To get a majority, the Tories get in bed with some nasties

June 9, 2017 • 11:30 am

This post is mostly for Americans. since today’s Hili dialogue showed me that we not only have a lot of British readers, but they know a lot about UK politics.

In yesterday’s British elections, the Tories failed to win a Parliamentary majority, having lost at least 12 seats. They now have 318 seats in the House of Commons: less than 49% of the 650 seats.

That presages stalemates, but Theresa May has a solution. She’s courting the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which won ten seats. Those, plus the 318 Tory seats, will give them 328 seats in total–just enough to have a majority.

But the DUP is a nasty piece of work. It was founded, for one thing, by the bigot Ian Paisley, and its goal is to keep Northern Ireland in the UK. It supported Brexit, and has a number of other odious stands, with many of its influential representatives promoting young-Earth creationism (see here, here, here,  and here for documentation).

The first link documents DUP members’ opposition to gay rights and gay marriage and their opposition to abortion (a party plank). They appointed a climate change denialist as their environment minister. The DUP campaigned for Brexist. Arelene Foster. the DUP’s head, was implicated in a “cash for ash” scandal that secretly bilked the taxpayers in an energy scheme (read about it here).

Finally, there’s their views on evolution (the other links), which alone puts the party beyond the pale of rationality. (Even the Conservatives aren’t evolution denialists.) As the Independent notes:

Evolution and creationism

The party counts a number of creationists among its senior members.

DUP assembly member for West Tyrone, Thomas Buchanan, last year endorsed an event promoting creationism to be “taught in every school”.

The event included presenting “the biblical case for the sound teaching of children” that will “offer helpful practical advice on how to counter evolutionary teaching”.

DUP politician Edwin Poots has expressed his views that the planet is a “young earth” created just 4,000 years ago.

“You’re telling me that cosmic balls of dust gathered and there was an explosion. We’ve had lots of explosions in Northern Ireland and I’ve never seen anything come out of that that was good,” he told the Radio Times.

What a maroon! What we have, then, is a Conservative PM and, if DUP gets aboard, a conservative majority in Parliament, something resembling the horrible conjunction of conservative leadership we have in the U.S.  I was happy when I heard that the Tories didn’t have an effective majority last night, but now it looks as if they might. And Brexit, despite its implicit rejection in the party’s loss of seats, can proceed as planned.

h/t: Anne

101 thoughts on “To get a majority, the Tories get in bed with some nasties

          1. I could launch a lengthy debate on the subject; however, neither of us is likely to change the other’s mind; so, we will just respect each other’s rights to our opinions…

        1. Both the UDA and IRA saw the use of violence as legitimate ways to get what they wanted.
          That seems a good enough fit for ‘vile’.
          Don’t fall for any romantic myth about the pIRA.

          1. I agree. If you oppose Islamists murdering innocent people to force their view of society on others, you should feel the same about the IRA bombings.

            Whatever the rights (and wrongs – there were plenty of those too) of their case politically, murder is wrong.

        2. I deplore violence, but the boot of tyranny rarely gets lifted from the people’s neck willingly.

      1. Ian Paisley started the troubles by organising to maintain the oppression and mistreatment.
        There is no comparison between Sinn Fein and a Paisley mentality.

      2. Ian Paisley started the troubles by organising to maintain the oppression and mistreatment of the Catholics.

        There is no comparison between Sinn Fein and a Paisley mentality.

          1. Norn Irn, much like the Arab region, is a place where the hospitality is stellar and the religion question hellish. In places like beautiful seaside Portrush the people are lovely as you drift past the outsize billboards hand-painted with quotes from John’s Gospel. As a Prod, you still need to be reminded of your justification by faith even as you lie semi-naked on the beach.

            The province is a place of dirty little secrets and otherwise amenable people barely aware of the malevolent and worthless ancestral chains that bind them. Marx spoke of the past weighing like a nightmare on the brains of the living: he could have been writing about NI.

