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Nov. 29th, 2004

Woman's Hour is playing an item about the women of the DUP and how great they are. A woman from a party which benefited from blatant gerrymandering is now giving out about the fact that there aren't enough DUP MPs in West Belfast. Oh, if only we could go back to the good old days of vote rigging! I presume that now the usually liberal Woman's Hour is celebrating bigoted right-wingers, they'll have a "women of the BNP" item next week.

I am not pro-Sinn Fein by any stretch of the imagination, and I have no problem with the fact that whenever they're discussed in the media, they are never uncriticised. In fact, I think that they should be criticised more (especially when Mary Lou McDonald attends a commemoration ceremony for a former 'Ra member who worked for the Nazis). So I don't really mind that any programme, especially on the BBC, which looks at women in Sinn Fein will mention their connections with a bunch of murdering psychos. But I expect the same treatment to be given to a party whose leader is an unashamed fundamentalist bigot who has been preaching religious and race-hatred (against people like me) for decades, and whose female members are making disparaging references to "fenians" on my radio right now. That lunatic Ian Paisley was on the radio and telly calling Irish Catholics "vermin" for most of my childhood. I'd rather not have to listen to him and his similarly bigoted cohorts twenty years later.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
rozk
Nov. 29th, 2004 02:50 am (UTC)
I hate the fact that that vile man is now taken seriously as an international statesman rather than the bigot he has always been.

I still remember with horror - I was still a believing Catholic the time - the occasion on which he appeared in a televised Oxford Union debate and desecrated a host in front of the cameras. I cannot understand why that upsets me so much still - I guess it is because it was done with so much intention of causing pain.
stellanova
Nov. 29th, 2004 03:12 am (UTC)
I cannot understand why that upsets me so much still - I guess it is because it was done with so much intention of causing pain.

I think that's why I find such actions so upsetting as well - they spring from pure hatred and disrespect. I find any act of desecration very disturbing for that reason, but although I'm not a practicing Catholic anymore, anti-Catholic stuff disturbs me on quite a visceral level - I think I'm what hfnuala called "a cultural Catholic": not religious, and always ready to criticise the Church, but still offended by anti-Catholic bigotry and inaccurate media generalisation about what Catholics believe.
cangetmad
Nov. 29th, 2004 02:54 am (UTC)
Yep, and even though I'm a christened Protestant, the founder of "Save Ulster from Sodomy" isn't a big fan of mine either (and he threatened to derail the latest talks on Stormont if the civil partnership vote wasn't moved so he could speak and vote for bigotry. Reborn as a man of peace, indeed). I can't understand why nobody sees him for the dangerous, multi-strand very-close-to-fascist that he is. He's probably the only MP in the UK who speaks in a way indistinguishable from Pat Robertson and his ilk. A vile, vile man, leading a vile, vile party.

Do you think I have to actually listen to Woman's Hour to email and complain, or can I just take your word for it?
stellanova
Nov. 29th, 2004 03:08 am (UTC)
We're all included in his bigotry! I think he just hates everyone besides far-right religous-fundamentalist Unionists.

Anyway, I suppose you should probably listen to it on the website - although for some reason when I went there to get a direct link to that item, it wasn't on today's schedule. But, basically it was an uncritical look at the way women have been taking a bigger role in the party, just as if the party had been, I dunno, the LibDems. They played a snippet of Ian Paisley saying something about how the DUP women were great because they supported their husbands, which is ridiculous and offensive, of course, but not as extreme as the rest of his views, which were not mentioned at all.
nwhyte
Nov. 29th, 2004 03:16 am (UTC)
In fairness the DUP per se never actually benefited from gerrymandering, in that the "best" of the good old days for Unionism were before the party was founded in 1970, and before Paisley had won his first election.

Of course they have occasionally benefited from quirks of even a fair system, like in 1979 when they won three Westminster seats out of twelve with only 10% of the total vote, while Alliance won more votes but no seats - or indeed Diane Dodds herself who won one seat out of six in West Belfast while only winning one vote out of every thirteen, and yet has the nerve to complain about being under-represented!

However their conversion to feminism is very recent indeed. In the 2001 local elections they had the lowest percentage of women elected of the five main parties - 15%, to 16% for Sinn Fein, 18% for the UUP, 26% for the SDLP and 40% for Alliance. Likewise in the 2003 Assembly election, 6.7% to the UUP's 7.4%, SDLP 22.2%, SF 29.2%, Alliance 33.3%. (Of course the latter figure gets distorted a bit because both elected UUP women since joined the DUP, but that still leaves them at 12.1% way behind the other three.) I bet Women's Hour hasn't asked them about that.

Added to which, amen to everything everyone else has said about their bigoted roots.
socmot
Nov. 29th, 2004 06:49 am (UTC)
I can't understand why nobody sees him for the dangerous, multi-strand very-close-to-fascist that he is.

Although they're close to fascist for slightly differing reasons, it sounds as though you could be talking about Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness.

There are no statesmen in active politics at the moment in NI, and there's not been many of them at all, so it's a matter of working with the people that are there.

The people that are there must be worked with, or there will not be a solution in NI any time soon. Everyone knows that Paisley is a lunatic, even his own party. Once he dies, expect the Free Presbyterian, Bible-Belt stuff to take a back seat. I'm not saying the DUP post Iain Paisley will be a bastion of enlightenment, but it will be an improvement. In fairness to Paisley, the fact he's talking is a massive step forward for him - I too remember the bile coming from him for the vast majority of my life.

Seriously, with the exception of the SDLP, Alliance and the Womens' Coalition, political parties up there have a very long history of blood and / or bigotry and racism on their hands.

To get back to the reason for the post, no, I don't quite understand what Women's Hour are at either. I suppose if they do programs like that for the Shinners, they've got to do them for everyone else. I'll ask my aunt about it, she runs the BBBC in Northern Ireland.
stellanova
Nov. 29th, 2004 07:02 am (UTC)
Although they're close to fascist for slightly differing reasons, it sounds as though you could be talking about Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness.


Well, that's why I refered to Sinn Fein's connections with "a bunch of mudering psychos"! I think the fact that pretty much all Northern parties have very, very dodgy associations is known to just about everyone in the country. The point of my post wasn't that the DUP was worse than Sinn Fein, it was that this item didn't make any reference to the fact that the party in question is headed by a fundamentalist religious bigot and that the people featured in the item used bigoted slurs without any comment being made (and remember that most British listeners to WH are unlikely to be aware of the connotations of the word "fenian"). WH - which has nothing to do with BBC Northern Ireland, being a Radio 4 show - don't do "programmes for the Shinners", but if they do refer to them, or feature SF women in an item, it's never without mentioning their murky connections - and rightly so.
socmot
Nov. 29th, 2004 08:01 am (UTC)
WH - which has nothing to do with BBC Northern Ireland, being a Radio 4 show

I know, but my aunt can ask questions of Radio 4 as their programming is transmitted to the North.

don't do "programmes for the Shinners"

I aplogise for this, it was a bad attempt at being a mischief maker, combined with cynicism. That said, my point in making it was that SF would be treated the same way as the DUP are in terms of bigotry. The IRA would be mentioned obviously, but I'd doubt any of the "greening of the Bann" stuff they get up to would be, nor their attitude to policing the neighbourhoods.
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