DUP have been Boris Johnson’s useful Brexit idiots

Posted By: October 25, 2019

DUP have been Boris Johnson’s useful Brexit idiots
William Scholes. Irish News. Belfast. Friday,  October 25, 2019

AS the DUP continue to reel from being outmaneuvered by a man who can’t even maneuver a comb through his hair, my thoughts turned this week to gullible fools and Sherlock Holmes.

In an entertaining adventure called The Red-Headed League, the great detective is called upon to investigate what is essentially Arthur Conan Doyle’s version of the useful idiot story.

Some bank robbers want to steal gold by digging a tunnel into a bank vault, but to get to their prize they need access to an adjoining pawnbroker.

To distract its owner, a dozy fella by the name of Jabez Wilson, and ensure they can break into the vault undetected, the robbers come up with a ruse which takes advantage of his vanity and credulity, not to mention his eagerness for financial compensation.

The criminals invent a society called the Red-Headed League and take out a newspaper advertisement with the rather improbable offer of well paid work to men with red hair.

Wilson, who happens to be flame-haired, is encouraged to apply by a member of the gang who has taken a job in his pawnbroker shop.

Lo and behold, the none-too-bright Wilson gets the post. In exchange for £4 a week, he is required to leave his shop for several hours each day, go to an office and copy the Encyclopedia Britannica.

While he’s away, the bad guys work on their tunnel. Wilson is oblivious to what is going on under his nose, and only calls on Holmes’s services after he arrives one afternoon for his daily encyclopedia transcribing session and finds a note saying the Red-Headed League has been dissolved.

Holmes quickly works out that Wilson, a useful idiot, has been duped and catches the robbers as they break into the vault.

It has become elementary in these turbulent times to say that there is nothing that cannot be seen through the prism of Brexit.

For the Red-Headed League, read the Vote Leave campaign headed by Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings; for useful, gullible fool Jabez Wilson, read the DUP.

Like Wilson in Conan Doyle’s story, the DUP has had its vanity appealed to and its importance puffed up.

And, like the hapless sap in The Red-Headed League, it has been dumped at the exact moment it outlived its usefulness.

But where the Sherlock Holmes tale is a clever story with a neat and satisfying ending, the particular Brexit ‘we’ll control our own borders and get our blue passports back’ fantasy the DUP chased down a dead-end tunnel has all the makings of a calamity for Northern Ireland.

Having facilitated Johnson and Cummings to the extent that they paid for a Vote Leave advert in a London newspaper – promoting the Red-Headed League would, in hindsight, have been more sensible—and enabled some adventurous political donations along the way, the DUP must have thought they were fully embedded in a project that was aimed at Number 10 as well as leaving the EU.

Rather pathetically—given the vitriol heaped upon David Trimble and others—the DUP seems to now be casting itself as the keeper of the Good Friday Agreement flame.

At least I think that’s what Sammy Wilson, the thinking Brexiteer’s idea of a thinker, was guldering in the House of Commons this week.

Those who remember the DUP boasting about how they had “fixed” the Good Friday Agreement at St Andrews – when it carved up Stormont with Sinn Féin – may be more than a little confused by this turn of events.

The heroic absurdity of Monday’s antics in Stormont’s assembly chamber were an abject reminder of just how toe-curlingly awful the whole enterprise is.

It looked like a Ray Harryhausen stop-motion version of a real assembly, though somehow less life-like.

Does this present Stormont, or what remains of it, need consigned to a sadducee’s grave?