            Of course the DUP knew about Unionist atrocities and of course Sinn Fein knew about IRA terrorism. This is the sort of thing the Northern Irish grow up with, with their mother’s milk: yet choose to deny it for public consumption. Of course, the cabal of proto-psychopaths, substituting themselves for open democratic discussion, descend into gangster behaviour and protection-racketism. If they wish to model their good society they have to lie about what they do. Yet everybody knows it, even the group whom they claim to represent. And dirty great euphemisms spread throughout the community; ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter’ becomes axiomatic rather than a question-begger.

            There remains a deep entrenchment in Norn Irish society: in many areas, I suspect, if you happen to disagree with the stereotypical ideas of your cultural group, you become inauthentic and borderline treasonous: given the history of knee-capping that is not a comfortable position. For instance, I am the grand-son of an IRA gun-runner: were I a top man in Sinn Fein, I would be admired and touched by the hem of his garment. As I am not, according to my cousin my grandfather would be ashamed of me (and that grandfather happens to have much less of a Republican pedigree).

            You can’t win. Under the surface, the old enmities remain febrile: and a civil society which lies in public about facts, which everybody really knows, is not healthy and cannot solve its problems.

  1. That presages stalemates, but Theresa May has a solution. She’s courting the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which won ten seats. Those, plus the 318 Tory seats, will give them 328 seats in total–just enough to have a majority.

    I was just about to post this on your previous thread but it’s equally appropriate for this.

    Nawaz nails Leftist hipocrisy and Tory opportunism in one:

  2. To be honest not everyone in the rest of the UK is really aware of these idiots. Ian Paisley has been dead for long enough for them to have slipped off the radar (he was very visible), and Northern Irish politics is pretty arcane for the rest of us Brits.

  3. DUP politician Edwin Poots has expressed his views that the planet is a “young earth” created just 4,000 years ago.

    Interesting. So this guy thinks the universe was created 1000 years afterstonehenge

    1. Do you know that, according to young-earther creationnists, the Flood occurred 1650 years after Adam’s birth? (1650 + 6 days after the Creation.) So, some 2350-3000 years ago… or less than 150 human generations.

      Sometimes, ridiculous is just an euphemism.

  4. the DUP is deeply creationist. It is linked to the Caleb Foundation (nicknamed the Caliban), who briefly succeeded in getting creationist material into the display at the Giants’ Causeway (which they attribute to Noah’s flood), and wth typical evangelical fervour and paranoia state on their website that “We are on a very dangerous and sinister road, and in such circumstances it is vital that we elect representatives who are not afraid to stand up for Bible standards.”

    You say that your UK readership is aware of all this. Only in a general sense; the specifics of DUP policy surprise me anew every time I examine them.

    1. getting creationist material into the display at the Giants’ Causeway (which they attribute to Noah’s flood)

      Science tells us the Flood was bollocks – Finn MacCool built the causeway so he could fight the Scottish giant Benandonner.

  5. If you’re against the regressive left then you should be glad that the Tories were able to put together a majority. Otherwise, the PM would have been Jeremy Corbyn, the most regressive major party leader to yet emerge in a Western democracy, and a huge pal of communist and Islamist tyrants worldwide.

        1. I’m not a Tory supporter. Never voted for them. I hoped Labour would be trounced as it might have rid them of the Trotskyists currently in control. A Corbyn win would have been our Trump moment. A disaster in charge of a country.
          He’s an ultra regressive. Last week, after the London atrocity, he gave the first unequivocal support of police killing terrorists. He usually says something like “I’m opposed to all violence”. He thinks Chavez is one of the great statesmen and he called Castro a “champion of social justice”.
          A few other nuggets:

          He –
          Invited two IRA members to parliament two weeks after the Brighton bombing.
          Attended Bloody Sunday commemoration with bomber Brendan McKenna.
          Attended meeting with Provisional IRA member Raymond McCartney.
          Hosted IRA linked Mitchell McLaughlin in parliament.
          Spoke alongside IRA terrorist Martina Anderson.
          Attended Sinn Fein dinner with IRA bomber Gerry Kelly.
          Chaired Irish republican event with IRA bomber Brendan MacFarlane.
          Attended Bobby Sands commemoration honouring IRA terrorists.
          Stood in minute’s silence for IRA gunmen shot dead by the SAS.
          Refused to condemn the IRA in Sky News interview.
          Refused to condemn the IRA on Question Time.
          Refused to condemn IRA violence in BBC radio interview.
          Signed EDM after IRA Poppy massacre massacre blaming Britain for the deaths.
          Arrested while protesting in support of Brighton bomber’s co-defendants.
          Lobbied government to improve visiting conditions for IRA killers.
          Attended Irish republican event calling for armed conflict against Britain.
          Hired suspected IRA man Ronan Bennett as a parliamentary assistant.
          Hired another aide closely linked to several convicted IRA terrorists.
          Heavily involved with IRA sympathising newspaper London Labour Briefing.
          Put up £20,000 bail money for IRA terror suspect Roisin McAliskey.

