Newton Emerson on horseback

Unlike Sinn Féin, Newton Emerson (‘Sinn Féin rides two horses in chase of hobgoblins’) The Irish Times’s tame unionist has to ride one horse only: the one on which he gallops into Sinn Féin ranks at regular intervals, whip in hand.

This morning he is slashing with his riding crop at the Shinners for having different policies on different sides of the border. This is an attack line that southern politicians frequently put on a stick and hold up to  Sinn Féin’s collective nose.

If we are to believe the Tame One, Sinn Féin have different views on everything from fox-hunting to incinerators to “giving money to an Ulster Unionist minister.” (The minister in question is the Minister for Health, Virginia, and he doesn’t actually get to keep it – he uses it in the Covid battle). 

The Tame One also says that Conor Murphy, the Finance minister in the north, is complaining that London hasn’t given the north enough money and that the devolved administration doesn’t have tax-raising powers – both of which, the TO declares, “are demonstrably untrue” (aka  lies).  He sort of forgets to explain how the Finance minister is lying when he says London hasn’t given enough money to Stormont; but he says that all Murphy has to do is raise domestic and commercial rates and he’ll have loadsamoney.

The one thing the TO’s intellect seems incapable of grasping is that there’s a border in Ireland. Which means, TO, that the south is in control of its economy and the general organisation of life; in the north, London is ultimately in control of the purse strings. The result over time is that you get two states with different problems.

A key part of the argument for Irish reunification is that the needs of all Irish people, north and south, could and should be addressed by Irish people. Implicit in the drive for reunification is a determination that the hundred years of social and political division (so eloquently outlined on this blogsite recently by John Patton) will be consigned to the manure-pile of empire.

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