The dangers of staring at Edwin

I glimpsed a headline on TV recently which said something like “Is this Edwin Poots’s crocodile moment?”  The reference, of course, was to Arlene Foster’s disastrous comment going into a general election a few years back, where she said republicans were like crocodiles. It seriously damaged the DUP in that election and gave nationalists and republicans a banner to rally behind.

So is this the case with Poots? I doubt it.  We’re not heading into an election any time soon; and Poots’s comment says as much about the B(ritish)BC as it does about the DUP.  We all know that Poots has some rigid thought-patterns: you get that way when you believe that the universe came into being 6,000 years ago. The B(ritish)BC’s response, locally at least, was to do the classic balance thing: X says Poots is totally wrong, Y says he’s totally right, mmmm – maybe we need to think further. Which of course is concentrated bats’ piss. If one party argues that it’s a fine day today and another party argues that it’s raining out there, the journalist’s duty is to open the window and stick his/her head out, not give air time to the two perspectives on the matter. Alas, that’s just what the B(ritish)BC did.

But let’s look at a bigger question: why did Poots say what he did when he did? Maybe because there’s something in the offing that he and the DUP don’t want to receive media focus. By raising Poots’s hare the chance of such focus happening is lessened. And the thing the DUP don’t want focus on is the Irish protocol.

That’s the agreement whereby goods coming from Britain/England to the north of Ireland will require a customs check. For a long time the DUP did the never-never-never-never thing, but of late they’ve gone much quieter on the topic. Why? Because they’re afraid it’s going to happen. The fact that Boris Johnson says it isn’t going to happen probably means it very likely will.

Having argued heatedly that the north of Ireland is an integral part of the UK, you can’t have tariffs or checks on goods coming from one part of the UK to another, the DUP is experiencing that sinking feeling which tells them B Johnson is going to do the perfidious Albion thing and they the DUP are going to look like credulous fools.

So what better way of drawing attention from the DUP’s demands being set at naught by a London government, than to grab the coronavirus and paint it bright green?  That way, Poots’s followers will rejoice that their man told them ‘uns where to get off, and the general public will be busy pondering the depths of dumbness to which Edwin is capable of sinking. And meanwhile Boris will have agreed to trade checks in the Irish Sea, all done while everyone was staring at Edwin.

Mr Poots may or may not be a jackass, but he is certainly a useful tool.

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