Monday, 12 June 2017
Both DUP and Conservatives have something to earn from a political deal
Arlene Foster clearly knows the agenda of Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn and of Sinn Fein, agenda that has been publicised when the notion of a United Ireland was put firmly under the spotlight.
During political campaigning for the 2017 General Election, Jeremy Corbyn was asked repeatedly about his political sympathies and his closeness with Sinn Fein (political arm of the Provisional IRA).
Secessionist political parties like SNP got a cold shower with the advances of the Conservative Party in Scotland but Arlene Foster knows full well that the Conservative Party is the best guarantee of keeping Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom. Should Jeremy Corbyn become Prime Minister, the chances are that Northern Ireland will not longer be a part of the United Kingdom.
Before a meeting due to take place tomorrow in which both DUP and the Conservative Party will lay down the foundations of a political agreement, DUP sources were quick to refute rumours about sectarian issues on the negotiations table. The weight of the public sector in Northern Ireland is considerable and therefore investment in the public sector and the issue of pensions in the public sector are fundamental in any agreement. This is why Arlene Foster spoke about maintaining the triple-lock on pensions. The Conservatives that were not keep in keeping the triple-lock would give way on triple-lock pensions to keep the DUP onboard.
In other areas like cross border transit, DUP is not far away from the position maintained by other political parties including Sinn Fein. Open-Borders between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are seen as a sine qua non condition to allow trade that is vital both for the Republic of Ireland and for Northern Ireland.
Gender issues that deeply trouble the Conservative Party would also be put aside to focus on economic issues that would benefit Northern Ireland and strengthen DUP with more jobs and more investment.
Both DUP and the Conservative Party share an Unionist Platform. They both want to maintain the integrity of the United Kingdom. Yesterday, the choice was between an independent Britain and a Britain increasingly dominated by the European Union. Today, the choice is between an United Kingdom as we know it and a fragmented United Kingdom.
As the news from Spain is about a Referendum on Catalonia's Independence, many would be reassured by a move to reinforce the integrity of the United Kingdom. Just a few days ago, SNP decided to put on hold its proposals for yet another Referendum on Scottish Independence after election results that clearly benefited parties opposed to the break-up of the United Kingdom.