As readers will know, the Tories have announced an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to allow them to govern as a minority with ‘confidence and supply’ support from the DUP.
Two years ago, in preparation fot the expected hung Parliament at the 2015 General Election, the DUP published a list of its preconditions for their participation in any coalition:
• Protection from prosecution for Security Forces involved in collusion [with loyalist paramilitaries]
• Right to fly the Union Jack flag more on Public Buildings
• More rights for the Orange Order to march
• Removal of Sinn Fein funding for Westminster Offices
• Exclude republicans previously involved in violence from designation as Victims
It takes little imagination to foresee the impact of these demands on the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and hence on the delicate peace in Northern Ireland.
The even grimmer news is that this list was made before the results of the 2015 General Election were known, when the Tories might have had other coalition options if they needed them.
Now, in 2017, the Tories have no other options – so the DUP is free to add whatever it wishes to its list, knowing that Theresa May has to like it or lump it. We already know, from Tory minister Owen Paterson on Radio 4 on Saturday, that reducing the abortion time limit has been tabled, so it’s clear that the DUP are ramping up their demands from their effective monopoly position.
The huge dangers of a UK government being supported by the DUP were echoed by one of the men who helped draft the GFA:
Those dangers are already becoming real. On Saturday, in Liverpool – city of solidarity, justice for the 96 and ‘You’ll never walk alone’ – this happened:
Theresa May and the Tories have already demonstrated their absolute readiness to put the economic health of the UK and its relations with Europe at risk in order to cling to power.
They are now evidently prepared, for that same end, not only to compromise civil freedoms here in Britain but also to risk re-igniting a conflict that lasted decades and cost thousands of lives.
May’s unfitness to govern was already apparent. Now the Tory party is making its own absolutely plain alongside her.
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