Humanity Hallows Issue 6 Out Now
Pick up your copy on campus or read online
By Harry Spindler
What a palava the last few weeks have been, Theresa May has not only weakened her own lead but strengthened her opponents by much more than anyone could possibly have imagined. To get her party across the line, she has now had to jump into bed with the dirtiest party in the entirety of the UK, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party. Even as a Left wing writer, I can admit to where the Conservatives have positives regarding their ideology and am not arrogant enough to deny where that party has made the right moves for the country in the past, not necessarily under May or Cameron but in the past before. This being said, it completely baffles me why the Tories feel the wisest move after the political suicide that was the last general election would be to jump into bed with a party backed by Paramilitaries still active in Northern Ireland today. In all honesty, the most I had heard of the DUP prior to the election was the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal which took place between 2012 and 2016, in which current DUP leader Arlene Foster exploited the funds of the Northern Irish budget in an attempt to get businesses to use renewable energy sources and by doing so has set the NI budget back by £500 million for the next 20 years, something which she has yet to apologise for, or in fact show any remorse whatsoever.
This scandal forced the resignation of deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and forced a snap Northern Irish Assembly election in 2017. This disaster is just the tip of the iceberg. Looking further at the history of the party, is not a pretty sight to see, the DUP’s history with social and immigration policies are not ones which fill me with confidence. To name a few, the DUP have campaigned against LGBT rights with the their “Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign” with party founder Ian Paisley’s son saying he finds homosexuality as “immoral, offensive and obnoxious” going further to say that gay people “repulsed” him. The party even stands against Gay Marriage, saying they fight for social conservatism, with leader Arlene Foster still defining marriage by what Christianity outlined centuries ago, rather than the definition of marriage as love between two people with a desire to spend the rest of their lives together. The DUP also oppose the right to abortion for women, and just to add a bit more crazy to this recipe for disaster the DUP deny that Climate change even exists and that neither evolution or the big bang theories are correct. Whilst the party backs a soft brexit, during the Brexit referendum one DUP MP Sammy Wilson was caught agreeing with a member of the public implying that once we leave the EU we can “get the ethnics out”.
To me, this party lights up every alarm in my head, my conscience is currently in the middle of a hysterical laughing fit which might fall into hysterical crying any minute now. In 2017, in the centre of our parliament alongside the now majority government in an informal coalition is a party which has no respect for women, LGBT rights and even denies scientific fact, preferring a rigid dogma of religion. I wouldn’t want to get ahead of myself though, the DUP has only ten seats, ten too many if you ask me, and whilst the Conservatives can be widely criticised, Theresa May’s stance on the European Convention of Human Rights and their lack of support for Social reform and policy, for example, it does seem far fetched that they’d throw their support behind any of the social policies of the DUP. We may also see some sort of hint towards how May intends to negotiate Brexit with the EU in regards to the DUP’s aim to gain a soft Brexit for Northern Ireland. During the election campaign, Theresa May did state that by the 8th June we could be facing a Coalition of Chaos including a party which has historical links to Terrorists and could damage our stability and the chances of a good deal from Brexit, and she was right. The DUP have historical links to the UDA, Ulster Defense Association, a violent Loyalist Paramilitary group which rose to prominence in the Troubles in Ireland, killing Northern Irish Catholics in similar vein to how the IRA did so against Protestants. These are links that Arlene Foster has refused to deny, and when news broke that she had met the UDA leader during the last election only a handful of days after the UDA murdered a man in front of his three year old son, it was clear to see the hypocrisy of Theresa May has reached an all time high after getting into bed with the DUP and by extension the UDA.
Whilst the DUP aren’t in a formal coalition like we say between Clegg’s Liberal Democrats and Cameron’s Conservatives, the DUP will still carry some extended power from the Tories. May knows now that Foster has saved her election win, and knows she has to repay that favour in some form or another, whilst Foster will not be able to dictate policy within the Conservative agenda, she will be able to have a far stronger one than she would have ever had before and it is never a nice feeling knowing radicals have a stronger word than those with sense. Northern Ireland’s power sharing system agreed in the Good Friday agreement has collapsed and it shows that Theresa May has given fuel to the fire that she cares more for her party than her country by fighting harder to gain a majority with anyone she could find rather than trying to push through her policies under true democratic scrutiny. May has done a deal with the devil, showing that the Conservatives have taken a step back into the role of the “Nasty Party” and that as much as they publicly pretend to care for Social policies, behind closed doors they couldn’t care less.