Dear Virtue Signallers and assembled worthies from the Liberal Metropolitan Elite.
Can you just calm yourselves down a bit about the DUP? I get you don’t like them, and God knows some of them can be hard to like. But Arlene and co having some leverage on Theresa May is not THE WORST THING EVER.
It may even land us some much-needed infrastructure investment. But perhaps shiny new hospitals, roads and schools aren’t your thing. Maybe you’d rather do without the money?
Maybe you’d rather tweet your leftier-than-though opposition to cutbacks instead. We all fight the revolutionary struggle in our own way, comrades. But when condemning the DUP and all its works, why not go for facts rather than caricature?
Note the words of veteran journalist Fergal Keane on Twitter, chiding “lazy” stereotyping of “a complicated party struggling to define itself in the aftermath of Paisley and Robinson”.
You could acknowledge it has moved well beyond the days when it was the political wing of Ian Paisley’s firebrand Free Presbyterian sect. Yes, they oppose same sex marriage (as do all the main churches here, last time I looked).
And some of its politicians have said some batshit and offensive things about homosexuality over the years. But such outbursts are far from encouraged in its ranks these days.
The DUP last year backed the local version of the Turing Law, effectively repudiating the “Save Ulster from Sodomy” days. It’s true that the innate social conservatism within the DUP is a problem when it comes to attracting younger voters in the years ahead.
I’d bet its bigger brains know that very well.
It’s one thing to say the party has a long way still to go on its journey of transformation, and might want to hurry it along a bit. It’s another to say they are women-hating, gay-bashing bog-trotters who have no place in the modern world.
That’s effectively the message from the right-on brigade on social media. It’s unfair, offensive and untrue.
For a start, the DUP is not the reason Northern Ireland is way behind the times on abortion law. None of the main Stormont parties back the extension of the 1967 Act here. None of them. It wouldn’t pass, even if the DUP didn’t show up.
Stereotyping the DUP also means you’re stereotyping the people who vote for it too. And the blunt truth is there are solid logical reasons why they back the DUP. Believe it or not, same-sex marriage is not a priority issue for them. (I know, what are they thinking?)
A vote for the DUP sends a loud and clear message against Irish unity, and pushes back at Sinn Fein. How did you think unionist voters would respond to the Assembly election?
This logic works both ways – Sinn Fein, in turn, gets a mandate to push back at the Duppers. It’s the logic of power-sharing in our wee self-enclosed statelet. And guess what, liberal types. That’s the system you wanted.