By getting into bed with the DUP Theresa May would do well to appoint an expert on exorcism to her new cabinet.
|DUP voters cheer an Orange Order march as its members parade through Carrickfergus at the weekend|
With the Tory minority Government led by Theresa May entering into what is a coalition in all but name, the initials DUP have been one of the top topics googled in the UK. Which is in itself somewhat shocking as it means despite three decades of bloody war in the recent past most folk in England and Wales seem pretty oblivious of political events in the north of Ireland.
It would not be an understatement to claim the DUP was at the heart of the troubles during those years. Their sectarian politics were one of the main reasons why the bloody conflagration which shook NI for decades lasted so long..
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a right-wing sectarian unionist political party founded in 1971 by Dr Ian Paisley as the six counties began to implode into open warfare. It's membership are the types who supported European fascism in the 1930s especially bar the Catholic religion the, Spanish Falange.
It was founded as a political spin off from Ian Paisley senior's Protestant Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. Smaller than the main Unionist Party it's growth was due to Paisley's intransigence, hardline ranting and pathological hatred of the Irish state south of the border. During most of the Troubles the DUP opposed all attempts to resolve the conflict by sharing power with the nationalist and mainly catholic population.
Although it now condemns all paramilitaries, in the 1980s after they forged links with the SA apartheid regime, they attempted to set up their own armed group Ulster Resistance. This failed because the well established loyalist organisations like the UVF and UDA out gunned them, and due to informers in their ranks and having the same aims as the various intelligence agencies who operated in NI. Paisley and his advisers eventually realised this and wisely stood Ulster Resistance down after it was ridiculed within loyalist circles. From then on the DUP concentrated on politics and provocative sectarian marches, often organised by their members within the Orange Order. It has to be said the they understood their core voters well and became astute operators.
Although in recent years they have built a relationship with the current UDA leader Jackie McDonald. Once a close henchman of a notorious south Belfast UDA boss he was one of the most feared gunmen in the north and a man who is still able to order the destruction of a human being.
The Loyalist Communities Council, which represents loyalist paramilitary groups including the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando, publicly endorsed three DUP candidates in the 2017 general election, Nigel Dodds, Gavin Robinson and Emma Little-Pengelly. Before this loyalists mainly supported the Progressive Unionist Party, especially in Belfast.
Its worth noting the overwhelming majority of the DUP leadership genuinely believe their god created the world in seven days, hence they don't do politics on a Sunday. Their beliefs are based on a literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative and rejection of the scientific theory of evolution. Like all creationists they make prickly bedfellows for unbelievers, and the prime minister will not get all her own way. They will see her in this light. She will not be on the bus to the next life as she believes in a different type of god so they owe her no special favours.
I once had a long conversation in a street café in Portugal with a couple from the north: the man is now within the DUP leadership group. He talked enthusiastically about the NHS and the welfare state, he even had a good word to say about the nationalist community in the north. Yet when he went to the toilet, his wife turned and said to me don't believe a word of it - under the surface you find a Paisleyite bigot. This was long before the Chuckle Brothers appeared on the scene yet the memory has always stayed with me.
If you add in the DUP's hatred of LGBT people and their views on abortion, some might say May is getting into bed with the devil, and she would do well to appoint an expert on exorcism to her new cabinet.
|A new paramilitary mural on the route of the above mentioned Orange Order march.|