McCann meets….Edwin Poots MLA

 The final instalment of my series of interviews is with the Health minister, Edwin Poots.

I must admit this was the interview I was most nervous about doing but when you meet him in person he is actually a very affable person. What struck me was how relaxed he was for a person in his job and the applause he received during Peter Robinson’s speech shows his popularity among the party faithful.

Apparently he is a reader of the blog-so it does go to show that Slugger does have some friends in high places.

The interview is only around seven minutes long but here are some select quotes.

On his time as Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure he told me that his greatest achievement was ‘burying the Irish language act’ as he believes there was ‘precious little demand for outside of republican circles’ and that despite the trouble over the Maze he ‘relished’ the battle over the issue.

On reaching out to Catholics he said

I would believe that many Roman Catholics are not represented by either the SDLP or Sinn Fein on two key issues. One is grammar schools and there is massive support within the Catholic community for grammar schools and the party that best reflects their views is the DUP. The other is one moral issues and the party that best reflect their views is the DUP.

On the criticism he has faced as Health minister;

Every week we knock doors directly and I know my constituency and the press and media do not reflect the views of the public and particularly columnists…people in media tend to be from a more liberal background. I know what middle Ulster thinks, I know what middle Ulster thinks in both the Protestant and the Catholic community…

Full audio available here

 

McCann meets….Edwin Poots MLA by Ontherecord98fm on Mixcloud

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  • Charles_Gould

    He makes some reasonable points about the media and the ordinary people.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    His greatest achievement as Minister for culture……???

    Says it all, really.

  • sherdy

    His only achievements which he derives pleasure from are his demonstrations of unadulterated bigotry.
    I think it shows how the DUP have to scrape the barrel when they put forward someone who apparently believes in creationism. Have they no one with a functioning brain who could better represent them?

  • Gopher

    At the end of the day Poots is systematic of the failure of Stormont unless you are Allister, Agnew, Clarty or NI21 your part of his government

  • Neil

    Some 50% of DUP respondents believed creationism shouldn’t be taught in science class, with 10% not knowing and 40% believing it should be there as well as, or instead of, mainstream science.

    Instead of? Mainstream science? Yeah I think I know who Edwin appeals to in middle Ulster. They’re a dying breed.

  • Sp12

    “At the end of the day Poots is systematic of the failure of Stormont.”

    No, he’s indicative of the failure of the DUP move beyond Protestant Nationalism, they don’t even have the sense to try to pretend their love of the Union isn’t about exercising power for the sake of it (that and the financial rewards of course), annoying fenians and the gays.
    His entire political career in Stormont has so far been about denying things to people he hates.

    If he thinks he can draw support from Catholics over Grammar schools he’s deluded as well as spiteful.

  • Gopher

    Well the the UUP, SDLP Alliance and SF are in government with him so essentially if you voted for the above you voted for Poots so you can’t get rid of him

  • Morpheus

    So his greatest achievement as Minister for Culture was ‘burying the Irish language act’ and stifling culture eh?

    And then he has the brass neck to talk about morality?

    The man is a Kentucky Fried Idiot

  • Coll Ciotach

    He is right about Catholics though – the wife regularly points out that on this issue the DUP are closer to Catholic social teaching than SF and the SDLP and we would vote for the policies of the DUP before the policies of either of the above if the issue of the border was finally resolved.

  • Charles_Gould

    There is a one-time SDLP Mayor in East Antrim who has now become disillusioned and votes DUP for Catholic-related reasons.

    If SDLP activists can do this, so much more the non-party political types?

  • Coll Ciotach

    Are you referring to Danny O’Connor Charles?

  • mac tire

    “…his greatest achievement was ‘burying the Irish language act’ as he believes there was ‘precious little demand for outside of republican circles’”

    Yeah, he also believes the world is 6,000 years old. And he’s wrong on that too.

    Edwin and the word believe in the same sentence are laughable. His attempt to equate An Teanga with Republicans would be just as funny – except it discriminates.

    But Edwin likes discrimination – how many judges have found this to be the case in recent weeks? All hail the Minister of Discrimination.

  • “I think it shows how the DUP have to scrape the barrel when they put forward someone who apparently believes in creationism. Have they no one with a functioning brain who could better represent them?”

    @sherdy,

    Maybe you could suggest someone from one of the labor parties (oh, that’s right they don’t run candidates in NI) or from Sinn Fein who believes in Marxism to up the intellectual quality of the DUP?

  • mac tire

    “Sinn Fein who believes in Marxism”

    Ah yes, another one of those “beliefs” which don’t stand up to scrutiny.

    tmitch57 are you running for Minister of Disinformation?

    That’s two Ministers we have filled for our new cabinet on Slugger.

