The finance minister of the United Kingdom, Philip Hammond, is regarded by most commentators as one of the less enthusiastic members of the British government when it comes to implementing Brexit or the UK’s exit from the European Union. Despite his lead role in the country’s negotiations with the EU, and occasional expressions of frustration with the process, many critics believe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would rather the referendum of 2016 had never happened. This has made him an object of derision, and even hatred, among some anti-EU politicians and newspapers in the country. Chief among these are members of his own Conservative Party, who have turned to the Tory’s parliamentary allies, the xenophobic Democratic Unionist Party, to bring the wayward cabinet member to heel. According to PoliticsHome, the DUP has instructed lameduck prime minister Theresa May to sack Hammond if he won’t stick to a consistent and hardline position during talks with Brussels, briefing the press that:
“We are very concerned about Philip Hammond’s behaviour. It is evident to us that he is winding people up and causing unnecessary division within the Conservative Party at a crucial time in the Brexit negotiations, and his behaviour is very unsettling.
One has to wonder what his motivation is. He appears to be at least highly sceptical about Brexit and one could conclude from his current position and his behaviour that he is trying to frustrate the negotiating process and to undermine the Prime Minister.
The DUP will continue to keep a close watch on the situation but we think that Mrs May needs to do something to reign her Chancellor in and to make it clear to him that this kind of behaviour has to stop.”
The threats by the DUP illustrate the sorry state of UK politics in 2017, where a minority right-wing administration is held hostage to the extremist whims of a tiny ultra-right party representing the British legacy colony on the island of Ireland. In terms of its politics – and perhaps society – Britain now sits among a bloc of reactionary European nation-states including Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Countries where the conservative mainstreams have been hijacked by groups espousing reactionary or atavistic ideologies.