As the health crisis worsens in the north of Ireland, DUP MP Sammy Wilson has called on Boris Johnson to build a bridge between the north and Scotland. According to Wilson, this would help Johnson “win back the trust” of the DUP. But the response from people living in the north is clear – it’s healthcare that matters, not bridges.
On 15 December, secretary of state for Northern Ireland Julian Smith MP announced he was beginning talks with parties in the north to get Stormont (parliament in the north) “up and running”. Since it closed its doors in January 2017, talks to reopen Stormont have collapsed. And people were very clear that they want the health service fixed before anything else:
Make the nurses and other public services staff in NI your top priority- the NHS is in crisis like never before and if you have nurses striking it needs a proper government response @fionadevlin64 @Dkell999 @Colleen75187318
— Phil Noyes #SafeStaffingSavesLives (@ShirtyPhil) December 16, 2019
But for some reason, the health service doesn’t seem to be prime concern for Wilson. Instead, Wilson wants a bridge. This left some people on social media almost speechless:
Checking the date was the first thing I did too, as I thought 'they couldn't have, they didn't, shit they did, they actually went there' 🤣
— Nigel Dodds Lost His Seat (@Sal_feeko) December 15, 2019
But Alliance Party MEP Naomi Long was much more to the point:
No, Sammy. You're the one who needs to build a bridge…and get over it.
It's a nonsense project.
We need investment in health, education and infrastructure not this giant unionist umbilical cord. https://t.co/TH5dfJjpdj
— Naomi Long MEP (@naomi_long) December 15, 2019
Dose of reality
Possibly the DUP is still not listening to people despite unionism losing its majority in Belfast, Brussels, and London in just over two years. Unionism has lost its majority in Westminster to Irish republicanism for the first time ever. And in doing so, the DUP lost two of its ten seats, including that of its commons leader Nigel Dodds. Its vote dropped by over 5%.
Voters are understandably concerned about the state of their health service. Not least because over 40% of inpatients had to wait more than a year to be admitted to hospital according to figures for the second quarter of 2019. But for some reason, this doesn’t seem to be to the fore for Wilson.
The point needs to be hammered home
Voters in the north are moving away from the DUP, yet the DUP is still not listening. There are only so many more losses it can sustain before it becomes totally irrelevant. There can be little of greater importance to people than health, yet some in the DUP don’t seem to grasp that. Its future electoral losses could be even greater.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?