DUP silent as Brexiteers make deals that will destroy farming in The North

Posted By: November 15, 2017


How much influence over the Tories does the DUP really have?

Brian Feeney. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, November 15,  2017

The DUP chickens are coming home to roost, chlorinated chickens that is. Last week US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross was quite clear that if the UK wants a trade deal with the US after Brexit,  they will have to jettison EU food standards. Chlorine-washed chicken is the least of it.

Some chickens are dosed with antihistamines to tenderize their meat. Others have been treated with ketamine, a hallucinogenic drug, yet others with steroids. We haven’t even mentioned what happens to cattle and pork and that’s before Trump has got to work on what passes for US regulatory standards.

As you read here before the DUP remains silent while their Brextremist friends in the chaotic British cabinet strive to make deals which will destroy farming in The North. Drug-laden carcasses are one threat but the prospect of Britain being swamped with cheap beef from Latin America should prompt the DUP to say something about the awful mistake they made supporting Brexit.

We never cease hearing about the influence the DUP-10 wield in Westminster because they prop up Theresa May’s shambolic government. Well, why don’t they use it? Why don’t they say they won’t support anything which destroys agriculture and trade in The North? Why don’t they stipulate they won’t accept any divergence from EU standards?

The answer is that those in the DUP who led the charge in 2016 advocated Brexit for reasons of identity, stupid, atavistic hostility to Catholic Europe as the arch-bigot Paisley saw it, EU interference in The North’s internal social affairs through the European Court of Justice and (mistakenly) the European Convention on Human Rights. They also saw it as a way of copper-fastening The North in the UK, and despite their protestations to the contrary, demarcating a border. Now they see the mess that Brexit guarantees,  they’ve gone very silent and no wonder.

Only Jeffrey Donaldson, the  self-appointed expert on digital border technology, still gives interviews on cross-border trade. He used to deny there’d be any checkpoints but now admits there will have to be, though maybe not at the border. So that’s alright then. Business will be happy,  eh?

The fact is that the DUP has no idea because they have no position of their own. They never developed one because trade was not one of the real reasons they supported Brexit – see above. Now they wait helplessly to see what the hopelessly split cabinet decides, a cabinet which has never even discussed, let alone agreed their objectives, in case they start throwing the furniture at each other.

One blindingly obvious point which the DUP could never admit is that,  if you leave the customs union and the single market, you have to have a border. The EU has now told the UK the only way to avoid a border is to ‘ensure no emergence of regulatory divergence from those rules of the internal market and the Customs Union…necessary for meaningful north-south cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.’ That means special arrangements for The North. Shock! Horror! The DUP in their ignorance were alone in not seeing it coming.

Now here’s the truth. The DUP has no power. That’s why they don’t make demands. Suppose they step in and say we’ll pull down the government if you do such and such. Theresa May tells Deputy Dawgs [Deputy Dodds] to sling his hook. What does he do? Cause an election which Jeremy Corbyn will win with the Conservatives at each others’ throats? No. The only reason the DUP prop up the worst British government since the 1970s is to keep Jeremy Corbyn out because they know with Corbyn and John McDonnell their goose – unchlorinated, of course – would be cooked.

The EU has suggested The North could be like Hong Kong or Macau. Constitutional treachery screams Depuy Dawgs. Well no. China has complete sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macau. They just have different tax and commerce systems from mainland China. The North would remain in the UK and the customs union and the single market. Best of all possible worlds for Unionists. A temporary arrangement naturally,  just like any arrangement here until in due course the British finally slinkaway,, as every Unionist knows they will and allow The North to rejoin the EU.