    An Duine Uasail Poots as Minister of Discrimination.

    tmitch57 as Minister of Disinformation.

    Who’s next?

  • tomthumbuk

    Creationism?
    Sure it is patently daft.
    Mind you it is no more daft than a lot of the rubbish that is taught in R.E. in schools at present.
    Transubstantiation, transfiguration, Papal infallibility.
    Superstitious nonsense, contrary to scientific and common sense.
    A lot of people believe these things, which just goes to show that the Jesuits were right when it comes to the power of influence upon children,
    Schools should teach subjects that reflect reality not religious mumbo jumbo
    If parents want their children indoctrinated, they should do it outside school.

  • “Sinn Fein who believes in Marxism”

    Ah yes, another one of those “beliefs” which don’t stand up to scrutiny.

    tmitch57 are you running for Minister of Disinformation?”

    I didn’t write that Sinn Fein was a Marxist movement, I referred to members of it. Sinn Fein does claim to be socialist, at least down South, so are you going to tell me that there are no Marxists in Sinn Fein?

  • cynic2

    Most votes want hanging brought back?

    Ask is he going to do that? Stoning for adulterers?

    No hold on ….. dont ………he just might say ‘yes’

  • MrPMartin

    I see no difference between a political and a religious belief. Both espouse a preferred way of being. The only difference is that the leaders of religions tend to have lived centuries ago and now live in heaven or such a place

    Why can we argue about politics but we treat religion with kid gloves. I am free to rancourously challenge a socialist or a free marketeer over their social and economic beliefs but when it comes to someone whose beliefs came from a god or a self appointed prophet , its kid gloves time. Their beliefs must be respected and not challenged

    Why??

    Religions unlike race believe it or not , is not unchangeable and despite the pressures of upbringing, we are free to choose our religion in the same way we choose our politics. For the purpose of my post and for ease of discourse , I will split politics and religion but personally both are political and I see no difference

    A socialist wants common ownership of property. That’s political
    A religious fundamentalist is against abortion. That’s political.

    If a socialist came on here and declared that he believed the boiling point of water was 5 degrees centigrade , we would correct him and present irrefutable scientific evidence that’s its 100 degrees.

    However if I said that my god says the boiling point is 5 degrees, then such a belief is given the cloak of protection and respect because its religious.

    May I ask why?

  • quality

    cynic2 raises an interesting point – the public often tends to be more extreme than it’s politicians.

    It should be the job of a politician to look after their constituents – but that’s all of their constituents. They also have a duty to government/legislate responsibility and in the best interests of the region, rather than clamp down on things because you don’t like them-uns.

    Shame Poots and the rest of his ilk, both sides of the house, are thick as champ really.

  • Morpheus

    “the public often tends to be more extreme than it’s politicians.”

    Surely the opposite is true. All the polls tell us that the stance our politicians are taking on big issues is not in line with public thinking.

  • Gopher

    Is there any TV footage of Poot’s explaining his whacky creationism views? I imagine that would be up there with Alex Maskey trying to explain a united Ireland to Arlene Foster and Nolan

    Our political commentators should be more pro active in tackling the absurd nonsense our politicians try to foist on us because of their absurd beliefs.

  • babyface finlayson

    It is disappointing, but not surprising,that Edwin Poots feels his greatest achievement as Culture Minister was ‘burying the Irish Language Act’ i.e.preventing something that a section of his community would have welcomed, rather than something positive he did for people.
    Such a negative mindset.

  • Delphin

    Dr McCann, I did not listen to the interview – life is just too short. But what is clear from your piece is that he represents the views of his electorate, which is I suppose reassuring in some strange way. Given the essentially rural nature of NI outside the “liberal elite” in Belfast, a sheep farmer is likely to mirror the opinions of “the people”
    The only problem is that a background as a small farmer does not prepare one to run the health service. And worse than this, any failure on his part in running the health service will not cost him his seat at the next election. He is voted in for being a bigot and that wont change any time soon. But then you knew this already.

  • quality

    Morpheus

    Ok, elements of the public tend to be more extreme? And those who shout the loudest tend to be heard.

  • David Crookes

    No marks for burying the Irish language act. But:

    Will you bigoted poeophobes all lay aff the creationist community?

    If most members of the UK’s creationist community were violent Muslims, there wouldn’t be a cheep out of one of youse.

    Furthermore, if his membership of the creationist community makes Mr Poots an idiot, then Isaac Newton was an idiot, and you gang are all cleverer than Isaac Newton.

    Aye, right.

    No more poeophobia, please.

    Many thanks to David for his posting.

