Ireland is burning! Part 2

In part 1 of the Ireland blogs, the ramifications of a Conservative/DUP deal was looked at and deemed impossible. But today (26/06/17) it went ahead anyway. All I can think of is this song

MPs from all the major parties have argued that abortion should be provided on the NHS in England for Northern Irish women, in an amendment to the Queen’s speech, to throw a shot across the bows over the Conservative plans to ally with the anti-gay, anti-abortion, creationist, Loyalist (pro British so with close links to the terrorist organisations the UDA who gunned down Colin Horner last month among many others and the UVF who even last year were still trying their bully boy tacticsDUP party of Northern Ireland, despite the fact that this WILL lead to a constitutional crisis.

  1. Both parties are being taken to court over this, and quite right too.
  2. To add to this, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney announced that the Irish Republic will veto any B*exit deal if the UK does not ‘fully’ protect the Good Friday Agreement.
  3. And that deal seems to be moving closerwe may know the outcome by Tuesday (27/06/17). This is barely two days before deadline to confirm the devolved government power-sharing impasse at Stormont (NI government.) I
  4. It’s actually come a day early! (26/06/17) Under the so-called “confidence and supply” arrangement, the DUP will support the ‘government’ in key votes, such as on the Queen’s Speech and Budgets, which would threaten the Conservatives’ survival if they were lost. But this does not mean the Conservatives are guaranteed any support in any other votes. While Labour have demanded details of how much the deal will cost UK taxpayers and what financial promises have been made- and yes, the details should all be in the public domain. (Labour MP Andrew Gwynne has been quoted as saying the deal has cost £1 billion.) And Corbyn had this to say:

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What many Irish are going to be worried about now is how this affects peace in Ireland.

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And surely the other devolved governments are wondering where their money is, as per the Barnett Formula- discussed in last week’s blog. In fact Secretary of State and Conservative MP for Scotland, David Mundell agrees:

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I can’t see this ending well.

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The Speaker’s office says Damian Green is announcing the DUP deal in Parliament, not May. She will not sign the deal or defend it in Parliament. Sam McBride, political editor for the Belfast Telegraph, has released the following document, which appears to be the agreement the Conservatives and the DUP have reached. What I am not seeing is

  1. any mention of the Good Friday Agreement
  2. or any similar provision for Sinn Féin or the other political parties.
  3. or any mention on what policies the DUP are compromising on to reach this agreement. There’s already word that the Conservatives are having to backtrack on the pensions triple lock and winter fuel payments to make this deal agreeable to the DUP. Looking at the DUP‘s past history I opine they’ve made no concessions at all
  4. nor should they with their track record have sole control of that amount of money– their ‘ash for cash’ scandal actually gave Martyn McGuinness little choice but to resign in the first place, causing the breakdown of the Stormont power sharing/ neutrality. The fact they may be allowed keep their anti-gay, anti-abortion and creationist rhetoric and policies is reprehensible too.

Then again as we saw in week one of the post election blogs, most of the Conservative cabinet are anti-gay and equal rights too.

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What I am seeing is a lot of money change hands with the DUP having free rein over where and how it is spent; and nothing on what the DUP are giving in return. Perhaps the money is long overdue (which is likely). But this arrangement will please almost nobody. And also the point must be made- is part of it access to additional borrowing (ie. debt Stormont must repay), or simply a cheque? 

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And here is the document the DUP and Conservative representatives signed (added comments by LabourMuse HQ). Some very sneaky stuff in here indeed, but the Conservatives have won nothing but 10 intermittent votes, with NO agreement from the DUP to tone down their anti human rights or religionist mandate.

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We also cannot forget the DUP‘s position on B*exit, which is out only to benefit them. Can’t criticise that too much, for after all, that is exactly what the Conservatives, and by EU definition, the UK are also doing. 

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Here is May’s statement on the agreement. Clear as mud. At least she mentions the ‘Belfast Agreement’ (which is the same as the Good Friday Agreement) and is under the impression that only having a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the DUP will do that agreement no harm. I guess we’ll see about that.

To me, this deal completely p*sses all over the GFA. Jonathan Powell, the ex- head British negotiator to Northern Ireland, agrees, though he was more polite about it.

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The DUP have been discussed in the previous post election blogs (part 1 and part 2) as well as the Ireland blog. And the irony of this deal even becoming a thing is not lost on political commentators- as the accusations by the Conservatives towards Corbyn and Labour have come to pass: but by the former; not by Labour. But basic Psychology shows people are prone to accusing others of things they want/are going to to themselves.

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Here is Sinn Féin’s reaction to the agreement. While they concede the money could aid failing public services (assuming it gets to the services in need) they rightly have many concerns over what this ‘deal’ means for Ireland.

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Tellingly, this was also posted on the Sinn Féin website today (26/06/17)

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The Conservatives clearly do not know how to negotiate though cutting their teeth on this process by trying to do this with the DUP is very much a baptism of fire. The EU will not be as unbending no matter what they propose.

