Tory-DUP Coalition? Build the Resistance

Shaun Harkin, People Before Profit candidate in Foyle Theresa May’s disastrous election has forced her to look to the DUP to form a coalition government. The Tories and the DUP are said to be negotiating a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement to allow May to form a government. However, a firm agreement has still not been reached as we go to press.

Socialist Worker

Tory-DUP Coalition? Build the Resistance

May called the snap June 8 election believing the Tories could expand their Westminster dominance and win a mandate for their Brexit negotiation strategy. This has spectacularly backfired, forcing them to rely on the DUP to govern.
The DUP are without doubt one of the most reactionary parties in Europe. As a result of the election, many people in Britain are only now becoming familiar with them. Founded in the early 1970s by Ian Paisley, the DUP is opposed to Marriage Equality, a woman’s right to choose, and is deeply sectarian and racist.
The Northern Ireland Assembly was collapsed because Arlene Foster, the DUP leader and former First Minister, refused to take responsibility for the RHI financial scandal.
However, RHI is only the latest in a long line of corruption scandals involving the DUP. These include NAMA’s Project Eagle, Red Sky and the Social Investment Fund. Not only that, leading DUP members regularly mock the Irish language and Foster recently described Irish language speakers as ‘crocodiles’.
Weakness
The fact that May and the Tories are hoping to strike a deal with the toxic DUP is a deep sign of weakness. If the DUP and the Tories reach a deal the government will remain weak and vulnerable. We should take every opportunity to expose its weakness and to press for different demands.
For their part, the DUP are attempting to use their new found position to extract concessions from the Westminster government. This may include increased investment to the North of Ireland but will also include commitments from the Tories to assist the DUP in continuing to block the extension of basic rights for women and the LGBT community to the North.
May plans to push through more austerity across Britain and the North but  her weak government can be stopped. The DUP should face relentless pressure to oppose Tory plans to push through more cuts to public services in the North.
Corbyn is proposing a radical change of direction in Britain. The same is needed in the North. We need an alternative to privatisation, public sector funding cuts and tax cuts for corporations. We need to increase taxes on corporations and the rich to properly fund health care, education, public transportation and social Welfare. We need to end the running down of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive by allowing it to borrow in order to fund renovations and new social housing builds. Student fees should be abolished.
Everyone who believes in equality and justice should back the efforts of Corbyn and the Westminster opposition to frustrate everything May and the DUP attempt to push through. We should also step up the fight for Marriage Equality, a woman’s right to choose and for an Irish Language Act.
To oppose the Tory/DUP ‘coalition of chaos’ we need to unite the broadest progressive movement possible to fight for an alternative. Our goal should be making it impossible for the Tories and the DUP to push through their reactionary agenda. For this, we need opposition in parliament but also in the streets, workplaces and communities putting the needs of the many ahead of the few.

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