP and Sinn Fein (which according to some has until February to decommission its lower case letters to a special interlocutor).
In order to do this the d'Hondt process works by reducing the number of required vowels in any given political conflict and allocating the consonants on a pro rata basis, until there are no more left, or everyone has used up their fifteen minutes of fame in order to consult on which letters to choose (DUP brought to you by the number 6 and the letter P, for Paisley of course).
Cross border bodies.
No one really knows why these bodies are cross, though it is likely because they have been made to stand on the borders waiting, in the cold. Their crossness is the subject of some dispute, there are those who don't want to see more grumpy bodies getting in on the act, while others say their being cross is a result of their exclusion. All you can say for sure is that it is complicated.
The WTO
The WTO has little to do with the above, though obviously it is an acronym, and though it has never been d'Hondted the weather is everywhere (especially on this page). WTO, Weather Trade Organisation, is a world body that seeks to free up the exchange of weather between countries.
It is currently meeting in Seattle, where it rains all the time because no-one there ever gets to sleep. Plenty of people accuse the WTO of setting up systems to steal the good weather from the developing world and ship it off the Europe and the States real cheap. They are concerned this will have a negative effect on French farmers who rely on rain so their cow has something to drink. Of course the WTO says it just wants to make it easier for weather to move around (and not just because the 250 or so mega-wealthy bastards who own as much as the poorest three billion are sick of having to go to the Costa del Sol for sunshine).
Which is why they meet in a really rainy place, after a few days even the protesters will be sick of the rain and will start wishing it were easier to import some Savannah sunshine.
At any rate that was how Irish Eyes read it as it unfolded live on television.

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