After Brexit debacle, DUP hasn’t a clue what to do next

Posted By: November 28, 2019

“Incredibly Arlene Foster is still going on about being able to ‘do business’ with a Labor government as long as Corbyn is not leader”

Brian Feeney. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday,  November 27, 2019

 Here is the stark truth. Unionists have no idea what to do. The DUP still reeling, hasn’t come to terms with the total collapse of their tactic of the last three years which was to brown nose the Conservatives assiduously, obsequiously, in the hope of catching crumbs from the master’s table, then pass scrapings on here.

 Essentially the same policy as the heating scandal they promoted, when they assumed mistakenly that the British Treasury would foot the bill.

 As with RHI [ Renewable Heat Incentive], their stupidity and gullibility about Brexit was laughable. What suckers they were. How many times did Sir Jeffrey ‘I can live with 40,000 job losses’ -Donaldson pollute the airwaves with nonsense about magic electronic devices to monitor border crossings? How often did the permanently indignant Wilson rant that the problem with the Border was a nationalist invention. He made people laugh with his insistence that there would be no Border checks established here.

 They’re laughing now, at the DUP. There will be checks, but delightfully, they’ll be at the new Border of Sammy’s constituency in Larne. How much they will cost is as yet unknown.

Unionists have no response to any of this. Johnson’s U-turn was so unexpected, so breathtaking in its heartless rejection of Unionist dignity and amour-propre [confidence in your own value],  that humiliation is total; for the benefit of Gregory Campbell amour-propre isn’t Irish for self-esteem, or sense of themselves. Unionist reaction has been like John Cleese in Fawlty Towers; don’t mention the war. The last three years being led up the garden path never happened. It disappeared from their strange irrelevant 12-point election manifesto. It didn’t happen in their election broadcast. In the absence of any leadership or even any coherent response, the leadership of Unionism, not for the first time, has passed to empty-headed loyalists.

Unionist politicians and would-be MPs have dutifully turned up at meetings organized by people, as they say euphemistically, ‘close to the UDA and UVF’. Of course they don’t know what to do either except to hold rallies like the one planned for the Ulster Hall next Friday. Needless to say Arlene Foster, devoid of political nous, hasn’t copped on yet that the ship has sailed, no doubt with its cargo suitably checked at Larne. Incredibly she is still going on about being able to ‘do business’ with a Labour government as long as Corbyn is not leader.

 Listen, don’t be so stupid. There isn’t going to be a Labour government, but if there was, Jeremy Corbyn would be unassailable as leader. He’d be able to walk on water if he beat Johnson, but he won’t.

Secondly, does she really contemplate repeating the same mistake as the unmentionable previous three wasted years? Does she really imagine her ‘strong team of DUP MPs’ will be able to direct British government policy? Her confidence and supply deal went well, didn’t it?

So what happens after December 13 and the numbers are in, and Johnson is driving his ‘Betrayal Act’, as the DUP call it, through Westminster? Blockade Larne? Stop exports? It’s probably going too far to suggest that Unionists might finally realize that trotting over to Westminster faithfully every week, even supporting harshest austerity, makes no difference whatsoever to British calculations. Have unionists noticed yet that this place does not figure in any way in British commentary on the upcoming election? The British border in Ireland vanished instantly once parliament was dissolved. Johnson has burnt his bridges with the DUP so they just don’t figure.

Will the DUP eat humble pie, accept their Valentine’s Day deal in 2018 was the best they’re going to get and return to Stormont? No of course they won’t. Any notion Simon Coveney entertains of a deal in the New Year is cloud cuckoo land.

Besides, there’ll be a new proconsul, for Johnson will sack the present incumbent who was never happy here. No. Unionists haven’t a clue what way to turn.