And this desperate clinging onto power, as averred in part 1 of the Ireland blogs, is immoral and unethical. We are already the laughing stock of Europe over B*exit, this will just confirm this country’s role as the passenger in the clown car in the political sphere.

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The Evening Standard bluntly echoed Sinn Féin‘s words and called it a ‘coalition of chaos’ two weeks ago.

The Telegraph begs to differ, citing the cling to power as the only possible option.

I welcome the deal struck between the Conservative & Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party today.

The most important thing at the moment is to form a functioning government which will work for the whole of the United Kingdom, and today’s agreement should enable that to happen.

In fact, there were few other options.

Of course, the Conservative Party would have preferred to be in a position to form a majority government on our own, as all parties would hope for themselves, but following the results on June 8, that situation doesn’t exist.

And given that the country is not in the mood for a further election, and the parliamentary arithmetic doesn’t allow for Jeremy Corbyn to form a government, it was incumbent on the Conservative Party to do so. And so an alliance with the DUP appeared to be the best option in this respect.

Instead of more voting, the electorate wants to see Brexit… [my italics]

So one journalist decides ‘the country’ doesn’t want an election, they ‘want Leave’ and  the deal works to ‘keep Corbyn out’.

How dare he?

You can tell he’s a straight Conservative male, else he’d give a **** about the DUP‘s oppressive mandate.

ITV News are less enthusiastic, quoting Nicola Sturgeon’s of the SNP‘s Tweet

Any sense of fairness sacrificed on the altar of grubby DUP deal to let PM cling to power, & Scots Tories influence in No10 shown to be zero [my italics]

and being quite blunt as to why May did not sign it

Mr Green later confirmed to ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston the whips’ signature meant the DUP pact would continue even if Mrs May stood down as PM because it is an agreement between the parties and not the leaders. [my italics]

and also saying

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron accused Mrs May of throwing “cash at 10 MPs in a grubby attempt to keep her Cabinet squatting in Number 10“.

Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley meanwhile attacked May’s claim of “shared values” between the Conservatives and DUP as “alarming”, adding: “Which is she referring to? Their opposition to equal marriage, abortion or climate action?”

Similar criticism of the deal had come from [Conservative] grandee Lord Chris Patten, who told ITV’s Peston on Sunday the alliance would be politically costly for the Conservatives because the DUP are “toxic“.

First Secretary of State Damian Green made a statement to the House of Commons on the deal, paving the way for angry questions from the opposition benches.

Labour‘s Emily Thornberry, called the deal “shabby” and “reckless”, warning it could wreck the fragile Good Friday Agreement.

“For the government to be putting such an agreement in jeopardy just to prop up this dismal prime minister is nothing short of a disgrace.” [my italics.]

The word ‘grubby’ comes up again and again; also from Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell in a Labour party official press release. He says

“The price of Theresa May’s political weakness is now becoming clear. The same Conservative Party which spent the recent election campaign saying there was no money available for the crisis in the NHS and schools has now found at least £1 billion to buy a Parliamentary majority, with some reports suggesting it could be as much as £2billion.

“As this is additional spending beyond that laid out in the Spring Budget, the Chancellor must now come forward with an explanation as to how it will be funded. In the context of a forecast increase in Government borrowing this year, the public must be told whether this additional spend will be funded through spending cuts elsewhere, additional tax rises or more borrowing.

“There are also important questions to be answered about the implementation and fiscal consequences of devolving corporation tax, VAT and Air Passenger Duty, as well as what this could mean for other devolved administrations. “Let’s call this grubby deal what it is: this is a straightforward political bribe to desperately prop up Theresa May in office. “This Tory-DUP deal is clearly not in the national interest but in May’s party’s interest to help her cling to power.” [my italics]

The Independent do not even pretend neutrality on this matter.

There is no national interest in this dishonest DUP deal – we’re now all forking out to prop up Theresa May, [their headline blares]
Stephen Crabb referred to the deal as ‘the cost of doing business’ – something which usually refers to the paying of bribes in overseas markets, appropriately enough…

They go on

Indeed, the DUP arrangement is dishonest in this sense. It uses public money solely for party interest. The £1bn is to be spent over the next two years on infrastructure, health and education in Northern Ireland. It compels the 97 per cent of the population of the United Kingdom that does not live in Northern Ireland to pay this additional subsidy to the province in return for no advantage at all.

and

The document goes on to claim that the agreement “will operate to deliver a stable government in the United Kingdom’s national interest for the duration of this Parliament”. In reality, though, anything but stable. It would only need the Conservatives to lose a small number of seats in by-elections for the deal with the DUP to prove insufficient. And at any point, too, the Conservative Party might decide to change its damaged leader with all the disruption this would entail. [my italics]

They have a point. Well, more than one point. How can trust in ‘British’ institutions, already quoted by them as having reduced, ever be maintained with this kind of machination going on?

 

The ‘polls’ in the next few days will be very interesting indeed…

 

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More on this will added as news breaks on it.

 

Thanks to Sam McBride and Eoin Clarke for some of the infographics in this blog.

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