There is just one thing missing from Peter Robinson’s retro-1960s Outreach to Catholics…….a Catholic.
No Unionist Outreach is complete without a Catholic. Back in the 1960s, the Chairman of QUB Unionist association was a Catholic called Louis Boyle. Although occasionally paraded on local TV News, he resigned from the party complaining that his nomination to stand in (I think) South Down was blocked by the Orange Order. He was Terence O’Neill’s Catholic.
G B Newe was Faulkner’s Catholic and appointed to the Norn Iron Government in the aftermath of Internment without Trial.
John Gorman was Trimble’s Catholic. Actually I quite liked him. But a background of Portora School, “Irish” Guards Officer in WW2 and RUC District Inspector is hardly typical.
On the other hand, it is impossible to like Conor Cruise O’Brien who was Robert McCartney’s Catholic. In the 1970s, I was one of a number of SDLP members (including Paddy Devlin and Ivan Cooper) who walked out on The Cruiser bringing us fraternal greetings from the Irish Labour Party. In fairness he was not a very convincing unionist.
Which……brings up the question of Peter Robinson’s Catholic. There have always been Catholics who believed in the so called union…..but those of a conservative disposition seem more likely to be in the Alliance Party or even a newly activated Conservative Party than actually feel attracted to Robinson’s DUP. I suppose that “Lord” Ballyedmond could be a runner.
But make no mistake……Robbo is itching to call a press conference to unveil a Catholic as a DUP member. It would be cheating to import a catholic from Poland, the Czech Republic or even England…….worth pointing out perhaps that the UKIP MEP who attended the TUV Conference last month is a Liverpool Catholic…Paul Nuttall.
If I was involved in head-hunting political talent and nurturing it….Id be on the lookout for a Catholic so that I could phone Peter Robinson and say “Ive got one!!” I suspect the hunt is already on.
If I was putting together a dossier, Id look out for someone who said things like “the 12th July is a day for all of us”. Or sat around reading Erskine may fora precedent on whether Jim Wells MLA should be censured.