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Why the DUP’s rebellion matters

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson alongside party members at Stormont last year. Credit: Getty

March 20, 2023 - 6:31pm

So, the DUP says no — again. Jeffrey Donaldson, the party’s leader, confirmed today that he and his seven colleagues in Parliament will unanimously vote against Rishi Sunak’s “Windsor Framework” when it is presented to the House of Commons later this week. In doing so, the Northern Irish crisis slips quietly into a new phase from which it will be even harder to escape.

In one sense, the DUP’s announcement matters little. The party has a total of eight MPs. With Labour already committed to supporting the new arrangement, Sunak’s grand bargain is now the settled will of Parliament. For this reason alone, the deal marks an important moment in recent British history. Whether the DUP supports the deal or not, we are not heading back to 2019 with its endless “meaningful votes” and the rest. The die is cast. The sea border has been drawn. Britain has moved on.

This is the reality the DUP now has to deal with. Things can change, of course, and a rump of Tory MPs (who backed Boris Johnson’s original sea border) will likely oppose the deal — as might Johnson himself. And who knows what will happen after the next general election? But for now, DUP oppositionalism appears to have run its course. 

As ever, though, the situation in Northern Ireland is more complicated, because majorities count for less in Ulster. Even if every other MP backs the deal, the DUP cannot be forced to go back into government with Sinn Fein. For as long as it is the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland, its consent is required for power sharing to function. This is the reality of the Good Friday Agreement. And so it does matter that the DUP continues to reject the deal.

Ironically, those who try to ignore this political reality are trying to have their cake and to eat it too. Things work differently in Northern Ireland — that is the whole point. If Northern Ireland were just a normal part of the UK, then the customs posts could have been placed on the sovereign border between the UK and Ireland. But it is not and so they have been placed — rightly or wrongly — within the UK. As a result, we must deal with its different political reality too.

The problem is that it is hard to see how the DUP’s demands can be met. Its position today is that Sunak’s renegotiation has not gone far enough because it still leaves Northern Ireland bound by EU laws over which it has not given its consent. Sunak’s deal gives the DUP some power to block new EU laws which will apply in Northern Ireland, but not the ones that are already in place. Donaldson, in other words, is asking for the entire basis of the sea border to be subject to unionist consent. The problem is that this is just not going to happen — Britain has now decided as much.

And so we’re stuck. The sea border is being built and implemented, but unless the DUP softens its position the cost may well be power sharing. The danger today, then, is that far from edging towards some kind of light at the end of the tunnel, we might be moving in the opposite direction, further into the dark.


is UnHerd’s Political Editor. He is the author of Betting The House: The Inside Story of the 2017 Election.

TomMcTague

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Mark Ramsden
Mark Ramsden
1 year ago

The EU and the governments of the Republic of Ireland, the UK and the US have made great play of the need to protect and maintain the Good Friday Agreement. But power sharing and consensus are the key ingredients to the GFA and reflects the “consociationalism” underpinning the GFA. If the Unionists are not in agreement with the Windsor Agreement and refuse to go back to government then the GFA is broken. By holding up the GFA as sacrosank the EU and UK governments have made a rod for their backs and one that cannot counternance not having the agreement of the DUP. This is far more serious than just symbolic. Riding roughshod over the wishes of the DUP with the Windsor Agreement contravenes the Good Friday Agreement.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Ramsden
Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Ramsden

I cannot understand the widespread sense of satisfaction with this ‘deal’ – finally brexit is done and we’re all moving on and DUP can now be ignored! It illustrates the appalling ignorance in Westminster about the NI history and current situation. As you rightly say, all the politicians tell us that the GFA must be maintained (at the very least to enable Paddy Biden to preen himself). It’s as if there’s some kind of mass cognitive dissonance going on because its abundantly clear (and has been for weeks to anyone who listens) that the DUP will not go back into Stormont under this ‘deal’ and with Sinn Fein having the majority. It’s obvious to any fool that they not only won’t but couldn’t as it leaves both the GFA and the Act of Union in tatters – there is no longer any grounds for calling NI part of the UK. It is in a limbo position, far closer to the Republic and the EU. It is the most tragic and disgraceful betrayal in which one part of the UK has been, in effect, given up. It will be no more than a decade before NI is formally a part of the Republic of the entire island of Ireland.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Ramsden

