THIS is another week where the unsustainability of partition is laid bare. The bizarre and destructive DUP policies of ultra-unionism, irrespective of local consequence and right-wing ideology have met a perfect storm this month.
The DUP are Victorian-era conservatives. And like the Victorians, Arlene Foster’s party simply look down their unionist noses at those who disagree with their world view.
The sweat shop philosopher Adam Smith could not have written this party. Charles Dickens himself would’ve had difficulty portraying their ideological nihilism. The DUP doesn’t believe in state intervention or society. Their light touch approach to Covid-19 bears all of the hallmarks of purist laissez-faire, an ideology that created millionaires but drove and sustained the Great Depression. This survival of the fittest approach diverts all responsibility to the individual.
Hence the calls for people to “use common sense”, rather than support the Executive introduction of restrictions at early stages in moments when it’s patently clear that not introducing restrictions is dangerous and irresponsible.
The decision to wait to begin remote learning for secondary students until the end of January is mind blowing.
Their Brexit-supporting ideology believes that the economy will somehow miraculously survive wave after wave of pestilence and recession by just leaving shop owners and restaurant owners to their own devices. For them individual British capitalists know best, and workers should be sent out to work for their shillings and sixpence, irrespective of public health or policies of economic self-destruction.
Their class-based, grammar school-supporting ideology dictates that all schools just get on with it and what has always been must be what always is. So, exams, transfers and everything in between must continue. Anything else would expose the education system to be as outdated as most sane people already understand it to be. Everyone knew that exams and transfers needed to be done differently this year. Laissez-faire would not work in the face of Covid-19. But Peter Weir has set his face against change and keeping the status quo; even when it is clearly not working, he is saying he is making it work. Nonsensical manure, flying in the face of reality. It is pure snobbery that exams and transfers have not been addressed. Weir will not tackle the class bias inherent in the transfer system, because he supports it.
Of course, the planes and boats coming from England keep coming. When faced with the mutant Covid variant the response of parties is interesting. Sinn Féin, Alliance and the SDLP called for an emergency Executive meeting. Robin Swann wrote separately. Foster refused to sit down to discuss tactics until 9pm on Sunday night.
It appears that preserving the Sabbath was most important to her.
While there was no public statement until the early hours it was apparent that the DUP had said no to most restrictions. And we all knew they would. The decision to wait to begin remote learning for secondary students until the end of January is mind blowing. Planes and boats continue unabated to land and dock from England. It is the Liverpool match and Cheltenham again only times 100. And when under the spotlight on Monday morning Foster’s only social media was to tweet about a 1971 IRA bomb. As depressing as it is predictable.
Less than a year after devolution’s restoration I find myself veering towards the belief that Stormont cannot work. For one reason only. The DUP is not fit to govern in a modern age.