God, it’s getting crowded in here. (When I say ‘God’, this could be a reference to the God of Christianity, Islam, and any other faith you choose. Just thought I’d make that clear.) First Anna Lo gave us a close-up of how banal and ugly everyday racism can get – and how frightening. Her description of being pursued to Connswater Shopping Centre car park by foul-mouthed throw-backs helped us all understand what a stupid and primitive affliction racism is. Now Anna says she may leave here and go to live nearer her two sons in England, where people are a bit more civilised about these things. As Yeats said, we have disgraced ourselves again.
Also nudging his way into the racism spotlight comes Rev Kyle Paisley, the other twin of ‘Dr’ Ian Kyle Paisley himself. The wrath of Kyle is mighty: “Condescending ignoramus” he informs Peter Robinson, knocking him for six. Kyle’s clerical boot is then put into Peter’s party, including, we’re told, his twin Ian. “It beggars belief that thus far not one within his [Robinson’s] party has the nerve to publicly challenge him. Sometimes silence is golden. In this case it is plain yellow.”
It’s always refreshing to hear someone blow away mealy-mouthed equivocation; even when I fundamentally disagreed with Kyle’s da, which was pretty much all the time, I had to admire the power and punch of his pronouncements. The Rev Kyle makes it clear that he thinks not just Pastor Jack but First Minister Peter were completely wrong. However, there is one part of his sub-text in which he misdiagnoses the nature of the DUP. The Rev Kyle upbraids the party that no one could be found with “the nerve to publicly challenge him [Robinson]”. The reason, he concludes, is that they were yellow.
Hold on a tick, Rev Kyle. You’re right that no one in the DUP has come out to denounce FM Peter’s judgement on Islam; but are you right in your implication that the silence was due to cowardice? That would suggest the DUP ranks are heaving with people who believe FM Peter’s views are those of a “condescending ignoramus” but just are afraid to voice their own, different views. Different? I’ve seen no evidence that there is a phalanx of defenders of minorities in the ranks of the DUP. In fact it might it be less cowardice on the part of other DUP colleagues, and more the fact that they silently agree with Peter. Sammy Wilson and Edwin Poots have made clear they think the Peter way. I suspect the rest of the DUP are lined up behind Sammy and Edwin rather than bursting with dissent held back only by cowardice.
So thanks for the “condescending ignoramus” bit, Kyle; but not sure I buy that plain yellow diagnosis.