Edwin Poots and the rebel virus

Because I’m a slow learner, I’ve just come from listening to William Crawley presenting Talkback. On the programme he had Nelson McCausland, who supported his creationist colleague Edwin Poots, in his charge that Covid-19’s recent surge goes back to Bobby Storey’s funeral and GAA celebrations, and that nationalist areas are virus plagued, vis-à-vis unionist areas, on a 6-1 ratio.

Fair is fair: the wild excitement at that GAA club match some weeks ago certainly broke the mask and social distancing rules. So well spotted, Edwin.

But Bobby Storey’s funeral?  Whether you think there was or wasn’t social distancing at it ( I think there was), that event occurred last June. Here in the second half of October we’re experiencing this surge. Did the virus rest up for a few months en route from Belfast to Derry and Strabane?

As for the 6-1 ratio: in the Derry/Strabane region, a largely nationalist area, the rate is 800+ cases per 100,000. So far so good, Edwin. However, Newry and Mourne are also nationalist areas, and their rate is 300+ cases per 100,000. And Fermanagh and Omagh region is at 200+ cases per 100,000.

Edwin Poots’s DUP colleague Peter Weir says people like Edwin have “a right to express their opinion.” That may be, Peter, but Edwin wasn’t expressing his opinion – he was citing facts. Facts like 6-1. Facts that are wildly inaccurate. Which means either Edwin believes in non-existent figures or he was making a false claim. The other word for that is lying.

Steve Aitken of the UUP had the best line on this: the virus is an equal-opportunities killer. 

Among Edwin’s other odd opinions is that the earth is around 6,000 years old and that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to donate blood, because they engage in “risky behaviour”. Which is? “[When] someone …has sex with somebody in Africa or sex with prostitutes.”

Poots’s eruption is funny the way Trump is funny – i.e., not at all. Why his absurd 6-1 claim wasn’t stripped down and destroyed by William Crawley, I’m sure I don’t know.

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