Tim McGarry: Arlene Foster is off to the Lords — and I am going to stand as a TUV candidate

The hilarious Tim McGarry, who writes a column for the News Letter every other Thursday.The hilarious Tim McGarry, who writes a column for the News Letter every other Thursday.
The hilarious Tim McGarry, who writes a column for the News Letter every other Thursday.
There was good news this week for someone who has retired and who requires a safe, comfortable but economically cost-efficient care home.

Yes Arlene Foster is heading to the House of Lords.

She is resigning as an MLA at the end of the month and is expected to be elevated to the Upper House shortly afterwards.

So farewell then Arlene. Thank you for your service.

Take my advice on expenses Lady Foster — that at way you will never need to work on GB News ever againTake my advice on expenses Lady Foster — that at way you will never need to work on GB News ever again
Take my advice on expenses Lady Foster — that at way you will never need to work on GB News ever again

You will go down in the pantheon of unionist leaders as the one who was officially ”not quite as bad as Edwin Poots”.

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We don’t know what title Arlene will adopt when she becomes a peer.

Perhaps Lady Foster of Fed Crocodiles. Or Dame RHI. Maybe the Countess of Chicken Sheds.

Take my advice Arlene — when you get to Westminster ask Ian Paisley to help you fill in your expenses forms.

Edward Carson was definitely not an UlstermanEdward Carson was definitely not an Ulsterman
Edward Carson was definitely not an Ulsterman

That way you will never need to work on GB News ever again.

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Who knows, you might even be able to afford to buy a ticket to see Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

Arlene’s departure removes one problem for the DUP but creates another.

It looks like a friend in Fermanagh will be co-opted in to Arlene’s vacant Assembly seat.

This is a damning indictment of Mr 13%, or Jeffrey Donaldson as I believe he prefers to be known.

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The DUP leader cannot even persuade his former leader to gift him a safe Assembly seat and let him get on with doing the job that he really wants to do and needs to do, namely dumping the fella who is currently our First Minister.

(I’m not sure if it is creeping old age or chronic indifference but I have genuinely forgotten the name of our First Minister.)

So, Sir Jeffrey will have to wait until next year to get an Assembly seat and even then there is no guarantee ... (Givan!! Paul Givan!!! That’s the fella. He’s the First Minister. I knew it would come to me eventually.) ... that Jeffrey will actually win a seat in a tightly fought constituency.

Meanwhile can I just say on a personal note,

Bring back the B Specials! Ban gay marriage! Arrest all Shinners and Scrap the Protocol That We Helped to Create!

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Sorry about that, I’m just auditioning to be an Assembly candidate for the TUV.

According to last week’s Lucid Talk poll, which put the DUP on 13%, Jim Allister is riding high on 14%.

Some people even say that if these poll ratings continue in to an election the TUV could be the largest unionist party and that Jim himself could become the Deputy First Minister.

Frankly I can’t see it. He won’t have the time. He’s far too busy with his full-time job on the Nolan Show.

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But if Jim is to capitalise on his poll ratings he will need a few well known faces to step forward and become TUV candidates.

I’m prepared to give it a go.

Fair enough Jim and me together seems like an unlikely partnership but as we always say in the TUV — let’s keep an open mind.

I would urge Jim to google the Tik Tok video of Beyonce dancing to the music from Thomas the Tank Engine.

It’s hilarious. It’s hugely incongruous but somehow it just works.

So Jim. How about it? I await your call.

• Watch RTE this once – Edward Carson will be on

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Talking of great unionist leaders, a few years ago a mural in honour of Edward Carson was unveiled in Antrim.

It had a large portrait of Carson with the words, “Politician, Barrister, Ulsterman.”

Well, as Mr M Loaf used to say, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

Edward Carson? Ulsterman?

That’s a bit like doing a mural of Van Morrison with the words “Singer, Songwriter, Comedian.”

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Or doing one of George Best and adding the words “Footballer, Lover, Teetotaller”.

To be fair, Carson is the only person buried in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. Soil from each of the 6 counties of Northern Ireland was placed in his grave, and of course there is a statue of the man looking defiant outside Stormont so I can see how people might assume that he came from round these parts, but no.

Carson was definitely not an Ulsterman. He was a Dubliner who lived most of his life in England.

His first real connection to this part of the world came in 1910 when he became head of the Ulster Unionists and along with James Craig spearheaded the campaign against Home Rule.

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A campaign which, like Line of Duty, was brilliant but ended very badly…or ended extremely well, depending on your perspective.

Before that, Carson was a hugely successful lawyer in England, his most famous case being his involvement in the 1895 criminal libel action taken by Oscar Wilde against the Marquess of Queensberry who had accused Wilde of being a “sodomite”.

Carson is often unfairly blamed for prosecuting Wilde. He didn’t. He defended Lord Queensberry.

Why am I telling you this?

Well I hate to indulge in sectarian stereotypes- even though I have made a career out of them- but I’m assuming that few News Letter readers are avid viewers of RTE.

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But I want you to make an exception tonight and watch ‘Edward Carson and the Fall of Oscar Wilde’ which is on RTE 1 at 10.15pm.

I had a small hand in it, but please don’t let that put you off.

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