In today’s Irish News ‘returned native’ Fionnuala O’Connor raises an important point about the various responses from the local parties to the attack on a house in the Village where four Hungarian women lived:
The two main parties took very different positions. A DUP councillor and an MLA were clear in their criticism and admiring of the work immigrants do. Christopher Stalford and Jimmy Spratt were forthright by contrast with Ulster Unionists. Bob Stoker was reported as “wholehearted” agreeing with a community worker in the Village whose concern was to point out that attacks, including this one, had not happened in the middle Donegall Road, known as the Village but in another section of the road. Careless journalists had unfairly smeared the Village. Mr Stoker has made similar points before.
Hmmm… Now it is understandable that Mr Stoker will find this frustrating. Not least since events in west Belfast like the so-called Ballymurphy Pogroms, which over a single six month period saw something in the region of 500 attacks, very few of which emerged in the wider media.
But in the light of Mr Cameron’s pitch to the Ulster Unionists is that the ‘New Force’ gives the voters an opportunity to participate in democracy from the council chamber to the cabinet table, this is not a indication that his new partners on the ground in Northern Ireland have ‘got’ the new liberal Tory message on the ground…