Peter Hain, with his arrogant drawl, perma-tan and threats of poor governance staked a formidable claim to be the worst, but Shaun Woodward has just about pipped him to the post with his constant scheming, fear-mongering and politicking.
Over at Hand of History, Ivor highlights the minister’s latest direct intervention in the Northern Ireland election campaign. He accuses David Cameron of ’recklessness’ and ’playing politics’ by setting set up an electoral alliance to contest seats here at Thursday’s poll.
The irony is that while the Tories are actually seeking a mandate from people in Ulster in order to represent them, as part of a Conservative government, Woodward’s party refuse to stand, and prefers a more underhand approach.
Insofar as ‘playing politics’ has a negative connotation, surely it fits Labour’s schemes, rather than David Cameron’s direct approach? David Trimble certainly suggests as much, in the letter to Gordon Brown which Ivor reproduces.
Here are a few facts. Shaun Woodward virulently opposes people in Northern Ireland having a say in national politics. He has gone to extraordinary lengths to insinuate that any meaningful democratic entitlement here is a threat to the peace process.
Woodward has consistently attempted to undermine Ulster Unionists since they struck a deal with the Conservatives. To this end he has abused his position in order to bolster the DUP and Sinn Féin. The UUP’s exclusion at Hillsborough and subsequent attempts to smear it as ‘anti-agreement’ are a clear example.
The Labour party and Woodward are committed to maintaining Northern Ireland’s semi-detached status within the United Kingdom. The DUP is aiding and abetting that agenda, for selfish, anti-British reasons, in order to safeguard its stranglehold over ’unionist’ politics.
Unionists in Northern Ireland have an increasingly clear choice when they go to the polls on Thursday.
Do they have a genuine allegiance to the United Kingdom as a political entity and a will to participate in its governance? That is what the Conservatives and Unionists are asking them to do.
Or is their British identity simply a mark of difference from Catholic neighbours? Have they no special interest in UK politics, so long as a united Ireland is kept at arm’s length? The DUP offers a convivial electoral home for any voter with that outlook.
Whatever the arguments about economic policy, no self-respecting unionist can support Labour’s attitude to Northern Ireland, as it is articulated by Shaun Woodward. To use dissident violence as a pretext to deny people here a say in national politics is an absolute disgrace.
The man despises Northern Ireland and he despises genuine unionism with venom.