Gail Walker Watch


I’d almost forgotten to do the Watch, but our Gail tackles religion in this week’s column. In particular, Ballycastle boy Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Pope Benny’s Caledonian satrap, and his threat to publicly excommunicate Scottish Catholic politicians who don’t vote the way he wants on abortion. Okay, Keith isn’t calling it excommunication, but that’s what he means. With the loopier fringe of the antis talking of “outing” MPs who take communion and vote against Keith’s wishes, this has rather more substance to it than Keith just blowing steam. See Red Squirrel for sharp commentary on the issue.

But Gail uses this as the starting point for an excursus on ingrained anti-Catholicism in British politics, which she extends to a bigotry against all believing Christians, in the tyranny exercised by the “liberal élite” who have apparently been ruling Britain for 30 years. Aye right. And she cites jibes at Mr Tony Blair and Ruth Kelly (the Opus Dei member appointed by Mr Tony to take charge of gays and Muslims) as examples of this tyranny. Ooh, those poor defenceless Cabinet ministers, innocently getting on with running the country, having to suffer the Stalinist oppression of columns by Polly Toynbee and Johann Hari. More of this please Gail.

Gail also ventures into the world of fashion – not saucy schoolgirls unfortunately, but the well-known Lower Falls Tracksuit. This is the phenomenon of working-class women going to the shops in their pyjamas and slippers. Gail has become cognisant of some mums in Short Strand leaving their kids off to school thusly attired, which proves it isn’t an urban myth. Of course it isn’t, on most working-class estates you can see the Lower Falls Tracksuit daily. Angry Steve has been talking about little else on the wireless for the past couple of weeks. But instead of asking why working-class women wear comfortable clothes, might it not be an idea to ask why fashion demands women wear uncomfortable clothes? Just a thought.


  1. ejh said,

    June 7, 2007 at 11:59 am

    I believe Kelly says she’s not actually a member of Opus Dei.

    Their headquarters is really quite close to where I live. Even by the standards of Spanish monasteries (they loved building them – and churches – on mountainsides – it’s a spooky place. Well, it is if you were brought up a Catholic.

  2. splinteredsunrise said,

    June 7, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Well, if she’s not a member then she would at least have insights into their thinking. I keep wondering whether giving Kelly the gays and Muslims beat, like putting an old Stalinist in charge of law and order, represents a keen sense of humour I wouldn’t associate with Mr Tony.

  3. Craig said,

    June 15, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    The problem with your comparison is that Ruth Kelly does not act like a Stalinist.

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