Edwin Poots’ departure as DUP leader in Northern Ireland after just 20 days means the party is heading towards self-destruction.
This is according to commentator Joe Brolly, who spoke after members of the DUP have turned against their new leader.
It was after he appointed Paul Givan to become prime minister there despite their protests.
Party members had wanted Mr Poots to refrain from proposing a name, due to their anger at the UK government agreeing to introduce an Irish language law in the North if Stormont didn’t.
Mr. Brolly told The Hard Shoulder the raison d’être of the DUP and its approach to the problems are outdated.
“I’ve been making this point for a long time – DUP is cult.
“He was created in the image of Ian Paisley, and it was a man’s megalomania, a man’s look at the world.
“But like all sects, sooner or later, it destroys itself because by definition it does not adapt to a changing world.
“And that’s what we see with the DUP, they’re trapped in this ‘Never, never, never’ and ‘Ulster is British’ fantasy and all that.
“All social issues – gay blood being an abomination – and all the things we know about.
“And he just collapsed.”
“Very little room for maneuver”
Mr Brolly said former DUP leader Arlene Foster was sacked for abstaining in a vote to ban gay conversion therapy.
But he said such a vote “was only necessary because it’s something the DUP has historically strongly supported.
“This crazy idea that gay people can be converted by this pseudo-science.
“So, because she abstained, in the slightest move towards some sort of reasonable secular policy, she was ruthlessly removed from office.
“And then Edwin accepts an Irish Language Act, which after all was approved in 2006 to get Stormont up and running.
“And he is ruthlessly deposed – and Edwin would be seen as the old-fashioned evangelical embodiment of DUP.
“So you see there is very little wiggle room here, and what you see is the DUP death spiral.”
Mr Brolly said that another interesting facet was the inner workings of the party itself.
“The other thing I find interesting is that they absolutely hate each other.
“The joy they felt at Arlene’s destruction – one minute they were posing for pictures with her smiling … the next minute they gleefully stabbed her in the back.”
And he said that the DUP was created in a different time, for a different purpose.
“You have to understand: this is not a political project, it is a project of personal interest.
“When Ian Paisley said ‘Never, never, never’ and ‘We will spill blood to keep Ulster British’ … it was in the midst of unrest.
“The unrest is gone – the North is the most peaceful country, in terms of domestic crime, in Western Europe.
“So instead of taking advantage of the fact that we have the best of both worlds, with Brexit for example … what happened now is that they broke free from the old dogmas of ‘Never , never never ‘.
“The reality is that ‘No’ is the only safe word, and therefore there will be no progress.”
The future of DUP?
Mr Brolly said he saw a division in the future of the party.
“It is difficult to see how the DUP can occupy any modern space in politics.
“Therefore, I think what will inevitably happen is that it will split into the hard-line evangelical party of which it is traditionally the core.
“And then the other party will have to decide ‘Are we running with the party just to get votes?’
“It’s all reaching a tipping point now, because next year they won’t be the main part anymore.
“And then they will have to face their own mortality.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said earlier the DUP revolt was “deeply destabilizing” for the region.
He said Current affairs lunch: “They are deeply destabilizing for an executive and government in Northern Ireland who need the opposite of that.
“The last thing Northern Ireland needs right now is short-term elections.
“There is to be an election next May, but there is a lot of work to be done by then.”
Main Image: Former All-Ireland Gaelic football winner Joe Brolly is seen at Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland for a public consultation on organ donation in 2013. Photo by: Paul Faith / PA Archive / PA Images