“Peter Robinson poses as a unionist….”

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I get the feeling Trevor has been itching to say something like this for a while. Here’s the presser from the Northern Ireland Conservatives’ Trevor Ringland on the First Minister’s queasy defence of Pastor Jack McConnell’s remarks on Muslims:

“The DUP can present a modern face when it needs to court moderate voters”, Trevor said. “But underneath the facade, with the old guard like Robinson, hate-mongering is never far away. In a free society Pastor McConnell had a right to make his remarks, but they should be challenged robustly by right thinking politicians, not endorsed, because they encourage racism and they demonise a huge number of people in the community they are supposed to represent. That responsibility is especially grave when people are already being attacked because of their background or the colour of their skin.”

“Peter Robinson poses as a unionist, but the truth is that he has endorsed and even elaborated on views which are profoundly un-British in their intolerance. Not only that, but they are views that completely ignore important Christian tenets like loving your neighbour and refusing to judge other people. As First Minister for the whole of this place, his attitude is completely disgraceful. His party contributed a great deal to the hatred which disfigured Northern Ireland in the past and, as we look to the future, he should be doing his best to challenge new hatreds in our society, not feeding them with inflammatory comments.”

Hmmm… Political leaders and their Pastors… At least Barack Obama had the Chicago machine to put the right words in his mouth

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  • Ruarai

    Trevor Ringland for First Minister.

    If unionists had people of the caliber of Ringland at the helm it would be a much more sustainable movement.

    And Northern Ireland would be a much, much better place.

    (Where the hell is the UUP in this?)

  • Joe_Hoggs

    A man without principle or backbone – Ringland that is.

  • Ruarai

    Backbone is found in those who oppose racism and bigotry, not those who profit from it.

    The principles that Ringland’s statement reflects are much more British than anything you’ll find at a UUP or DUP car park rally.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Ringland has already proven himself to be without honour and why is a polictical has been or should I say never been afforded so much coverage?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “I get the feeling Trevor has been itching to say something like this for a while.”

    Well, when it comes to the OFMDFM he’s not short of targets [May 2] – just votes.

  • belfastboyo

    Robinson is a coward and not fit for the title of first minister.
    If he thinks that being a racist will win back East Belfast, he is mistaken.

  • snow white

    Trevor Ringland? Who’s that? NI Conservatives? Do they even exist?! ;) ;) ;)

  • Joe_Hoggs

    A yellow card for this Mick?? Really??

  • latcheeco

    Joe,
    It’s complicated, but I think it’s something like if you take out the man who takes out the man then you’re not playing rugby… or something- anyway we get it on the Gerry threads all the time

  • Joe_Hoggs

    A little disappointed, I’m no fan out Robinson but at least he a mandate, Ringland represents nobody.

  • Perfidious Albion

    I am by no means a Conservative supporter but on this issue I agree with Ringland. The Pastor is entitled to his opinions but most right minded people would condemn his views. Seeing that the Pastor has been supported by such intellectual heavyweights as Sammy, Gregory and Mr Robinson convinces me that is am in the right camp on this one.

    My friends across the water saw the item on Channel 4 news and thought Robinsons stance was hilarious; as one of them pointed out they wouldn’t let him chair a bowls club committee over there.

    I would like to know what the Church of Ireland view is on all this; have I missed something or has the church been keeping its head down?

  • Backbencher

    We have convicted terrorists throughout the corridors of power at Stormont, with little fuss from the ‘great and the good’, indeed the whole immoral system gets their continued support. We now have a massive story over a few words.

    Sums up the warped sense of morality in this country.

  • Submariner

    Backbencher you may also wish to consider the fact that our first minister is a convicted criminal as well as being a member of the paramilitary Ulster resistance which imported illegal weapons into NI which were then used in hundreds of sectarian murders

  • SK

    It’s just not fair, is it backbencher? Surely the existence of Sinn Fein gives Peter Robinson carte blanche to be as xenophobic as he wants.

    Instead he has to try and save face tonight by posing for pictures next to some brown people. Political correctness gone mad.

  • latcheeco

    Backbencher,
    On the one hand you have former combatants from twenty years ago who whether you agree with them or not are trying to work a deal they believe is at least better than another generation of blight and tragedy in the North, while on the other hand you have the agreed electd leader of what he claims is a British, Western, pluralist democracy saying that Moslems are alright as long as you are just sending them to the shops for you. See the difference?

    Jumping up and down shouting ” What about the Provies?” doesn’t work anymore-ask Pete and Mick.

  • Backbencher

    Sub
    The point is the ‘great and the good’ are quite happy with convicted terrorists in government but get into a moral outrage at a few words.

    Your comment reinforces my point.