I cannot understand the widespread sense of satisfaction with this ‘deal’ – finally brexit is done and we’re all moving on and DUP can now be ignored! It illustrates the appalling ignorance in Westminster about the NI history and current situation. As you rightly say, all the politicians tell us that the GFA must be maintained (at the very least to enable Paddy Biden to preen himself). It’s as if there’s some kind of mass cognitive dissonance going on because its abundantly clear (and has been for weeks to anyone who listens) that the DUP will not go back into Stormont under this ‘deal’ and with Sinn Fein having the majority. It’s obvious to any fool that they not only won’t but couldn’t as it leaves both the GFA and the Act of Union in tatters – there is no longer any grounds for calling NI part of the UK. It is in a limbo position, far closer to the Republic and the EU. It is the most tragic and disgraceful betrayal in which one part of the UK has been, in effect, given up. It will be no more than a decade before NI is formally a part of the Republic of the entire island of Ireland.

Mark Ramsden
Mark Ramsden
1 year ago

The EU and the governments of the Republic of Ireland, the UK and the US have made great play of the need to protect and maintain the Good Friday Agreement. But power sharing and consensus are the key ingredients to the GFA and reflects the “consociationalism” underpinning the GFA. If the Unionists are not in agreement with the Windsor Agreement and refuse to go back to government then the GFA is broken. By holding up the GFA as sacrosank the EU and UK governments have made a rod for their backs and one that cannot counternance not having the agreement of the DUP. This is far more serious than just symbolic. Riding roughshod over the wishes of the DUP with the Windsor Agreement contravenes the Good Friday Agreement.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Ramsden
David McKee
David McKee
1 year ago

It would be helpful to know _why_ the DUP opposes the Windsor Framework. There could be tweaks here that could be made by the EU (now that they are being moderately cooperative) which would get the Framework over the line.
I get the impression that the DUP is not being utopian about this. There is a solution that everyone can live with, even if they don’t love it.
If that’s all it takes to get the powersharing system back up and running again – well, why not?

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  David McKee

The DUP oppose the Windsor Framework because they have nowhere else to go. They became the dominant force in Loyalist politics because ‘No surrender’ has always been the most effective slogan in Loyalism and their rejection of power sharing and a closer relationship with the Irish Republic allowed them to supplant the UUP. Now in turn, the TUV are posing as a more hardline alternative in the Protestant heartlands so any acceptance of the different status for Northern Ireland that was the basis of the original protocol, and remains the basis of the Framework leaves them vulnerable.

Their original sin, if you like, was campaigning for Brexit without thinking through what it would mean in practice. Leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union meant a border, no Irish government would have agreed to a border between between North and South because their voters wouldn’t have stood for it, which meant the EU would never have agreed to it if we wanted any kind of trade deal. This left only one alternative, a border in the Irish Sea.

Their second mistake was trusting Boris Johnson, not once but twice – firstly when he said there would only be a border in the Irish Sea “over his dead body”, secondly over the proposed bill threatening to override the protocol, which was always an empty threat – which led them down the rabbit hole of insisting that only scrapping the entire protocol would be acceptable to them.

I don’t think there are any tweaks left to offer, the deal is done and dusted, and anyway ANY deal will be portrayed by the TUV as a sellout.

Tom McTague is right that there is no obvious solution to this but, sooner or later, the Unionist community needs to recognise the reality that they have lost the absolutist right to keep shouting ‘No surrender’ and expecting people to listen. Compromise is the only game in town but I don’t see the DUP having the sense to see that.

