As I’m sure most readers are aware, Theresa May’s Conservative Party has formed a backdoor-coalition with Arlene Foster’s Democratic Unionist Party following this morning’s humiliating results from the general election in the United Kingdom. Despite expectations, and the best efforts of the right-wing press in the UK, the Tories saw a loss of seats for the parliament in Westminster, requiring them to seek DUP support to form a minority administration. But what has been the price of the dirty deal reached earlier today? In the words of the respected British journalist Jon Snow, May has made an agreement with “One of the most extreme political entities in the British Isles” and few would disagree with that.
The DUP is UKIP or the BNP taken to the nth degree. It is a party of the European far right, a grouping in the mode of Marine Le Pen’s Front national or Frauke Petry’s Alternative für Deutschland. However, unlike the political establishments of France and Germany, in Britain the ultra-nationalists are to be given access to the levers of power by the mainstream, albeit at one remove. The xenophobia, hibernophobia and homophobia of Democratic Unionism has now received a form of tacit endorsement from the Conservative Party, a wink-and-a-nod acknowledgement which will give 17th century Protestant fundamentalism a platform to preach its archaic world-view in the 21st century. From opposing civil rights to denying climate change, the creationist-believing Ulster Trumps have been offered a warm welcome in Downing Street.
With this deal the Tories have wilfully imperilled three decades of Irish-British peace, of good relations between Ireland and Britain, and risked plunging us back into a new era of conflict. The Europhobes of the DUP, with their determination to build a Brexit Border around the UK-administered Six Counties, will seek every advantage over their near-equals in the northern nationalist community. They will seek, like the Tory extreme, to tear up the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, and its human rights’ provisions, while stripping nationalists of their Irish and European Union citizenships. They will bring the politics of Britain’s legacy colony in the north-east of Ireland closer to a fatal breaking point than they have been at any point in the last twenty years.
Meanwhile the terror bosses of the Ulster Defence Association, the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando will be rubbing their hands in glee. For it was the combined rhetoric and actions of the British terrorist factions in the disputed Six Counties which brought increased electoral support to the Democratic Unionist Party in key constituencies like South and North Belfast. And just as the Tories will now need to seek the approval of the DUP, so the DUP will need to seek the approval of the UDA, UVF and RHC. Theresa May, the Conservative Party prime minster of the United Kingdom, has opened the backdoor of Number 10 to the British Taliban. And the people of Ireland will not forget – or forgive – this anytime soon…