          1. Ok, should we condemn every politician that stands with or appreciates the British Army.

            There is no shortage of atrocities by them on the Irish.

            1. The IRA were terrorists. The security forces were the legal force of a democratic government. Corbyn shares you’re view of the British military and he’s soft on Islamic terror groups as well. That’s why he’s unfit to be Prime Minister.

              The numbers are telling:

              The IRA killed 1000 in the security forces. The security forces killed 100 IRA terrorists (approx)

          2. Thanks aljones. There were times during that terrible night when I thought we might have Corbyn as PM. Thank god it did not happen. He is an apologist for murderers.

    1. Sorry this is over the top. This is not a Presidential system and although Mr Corbyn is somewhat eccentric he has to answer to the many members of the Labour Party who have alternative strongly held views plus more than half the electorate which regards him with bafflement.
      Brexit has let many Political cats out of the bag first everybody considered the country had swung to the Right. Mrs May decided to take advantage of this and called the snap election. Now it appears the country has swung to the Left and a jubilant Mr Corbyn imagines his day has come.
      There may now be a new underlying trend in the UK which has a demographic root.
      Prime Minister Harold Wilson once remarked that a week was a long time in Politics, recent inept political shenanigans have proved him right yet again.

      1. I never thought Brexit was as big a swing to the right as others assumed. Although it was the Conservatives who promised the Brexit vote, Theresa May opposed Brexit, and Corbyn never properly campaigned for the remain side. He was all but silent. Personally I think he is secretly in favour of it.

        1. He was previously anti-EU.

          He said on The Last Leg that he was 70% pro-Remain. That’s not a ringing endorsement of Europe but it was honest and pretty much my own position. Every other politician portrayed the issue as Good vs Evil.

          There were good arguments on both side that most Remainers won’t acknowledge.

          I don’t think Corbyn ever branded Brexiteers racist as that would make him 30% racist.

          1. I’ve always acknowledged there are arguments on both sides, but I’ve never publicly stated the arguments in favour of Brexit because if I was British I would have voted to remain in the EU.

        2. May is more of an opportunist than Blair. I suspect she was always pro Brexit but didn’t think it worth nailing her colours to the mast – until (unexpectedly, even to the pro Brexiteers) the vote went that way.

          The worst part of this is that the referendum was supposed to have been advisory only and not binding on the government. With the votes evenly split – ⅓ exit, ⅓ leave, ⅓ couldn’t be arsed to vote a strong and stable PM could have said it’s not decisive enough to change the status quo.

          (Sorry: Rant over.)


          1. I agree re advisory, and close result. Also, I can’t believe they’re going ahead with Brexit after the debacle of what happened with all the false information put out during the campaign.

            With referenda here, there are people who do the same of course, but the electoral commission also puts out non partisan information and analysis so everyone has a reliable source to use to make their decision.

          2. That is a very good point, Ant. I think for something as serious as leaving the EU, one should have much more than a tiny majority of those that actually voted, consisting of only about a third of eligible voters, especially since only ‘advisory’.
            I see no need whatsoever to go through with Brexit, it would indeed not be really undemocratic, meseems (and then we did not even mention Heather’s point).

      2. That it is a parliamentary system and not a presidential one makes Corbyn more dangerous, not less. He would be PM by virtue of a majority of the legislature already endorsing him, rather than in a presidential system where the legislature or one house of it could remain in the hands of the opposition party.

        1. I am puzzled as to why Corbyn is considered so dangerous, or even “left-wing”. After all, pretty well everything he is asking for would have been taken for granted in Harold Macmillan’s UK.

