The DUP And Its Potential Deal With The Tories: It’s The Border, Stupid!

Journalists are just as susceptible to “fake news” as anyone else, especially when the news chimes with their own beliefs or prejudices. That is certainly the case with the press in Ireland and the United Kingdom which has largely accepted the Democratic Unionist Party’s claim that it opposes a so-called “hard border” in Ireland, despite its insistence that a “hard Brexit” is the necessary outcome of any parliamentary agreement with the Conservative Party in London. Obviously, these dual positions are incompatible. There can be no invisible partition line between the UK-ruled Six Counties and the rest of the island if Britain crashes out of the European Union, including the common market and customs area. The media’s gullibility resembles the thinking of those commentators who accept Bill Cosby’s quixotic protests of innocence while also acknowledging his admission that he used narcotics to render female companions or acquaintances insensible. The two things cannot be reconciled.

The DUP has been uncomfortable with the all-Ireland, nationalist-accommodating dimensions of the peace settlement in the north-east of the country since the original Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Very little has happened over the last two decades to change that. Arlene Foster may enjoy the prestige of the power-sharing executive in the north-east of the country, but it is entirely for venal and communal reasons. The Democratic Unionists have made it clear since the ascension of the formerly thuggish politico Peter Robinson in 2008 that they regard Stormont as their “parliament” and “government” with northern nationalists functioning as house-trained Uncle Toms. The party as a whole has reaped the rewards of that attitude, politically and financially. However, in the DUP hinterland the slow evaporation of the boundary between north and south has caused anxiety and apprehension. In recent years the frontiersmen of hardline unionism have demanded that twenty years of “soft reunification” be reversed and Brexit has become the mechanism of that reversal. One that the Dupes and their sometime fellow travellers in the gun-gangs of the UDA and UVF have embraced.

The Democratic Unionist Party will likely get to keep its cake and eat it to, thanks to the desperation of Theresa May and the electorally-wounded Tories in Britain. The shrunken overseas’ outpost of Greater England will be showered with funding from the UK, upgrading health services, social welfare provisions, educational needs, roads and rail networks, driving a large developmental wedge between Ireland north and south. This will happen in part because of the DUP conviction that making the British occupied north more attractive to its inhabitants, a more cushioned place, will persuade soft nationalists to become soft unionists. Or at least economically so. And thus the death rattle of the Northern Pale, in reality all of two-and-a-half counties, will be put off for another decade or more.

At the end of the day, the DUP’s objectives are not about prosperity, or Brexit, or the betterment of people’s lives in the Six Counties or the neighbouring United Kingdom. Its about the fucking border, stupid!

 

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12 comments

  1. Slightly off-topic – but upon visiting the DUP website, even the iconographic similarity with the Trump administration is staggering. The giant Union Jack is omnipresent, as if they were forcing it down your throat. But most jarring is the idea of “making Northern Ireland synonymous with progress.” When was the last time “progress” was called for without justice?
    SEE: European fascist regimes (Mussolini, Franco, Hitler, even Stalin)
    Furthermore, the idea of “progress” invites viewing its opponents as “enemies of progress.” In a profound way, this also deepens the process of colonialism – the old idea of the savage, backwards natives against the enlightened settlers. The parallels with the conquest of American Indians and other conquered, settled countries continue to astonish me.

  2. The DUP/tory alliance is doomed to fail, and pretty soon too. The tories are starting to realise that the DUP will never allow any vote to pass which will enable Labour and Corbyn to take over government. So the DUP are not as essential as May initially seemed to think. So that essential tory arrogance will come to the fore again, and as before, will inevitably over-reach itself.

  3. Yeah, I thought they might be tilting in that direction ASF, but I think you’re correct and that it’s a sham, that they are entirely happy with a border and all that it entails – or rather are wiling to take the heat on it because it’s what they want.

    1. AgendaNI takes much the same line, albeit in a more considered manner, here. The DUP will bite the border bullet on this one, EU farming grants and all, because Hard Brexit does what it wants. It puts a formerly faded red line back on the map in the thickest blackest ink possible. They are hoping that a Treasury-funded spending bonanza will off-set the losses. And then some.

      They get a Hard Brexit, a new border, and a thriving northern economy and society. Until the next UK general election when the funding will suddenly dry up as they loose their Westminster clout. But by then it will be too late to do anything about a Soft Border or Special Region Status.

      Lots of angry, frustrated, unemployed northern nationalist youths 10 or 15 years hence raised on tales of the Troubles, and two decades of a Soft Border, isolated in a UK Bantustan. What a recipe for the future?

  4. Upgrading health services, maintaining social welfare provisions, improving educational provision, improving infrastructure : I sincerely hope you’re right about all this and they can deliver on it, as no one who actually lives in N.I. could possibly object to any of these concessions. I’ve never voted for the D.U.P. and never will, but if they can use the current situation to screw as much as they can from the Tories, then good luck to them. The thesis seems to be that it would be better for everybody up here to be reduced to abject poverty in order to promote the end of partition, I’m afraid very few, outwith the most doctrinaire nationalist fanatics, are going to agree with that.

    1. That seems to be the objective of the 2 billion pounds’ infrastructure and capital-spend demand by the DUP, the one the Treasury is fighting tooth-and-nail.

      It’s the old tactic, or belief, that nationalism can be killed with kindness. Or new roads. Like all the state-subsidised construction work in Belfast in the 1980s as a solution to a rising Sinn Féin presence electorally. All those speeches by secretaries of state praising the building work – on half-empty carparks and suburban retail parks.

      1. It is now essential that Nationalist Ireland insists on Special EU Region Status for the North and in defending the GTA in every respect.

  5. I’m not so sure the DUP do want a hard border. A hard border might entail a lot of the illegal immigrants who land in norhtern Ireland through the good offices of the British Loyalist terrorist groups actually staying there – rather than being shipped south to the 26 counties through the same good offices.

    As for the broader issue of Brexit, I think the DUP jumped on that bandwagon because they wanted to cosy up to the Jingoist Neocon Unionists in the British political and media self-designated elites. The DUP are at heart servants of the British Masonic establishment – which is why that establishment covers up their very obvious links to British loyalist terrorism (the Irish media and political class also cover up these links).

    For all his bluster Paisley could always be relied upon to do that establishment’s bidding when the chips were down. For example he offered strong support to Blair over the Iraq invasion, even though at face value one would have thought that Blair’s social leftism and globalist aspirations would have been anathema to him. Ditto the Afghan and Libyan invasions.

    Even the DUP’s alleged fundamentalist Christianity is suspect. Some northern evangelical Protestants have offered strong evidence that the Orange, Black and Purple orders are anything but Christian at heart. I’m not saying all DUP members are gross hypocrites when it comes to religion, but there’s a glaring contradiction between Orangeism and the Christian beliefs that many of them claim to profess.

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