As we write, it seems certain that the Tory Party will enter into some sort of power-sharing deal with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, to take them over the 326-MP mark they need to have a Parliamentary majority. Their leader, Arlene Foster, has said that a deal would “cost them a lot”. So who are the DUP?
They opposed the decriminalisation of homosexuality and abortion in Northern Ireland. Jim Wells, until 2015 the Health Minister, has claimed that children raised by gay parents are “far more likely to be abused or neglected”. In November 2015 they vetoed a Northern Ireland Assembly decision to legalise gay marriage. They’ve been involved in corruption scandals around the misuse of subsidies for housing and renewable energy.
According to Roger Stanyard of the British Centre for Science Education “a core of, maybe, around half a dozen very senior politicians within the DUP” have been using their positions to promote Young Earth religious-based pseudoscience.Much of the Tory and right-wing media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn have been labelling him as a ‘terrorist sympathiser’. In our view he seems to have been trying to reach out to seperatist groups (but never violent paramilitaries) who would be unwilling to trust the Tories. We’re confident that his intentions were good, even if, sometimes his judgment was dodgy – for instance in inviting Sinn Fein members as his guests in Parliament two weeks after some of the MPs working there were caught up in the IRA’s bombing of the Tory conference in Brighton.
Peter Robinson, the DUP leader until last year, was active in various paramilitary groups. The current DUP leader Arlene Foster once met with the leader of the Ulster Defence Association – the largest loyalist paramilitary group – just two days after a murder which they were suspected of being involved with. We say once – it happened earlier this month. UDA – a paramilitary group with a large stock of weapons – have been campaigning for voters to voter DUP.
Imagine if Jeremy Corbyn and Labour had tried to form a coalition with Sinn Fein. The DUP are historically their mirror equivalent, and have a nastier recent history. Given how much of the Tory and right-wing press attacks on Corbyn have been that he is a ‘terrorist sympathiser’ it’s disgustingly hypocritical for the Tory Party to form an alliance with the DUP.