Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The DUP and the Tories: What's the Big Deal?



So, Theresa has her deal and predictably people are complaining. Yet it's not really easy to see why. It seems to amount to a surprise that in politics votes mean deals being done and that this usually means that money is spent. Given that many of those complaining would have had no difficulties whatever with the various money splurges of Chauncey's Labour Party, including a wholly unnecessary commitment to give free tuition fees to students and cancel their debts, a naked bribe with our money to get the great unwashed to come out and vote, then what is the problem?

Or there's the SNP. If they had been in a position to do a deal with Labour then would they have done so for free? What price would they have extracted for their support do we imagine? Not that Scotland is in any position to complain when it comes to money even without this. Scotland does very nicely out of the Barnett Formula as it is. Their inability on this occasion to extract anything further hardly makes them paupers as a consequence.

During the 2010 to 2015 parliament, as I recall, the Lib Dems managed to prise very many concessions out of David Cameron in return for their support including Nick Clegg's ridiculous free school meals policy with which we are all saddled now for all eternity because once it is given it can never be taken away. They forced a referendum on the country that it didn't want but happily gave up their commitment on tuition fees as part of the quid pro quo. That said all you needed to know about Lib Dem policies. The rest is history.

The irony is that had Theresa May not abandoned the triple lock on pensions and not promised to means test winter fuel allowances she might not have needed the DUP's help at all. Instead she has had to have imposed on her what she should probably never had abandoned in the first place, however sensible it might have been economically and fiscally. If only the unionists could have insisted on her abandoning the 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid policy we could all rejoice.

It goes without saying of course that, though Labour are critical of this deal, they tried to have a similar one in both 2010 when Gordon Brown was trying to cling on and again as we approached the election in 2015 under Wallace. Had Brown managed to cobble together a coalition or some kind of confidence and supply deal he would have had to do a deal with more than one party so he was perfectly prepared to spend our money keeping himself in power. And the same would be true now under Chauncey. He is under the impression that he will be PM in six months time - he informed someone at Glastonbury of this over the weekend. The only way that that will happen is to do a deal. That would mean doing deals with the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, the Lib Dems and the DUP. How much of our money is he prepared to spend to do that? Or would he accomplish it all by taxing the rich and confiscating their empty homes? Even for Chauncey's Labour, the hypocrisy of criticising this deal is startling.

Anyway, the deal has been done and now we have a government that looks, dare I say, reasonably strong and stable for the first time in a couple of weeks. Now is the time to get on with some governing. Maybe the DUP might force the Conservatives to actually behave like Conservatives and stop apologising for their principles. That would be welcome. Chauncey told people at Glastonbury that he expects to be PM inside 6 months. Presumably he did so having inhaled some of the sweet aromas that waft around Worthy Farm at this time of year. This deal means that that is not going to happen any time soon. As the past few weeks have shown, a lot can change in politics very very quickly. And so this deal is well worth the money offered up to the DUP. Money spent on Northern Ireland's infrastructure rather than on Labour's gerrymandering is money very well spent.

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