It seems that the Democratic Unionist Party is sticking to its tooth-and-nail opposition to a compromise Brexit deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union by pledging to bring down Theresa May’s premiership through death by a thousand cuts if she doesn’t stay on the right side of their “bood red” line. The DUP knows that it can abstain from votes in support of the Conservative Party minority government in the House of Commons, or even vote against its parliamentary allies, and still not trigger an election thanks to the UK’s Fixed Term Parliaments Act. So, even if May was to lose a vote on the forthcoming British budget, a traditional resignation issue, technically she could still stay in power. But she would do so while suffering successive legislative thrusts and parries from Arlene Foster’s party until the prime minister would be left with no choice but to do the right thing and leave office. Heralding in the leadership of a bellicose Brexiteer prime minister stamped with the approval of the hard-right Democratic Unionists and the toxic Tory backbenches.
This would lead to years of acrimonious relations between Britain and its former partners in Europe. Not to mention increasing the very real risk of sparking renewed violent conflict in the British outpost on the island of Ireland. A border-hardening outcome that some DUP and Conservative Party voters might not be entirely adverse to. As the slightly deranged, Tory-affiliated columnists at The Conservative Woman put it:
Three hundred and thirty years ago this December, the Apprentice Boys shut the gates of Derry against the army of King James. Their actions eventually secured the Glorious Revolution and confirmed our split from Rome and continental despotism. Whether or not they can save the Union, it is time for those adamantine, rock-ribbed and much maligned Ulster Protestants to step forth unto the breach once again. It is time for Arlene to shut the gates and bring about a change of British leadership perhaps almost as significant as the ascent of King William III to the throne.
No Surrender. Not an inch. For God and Ulster.
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From the DUP’s viewpoint they are very wise to reject the “compromise Brexit deal”. Essentially it means that the Irish government and EU completely control NI’s economy while the UK pays for it and NI will become economically more closely connected to Ireland and the EU. Effectively, this means that a united Ireland becomes inevitable, which destroys the DUP’s whole reason for existing.
Except a united Ireland IS inevitable, just a matter of time, economics and demographics, kicking the can a wee bit further down the road for now. OTOH there are English Conservatives who would happily cut NI (and Scotland) adrift if that’s what it takes to get the pure Brexit that supposedly the people voted for. So either way it seems the DUP are on a hiding to nowhere, however much in the short term they “scream and scream” and generally create havoc.
You seem to have changed your tune, Mr. Marconatrix. You were saying not terribly long ago that a “hard border” was advisable, if my memory serves me right. Or is there some reason that’s not a contradiction?
Cut NI and Scotland adrift? That would seem like an extreme “about face” compared to British conservatives historically, no?
Case of mistaken identity I think? Either that or I’ve got a dual personality I don’t know about … scary!
Honestly it would be suicidal for Northern Ireland to remain more economically connected with the UK than the Republic and EU.
Possibly of interest :
Just to amplify what Marconatrix contributed: Brexit is fundamentally an English – in the strong/correct sense of that word – Tory project. Research among Tory members suggest that dismemberment of the UK (i.e. the loss of Scotland and NI) would be price that they would be willing to pay for their much-fetishised Brexit.
In this sense the DUP is doubly isolated – from the NI majority and from their natural allies among English Tories.
They can enjoy their temporary time in the limelight, but no likely option is good for the DUP: Brexit defeated through a second referendum would be a massive loss of political face and significance, a bespoke deal / backstop for NI increases the chasm between NI and GB, and polls show that a hard Brexit would significantly enhance the support for a united Ireland.
I remember an old pre-Good Friday Agreement proposal, that suggests that if nothing else works at reigning in The Troubles, that one solution could involve a United Ireland, BUT would involve giving anyone in the North who doesn’t want that the option of being given, money, aid, housing, and other resources, that would provide them with a reasonable chance to resettle in some other part of the UK.
Of course, that’s a solution that should not be taken lightly, and since the Good Friday Agreement at least showed some signs that it might work out, it’s been seen as sort of an “extreme last resort” should things go sour again. Of course, nobody thinks being asked to make such a choice (relocate or have your nationality changed) if there was an easier route.
But. If the British partisan and regional situation is really as you say it is…..I dunno. Maybe it could end up coming down to something along those lines.
(Other versions of that proposal suggested that all Ulster Protestants should be REQUIRED to resettle in other parts of the UK, but given ample compensation. Of course, that got modified to making that a choice for any resident to take or leave.)
