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Schadenfreude over the DUP? December 30, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Gerry Moriarty at the weekend was exercised by the supposed ‘schadenfreude’ exhibited towards the DUP’s plight. The odd thing is I’m hard-pressed to find a lot of examples of same – more resignation, weariness and so on, whereas with Moriarty, Collins, Harris and a number of others there’s no end of newspaper articles bemoaning this phenomenon (in fairness Moriarty is far from the worst in this respect). The problem being, and Moriarty’s piece is an excellent example, in outlining the twists and turns of the DUP’s approach to Brexit and politics in the North it is difficult not to… as he does, come to the conclusion that:

A return of Stormont would be a distraction from the disaster of Brexit. And there would be no election until 2022, which might allow people to moderate their fury over the mess the DUP got Northern Ireland into.
And it is a monumental mess. In June 2017, when Theresa May was re-elected as British prime minister and became dependent on the DUP’s 10 MPs, the future looked like a bright vista of sunlit uplands, but now it’s a swamp and the DUP are stuck in it.

But he continues:

The DUP’s natural supporters in Northern Ireland, the farmers and the business community, assertively told Foster and Nigel Dodds that they could live with the withdrawal agreement and the backstop because that was 10 times better than the alternative of no-deal, which could be economically disastrous.
Foster and Dodds wouldn’t listen. The backstop would mean checks on some goods coming into Northern Ireland and that could not be tolerated.

He doesn’t stop there:

So, they brought Boris Johnson over to their annual conference in November 2018 to declare “Junk the backstop” with Dodds joining in the chorus with his “Bin the backstop”.
Here, thought the delegates, was a likely successor to May who wouldn’t let the DUP down. Not half he wouldn’t.
After he got the premiership and as soon as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar opened the door for him with an alternative deal, Johnson greedily embraced it to his chest. Foster and Dodds protested that this would create a border down the Irish Sea.
But Johnson wasn’t listening to them any more; he was listening to Dominic Cummings.

And keeps going:

The DUP has been betrayed by Johnson and sidelined by his new government. The party has lost the prospect of gaining those extra billions that May offered. People at home are annoyed with them over Brexit, over the health crisis, over the absence of a functioning Northern Executive, and over much else besides.
Hardly surprising that the DUP was so badly punished at the election, losing deputy leader Dodds in North Belfast and also South Belfast and failing to take North Down, which looked like a given, and for the first time seeing more nationalist than unionist MPs elected.

After which he then writes:

What a mess indeed for the DUP, and for Northern Ireland. Schadenfreude may be hard to resist but the DUP’s misery won’t help Northern Ireland get off its knees. For that to happen, powersharing must resume and a chastened and humbled DUP must be at the centre of it.

Yet, as with others like those mentioned above, the odd suspicion comes to mind that that those who complain most about schadenfreude most loudly are, no doubt entirely inadvertently and coincidentally, the ones who are indulging in it to the greatest extent!


1. CL - December 30, 2019

“The truth is, unlike England, Scotland or Wales, the other parts of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland has a relationship with the European Union through the Good Friday Agreement.
Untangling it was always going to be complicated and potentially dangerous. The issue was not flagged or teased out during the UK’s Brexit campaign.
The mess that resulted is proving many times more difficult than the coping mechanisms and the narrow shoulders of the DUP….

A new proposition gaining popularity is “the game is up for unionists, Northern Ireland is a failed state and it’s time to push for a united Ireland”.
The thesis has the catchphrase magic and the questionable value of the Boris Johnson mantra, “Get Brexit Done”. Fetch a hammer to solve the Rubik’s Cube puzzle….
for the vast majority of citizens south of the border, free access to State-provided health care, from GP visits to hospitals access, is means-tested.
In contrast, all Northern Ireland’s citizens have free GP access, a no-charge prescriptions system, free access to hospital care, one tenth or less the rate of private health insurance south of the border and the UK’s longest waiting lists (300,000 and growing) to see a consultant.
If to date, no Irish government has found the funds and the structures to replicate the NHS model of the UK, Northern Ireland included, what might the 1.7 million citizens expect in the new Ireland?…
Unionism of all shades has been challenged during the 20 years since the Good Friday Agreement. Under the leadership of David Trimble, the Ulster Unionists were central to shaping and selling that treaty, which the DUP shunned….
Brexit has accelerated the undermining of DUP dominance. A previously unknown quantity, it has wrecking ball characteristics. Its victims include David Cameron, Theresa May, Michael Heseltine, Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson, Dominic Grieve, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston.

It has punctured the British Labour party and the Liberal Democrat party and spawned the birth and death of at least two more parties. The medium to long-term consequences of Brexit’s destructive tendencies are impossible to predict….

As one year melts into another, the DUP and the brand of unionism it seeks to champion, face a choice.

Its strength over the past 15 years was that it attracted centre ground support on a trial basis. If that backing continues to ebb away, the DUP runs the risk of morphing into a marginalised group of extremists.”


roastedsnow1 - December 30, 2019

Johnson’s position on the Barnett formula is interesting. A £3bn cut to funding overall to give Northern subjects parity with the English. Those free prescriptions will go. And as HM income reduces due to Brexit, watch as budgets are further cut across the UK. Meanwhile Tory philosophy dictates the privatisation of the NHS. Health care will, in a few years, not be the issue you rightly point to for now. The NHS is being decimated!

This will not be lost on pragmatic unionism.

An all Ireland state within the EU would be more preferable with dialogue about the future of issues such as Heatlh Care would be attractive.

The biggest problem for a sizeable handful of unionists is bigotry. Themmuns…….

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