Politicians from the British separatist minority in Ireland never seem to die; they just seem to get crankier with age. We’ve sort of gotten used to Lord Kilclooney (aka. UUP honcho John Taylor) and his, erm, interesting ideas. But now his former partner in crime, Baron Maginnis of Drumglass (or the UUP’s Ken Maginnis to us mere plebeian mortals), has popped his head up again to have a poke at the Gay community in Ireland and elsewhere. Er, so to speak.
“During the Troubles when his life was under constant threat from the IRA and INLA Ken Maginnis remained a jovial character in Northern Irish political life, someone who could be extremely good company even in the darkest days of the conflict.”
Especially when he was enjoying a good joke over unarmed Irish Republican Army Volunteers being gunned down by the British Army. But I digress.
“His outburst live on air today depicting gay love acts as “deviant” and “unnatural” on BBC Radio Ulster’s “The Stephen Nolan Show” come from moral personal crusade territory where in the past Maginnis never strayed into. That area of public life used to the terrain of the DUP given that the party was rooted in fundamentalist Free Presbyterian Church and an amalgam of other hardline evangelical Protestant sects.
In recent years every time a senior DUP figure decided for one reason or another (normally to gain media attention to themselves) to pick on the gay community it usually backfired on the party. Iris Robinson, the wife of current First Minister Peter Robinson, also publicly jumped up and down about her abhorrence over gay sex, her moral crusading turning out to be a hostage to fortune. First, a gay masseur “outed” DUP Assembly man Paul Berry in the Dublin-owned tabloid “The Sunday World” over a sexual encounter they had in Belfast’s Ramada Hotel. Then, Iris Robinson’s affair with a teenager was exposed much to the embarrassment of her husband and resulting in her temporary withdrawal from public life including standing down as MP for Strangford.
Back in the early 1980s Ian Paisley Senior launched his unsuccessful “Save Ulster From Sodomy” campaigned aimed at preventing the lower of the age of consent for gay men to 18 like the rest of the UK. During that struggle for equality in the law the gay community fought back imaginatively with posters depicting Paisley as the new dictator of Iran and the warning that “The Ayatollah is watching you. Gays Now. You Next!”.”
I’m just waiting for the next Lord Whack-a-doodle to emerge from the hedgerows of Fermanagh and Tyrone. Or how about Baron A. N. L. of Nutsin?