“being given, money, aid, housing, and other resources, that would provide them with a reasonable chance to resettle in some other part of the UK”.
Doubt if England want any DUP supporters after seeing their PM being humiliated by the DUP dictating policy. And the £1bn bung didn’t go down well. They’re not likely to offer DUP supporters and Loyalists any more money! Or hospitality!
An Independence-leaning Scotland certainly doesn’t want any more OO type fanatics to hold up their path forward
Wales? The new plaid Cymru leader has his sights firmly on Independence within a couple of decades, so same objections as Scotland.
Where else for them but NI?
You know. That is a really good point. That particular proposal might “belong” to The Troubles when nobody could have foreseen Brexit or current events.
The idea, I think was to give some degree of choice to people in the area who wished to remain British. But I suppose that if some of them just moved to England, Scotland, or Wales it could evolve into a “long term grievance voting bloc” like you see with some Miami Cubans.
But what about the other side of the coin? How do you think they’d behave if the North was turned over The Republic? Is it possible some of them would just move to other parts of Britain (or the US or Canada) anyway?
Two-way relocation – an exchange of populations – was proposed by de Valera in the 1920s. It would inevitably mean an end to the CTA as well, of course.
Also GW, I don’t mean to doubt you in any sense. It’s just that I find what’s going on right now in British politics to be a bit incomprehensible and am not sure what conclusions to draw.
You’re not the only one there Grace. At this moment I don’t have much of a clue what is likely to happen with the Brexit negotiations in the next few months.
I’d still reckon a bet on no deal would be worth a flutter at the bookies, because given the state of the Tory party and the DUP’s position, as well as the rules for the British Parliament no-confidence voting, the probability is underestimated at the very least.
Ha. Ever since Brexit, I feel like just about everything I thought I knew about contemporary Britons, has just flown out the window, and said “Goodbye”. For one, I believed that as a whole they tended to be pretty stuck in their ways and adverse to anything but “ol’ predictable”-now you talk like the Tories seem prepared to let The Commonwealth and even the UK itself come apart.
This looks less like “nostalgia” than it did at first, because if Scotland and/or Wales leave the country could become unrecognizable. (ei. What happen to the title “Prince of Wales”?)
Before Brexit, not only did all the pundits feel it would never go through, but I would have thought that if nothing else (and I assumed there would be something else) that fear of The Troubles returning would have motivated both parties to be very, very reasonable about issues surrounding NI.
Grace, just like US citizens voted for Trump over Clinton, the same can be said for Britons voting to leave the EU. Follow the money or rather the lack of it amongst the working class(of which there are many) areas of England etc. Don’t heed that it is all about racism and the usual scaremongering hate stories that some media like to claim. There’s no good and bad side in all this; both are out to exploit the peasants.
First of Wolfe Tone, I do not really buy your interpretation of the Trump vote-nor the blithe comparisons to Brexit. I have my own views on why Trump got elected that are quite different from both the “economic distress/ignored working class” narratives and the “whitelash” one-but indeed there are some seriously dark motives in Trump’s hard core base that aren’t necessarily all about racism. Also the similarity to Brexit has been vastly overplayed in my view.
But that said, I wasn’t necessarily talking about racism in terms of why I didn’t expect this from today’s Brits. I had expected that even a minor threat of having The Troubles back, would frighten them into conceding just about anything-and I certainly didn’t expect the English would be so cool with the end of the UK as we know it.
Well everyone is entitled to their opinion.
The ‘troubles’ won’t be back unless the Brit state desires it I.e any ‘republican’ group contemplating giving the Brits a get out of jail card needs to go for a walk in the fresh air.
See also here for Stephen Bush’s counting of the non-viable (in his opinion) ways out of the Brexit mess: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/elections/2018/10/there-way-out-brexit-mess
I feel very uneasy with a “solution” that would comes with the approval of Cromwell or Thatcher.
Is putting Oliver Cromwell in a positive light, respectable or common view in the UK? If so is it mainstream? Marginal? Correlated with political belief?
Certainly, Cromwell is more reviled in Ireland than anywhere else in the world. But in England I would have presumed any admiration for Cromwell would sit uneasily with the affection for their Royal Family!
Also in the US, the near universal view from academic historians to lowest common denominator grade K-12 lessons is that Cromwell was a tyrant.
A couple of bookies are offering evens on no Brexit deal before April 2019. Not sure whether that’s a good bet, right now.