Robin Aitken, a former BBC journalist has described Ulster’s unionists as one of the ‘despised tribes’, alongside eurosceptics, Christian fundamentalists and other ‘right wingers’. He believes we deserve this title because we are ‘outside the progressive concensus’! Of course, demonising us helps to define that consensus – it’s a win/win for the ‘Unionist bashers’.

Recently, two unionist figures issued statements which, initially, seemed to be another example of the type of thinking negatively associated with Unionism – we are sectarian, bigoted, Old Testament burn in hell type of guys who are intolerant of foreigners in general and republicans/ catholics/ nationalists in particular.

Ken Maginnis, a 74 year old retired army major who now sits in the House of Lords, was introduced into the gay marriage debate on the Stephen Nolan show. Maginnis didn’t disappoint Nolan when he launched into a tirade against ‘deviant’ and ‘unnatural’ practices. It was great stuff for the Nolan show – he was probably smiling that much he couldn’t stuff any more buns into himself. Some political commentators believe Maginnis was using this opportunity to launch an attack on Mike Nesbitt’s stuttering first steps of leadership. That may be true and if it was – then some opponents of unionism missed the real message of Maginnis’s attack. Even so, the obvious counter attack wasn’t long coming. Criticism from every ‘liberal, tolerant, progressive consensus’ type zeroed in on Maginnis – led by the Catholic ‘tolerant, self-appointed left’. The fact that, fundamentally, Maginnis was preaching Roman Catholic Church doctrine seemed to be forgotten in the frenzied attack on him. This is the belief of the Catholic Church – its fact, crystal clear, non negotiable, printed in stone. Where then does that leave Maginnis and Unionism – much maligned, I think. Why? First of all he was stating his opinion, – he’s allowed that. The fact that it agrees, fundamentally, with the Roman Catholic Church has been totally obscured in the vitriol he has been subject to. Also, during his political life, Ken Maginnis symbolised all things great about being a Unionist – loyalty, bravery, belief, devotion and faith. He didn’t court favour with the ‘progressive consensus type’ – you knew exactly what you were getting with him. He’s obviously still the same and he has to be applauded for that.

Unionist number two is DUP health minister Edwin Poots. He ruffled a few feathers when he defended the ban on Gays giving blood. He explained that this covered all ‘high risk sexual activity’ such as ‘sex with prostitutes’ and ‘sex with someone in Africa’. Quite predictably, Sinn Fein and the SDLP led the attack on Poots with accusations of ‘Homophobia’. Sue Ramsey, Sinn Fein’s chairwoman of Stormont’s health committee called for Poots’s resignation – he was called a bigot and an idiot and mocked for his ‘creationist beliefs’. What was Poots’s crime? There wasn’t one. He is only bringing Northern Irelandinto line with NHS policy in the UK. The NHS will not accept blood from anyone who has had sex with a person in Africa and it equates this risk specifically with gay sex and sex with prostitutes.

Last word to the Slugger O’Toole’s website. A contributor contacted Sinn Fein and the SDLP inviting them to condemn the Catholic Church and the NHS. No reply, silence. Says it all, doesn’t it?



Comments are closed.