Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was involved in more car-crash interviews than anyone else – even more than the hapless Theresa May – during the General Election campaign. His inability to answer even the simplest question, his complete and evident lack of ability to hide his floundering and his constantly crestfallen expression marked him out as a laughing stock who typified the Tories’ uselessness.
But his latest nonsense – even though it exposes him as ridiculous (again) – is not funny. It’s dangerous.
Fallon has told Politics Home that the Tories’ £1 billion bung to the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) to buy their votes – at £100 million per MP it doesn’t bode well for the Brexit negotiations – is ‘a small price to pay‘ to avoid a ‘reversion to the Troubles‘.
This is double-speak so outrageous that George Orwell would not have dared to include in his masterwork 1984 because it would have seemed too far-fetched.
Fallon has been warned by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams that the grubby deal between the Tories and the DUP threatens the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).
Lawyers have initiated court action to block the deal because its mere existence is a breach of the GFA and of the UK’s (and DUP’s) GFA commitment to ‘rigorous impartiality‘ and ‘parity of esteem‘.
The Irish Foreign Secretary has said that it is such a threat to the GFA that his government will block any Brexit trade deal if it goes ahead.
And there has already been a huge escalation in community tensions, with emboldened loyalists encroaching into areas and behaviours calculated to taunt and provoke nationalists.
And Fallon describes his party’s shameless bribe and shameful abandoning of the government’s duty and obligations as a good thing:
It’s right too to concentrate more resources on Northern Ireland because the last thing anybody wants is a reversion to the Troubles we had for over 30 years…
I think this is a small price to pay for that.
Fallon, of course, is not the only one. Tory Daniel Hannan ignored decades of Northern Irish history and progress with this little gem:
The Good Friday Agreement may have been signed under Tony Blair, but the commitment to ‘rigorous impartiality’ that it contains was first promised by Tory PM John Major in his Joint Declaration for Peace in 1993.
But the truly worrying thing is that Fallon and Hannan are not outliers – they are representative. It seems that the Tories have embraced some kind of mass delusion, in which history is rewritten and anything is good for everyone – as long as it keeps the Conservative party in government.
But the nationalist community and any interested in peace in Northern Ireland are not participants in that delusion. The huge imbalance the Tories have created is incredibly dangerous for peace – and the real fear is that £1 billion will not be the worst price paid by ordinary people to keep the Tories in Downing Street.
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