The DUP may live to regret stealing a £1billion march on the rest of Britain

Posted By: July 02, 2017

The Democratic Unionist Party has received a hefty bung [bribe] from Theresa May to boost spending in Northern Ireland but moral defeat was the cost, according to Alex Bell.

Alex Bell.Daily Record. Scotland. Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Orangemen were in George Square yesterday – Glasgow city center brought

to a halt by Protestants celebrating a triumph over Catholics.


If you are not from the west of Scotland, the marching season is odd. Like seeing your GP carrying a bloodied saw and a bag of leeches – the past incongruously alive in the present.


In the modern world, most people don’t parade religious difference or openly associate with an identity linked to terror and social disorder.


But if you are familiar with this tradition, then it’s a cause for some pride or irritation.


The problem for the Orange Order is that the political party closest to them, the Democratic Unionist Party, has done a deal with the Conservative Party.


Dictators these days use fake news and social media until bit by bit the lies become the norm


This means the strange but discreet habits of the north of Ireland and west-central Scotland are under the spotlight.


It may be a level of scrutiny Protestant activists come to regret.


The DUP emerged from Protestant unionist anger at the Troubles in Northern Ireland.


The political wing arose alongside a militant trend, of people willing to resort to violence in order to the defend their values.


This hardline Unionism eventually overtook the more pragmatic politics of the UUP [Ulster Unionist Party].


Northern Ireland is now split between the DUP, the political wing of Unionism, and Sinn Fein, the political wing of Nationalism.


This is a willfully ignored detail of British politics.


Most people, in Ireland and Britain, would rather Northern Ireland was left to the Northern Irish to squabble over.


The mainstream identities of Britain and Ireland do not include the North – a deep irony, given how both sides in Ulster think of themselves as representing a kind of essence of the two nations.


It is like a forgotten Jurassic Park, best left to its own devices.


What has changed is the DUP-Tory deal.


Last week, Labour MP Stella Creasy amended the Queen’s speech to legislate for Northern Irish women to get free abortions on the NHS in England.


This is a very significant step. Obviously, it’s a boon to the women of the province, who were paying more than £1000 to have abortions in the UK.


Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland. It is important because the DUP like the fact that abortion is illegal – they made it clear that any deal with the Tories would not alter the law of Northern Ireland.


What they didn’t bargain on is that the same deal would bring the peculiar anomalies of legal variance across the UK into focus.


The DUP has won a £1billion bung out of Theresa May to boost spending in the province (already the most heavily subsidized part of the UK).


They can’t have bargained on a moral defeat at the same time but that is what has happened.


It will not stop there. The Orange Order may think themselves the epitome of Britishness but they are alien to the Britishness of the home counties.


If there were Orange marches in Maidstone and Guildford, you can be pretty sure there would be

no DUP-Tory deal now. The question is: Will the marches be next to come under Westminster scrutiny?


A vote in Westminster could not stop marching in Northern Ireland or Scotland.


Different legal systems and different police jurisdictions make it impossible for someone like Creasy to ban the marches.


However, the right to march could be taken to the UK Supreme Court.


Certainly, if the DUP-Tory deal is seen to cause Scotland particular grief – and it is already denying Scots any share of the bung that is heading to Belfast – then Holyrood could grow tired of a tradition which is so provocative and offensive to many Scots.


This latest cash splurge may revive those calls for change.


Orange Lodge spokespeople like to say they are expressing an Ulster-Scots identity and it’s no different to any other community celebrating their history. This is clearly not true.


The SNP ditched attending Bannockburn marches, aware it made them look, well, like folk from Northern Ireland.


The DUP have made no similar move to modernize. Nor are the Orange marches innocent fun,

like celebrating Guy Fawkes’s plot on November 5.


The offense they cause is real and palpable.


Westminster does not have its troubles to seek but MPs across the divide are pretty sure they find the intolerance of Northern Irish politics abhorrent and backward.


The DUP-Tory deal has given them cause to look again at The North.


The DUP may come to regret the attention.