          1. To some extent I agree, supermac was the last of the patriarchs. I believe that smash and grab Thatcherism would have appalled him.

          2. Of course the policies are tailored to be palatable to the electorate. They can’t go into an election talking about the inevitable collapse of capitalism. It’s the long history of Corbyn and McDonnell (his possible successor) that’s worrying,
            “As someone who still sees the relevance of Trotsky’s transitional programme, I am attempting not to salvage capitalism but to expose its weaknesses.”
            and in a speech after the financial meltdown: “I’ve been waiting for this for a generation”

          3. Perhaps on the narrow issues of welfare spending Corbyn is in line with old-fashioned social democrats. But the regressive aspect that is new is his embrace of Islamists and tyrants.

  6. Since the DUP have nearly always supported the Conservative Party we don’t have cause worry now the official “marriage” has taken place. We are used to its cranks and it may just encourage Sinn Fein to take up its seats at Westminster just to annoy the DUP (and not before time) which would really get the pot boiling.
    The religious right has very little credibility in the UK in comparison to deep rooted socialism which has a far stronger history and really knows how to bite.
    If push comes to shove it may be that Westminster would allow Mrs May to govern as a minority Government rather than allow the DUP to over influence UK government policy.
    We must also not forget the sleepy House of Lords which has has a bevy of Bishops who consider the sect represented by the DUP as rivals and rather disreputable.

  7. promoting young-Earth creationism… opposition to gay rights and gay marriage… opposition to abortion… appointed a climate change denialist as their environment minister… implicated in a “cash for ash” scandal that secretly bilked the taxpayers in an energy scheme…

    So, basically, they’re just British Republicans? And they have ten seats in Parliament?

    How quaint.

    1. Loyalists to the Union and the Crown not Republicans.
      I imagine that if he were ever to hear this “heresy” it would set Mr Ian Paisley spinning in his grave fast enough to destabilise the planet.

      1. (Please ignore this comment if you were being ironic, and consider me obtuse.)

        I was saying that the DUP is the British version of the American Republican party—not small-r republicans. I forgot that political terminology varies from side-to-side of “the pond.”

  8. Remember that the re-elected Member for North Antrim is called Ian Paisley. I don’t think this is just a coincidence.

    They do generally support the Conservatives, but this is the first time they are the power-brokers. And unlike Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats, they understand the nature of power.

  9. This particle DUP doesn’t look well, but the country needs a government.

    “And Brexit, despite its implicit rejection in the party’s loss of seats, can proceed as planned.”

    I disagree with this last sentence of the post. The Tories were against Brexit. It was the voters who forced it on the major parties. The voters caused Brexit by voting, or by not voting, and have no ground to punish the Conservative Party for their own vote, even if they are suffering from buyer’s remorse now. And I do think Brexit should proceed. Right or wrong, the people have spoken.

    1. Incorrect. IF the Brexit vote was due to apathy/complacence on the part of the ‘anti-Brexit’ side, then obviously all of the people have NOT spoken and every opportunity should be taken to correct the course of action.


      1. You might as well argue that EVERY vote is invalid in countries where voting is not mandatory because rarely do even half the electorate show up.

        However there is no political impetus to force people to “speak up” when they clearly don’t want to or have no opinion.

    2. Yes the people spoke and about 25% said “leave” and very slightly fewer said “remain”. The rest were either ineligible to vote or could not be arsed to rock up at a polling station.

      I also don’t get this idea that democracy means decisions are set in stone and cannot be changed.

    3. No. The people were lied to by the Government, and are still being lied to. Many voters and much of the media have been fooled, yet disasterously the voices of protest are largely ignored…

      Perhaps it seems a technicality to some people, but despite promising a binding EU referendum in the 2015 Conservative manifesto, the Government asked Parliament to approve an advisory referendum. This fact is proven by official government documentation (of which I have a copy, though it appears to have been removed from the government web page that I downloaded it from). The EU Referendum Act 2015 does not counter that documentation. If Parliament had debated a binding referendum, then I would have expected a supermajority to be imposed and a better attempt made to franchise all adults. The Government lie was that Parliament had approved a binding referendum.

