Ruth Dudley Edwards: My list of people from 2021 to banish to a desert island
With Covid busily ruining the lives of so many, it seemed tasteless to wrench from their families even people like Martina Anderson and Ian Paisley, whose repeated transgressions will be familiar to anyone who follows Northern Irish politics.
But this year there were various strong candidates who sufficiently annoyed me to get them on the passenger list:
• the Undynamic Duo, First and Deputy First Ministers, Michelle O’Neill and Paul Givan;
• the tin-eared PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne;
• Alliance Councillor Michael Long, High Sheriff of Belfast and High Priest of Progressives (“When the votes were counted one parochial, backward looking, regressive who is 50 something and from Lagan Valley beat another one”, was his gracious comment on Jeffrey Donaldson’s leadership victory over Edwin Poots);
• solicitor Paul Tweed, whose unrelenting and successful opposition to reform of libel law has been a boon to politicians, some of whom, journalist Sam McBride told the Stormont Finance Committee, “have secretly used newspapers as personal ATMs for years in Northern Ireland; people who look at this as a chance to get easy money — secret easy money”.
(The same holds true in the south.)
Two names dominated in the Republic.
Second on the list is Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who outraged me most recently by facilitating the passing of a Sinn Fein Dáil motion greeted ecstatically by the Palestinian Ambassador and condemned by Israel as “a victory for extremist Palestinian factions”, which confirmed Ireland’s reputation as the most anti-Israel western nation.
But President Michael D. Higgins is ahead by several lengths.
Not only did he famously refuse the invitation to an ecumenical church service in Armagh designed to mark the years of work done by so many to improve relations between north and south, Catholic and Protestant, nationalist and unionist, but in doing so, he played into the hands of Sinn Fein, who then gleefully could boycott an event welcomed by virtually every other party on the island. Yes, the SDLP’s Colm Eastwood, whose judgement, I find frequently poor, supported Higgins initially, but he had the decency to recant and attend.
Higgins, however, whose decision had appalled even Coveney, was too vain to admit he’d got it wrong and so persisted on a path that has damaged his presidency beyond repair.
In the rest of the United Kingdom, I’m mostly riled by hysterical media that have made it almost impossible to have sane conversations about priorities. (Rather than meaning that one cares more about money than lives, arguing for protecting the economy is usually a recognition that people cannot be kept alive if a country runs out of money.)
But there are also infuriating individuals, like Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who has been no more successful with Covid than the UK as a whole but plays a brilliant blame game as she demands more Treasury money.
And there’s Wales’s equivalent, Mark Drakeford, the Dreary Politician’s Dreary Politician, who like Sturgeon and Sinn Fein would happily lock up the entire population forever and boss them about as long as the cheques kept coming from the Treasury.
And then there’s Carrie Johnson. Having a husband who notoriously hates confrontation, she appears able to influence appointments and decisions which go against his instincts, like his economically ruinous commitment to zero carbon.
She is also a sympathiser with the Woke agenda, including hosting a party at the Conservative conference with Stonewall (once a decent campaign group for gay rights), which has infected government and institutions with extremist trans ideology insisting on the right of anyone to self-declare as whichever gender they choose.
One consequence is that rapists in women’s prisons are automatically classified as women even if the rapes were committed with their male genitalia.
Joe Biden will be there, not only because he is utterly incompetent but for his profound ignorance and stupidity about Ireland. President Macron earns a place as the Narcissist’s Narcissist, and Canada’s intensely annoying Justin Trudeau and New Zealand’s sanctimonious and authoritarian Jacinda Arden go too.
Queen Elizabeth — who as we all know is a very wise woman — has apparently instructed her grandson William to remember that heirs don’t travel together, so the nightmare scenario in which he and his family are wiped out in a helicopter crash and replaced by Harry, Meghan, Archie and Lilibet, is less possible. But just to be on the safe side, Harry and Meghan will be on the island.
Meghan will be an interesting combination with Gerry Adams, who has made a reappearance on the list — this time as a nightmare, attention-seeking wannabe comedian. To me they both suffer from an exceptional sense of entitlement, acute memory loss, an ability to wreak havoc wherever they go and apparently care nothing for their victims, so they have much in common. They will be accompanied by armies of their trolling social media allies.
I believe in repentance and rehabilitation. Medical, psychiatric and educational provision for those who find themselves on the island will range from spinal strengthening for wimps to history classes and hypnosis for those who have forgotten their misdeeds, along with intensive training in understanding the feelings of victims.
Happy New Year, everyone.
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