Thursday, January 31, 2008

So Many Mistakes, So Little Political Capital

For a time, Peter Hain was at the center of Northern Ireland's politics, working day and night to bring the DUP and Sinn Fein to the bargaining table and then, into Stormont.

Apparently, that would be the last thing that he did properly.

Awarded the plum cabinet post of Secretary of State for Works and Pensions, and Secretary of State for Wales, Mr. Hain appeared to be riding high on the pig's back after he left Northern Ireland. Last week, Mr. Hain resigned amidst allegations of shady dealings and questionable donations.

An innocent mistake, according to Mr. Hain, to accept over one hundred thousand pounds in campaign donations and not declare it. Besides, there's all sorts of strange goings-on regarding Labour and proxy donations, so it's not as if he's the only one engaging in illegal funding. Before long, however, the excuses ran out. For the good of the Labour Party, Mr. Hain fell on his political sword and left his post.

His ignominy is not yet complete. Now the Law Lords have decreed that Mr. Hain's decision to appoint two members of the Orange Order to a commission that was meant to regulate the Orange Order's sectarian parades was not the sort of thing a reasonable person would have done. In other words, Mr. Hain was a feckin' eejit.

There are now two openings on the Parade Commission to be filled. The Orange Order would prefer that the commission be abolished completely, as they don't like anyone telling them where they can spew their bigotry since they've been at it for hundreds of years and they like things the way they are. Residents of Portadown's Garvaghy Road, a Catholic area, were never invited to join the commission by Mr. Hain and would appreciate a bid this time around.

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