Building a Country that Works for Everyone

So a Scottish Conservative leader may bring down a British government in the name of the Union?


As commentators rushed from across the Twittersphere to celebrate the Colonel’s brave Brexit stance (countless messages with ‘this is significant’ and ‘Important’ attached to Ruth Davidson’s late night tweet) betrayed an almost complete ignorance of her ‘multifaceted’ Brexit positioning.

But this new notion that there will be “regulatory alignment” on the island of Ireland – and that this represents some sort of crisis of the Union is pure myth-making. 

There is no political or legal uniformity across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The are different laws on abortion, gay marriage, language, different voting systems, different parliaments and religious affiliations, different education systems and notions of adulthood.

To create different responses to Brexit for different regions and nations within Britain would be democratic and strategically clever.

The brittle constitutional opportunism being celebrated as some brave principled stance is merely an attempt by people trapped in their own fantasy of Britishness to impose some sort of uniformity and order on a ‘Union’ that can only survive if they allow diversity.

In fact they spent most of the last four years howling about how diverse and magical the precious union is. How Unique it is – how multinational. Now it’s not, and any attempt to reflect or respond to different needs in different nations is quietly terrifying.

These are the same people who can’t stand linguistic diversity who feel threatened by multiculturalism and who’s own bigotry frequently bursts into the open, as we have seen recently with Scottish Conservatives pronouncing on “tarriers” and gypsies”.

But the D.U.P. aren’t just massively over-represented on a UK stage, they are massively over-represented on a Northern Irish stage too. Not only that but within the DUP a religious sect dominates.  So we have got to the stage where an extreme worldview is the point on which the economy and foreign affairs future of Britain pivots.

As Richard Seymour has written:

“If you answer this question on the basis that the DUP is a ‘normal’ right-wing party making the usual calculations for incremental advantage, you will get it only half-right. The DUP is not a bourgeois party. It is a party with its roots in small town, provincial Protestant reaction. In particular, it is a party whose origins lie in a struggle led by the founder of the Free Presbyterian church, Ian Paisley, against Catholic civil rights (cf, “Romanism”, “the Papal anti-Christ”, etc).

The theology of Free Presbyterianism, which is massively over-represented in the upper ranks of the DUP, is pivoted on this: you are here as a Christian to wage holy war against the devil. That is what the “Church Militant” means. God’s people separate from the world, much as in the Bible Israel was separated from Egypt, in order to contend for souls within it. God’s people don’t come to terms with “modernism”. God’s people don’t pander to convivial notions of unity, compromise, or dialogue with apostasy. Peace is for the grave. God’s people don’t become like the world. And one’s life is eminently worth laying down for the precious Saviour.

The faith motivates the reactionaries, galvanises provincial men and women with otherwise relatively little social or political power, and turns them into instruments of God. They really believe, you must understand, that ultimately, whatever setbacks they have, no matter how terrifying the devil’s reign is, God will win their battles for them, provided they are saved and have faith in Christ. It puts the blue rinse brigade and the ruddy-faced bullshitters on the front lines. It situates them in the struggle. It gives them literally supernatural confidence and accounts in large measure for their bluster, their complacent self-satisfaction, and their fantasy politics.

The Loyalist struggle, from this point of view, is against the encroachments of anti-Christianity in one of the remaining strongholds of Protestant faith. And this very small fundamentalist sect has wielded extraordinary influence within Northern Irish politics, well beyond its tiny constituency, supplying the core activists and footsoldiers of the DUP and its various paramilitary enterprises.”

Arlene Foster is not an MP elected to the UK Parliament She is not the First Minister or Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. She represents a political party that got only 28% of the vote. Earlier this year the Belfast Telegraph reported her saying after the disastrous elections: “I am listening not just to those who voted for the DUP but to those who cast their votes for other parties.”

She faced fierce criticism of her leadership style after her party lost 10 seats in the Assembly election.

And then there’s Ruth Davidson who proudly declared herself a “Protestant Unionist” when boasting about her Amnesty Pride lecture in Belfast.

But you have to wonder how Davidson squares her new-found Brexit principles with her new allies?

The party she is  now in alliance with was founded by Ian Paisley who founded an organisation called ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’.

His son, Paisley Jr has spoken of his “hatred” of homosexuality, saying: “I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and – without caring about it – harm society.”

His views are shared across the party.

Gregory campbell, the MP for East Londonderry has described homosexuality as:  “an evil, wicked, abhorrent practice. My opposition to that is based on the Bible and also based on natural justice and I know many people who do not share my Protestant faith but who would share my opposition to homosexuality because they believe it is something which would corrupt society as a whole, and is something so radically awful as to merit total and utter opposition. You’re not even talking about someething which is a run of the mill sexual practice but something which is totally and utterly depraved. The AIDS scare which is currently running through America is proof that homosexual practice is something which calls upon the curse of God.”

“I would see homosexuality as something which merited the curse of God.” He continued: “AIDS came about because of sexual contact between homosexuals. Now that to me is something which shows in a small way that there is more than just human opposition to homosexuality.”

You just need to read that and consider how that settles with the plan to “Build a country that works for everyone”.

Politics is compromise and pragmatism is essential in times of crisis. But this is just naked career opportunism being dressed up as principle.

Davidson and Foster aren’t being driven by the fabled “national interest” or a commitment that precious Union but defending their own precarious political base.

We are now being told amongst the chaos and travesty of the Brexit negotiations to abide by the need to placate people who have a worldview completely antithetical not just to the Scottish people but to the 21st Century. There should be no surrender.



Comments (4)

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  1. Wullie says:

    First Class!

  2. Tam Dean Burn says:

    Searing expose of the utter farce we are witnessing and the carnival of reaction calling the shots. Well said Mike

  3. Willie says:

    Yes these are hard line brutal fundamentalist protestants, we all get that.

    But when they represent 28% of the Northern Irish electorate and trail the Prime Minister of the UK like a circus poodle, you do have to ask questions about democracy.

    Held to ransom by sectarian thugs is about the best that can be said.

    As for PM May and her government they have just been shown up for the circus troupe that they are.

    God help us when you realise that that circus troupe holds the keys to our nuclear arsenal.

  4. Chris Clark says:

    Thanks, Mike, for a useful and timely reminder of the horrors and origins of DUP philosophy. Ruth Davidson should know better but, being caught up in the bigoted ideology of Tory politics, she will continue to betray the people of Scotland. I have reached the conclusion that Brexit as such is interesting but irrelevant to the central issue; Scotland must be self-governing rather than the subjugated and powerless underdog in a rotten and disunited union.

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