Being wrenched from my bed this morning in order to work when the rest of the population seem to be off until Wednesday was not a propitious start to the day. To compound my misery, the rain is falling in torrents, my workmates are predicting the coldest January on record with temperatures falling below -10C and Gregory Campbell has offered his synopsis of devolution in Northern Ireland over on Slugger.
Mick notes Campbell’s distinctly cheerless tone which a desultory deferral to flawed party-line does little to disguise. The DUP MP is fairly openly derisive of his leader’s relationship with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
“Who would seek to defend the photos that give the mistaken impression that not only is political business being done with Sinn Fein but that enjoyment is being had while doing it?”
Of course such a statement presupposes that Ian Paisley is not having a wonderful time cosying up to Sinn Fein and his former IRA commanding deputy. I have little doubt that Campbell does not genuinely hold this misapprehension, but is rather delivering a huffy message that the Chuckle Brothers image is becoming counter-productive amongst the DUP’s grass-roots. Paisley is patently having a ball and has displayed beyond doubt that personal aggrandisement is his chief motivation.
Perhaps the most notable characteristic of Campbell’s statement is how perfunctory his attempts to claim the first six months of devolution as a success are in reality. In fact his scepticism about the entire project is fairly transparent. The usual DUP claptrap claiming credit for forcing republicans to decommission is trotted out without particular conviction. But the tenor of the message is hardly uplifting.
“We have another 12 months to demonstrate the tangible improvements that this form of devolution offers, we must not waste the opportunity for this and future generations.”
As an accepted barometer of opinion from the DUP rank and file Campbell’s disillusionment may well be more serious and endemic than the party has acknowledged thus far.