Is there room for decency in politics or does that concept have to be abandoned completely? Is a “decent politician” in reality , an oxymoron? It’s a while since I heard the expression.”He was a decent man”.The word “decent ” or even the word “decency” seem like very old -fashioned words these days.They’re the kind of words you’d apply to characters that long ago would have been played by actors such as Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart or Gregory Peck in morality screen-plays . There are probably plenty of people who would not even know who those actors were. They have long since been supplanted by the concept of the “anti-hero”.Anyway , the old-fashioned words “decent” and “decency” roughly translate as “conforming with generally accepted standards of respectable or moral behaviour” and “behaviour that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability” .These might seem abhorrent qualities in a man or woman in the modern world; they might not even be recognisable as qualities at all.Sometimes you are forced to think about these things.
Right!!! With those words ringing about our ears, let’s get down to business. Where is Jonathan Bell? It’s really just another scandal that we don’t actually see and hear more of him !!! You’ll remember him as a DUP minister with a particularly furrowed forehead ,crinkly brows and a sort of worried, sanctimonious cut to his jib. Was he a decent man? He was, in a previous life, a good friend of the ex- First Minister Arlene Foster until they disagreed on the details of the RHI heating scandal, at which point he was suspended from the party.He said he was telling the whole truth and that she had lied.Yes…that’s right . If he was telling the truth , then she must be lying or at least “mis-remembering”, as President Bush might have said. So either he is “a decent man” or he is a liar or at least somewhat deluded, or Arlene Foster is. You can’t have it both ways.That’s about it isn’t it?
There’s an election coming up in a few days and the man right near the core of the very reason as to why it is happening at all ,seems to have taken a vow of silence as far as the media is concerned; you might say that between Stephen Nolan and himself they were the catalyst that lit the very touch-paper for the need of an election at all.The DUP are currently enjoying the fantasy that it is part of some grand plan by the dastardly Sinn Fein green crocodiles , but the truth is much more simple fare. Sure…Arlene Foster finally made it an impossibility for herself to be taken seriously as a First minister for everyone anymore, and not just unionists ; she left everyone in no doubt that she thought she was running the place on her own and Sinn Fein may have inadvertently and unwittingly fed her that illusion either on purpose or by simple default, but it was Mr Bell who got down on his knees and prayed to his god live on television, who provided the perfect image as to her unsuitability for governance. Dear, dear …If you have to get down on your knees and pray to the stars to prove you’re doing the right thing, you might bely a certain naivety and know no shame , but you are also physically calling down some really big metaphorical guns in your quest for aid , decency and truth.You may or not believe it but Jonathan and God seemingly know what Arlene did and so does Arlene , is the scenario.
Maybe Mr Bell has actually been silenced and is tied up and gagged in some castle keep .Certainly our local media are not falling over themselves to find this lost whistle-blower and interview him as the last days of campaigning tick away. ….to get off a final salvo as it were.
The RHI,” Loot for Soot” scandal which toppled Arlene Foster from her position in the Office of FMDFM at the top of local government concerned revelations made by Mr Bell live on television just weeks ago on the “Nolan Show”.He was the sacrificial lamb that his party, the DUP ,slaughtered in an effort to protect their leader, Arlene Foster . He was the one, right or wrong, who was banished to the wilderness. Why him and not her? Arlene Foster is running an election to put herself back into that very same position that he has already blamed her for messing up .His future appears to be as an independent politician but she , on the other hand , has already forgotten about Mr Bell’s claims and is instead blaming Sinn Fein for closing down the government , but surely it was actually Mr Bell’s revelations which did that deed .
Mrs Foster’s Co-leader Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein simply pressed the necessary button to switch off the power before the Office of FMDFM was damaged any further.. It was something that many people across the spectrum of political opinion could really see no alternative to at the time. Many thought that the FM Arlene had actually gone slightly insane .