  • tacapall

    So who’s the “great and the good”

  • notimetoshine

    I hesitate to bring something as subjective as morality into this, but the comments made by Robinson are indicative of the moral black hole that is NI politics whether that is bigotry and prejudice from the DUP or defence and glorification of murder by SF.

    Trevor RIngland mandate or not is right, and I often get the sense that the DUP is ‘unionist’ when it is convenient for them.

    I find it hard to imagine comments by mainstream politicians in London/Cardiff/Edinburgh being accepted the way they are here.

  • jagmaster

    Wasn’t Cameron entertaining the DUP a couple of weeks ago at a champagne soirée in No 10? So long as Cameron needs the DUP votes in the event of a hung Parliament there’s no chance of any forthright condemnation coming from him. Ringland could find himself dangerously isolated if he keeps that level of criticism up.

  • Turgon

    Peter Robinson’s comments may have been ill advised and are extremely easy to spin as religious bigotry. However, He is expressing (rather badly) concern about certain interpretations of Sharia law and about violence. Now he expressed it badly but his comments and ones more colourfully expressed are common in British society. Indeed Robinson’s comments are probably pretty aligned with mainstream British opinion currently. That may be regrettable and reprehensible and despite meeting many muslims I have not met any who appear to express any extreme views. However, Robinson’s comments are maybe less tolerant than Ringland would like but they are not atypical of British comments. Views like this would be entirely unremarkable in UKIP and UKIP gained almost a third of the votes at the European election. As such whatever I or Ringland may think of Robinson’s comments (actually we probably think alike on this) the comments are not unBritish.

    Rather Ringland has used this as an excuse to attack Robinson. His comment that they are “unBritish” is simply an attempt to attack Robinson as Ulster nationalist or whatever. This says more about how Ringland is trying to paint himself and his utopian vision of a tolerant liberal metropolitan Ulster: Ulster not in the Home Counties but Ulster in Notting Hill.

  • http://nicentreright.wordpress.com/ Seymour Major

    Robinson should never have uttered his personal view about trustworthiness of a particular group of people. He was never going to be able to conceal anti-Islam bigotry.
    If I was a businessman negotiating trade with a muslim businessman, I would feel that my efforts were undermined. I would be furious.

    Robinson needs to focus on his responsibilities as a First Minister. All NI citizens have a right to expect the FM and DFM to promote the values of religious pluralism and inclusiveness.

  • tacapall

    Well at least people now know the difference between a unionist and a loyalist.

  • babyface finlayson

    Turgon
    “Robinson’s comments are maybe less tolerant than Ringland would like but they are not atypical of British comments.”
    I took him (Ringland) to mean the remarks did not fit with the supposed British tradition of tolerance, which should be exemplified in its leaders, rather than that they were not similar to remarks you might hear in any British pub.
    Clearly they are British in the latter sense but, arguably, not in the former.

  • latcheeco

    Turgon,
    You are of course correct. Robinson’s remarks are quintessentially British. Certainly it’s the brand of Britishness the Irish are most familiar with.

  • BarneyT

    Robinson has a license to offend. He automatically associates Irish Republicans with terrorism and murder and fails to understand that Irish Republicans did and not not support armed conflict. So there is a platform for generalisation.

    Sectarianism is rife, and I hate saying this, but it feels more present in the PUL community. I feel strongly that racism of the worst kind if also more prevalent in the PUL community.

    The Irish are no angels but perhaps we are just seeing the results of a British export….if indeed this is the British way

  • Turgon

    Barney T,
    Your generalisations above are at least as narrow minded and sectarian as the worst Robinson has been accused of saying.

    You have claimed racism is more prevalent in the PUL community and then claim that Irish Republicans did not support armed conflict. That is a form of revisionism which would be comical if the truth had not resulted in so many deaths.

  • Rapunsell

    Barney

    Whats your view on the position of irish travelllers? Do they experience racism?

  • tacapall

    “Peter Robinson’s comments may have been ill advised and are extremely easy to spin as religious bigotry. However”

    The news headlines tomorrow

    First Minister Peter Robinson with tail between legs makes another U turn and privately apologises to Muslim community.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Yes Robinson and his lapdog Bell have yielded – it doesn’t seem sincere, so what does he think of Muslims?

  • ayeYerMa

    Trevor Ringland is as much in touch with reality as the majority of Cultural Marxists who comment regularly on Slugger O’Toole.

    The British people all across the UK, even in the Home Counties, are waking from their slumber, and it is people like Ringland who are being purged from office.

  • mac tire

    “are waking from their slumber” – methinks someone is watching the Evil Dead too much.
    It’s ok, aYM – you can go back to sleep now, or ancient slumber – whatever you prefer.

