Five thoughts prompted by the appearance of DUP leader Edwin Poots on the Andrew Marr show this morning.
- Didn’t Pootsy– comparatively speaking – look well? I know there are people who think comment on the appearance of politicians is a hanging offence but I am not of their number. Obviously appearance is not the only or most important thing about a politician, but it does matter. Pootsy has had a major make-over – swept-back hair, less obvious ears – and the BBC camera angle was relatively flattering too. Nice one.
- Pootsy presented his objection to the Protocol as purely a matter of trade and economics. Not once did the dreaded c – word pass his lips (‘Constitution’ Virginia, ‘Constitution’). Why was that, I wonder. Maybe he was afraid the Great British Public would give a massive “Yes, please!” to any talk of NEI being separated from Britain.
- Andrew Marr tried several times to get Pootsy to say what he would substitute for the Protocol. In this clearly the new DUP leader was following the time-honoured habit of unionism which roars “NO!” (or, indeed Virginia, “NEVER!”), while feeling no obligation to offer something in the place of what they’re currently trying to kick to death.
- EU commissioner Maroš Šefčovič joined Marr and Pootsy on a link. If you were a Pootsy fan, you probably shouted a term or two of abuse at the screen. Šefčovič is the epitome of cultured European charm and elegance – the right tie, the right hankie peeking from his breast pocket, the reasonable tone. He pointed out how the EU wanted to sit down and solve this problem with the UK, and how they could offer Pootsy and NEI a Switzerland relationship that would improve things at least temporarily, and what’s more they could solve 80% of the Protocol problems at a stroke. Pootsy said he wasn’t interested in temporary solutions or 80% talk, he wanted the Protocol gone. Marr tried again to get him to say what he’d put in his place, but Pootsy was having none of that.
- Maybe Pootsy, like his dear one-time leader Paisley, was interested, not in what the Great British Public or even the Great Irish Public thought of his performance. What he may have had in mind was, how would this go down with the good ol’ boys in Lagan Valley. Because if he was, the fact that he looked, despite grooming, a little like a local yokel talking to two visiting dignitaries – all that would go into reverse. The less well Pootsy fitted in, the more authentic he’d come across in the far reaches of Lagan Valley. If that was the case – and don’t bet it wasn’t – Pootsy must have felt aggrieved that the conversation didn’t come round to the universe-age thing.