Finally, someone in the UK press has recognised the shameful political scheming by the Tories (and Labour) which could give maverick ultra-nationalists from the fringes of the former empire access to the corridors of power in Britain. Owen Jones in the Guardian newspaper:
“In a desperate, scorched-earth attempt to remain in power, the unionist Tories are willing to ensure the break-up of the UK, shamelessly fanning anti-Scottish resentment in England while fuelling the SNP juggernaut. But we have had all too much scrutiny of the SNP, some of it bordering on hysteria. Where, then, is the debate about the Tories’ likely partners were David Cameron to attempt to remain in power, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party? The idea of these bigoted throwbacks to several centuries ago holding the balance of power should surely frighten even moderate Tories, let alone the rest of us.
Let’s take Jim Wells, the DUP health minister in Northern Ireland. At a hustings in South Down last night, he declared that “the gay lobby is insatiable, they don’t know when enough is enough”. ..He went on to declare: “The figures show that. The facts show that you certainly don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. That child is far more likely to be abused or neglected …”
…it is bad enough that this bile is expressed by one of Northern Ireland’s key government ministers. But in two weeks’ time, his party could be holding the balance of power in the UK.
Wells is no maverick. The DUP once championed the “Save Ulster from Sodomy” campaign in a bitter attempt to prevent the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Iris Robinson, a former DUP MP and the wife of the party’s leader, described homosexuality as “disgusting, loathsome, nauseating, wicked and vile”, as well as an “abomination” that could be “cured”. On top of blocking equal marriage, the DUP has tabled a bill that would permit discrimination against LGBT people by exempting those with “strongly held” religious beliefs from equality laws. Then there’s the DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr, who declared that he was “pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong”, adding that they “harm society”.
It’s not just their homophobia. They oppose the right of women to an abortion, with Wells supporting a ban even for rape victims. Creationism is a powerful vein within the party. And even as public support for the death penalty is in welcome steep decline, back in 2011 the DUP called for a parliamentary debate to reinstate it.
This is Britain, in 2015: the idea that these political extremists could have any meaningful power is chilling. It could well be the reality in just two weeks’ time.”