Is no DUP in the TV debates good for Northern Ireland’s image?

If I understand him rightly, Newton Emerson in the Sunday Times (£) regrets the absence (subject to expensive  legal action if it happens, which I doubt) of the Northern Ireland parties from the UK national TV election debates – if they finally happen. What Newton regrets tongue in cheek is the absence of a national airing of all sorts of vigorous DUP opinions of the subjects of race, immigration, private lives, confessional beliefs etc that put UKIP in the shade. Who can forget Pastor McConnell  on Islam “ the spawn of the devil”? Somehow though I would have expected the DUP to have cleaned their act up as they finally did under pressure over the venerable pastor and when Question Time comes to town. On the other hand, who’s to say they wouldn’t win plenty of support for their line on abortion and gay cakes? Sadly though even with two debates featuring the lesser parties there wouldn’t be time for the DUP to get round to defending their distinctive versions of British values. I’m sorry too that the jostling for places barely extended to Sinn Fein. We were never going to experience the treat of hearing why Labour might want to get into Bed with Gerry Adams and what SF might settle for in return. It would be too – well – Irish – to include in already overstuffed debates a party that despite rumours will continue to abstain from Westminster. In regional coverage the local parties will no doubt get full rein in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. What hasn’t been spotted is how UKIP lose out in this.  There is no equivalent single BBC England to concentrate fire, although the English regions and local radio will no doubt do their best.

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  • Dan

    Do you believe Pastor McConnell’s comments were more outrageous than those of Dr Raied Al-Wazzan?

  • Gerry Lynch

    Thank goodness I’m not going to have to explain the DUP to people in work the day after a leader’s debate!

  • Turgon

    Call it a wild guess but I suspect you are oh so fond of “explaining” the DUP to everyone you can at every opportunity you get.

  • the rich get richer

    Britain’s establishment finally treats all in Northern equally.

    All Northern Ireland’s citizens/subjects finally treated equally !

    All second class !

  • carl marks

    No, your point is?

  • carl marks

    i think the DUP should be there, can you imagine the fun when asked why if Northern Ireland is the same as the rest of great britain they have no choice on abortion, no gay marriage and the whole parade thing cause that is alien to most of the people who live in the big Island!

  • Michael Dowds

    So rude.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Edwin’s dress sense, Nelson’s fossil expertise, Sammy’s pidgin French, Robbo’s Islamic outreach…..we demand to see the shaven monkeys represented….the Pride of Ulster.

  • carl marks

    well you have to admit it is fun, [pointing out to people from the rest of the world that nelson is a british israelite and then telling them what that means is great crack.
    then of course who doesn’t like the look of horror when we go for the hurricane katrina thing and our first minister at clontibret with a terrorist organization always get a laugh but what i (and quite a few other people want to know )is why was he wearing a wetsuit, now you have to admit that is fun, and i haven’t even went into how god fearing anti terrorists explain how they and the tuV and UUP are in a coalition with terrorist’s at Twaddell. fun for all the family that!

  • Makhno

    Nobody ever asks me to explain the DUP. Not fair.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Always Where RGR – No change in that respect !

  • Barneyt

    In the UK elections and in the UK in general there is a hierarchy. England, Scotland…then its a cat fight for recognition beyond the two. I have yet to see sufficient evidence that those that fall into GB territory know what the UK is. Traditionally we make fun of the Americans lack of knowledge when it comes to geography or political topography, but its no better in the UK. Many in the UK are unaware of its make-up and history.

    I’ve said it before, Northern Ireland does not count in the UK, as far as many Englanders (majority stake holders) are concerned.

    As far as Northern Ireland image goes, there is little scope for causing any further damage to its reputation, so the DUP absence generates one regret…that they don’t get to see just how screwed up NI is.

    Aside from seeing the DUP challenged on humanist matters, they will not be missed. They are not on the EnglishBritish radar, just as NI isn’t, particularly at election time. Remember, Cameron plugged the Greens before giving the DUP and NI any consideration with regard to the debates. NI needs to look inwards and beyond the borders on this island, and note the discussion between Paisley senior and Martin Mc. “We can rule ourselves ye know”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As a one time animator and cartoonist, I always find drawings best to explain them, rather like the priest in the doomed airplane in that Father Ted episode.

  • Kevin Breslin

    These debates are going to be awful even without our local politicians. First you’ll have Farage winning the debates blaming the EU for basically everything down to the bacteria in his colon, because that sort of scapegoatism has legs.

    What’s the rest of the debate.

    Ooooh the NHS what particular partisan tithe is each party going to use (Bedroom Tax for Labour, Trident for SNP, leaving the EU for UKIP, More difficult cuts for government parties)

    Scottish independence …. ohhh Currency/It’s our pound

    English votes for English matters …. ohhh Scotland gets power/England has too much.

    This will be a textbook exercise in political reductionism. Count the number of times Cameron says Difficult or Farage says Europe if you don’t believe me.

    It causes me to shudder but the likes of Nigel Dodds and Conor Murphy might actually raise the standards of the debate. When they debate English issues on Question time, they seem to be more honest, sincere and interested in these matters than the English politicians sitting alongside them.

  • Kevin Breslin

    To be fair, Sammy’s French was technically and literally correct.

  • Superfluous

    Whenever I listen to mainland UKIPers bleating on about the backwardness of Islam I point them to the DUP as an example of how backwards Christians can be. They certainly have their uses.

  • barnshee


  • Makhno

    I remember Rowel Friars saying that usually a cartoonist would pick a slightly large facet of someone’s appearance, and exaggerate, but that the problem with Paisley (snr) was that everything was huge – what do you exaggerate? I’m sure you guys miss the Big Fella all the same..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Makhno, I’ve described the “no-malice” quality of how one draws a caricature over on the long posting I put up on this earlier Charlie Hebdo thread on Slugger:

    My extended family would be at some of those events, such as weddings, that the late Baron Bannside attended in the 1960s, we had some mutual friends, but he and I never gelled,. My involvement in NICRA decided him that I was the reincarnation of poor old Robert Lundy, and once in the early 1970s when he was seated next to me on a Belfast flight he demanded I was thrown off the plane. Loudly. Someone sympathetic in the cabin crew simply bumped me up to the posh seats with a few whiskeys! Miss him to draw, sure, (Marc Boxer’s “Paisley” is the best in my book. mine’s quite similar, perhaps I should post it!) but can do without the personal verbal abuse.

  • Makhno

    I’ll have to check Boxer’s Paisley, probably Private Eye? Good one about him trying to eject you from the plane, maybe leave your own drawing for the time being…

  • Morpheus

    Peter Robinson must be over the moon at how this has turned out. Not only does he get this “help, ‘help, I’m being repressed’ moment but he also doesn’t have to answer questions on national TV about Mozlims, “the shops”, Pastor-gate, gay blood, equal marriage, banning plays, lemmings, toilet paper, resignations x50 etc.

    Job’s a good’un

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi Makhno, Marc died in 1988. There is a pretty decent book of his work available (library perhaps?) but is well worth buying if you are a cartoon fan. I have a few drawings he gave me in the late 1970s/ early 80s, which I keep finding inside books in my library. The book I mentioned has Paisley, and I’d scan and post, but am concerned about copyright issues, it is however, the very best Paisley around!

  • Makhno

    Thanks for that, no don’t mess with copyright, I’ll keep hoking!