Wednesday 12 September 2012

Mike Nesbitt and his bigot question

Yesterday there was a rather bizarre tweet by the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Especially when you consider that Mike Nesbitt is a media professional in his former life and this tweet came  over 5 hours after Nick Clegg's office sent a correction to it's earlier press release.

That earlier release said:

"Continued trouble in the economy gives the bigots a stick to beat us with, as they demand we 'postpone' the equalities agenda in order to deal with 'the things people really care about'. As if pursuing greater equality and fixing the economy simply cannot happen at once."

Corrected to:

 "Continued trouble in the economy leads some people to demand we 'postpone' the equalities agenda in order to deal with 'the things people really care about'. As if pursuing greater equality and fixing the economy simply cannot happen at once."
So what of the word in question:

big·ot  (bgt)
One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
Definition from The Free Dictionary

From the way the question is phrased you expect that Mike wants to hear @allianceparty, who recently passed a policy in favour of equal marriage, come out and say yes, or give some indication that they lean that way. Even though the Lib Dem and Alliance Party's policies are both tolerant of those that disagree with equal marriage in not forcing anything on anyone.

But the headline grabbing word, even if later rescinded, itself is nothing without the full context.

Even if the first form of the words were used the caveat is there that pursuing greater equal and fixing the economy are what the 'bigots' that Mike is asking about think is impossible. There is never the intention that all who opposed equal marriage are in that category, if someone opposes marriage equality on religious grounds for example and sticks to that line that is not hiding behind economic turbulence.

Opposition to the idea appears to not be a issue, finding excuses to not face the argument would appear to have been the issue, that is from people who do not believe their argument is strong enough to face the debate and therefore want postponement probably to the end of time.

Now Mike Nesbitt himself has said that marriage equality is not in his opinion 'necessary', he went on to say there was no 'realistic prospect' of it coming to be in Northern Ireland and in fact called those in favour dancers to a Republican tune. Is he one of those advocating no debate on this until the end of time. Is that why the sentiement of the idea is cutting him close to the quick and why he decided to come unto twitter to ask such a question?

So maybe Mike should ask himself is he one of those who says that the equality agenda on this isn't one issue that should be pursued or is he prepared to back up his own objection to it in realistic terms that takes into account the views of everyone here in Northern Ireland. In other words is he prepared to look for a solution over this or is he prepared to take the side of the vocal objectors who may well contain bigots?

Reading and hearing some of the comments in Northern Irish media against marriage equality the opposition does show a lack of tolerance of people in same sex loving relationships even without marriage being an issue. Some DUP elected representative are even on record that they'd want to do away with civil partnerships if they had the chance. So there certainly is a lack of tolerance to people with opposing views. Therefore there probably is an element of bigotry.


  1. Nick should call a spade a spade and have done with it. He's not going to win any friends by pandering to bigots, and the bigots are already out for him regardless. They think we should be quiet and be 'thankful' we even have civil partnerships, that's what's coming next. They are bigots, pure and simple.

  2. That is why I turned to a dictionary definition of the word. It does sum up the intolerance of the majority of the anti equal marriage brigade.