Apparently Doug Beattie, UUP Leader who we keep being told is a modern kind of unionist has made a very unfunny joke about Edwin Poots and Mrs Poots. I have not heard the joke and I do not want to hear it.
Beattie has apologised. Is he fair game for criticism?
There is really two responses …reject the apology and milk Beatties “joke ” for political advantage (as the other parties would do) OR say Beattie has apologised and we should “move on” (the likely UUP response).
The worst phrase in politics is “we should move on”. Typically we have had two months of this from the Tories.
There is a tendency for politicians who have behaved badly or unwisely to apologise and rush to the high moral ground putting the onus on those offended to forgive and forget.
I do not buy that. And certainly not in election years. Part of the process is to accept the consequences of wrong or unwise actions. And if the offended do not want to accept the apology and would rather milk it, then that is a consequence.
Barry McElduff offended a lot of people (probably including Doug Beattie) with that Kingsmill “joke”. McElduff paid a political price (resignation) despite initial Sinn Féin “let’s move on” defence.
What exactly is fair in politics? Should a politician be reminded that they were once a member of another party? Should a politician be reminded of a criminal conviction, such as a road accident?
I do not know. But I look forward to the inevitable (????) post from the moralist on Slugger O’Toole, who have perhaps hyped Doug Beattie and liberal unionism.
If they are hesitating because they need some kinda real or false Equivelance…well there is the McElduff incident and his resignation.