Soapbox – Is the same-old same-old is going to put us in more bother than usual?

Scott Moore is a campaigner for a secular society (writing in personal capacity) based in Strabane. Outside of that, he is interested in a variety of issues within Northern Ireland politics, including political reform and tackling sectarianism.

Many months ago, Peter Robinson stepped down, his place taken by Arlene Foster. Thus, the Big House of unionism put their PR machine into overdrive to figure out how to make people vote for them, and came up with the idea of making Arlene look all progressive and friendly and able to take Northern Ireland forward … but without a single new policy to back any of the rhetoric up.

That, of course, wasn’t enough.

They also had to stop the ‘evil’ Martin McGuinness. Without action, and fast, he would surely become First Minister, a position equal to his current deputy First Minister position with no additional power. That would have been very bad. Only Arlene could stop Martin and save the day, ensuring the two of them could continue to govern together. Makes perfect sense, right?

And now she’s won the election and everyone’s forgotten the campaigning, it’s back to normal business. Opposing basic equality and rights for fellow humans, exposing the liberal conspiracy to destroy Our Wee Country, renaming boats with names they don’t like, and telling off all the silly Remoaners who won’t take their beatings after they lost a referendum 56-44 in their favour.

And to make matters worse, the same-old same-old is going to put us in more bother than usual.

Because the rest of the world is following the example we’ve set and is using nationalist populism and bigotry as a tool of politics and governance. A good old fashioned Tory is in charge again, not like that modern fella Dave who hated the poor but it was okay because he liked LGBT rights, and the YouTube comments section has won the backing of Vladimir Putin and the edgiest pseudo-fascist teens in town to run for President of the United States.

The Tories, who are really good with money – see how well they eliminated the deficit – are going to maintain all of Northern Ireland’s EU funding with all the extra tax revenues which come with holding a referendum the country didn’t ask for. And who knows, maybe Trump will protect Northern Ireland’s interests by accidentally signing nukes over to the Ra or something! The possibilities are endless.

That all bodes pretty well for us if it’s business as usual, right?

Arlene Foster has been through a gradual process, starting with “er…when I say Moving Forward, I don’t mean any pithy liberal stuff” on Nolan when she was challenged on marriage equality, continuing with her willingness to inherit the worst intemperances of Ian Paisley on the Assembly floor, and ending today with her intention to block marriage equality for the whole Assembly term and her strop over the all-Ireland Brexit forum.

I say ‘ending’ because I don’t think we’ve quite seen the worst of her yet. And unfortunately for us, Northern Ireland’s big brothers on the international field are looking less and less able to give us an effective helping hand out of each screw-up as time goes on.

When will we have a substantial number of elected representatives willing to provide true governance?

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