      When the Referendum result was announced, I had expected the Prime Minister to give an indication of when Parliament would debate EU membership taking into account the (fairly neutral) Referendum advice, an estimate of how non-voters would have voted, and other factors. Instead, it was announced that the UK would be leaving the EU. The complex debate that I had anticipated had, I was told, already taken place. (What a joke!)

      An estimate based on polls showed that if the turnout had been 100%, the most likely result would have been a 50.35% majority in favour of Remain. Furthermore, those adults who had not been franchised were in groups more likely to vote Remain. But the estimates were ignored in favour of the crude assumption that non-voters would have voted in the same proportion as voters, as in the general elections that the public are familiar with. General elections also do not involve supermajorities. Thus, as a result of the Government lie, much of the public were under the impression that the decision on whether the UK should leave the EU had been taken by the electorate (often erroneously referred to as ‘the people’). It seems that this perception heavily influenced MPs (most of whome surely knew that the referendum that they had approved was advisory).

      To the shame of MPs, it took a member of the public, Gina Miller, to challenge the Government at her own expense. And to the further shame of the Government, they tried to oppose her in the courts (at the expense of the public). The Government lost, yet still did not allow Parliament to debate whether the UK should leave the EU. Instead, with the gun of public perception held to MPs’ heads, it got Parliament to agree to let the Prime Minister decide whether to trigger UK withdrawal. No proper debate on withdrawal ever took place.

        1. As the Referendum was advisory, the intention was to get a good idea of people’s opinion. Surely the more people who were considered, the better that assessment would be? Why should the opinion on non-voters be ignored? (Remember that some of the non-voters would have liked to have voted, but were disenfranchised. Also, some of the non-voters who were franchised were unable to cast their vote for a variety of reasons.)

    1. As my father was something minor in the local Labour Party and my mother being true blue, politics came from both sides so I grew up free of ideology and feel no guilt voting for any party I thought likely to make the country a little better.
      Our old friend Otto Von Bismarck said that politics was the art of the possible, so we shouldn’t ask for the impossible.

  10. The government (of whatever hue) needs to govern. To do that it needs a majority in parliament. There is no other party that is willing to go into coalition with the Tories – so they are stuck with the DUP.

    If the Tories can’t consistently command a majority then we’d have to have another election.

    Labour, despite noises to the contrary, couldn’t possibly form a government. None of the other parties would give them support.

  11. Given the collapse of May’s support late n the campaign, it’s just possible that if the Labor party had not been hijacked by Corbyn and of cabal of antisemitic left wing radicals, it might have actually won the election with a more palatable candidate.

    1. I wish that were true, but sadly it seems that these days extremism in politics is more of an asset than a liability.

      1. There are three sets of extremists in play at the moment. Enthusiastic left wing supporters who hate (yes, hate) ‘Tory Scum’. Enthusiastic right wing supporters who fear (or loathe) ‘Loony Labour’. And finally a biased media that over simplifies the debates into binary sound bites to capture viewers/readers.

        So I guess any enthusiastic left wing people are going to excoriate the DUP for their dotty views and history, and enthusiastic right wing people are going to think that the DUP are a price worth paying to keep the Loony Left in their box.

        The media, of course, are rubbing their hands at the prospect of more column inches and broadcast bandwidth being filled up with pantomime ‘certainties’.

        But there are probably a greater number of people that are not bothered by such posturing.

  12. DUP won ten seats to Sinn Féin’s 7.

    It could be Jerry Adams may be ready to accept la réalité of Arlene Foster’s democratic mandate and resume power sharing. This evening he issued a carefully understated warning vis-à-vis the prospect of a Conservative-DUP alliance.

    Such an alliance might be an error too far by May.

  13. On the face of it, the Tories and the DUP ought to be able to get it together for a few months. The DUP are scared sh*tless at the prospect of being either forced into union with the RoI or being isolated from it by Brexit. Theresa May will find it easy to offer them the necessary assurances.

    But what happens when the DUP go back to bedrock and start asking for recent social advances to be rolled back? Already the leader of the Scottish Tories, Ruth Davidson, who is out and proud, and is soon to marry her partner, has asked May for assurances that they won’t be. We’ll see.

