So who knew that Sir Jeffrey was capable of displaying such raw emotion in that passion-filled speech at Westminster?
His voice rising to a trembling crescendo, he denounced the TUV and his critics inside and outside the party, particularly those who’d threatened him but hadn’t donned a uniform to fight terrorists like Jeffrey and, what’s more, one person who didn’t even bother to vote.
Alas, there was little audience reaction to his performance since it played to an almost empty chamber – the usual turnout for Northern Ireland affairs. No-one there really cares about the wee six. But 100 years on and the penny still hasn’t dropped.
The speech was about two years late, and it’s not clear if it was a “back me or sack me moment” or a carefully crafted swansong to let him retire to the Lords if it doesn’t pay off.
There are moments in life when you can hear the Hamlet cigars tune play in your head and you think… Ah yes. Karma. For wasn’t this happening to the same man who famously stabbed his party leader, David Trimble, in the front; who’s now facing his own “Et tu, Brute” moment?
In a petulant move, he’s now ordered his colleagues to stay away from bad boys, and not contact the Donaghadee sage. You know, that one he shared platforms with on the back of trailers around the countryside. He even wrote a gushing foreword to his book.
The speech was about two years late, and it’s not clear if it was a ‘back me or sack me moment’ or a carefully crafted swansong to let him retire to the Lords if it doesn’t pay off
At the time of writing, the Daily Telegraph is claiming Sunak’s deal promises all future laws will be screened to ensure they don’t create trade barriers in the Irish Sea border. But this cunning plan has caused palpitations among the Brexiteers and trade minister Kemi Badenoch is pledging to oppose the move.
It is, in effect, a reheated version of Teresa May’s famous backstop, which was firmly rejected by a majority of Tories and their wee DUP chums. At least Sunak is committed to recycling.
And what’s been the response to all this palaver in loyal Ulster? A new version of No Surrender after the Ulster Covenant, mass rallies, tractor protests, the Clontibret invasion and waving gun licences on hillsides.
This time, it’s letters calling on politicians to ‘Keep Your Word’. Nobody appears to have signed in blood yet, but there’s still time. Shouts of betrayal, Lundy, traitors will no doubt fill the air, but it’s a movie we’ve all seen before. Full of sound and fury. We’re all just hoping for a different ending.
Two men who’ve seen all of this saga played out before are the former political editors of BBC NI and UTV, Stephen Grimason and Ken Reid. Last week they received a special award at Queen’s University, at a ceremony attended by a large media turnout of past and present colleagues and friends.
At the close, the pair were asked if they had any hopes for the political future here. Ken said progress was only ever made when the British and Irish governments worked together in partnership. Stephen said political science needed to show leadership and take risks. Neither scenario is currently present. We can but hope that will change.
This is a family newspaper, so unfortunately I can’t repeat all of the language used by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s former First Minister, to describe the Johnson administration’s handling of the Covid crisis, as revealed in WhatsApp messages.
It was disappointing to hear that she hadn’t actually used one particular phrase, and that it instead belonged to the satirical TV series The Thick Of It.
There’ve been predictable calls for her to apologise, but I hope she doesn’t. There can’t be many who didn’t believe Boris Johnson was indeed ‘an effing clown’.