Current Affairs Politics

Sammy Wilson Calls Leo Varadkar A Nutjob As The DUP Lobbies For Gerrymandering

Despite the claims made by her sympathisers in the Irish and British press, it’s become clear that last weekend’s seemingly conciliatory speech by Arlene Foster, the leader of the hard-right Democratic Unionist Party, was more of a change of tone than a change of content from her previous statements. While the confrontational language of recent years was laid to one side the message remained the same. Behind the flowery sentiment, the DUP is still committed to an uncompromising withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, regardless of the destabilising impact it will have on Ireland. While a few of its MPs, MLAs and councillors might baulk at the likely socio-economic and political consequences of a “hard Brexit”, many more are hoping that it will lead to a new imposition of the “frontier” around the UK’s legacy colony in the north-east of the island. Indeed, some dream of a Partition 2.0 to parallel the Empire 2.0 philosophy in vogue among the more eccentric inhabitants of Westminster and Whitehall.

This not-so-hidden agenda can be seen in the reaction of Sammy Wilson, an outspoken Democratic Unionist member of the House of Commons, to Wednesday’s speech by Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach na hÉireann, to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. According to the news and current affairs website, Politico Europe, the ultra-nationalist MP claimed that the premier was:

…naive, inexperienced and arrogant for siding with European Union negotiators in Brexit talks.

Sammy Wilson, Brexit spokesman for the Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 MPs in Westminster, branded the prime minister a “nutcase” and claimed there had been a change of tone from Dublin since Varadkar took office last June.

Wilson said the U.K. government needed to find a way of either “cajoling or enticing” the Irish government into taking the “natural position” to “cut [the U.K.] some slack,” warning that siding with “hard-line EU negotiators” could destroy the Irish economy.

His comments came after Varadkar said in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday that the U.K. could not “backslide” on commitments on the Irish border made in the first phase of Brexit negotiations.

While Sammy Wilson has subsequently attempted to soften his remarks, the party’s more extreme base will undoubtedly agree with him. The Democratic Unionists see Brexit as a separatist Trojan Horse, one they can use to deepen the now shallow division between their colonial holdout in the Six Counties and the rest of the country. This ambition, a return to the pro-union hegemony of old, is linked to sustained lobbying by the main unionist leaders in the north-east as they seek to gerrymander the region’s electoral constituencies. If recent reporting by the Press Association is accurate, this dramatic option may be under consideration by the DUP’s parliamentary partners in Britain, the ruling Conservative Party. With the failing British prime minister, Theresa May, reliant on Arlene Foster’s expeditionary force of ten MPs to stay in power, an agreement on the gerrymandering of local Westminster districts to protect a shrinking number of pro-union MPs (and MLAs) in the Six Counties, could well be on the cards. Making it unlikely that we will witness the full participation of Sinn Féin in any revived communal power-sharing executive or cross-community assembly at Stormont.

There is some irony in the thought that the centenary of the partition of Ireland will be marked as it began – with a territorial gerrymander to assuage a militant, British separatist minority on the island.

A 21st century gerrymander? A leaked map of new Westminster constituencies for the Six Counties, securing unionist representation

5 comments on “Sammy Wilson Calls Leo Varadkar A Nutjob As The DUP Lobbies For Gerrymandering

  1. The UK Government at Westminster has one priority – to reinforce and secure the power and control of the Unionist Establishment over all its territories in preparation for life after British exit from the EU.
    This is the key to understanding the British Government’s statements and actions, bearing in mind that some of these will be designed solely to confuse other stakeholders in the Brexit process.


    • Graham Ennis

      I think none of us has any illusions whatsoever about the intentions of the UK “Establishment” and the UK “Deep State” Beyond saying that a long slow slide of the entire mainland UK into a replica of the extremist, right wing, authoritarian Statlet of “Ulster” before 1965 is now inevitable. The Uk Government has already removed, a couple o f days ago, the EU Human Rights legislation and law from the BREXIT exit bill, that is now about half way through the BREXIT process. I mention this as those of us who are old enough to remember the vile Unionist racist Apartheid State that existed then, will realise what is coming, in Ireland, in the near future. After BREXIT, a very harsh and cold wind will start to blow in Ireland, and the British zone of occupation will turn into a fortified, border sealed replica of the old Regime. Except that there will be no Stormont, just Direct London Rule. What could possibly go wrong?

      Answer: plenty. It is 2018. it is not 1965. The world has changed. The repression used in the recent war would simply not be tolerated in the EU, and the UK would become even more politically and economically isolated, if they chose repression. But clearly, they have chosen a hard line policy. The problem is that they simply will not have the military and economic resources to enforce it. They would be very hard put, if confrontation and violent resistance started in the North, to maintain even basic public order. The UK military forces are now a shadow of their Former selves. Inevitably, the Nationalist Community would not be passive. They would be forced into resistance, against a re-imposition of the old regime and system. Public opinion in the Republic would support them. The Dublin Government would have to respond, backed by the entire EU, or fall.
      Total disaster.
      By then, Ireland has a high probability of having a new president, by the name of Gerry Adams, or someone very like him. An interesting situation. For the right-wing elements in the Dail, it would be political death not to stand up and act on the North. I say all this, as a simple mapping out of probable future events. This situation, at the moment, is the most likely.

      So I think that by 2020, the battle lines will have been drawn. in that situation, what will the Southern Irish do?. I think public opinion will force the Government into vigorous international action, and action in Ireland, regarding the North. I think a confrontation is inevitable, and some sort of Intifada would start in the North. A green version of the Palestinian West bank would emerge. God help us. worse violence would probably follow. The Northern enclave of occupied territory would see its economy collapse, become isolated, and mass poverty etc. In this situation, I think it is essential that in the South, We have to start a vigorous debate, now, and the politicians need to start thinking the unthinkable. They also have to make preparations for what looks like at the moment, an unavoidable Palestinian situation emerging in the North. Once again, Irish history repeats itself.


  2. As far as my own county (Antrim) is concerned the new proposed constituencies look much more sensible than the previous proposal, which, despite the fact that I live in the east about 8 miles from the coast on the edge of the Glens, I would have ended up in a bizarre West Antrim constituency.
    But whatever the outcome you can rest assured that none of the apocalyptic events as predicted up by Mr Ennis will occur.


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