You know those days. The ones where the flavour of life has been sucked away, when dark clouds loom, when you wonder what the point was in getting out of bed in the first place. I’m pleased to report that those are rare occurrences with me. But when they do happen, I like to read a Ruth Dudley Edwards article. Instantly, the spirits life, the sun comes out and I face life with a grin on my gob. Oscar Wilde claimed you’d need a heart of stone not to laugh at the death of Little Nell. Ruth’s columns do that for me.
One I came on recently was giving out about “the bearded one”, as she likes to call Gerry Adams. The Sinn Féin leader is apparently totally mixed up. Ms Dudley Edwards verifies this by pointing to his statement that James Brokenshire is “a player” and so not suited to chair Stormont talks. Ruth’s counter to this is that if Dublin can be pro- nationalist/republican, why can’t Brokenshire and Britain be pro-Unionists?
You have to laugh. Either Ruth is pretending to be very silly or is very silly. No one is saying Brokenshire and Britain shouldn’t be pro-Unionist. It’d be strange if they didn’t. What’s at issue here is Brokenshire presenting himself as an honest broker. I mean, we’ve heard that song before. The Troubles were all about two warring tribes, with Britain trying to keep the peace between them for the past forty years. Or is is it four hundred?
As to the Dublin government being pro-nationalist/republican, the cat is in intensive care. Has Ruth ever listened to Enda Kenny in the Dail answering a question about the economy from Gerry Adams? Enda’s reflex response is to start talking very quickly about the brutality of Adams’s “colleagues” in the north thirty years ago. Southern politicians are a support for nationalist/republicans the way the weather in the US is presently a support to the Taoiseach’s travel plans. But sometimes you need the supportive pen of a cheering commentator to remind you of these things.
I will yield to no one in my admiration of Ruth as a giggle-generator. In his poem ‘Celia, Celia’, Adrian Mitchell described his particular way of beating the blues:
“When I am sad and weary
When I think all hope is gone
When I walk along High Holborn
I think of you with nothing on.”
Like thousands of others, I find uplift not in thoughts of Ruth the Naturist but Ruth the Columnist.