Phil Rees
PR
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  David McKee

Because the Framework is a con. Have you read the EU version of this, as opposed to the, frankly, lies that comprise Sunak’s description of it? Even the ‘green lane’ isn’t what we normally mean by that phrase. Both sender and receiver have to register and then any goods sent via the ‘green lane’ must be accompanied by a multi page set of forms. That is hardly what one normally understands by ‘green lane’. And as for the ‘Stormont Brake’, in effect it is meaningless as it simply allows for Stormont to ask UK to veto some law and if UK does so then EU can levy a considerable fine, thus ensuring that future UK governments will say no to any such Stormont request. Sunak’s selling of this ‘deal’ was purely and simply a con from top to bottom, but most Westminster MPs are so sick of it all that they were content to be corralled into the yes lobby.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  David McKee

The DUP oppose the Windsor Framework because they have nowhere else to go. They became the dominant force in Loyalist politics because ‘No surrender’ has always been the most effective slogan in Loyalism and their rejection of power sharing and a closer relationship with the Irish Republic allowed them to supplant the UUP. Now in turn, the TUV are posing as a more hardline alternative in the Protestant heartlands so any acceptance of the different status for Northern Ireland that was the basis of the original protocol, and remains the basis of the Framework leaves them vulnerable.

Their original sin, if you like, was campaigning for Brexit without thinking through what it would mean in practice. Leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union meant a border, no Irish government would have agreed to a border between between North and South because their voters wouldn’t have stood for it, which meant the EU would never have agreed to it if we wanted any kind of trade deal. This left only one alternative, a border in the Irish Sea.

Their second mistake was trusting Boris Johnson, not once but twice – firstly when he said there would only be a border in the Irish Sea “over his dead body”, secondly over the proposed bill threatening to override the protocol, which was always an empty threat – which led them down the rabbit hole of insisting that only scrapping the entire protocol would be acceptable to them.

I don’t think there are any tweaks left to offer, the deal is done and dusted, and anyway ANY deal will be portrayed by the TUV as a sellout.

Tom McTague is right that there is no obvious solution to this but, sooner or later, the Unionist community needs to recognise the reality that they have lost the absolutist right to keep shouting ‘No surrender’ and expecting people to listen. Compromise is the only game in town but I don’t see the DUP having the sense to see that.

Phil Rees
PR
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  David McKee

Because the Framework is a con. Have you read the EU version of this, as opposed to the, frankly, lies that comprise Sunak’s description of it? Even the ‘green lane’ isn’t what we normally mean by that phrase. Both sender and receiver have to register and then any goods sent via the ‘green lane’ must be accompanied by a multi page set of forms. That is hardly what one normally understands by ‘green lane’. And as for the ‘Stormont Brake’, in effect it is meaningless as it simply allows for Stormont to ask UK to veto some law and if UK does so then EU can levy a considerable fine, thus ensuring that future UK governments will say no to any such Stormont request. Sunak’s selling of this ‘deal’ was purely and simply a con from top to bottom, but most Westminster MPs are so sick of it all that they were content to be corralled into the yes lobby.

David McKee
David McKee
1 year ago

It would be helpful to know _why_ the DUP opposes the Windsor Framework. There could be tweaks here that could be made by the EU (now that they are being moderately cooperative) which would get the Framework over the line.
I get the impression that the DUP is not being utopian about this. There is a solution that everyone can live with, even if they don’t love it.
If that’s all it takes to get the powersharing system back up and running again – well, why not?

