Arlene keeps mum as she bangs the drum

The DUP launched its manifesto today in a breathtaking example of the cynical manner with which the party has treated the electorate since the RHI scandal unfolded before our eyes.

The party leader, Arlene Foster, declared that she would not answer any questions at the launch due to suffering from a case of “man flu” which, alas, did not prevent her from delivering her speech- a decision which prompted this response on Twitter from the BBC’s political correspondent, Gareth Gordon:

It gets better though.

The DUP have fought this campaign with one purpose in mind: to deflect the attention of the unionist electorate from Arlene Foster’s RHI scheme which has plunged the party into turmoil in recent months.

In her earlier staged public addresses, DUP strategists clearly decided that the best strategy was to stick it to the Other– and hence the double-barrelled attack that brought us the glib Polish Language Act insult alongside the crocodile jibe.

Her performance in subsequent public outings, including a BBC The View interview with Mark Carruthers that produced a scathing assessment of her from Newton Emerson and Deirdre Heenan, have clearly left party strategists concluding that the best way to limit the damage and get the party’s singular drumbeat message across would be to prevent the media from even asking Arlene questions!

The speech delivered to the party faithful and assorted journalists today was noteworthy for the brazen manner with which the Project Fear agenda was articulated.

To Gareth Gordon once again:

It is the continuation of a strategy that was apparent in the first televised debate of the campaign and in the party’s election literature delivered to unsuspecting voters across the land:

With ten days to go, it appears the DUP have decided that their best hope is to be found in allowing nothing to get in the way of the drumbeat being heard, particularly the voice of their own leader.