But not for Jim Allister. For him roads are political – and he can spot an anti-unionist, or even anti-Protestant conspiracy where others merely see asphalt.
Take his recent press release (on his private web site, but not yet on the TUV’s):
“The A5, upon which there has been no business plan prepared nor economic appraisal conducted, is being pushed ahead, not because of meeting a prioritised need, but to headline a cross-border project. The A5 project has more to do with opening up speedy access to Donegal than finding the best way to meet local needs.”Now, given the number of unionists who have holiday homes in Donegal, it might seem that the A5 is actually something that unionist voters might approve of.
Ah, but no. The real beneficiaries will be southerners, apparently:
“I do not see why the best of working farms, which have been the livelihoods of families for generations, have to be sacrificed to give travellers from Dublin swift transport to Donegal”.But even where the conspiracy lacks a cross-border dimension, Allister sees a ‘sectarian’ dimension:
“I am appalled by the route suggested for the Dungiven bypass. Here a wider sweep around the town than necessary has been taken, resulting in the truncating of several farms. Is this in order to avoid the more direct route which would disrupt the GAA facilities? I suspect it is and that, again, the political direction of the department is playing its part in choosing to destroy some Protestant farms in order to preserve the GAA facilities.”If such an accusation was true, it would be appalling and should lead to the immediate sacking of the minister responsible. In essence, Allister is accusing a whole department, its planners, the whole planning process, and numerous other involved actors, of deliberately trying to destroy farms on the basis of the farmers’ religion! But it isn't true, of course, and Allister has no evidence whatsoever to support his bizarre claims.
Allister’s determination to find anti-Protestant bias in every act by a department with a Sinn Féin minister is reaching levels approaching oddness. It is a sign of his political immaturity and political destructiveness. That such a proportion of the unionist electorate vote for him and his party is a poor reflection of their intelligence. His politics are the politics of the cul de sac, and those who follow him may have cause to regret their decisions if he ever actually achieves his ambition of exercising real power and influence.