‘Criticise ye not’ seems to be the message from Tory commentator, pundit, sometime blogger and all round media personality, Iain Dale. Dale got embroiled in a Twitter row with Belfast blogger John Collins, who writes the Politics NI blog. It followed a piece by Dale’s stablemate at Total Politics, Shane Greer, who wrote a piece titled ‘Northern Ireland is a beggar‘. which included words such as:
And let me be clear, as someone born and raised in Northern Ireland who now lives in London and will never return to the province, I feel sickened by the way ‘my country’ comes cap-in-hand; particularly at a time when the people in England have their own financial challenges to contend with.
After all, what opportunity is there in a nation which wants nothing more than to live off the hard work of others. It’s pathetic, and so long as there are people like Bumper [Bumper Graham, the assistant general secretary of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance] around that’s how it will stay.
It seems Greer thinks the trade unions are Northern Ireland and therefore the entire province is a beggar. But of course that doesn’t generate a headline, so he has purposely chosen (wrongly) to tar the entire place with the same brush. It is as lazy as it is dishonest. He would have been well advised to suggest the State should stop its incessant meddling in NI which is the reason so much taxpayer money gets spent there, buying off terrorists and bile filled interest groups of various stripes.
Greer likes to come over as controversial in order to get attention for his generally mediocre fayre and is the blue equivalent of the moronic Labour mouthpiece Laurie Penny (PennyRed). Needless to say, an indignant Collins took issue with Greer’s blanket description of the province being a beggar. It was after seeing this that Dale jumped in to defend the CEO of his publishing company – even though he hadn’t read Greer’s piece. The row swept back and forth, but it was Dale’s last comment on the subject (at the time of writing) that underlined the low regard in which he holds Northern Irish folk:
Perhaps there is an awareness among Northern Irish people that this is the way they are viewed by the Tory talking heads, which possibly accounts for the dismal electoral showing for anyone professing to be a Cameron Conservative. After all, why would people in the province vote for a party whose visible supporters in the media demonstrate such undisguised contempt for them?
Now I am a supporter of the Union and also believe England should have its own Parliament within it. But Dale’s wrongheaded and arrogant comments demonstrate an ignorance of the contribution Northern Ireland makes to the Union and a desire to couch everything in narrow financial terms. One wonders what CCHQ thinks of its vocal cheerleaders spouting such views.