Crikey, he’s back! I thought he’d sort of melted into obscurity. But there it is, in today’s News Letter. Former DUP MLA Paul Berry is back in the saddle again. As the News Letter so diplomatically puts it, he “left the party in acrimony in 2006 after allegations in a Sunday newspaper”. But he’s now an independent unionist councillor in Armagh, apparently – why didn’t someone tell me that? And guess what he’s on about?
“I firmly believe that the unionist community is sick to the teeth of Dublin interference in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland. It is most concerning that the Secretary of State has announced the Dublin government’s involvement in a new round of talks.”
I’ve a soft spot for Paul – he once showed me round the debating chamber in Stormont. But I’m a bit worried he’s presently in Rip Van Winkle territory now. Pssst, Paul! The southern government were involved to the eyebrows in the “internal affairs” of this state since, ooh, nearly twenty years now. Remember the Good Friday Agreement? And how it was an international treaty arrangement thingy? Well, the Irish government were totally involved in that. And sure why wouldn’t they be? Sure they’re Irishmen and women, the same as you and myself, Paul. So of course they’re going to be concerned about what’s happening in the north. Charlie Flanagan can hardly get to sleep some nights just thinking about the place. So while it’s nice to know you’re still in the land of the living, Paul, you’ll simply have to try to catch up. Things have changed since you did that singing number about David Trimble, Dad’s Army-style. All changed, Paul. Changed utterly. You’d hardly know the place.