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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Are the DUP trying to collapse the UK Government as well?

If any of the money promised for Northern Ireland as part of the deal with the DUP has not been paid over yet, then the Treasury needs to seriously consider cancelling the payment altogether.

Voting in the House of Commons last night clearly showed that the DUP have walked away from this agreement and are actively engaged in undermining Theresa May and her government.

Having brought down the government in Stormont due to their intransigence Arlene Foster's party are now trying to do the same to the UK.

Those of us who have studied history will remember the extreme measures that Unionists were prepared to take to sabotage efforts to bring Home Rule to Ireland. This included inciting mutiny in the British Army, an offence which should have led to prison sentences or at times of war, summary execution, but was allowed to pass unpunished.

I am sure that modern day unionists would not even consider such measures, but they are clearly trying to get their pound of flesh and, unlike Shylock, they don't care if blood and other entrails come with it.

Frankly, a confidence and supply agreement with these people was never going to work at the same time as the UK Government is negotiating our exit from the EU. The DUP do not seem to care if the Good Friday Agreement is wrecked and violence returns to their own backyard.

They are a party with minority support, even in Northern Ireland, who are used to getting their own way irrespective of the consequences. It is time they were put in their place.

One other question arises from last night's voting however. As the Independent reports, all eight of the party's MPs present in the Commons abstained on three votes, and even joined forces with Labour to support one amendment relating to child poverty.

Despite that, the Labour amendment failed because the so-called official opposition could not get all its MPs into the lobbies to support it. According to Hansard, one of the absent MPs was Jeremy Corbyn. As a result an opportunity missed to defeat the Government on a key policy.

Vince Cable took enough stick for his absence on a vote over Brexit, perhaps Corbyn deserves similar opprobrium for not showing up last night.
If I were to be in the Government, I'd have a few short bills legalising abortion in Northern Ireland, equal marrriage, maybe an Irish langauage bill and perhaps serious control over the marches with the full cost of policing falling on the organisers. I would make it clear that these are ready to roll with government time available to rush them through. If the DUP are so keen on the union then they accept that there are social consequences to this posture.
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