  • Turgon

    Whilst it is great fun to laugh at Poots for his religious views or his appearence or whatever it must be noted that Peter Robinson tends not to keep on people who are incompetent. That may tell us something about Poots.

    His greatest achievement and greatest failing to my mind is the NHS. When he took over we were told by McGimpsey that the NI NHS was about to go bankrupt. It has not and indeed some new investment has been forthcoming. He has, however, not made anything like enough progress on modernisation as per the Compton report: there are still too many hospitals etc. That is a much more important failing than his position on homosexuals giving blood where he is supported by considerbale (if contested) evidence and by many professionals.

    The reality is that he is willing to stand up to political pressure over homosexuals giving blood but has not been willing to stand up to political pressure regarding rationalisation of care home numbers nor most importantly over reducing the excessive number of acute hospitals in Northern Ireland. Clearlysuch necessary changes always cause rows and Poots has not had enough political support from others. However, he really should openly back Compton’s proposals and spell out what they mean especially in terms of centralisation and making our hospitals centres of excellence.

  • old git

    Poeophobia, I assume this made up word is intended to justify a made up story?

  • Morpheus

    Turgon, he is the dictionary definition of incompetent.

    I know Health is the most difficult Ministry but keeping the NHS ticking over is not my idea of a successful ministry. Openly gloating that burying the Irish Language Act was his greatest achievement when Minister for Culture, his treatment of the elderly and his personal beliefs tainting his treatment of the LGBT community (at the taxpayers expense) are simply not acceptable in modern day Northern Ireland.

    His ‘consultation’ process when it came to elderly care in NI was nothing short of farcical. Maybe it is the right decision with a very limited budget but there are ways and means of doing things and his methodology was simply not acceptable and caused untold stress to a lot of very, very vulnerable people who deserve to be treated with a lot more respect and dignity.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, old git, but I don’t see the point. ‘Television’ is a made-up word. If a useless charlatan-booby like Derrida can make up words, so can you and I.

    I hate lettuce. That makes me a thridacophobe.

  • ThomasPaine

    David Crookes (profile)
    28 November 2013 at 12:11 pm

    No marks for burying the Irish language act. But:

    Will you bigoted poeophobes all lay aff the creationist community?

    If most members of the UK’s creationist community were violent Muslims, there wouldn’t be a cheep out of one of youse.

    Furthermore, if his membership of the creationist community makes Mr Poots an idiot, then Isaac Newton was an idiot, and you gang are all cleverer than Isaac Newton.

    Aye, right.

    No more poeophobia, please.

    Many thanks to David for his posting.

    This is trolling, right?

    If it is, it’s very good because it relates just how moronic creationists are, in that one of them may very well use the beliefs of a 17th century (pre Darwin) mathematician who was seen as at the very least unorthodox in his religious views and at most a heretic by Christianity, to justify ignoring the advances of science since then in explaining how we and the world came to be.

    In all honesty, I don’t think there is a politician like Poots out there.

    Sure there are plenty of thick, talentless, bigoted, homophobic imbeciles in politics, but he is at the top or near the top in every category. He is without redeeming qualities. At least Sammy is witty. At least Foster is intelligent. At least McGuinness has balls.

    Poots is a joke. But what is most sad about him and his performances as Minister in different departments is two things. One, that the DUP can see how pathetic he is, they know they have people much more talented and able than him, yet refuse to get rid of him no matter how embarrassing he is. And two, the unionist electorate keep voting for him in spite of his track record.

  • David Crookes

    TP: ‘This is trolling, right?’

    We don’t need that stupid, stupid, stupid word.

    Unrobust and self-important bloggers often use the stupid word ‘trolling’ in an attempt to intimidate the person who dares to disagree with them.

    In the present case, the stupid word is being applied to one who dares to disagree with the clever secularized liberal Gestapo.

    I adduced Newton as an example of a person who believed that the universe had a deliberate maker. No laboratory experiment has ever offered clear proof that it did not.

    That’s why bloggers like TP need to use inurbane words like MORONIC, THICK, TALENTLESS, IMBECILES, and PATHETIC.

    Thanks for your posting, TP.

  • Sp12

    “I adduced Newton as an example of a person who believed that the universe had a deliberate maker. No laboratory experiment has ever offered clear proof that it did not.”

    Believing in a maker is not the same thing as being a young earth creationist.
    You want a lab experiment that proves the entire universe didn’t have a maker? How big would the lab be? It would need to be like at least ‘universe sized’ to be accurate no?
    Maybe we’re in the experiment without knowing it, and lets face it, so far god hasn’t shown up.

    Prove that we’re not 🙂

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Sp12. I don’t want to sneak away from the Pootsie thread, but your universe-sized lab is a brilliant idea which I shall steal for use in the pulpit. How do we humans dare to demand that everything in the physical universe must conform to the limits of our understanding? What happens if we come up against things which we are incapable of understanding?

