This is What the Orange Order and DUP Would Bring to Scottish Politics
1. Same sex marriage
The Party opposes same sex marriage repeatedly vetoing any change in the law. Jim Wells, (MLA) said “Peter will never marry Paul in Northern Ireland”.
2. LBGT Rights
There is no enthusiasim for supporting the LBGT community, indeed any public display of gay rights is attacked by DUP ministers as being distasteful and offensive in the extreme.
The Party policy on abortion are well publicised. Currently, women can only access an abortion in Northern Ireland if their life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to their
physical or mental health. Rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities are not circumstances in which abortion can be performed legally.
In a challenge against the abortion law in Northern Ireland the UK’s Supreme Court justices strongly expressed their opinion that the current laws are incompatible with article 8 of the
European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – the right for respect for private and family life. The judgement further stated that the present law “clearly needs radical reconsideration” and that the opinion of the court – while not legally binding – “cannot safely be ignored”.
4. Death Penalty
Party members, officials and Ministers repeatedly call for the return of the death penalty.
5. Climate Change
The Party position regarding climate change is best summarised by DUP Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson who banned climate change adverts from television stating “it is an insidious green propaganda con and government finance will not be used to promote it”.
The Party campaigned hard for Brexit, but without success when 56 per cent of people in Northern Ireland voted to remain, and is supporting a so-called “softer Brexit”.
This would involve a free trade and customs agreement with the EU, and arrangements to ensure people, trades and services could move around easily.
Whilst most agree there must not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the DUP does not want its customs controls moved to Great Britain as a result.
7. Cash for Ash Scandal
The scandal centres on a failed renewable energy scheme that overspent £700 million.
Implementation of the scheme was the responsibility of Arlene Foster, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment who has been accused of a conscious neglect of duty through failing to introduce proper cost controls, allowing a massive overspend in the scheme costs.
Foster refused to resign or stand aside when a whistleblower revealed the extent of the financial scam in November 2017.
Her intransigence forced the resignation of Martin McGuniess, Deputy First Minister triggering the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly. As at June 2018 the Assembly is still not operating.
8. Electoral Boundary Changes
When the Northern Ireland state was created in 1921, it was deliberately gerrymandered in order to guarantee a perpetual unionist majority in the Assembly.
But significant gains by nationalist supporting Sinn Fein and SDLP at the 2017 General Election created panic within the Orange Order/DUP who saw their guaranteed numerical supremacy fail for the first time since 1921.
The subsequent commitment by the DUP to keep the Tory government in power at Westminster came with many caveats, one of which was a return to the boundary gerrymandering days of the Orange Order bringing with it a strengthening of the “Protestant Ascendency” in Ulster.
The DUP submitted proposals outlining how the new boundary map would maximise the number of DUP elected representatives and minimise the number of nationalists by manipulating electoral boundaries.
Just under six months after signing the deal with the Tory Party the Boundary Commission brought forward revised proposals which, if implemented would deny voting representation to thousands of nationalist voters leaving a number of constituencies without any nationalist representative whatsoever at Assembly level. An appalling denial of equal representation.
In response to heavy criticism from nationalist supporters and the press it was eventually disclosed that the initial proposals had been radically altered following a request from the DUP.
Namely the implementation of the controversial “Rule Seven” more commonly known as the “gerrymander rule”.
The rule, only permissable in the North of Ireland gives the Boundary Commission scope to go beyond the usual electorate quotas in any constituency favouring specific communities.
And it did so with a vengence, guaranteeing the return of a perpetual unionist majority.!!!!
Angry nationalist supporters charge that the Boundary Commission has yielded to illegal political interference and that the unjustified changes need to be overturned. Failure to do so might result in civil strife in Northern Ireland. A return to the bad old days of the past.
9. The 2015 Hung Parliament Tory and DUP Confidence and Supply Agreement
A secret deal, to be actioned in the event of a hung Parliament following the 2015 general election, was drawn up between Cameron and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The Tories won with a slim majority. The deal was shelved but brought forward again in 2017 following the loss of its majority by the Tory government.
The document revealed the broad thrust of proposals which Theresa May unveiled as the two parties met to thrash out a deal which would see the Northern Irish Unionist party prop up a minority Conservative government.
The draft agreement stated that “there would be no side deals with the Republicans, which would hinder the Tories from acting as an intermediary for the two sides of Northern Irish politics.”
DUP MPs would vote with the Government on all matters except welfare reforms, devolved issues and matters relating only to Northern Ireland and will support the Government in any no-confidence motion for as long as the “Statement of Principles” is in force.
In return for the support, the Government will increase funding for the armed forces.
On military spending, the agreement stated “The DUP and the Conservative Party agree that the UK’s standing in the world is of paramount significance.
The DUP will accordingly support the Government’s determination to maintain the scope and reach of our diplomatic effort, the scale and effectiveness of our international aid programme (including in relation to conflict resolution and stabilisation) and the strength of our national defence.
The Government will maintain the current size of the regular armed services, increase the reserves to 30,000 and maintain the real value of the capital defence equipment programme, with the ambition of holding defence sending (including spending on cyber and counter-terrorism) at 3 per cent of GDP.”
The document described several ways in which the Conservatives would give financial support to Northern Ireland in return for the DUP’s backing including £1 billion new money.
The Government agreed to “examine adjustments to the Corporate Tax regime in Northern Ireland” and to “discuss with the DUP other tax changes that could encourage economic growth in Northern Ireland”.
The Tories pledged to “Work with the DUP to maintain Northern Ireland’s 100 per cent regional aid status, to reduce electricity costs in Northern Ireland and to ensure that both Innovate UK and the British Business Bank focused more heavily on Northern Ireland.”
The Conservatives further pledged to “enhance” foreign office support for foreign direct investment into Northern Ireland and “ensure that Northern Ireland can receive a fair share both of national government contracts and of infrastructure investments”.
DUP Party Leader, Arlene Foster, who is not a Westminster MP said: “The DUP is pro-Brexit, but favours a “soft” exit in part because of the border with the Republic of Ireland and customs laws.
We are going into these talks with the national interest at heart. The Union, as I said before, is our guiding star. We believe in the Union, we believe in national stable government, and that will be at the forefront of our mind”.
Strengthening the union would be paramount and in this respect the DUP could bring forward proposals for new definition of a “victim” which excludes perpetrators killed or injured during violent acts in the Troubles.
The DUP supports a government recommendation for a statute of limitations when it comes to prosecuting security force members who served during the conflict.
Critics have raised concerns about whether the Government can maintain a neutral stance between Republicans and Unionists, whose power-sharing arrangement in the Northern Ireland Assembly recently broke down, while remaining reliant on the DUP to get its legislation through Parliament.