Here we were at the very apex of a long series of scandals and idiotic political moves, carried out by the DUP in a list stretching back through the years.Indeed if anyone else had gone out to look for a series of scandals such as the DUP found under every stone they upturned, they would have been hard -pressed to find even one and would never have been half as successful at finding them. It’s a bit like waiting for that elusive bus , to find four or five arriving at the exact same time. .Most people …and most parties would have been hard-pressed to invent the very number of mad and damaging scenarios that the Democratic Unionist Party rustled up in a few short years in the centre of our local government.Take any major political party throughout the world and who among them them would have the sheer inventiveness to stack up such a feast of delinquency while in power? The Dear knows it was hard to keep up with the nefarious schemes that turned and twisted the fledgling power-sharing government out of any recognisable shape.; each new mishap speedily followed the one before….
Other national parties might come up with maybe one scandal in a generation.Some minister at Westminster might have bullied up his taxi or hotel expenses , he might have lain with small boys, or enjoyed being whipped in a dungeon by three dominatrices(!) or might have soaked away cash to build his duck-pond back at his country estate in the Home Counties , but these were small -fry compared to anything the DUP party dipped their thirsty beaks into. Some might argue that we all encouraged them to be like that.Did we give them carte blanche to rob us?.After all …didn’t we roll over and just let them hop from one scandal to the next without censure until Arlene Foster finally crashed with the biggest scandal of them all…the RHI “Cash for Ash” which offered those willing to indulge the outrageous cash prize of £1.60 for every £1.00 spent and the sky was the very limit .There was no cap on it and there was no end to it .A contract was a contract after all and the only contracts the DUP had ever been able to break were political agreements.Contracts concerning money were a different thing entirely. Playing politics was one thing , but money was a serious business.How could this contract ever be broken and that money retrieved? Somehow they had no problem breaking down the Belfast and St Andrews Agreements ,but they couldn’t countenance reneging on the RHI contracts. No one had any easy answers to that one , but Arlene Foster’s office had been responsible for setting it all up and no matter how she twisted in the wind and blamed everyone else, the buck always stops with the Boss…..except when you are Arlene Foster and leader of the DUP!
The shock and surprise of the First Minister when she was told that it was a step too far was remarkable. Her attitude and body-language spoke volumes and everyone finally understood why exactly government was in such a crisis.”It’s only another scandal , so what’s the Big Deal?” was the message we were being asked to swallow. At the very same time her party had also spent the best part of half a million pounds sterling on their own private Brexit campaign to take the UK out of the EU while the majority of citizens under their actual control voted against it.
Well, you can see why she might think in that omnipotent way when her party had already cruised through a list of financial criminalities and odd, convoluted corruptions that would make any other corrupt politicals anywhere else in the world ,weep with envy. Ministers had previously been protected , hadn’t they ? They had been inviolate , hadn’t they? They had always been untouchable and had always been able to get their way before.There was the “Petition Of Concern” that had been designed to protect minorities.That was easily used to protect political ministers such as Nelson McCausland and advisors found wanting in the past .Well…what the hell ? Were n’t politicians a minority group, after all? Wasn’t Nelson McCausland a minority of one? What was a minority anyway?
So it had rolled out …scandal following scandal, as night followed day and as the seasons and years rolled by it took in a cornucopia of delights in no particular order ,which included issues of integrity , possible theft,lack of respect and decency and outright political boorishness such as :
1.RED SKY SCANDAL
2. RENEWABLE HEAT INCENTIVE SCANDALhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_Heat_Incentive_scandal
3.THE CHARTER NI DEE STITT MONEY FOR PARAMILITARIES AND GANGSTERS SCANDAL
4. THE ROBINSON FAMILY ‘S HOME INDUSTRY OF VARIOUS SCANDALS WHICH INCLUDED PROPERTY DEALS, “IRISGATE” AND A SON’S INVOLVEMENT IN NAMA , topped off when the DUP’s Peter Robinson as First Minister defended a Christian pastor who had described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic”, and who said he did not trust Muslims.
Mr Robinson faced criticism for saying that he personally would not trust Muslims involved in violence or those devoted to Sharia law, but would “trust them to go to the shops” for him.” That phrase said everything.
5. THE NAMA SCANDAL
Oh there was so much more,such as the disrespect for anything Irish , vaguely “foreign” or gay but the aforementioned DUP man Jonathan Bell really upset the rotten applecart because of his own personal well -entrenched fear of his religious fires of eternal damnation .
