It’s funny the people you find yourself in bed with. I mean politically, of course. Charlie Haughey’s Fianna Fail, you’ll remember, found no difficulty in climbing into the sack with the Progressive Democrats (RIP), which had been formed in professed disgust with Charlie and Fianna Fail’s way of doing business. And then there were the Greens, who cohabited with Fine Gael, even though the latter hasn’t expressed any massive concern for the environment (OK, the proposed Water Tax, but that had more to do with gouging the public than ensuring clean water).
On the surface, you would think that Arlene Foster’s party falling into the arms of Theresa May’s Tories was a marriage made in heaven. The DUP have always detested Labour and especially Jeremy Corbyn, so what better home for them than the party whose little internal squabble gave us all Brexit? You’re for Brexit, we’re for Brexit, pull back that duvet and let’s get in there.
Except that now, a poll has found that two out of three British voters who supported Brexit would rather see a hard border in Ireland than see Britain remain in the customs union. And while Arlene and her party have poo-poohed the idea of a hard border being a threat to the peace we’ve enjoyed this past two decades, they know perfectly well the likelihood that any hard border will lead to protests, to demonstrations and ultimately to violence. And did I mention the farmers and business people who have enjoyed the open border for the past two decades, and whose livelihoods will be turned upside down?
But at least the Brexiteers in Britain value the UK and its integrity above anything else – just like the DUP do? Um – sorry, guys. Six out of ten Brexiteers value getting out of the EU above the integrity of the UK. It’s like your bed-partner has morphed from George Clooney into King Kong when you were adjusting the pillows. And just to add the final blow, 47% of Labour voters would rather stay in the customs union than have a hard border. King Kong just changed into Jeremy Corbyn.
Maybe in the stillness of the night, the DUP stare at the ceiling and wish they had avoided this whole boomerang alliance from the word go. Surely self-harm isn’t on the DUP’s list of must-do things? Or is that crediting them with too much common sense?