Ian Paisley: My sister put my dad on the phone and he said 'bye bye son' |  Belfast News Letter

Whenever I see another Kevin MacKenna piece on the SNP and Catholic support, I’m reminded of the joke about Ian Paisley, above, picking up a bowl of pot pourri from the WC lid, charging downstairs, opening the back door and throwing it out with the words:

We’ll have no pot pourri in this house!

I’m also reminded of the photo of me and my RC father-in-law, whose first words about me had been:

Get rid of that F****ing Proddy!’

later sitting amicably on the settee, he looking for all the world like Ian Paisley and me the very double of Gerry Adams!


At the time, I had insisted that I was no longer a Proddy but an anarcho-syndicalist. Finish that one off yourself.

I tell these two stories partly as a frustrated comedian but also to make the point that stuff about being Catholic correlating with anything much at all, these days, is old, tired and meaningless.

Nevertheless, today in the Herald, MacKenna writes:

There is a reason Catholic voters support independence. Don’t take them for granted‘,

before going on to report utterly evidence-free that Catholic support for the SNP is under threat:

The SNP’s proposed Gender Recognition reforms and Hate Crime legislation also pose challenges for authentic Christians. 

Typically unreliable, he writes:

Even a cursory inspection of the Twitter accounts of young SNP activists reveals an alarming degree of hostility to Catholic schools and any elected officials who dare to confess their Christian convictions. 

As often before he has nothing. I know a few sort-of Catholics, not to mention lapsed ones like my in-laws. They never bring up the GRA or the Hate Crime legislation. Actually, they never mention being Catholic at all except in jokes. All that remains of any identification for them is ‘the Celtic

Identification with Catholicism was at 16% in the 2011 Census and a 2017 survey put it at only 13%. In sharp contrast, identification with No religion went up from 37% to 48%:

Click to access Religion_Topic_Report.pdf

We’ll have no anarcho-syndicalism in this house!

Ian Paisley: My sister put my dad on the phone and he said 'bye bye son' |  Belfast News Letter