Belfast Telegraph

Loyalists will continue to feel let down until they all wise up

By Nuala McKeever

You think you’ve heard every ridiculous attempt to justify the unjustifiable in this place and then suddenly, a new one pops up to take the breath away — with laughter, tinged with despair, shot through with annoyance.

Apparently the rioting last week was all because the loyalist people involved don’t feel politically represented.

Sorry? Come again? Didn’t we just have an election last month, where we all had the chance to vote for political representation?

Isn’t that how political representation works? You elect the person you want. If you end up with no one to represent you, isn’t that possibly because you didn’t vote for anyone?

I’d love to know how many of the young men out throwing bricks and petrol bombs last week actually voted last month. I’d bet the First |Minister’s salary that the vast majority of those exercising their throwing right arm didn’t bother their backsides to exercise their voting right arm. Those who were old enough to register of course.

And did the Beast from the East stand for election? I couldn’t swear to it, but no, I don’t think he did.

I’m not going to jump on the “it’s particularly depressing because it happened just after Rory McIlroy’s victory and it makes us look so bad abroad” bandwagon.

Rory McIlroy’s brilliant win was fantastic, but to focus concern on how we appear to the rest of the world smacks of a terribly middle-class “what will the neighbours think?” approach.

I care about how Northern Ireland is perceived abroad, but I care a lot more about what’s it actually like living here. Unfortunately, others don’t seem to.

Peter Robinson says he wants to attract more Catholics to the DUP because he believes business-minded Catholics have more in common with his party’s centre-right policies than with Sinn Fein’s professed socialist ones.

So even the party that used to stir up the workin’-class Prods is now leaving them behind. Peter, in the interests of business — which is his big interest — is looking outwards.

Time to leave sectarian politics behind, he says. But it was the sectarian nature of his party’s politics that’s got him where he is today. Anyone remember the ‘unionist pact’ idea?

Perhaps what the young loyalists who complain about not being represented mean is that the people who do represent them, don’t really care about them.

Now that is something I’d have no problem believing.

Time to wake up and smell something other than the stench of last night’s burning rubber, guys! A centre-right, business-orientated party is never going to have your interests at heart. So stop electing them just to get one over on your perceived opponents.

You complain that the Shinners are better at articulating the nationalist agenda.

Then stop supporting gangsters, throwing missiles and shooting at the police and start talking. You’ll find people listen better when you’re not hitting them over the head at the same time.

The peace walls may divide Catholics and Protestants, but the walls dividing well-off Protestants and not-well-off Protestants are much higher. And it needs brains, not brawn, to bring them down.

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