Saturday 17 February 2018

Wannabe Tanaiste Adams still stuck in a time warp

Norman Tebbit should not be lectured by smug spokespersons for people who blew up his wife.

Norman Tebbit's 'jibe' at Martin McGuinness made headlines
Norman Tebbit's 'jibe' at Martin McGuinness made headlines

Eilis O'Hanlon

Norman Tebbit is never going to win awards for sensitivity. Spitting Image recognised that back in the Eighties, when the satirical puppet show portrayed him as a sinister cross between Mephistopheles and Attila the Hun. Gerry Adams certainly isn't going out on a limb, therefore, when he criticises the former Tory bigwig for suggesting, as the headlines put it, that dissidents should shoot Martin McGuinness in the back for toasting the Queen during President Higgins' state visit to Britain.

For what it's worth, Tebbit didn't say it quite like that. The BBC was nearer to the mark when it described the comments as a "jibe". An off-colour, inappropriate and (biggest offence of all) not very funny jibe, but a jibe nonetheless. He suggested dissidents might shoot McGuinness in the back, before adding: "We can but hope."

As responses to your wife being permanently disabled in an IRA bombing, those four words are definitely at the milder end of the spectrum; but that didn't stop Gerry Adams from making political capital out of it last week, popping up on Newstalk to insist that politicians across these islands should come together to reject Norm's comments.

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