DUP remains Sinn Féin's most effective marketing department
It is hard to know where to start with David McNarry’s dissembling of recent history – ‘Galling to hear Sinn Féin lauding GFA’ (November 2). Like David I am perplexed by the eagerness with which devout Catholics have voted for a party dominated by figures who are anti-Catholic or anti-Church.
The reason is fairly simple – the DUP. The DUP is Sinn Féin’s most effective marketing department, continuing to cling to No Surrender as their baseline policy objective; the latest attempt at delivering this objective being the overhyped crisis over the protocol. The protocol, notwithstanding some of its failings, is delivering economic growth, something 40,000-job-losses Donaldson bemoans, probably as a threat to the basis of the DUP vote – fear of loss of dominance. The DUP campaigned for a hard Brexit in the hope of reintroducing a land border in Ireland.
And while the DUP were running around London looking for cameras and microphones and beating their chests, Westminster developed and introduced into Northern Ireland an abortion law that the people of Norther Ireland would not have conceived, which allows for termination at the point of birth, hence the struggle to implement and develop ‘abortion services’.
In 1998 nationalists signed an agreement with the then representatives of unionism, the Ulster Unionist Party. Their services were quickly dispensed with and they were replaced by a party who refused to sign the GFA, and who have devoted the past 20 years to unpicking it.
In the middle of an economic crisis, with rising poverty and a crumbling health service, it is apparently critical to prevent effective government in order to rationalise the number of pieces of paper required to ship a container from Wolverhampton to Belfast.
The new UUP offers a version of unionism with which nationalism can engage. The DUP is not it.
Nationalism has therefore, I suppose, its own version of No Surrender – I’ll call it NEVER AGAIN.
Never again will treason be acceptable (Curragh mutiny, Carrickfergus gun running), gerrymandering, Catholic unemployment, internment, Bloody Sunday, UWC strike collapsing power sharing, Drumcree, the B Specials, (a significant segment of) the RUC, collusion, etc etc etc. When the DUP re-markets no surrender, in whatever form, nationalists are reminded – never again.
The SDLP also contributed to the phenomenon of Sinn Féin dominance of nationalist voting habits when they clung to an ‘old guard ‘ at a time when a fresh new leadership was emerging. Clinging to the past may be an aspiration; but it is best left where it is – inside your head or family group.
Downpatrick, Co Down
People need to stay awake
According to H Lister (November 17) woke ideology is spreading throughout the western world. I’ve always been intrigued by the term ‘woke’ being a term of derision, as I understand it to mean that people are ‘awake’ to inequalities in the world. I’ve wondered if Daniel O’Connell, William Wilberforce and Emmeline Pankhurst would have been derided as being ‘woke’ when they campaigned for Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery and universal suffrage.
In the letter, reference was made to the ‘left-wing’s liberal agenda’ that seeks to destroy society. However, I thought that same-sex marriage had been introduced into the UK by the Cameron Tory government. These could hardly be described as the socialist yahoos frequently referred to by Jacob Rees-Mogg. As for critical race theory, surely anything that helps to highlight racism and inequalities in society should be welcomed? Opponents to the theory seem to imply that racism is not and was never systemic in society.
I wonder where the ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ signs came from. I’m reminded of the saying, ‘if you feel oppressed by equality, you must be in a position of privilege’.
Of course, the right wing love to inflame culture wars. Inventing enemies of ‘the people’ it helps them to distract the population while they introduce their free market ideology destroying workers, environmental and consumer rights and further enriching the wealthy.
This was the real aim of Brexit (which people are now seeing is disastrous for the UK economy) and the Kwarteng mini-budget, which sought to provide tax cuts for the highest paid.
My advice to people is to stay awake!
Newtownabbey, Co Antrim
What is democracy?
The DUP tells us that Brexit was supported by a majority, about 52 per cent of the UK population, so I, as a ‘remainer’, have just got to live with it.
But the DUP does not accept that the majority of people, about 70 per cent, in Northern Ireland want the Assembly to work yet the DUP says no. They say they have a mandate which enables them to stymie the democratically elected Assembly. So the DUP’s local democratic interpretation says that 30 per cent overrules 70 per cent.
What other interpretations can they produce?
Disquiet over re-structuring of Listowel writers’ festival
I have just recently learned about the disquiet which has arisen following the re-structuring of the organisation which has successfully run Listowel Writers’ Week during the last 50 years. It appears that this re-structuring was imposed by the Arts Council which provides generous grants to the festival each year.
I am certain that, as in the past, the board and now also the curator of Listowel Writers’ Week will continue to seek the invaluable advice and counsel of the local committee which includes a number of people who in the past have taken responsibility for conducting one or more Listowel Writers’ Weeks and those who volunteer at the various events during the week.
In the meantime the challenge is for all of us to rally round and ensure that next year’s Writers’ Week will be one of the best ever.
J. ANTHONY GAUGHAN
Blackrock, Co Dublin