Today, the DUP entered into an astonishing £1.5bn confidence and supply coalition with the Conservatives, propping up their Government. With £1bn worth of new money and £500m worth of flexibility in current expenditure said to be freed up for Northern Ireland, I can’t help but wonder whether this spells the end for the United Kingdom.
How Are The DUP In The Driving Seat?
There is only one reason that the DUP are in the position that they are in, and that is that neither Labour nor The Conservatives can penetrate Northern Ireland. Local concerns are in the forefront of local voters’ minds and the successful parties reflect that.
The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) was historically the Northern Ireland wing of the Tories but the formal connection was broken in the 80’s. There was also the Northern Ireland Labour Party, which was an attempted bridge between the Northern Irish and British Labour parties. However, the NILP eventually fell apart, and most voters ideologically similar to the Labour Party ended up in the SDLP or Sinn Féin. There is simply no room for the more traditional parties of the UK in Northern Ireland.
What the DUP Coalition Says For Voters In Wales And Scotland
Look what could happen when the electorate rejects the traditional Conservatives and Labour in Wales and Scotland. They put political parties with local concerns at heart into a position of authority. Furthermore, it becomes even more difficult for a single party in the UK to gain a commons majority, giving smaller parties even greater influence. This is why I think a confidence and supply arrangement between the Conservatives and The DUP is a disaster. Theresa May (who may not be around too much longer) has systematically incentivised Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish voters to steer well clear of the major parties in Labour, The Conservatives or even the Lib Dems. How many of the Scots are thinking, ‘damn I wish it was the SNP negotiating for an informal coalition right about now’?
Why This Is Going To Be A Huge Problem Next Election Time
Next election time, do you think The Conservatives have any chance of turning DUP voters over to their side? Not when they’ve just created heroes in the DUP officials who have secured large amounts of public funds for Northern Ireland’s problems.
Ok, but this doesn’t mean the situation is going to get worse, right? Let’s look at Wales. Labour received a large majority of the seats in Wales, beating out the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru. But next time round, why would the people of Wales vote Labour? Or even Conservative? Their best bet, as they can well see after today’s result, is to gather behind Plaid Cymru, who have Welsh interests first. This will most likely result in another hung parliament, at which point Plaid Cymru might be in a position to bargain for that spot that the DUP have just taken.
The same scenario is likely to obtain in Scotland, probably with the SNP. And what do both the SNP and Plaid Cymru have in common? They both want independence from the United Kingdom. This is why I believe that in five years, or in ten years, or in twenty years, the decision today to form an informal coalition with the DUP is what will cause the end of the United Kingdom.
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