Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell: Just like Extinction Rebellion, Foster's DUP have seen their popularity go down the tube this week

Extinction Rebellion protestors on top of tube trains in London.
Extinction Rebellion protestors on top of tube trains in London.
Boris being feted by EU leaders
Kate Middleton during the royal visit to Pakistan

By Lindy McDowell

It's been a week of tunnels, tubes, Underground protest and various parties attempting to dig themselves out of holes. Earlier in the week Brexit talks entered what negotiators loftily referred to as "the tunnel".

Mr Johnson and Mr Barnier both eventually agreed they saw light at the end of it.

A green light?

Certainly not an orange light from the DUP standpoint.

Having glued themselves to the roof of the Boris bandwagon they have now discovered that Team Tory (aka Perfidious Albion) appear to have abandoned them in a siding to nowhere.

The DUP have gone from confidence and supply to their own version of extinction rebellion.

The original XR also saw their popularity going down the tube this week.

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Canning Town Tube station to be precise.

There, and in a couple of other Underground stations in the East End, a bunch of the entitled eejits climbed on top of eco-friendly electric trains to protest about climate change. Atop the train they unfurled their plasticky looking banner proclaiming 'Business As Usual - Death.'

Exactly the sort of uplifting message you want to see at half past eight on a mean October morning en route to the daily grind.

As we are all aware (raising awareness is the mantra of XR) climate change is caused by, among other things, gas-guzzling cars, not eco-friendly electric trains ferrying working people to their places of employment.

But XR don't care about the people on the platform. The world ends tomorrow - well, in 12 years or thereabouts - and they must prepare us to meet our doom. What does it matter if people are late for work and lose pay as a result? The XR lot think that's a small price to pay. They've given up their coffee morning to be there...

They are the sandwich-boarded street preachers of our times although kitted out in more theatrical garb. They're big on gluing themselves to things, face paint, "fun" costumes and tuneless banging on drums. They're Broccoli Man. And the inner Kensington Liberation Front doing a mime performance to womb music.

All of which, apparently, contributes to awareness being raised.

In the working class East End stations they just raised hackles and angry voices. Passengers, jam-packed and fed up with the delay, grabbed hold of the protesters and no-platformed them. Punches were thrown and until station staff and a few bystanders intervened, it was a nasty enough scene.

Will XR learn from this proletarian rebellion? The signs aren't encouraging.

Those who have taken upon themselves the mantle of eco crusaders are big on patronising and short on listening. More egotist than eco-ist. They are generally posh and privileged - retired people with gold-plated pensions at one end of the scale; public school-educated graduates at the other.

And in between the provisional wing of the dinner party circuit.

The sort of people who when they fly down to the Maldives always, always insist on paper straws in their Mojitos. People who haven't clocked that disrupting the lives of "ordinary" working people doesn't win you fans just because you're dressed up as a garden vegetable.

As many of the commuters in East End Tube stations pointed out in heated exchanges with the middle-class protesters stopping them getting to their work this week, XR aren't targeting Government and the big hitters.

They're targeting working-class people wanting, needing, to go about their business. They're alienating people who have no issue with the climate change argument.

It's not the XR message that's at fault. It's the whole attitude. To succeed you need to bring people along with you. And you need to be aware of when you're failing to do so.

The DUP, who believe themselves to have been thrown under the bus by Boris this week, might also profit from paying heed to that.

More than hint of sexism in the way EU leaders feted Johnson and hated May 

Post-Brexit deal announcement, Boris Johnson was greeted in Brussels on Thursday with a lavish outbreak of glad-handing and backslapping. He was passed around the chamber with leaders cooing over him like a toddler at granny’s birthday party.

Ouch, isn’t he great? Look what he’s just done...

What Boris had just done, actually, was pull off that clever trick of passing himself around.

All that hand-grabbing and congratulatory hugging, he initiated it.

Even uppity Monsieur Macron, who treated Mrs May with glacial disdain, eventually melted into his embrace. Brothers-in-arms.

So has the EU’s approach to the UK’s Prime Ministers been sexist?

According to Amber Rudd, former Home Secretary, there was a “whiff of sexism” about how Tory MPs voted down Theresa’s deal but seemed happy enough with Boris’s not terribly different version.

Was that really sexism, Amber? Or just fatigue and a desire to finally get the thing done.

The EU chiefs are, though, a different kettle of poisson.

Their contempt for Mrs May was pretty obvious from the get-go. Boris has had a much warmer reception. You could indeed argue a whiff of sexism in the EU approach to both PMs.

But Boris played them too.

He is a master of the flattering photo opportunity. With himself centre-stage. And he is cute enough to know that being seen to be feted in Brussels will play well with his own party back home.

I doubt Theresa May will be feeling the love for her successor quite so much. Or for the EU bosses who cold-shouldered her.

Would you call that sexism? Or Brexism?

Kate overdoes it with her 40 shades of green

I know it is the national colour of Pakistan, but has Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, not been overdoing it just a bit this week?

Almost every costume change she's made during this week's official visit she's been wearing yet another outfit in yet another shade of green. Light green. Turquoise. Emerald. Dark green. Sparkly green.

There's paying tribute to your hosts. And then there's laying it on with a trowel.

No cheques at the border for wounded party

The Brexit battle hasn't exactly given us a lot of laughs. I'm sure the DUP weren't especially tickled by allegations that they'd sold out on their "no border in the Irish Sea" stance in order to reap further financial concessions for Northern Ireland (let's not forget the billion they'd previously wrung from the Government). As one online poster put it: "Are they now hoping for cheques at the border?"

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