A Corbyn-DUP alliance is unlikely but in this uncertain political era anything is possible

Posted By: December 14, 2018


Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus
“ It is a dramatic indication of how messed up the whole Brexit issue is when it appears that Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the British Labor Party, is rejecting the “Backstop” (the means for stopping a hard Border). Not only that, but Mr. Corbyn —a famed United Irelander—appears to be embracing the DUP, which has always expressed contempt for Corbyn! God save poor Ireland.” 
—Fr. Sean McManus 

John Manley. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, December 14, 2018
In recent years old certainties have evaporated. In the United States, in the Republic, in Britain, and across much of the developed world, traditional class and ideological allegiances no longer apply and have been replaced by a mismatch, à la carte approach to politics.

In keeping with this trend, the EU referendum provided some common ground on which left and right could unite; strange bedfellows advocating a Leave vote but for entirely different reasons.

In 2016, Jeremy Corbyn campaigned to remain in the EU, despite a history of strong euro-skepticism. Unlike his counterparts in the Tory ranks, the Labour leader’s aversion to Brussels had been based largely on its free-market philosophy. Historically, Sinn Féin held a similar view, only quietly converting to supporting the EU over the past decade.

Mr. Corbyn has enjoyed a long and close relationship with Irish republicans, one that has been cemented further since he became Labour leader.

But in recent weeks, the relationship has been strained, as Mr. Corbyn appeared to woo the DUP and criticize the Backstop element of the Withdrawal Agreement, a guarantee for a frictionless Border that has unanimous support among Irish nationalists north and south.

The Labour leadership has faced criticism from within its own ranks for its rejection of the backstop and what south Armagh-born MP Conor McGinn called Mr. Corbyn’s “invocation of The Union.”

Sinn Féin has been restrained in its criticism of its long-held Labour ally, who many believe is prioritizing political opportunism over securing an open Border.

Responding to reports of the Labor leader’s overtures to the DUP, Mary Lou McDonald said Mr. Corbyn was doing what British politicians do by “pursuing what they understand and believe to be British national interest.” That’s what Westminster does.

That’s what British politicians do.

“I have said to Jeremy before – we disagree and we differ dramatically on the issue of Brexit,” she said.

An alliance between the DUP and Jeremy Corbyn would be uncomfortable for both and in all likelihood short-lived. Watching the current arms-length courtship creates a sense that it’s more about putting pressure on Theresa May than forging a long-term partnership. But in an era where old certainties have evaporated, anything is possible.