The Blueshirt narrative today is often presented in the southern media by Ivan Yates a former Fine Gael TD now a presenter on Newstalk. Yates states that both Sinn Fein and the DUP are ‘a disgrace’. These ‘two hard-line parties’ should be working together. ‘One is as bad as the other.’ This narrative misrepresents the truth about the political impasse in the north and how it came about. It fails to put the primary responsibility for the political breakdown in the six counties where it belongs. It is a common narrative in the Free State media.
The DUP is the party that brought about the downfall of the executive when they refused the late Martin McGuinness’s request that the First Minster, Arlene Foster, would step aside while there was an Inquiry into the RHI scandal. His was a reasonable request given the huge sum of money involved. There was a Westminster election and the DUP were returned with a strong mandate and decided to support Theresa May and the Tories in government. The DUP supported Brexit against the wishes of a majority in the north, they opposed the granting of an Irish Language Act and they refuse to grant equal rights to the LGBT community. When SF offered the DUP a deal in February 2018, Dodds and the DUP MPs rejected it.
The DU party constantly hurls insults at SF referring to them on one occasion as ‘crocodiles’. Arlene explained the use of the word ‘crocodile’ to describe Sinn Fein: the more they get the more they want! The DUP is the party which is holding up political progress. Sooner or later some of them will realise that they have made a huge mistake in refusing to share power with republicans and work for a better future in Ireland facing the destructive impact of Brexit.
The DUP hardliners are the reason why there is no executive in the north. Why does the Blueshirt Yates and the fellow travellers in both FG and Fianna Fail keep on saying that they are both to blame, that one side is as bad as the other when that is blatantly untrue? I suspect it represents their visceral hatred for republican politics which goes back to the foundation of the 26 county statelet when Ireland was partitioned.
The narrative presented by Ivan Yates and company is a contrived and dishonest narrative which ignores the truth about the situation. This ‘a plague on both your houses’ mantra which blames both SF and DUP for the breakdown in the north is a distortion of the truth. It allows the DUP off the hook. The reality is that only one party -the DUP- is refusing to implement the Good Friday Agreement. Only one political party, the DUP, refuses to act in a civil and mature way. They are always looking for excuses to denigrate and smear Sinn Fein representatives.
Until enough unionists realise the harm they are doing by their political posturing there is unlikely to be any political progress –unless, of course, the British Tory party decide to ditch them in the near future. Meanwhile Sinn Fein and the wider nationalist community wait for the DUP to join with them in working to make this a better place for all citizens.
It would help if those Blueshirt commentators in the south that you find in the Irish/Sunday Independent and the Irish Times as well as RTE and Newstalk would just refrain from their silly statements that ‘one side is as bad as the other’.