How long can we tolerate current First Minister?

Let us be clear, a protest outside a Nigerian’s new home involving the draping of banners is inherently racist. It is so in precisely the same way that hanging a national flag off a lamp post until it becomes a rag is sectarian. It is the act which is racist or sectarian, not the banner or symbol.

If the First Minister, fully seven years into the current devolved settlement, cannot grasp that obvious point, he is not fit for office.

He is not fit for office because this is not a victimless problem. Tens of people over the past few months have been put out of or denied homes to which they were fully entitled. When it is a clear case of a victim with rights against a protestor or evangelical preacher seeking to deny those rights or promote vilification, any public representative must instantly and unfailingly endorse the former.

The sad, almost unutterable truth is that this all demonstrates that we have not moved on politically at all. So that then raises the next obvious question: for how long can we tolerate Ministers who currently endorse breaching the Rule of Law, interfering in independent processes, and blatant displays of racism and sectarianism?

The difficulty with this question is that it is impossible to remove Ministers (and pointless anyway, as they would merely be replaced from within the same party). So what we are really asking is: for how long can we tolerate an Executive existing which is incapable of ensuring the Rule of Law prevails and the most marginalised in society are adequately protected?

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6 thoughts on “How long can we tolerate current First Minister?

  1. Jonathan says:

    You really need to get off your high horse Ian.

    This constant harking back to the flag debacle is getting more than tiresome.
    Drive through a different area of Northern Ireland and there you will see plenty of flags from the Republic of Ireland flying.

    As someone who formerly represented Alliance I was of the opinion that you represented the middle ground… Keep going in the same vein and you would be as well to hang the sdlp banner above you.

    If you’re going to dish out criticism then hand it out evenly to all sides.

    • There is no issue with a reasonable number of national flags flying to commemorate specific events.

      There is an issue with a huge number of very large national flags being used to intimidate. That is much more common with Union Flags than Irish tricolours – as a statement of fact.

  2. The real “sad, almost unutterable truth” is that there’s little appetite among NI’s majority to do this, Ian. As you’ve commented before yourself, the FM comes out with these ridiculous statements and positions precisely because he knows it’s a majority position held by his support base.

    Until the majority who keep voting these guys in realise that they themselves are not the “most marginalised in society”, we’re fighting the most uphill struggle.

  3. Scots Anorak says:

    Well said, Ian.

    Actually, Andy, morality apart, I think the First Minister’s big problem is that he’s acting as if the DUP’s former and current support bases were one and the same thing, which, since the growth in the DUP vote that saw it becoming Unionist top dog, they aren’t. He’s obviously obsessed with the fear of haemorrhaging support to the right, which is what usually happens to the top Unionist party, but on both recent occasions he’s had to backtrack because of the risk of alienating those more liberal “Ulster British” people who’ve come to the DUP more recently. You’d think he’d have learnt after the first time, though!

  4. The Listener says:

    The sad fact is that the educated middle ground are not involved in politics, and certainly not in sufficient numbers to have a real chance of leadership. Anyway, every cloud has a silver lining, with all the revolutionaries in Stormont we shall be spared a revolution!

  5. MJF says:

    You are right of course Ian but who would replace him? Not many Shirley Williams or Rita Chakrabarti types in the DUP to take over from him are there?

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