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
1 year ago

There’s another possibility. Today’s decision by the DUP not to support the Windsor Agreement could be seen simply as a further negotiating tactic, with the added bonus that it sends a message to its supporters that it’s being “tough” on their behalf.
Of course the DUP know their votes in Westminster won’t overturn the proposed legislation so that matters nowhere near as much as making a calculated attempt to force further concessions from the EU. They could’ve made the decision announced today much sooner – in fact, they may have done so but simply chosen to wait till nearer the vote to try to extract maximum leverage.
I suspect what they’re actually going to achieve is to make themselves irrelevant in the longer term, and that even many who’ve supported their stance on Stormont will look at this decision with either dismay or cynicism. Either way, the DUP (as has been suggested elsewhere) seem to have been backed into a corner. How long they choose to stay there is another matter.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Let’s hope it is just a tactic and this is really some complicated dance that the DUP have to go through to persuade enough of their members to move forward.
Frankly, there comes a time when even the DUP need to stop saying “no” to everything and behave like a normal political party of government. It’s that, or a gradual slide into irrelevance as “yesterday’s men”.
I don’t believe there are any further concessions that the DUP can achieve here and that they’re wasting their time pretending this may be so. They can also expect zero sympathy and support in Westminster in future if they cause further problems. No future UK government is going to support them.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You are a part of that mass cognitive dissonance I referred to above.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You are a part of that mass cognitive dissonance I referred to above.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I have also come to the conclusion that this is a face-saving bluff. By saying no, they can keep on looking like the tough guys, standing up to the EU, Westminster, Dublin, Mrs. Finnegan’s cat etc. Safe in the knowledge that it doesn’t need their assent to pass in parliament. Being truculant is part of the image, part of the all-singing, all-complaining DUP show we’ve got used to seeing.
Check out this article in the Irish Times about Sinn Fein taking out ads in the NYT & WaPo accusing the British government of not honouring the GFA: https://www.irishtimes.com/politics/2023/03/15/sinn-fein-unity-ads-incredible-and-divisive-says-jeffrey-donaldson/
Now, Donaldson doesn’t seem to have been openly praising the Windsor framework, but he’s out in the States extolling the virtues of NI as a place to do business…which the framework is probably going to enhance. So while the DUP are being superficially awkward and rejecting it, they know the deal is here to stay, that NI benefits from it, and that this “best-of-both worlds” situation is going to temper nationalism – at least for a while. Why, when you have the best of both worlds, would you go back to just being in one? (…said every Remoaner ever, I know)
Also – those ads by Sinn Fein. That seems to me like the realisation that the protocol/Windsor framework isn’t the easy slip-slide to reunification that they thought it might be. They must also understand too that this might anchor NI even more firmly into the union with Britain, Sinn Fein in the Republic are going to have different priorities over the short to medium term as a contender for government and the ads were a kind of a cry of frustration about this.
In short, I believe the author is seeing this rather too negatively.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Phil Rees
PR
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

How can the DUP become ‘irrelevant’ when their lack of agreement places the GFA in abeyance and risks the men with guns reappearing?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Let’s hope it is just a tactic and this is really some complicated dance that the DUP have to go through to persuade enough of their members to move forward.
Frankly, there comes a time when even the DUP need to stop saying “no” to everything and behave like a normal political party of government. It’s that, or a gradual slide into irrelevance as “yesterday’s men”.
I don’t believe there are any further concessions that the DUP can achieve here and that they’re wasting their time pretending this may be so. They can also expect zero sympathy and support in Westminster in future if they cause further problems. No future UK government is going to support them.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I have also come to the conclusion that this is a face-saving bluff. By saying no, they can keep on looking like the tough guys, standing up to the EU, Westminster, Dublin, Mrs. Finnegan’s cat etc. Safe in the knowledge that it doesn’t need their assent to pass in parliament. Being truculant is part of the image, part of the all-singing, all-complaining DUP show we’ve got used to seeing.
Check out this article in the Irish Times about Sinn Fein taking out ads in the NYT & WaPo accusing the British government of not honouring the GFA: https://www.irishtimes.com/politics/2023/03/15/sinn-fein-unity-ads-incredible-and-divisive-says-jeffrey-donaldson/
Now, Donaldson doesn’t seem to have been openly praising the Windsor framework, but he’s out in the States extolling the virtues of NI as a place to do business…which the framework is probably going to enhance. So while the DUP are being superficially awkward and rejecting it, they know the deal is here to stay, that NI benefits from it, and that this “best-of-both worlds” situation is going to temper nationalism – at least for a while. Why, when you have the best of both worlds, would you go back to just being in one? (…said every Remoaner ever, I know)
Also – those ads by Sinn Fein. That seems to me like the realisation that the protocol/Windsor framework isn’t the easy slip-slide to reunification that they thought it might be. They must also understand too that this might anchor NI even more firmly into the union with Britain, Sinn Fein in the Republic are going to have different priorities over the short to medium term as a contender for government and the ads were a kind of a cry of frustration about this.
In short, I believe the author is seeing this rather too negatively.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

