Sunday, 16 May 2021

A Young-Earth Creationist Loon to Lead Northern Ireland Assembly!

Edwin Poots, Democratic Unionist Party leader and Young-Earth Creationist
"Earth was created in about 4 BCE!"
Edwin Poots: Who is the new leader of the DUP? - BBC News

The Democratic Unionist Party, founded by Ian Paisley, has elected Edwin Poots, a fundamentalist Presbyterian Creationist, as its leader. As the leader of the largest party in the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly, he could, subject to formal approval by the Legislative Assembly, become First Minister in the power-sharing Executive in which, in line with the Good Friday Agreement, the leader of the second largest party, currently Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill, is Deputy First Minister.

However, in what would be a break with tradition, Poots has indicated that he wishes to separate the roles of First Minister and leader of the DUP, so may nominate a First Minister from amongst his colleagues. If so, as leader of the DUP, he will retain considerable political power and influence in the Province.

As so often in Irish politics, religion is set to poison the political process in Northern Ireland and threaten the Good Friday agreement and the peace and stability of the province, hastened in that process by the idiotic vote in 2016 to leave the European Union.

Poots, despite being an educated adult, is on record as saying he believes Earth is a little over 6,000 years old. He believes this because this date was once calculated by Bishop Ussher of Armagh, from his reading of the Bible. It is not based on any scientific data, all of which shows Earth to be about 3.8 billion years old. Presumably, on the same basis, Poots believes in a literal 6-day creation, Adam and Eve and Noah's Ark. He gets this from a book which endores slavery and second-class status for women, the authors of which thought Earth was small and flat, had a dome over it, and was at the centre of a Universe which ran on magic!

He first became prominent in Northern Ireland politics when, as the DUP member of the Stormont Parliament for Lagan Valley, he opposed the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, but accepted a ministerial post as Minister for Culture and Arts, in the newly-formed power-sharing Executive under Ian Paisley with Martin McGuiness for Sinn Féin as Deputy First Minister. He also opposed reform of the then highly politicised Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), to form the officially politically non-aligned Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) - regarded as a key reform to allow policing in the province to be with the consent of both communities.

As a proud socially-conservative fundamentalist Christian, he opposes a woman's right to choose, gay couples adopting children and, as Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety he banned gay men from donating blood. He also expressed a desire to ban blood donations from anyone who had had sex with an African.

He is also strongly opposed to coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions and, without presenting any evidence, claimed transmission rates were six times higher in Nationalist (predominantly Catholic) areas of Northern Ireland than in Unionist (predominantly Protestant) areas. There is in fact no evidence to support that claim since data in infections is not collated on the basis of religion or political persuasion.

He is also strongly opposed to the Brexit arrangements under which there is a de facto customs border down the Irish Sea, with different customs rules for Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, keeping NI in a de facto customs union with the Republic and the rest of the EU. This was the issue that prompted Arlene Foster's resignation when she lost the confidence of DUP MLA colleagues who felt she had been too compliant over the Brexit arrangements Boris Johnson had signed up to. In February this year, as Minister for Agriculture and the Environment, Poots withdrew the staff carrying out the Brexit checks at the port of Larne as part of these customs arrangements. The alternative to the border down the Irish Sea is border posts and checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic - a breach of international law under the Anglo-Irish Treaty as part of the Good Friday Agreement, under which goods, capital and people can move freely across the border.

In the 2016 referendum, Northern Ireland voted by a large majority to remain within the European Union while the DUP was in favour of leaving.

Poots is no stranger to the charge of corruption, of which his predecessor, Arlene Foster was also no stranger. Foster famously arranged a Renewable Energy Scheme when Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, with minimal cost controls, under which anyone could install a wood-burning heater in, for example, an out-house or barn, and claim huge sums of money to buy fuel for it - far in excess of the actual cost of the wood-pellet fuel - a generous facility under the guise of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, from which very many Unionist-supporting land-owners made small fortunes at NI taxpayers' expense.

This was the issue, and Foster's refusal to allow an enquiry into the scandal, that cause the previous Executive to collapse when Martin McGuiness resigned as Deputy First minister after an election had put the DUP within one seat of losing their majority in the Legislative Assembly. Under the Good Friday Agreement, Foster was also required to resign and the Power-Sharing executive collapsed. Fearful of an election they they could well have lost, Foster refused to call another election and Westminster re-imposed direct rule on the province.

Poots had been lobbying Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, on which his son, Luke, was a councillor, in support of planning applications by friends and associates. Luke Poots voted on these applications without declaring an interest, when he should have absented himself from any votes related to the applications. In effect, Poots Snr. was acting as a conduit for paid-for favours with Poots Jnr. delivering the favours. Luke Poots did not seek re-election to the council in 2019. Both he and Edwin Poots, like Foster before them, deny any breach of the rules or abuses of power.

Together with the Brexit debacle and the dwindling of support for the old sectarian and casually corrupt politics of the DUP, there is now a distinct possibility that the regressive Protestant majority in the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly could fall to a progressive Sinn Féin-led coalition in a future election, followed by a referendum on re-union with the Republic, for which there is growing popular support.

Come that day, the 1920's creation of the British Conservative and Unionist Party and the Protestant Orange Lodges under Carson of "A Protestant State for a Protestant People", for long the slogan of Ulster Unionism, will finally be laid to rest. The selection as DUP leader of someone who apparently find it difficult to assimilate scientific evidence and base his policies on that evidence, can only hasten that day, especially as the Republic simultaneously turns its back on religion and becomes increasingly secular and progressive, and where Sinn Féin now has the same number of seats in the Dáil (37) as Fianna Fáil and is the leading party in the governing coalition.

Hopefully, Poots, or whoever he nominates to be First Minister on his behalf, will be the last Protestant leader of Carson's Protestant State and the island of Ireland will become a Secular State for a Secular People.

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