Jude Collins

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Peter and Cecil and Heath

You have to laugh, otherwise something inside you could snap and make a peeeeooiiiing-ing sound like a ruptured cuckoo clock in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Peter Robinson has decided that the present system at Stormont just isn’t democratic enough and it’ll have to be improved. Why so? Because it requires Assembly members to say whether they’re unionist, nationalist or other. Apparently any change in the present system is due to wait until 2015, but Peter figures it should be hurried up. He’s worried that as it stands, the system is undemocratic, entrenches community division and isn’t one bit nice.

Good man, Peter. It makes me think of dear old Cecil Parkinson. Remember him? He was one of Maggie Thatcher’s Cabinet, which the more mature among you will recall was heavily into promoting family values and pulling the rug out from under people like unmarried mothers who were shredding the fabric of society with their immoral ways and unfamily values. Then it emerged that old Cecil’s past – in fact present – contained a liaison with, was it a secretary? And that the fruit of this union was a child which old C had done his damnedest to hide and avoid supporting.

No one’s suggesting for a moment that Peter would be up to such shenanigans – they don’t do fornication in the DUP, do they? – but isn’t there a danger that talking about a lack of democracy and community division leaves him open to some shouts of ‘Look behind you!’ and ‘Physician, heal thyself!’? I mean, Ian Paisley would still be stuck in some leaky gospel hall if he hadn’t spend decades fomenting community division. And what was the creation and maintenance of the northern state (make that present tense as well as past) if not undemocratic? We know gerrymander and discrimination were fun in themselves to operate but they were also undemocratic to a dizzying degree. So except you’re disowning all that and saying you’re sorry for all those decades of misrule, Peter, don’t ask us not to fall about shrieking with mirth when you start droning on about community division. There’s a reason the Stormont system is like few other parliamentary systems, and that’s because this little state we’re caught in is like few other states. In fact, if it weren’t for the present weird system in Stormont, the whole Heath Robinson six-county construction would be in danger of going Peeeeooiiiing again.

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