Labour’s hypocrisy over the Tory-DUP agreement is contemptible; and the argument that it compromises the government’s neutrality in trying to bring about the return of power sharing in the Province is false. Nobody wants a return to the bad old days, argues Peter Bingle.
My first dealing with the Reverend Ian Paisley was in the late 1960s. I, along with all my chums from Our Lady of Victories, was invited to attend the first Catholic Mass at Canterbury Cathedral since the Reformation. As our coach arrived I heard chanting about heretics and the Antichrist and then tomatoes and eggs smashed into the coach windows! The insults were coming from Dr Paisley and his supporters. Not a very pleasant experience for a nine year old …
It follows I am not instinctively a supporter of the DUP. In my formative years as I started to become interested in politics I admired Ulster Unionists like Captain Terence O’Neill and Brian Faulkner. Good, decent men. There was something about the likes of Paisley, Robinson and McCrea, however, that was not to my liking.
How strange then that I am now relieved and grateful that the DUP has come to the rescue of Theresa May’s minority government. The prospect of Corbyn and his mates being in power genuinely frightens me. Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds have saved us from something very unpleasant indeed.
What is interesting about the DUP deal is that is a genuinely benign package of measures which will improve the lives of all the citizens of Northern Ireland, regardless of their tradition. Increased funding for broadband, mental health and education is a good thing and the DUP has struck a very smart deal.
The DUP has also done Tory MPs a huge political favour by forcing unpopular manifesto commitments on ending the triple lock, means testing winter fuel payments and introducing the Dementia Tax to be dropped. There is now the real possibility of a Tory government focusing on popular policies which reward hard work and thrift. The DUP has exorcised the ghosts of Lady Macbeth and Rasputin and for this alone all Tories should be very grateful.
The Labour Party is being hypocritical about the deal. Nigel Dodds should without delay publish the correspondence between senior Labour politicians and the DUP in 2010 and 2015. The public need to get beyond the smiling face of Corbyn and see what really lurks behind it. There must also have been discussions between Dave & George and the DUP. So no more false piety please!
I don’t buy the argument that the DUP deal in any way compromises the government’s neutrality in trying to bring about the return of power sharing in the Province. Nobody wants a return to the bad old days.
Politics is all about power and if the only way to achieve an overall majority on the likes of the Queen’s Speech and the Budget was a deal with the DUP then so be it! I will even say a Hail Mary and a Hail Holy Queen to help it on its way.?
There are already sceptics saying the DUP deal is fragile and won’t last. I disagree. On the basis of the deal between Jim Callaghan and David Steel in 1976 there is no reason why the deal can’t last for three or four years. I hope it does. It is surprisingly difficult to bring down a government.
The Tories now need to deliver Brexit, reduce taxation, increase home ownership and increase spending on the police and the military. They also need to regain the trust of the electorate and show that they are both competent and caring. The Tories will then be very well placed to achieve the large majority that should have happened on 8th June! Thank God for the DUP …