This week PAT McART questions the DUP's double-standards in attacking the Irish government and warns them that the British establishment will not forget the humiliation they put the Tories through last week.
On Friday last I sat and listened to the DUP's Sammy Wilson give a remarkable interview on RTE's News at One. Basically it was a ten minute rant against the government in Dublin in the wake of the signing off of Phase One in the Brexit negotiations.
Let me quote you a couple of the best bits of Sammy's interview, and to get the real flavour just imagine in your head his rapid, angry delivery: "As a minister in the Northern Ireland Executive I had very good relationships with the finance ministers in the Republic, but I can tell you none of them would have dealt with Northern Ireland in the way that those two, Coveney and Varadkar, have dealt with Northern Ireland."
He later added they (Coveney and Varadkar) had 'tried to undermine the union' and were 'going to have to do a lot of work to repair the damaged relationship with unionists in the north.'
When it comes to hypocrisy and double standards Sammy really did reach a whole new level. He seems to have been jolted back into his seat by the fact that an Irish government actually refused to be blackmailed into kowtowing to unionist demands by putting its own interests first; this is something the DUP should have had no bother accepting as the history proves they do it on each and every occasion.
And while lashing out at others Sammy saw nothing remotely absurd about a party with less than 0.9% of the vote holding to ransom a deal 'signed off' between the British (60 million people) and the EU (440 million people). Talk about the tail wagging the dog.....
Sammy's interview followed the same tone as earlier verbal lashings by party leader, Arlene Foster, who accused the Irish government of deliberately ensuring they were denied access to key documents (that was the Tory government's job, as well she knew!) and Nigel Dodds, who accused Dublin of 'playing a dangerous game' by suggesting, in the wake of the DUP intervention last Monday, they would veto any EU move to Phase Two of the Brexit talks. How dare the Irish have the temerity to push back!
Maybe instead of continuing the bull in the china shop approach the DUP should reflect on how their party totally overplayed their hand last week, and the subsequent damage this has done to relationships with both London and Dublin. Leo Varadkar is probably the most west Brit/anti-republican leader of Fine Gael in a very long time, but I bet you the DUP is not first on his Christmas Card list this year.
And, perhaps most importantly of all, if Arlene and Co. think humiliating Theresa May on the world stage will be forgotten by the gray suit brigade of the Tory party any time soon they've got to be truly delusional. The old British establishment doesn't forget things like that.
Who lets them out?
I was in Letterkenny about a fortnight ago when on a really, really cold morning I saw this guy walking down the street with a duffle type coat and, wait for it, a pair of shorts. I thought what an idiot. Last Friday I was coming down the Strand Road and there was this guy dressed almost identically. I couldn't believe it.
The hailstones were bouncing off my car roof, it was freezing cold, and yet here's this guy strolling along as if he was in Ibiza. Who lets people like this out?
A political broadcast
Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador to London, came on to Sky News last Sunday morning to defend the ridiculous decision by the Americans to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move the vast majority of reasonable political leaders and commentators across the globe regard as insensitive and provocative. Regev was allowed to set the tone of the discussion by describing everyone who opposed the move as 'extremists', and given a clear run to suggest the only group truly wanting peace was Israel. You couldn't make it up. Yeah they do this by building illegal settlements and then describing those who oppose their actions as terrorists.
Why doesn't Sky just say, 'Here's another political broadcast on behalf of Israel.' It would be more honest.
A question for you
I have a question for you: if there is no hard border between the North and South and no hard border between Ireland and Britain who is staying in the single market and custom union and who is leaving? I'm totally confused....answers on a postcard to [email protected]
Have you ever met anyone who liked working a zero hour contract? Nope, neither have I. Yet time and time again I listen to employers' spokespeople come on the various media outlets to suggest that unions and others opposing them are doing workers a disservice, that they suit certain people - particularly students and young mothers who take employment when and where it suits.
I hold the view that zero hour contracts is modern day slavery on the minimum wage. The employer gets all the benefits, and the worker has no rights. The government in the Republic is moving to ban them. If Theresa May's government had any morals it would do the same, but at this remove I would caution about holding your breath.
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