Thursday, 22 June 2017


"Cartoons of Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, routinely depicted her as a grotesque vision of an Orangeman – in the case of the Times cartoonist, Peter Brookes, an Orangeman with heavy stubble: it was a 21st century take on those notorious 19th century Punch images of the cringing Catholic Irishman with a stovepipe hat and shillelagh, except this time the targets were Protestant and Unionist. ...

"Foster is, in fact, a member of the Church of Ireland who happily drinks alcohol and only joined the DUP in 2004. She spent the day before the election in Messines, Belgium with the outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny, commemorating a WWI battle in which unionist and Irish nationalist soldiers fought side by side. When necessary, she has attended local events alongside the Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch, a former close comrade of the late IRA man Seamus McElwain, whom Foster believes attempted to murder her policeman father and succeeded in wounding him. How many armchair pundits have had to negotiate such a complex past and present? ...

"Yet journalists ... lambasted its opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage as proof that it was politically irredeemable – while neglecting to point out that the DUP’s abortion policy is exactly the same as that held by the SDLP, Labour’s sister party in Northern Ireland ...

"There has been a sense that secular England is really having an argument with the remnants of religious England, feverishly using the DUP as a proxy – while not being quite bold enough, yet, to raise these differences of opinion in the same aggressive style with English Catholics or British Muslims."

More here.

There's more to it than the religious angle. Of course the DUP gets a bad press in England. Working class white Protestant unionists are in the Venn-diagram intersection of doom: no one (at least no one who is anyone) will stand up for them. So please read the link if you have aspirations to being fairminded.

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