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.”

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Christoph Fischer