Meddling in Northern Ireland for the sake of power – a risky little game – Guest Blog – Christoph Fischer

Stormont Parliament building outside Belfast, ...

Stormont Parliament building outside Belfast, Northern Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Theresa May has reached out to her Unionist ‘friends’ in Northern Ireland to find support for her new government. There are several legal issues to consider, such as the UK governments’ role as neutral guarantor of peace, and the inability of NI MP’s to vote on certain legislation in parliament.

Despite these limitations, fear of unforeseen consequences and inadvertent chain reactions has spread through the ranks of (not only) progressive and moderate voters. The DUP got a lot of criticism in the press for their far right-wing stand, which are certainly worrying, but which may not be as relevant as we are led to believe. In this article

some of the scariest prospects of a DUP involvement in Westminster are being played down, and some of them quite convincingly I must say.  Their fear of JC as IRA supporting PM might lead them to throttle down their demands.

Yet, I agree with John Major,

who reminded Theresa May of just how long it took to come to this part in the Irish peace process. It can easily unravel, and in my opinion, is not worth the risk for the sake of Tory party short term gains of power and face saving.

The DPU is very likely to gain concessions from May that will unbalance the currently stressed situation in Ireland. The negotiations between DPU and Conservatives have already emboldened their leader Arlene Foster to make some sharp statements, directed at Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein in turn are on a trip to Westminster themselves, raising concerns that they may break with their non-participation in parliament, once provoked enough.

They are adamant that the UK government can no longer cast itself as a neutral facilitator in the process, given Theresa May’s intent to form a minority government with the help of a confidence-and-supply deal with the unionist party.

And after listening to Arlene Foster, I can’t blame them, even though it is true that Sinn Fein walked away from the Assembly in Stormont:

Arlene Foster told Sinn Fein leaders if they are concerned about her party’s enhanced influence at Westminster they should move to restore devolution at Stormont.
“If others decide that they are not coming back into the devolved administration here in Northern Ireland then those issues will have to be dealt with at Westminster,” she said. “It is really for Sinn Fein to decide where they want those powers to lie.”

Read more at:

Christoph Fischer

3 responses

  1. The quicker May goes and is replaced by Boris Johnson and a refreshed cabinet the better.
    The Barnett Formula in Wales and Scotland needs to be adjusted so that extra money can be found for both DUP constituencies and Nationalist controlled areas.
    With their mouths lined with gold the process of keeping the peace process/ Good Friday Agreement in good order should be easier and has been like Lord Heseltine and Sir John Major can perhaps be discouraged from their continual mischief making.
    There is no reason with goodwill that this arrangement between the Conservatives and the DUP cannot work but resorting to alarmist language ,legalistic posturing and May remaining in place are all potential “Deal Breakers”.
    Brexit cannot happen with people infighting and with the economy as uncompetitive as it is.
    Both have to change in short order so that the EU negotiators see that we have a credible Plan B.
    May is a loser,a ditherer and too slow so would be overtaken by events.
    Events need to be reshaped by a Boundary Commission review and a reduction in MP numbers at the same time as House of Lords abolition and replacement,the privatisation of the BBC and the sale of Channel 4.
    Christoph Fischer’s analysis is fine as it is but the key is to change the pieces on the chessboard not be in thrall to Arlene Foster and her headbangers or to Sinn Fein.

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