How can the DUP become ‘irrelevant’ when their lack of agreement places the GFA in abeyance and risks the men with guns reappearing?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

There’s another possibility. Today’s decision by the DUP not to support the Windsor Agreement could be seen simply as a further negotiating tactic, with the added bonus that it sends a message to its supporters that it’s being “tough” on their behalf.
Of course the DUP know their votes in Westminster won’t overturn the proposed legislation so that matters nowhere near as much as making a calculated attempt to force further concessions from the EU. They could’ve made the decision announced today much sooner – in fact, they may have done so but simply chosen to wait till nearer the vote to try to extract maximum leverage.
I suspect what they’re actually going to achieve is to make themselves irrelevant in the longer term, and that even many who’ve supported their stance on Stormont will look at this decision with either dismay or cynicism. Either way, the DUP (as has been suggested elsewhere) seem to have been backed into a corner. How long they choose to stay there is another matter.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

The DUP takes the opposite approach to principles to that adopted by Groucho Marx and is therefore to be commended.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 year ago

Ok, but why? Marx was a comedian looking for a punch line, these fellows should be trying to get the best deal for their constituents, in a situation where some, rather than all (or none) is the best choice. If you stand up and declare that your Principles do not allow you to agree that the Earth goes around the Sun, we are not obliged to admire you for your consistency. We will just find somebody else to vote for – eventually.

Andrew McDonald
AM
Andrew McDonald
1 year ago

Ok, but why? Marx was a comedian looking for a punch line, these fellows should be trying to get the best deal for their constituents, in a situation where some, rather than all (or none) is the best choice. If you stand up and declare that your Principles do not allow you to agree that the Earth goes around the Sun, we are not obliged to admire you for your consistency. We will just find somebody else to vote for – eventually.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

The DUP takes the opposite approach to principles to that adopted by Groucho Marx and is therefore to be commended.

John Dellingby
JD
John Dellingby
1 year ago

I suspect this is probably to appear tough to their supporters more than anything else. However, it is ironic that Northern Ireland’s place within the Union survives in spite of the DUP rather than because of them, I think more moderate Unionists will continue to be frustrated with them.

John Dellingby
JD
John Dellingby
1 year ago

I suspect this is probably to appear tough to their supporters more than anything else. However, it is ironic that Northern Ireland’s place within the Union survives in spite of the DUP rather than because of them, I think more moderate Unionists will continue to be frustrated with them.

Nick Faulks
NF
Nick Faulks
1 year ago

THe EU is saying the war is over and they won. They are right, Sunak has irreversibly given Northern Ireland away.

Nick Faulks
NF
Nick Faulks
1 year ago

THe EU is saying the war is over and they won. They are right, Sunak has irreversibly given Northern Ireland away.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago

I read a line in a novel recently that went something like this:
Destiny ploughs ahead and your No counts for nothing.

Dermot O'Sullivan
DO
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago

I read a line in a novel recently that went something like this:
Destiny ploughs ahead and your No counts for nothing.

William Cameron
WC
William Cameron
1 year ago

Enough. Time for the UK govt to offer a free vote on unification.
Dublin will wet itself and the DUP will be irrelevant.