    To believe that we must be able to understand everything is to believe in god by making ourselves god.

    Now back to Mr Poots. SF moved Ms Ruane out of education because SF believed her to be incompetent. That was wise. Are the DUP likely to set themselves up for punishment at the polls by keeping in office a minister whom the DUP believe to be incompetent?

  • longoldlane

    DC, i would agree with some of your comments, but you should try and rise above politics when speaking of Mr Poots, I happen to think he has been a quite an impressive minster with a human side.

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks, longoldlane, and sorry if my clumsy English sounds either as if I’m being political, or as it I’m calling Mr Poots incompetent. What I meant to say was that the DUP wouldn’t keep him where he is if they believed him to be incompetent. I have met Mr Poots myself and listened to him fielding questions. He is very far from being stupid or bigoted.

  • sherdy

    DC, – You say he is very far from being stupid or bigoted.
    If that is the case he is a master of disguise,
    His greatest achievement was burying the Irish language act. Not bigoted?
    He believes the earth is 6,000 years old, yet the skeleton of a 150 million year old dinosaur (sorry I don’t know its proper name) was sold this week for £500,000. Was the buyer stupid, or is our Edwin?

  • David Crookes

    Sherdy, if I try to see the scrapping of the ILA from EP’s point of view, I see a scrapping of something that he reckons only a small number of people really want, and a scrapping of something that he reckons we can’t really afford. I don’t see bigotry.

    The age of the earth has speciously been made into a nice-and-easy political butt by clever secularized liberals. If we had a large number of violent Muslims living among us, and if they got very sensitive when people suggested that the earth was not young, the clever secularized liberals would courageously look around for another butt.

    But at present it’s fine and dandy to work up hatred against the creationist community. When you’re attacking that community it’s OK to use words like MORONIC, THICK, TALENTLESS, IMBECILES, and PATHETIC. If that isn’t bigotry, I’m the Dalai Lama.

    Thanks for your posting.

  • sherdy

    Hi, Dalai Lama, – I think you’re stretching incredulity in trying to defend the indefensible. But, if you enjoy tilting at windmills, then who am I to try to stop you?

  • David Crookes

    “Yo sé quién soy,” respondió don Quijote…..

  • sherdy

    Dalai, pretty decent Spanish for a Tibetan, but a bit of a conversation stopper, as I struggle enough with English.

  • David Crookes

    तत, sherdy. (Colloquial English expression of gratitude, transliterated into Tibetan.)

    Hope yer man’s reading this…..

  • sherdy

    Dalai, you seem to have the advantage of being able to curse, malign or berate me without my cognisance of the jibe.
    Shame on you for taking advantage.

  • David Crookes

    To tell you the truth, sherdy, I’ve more time for Delvene Delaney than I have for བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་.

    All I said the first time was ‘ta ‘ta’.

    Time for bed. Maybe next year some of our MLAs will go on a junket to Tibet. Thon Pootsalley Palace is worth a wee juke, A tell ye…..

  • sherdy

    Dalai, you should have stuck to the Spanish and Tibetan languages where you were so safe because of my ignorance of them.
    But then you started showing off with your colloquial English and fell flat on your face. While I hate to correct my intellectual superiors I must inform you that you don’t take a juke at anything unconnected with a jukebox.
    You might take a wee duke at it, as its basis is in the old rhyming slang – from the name of the late motorcycle racer Geoff Duke.

  • David Crookes

    OK, sherdy, you win for now, but tiocfaidh ar Shangri.

  • Delphin

    An interesting article on how Mr Edwin Poots MLA is not doing his job.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-25176220

    The regulator (RQIA)is purported to be independent yet this quote from their own web-site clearly shows they are in the overall control of the DHSSPS

    “In September 2013, DHSSPS commissioned RQIA to conduct a review of Cherry
    Tree House, a nursing and residential care home in Carrickfergus, to examine
    actions taken to address whistleblower and other allegations over a period of years.
    These allegations related to: the quality of care; safeguarding; and employment
    issues.”

    Nothing to do with inter-tribal bickering and points scoring so of not much interest on this site

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Delphin, I had missed that story.

  • Seamuscamp

    David Crookes

    Most scientists (mathematicians, biologists, astronomers, astrologists, alchemists, etc) in Newton’s day believed in a young earth. Science has advanced a bit since then. Perhaps Mr Poots is an alchemist? They believed (according to Wikipedia) “spiritual ennoblement resulted from some form of inner revelation or other enlightenment”. Sounds a bit like him, doesn’t it?

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Seamus. Have you read what Keynes said about Newton?