Never let it be said that the power of the imagination might not have life-altering applications.Here he was …a stout believer in God , who was also a member of the DUP and he was finding some difficulty in weighing what it meant to be a working DUP politician with a belief in any form of Christianity. Well you could see his dilemma couldn’t you ?All those ten commandments being broken ; that decalogue of sensible tribal wisdom that had been handed down through the ages of pre-history to eventually find itself the basis of a a set of social principles relating to ethics and even worship. They played a fundamental role in the origins and focus of Judaism, Christianity, and even Islam. These commandments included instructions to worship only God, to honour one’s parents, and to keep the sabbath, as well as including neat prohibitions against idolatry and blasphemy to protect the basis of the various religions themselves, but also social laws concerning murder, adultery, theft, dishonesty, and coveting (especially such as wives, children and animals, which were considered your neighbour’s property). I have no idea which version of these basic tenets he adhered to .They had been hammered out(!) possibly before there was even a language to write them in , but the eventual written gist of them goes something like this in modern English and in no particular order of preference:
1.You shall have no other gods before Me.
2.You shall make no idols.
3.You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4.Keep the Sabbath day holy.
5.Honor your father and your mother.
6.You shall not murder.
7.You shall not commit adultery.
8.You shall not steal.
9.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
10.You shall not covet.
Even leaving aside the questionable supernatural aspects of numbers 1,2 ,3,and 4 , the citizen or simple believer still has a goodly six rules left by which to base an ordered life on.
#5 Honoring your mum and dad makes a lot of good sense and should be standard practice to keep the family unit intact.
Numbers 6 to number 10 cover every possible social and civic pitfall and crime which any person might encounter during their life; murder, adultery, stealing, bearing false witness against your neighbour and finally coveting that which is not your own which is one stage just before stealing it for yourself.
Many in Norneverland, Ireland pride themselves on their “Christianity” and sometimes even refer to the place as a “Christian country”. As of late , so do many across the water in England, Scotland and Wales.Some in England consider themselves living in a “Christian country” even though it is a country of many beliefs and none , but these same ten rules are still the root basis for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and all our civic laws. That is simply because they make perfect sense and provide us with a stable community whether or not anyone believes in god or not.
If Mr Bell had really properly believed in those tenets he might never have joined any political party , least of all the DUP , especially as regards their track record on numbers 7.8 and 9.
Obviously stealing and committing adultery are one thing and loving your neighbour is another . Even #6 , the one about “murdering” is a bit iffy too, considering the historical record of some of our political parties.Go back into Irish history only a little bit and the” commandments “will not have much real traction in that respect, so there is a lot of quiet hypocrisy involved too .The hypocrisy stretches back hundreds of years.
As far as I can tell , Ireland itself was the victim of coveting, theft and murder by England in the first place and many of its citizens have been the victims and also the progenitors of killings and murders on every side and of every description ever since. How can that circle ever be squared? Better still , how then can “Christians” side with the original thieves and murderers of the country as the DUP always do when they cosy -up to the British Establishment and especially the very ,Conservative end of it ? It goes without saying that the British Empire itself was built by a process of breaking those very same commands right across the globe while enslaving the indigenous people of many lands and stealing all of their assets. They did that everywhere they went in the name of their Christian ideals.Some of that is now coming back to haunt them, of course .C’est la vie …..
But no matter …Mr Bell was happy enough to join in with this dubious gang in their political game ,where a more moral man , for example, might have had second thoughts. It ended badly for him in that he accused Arlene Foster of bullying him about the RHI scandal which he had inherited from her and she in turn accused him of bullying her and possibly also of sexism and misogyny. It is an unlikely scenario in that Arlene Foster appears to be a character of such obstinacy and recalcitrance as to be incapable of being persuaded about anything never mind , being bullied about it . This was proven when she refused to take some sound advice from her Co-Minister which would have saved her job.
Given that Mr Bell was at the very heart of this scandal that had finally toppled a government, surely it is time for him to reveal to everyone exactly what his former companions in the DUP were doing and why he even decided to work with them in the first place. None of it seems to be anything like so-called “Christian” behaviour of any ilk……and as for the Ten Commandments?…Well ….politicians would probably prefer to renegotiate those , I’d imagine …..