The Right-wing ‘dream ticket’ of The Donald in the White House and BoJo in Downing Street has finally become a reality - but will it yield the necessary results for the political Right-wing in the British Isles, or will Northern Ireland Unionists face another political stab in the back from a Tory regime?
The DUP by now will have drawn up a new shopping list of demands in return for the Confidence and Supply arrangements with the Conservative party in the House of Commons; the main problem being there’s no Stormont power-sharing Executive to implement the ‘magic money’ spending spree.
What the DUP must ensure is that BoJo remains as Prime Minister for as long as possible because obviously the new Tory PM will have the long-term aim of guaranteeing a Conservative majority in Westminster without having to rely on the votes from other parties - and that includes the DUP.
Likewise, if BoJo is to win the next Commons General Election, he will have to unite his own party. Could the price of reconciliation between the Leave and Remain wings of Conservatism be a ditching of the DUP - no matter how secular the latter’s spin doctors try to rebrand the party’s image?
The target for the DUP will also be to get decision-making elected representatives back in power in Northern Ireland, whether that be at Stormont, or Direct Rule from Westminster. The DUP can boast - until the political cows come home - about the extra millions of pounds it is securing for the Province, but decisions still have to be taken as to who and how this dosh is spent.
During the time that the Ulster Unionists were the main Unionist party in Northern Ireland under the leadership of former Lagan Valley MP, the late Jim Molyneaux, it should be remembered he was a committed integrationist.
He made no secret of his distrust of devolution, and that the Direct Rule Northern Ireland Office should be manned by Northern Ireland MPs, not fly in/fly out Tory or Labour MPs from the mainland.
Could part of a new deal with the Tories be positions for DUP MPs as Junior Ministers in a Direct Rule Northern Ireland Office, even a seat at the Cabinet table?
The DUP knows the main sticking points for a return to Stormont would be same-sex marriage, more liberal abortion laws and an Irish Language Act. If the DUP rubbed out these three red lines, the Shinners would restore the partitionist Assembly and times could return to the successful era of the ‘Chuckle Brothers’ as existed under the late Paisley senior and McGuinness.
Then again, if the DUP can delay any return of Stormont until after 21 October, same-sex marriage and more liberal abortion laws will be introduced to Northern Ireland by Westminster, allowing the DUP to blame the Commons for such moves.
Westminster could even introduce an Irish Language Act for Northern Ireland. How would abstentionist Sinn Fein MPs explain that to their constituents - if you want something done, go directly to the British Government! How much more could be achieved if Sinn Fein abandoned abstentionism?
But all these three red lines for Sinn Fein run contrary to the DUP’s core vote in the Christian Churches. If the DUP was to agree to same-sex marriage, more liberal abortion laws and an Irish Language Act, how big would the rebellion be among Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists?
The reality is that the DUP 2019 under former Ulster Unionist Arlene Foster is not the same political beast that was launched in 1971 under the late Rev Ian Paisley. The UUP always had a liberal wing to its political broad church, so has a secular section been slowly developing in the post Paisley era?
If the DUP was to become more publicly secular like a section of the UUP, would the pro-Union community witness mass defections from the DUP to either Jim Allister’s TUV, or a rebranded Right-wing UUP?
Or, is it a case that evangelicals and fundamentalists in Northern Ireland no longer enjoy the same influence in politics as the Catholic Church once enjoyed in the Republic before the clerical abuse scandals erupted?
When the DUP was launched in Northern Ireland in 1971, could a situation have been imagined then that within half a century, the Republic - one of the greatest bastions of Catholicism outside of the Vatican - would vote overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage, and more liberal abortion and divorce laws, as well as have an openly gay Taoiseach.
The Catholic Church has lost its grip politically in the 26 Counties. Granted, there may be regions and parishes which will remain loyal out of tradition to the Church as an institution. Put bluntly, the old Unionist war cry of ‘Home Rule Means Rome Rule’ has been dumped into the theological dustbin.
This could lead to a startling debate which must be addressed within the current pro-Union community in Ireland - if BoJo cannot deliver a Brexit deal which protects the stability of the island’s economy, north and south of the Irish border, is some form of Irish unity on the cards?
Could even the threat of a united Ireland, even the loss of a border poll, be the catalyst which brings about the political holy grail of Unionist unity? In a united Ireland, the pro-Union community (it would have to be known as something else!) would be the largest minority in an all-island Parliament, and would always be in power as a minority partner.
Likewise, what would be the point of Sinn Fein’s existence if there was a united Ireland? It would be the same as asking - why would the UK need a Brexit Party or UKIP if the UK had left the European Union?
Would voters across the island of Ireland really vote for Sinn Fein in the event of Irish unity, for a party which is so left-wing it want to convert the island into some type of 21st century communist Cuba or the old Marxist East Germany?
Mind you, if BoJo can pull off the impossible - namely, a Brexit deal minus an Irish backstop, the Southern Irish economy will plunge into meltdown.
Currently, the EU negotiators are vehement that there must be a backstop. The EU cannot afford to give the UK a generous economic divorce deal otherwise the growing populist movements in France, Germany, Hungary and Poland will be banging on Brussels’ doors to get similar deals for their respective nations.
The EU must show to the remaining 27 states that ‘leave’ will be an exceptionally painful economic nightmare. BoJo will have to play political hardball over the coming weeks, but his administration will have to decide which is the best Right-wing goal - Brexit by 31 October; Tory party unity; a new deal with the DUP to keep the Tories in power, or the healing groundwork to ensure an outright Conservative victory at the next Westminster General Election.
The pro-Union community in Northern Ireland must, in the meantime, discover which of these directions a BoJo Government will opt for.
Listen to religious commentator Dr John Coulter’s programme, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning around 9.30 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM. Listen online at www.thisissunshine.com