Five things about yesterday’s deal

  1. Gerry Adams predicted, when the DUP first formed its confidence-and-supply pact with Theresa May’s Tory government, that it would all end in tears.  He may not be the president of Sinn Féin any more, but Gerry knows his history. English politicians have always used Irish politics and politicians for their own ends. For a party that has a reputation for being shrewd and tough-knuckled,  the DUP looks like a party whose fig-leaf has suddenly run into Autumn. i
  2. Boris Johnson is a man who, if he told you his granny had just died, you’d do well to ask for a death certificate. Remember those two columns he wrote before the Brexit referendum results – one saying what a great thing it was that Brexit had been avoided, and one saying what a great thing it was that Brexit had been achieved? He may not have a mean and hungry look, but Boris is a born liar.
  3. The DUP has discovered that it is just a cork in the River Thames. For weeks, months we were told that the right-wing group of  Tories in Westminster, the European Research Group (ERG) took their lead from the DUP. If the DUP were OK with something, that was good enough for them. You only had to see the flushed face and steamed-up glasses of Jacob Rees-Mogg in the Commons yesterday, shouting about what a good deal this was for the DUP, to realize that the ERG followed the general rule of all English politicians: use the paddies, then dump them.
  4. The DUP has suddenly fallen in love with the Good Friday Agreement – a document they have never signed up to. Admittedly, they’re in love with only one bit of it – the principle of consent or the petition of concern. Under it, all major decisions would have to have a majority from both partners in government. That’s how the DUP has been able to stymie calls for an Irish Language Act and other measures. Now, faced with the straight majority vote if anything about the Irish part of Boris’s deal is to change, the DUP is furious. Imagine asking them to abandon their claim that a party enjoying 30% of support here should have to accept that it can’t call the tune for everyone anymore.
  5.  This is not as hard a Brexit as a no-deal Brexit would have been. Thus, the argument goes,  business and farming and the population generally will be free to enjoy the many benefits of Brexit. As a result, the head of steam that those agitating for a border poll were enjoying will now falter and fail. (Excuse me, Felix was laughing madly and has now fallen backwards in a dead faint – I may need to call a vet.).  Ask any farmer, any businessman. Brexit is a change which brings with it hardship – the only question is, how hard will the hardship be? Here,  the Catholic population has begun to gallop past the Protestant population in terms of numbers.  In Scotland,  indignation over Brexit will only be stoked by its delivery by a man who cares at most two things: English nationalism (maybe) and Boris Johnson (totally). No, the Irish and Scottish drive for independence has just begun.

This is a significant day. Who  knows, we may look back on it and echo Nigel Farage: “Let this day be our Independence Day!” ( By the way, is Nigel still under sedation?)

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