Once more it looks like history is doomed to repeat itself
I cannot see a way back for a Stormont administration in any form, at present. Let’s look at what we had in the past. One party rule for 50 years, totally undemocratic and verging on a totalitarian dictatorship, then followed by a low-level civil war but not so for those directly hurt or killed by its vicious intensity. Then we get a hard-won agreement the GFA, not supported by everyone and not signed by the two main parties linked most closely to the conflict. They did all in their power to undermine the GFA for their own selfish party political reasons until eventually unable to do so, they overtake the moderate parties politically and assume power.
That did not go well until they had introduced a series of flaws to the agreement at St Andrews and Stormont House this, they were told at the time would come back to bite but they would not listen. Eventually the misuse of the ‘petition of concern’, ironically brought in to protect the nationalist minority from vindictive party policies such as the DUP’s, see that party use the ‘petition’ to deny minorities basic rights enjoyed by other citizens over these islands. Eventually scandals like Red Sky, NAMA, RHI etc, bring SF under pressure from mainly the SDLP to call a halt to these questionable activities. Eventually, due mostly to the DUP intransigence and arrogance of their leader, referring to people who do not subscribe to her ethos as crocodiles waiting to be fed and snubbing the leader of the Catholic Church.
That brings us to Brexit which is heading over the cliff with disastrous consequences for this fragile economy and we and only we in the north have been thrown a life line by the EU, engineered by Dublin, but what does the DUP do? They see it as ‘interference’ and use the old tactic of dog whistle politics to blame Dublin for the catastrophe of a ‘crash out’ when we could enjoy special status and reap the fruits of a unique position. This is what happens when your political thinking is 19th century in the 21st century.
The DUP represents about 27 per cent of the voters in the north so what gives them the right to speak for the rest?
Once more history is doomed to repeat itself as 100 years ago a minority spoke for the majority and got their way which gave us the border that is now giving England such a problems. This cannot be allowed to happen again.
Newry, Co Down
DUP alienating fair proportion of its electorate
The plan envisioned by Theresa May for exiting the EU was greeted with a fair degree of derision by many, but not all, concerned parties, screaming loudest from the side lines was the DUP who viewed it with disgust. Appearing in front of the cameras the hierarchy of Wilson, Donaldson, Dodds and Foster spoke of ‘betrayal, broken promises and sell outs’ and ominously warned the British PM they will not stand for such treachery or the break up of their beloved union and thus will not be supporting her version of Brexit. After Arlene gave her assessment of breached blood red lines the others articulated their own evaluations. Sammy Wilson whinged threateningly and used the idiom of a metaphorical ‘punishment beating’, his use of inflammatory language was akin to that of a corner boy as opposed to an MP. This member of parliament democratically elected by sane people absurdly claimed on live television of a conspiracy between the EU and the British to separate the north from the UK, a bizarre assertion by any standards.
Then Nigel Dodds stood in the house and berated the PM.
Perhaps Mr Dodds can’t recall – a chronic symptom within the DUP - or he is choosing to ignore that from its inception this part of Ireland, a region of the kingdom, has always been subservient to the British both fiscally and administratively.
Not one to be outshone by his colleagues the contemptuous discourse continued when Jeffery Donaldson dismissed the opinions of business leaders – a major source of their electorate – declaring them ill-informed, adding further insult by presuming they hadn’t read the 585-page text. With their scaremongering and continual intransigence this non-progressive party have alienated a fair proportion of their electorate and have most likely pushed to the top of the agenda the prospects of the land of their birth being united.
Not so long ago I remarked on the volume of nonsense being spouted from across the border. Friday November 9 was no exception, as we had Robert Sullivan and Maurice Fitzgerald do exactly that. Mr Sullivan, who seems to be in permanent state of delusion about Brexit, moans about Varadkar and his EU bully boys not giving in to the demands of his poor little Britain. We can’t have that Robert. Surely it’s time to get out. Remember the land of your dreams is just half an hour away and with all these food banks you will never go hungry.
Then we have Mr Fitzgerald, who departing from his usual anti-nationalist rhetoric, seems to have undergone some kind of ‘Road to Demascus’ conversion. In preacher-like mode, he refers to society in the north as sick and evil and with the need to get back to civilised ways. Under normal circumstances you wouldn’t argue with that, but coming from someone who lives in the South, you have to shake your head in disbelief at such comments. Has two recent referenda slipped his mind?
In the first one the electorate brought shame on this island by mocking the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.
Not content with on abomination, in May, this same disgraceful electorate voted for abortion. Therefore Mr Fitzgerald, I suspect before you label another society sick, you have a long hard look at your own.
Coleraine, Co Derry
People with diabetes should get flu jab
People with diabetes should get flu jabs in time for winter.
Diabetes UK Northern Ireland is calling for people with diabetes – including those who are pregnant – to take up the offer of a free flu jab this winter. Getting the flu jab can prevent the life-threatening complications of diabetes that winter illnesses can lead to. It is natural for blood sugar levels to rise when someone has an infection, but having a serious infection such as flu can cause blood sugar levels to rise so high that they become dangerous.
The winter flu jab is also one of the 15 healthcare essentials that every person with diabetes is entitled to for free through the Health Service every year.
At Diabetes UK, we recommend that everyone with diabetes gets in touch with their GP as soon as possible to get their free flu jab.
National Director at Diabetes UK Northern Ireland
Caricatures help make a point
The Irish News published a letter recently which speculated that if the late Ian Paisley had sat in an all-Ireland parliament he would have challenged the abuse of power by the Catholic Church.
J Diamond (October 4)objected, describing the former DUP leader as a ‘sectarian zealot’. Ian Paisley was a controversial figure, but sometimes you have to use caricature and exaggeration to make a point. Canada, like Ireland, is a country comprised of different traditions – native American/French speaking Quebec/English speakers decended from British Colonists. Justin Pierre Trudeau summed up the point I was trying to make in one neat sentence: ‘Canada is a country made great not in spite of our differences but because of them.’