Friday, 28 November 2014

If not Trojan Horse is equality an Achilles Heel? @mikenesbittni

The issue of equality is certainly high on the political agenda here in Northern Ireland recently. Though scarily it seems that far too many with responsibility for legislation seem not to realise it or understand how to exercise it and show it to all.

Last night there may well have been the calmest, non-shouting all party debate on BBC's The View I can recall for some time. But of course as ever there were issues in in and some of them I raised on Twitter and Facebook. Now when three of the panellists are known to you and haven't blocked you some of this involves linking to them directly, one such was Mike Nesbitt the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. So I posted on Facebook.

Now for those of you not used to having bilingual discussions on your TV during political discussions let me explain something. Normally when you say something in Irish here the next phrase is the translation. Therefore it struck me that Mike Nesbitt was saying that "Tiocfaidh ár lá" is actually the Irish for "Brits out" which of course I know actually is "Our day will come". It is a rallying cry just like "Stand Up for the Ulster Men" is at Ravenhill in the Rugby, but in the heat of recent discussions over language those who, unlike myself, have no elementary understanding of the Irish language mlattight think from this that is what Mike meant.

Mike said that I hadn't heard him implying not just last night but on other days when he retold the same anecdote that he was implying that. So I rewatched the item and relistened to it on The Nolan Show and here is the verbatim of what he said on The View last night:

"And you get two Gerry Adamses; sometimes on the same night. I was in New York once, he was in a black tie in the Plaza in the Park at a $500 a plate dinner and that speech was about reaching out a hand to our unionist brethren. An hour later he was in Celtic Park in the Bronx, in jeans and an Arran sweater and his first words were, 'Tiocfaidh ár lá, Brits out'."

So it is not 100% clear, even to a trained ear that Mike wasn't inferring that the latter was not the meaning of the former. I've heard him use this anecdote a number of times since the incident in Enniskillen involving Gerry Adams. That was the speech where Adams say that equality was the Trojan Horse by which he sought to break them bastards.

So out of this Mike has also been saying that Equality is the bedrock of our society. So as he had been good enough to respond to my initial comment I decided to immediately replay with a follow up around the subject.

"Also Mike while I have you here. If equality is such a bedrock in our society how come you are keeping me less equal than if I lived anywhere else in the UK because of my sexual orientation by your constant votes against marriage equality?"

I think I've been gracious and not posted this immediately though I did remind him through another comment on Facebook and a couple of Tweets during the day today that he had yet to respond. However, I do go on to say that he is subject to that all to common disease amongst unionist politicians when they talk about equality and then are asked a question about such blatant inequality with the United Kingdom. That disease is mutism.

I notice that Mike has had enough time today to pay tribute to Jack Kyle, post pictures of Christmas lights in Newtownards and support Woman's Aid in the past 10 hours. But somehow does not and did not have the time to respond to my question after he came to my Facebook comment to defend himself on one aspect.

Is this because he is incapable of defending himself on such a matter of inequality and he knows it. Is it therefore true that while Trojan Horse is probably the wrong word for it that equality surely is the Achilles heel of unionism?

If he wants to answer either here, or via Facebook I will happily add his response.

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