    I give the Tory-DUP alliance six months max. If I was a betting man, I would put my money on another election before the end of October.

    1. The new Westminster government will soon have to negotiate the new land border with the EU as part of Brexit. The Irish Republican government may have some trouble negotiating with a government whose working majority consists of the DUP. If the DUP pushes the Conservatives too much for deals, this will annoy the Republic.
      There is also the power sharing issue in Northern Ireland. Having the DUP in coalition with the Conservatives will not make things easy with Sinn Fein either. The two main factions have been in recent deadlock over corruption allegations.

      1. The Government does NOT NEED the DUP support to enter cross border negotiations, the other Parties at Westminster and in the Dail will always vote in favour of a sensible plan.
        The maddening hypocrisy of the DUP on this issue has been obvious for years. The Protestant majority has now had its day and very soon the non Protestants will be the overwhelming majority. It is they who will decide not the DUP.

  14. Corbyn’s close connections to Hamas and Hezbollah, and to assorted anti-semites, gets a pass.

    Mayor Kahn’s past links to terrorists was obviously no biggie.

    Labour MPs speaking before sex-segregated moslem audiences is hunky-dory.

  15. A Conservative minister on BBC Radio this morning said that they have agreed to offer a vote in Parliament on reducing time limit for abortion, in return for (general) support from the DUP. And so it begins …

    1. Owen Paterson:
      was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

      He has personal lucrative business interests in Northern Ireland:

      Do I detect a slight conflict of political interest here, or is it just simple sleaze?

  16. Interestingly the Official Monster Raving Loony Party won no seats (surprise!) but did have one manicfesto[sic} item that caught my eye:


    Atheism will be given charity status being a non-prophet organization. In the interests of health and safety all other theism’s will loose charity status and be regulated by their local authority.

  17. Corbyn told us during the election it was the Saudis who sponsored terror.

    Now that the DUP refuse to vote for him, it turns out it was the DUP who were the terrorists.

    292,000 people voted for the DUP.

    Those people are not terrorist sympathisers.

    The DUP will have almost no power. They cannot vote for Corbyn under any circumstances because of his links with the IRA.

    1. Nobody expects the DUP to get in a coalition with the Labour Party: they are further right than the Tory party. I imagine also that Corbyn won’t support many of the interests of the DUP either.
      As I understand, the Labour Party is considering, if necessary the formation, of a minority, non-coalition government. This would mean that it will try to agree support from other parties an an issue by issue basis, but not as a power-sharing coalition.

      1. From a certain angle, if Corbyn were being consistent, he might consider supporting the DUP. Yes, they are creationists, misogynists and have history in defending terrorism. Rather like JC did in the House of Commons when he defended Imam Suliman Gani of the Tooting Islamic Centre against Cameron’s wrong allegation that the good Imam was an IS supporter.

        The facts on Gani, who was the centre of the London mayoral elections in 2016, are that he is a woman-hater, apocalypticist, theological liar, sectarian, creationist, evolution-denier, anti-Semite, Caliphate supporter, defender of ‘Lady al-Qaeda’, friend of Jihadi John’s advocate and AQ supporter. I know because I spent a week researching him.

        JC led the attack on Cameron as some Labour backbenchers, to their shame and mine, as I have never not voted Labour, yelled, “Racist!” at the PM in the chamber.

        There was a lot in the media during the recent election about JC’s defense of terrorists and dictators (as Shi’a countries are mainly clients of Russia, he saves his ire for Sunni countries and his labour power for the media of Shi’a régimes). But even when I laid out the evidence to left-wing sites, commenters simply weren’t prepared to accept the evidence or would find the lamest of excuses, and worse. It certainly taught me a lesson in the power of the political lens, as well as the theological, to blind oneself to the evidence in front of one’s eyes.

        The political mind is still a powerful tool enabling one to ignore facts, to reconcile inconsistencies of principle and to project onto the leader the heroic purity one would wish to see in oneself. JC captures that essence rare.

  18. The current turmoil in the UK makes me very sad, but this thread has been most helpful in defining it for me; and also fascinating. Thanks to all the posters, and please keep posting.

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