My eyes glazed over as she spoke the words .”I’ve got “man-flu””. That is how the female leader of the Democratic Unionist Party started off. Well there goes any pretence at femininity , I thought to myself. Freeze that image! What a start indeed? Did she deliberately say the word “man” to strip herself of any last vestiges of femininity ,before setting out her stall ,or was she trying to tell a lame ,self-deprecating, back-handed joke that is usually aimed at the sniffling male of the species? Who would ever know? She wasn’t going to answer any questions at the end so no-one would be able to ask…
It is an unfortunate quirk of genetics and DNA that the Democratic Unionist Party leader could never be considered a remotely conventionally attractive female beauty , but then neither are there many males in the same party who are “lookers” either . There aren’t too many Brad Pitts or George Clooneys knocking about to wheel out . It is just one of those quirks of fate but it not exactly an asset for a public figure. It might not be important in a politician but it …and every little bit …helps.In public performance attractive people can get away with ….well , murder, I suppose. That is simply the way the world works.That is how mates are chosen throughout humanity and so on; that is why film stars are film stars ; that is what makes the world go around and it is why the fashion and beauty industries flourish. In any case the DUP leader immediately levelled the ground by inadvertently referring to herself as just one of the “men”….one of the boys with her brand new manifesto .That was fine and dandy until it was realised that it wasn’t a new manifesto at all but was instead it was an old one ; a re-fried regurgitated rant of considerable paranoia and fear about the possibility of unionism being consumed by Sinn Fein and all those wee crocodile republicans and nationalists. Far from preparing the troops that some day there is the distinct possibility that unionism might stand in the shadow of nationalism, she proceeded to sow the seeds of fear as if the very sword of Damocles was about to fell them
If anyone ever seemed insecure in their shoes , it was this somewhat asexual person making that speech. There was no mention of corruption, scandals, cronyism and mismanagement in government in any of the many words ,but Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein featured many times.All these previously- mentioned delinquencies are what brought the previous administration to an end ; all these things were the issues that finished her tenure as First Minister, yet here she was , basically telling the party faithful that it was all Sinn Fein’s fault .It was hardly credible at all and seemed deluded in the extreme. She was pushing the same old Bogeyman Buttons that had brought unionism out to the voting booths since the days of “Home Rule Is Rome Rule”.Here she was with a 21st Century version of that same tired mantra. It’s a hard fact in Norneverland politics that when hard- right unionism talks about democracy what they really mean is… “We will fight and we will be right”, no matter the political aspirations of others beyond their narrow tribe.
This was her way to white-out the past twelve months and some twenty years previous from the political slate .She wanted everyone to forget all those trivialities like that huge half- a- billion pound pile of wasted RHI money and concentrate once again on what unionism was really all about behind the game- playing at politics.That is because politics , like law -and- order is only something that hard -right unionism has only ever paid lip-service to .When it suits , they’ll embrace the war- drums and bring the mobs and guns back into the mix. To do this they need a Bogeyman and if there is none immediately available , they’ll invent one.Here they are doing it again in real-time , right before our eyes only weeks since the First Minister was sacked. Is it any wonder that they want no questions asked? How would they ever be able to answer them with even a modicum of truth?
It was Lord Randolph Churchill who had originally sowed the seeds of sedition in the unionist hearts.To hell with politics and scandal…this was life and death was the cry!! Lord Churchill was fundamentally opposed to Home Rule for Ireland and on 23rd February 1886 when he came over and spoke in the Ulster Hall in Belfast to the faithful of the Orange Order he got a stunning reception . He was anxious to undermine Gladstone and was prepared to support the Orange Order who were already prepped to “resist it by any means”.He was determined to play that “Orange Card” , as he called it and hope thta it wasn’t simply a joker he’d drawn from the pack. To have a Lord on their side was a great revitalising feather in the unionist and Orange Order cap and it was there that he gave them their rallying cry of “Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right” at which they naturally cheered loudly .It was at this point that the close association between the Conservative Party and unionism in Ireland really began. The DUP are still cultivating that relationship today.It was the same relationship which led to the UVF gun-running scandal of 1914 that really brought the gun into Irish politics on a large scale and it is the same relationship which allows them to speak now of giving “our security forces” special dispensation when it comes to the letter and the upholding of the law.They want “their” security forces to be above the letter of the law.
So this is the new mantra for hard -right unionism .Forget about the Cash for Ash, the Soot for Loot,the Glow for Dough and all those other little financial trivialities such as the RHI scandal. They’re the price you have to pay To Keep Sinn Fein At Bay. Vote Arlene While She Makes Hay!