Whatever you make of its editorial slant, the Irish News is one of Northern Ireland’s survivors, managing best of the three main regionals through the economic downturn. The ludicrous assault on it by the DUP Leader will only help it survive.
This is yet another sinister development, however, as the DUP Leader completely loses the run of himself – to the extent that he may even be gone before the Ulster Unionist Leader. The voice of “positive Unionism” less than half a year ago, he has now launched assaults on the Rule of Law and now on the Free Press.
Of course, his assault on the Free Press was not limited to his nonsensical call to stop reading the Irish News, but also to his failure to countenance expansion of libel laws which will apply to the entire remainder of the UK (a differentiation which will exist alongside different laws and policies on everything from same-sex marriage to domestic taxation to vehicle licensing – just how “British” is Peter Robinson’s Northern Ireland really?)
The truth is the DUP, with its UUP running mate poodles, has become an authoritarian power-monger with no purpose other than to justify its own power for the sake of it. Far from being “Unionist”, its policies make Northern Ireland less British; far from “moving Northern Ireland forward”, it is intent on making Northern Ireland backward; far from being “Democratic” as per its own name, it would prefer to have no democratic scrutiny of its actions at all – not by political rivals, not by the media, not by anyone.
Of course, we should expect nothing else from a party which responds to attacks on members of another party (and their offices and homes) by suggesting they are responsible for them because of the way they cast a democratic vote.
The only good news is that such authoritarian power-mongers always make the fatal mistake of assuming they will always be in power. Their failure to prepare for the time they are not is always their undoing.