  • notnowjohn

    The flaw in Mr Ringlands analysis is perhaps best identified through his claim that ‘Mr Robinson poses as a unionist’ presumably on the basis that intolerance is a trait foreign to unionism. Mr Robinson does not pose as a unionist. Mr Robinson is a unionist. And unionism for most of its history had bled intolerance. And not just the within the DUP. The other flaw in Mr Ringlands analysis is equating unionism with Britishness. Much of what passes as Unionism is the antithesis of Britishness. Indeed Unionism is nationalism by a different name. If Mr Ringland wishes to be seems as pro-British in terms of values such as tolerance then perhaps it is he who should stop posing as a unionist.

  • thethoughtfulone

    “Rather Ringland has used this as an excuse to attack Robinson.”

    …………..and he’s not the only one, I get the impression this whole thing is as much a chance for a bit of payback by many of those involved as any real concern for Muslim sensitivities.

    Totally hamfisted and inept of Robinson to give them the chance however, the man’s a political disaster and this is actually just another indication that the man’s not even vaguely capable of the job he’s in.

  • quality

    The Pastor’s remarks, and Robinson’s subsequent enthusiastic backing, would make you think that Belfast is being torn apart by some new dangerous religious conflict. In reality, there are a few (quite discreet) mosques and Islamic centres. I live near one. They’re alright.

    It’s almost funny how Muslims are so easily equated with sharia law with next to no critical thought given.

    Do a significant number of Muslims eat halal? Yes, it’s quite similar to Kosher. Do a significant number of Muslims in England (say) use Islamic financial institutions? Yes, but not all. Do a significant number of them receive a 100 lashes for adultery? I’m going to say no.

    I view those who use the term ‘cultural marxists’ as I view anyone posting ‘neo-liberal’ on The Guardian. Laughable.

  • quality

    Opponents of sharia law (who are, as above, often unsure as to exactly what they’re talking about) often frame it in terms of women’s rights. That Islam necessarily leads to some sort of unavoidable, violent patriarchy. Often from the same people who wouldn’t consider women’s rights in any other situation. They use an argument they fundamentally disagree with to beat up an imaginary foe.

    Relies on the logic that Muslims = extremists. Would be like saying ‘avoid those Catholics, unless they renounce Opus Dei’.

  • Ulidian

    quality

    My views are based on the reality of sharia as actually practised in significant parts of the Muslim world, as opposed to some pc/academic exercise in interpreting the Quran/Sunnah.

  • quality

    Ulidian

    You should probably observe how practising Muslims in Britain and Ireland live. Maybe talk to a few, rather than assuming they’ll follow the behaviour of some often quite backward states in the middle east (often led by despots).

    It’s not really a PC exercise. But you know that, don’t you?

  • quality

    I await the inevitable FGM response. I’ll again refer to my point about all Muslims being considered extremists.

    Like they have to make some renunciation of what they’re not, before they can be recognised for what they are.

  • Ulidian

    quality

    Most British Muslims don’t come from the Middle East. But you know that, don’t you?

  • streetlegal

    Thoughts from the addled brain of the First Minister – ‘I can’t trust my DUP colleagues, I can’t trust my former party leader, I can’t even trust my Mrs – I’m paranoid get me out of here!’

  • BarneyT

    Turgon, repunsel.
    I’m guilty of a typo. I meant not all irish republicans supported violence. That is very true. I used the phrase ” more prevalent ” therefore recognising that there are racists in irish society. Of course there are. I’m not sure irish travellers are a different race but I recognise two things. Travellers have been abused in all parts of the island and perhaps our society does not suit nomadism. However I sense there is a strong and we’ll developed and more general level of racism in the pul community.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Ulidian:

    Most British Muslims don’t come from the Middle East. But you know that, don’t you?

    You’re the one making associations between them and the practice of some Islamic dictatorships elsewhere in the world. This is heinous.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    I believe that there are shopping bags being sold printed with the words “Out shopping for Peter”.

  • DC

    Instead he has to try and save face tonight by posing for pictures next to some brown people.

    Well you were right, there was indeed a face saving initiative, initiated and completed:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-27686171

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    Mick

    Whether he likes it or not, Trevor has to answer the question as to what he hopes to achieve in a grouping capable of only 4000 votes and no seats at any level since the Agreement.

    One of the biggest problems for moderates is their demands for compromise from others jar with their own inability to compromise with each other.

    If he wants a Unionist party which instinctively sees the multicultural pro-UK argument, there is a faction of like minds in the UUP. If he wants a genuinely cross-community party which actually runs Muslim candidates (and Lithuanians, and Spaniards, and Chinese, and Africans and whatever), there’s the Alliance Party.

    There’s no value to be gained sitting on the sideline, frankly.