Who would be a politician these days? What an awful life it must be, so bad it can drive a man to drink.
Think of the DUP Minister Jonathan Bell on what one can only suppose was a very tough and arduous trade mission to New York a while ago getting so drunk in a bar he fell asleep then had to be helped back to his hotel singing at the top of his voice. At the time he was Minister at the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Investment.
Let’s assume he sobered up enough in the morning to conduct the business he was there for and, also let us assume he spent his own money on the drink. After all MLAs are well paid, though that is about to change.
This Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Inquiry is taking its toll on political reputations. I well remember an almost tearful Mr Bell on television complaining about how he had been treated by others in his party when the scandal broke over the scheme.
Goodness, he was the star of the Nolan Show one morning. Sure, didn’t we all think his colleagues were not nice people? How could they treat this good, religious man in such a way?
Reputations all around are collapsing as a result of the RHI Inquiry leaving Sinn Fein chuckling away in the background. Wasn’t their Martin McGuinness such a clever man for collapsing the whole Assembly edifice emerging with not a stain on his character even if he did die soon after? Didn’t it give them a perfect excuse to refuse to share power leaving the country in a mess?
We don’t forget, of course, that Sinn Fein contains a number of MLAs with questionable pasts and whose leader in the north is fond of attending commemorations for past republican ‘heroes’ who caused death and destruction in this province.
By contrast former Minister Bell harms just his reputation with his escapade in New York. Having an ‘explosive’ personality (the opinion of his former special adviser Timothy Cairns giving evidence at the RHI Inquiry) is a bit different to the meaning of the word in relation to those dead heroes that Sinn Fein so idolise including their late leader McGuinness.
Progress and the restoration of Stormont, of course, is not likely while we have Sinn Fein approving of everything from abortion to same sex marriage, while the other side, the DUP, won’t shift ground on any such issues, some of them citing their religious beliefs.
Minister Bell is also a Christian, but one wonders how many Christian politicians on important business for the people get so sloshed in a public bar in downtown New York they have to be helped back to their hotel.
I must say, in writing this, I have to confess to being sloshed myself a few times, the last when I celebrated with friends in our new home. Himself had to help me off the floor, the dog barking hysterically at his heels.
So you see we can all do daft things but I don’t proclaim myself Christian and I don’t have an employer in the form of people voting to give me political power.
Should we expect our politicians to be perfect human beings doing our bidding? I certainly don’t but what I don’t like is for politicians to use their personal proclivities religious or otherwise to avoid doing the bidding of the people who elect them.
I hate all the electioneering when would-be politicians promise the moon but revert to type when they take their seats.
It happens every time yet in this divided country the Prods don’t want to vote for the party that threatens the Union so they end up voting for politicians they know to be inept.
I can’t pretend to know why Catholics vote for the likes of Sinn Fein unless they believe they will be able to deliver the united Ireland they think is just around the corner. It isn’t. Politically we are in a shambles and out of control politicians and Brexit aren’t helping.