Sometimes, when a person suffers a great loss or disappointment, the effect is not just temporary. It alters how they see themselves and the world from that point on. Neil Kinnock, for example, declared himself a political failure for not having defeated the Tories when he was Labour leader. Hillary Clinton is still reeling from the blow of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory over her in 2016. Sometimes the pain of loss is so severe, people simply cannot cope and remain in a state of confusion for the rest of their lives.
Has John Taylor suffered such a shock? In 1972 his car was riddled with bullets and he was wounded so badly he needed extensive reconstruction of the jaw. Despite this, he soon returned to politics and was expected by everyone to become leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. In 1995 a contest was held, and to the surprise of most, particularly John Taylor himself, he was defeated by David Trimble and the rest, as they say, is history.
Naturally, like all good unionist politicians, Taylor was eventually rewarded with a place in the House of Lords, becoming Lord Kilclooney. Mind you, if you’re trying to recover your mental equilibrium, the House of Lords isn’t necessarily the best environment in which to spend time.
Anyway, the man formerly known as John Taylor is now becoming fixated with Leo Varadkar. Some months ago, he referred in a tweet to Varadkar as ‘the Indian’, and when challenged explained that he hadn’t been sure of how to spell Varadkar’s name, so thought it best to identify him with the term ‘Indian’, Now, he has rallied to the side of Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP. She declared yesterday that Leo Varadkar had shown ‘poor mannrs’ by not informing local representatives that he’d be visiting some people in the north. Varadkar explained that he’d informed the Northern Ireland office. Arlene remained unimpressed. The good Lord Kilclooney, however, rallied to Arlene’s side with a tweet which denounced Mr Varadkar’s action as “typically Indian”. Even the DUP sensed that this was a bit much, with Christopher Stalford hurrying to put distance between himself and Taylor: “ I don’t know what John Taylor thinks he’s playing at but he doesn’t speak for me. Absolutely ridiculous behaviour.” You know you’re in trouble when Christopher Stalford is running away from your insult. The good Lord himself figured he’d maybe over-reached a bit, arguing that he was a great admirer of Indians, that they were a great people, etc. But the damage had been done. Kiilclooney had shown his prejudice against those with a different-coloured skin from himself, in such a ham-fisted way you would wonder if the man knows the meaning of the words that come out of his mouth.
So either the good Lord is having a delayed reaction to his defeat by David Trimble or maybe even his shooting. One way or another, the man once known asJohn Taylor has shown that he’s finding it hard to cope with the fact that the south have established Leo Varadkar as leader of Fine Gael and Taoiseach.
I wonder what his thoughts are on the Tories’ new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid. That’s even harder to spell.