Belfast Telegraph

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Jeremy Corbyn and anti-DUP stripper did a fantastic job in livening up my Saturday

The London women's protest against unionist party was ill-informed but amusing

By Ruth Dudley Edwards

There’s a ridiculous sentence in many a book that makes me want to hurl it at the nearest wall. “Little did he/she know”, it begins, “that he/she would end up marooned in an igloo in the Arctic/married to Donald Trump/on Death Row/Pope.”

But I can’t resist it today, for not only am I sure that the young Jeremy Corbyn did not know that at the age of 68 he would be wildly applauded by tens of thousands at a rock festival, but as a Roman Catholic-turned-atheist from a Dublin nationalist background, little did I know that I would end up being a defender of socially conservative Ulster Protestants.

But a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do.

While I did write a book about the Orange Order which tried to set the record straight in a decade when it was being tormented and ruthlessly demonised by IRA/Sinn Fein, I can’t remember saying or writing a single word in praise of Ian Paisley and his party.

However, as I have learned to be more sympathetic to Catholic clergy and believers who these days are unfairly and routinely abused by secularist bigots, I’ve been weighing in a bit on behalf of those perfectly decent members of the DUP whose only crime is to be slow to welcome social changes that would have been unthinkable a very few years ago.

It sticks in my craw to have people who withstood years of murderous assaults being patronised and sneered at by their persecutors, particularly the Sinn Fein leadership that has cynically reinvented itself as ‘progressive’.

And as a feminist from my teens, I was particularly irritated on Saturday by female activists who wouldn’t dream of criticising Islamic attitudes to women for fear of being called ‘racist’, marching through London to attack a political party of which they hadn’t heard until five minutes ago when it had the temerity to contemplate a deal with the wicked Conservative government.

The marchers — who were almost all women — chanted “racist, sexist, anti-gay, DUP No Way!”, but theme was abortion and the huge pink banner leading the march was ‘a woman’s right to choose’.

They appear to think the DUP is the only party on the island of Ireland that is anti-abortion.

Little did those generations of tough women who struggled for equal opportunities and rights for women know that someday their liberated descendants would express displeasure by publicly sporting hats and placards representing female genitalia.

The Socialist Worker contingent were a little more serious, as they waved printed slogans of “Oppose the DUP bigots, Corbyn in, Tories out”.

It‘s a firm rule of mine that one should try to get laughs wherever one can, so I admit to having much enjoyed Camilla, described in an admiring tweet as having “used her body as the most badass sign at the women against Tory/DUP gov march”.

Mostly naked and adorned with paint (rather as unenlightened movies used to show what they called savages) setting off her misspelled message ‘FUK DUP’, Camilla explained that this was “a women’s march for women’s rights” with “the theme as red”, and as “a researcher of the origins of human culture” she knew red cosmetics and body paint represented women’s solidarity and she was with those girls “who are fighting for their reproductive rights”.

The DUP, we learned, was “stopping a legitimate government after the election and stopping all the aspirations …Well we’ve really got to get rid of it today and I just feel we got to go for it”.

Sadly for Camilla, this protest against two political parties headed by women did not quite do the job, but Corbyn, who also seems to think he won the election, was making his pitch at Glastonbury.

“Let us be together and recognise another world is possible,” he begged the festival goers.

Little did any of us know two years ago that the one-time great Labour Party would be taken over by Marxist hard leftists using the rhetoric of ‘Imagine’, that mawkish bilge produced by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

If it were in book form, my walls would be splattered with it.

Ruth Dudley Edwards is the author of The Faithful Tribe: an intimate portrait of the loyal institutions

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