Gregory Campbell was on the Nolan Show this morning on BBC Radio Ulster (yes I know it has a huge listenership in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan). Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly was also on the show and he called Gregory a dinosaur. That’s because Gregory was giving out about the appointment of Sinn Féin’s Mary McArdle at Stormont, the election of Sinn Féin’s Sean McGlinchey to the post of mayor in Limavady, and the failure of Gerry Kelly and all republicans to apologise for their violence during the past forty years.
So does that make Gregory a dinosaur? Uh-uh. No siree bob. Any time a politician opens his mouth, if s/he’s smart (and Gregory is smart), s/he thinks first what impact this will have on their constituency. Gregory’s constituency is the hardline element of the DUP, the backwoods boys, so the ‘hard man’ act, as Kelly called it, fitted the bill nicely.
It also provided a DUP smokescreen, something Nolan suggested to Gregs. According to Wikileaks, the DUP was in talks with Sinn Féin for three years before entering power-sharing: this at a time when they were telling the public they wouldn’t touch SF with a very long barge-pole that had an extension attached to it. When Nolan made the Wikileaks suggestion, you could almost hear Gregory moan. He immediately began accusing Nolan of taking his questions from texts sent into him and no, I don’t know what that text reference means. Nor, I suspect, did Nolan. But that was OK, because it served its purpose. It was a brisk return of serve, a quick counter-punch, a timely distraction. Clever, nimble Gregory.
Things ended with the DUP man admitting that Sinn Féin had the right to appoint anyone they liked at Stormont and that they had the right to fill the mayor’s chair in Limavady with anyone they chose, but he Gregory had the right to criticise them…You get that? Even cleverer. Q: What are your reasons for criticising? A: Because I have the right to criticise. Mmm. You know there’s something missing in there, but Gregory has wrapped his answer in so much smoke, it’s hard to say what it is.
So no, Gerry, Gregory ain’t no dinosaur. Dinosaurs aren’t as nimble as fleas and they don’t have a special place in the heart of a big chunk of the DUP electorate (well they do but not as warm a place as Gregs). The important thing this morning was to spend as little time as possible on the Wikileaks thing , because it suggested the DUP had spent several years lying its head off to the electorate. Gregory did that quite brilliantly.
Actually, Jude, he did say what his criticism was – that of inconsideration on Sinn Fein's part as to how the appointment sits within the Unionist community.
Yes, it is.
Now, do you agree with me?
Tell it to the Tavers, Mcconville`s and the 1981 census women Jude….
Thanks for thoughts, Ed and Chris…Ed, he did end up saying he was criticising because he had the right to criticise. If he also said the criticism was because it showed 'inconsideration as to how appointment sits within unionist community' , doesn't that sound suspiciously like ' Cos me and my mates as well don't like what you do'? Not exactly iron logic.
No Jude it's NIron logic…!
Jude, I don't think it does sound like that, no.
It's not exactly hard to see why the appointment is offensive to many people and I think it's being a little off-hand to try and make out as if this is just a petty Unionist dislike.
When it came to considering Ms McArdle for the position either the Leadership of SF considered how it would be received by the Unionist community or they didn't. If they did, then it is clear that any concerns were considered irrelevant which doesn't correspond with the message of outreach SF have been trying to sell.
If they didn't, it's a demonstration of political incompetence (unlikely) and arrogance.
For me, I think Sinn Fein made the decision knowing full well that Unionists would be offended and proceeded regardless, safe in the knowledge that nothing could be done about it and that they wouldn't in any way suffer politically.
I don't see that as the behaviour of a party that cares about anything other than itself and it's supporters.
I see the point you're making, Ed, which I suppose is more to do with unionist reaction than Gregory. I'll be honest: I really don't think having ex-prisoners working in Stormont is new, which raises the question 'Why now?'; and I think a political party republican or unionist should appoint whoever they think will do the best job for them and not with an eye to a kind of political version of 'What will the neighbours say?' I'd agree there's a real need for working harmoniously and even as friends (see earlier blog), but I think that's best done when we accept that there are decisions they make for them and are ultimately not my province (if that's the word I want…). But thanks for taking the time to give me your views. I may not agree but I'm truly pleased you've articulated them. Thanks.
Jude, for me, it's about making a concession to the other side. It may not be the most comfortable move to make and it may rankle that it is even required but ultimately, it is about moving on.
The fact is; until the generation that was directly involved with conflict on either side has passed from the political landscape, we will always have these odd flare ups. I feel that Sinn Fein (and indeed, every other party) have a duty to get us to that point as soon as possible and on this occasion they have failed.
If you check my blog, you will see that I have attacked the DUP for their mistake in defending Ruth Patterson's shunning of Niall O'Donnghaille so, for me at least, it is not about an opportunity to have a go at the other side.
Thanks for the 'chat'!
Are you a dinosaur for being unable to write “Radio Ulster” without a snide and pretty stupid objection?
No, I don't think I am. Nor do I think my comment was snide or stupid (btw try to address the issue). It's a question of geographical accuracy. I was born inDonegal. If 'Ulster' is the state of Northern Ireland, then my birthplace vanishes. Don't like the implications of that…
'Ulster' comprises of 9… not 6…counties 3 of which are in the Republic…
I agree it wouldn't be fair to compare the DUP to dinosaurs…not fair to the dinosaurs that is…more Paleozoic I'd say…In fact Steven Spielberg may be writing the script as we speak…OK I'm going now…!
Something new every day.I always thought you were a Tyrone man.Trust you will know what team to cheer for this Sunday!
Hahahaa. It is possible to be born one place and reared another, Anon. Rugadh me ach ni tugadh me …
I laugh at people like Gregory Campbell; “offensive to the unionist community.”
How about the 50 years of offense to the nationalist community by the unionist oligarchy. Condoned by the so called democratic government of the UK.
People like Campbell are offended that they now have to share power with Sinn Fein a monster (in their minds) they created by the unionist misrule of the aforementioned 50 years of institutionalized sectarianism.
Gregory Campbell would love to go back to the good olds days of 'croppy lie down'. Well Gregory, ” it ain't gonna happen”, so live with it.
Mary McArdle was convicted of a murderous on a Catholic family attending mass. The new mayor of Limvady was convicted of the murder of 6 OAPs in Coleraine.
Jude wrote of the Shankill Butchers that they were 'terrorists' because they attacked civilian targets, and 'cowards', because their victims could not defend themselves.
Both words could apply equally to McArdle and NcGlinchey, who both murdered unarmed civilians.
And if Campbell is a 'dinosaur' for condemning past atrocities, then so is Jude for condemning the excesses of Loyalist paramilitaries.