As if to prove the very point I made last week how unionism has the same effectiveness as a circular firing squad along comes Arlene Foster who, in a really tetchy article in one of the English tabloids last Monday, hit out at St Patrick’s Day celebrations as being ‘too green’, Joe Biden – ‘too Irish’ and President Obama – “insulting”.
Absolute cracker it was!
I would contend Arlene’s article is something that should be on the curriculum for all aspiring diplomats, filed once again under that bulging section “How to Lose Friends and Influence.”
Of course this one was a sort of straight follow on from last year when Sammy Wilson described Biden as a ‘bigoted ignoramus’.
Let me fill you in..
Referring to Patrick’s Day festivities in the States the former First Minister wrote in her article: “During the couple of days when the Irish descend on Washington and other assorted cities the green beer is in full flow and in Chicago the very river is turned green. It is a green fest and if you come from the unionist tradition believe me it’s a very uncomfortable situation.”
After pointing out Biden ‘wears his Irishness on his sleeve’ she went on: “The harsh reality is that especially since Biden became President the understanding and nuance of what happens in Northern Ireland has been pushed back decades.”
And she concluded: “In the US administration of today, there is zero recognition of the fact that a majority of people in Northern Ireland are very content to be British and value the Union of the United Kingdom – what we don’t value is being insulted by people who get their understanding of NI straight from the Ladybird Book of Irish Republicanism.”
As I pointed out last week the reality is that America, rightly or wrongly, is the leader of the free world and its sway in terms of power and influence is immense. As we speak, Britain wants a huge trade deal with the Biden administration and it will do everything in its power to stay on side. So, no brownie points to be gained at Westminster.
And If you really want to see how ridiculous Arlene’s article will appear to the Americans, what she is asking them to accept is akin to wanting their Thanksgiving Day to be less American. Or, bringing it closer to home and reversing it, how about Biden writing in the Washington Post and asking unionism to ensure that July 12 is less unionist and less orange? How would that go down with the Portadown Orange Lodge?
Let’s get it clear – what the former DUP leader is really saying is she wants St Patrick’s Day to be less Irish. Less green. And that’s never going to happen.
Well over 30 million Americans claim Irish descent. And for many that heritage runs deep. I, personally, have seen many of them weep copious tears when telling tales of emigrant grandfathers and grandmothers from ‘the oul sod’ and their struggles in the new world.
Those are the people Biden and Pelosi are speaking to. Unionists don’t seem to get that.
And, finally, while the ‘Ladybird book of Irish Republicanism’ comment might play well in Ahoghill and Ballymena, it won’t in the corridors of power in the State Department where, over the years, a lot of time and effort has gone into the Northern Ireland peace process. It will, probably, be remembered and resented as just another cheap jibe by people who are very up to speed in regard to what is said about them.
Just out of curiosity – has no one in unionism ever come across the old adage that you can catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar?
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Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/pat-mcart-st-patricks-day-23517325