Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Feeney almost gets it

Finding myself even in partial agreement with Brian Feeney is a disconcerting experience, which has taken several of days of lying in a darkroom to get over.
This from his Thursday column:

The percentage of DUP assembly members in the present assembly who are Free Presbyterians is slightly down compared to 2003 only because of the defection of some UUP members to the DUP.

From these figures you can see immediately that a tiny religious sect comprising one per cent of the Protestant population of the north has captured unionism. Furthermore, that same sect makes up about one sixth of the total number of assembly members

Feeney being Feeney though, rather than following throught the logic of his own argument, spouts out a few hysterical generalizations ("Church’s hold over unionism will always remain"); but you can’t argue with the bare figures he’s delivered up; the Free Presbyterians, Paisley’s very own fundamentalist stormtroopers, the Prodiban exerts an alarming influence in Northern Irish politics way beyond the small number who actually attend its services each week.

Coupled with the fact that Sinn Fein tend to brush their own "socialism" quietly under the carpet when confronted by those matters which may bring them into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church (eg abortion, segregated schooling etc), it’s quite safe to say that having our "own" people "in charge" has actually been a recipe for the sectarian wall being consolidated in the two main areas, education and culture where we need to do most work if we are ever to build a "normalised society".

Would a secular, "non-community based" English/Scottish/Welshman do a better job in that respect than a Poots or Ruane?
Of course they would, but that's a verdict you're never likely to hear from Feeney.

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