Edwin Poots would not have been able to cope with the disdain of London

A letter from John Gemmell:

Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:25 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:32 pm
Arlene Foster was not disrespected at Westminster. Mr Poots was never going to cope with the disdain of London

I knew that Edwin Poots would not command widespread respect in Great Britain, his protege Paul Givan even less so, and that this would be yet another blow for the Union.

I am not qualified to speak about feuds within the DUP.

The secretary of state criticised their social conservatism and then felt emboldened to ensure that, one way or another, there would be what amounts to an Irish language act.

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Arlene Foster was treated appallingly by Boris Johnson. Yet, at a certain level and oddly enough, she was not actually disrespected at Westminster. Mr Poots was never going to cope with the machinations and disdain of London.

Northern Ireland deserves a DUP leader and a first minister who has gravitas, but can command the centre ground, and can deal with slippery Westminster politicians at the same time.

That’s quite a tall order, but there are a few potential candidates within the DUP, as well as wider unionism. As for Mr Poots, he should continue as an able and hard working minister, in the service of his country. People should wish him well.

After this additional own goal by the DUP, can we please focus on the bigger picture. The NI Protocol must be radically revised, and unionism should get its act together.

Ben Lowry has already laid out key elements for a common unionist agenda, and Alex Kane (May 29, see link below)calls in vain for a broad council for the Union (June 7, see link below). But, where is the debate about these suggestions? All these points are important, as well as an overarching awareness among unionists that elections are won, and destinies decided, in the centre ground.

As for the Irish language act in all but name, only a shrewd moderate is now going to be able to negotiate around that issue, an issue that has been allowed to take on a life of its own in the last month.

John Gemmell, Wem, Shropshire

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