Ian Paisley Jr was on The Claire Byrne Show last night, and if there’s a unionist politician more devoid of charm than Ian Óg, I wonder where s/he is. Ian was asked about the idea of combatting Covid-19 on an all-island basis, so naturally he answered by way of telling the south that they were handling the pandemic far, far worse than the north. He also said that the idea of the north following a different anti-Covid regime from the rest of the UK was completely out of the question.
Let’s look at Junior’s claim: is the north doing much better than the south? Well, the north is much smaller than the south, so naturally it has fewer Covid deaths. However, the usual way of comparing countries or states is by seeing how many people have died per 100,000 of the population. Here’s the story then:
- The UK’s death rate from the start of the pandemic is about 129 per 100,000 people
- Northern Ireland’s is much lower – about 82 per 100,000
- The Republic’s is lower again – at about 50 per 100,000
Clearly, the south is doing much better in terms of deaths per capita than is the north. Odd that the holiday-loving Mr Paisley didn’t cite these figures. Even odder, when he was urging that what should exist in Ireland would be a two-island approach –“like New Zealand”. If we were to listen to Mr Paisley, we’d be opening up to the inept control of the virus displayed by the rest of the UK and seeing to it that more people here died – all in the name of UK unity. And of course the south of Ireland, with its lowest figure of 50 per 100,000 would be plunging into the Covid-ravaged world of B Johnson.
I’ll say this for Paisley: he’s open about his bottom-line reason for adhering to the rest of the UK: North(east)ern Ireland is part of the UK and should be seen as one unit.
Um – Ian, old sausage. England has been engaging in regional lockdowns at various times, and nobody in England has jumped up to protest that such a thing should happen on the grounds of national unity. Could that be because they try to be led by medical science rather than Brexit-fuelled dreams of lost empire-days?
Once again, a DUP politician shows the world how to be uber-British – more British than the British themselves. And if refusing to deal with the pandemic in Ireland as one island costs lives, well, being British has always meant having to make sacrifices.