I rarely write about Northern Ireland because not many people are interested in it, since it was a daily diet of murder and mayhem, but now I am urged to say something because I believe our local and international politics are going down the tubes. 40 years on, we are not the country we were, we still have terrorists, but now we also have the indignity of a foreign country, Eire, interfering in the internal politics of the UK, where it affects us. The Good Friday Agreement brought about by David Trimble, was to some extent a sop to the IRA, the Eire government, and the American Irish lobby. I believe an American senator acted as chairman. At about that time the Ulster Unionist party was the strongest party, and had several seats at Westminster. Since then, possibly due to apathy on the part of the more conservative population, who were sick to death of politics, allowed the DUP to take over the representation of the Protestants, to a point where now the Ulster Unionists have one member of Parliament, Lady Sylvia Hermon, representing, probably, a high proportion of the electorate, who are still apathetic.
Recently we have had two conflicting financial problems, on the one hand we have the Treasury demanding that we make £122m efficiency savings inside the next two years, which is clearly a mountain to climb, and will have far reaching deleterious effects, at the same time, the Appointed Minister Designate for Social Development for the new Executive, Margaret Ritchie, makes a serious political blunder, which I believe to have been intentional, thus causing a judicial enquiry costing £300,000 and judicial censure. When asked about this she was totally unrepentant, and determined to continue in office. I find this also confusing as today there seem to be so many cases in political life both here and in Westminster, where lack of honesty seems to be able to be maintained without reprisal.
For example, Sinn Fein, whose elected representatives refuse to sit in Parliament, seem to be making a mockery of Parliament itself, because while not attending the debates, they are actually enabled, through knocking on doors, to achieve their ends. This implies by the very nature of its success, that in fact the debates are a waste of time, and the whole system could be conducted behind closed doors. This statement, of course, ignores the need for open government, which has been the basis of our legislative system. On the face of it Sinn Fein has disenfranchised the electoral seats that they allegedly represent, and they have been allowed to get away with it.
Recently, on a Sunday, in the politics show, Sir Reg Empey was confusing me with his new proposal of joining the Ulster Unionists in some manner with the British Conservative party, as a unit to represent Protestants in the North of Ireland. His confusing explanation, citing the different combinations that one can vote for, made me believe yet again, that the Unionist vote will be split among so many parties, that the whole of Northern Ireland conservatism will be relatively unrepresented. Whether this matters, in the light of what I have written in the paragraph above, seems open to debate.