Arlene’s Letter, Emma’s Flags: It’s the Others, stupid.

In politics, detail is important.

After all, Arlene Foster used that very phrase in a guest blog on this website last October (doesn’t that just seem like a lifetime ago? It is one high-profile- and very costly- scandal, a government collapse and two elections removed….)

Arlene Foster is in a spot of bother.


The DUP leader claimed to not have any recollection of writing a letter to the Scottish Government arguing against the Scottish recognising Northern Irish civil partnerships as marriages.

This was when she was asked about the matter after Marco Biagi, the former Local Government Minister in Scotland, made the claim about her on Twitter.

Here’s what Arlene Foster said in response:

“I’m not quite sure what he (Mr Biagi) was referring to but it certainly wasn’t a letter from me (my italics) and I’ve no recollection of a letter from me.

“If I’d written to him officially as Minister of Finance or something like that around recognition laws here in Northern Ireland, I have no recollection of it. I certainly didn’t write in a personal capacity.”

Alas, the release of the letter which certainly was from Arlene by the Scottish Government into the public domain today has further undermined the DUP leader’s credibility.

But, perhaps more importantly, it illustrates how the party’s antipathy towards The Other (currently being exemplified elsewhere by the party’s new South Belfast MP) continues to define its engagements, attitudes and overriding philosophy.

It is particularly striking that a devolved Scottish Government would see fit to publish a letter knowing that it would utterly contradict and prove deeply embarrassing to the former First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Once again, the DUP face standing indicted in the court of British public opinion, who will view the efforts of leading politicians here to lobby against rights for the gay and lesbian community living in Scotland as wholly out of sync with modern British values.

But then, when your definition of a shared housing community is one including a brace of loyalist flags on every lamppost, it’s hard to remain in sync with those outside of the ranks of The Elect.




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