Tim McGarry: It is official – the DUP now says No Surrender to science
I spent most of last week interrogating and vetting all my so-called friends.
I wanted to make sure they were all proper, true, reliable friends and not Christopher Stalfords.
Christopher is the ‘friend’ of Arlene Foster who helped to oust her, neglected to talk to her in advance of the coup, and has failed to phone her since her resignation.
The rough and tumble of friendship eh?
I’m not saying Arlene is being given the cold shoulder by her former colleagues but they are treating her like she was Neil Lennon at a Rangers street party.
Christopher said the DUP operates as a family — clearly the Sopranos rather than the Waltons.
Anyway, the DUP ‘family’ ignored my last column, refused to make me leader and instead had an election last week.
They counted all the votes and the people have spoken!!
Well, three dozen of them spoke.
And Edwin beat Jeffrey by 19 votes to 17 votes.
If it had been 18 votes each apparently it would have gone to an Irish League penalty shoot-out where you get extra marks for stepping over the line.
And if it was still a draw after that, it would have gone to a march-off.
Nineteen out of 36 amounts to exactly 52% of the votes.
And as we all know from recent experience 52% of a vote is a ringing endorsement of any project.
So it is highly unlikely that anything could possibly go wrong for the DUP.
Part of me is delighted that Jeffrey didn’t get the job.
I mean I do like to recycle gags but I remember doing my first ever ‘Jeffrey Donaldson looks like Daniel O’Donnell’ joke 25 years ago and there were people still doing it last week online.
So well done Edwin.
There are however two groups of people who will be bitterly disappointed that Edwin is the new leader — nationalists and paleontologists.
Oh and astro-physicists. And geologists. And fans of the Big Bang Theory — the sitcom and the actual theory.
Yes, it’s official, the DUP now says No Surrender to science.
Brendan Behan famously said that the first item on in the agenda of every Irish republican party was the split.
Unionists tend to avoid formal splits but they are in a state of flux.
The DUP is unlikely to split.
And the TUV can’t split, on the grounds that a split requires members to form two factions and the TUV have barely enough for one.
In fact if Jim Allister wants to retire, according to party rules, he has to tender his resignation to Stephen Nolan.
And the UUP won’t split. To be fair they have had quite a smooth leadership transition from Steve Aitken to Doug Beattie.
Steve joined Arlene several weeks ago in demanding that the PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne must resign for alleged incompetence.
Of course the irony of someone being accused of being no good at their job by two MLAs surely deserves more than ‘pot, kettle, black’.
And as a sign of the contemporary power and influence of unionism, sure enough, six weeks after demanding that Simon resign both Arlene and Steve had resigned.
Schadenfreude is an ugly emotion but if I were Simon Byrne I’d be dancing round my office singing ‘Arlene’s on fire’ and ‘Ste-vie lives in a sunken submarine’. So Doug is now the new UUP leader and is determined to attract more liberal voters to the party.
In fact he’s already renamed UUP headquarters the Edward Carson Wellness Centre.
He was going to get Meghan and Harry to open it until he realised that they were separatists rather than unionists.
• We can’t have Protestants teaching their chemistry in Catholic schools
On the plus side, there were things to celebrate this week.
Northern Ireland has reached a million vaccinations.
This is a great achievement.
Robin Swann should be walking like a man who’s 12 feet tall. Or six feet. Or over five feet anyway.
And two Northern Ireland men, Brendan Rodgers and Jonny Evans, won the FA Cup — there were a few other people involved but it was basically them.
Plus the Northern Ireland Assembly finally voted to remove the loophole that meant that schools could legally discriminate on religious grounds when appointing teachers.
It was revealed this week that only 2% of teachers in Catholic schools are Protestant and 7% of teachers in mainly Protestant schools are Catholic.
To be fair this 2% is still more than when I went to my Catholic schools.
It’s 2% more than when I went.
I’m all for integrated education but I can’t help being concerned that removing this loophole could be unhelpful.
We can’t have Protestants running around Catholic schools teaching their Protestant French and their Protestant chemistry.
It doesn’t bear thinking about what they would get up to in the history lessons. And God knows what filth they would impart to the good Catholic children in biology.
What next? Ben Lowry taking the Irish class?
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