Simon Simple
Simon Simple
1 year ago

Dublin might well wet itself, but so might the US and EU and the question is why? Because then the UK gets Brexit, the EU/US/Ireland gets a money pit, and potentially a ‘terrorist’ group in its midst that won’t be shooting at UK troops, but Irish, EU or Americans?
BUT that always assumes that all Catholics are Nationalists – I know for a fact that isn’t the case. Though the confessions made to me when said Catholics are in the UK are not going to be made when back in NI, as they have a healthy respect for working knees. Also they still check under their cars for bombs (which may give a hint as to what organisation some of the family are members of) and the bombs aren’t ‘Unionist’ bombs either.

Simon Simple
Simon Simple
1 year ago

Dublin might well wet itself, but so might the US and EU and the question is why? Because then the UK gets Brexit, the EU/US/Ireland gets a money pit, and potentially a ‘terrorist’ group in its midst that won’t be shooting at UK troops, but Irish, EU or Americans?
BUT that always assumes that all Catholics are Nationalists – I know for a fact that isn’t the case. Though the confessions made to me when said Catholics are in the UK are not going to be made when back in NI, as they have a healthy respect for working knees. Also they still check under their cars for bombs (which may give a hint as to what organisation some of the family are members of) and the bombs aren’t ‘Unionist’ bombs either.

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

Enough. Time for the UK govt to offer a free vote on unification.
Dublin will wet itself and the DUP will be irrelevant.

j watson
JW
j watson
1 year ago

Donaldson, the arch out-flanker of Trimble 25yrs ago, can’t abide the prospect of being Deputy First Minister to Sinn Fein’s O’Neill. This, one suspects, is as much a factor as the minutiae of trade lanes.
The question now is whether the UK and Irish Govt threaten an updating of the GFA – to reduce the ability of one party to collapse power sharing. Any confirmatory referendum then v likely to be strongly supported by NI population.
25 years ago the power sharing model developed was essential. Even though the emotions of division have significantly reduced any change would need to be carefully navigated. It’s difficult to see Sunak having the time and energy for this in quite the way Blair et al had 25yrs ago when it soaked up so much time and energy of New Labour’s first term. So one suspects things will remain frozen until after the next UK GE. Albeit perhaps direct rule can be adapted to provide much more consultation of those parties prepared to work within power sharing whilst excluding those who refuse?

j watson
JW
j watson
1 year ago

Donaldson, the arch out-flanker of Trimble 25yrs ago, can’t abide the prospect of being Deputy First Minister to Sinn Fein’s O’Neill. This, one suspects, is as much a factor as the minutiae of trade lanes.
The question now is whether the UK and Irish Govt threaten an updating of the GFA – to reduce the ability of one party to collapse power sharing. Any confirmatory referendum then v likely to be strongly supported by NI population.
25 years ago the power sharing model developed was essential. Even though the emotions of division have significantly reduced any change would need to be carefully navigated. It’s difficult to see Sunak having the time and energy for this in quite the way Blair et al had 25yrs ago when it soaked up so much time and energy of New Labour’s first term. So one suspects things will remain frozen until after the next UK GE. Albeit perhaps direct rule can be adapted to provide much more consultation of those parties prepared to work within power sharing whilst excluding those who refuse?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Sell Ulster to Canada?

Andy White
AW
Andy White
1 year ago

Have the DUP got themselves in an Anglo-Irish Agreement situation here? I am getting reminders of that time in the ‘80s when the DUP made all kinds of paramilitary threats and roared “Never, Never, Never” and the Tory government ignored them and did it anyway. The sky didn’t fall in and neither did the Union, and eventually the Neverlanders moved on and found other things to get worked up about. Ultimately too few Unionists had felt the anti-Agreement campaign was the hill they wanted to die on – and that is looking like the case for the campaign against the Protocol as well.

Andy White
AW
Andy White
1 year ago

Have the DUP got themselves in an Anglo-Irish Agreement situation here? I am getting reminders of that time in the ‘80s when the DUP made all kinds of paramilitary threats and roared “Never, Never, Never” and the Tory government ignored them and did it anyway. The sky didn’t fall in and neither did the Union, and eventually the Neverlanders moved on and found other things to get worked up about. Ultimately too few Unionists had felt the anti-Agreement campaign was the hill they wanted to die on – and that is looking like the case for the campaign against the Protocol as well.

