I wish that headline were in some way hyperbolic or sensationalist.
It has been the case with Northern Ireland policy since Blair that Conservatives have been willing to listen to experts. When you tell Tories a particular policy might trigger civil war in Northern Ireland, they tend to listen. When you tell members of the NI Democratic Unionist Party who now hold the balance in Westminster the same thing, they get nostalgic for the 70s, and start humming songs about being “up to [their] knees in fenian blood.”
The DUP has the same (alleged) deep and abiding ties to protestant terrorist groups like the UDF and to reactionary organizations like the Orange Lodge that Sinn Fein (allegedly) has to the Army Council and the Provos. It’s (allegedly) an open secret (that one has to say allegedly about because otherwise one can be sued.)
The DUP’s domestic policy package makes Gilead, the bad guys in the handmaid’s tale, look feminist. This group will gleefully “force” the conservatives to roll back gay rights, human rights, and 40 years of progress. They might go after devolution and attack the Scottish Parliament, because the specter of Scottish Independence looms over their attempt to keep NI in the Union.
Conservatives aren’t going to give them everything. The line the Conservatives are likely to draw is removing Catholics from positions of public office and banning them from owning property. They’re not going to roll things back all the way to Cromwell. They’ll likely stop short of that, but only just.
For the UK, this is the nightmare Scenario. The Conservatives will be able to carry out all the far-right shit they couldn’t imagine doing in their wildest dreams, while blaming it on the DUP.
”Oh, it’s so terrible we were forced to roll back gay rights, workers rights, and womens rights. Those awful people in the DUP made us do it. Promise.”
The DUP has already signaled that they want massive concessions in order to vote for a queens speech establishing Theresa May as PM, and there will be “No Deal” without it. As actual fucking terrorists, allegedly, they have some idea how hostage taking works.
And they hate Corbyn with a passion because of a peculiarity of NI politics.
It’s all about Flegs you see.
The PIRA trained with the PLO and other terrorist groups in Libya back in the day, so the PLO and PIRA have some friendly feelings towards each other. Or had, back in the 70s. So in Northern Ireland, Irish Nationalist neighborhoods have Palestinian flags everywhere.
Not to be outdone, the unionists fly Israeli flags everywhere, because the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Nobody there actually knows much about I/P, they just use it as a proxy for their own fight. Corbyn said that negotiation was key to dealing with Hamas, and since the
DUP UVF can’t think of a solution to any problem that doesn’t involve exterminating the enemy Corbyn is absolutely and bitterly hated by NI unionists.
Because he’s said nice things about Ireland and advocated a solution to the I/P conflict that doesn’t involve a kill-em-all military solution, the DUP won’t ever work with Corbyn. So there’s no hope of him wooing these guys.
There’s also a ton of allegations of antisemitism in the Labour party, but if I’m being honest, my real focus is in Scottish and NI politics, except to say that Jewish folks in the UK whom I know are furious with Labour and don’t tend to get that angry for no reason. I just don’t personally know enough to comment. But I do know that the DUP and Orange Lodge — what with alleged ties to the KKK in the US — don’t actually care about Jewish people. They just hate them slightly less than they hate Muslims.
And the most heartbreaking part? Corbyn was popular enough in Scotland to pull votes away from the SNP in Tory/SNP marginals. The SNP themselves bear a ton of blame for this, but Labour does as well for refusing to recognize that as a fringe party in Scotland, they need to act tactically, as SNP voters had done for two generations. Even more frustrating, the handful of Labour MPs elected in Scotland are all, to a person, Blairites who will stab Jeremy Corbyn in the back at the first opportunity. I have heard time and again from folks in Scotland “I hate Scottish Labour, but I actually like Corbyn.”
So 12 of the seats making up the Con/DUP majority are from Scotland. The first time Scotland had the chance to flip a UK election in my lifetime, they flip it for the Tories.
In every single one of those 12 seats, a tactical Labour vote for the SNP could have kept the tories out, and put Jeremy Corbyn in number ten. The intransigence of Scottish Labour and their refusal to work with other left wing parties as part of a progressive alliance is part of the problem. The truth is that in Scotland, voting labor is twice as likely to get you a Tory than it is someone you mostly agree with. That’s a tragedy of the first past the post system, but it’s reality.
Corbynites in Scotland just elected enemies of Corbyn, and kept him out of number 10, because the UK voting system simply isn’t fit for purpose. But the blame doesn’t just lie with labour.
The 200,000 SNP voters who stayed home didn’t help. Every left wing Scottish party but the Greens — who stayed out of GE2017 intentionally because they knew the tactical situation — needs to take a hard look at themselves and learn from this defeat. The SNP was absent this campaign. I don’t know if it’s electoral fatigue, they’ve had five votes in the last four years and this campaign took place in the middle of their local elections, but they simply didn’t fight the kind of campaign they’ve fought in the past. I think their base is out of steam and out of money. Though Tory victories in Scotland will light the kind of raging fire they need to stream into voting booths next time, whenever that is, assuming the SNP can regain some kind of remotely competent electoral strategy.
The SNP remains by far the largest party in Scotland, with more than twice the seats of any other party, and an overall majority of Scottish seats. This wasn’t a good night for them, but they did still technically win the election in Scotland. And in any case, winning 95% of the Scottish seats was almost definitely a fluke. It was built on the anger of the lies of indyref. Brexit, and a few self-inflicted wounds by the SNP have clouded the waters there.
The fight in Scotland is between the Left-Wing, civic nationalism of the SNP, and the far-right, blood and soil ethnic nationalism of the Orange Lodge/Conservative Unionist/Democratic Unionist Parties. The Scottish Left needs to get its head in that fight, or the Tories will keep winning.
For Left-wing unionists, that’s a tragedy. I empathize with them and genuinely wish that the UK General Election used a proportional representation method of some kind that would just let people vote for who they really want to vote for. But that’s not how British democracy works.
Those twelve conservative seats in Scotland made the difference between Jeremy Corbyn, PM, and Terrorist-Sympathizing Orangemen holding Theresa’s leash.
The people celebrating Theresa’s loss of her majority need to wake up. Especially since Sinn Fein took every single one of the moderate, Labour-allied SDLP seats in NI, making the dividing line in northern Ireland Sinn Fein vs. DUP.
Things are getting tense in NI. And the DUP hold the balance of power in London.
The woman who promised strength and stability has just completely destabilized the UK.