VITRIOL AND FINGER POINTING FAR EASIER THAN ACTUAL SOLUTIONS
HOW appropriate that on-line service dictionary.com has announced it’s Word of the Year – ‘misinformation’.
It’s the era of ‘fake news’ and media blaming, and it is a dangerous time. Misinformation is at the heart of the political process and in particular the rancorous Brexit debate which has been a trail of lies from day one. As we edge closer to the crucial Commons vote on Theresa May’s deal the debate has shifted; now it is little more than a poisonous blame game, characterised by the hard-line Brexiteers scurrying around blaming everybody but themselves. We’ve had the DUP sneering at the ‘puppet’ business community for sucking up to the Prime Minister and failing to read the draft document before backing the deal. That moved on this week with Arlene Foster redirected her fire. The rift between her party and the business community was caused by a media plot. It’s classic, she needed someone to blame. There could never be any question of the DUP taking responsibility.
She then belatedly rode to the rescue of the farmers – another traditional source of support – to warn the deal would result in a cap in agricultural payments. Brexit by definition will bring to an end payments from Europe, wiping out 87 per cent of farmers’ income. In the absence of any commitment from the government to replace those payments May’s Withdrawal Agreement at least allows continued European support for one of our most important industries. And therein lies the danger of the ‘all-or-nothing’ approach. The DUP demands, and expects, and when Brussels said no we’ve been left peering over the trench lip into no man’s land.
This is where the politics of no-compromise has brought us. And the world of no-compromise is a barren place. Like or loathe her Theresa May, forced to play with the worst of all hands, has rolled up her sleeves and gone to work. The deal may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s a deal. Hardline Brexeteers, including the DUP and the traditionally rollicking Jim Allister, have contributed nothing but megaphone politics and personal vitriol. Does anyone out there have any idea what the DUP’s alternative deal is? Has anyone out there seen Boris Johnson’s thought-out proposals? Picking apart what’s on the table is one thing, but show us what you’ve got. They won’t because they can’t. So when we crash out of the EU with no deal and we turn to the DUP and others who brought us here expect them to say “don’t look at me, wasn’t our fault. It was the media”.
With many thanks to: Richard Sullivan and the Sunday World for the original posting.