Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP leader, rejecter of the peace process – AN SIONNACH FIONN – News Block

Here we go again. Ten years of successive leaders in the Democratic Unionist Party being hailed by the usual media suspects in Ireland and the UK as the “moderate” face of the party, politicians with whom the Dublin and London governments could “do business” barring the brief tenure of Edwin Poots. It started with Peter Robinson and his, um, profitable alliance with the Ulster Unionist Party’s attacks on the peace process, and his outreach to “garden center Protestants” and “unicorn Catholics” never amounted to anything more than the desperate turn of a few desperate pro-union journalists.

Then came the rise of defector-in-chief Arlene Foster, the supposed FW de Klerk of Fermanagh unionism, who surprised no one as being more interested in killing hungry crocodiles and keeping community tensions at a maximum (while facilitating the plans of her colleagues and associates to keep other things at, uh, high temperatures…).

Now, after the bizarre self-inflicted stabbing of Poots and the beating of the knees by Paisley’s supporters, we have the suave Jeffrey Donaldson lined up for the top spot. And, of course, we have the spate of newspaper articles and broadcasts predicting a new era (third, fourth, or fifth?) of unionist outreach to northern nationalist voters. Or constitutionally unaligned voters (yeah right!). Or liberal pro-union voters. Or whatever you’re having yourself.

Of course, to predict all this you have to ignore some inconvenient bits of history about the Lagan Valley MP. The bits in which he and his followers brought down Edwin Poots on the basis of his implied assent to Irish language equality in the Six Counties through promised intervention by the British government at a future date. Or the bits in which Donaldson has firmly indicated that destroying Stormont is a price worth paying to protest the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol.

You could go back a bit further, to the 2016 Brexit referendum and its aftermath, when Jeffrey Donaldson was, and still is, the main Brexit supporter in the Democratic Unionist Party. A keen supporter of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union without a deal, with the added benefit of the reimposition of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Or take his entry into the DUP as a defector from the rival Ulster Unionist Party, where he was the leader of the organization’s reactionary wing, agitating against required compliance with the Good Friday Agreement and the Irish-British peace process in general. Until he jumped ship to the hardline DUP, having worked with others to ruin the electoral prospects of his former party from within.

Then we could return to his early steps in Unionist politics, a member of the Orange Order, a soldier in the notorious Ulster Defense Regiment, and aide to another political renegade, the infamous Enoch Powell, the Conservative Party great who predicted rivers of blood in response to immigration to Britain and who became a lauded political refugee in the empire’s last outpost.

After all, is Jeffrey Donaldson moderate? Sure…

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