David Lindsay
DL
David Lindsay
1 year ago

“We hand this woman, Margaret Thatcher, over to the Devil, that she might learn not to blaspheme. And O God, in wrath take vengeance upon this wicked, treacherous, lying woman. Take vengeance upon her, O Lord.”

You can’t be more Unionist than the King. You just can’t. The case for the Windsor Framework is the case for the whole of the United Kingdom to be back in Thatcher’s Single Market, and that is why I have no more time for it than have the literal and political heirs of Ian Paisley the Elder, so to speak. But you can’t be more Unionist than the King. You just can’t.

The DUP thinks that it is still in a confidence and supply agreement. But this Government has a majority of 80. It is questionable exactly what constitutes membership of the ERG, but no more than 50 MPs, and perhaps as few as 40, could in any way be so described. The seven of them in the Cabinet have no intention of resigning for anything. All in all, an absolute maximum of 60 votes against what the Government had proposed, but more like 50, one in 13 members of the House of Commons. If that. A rebellion of, at most, around one in seven Conservatives. Who cares?

For its annual £200,000 of public money, all paid into one account, what research does the European Research Group produce? Three years after Brexit, research into what? As for the Democratic Unionist Party, it would lose its deposit in any seat in Great Britain, and it would struggle to get onto the ballot in most of them, but far from having decommissioned any weapons, Ulster Resistance has never even declared a ceasefire. Is that what this is really all about? Yes. Yes, it is. Tell me again about the bullet dodged at the last two General Elections.

Ulster Unionism bewildered most people even when Great Britain was much more homogenous. If you took out Don’t Cares, then by far the largest body of opinion has always been Irish Nationalist. The DUP is now only the second largest party in Northern Ireland. Being the second largest party in Northern Ireland does not give anyone the last word on anything. Both parts of Ireland have the same largest party these days. Guess who? But most people over here would respond to that with, “Who cares?” And always would have done.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Lindsay
David Lindsay
DL
David Lindsay
1 year ago

“We hand this woman, Margaret Thatcher, over to the Devil, that she might learn not to blaspheme. And O God, in wrath take vengeance upon this wicked, treacherous, lying woman. Take vengeance upon her, O Lord.”

You can’t be more Unionist than the King. You just can’t. The case for the Windsor Framework is the case for the whole of the United Kingdom to be back in Thatcher’s Single Market, and that is why I have no more time for it than have the literal and political heirs of Ian Paisley the Elder, so to speak. But you can’t be more Unionist than the King. You just can’t.

The DUP thinks that it is still in a confidence and supply agreement. But this Government has a majority of 80. It is questionable exactly what constitutes membership of the ERG, but no more than 50 MPs, and perhaps as few as 40, could in any way be so described. The seven of them in the Cabinet have no intention of resigning for anything. All in all, an absolute maximum of 60 votes against what the Government had proposed, but more like 50, one in 13 members of the House of Commons. If that. A rebellion of, at most, around one in seven Conservatives. Who cares?

For its annual £200,000 of public money, all paid into one account, what research does the European Research Group produce? Three years after Brexit, research into what? As for the Democratic Unionist Party, it would lose its deposit in any seat in Great Britain, and it would struggle to get onto the ballot in most of them, but far from having decommissioned any weapons, Ulster Resistance has never even declared a ceasefire. Is that what this is really all about? Yes. Yes, it is. Tell me again about the bullet dodged at the last two General Elections.

Ulster Unionism bewildered most people even when Great Britain was much more homogenous. If you took out Don’t Cares, then by far the largest body of opinion has always been Irish Nationalist. The DUP is now only the second largest party in Northern Ireland. Being the second largest party in Northern Ireland does not give anyone the last word on anything. Both parts of Ireland have the same largest party these days. Guess who? But most people over here would respond to that with, “Who cares?” And always would have done.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Lindsay