Protestant fundamentalist and Young Earth Creationist
The Young Earth Creationist and fundamentalist Christian, Jim Wells, who was appointed Health Minister in the Northern Ireland Power-Sharing Executive only last September (see Loon At The Top), has been forced to resign over remarks made in his campaign to become the DUP member for South Down in the Westminster Parliament. Wells had told a meeting that children brought up in households with same sex partnerships were much more likely to be neglected. The meeting was interrupted by uproar from the audience.
He is later alleged to have repeated his remarks during a conversation with a lesbian couple during door-to-door canvassing. Wells later tried to go into the couple's house to apologise but they refused to let him in or to speak to him. The daughter of one of the women involved, a former staunch DUP supporter, later said her mother would no longer be voting for the party. Although expressing regret that his bigotry had caused offense, whilst not withdrawing the allegation, Wells cited his wife's serious illness as the reason for his resignation, not his politically embarrassing bigotry.
His remarks have been reported to the police who are examining them to determine whether an offence may have been committed under existing anti-hate and equal opportunities legislation.
Wells was appointed Health Minister despite having no scientific or medical qualifications, having a degree in geography and a diploma in town planning, and despite a long history of opposition to abortion and LGBT rights. Belief that illness is caused by demons and is God's way of punishing people, and belief that the world runs on magic and was created just a few thousand years ago, was not considered a barrier to being made head of the highest spending department in the Northern Ireland and being responsible for the health of 1.8 million people, with spending decisions depending on understanding complex scientific data and competing medical advice. His department has spent £39,000 fighting legal challenges to it's refusal to accept blood donations from gay men, despite this prohibition being lifted in the rest of the UK.
DUP leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson, a former radical Protestant extremist himself, expressed regret over his resignation and said he would have had his full support had he decided not to resign. In fact, far from disagreeing with Wells' views, DUP policy is to oppose LGBT equality such as same-sex marriages and adoptions and it even opposes blood donations from gay men.
The DUP has a long history of hypocritical bigotry, especially over sex and sexuality. In 2008, Christian fundamentalist Iris Robinson, wife of First Minister Peter Robinson, herself a leading DUP NI Assembly member and Westminster MP for Strangford, launched a blistering attack on homosexuality saying government "has the responsibility to uphold the laws of God". Two years later, aged 60, she was forced to resign when details of her extramarital affair with a 19 year-old youth, and her attempt to use her position to obtain £50,000 for him from property speculators in return for her assistance with obtaining planning permission for them, was leaked to the press. The Robinsons were dubbed the Swiss Family Robinson when it was revealed that they had received over £570,000 in salaries and expenses in a year.
If, as expected, the Westminster General Election on 7th May results in a hung parliament with no party having an overall majority of seats, one of the groups the Conservative Party will almost certainly seek to make an alliance with is the DUP which normally returns the largest number of MPs for Northern Ireland. Before the rise of Ian Paisley's DUP which has replaced the old Unionist Party as the main Northern Ireland Protestant party, the Conservative Party, which used to call itself the Conservative and Unionist Party, had close links with Ulster Unionists who traditionally sat on the Tory benches in Westminster. Tories never sought election for Ulster constituencies because the Unionist Party was regarded as their NI branch.
As Nick Clegg remarked, "the mask has slipped". We have now had a glimpse of the sort of people the Tories will be keen to jump into bed with if they need them to cling on to power. Meanwhile David Cameron continues to whip up anti-Scots fears amongst the little Englander nationalists he is struggling to win back from UKIP, having abandoned any hope of ever getting any significant support from a Scotland which is now a virtual Tory-free zone. Tories also look set to be massively rejected in Wales.
We now have the prospect of Britain being governed by a motley collection of little Englander nationalist isolationists, fundamentalist Protestant Christian bigots, xenophobic racists, assorted spivs, and upper class English snobs with an over-inflated sense of privilege and entitlement to govern, and a party in hock to merchant bankers, hedge fund managers and freeloading tax-avoiders, hawking policies and privileges to the highest bidders.
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