‘Theresa May is a dead man walking,’ exclaims former Tory chancellor George Osbourne, ‘it’s just how long she’s going to remain on death row.’
Theresa May, in a bid to ‘strengthen her hand’ in Brexit negotiations, has if anything lost it. Her clear and ravenous attempt to claim personal power failed her and her party. Yet, far from learning from her mistakes, it appears that she is perhaps about to damage both her and her party’s reputability once again. As it currently stands, the Conservative party will attempt to still run the government with the propping up of the DUP. Such a proposed agreement, of which has not been officially accepted yet, has not only caused outrage from the British public, but also further suggests more instability within government, and indeed in the United Kingdom. Far from the strong and stable leadership she promised, May may have just created a ‘coalition of chaos’ of her own doing.
The DUP, or Democratic Unionist Party, was founded in 1971 by Ian Paisley. Of course, the very idea that the Conservative party would happily uphold an agreement with a party founded by Paisley is completely ludicrous when considering their constant attacks and smears directed at Jeremy Corbyn throughout the General Election campaigning. Dubbing the peace-seeker a terrorist sympathiser, it appears that the Tories, most notably May herself, had very little shame when it comes to being hypocrites. Indeed, not long ago in the aftermath of the devastating terror attacks that occurred just weeks ago, May advocated that there must be a crackdown on religious extremism. However, that clearly only applies to Islam in her eyes, as she cosies up with a party that is inherently linked to Protestant extremism and acts of terror in Northern Ireland. The party, of which is the largest in Northern Ireland at this time, have links with such groups as the UDA and LVF. In fact, terrorist organisations linked to the DUP have been said to have blackmailed many of the electorate, by doing a mail drop demanding their support for the party. Of course, it must be duly noted that the DUP itself is not a terrorist party, however, the party led by Arlene Foster is far from segregated from such acts and beliefs. The party is primarily founded, of course, on the idea of Unionism with Britain. This contrasts with Sinn Fein, the party advocating, rather, for a United Ireland away from Britain. While both have links to terrorist groups, it is the DUP that uphold the rather unsavoury views that, rightly, cause the British public to be extremely displeased and wary of a British government whose stability relies on them.
The DUP’s ideology can be described as regressive at best. This is a party that have consistently blocked the legalisation of same-sex marriage, completely disregarding the consensus of the Northern Irish people. This is a party who have stated that gay and lesbianism is wrong and repulsive, with Ian Paisley Jr going so far as saying that he ‘think[s] that those people harm themselves and – without caring about it – harm society’, following on to say, ‘that doesn’t mean that I hate them – I mean, I hate what they do.’. Such a regressive stance on the rights of LGBT people and their community is undeniably disturbing, and it goes without question that such ideologies are strongly repressive and regressive. The party’s stance on various other social issues is far from any better. On women, their own leader has stated that her most important job is being a wife and mother, subservient to men. The party is strongly Anti-abortion, they are climate-change deniers, and even possess members who believe in the absurd notion of Young Earth Creationism. It is clear, then, to understand why the British people are in strong opposition to the idea that this party of regressive values, might have the opportunity to prop up the Conservative government, and thus have strings they can pull. Not only has may lost her following in grave proportions, but she is heavily losing the respect of both the British electorate, and her peers.
May has once again gone wrong here in numerous ways. The first being that, after losing her majority and mandate by colossal proportions, she took no time in waiting before jumping straight into bed with the only party that would allow her to cling to power. May showed, once again, that instead of working in the interest of her party and the people, she instead arrogantly looked to keep herself in power. Moreover, not only did she express selfish tendencies, her incompetence in gauging a good deal in negotiations shone through once again. Perhaps foreshadowing events in Brussels, may stood outside of Downing Street and proclaimed, rather explicitly, that she needs the DUP to keep the government running, only strengthening their hand in the negotiation process. The DUP now know that they have a strong power over the Conservatives, even with only 10 seats themselves, and this will have dire consequences for the Tories’ power and their following outside of Parliament.
But what does this really mean for the Tories and government? And how guaranteed is the decimation of the party? To that I’d say it is almost inevitable that the Conservatives will lose their power to rule in a very short time. Mrs. May is bound to be met with a vote of no confidence and a leadership challenge in the coming months, perhaps even weeks. The postulation, moreover, that this agreement between the Conservative party and the DUP will bring stability to the House of Commons is absolutely absurd. The arrangement between the two parties is not truly a coalition, working on the basis of ‘confidence and supply’. This is shaky to say the least, and almost definitely promises that the deal will not be in action for long. The DUP can pull out at any time concerning this deal, moreover, it is unlikely that they will agree with the Conservatives on many occasions. Furthermore, even if the DUP simply lose confidence in May, or their ability to get their own ideals through, they can easily just up sticks and leave. This Snap Election has, if anything, weakened Theresa May’s mandate for a hard Brexit, and at the rate that we are going at, it appears that, with a minority government headed by the Tories, it will be weakened still. That is why I believe that there will be another election very soon.
But, what about Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party? What role do they have to play in the government in the aftermath of what was a great victory in the General Election? Well, as we know, Corbyn has advocated that he will put forth an alternative Queen’s Speech to the one that May proposed Friday lunch time. In this speech, the Labour leader has outlined that although he may not have the largest number of seats, his policies and leadership would hold strong popularity in Parliament. Therefore, Corbyn argues that a minority government under his leadership would in fact be the most stable option at this current time. Personally, I do agree with this, at a time where May’s leadership is contested, with an uncosted manifesto that was abhorrently disliked Corbyn’s policies would prove popular. Ultimately, for May to step aside and allow the Labour leader to take charge of the government at this moment in time would be the honourable thing to do. Not only for the stability of the government, but also for the best interest of the people. However, this seems unlikely to happen right now, and if plans go ahead, May may hold onto power for a little while longer. However, this is now a waiting game for the decimation of Tory rule. May is bound to be met with strong opposition in the house of common and her own party. Another General Election is looking more and more likely, something the Conservatives would rather not have considering the strong influx in Labour support. In my opinion, another election would see even more young voters, and perhaps less older voters. The young have been swept up in the socialist momentum that may very well see Jeremy Corbyn moving into 10 Downing Street, perhaps even before Christmas.