The DUP: history and controversy

Politics and Insights

Former DUP leader, Peter Robinson, (left) in paramilitary uniform, 1986.

The following story, first published in the IrishTimes on 16 May, is of a massive donation to the DUP, which reads like a John le Carré novel – but voters need facts, not fiction.

What connects Brexit, the DUP, dark money and a Saudi prince? By Fintan O’Toole

If Northern Ireland were a normal democracy, the election campaign would be dominated by a single question: how did the Democratic Unionist Party end up advancing the cause of a united Ireland through its support for Brexit? More specifically: what role did dark money play in that extraordinary decision? This story has all the makings of a John le Carré thriller but democracy on this island needs facts, not fiction. 

To recap briefly: two days before the Brexit referendum last June, the Metro freesheet in London and other British cities…

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Wanted: Scapegoats

Media Diversified

by Kiri Kankhwende 

Listening to the coverage of the Tory Party Conference in the last couple of days a real blind spot is emerging: who are we going to blame for everything when the foreigners are gone post-Brexit?

Granted, not everyone will go, but this government is going to try to get rid of as many as possible. Everything is geared towards supplanting “foreign” with indigenous.

Like, doctors. Jeremy Hunt, possibly the biggest threat to the future of the NHS but with the durability of a post-apocalyptic cockroach, has pledged that by 2025 the NHS will not have to rely on foreign doctors. Plans to provide 1,500 more training places a year for new doctors aren’t a bad thing, but the British Medical Association said that this “falls far short of what is needed.”

Hunt also said that he would force doctors to repay some of the money for…

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So MP’s Don’t Like The Idea Of Deselection??

Declaration Of Opinion

I listened to Liz Kendall talk down to a Question-Time audience member last night saying how MP’s like her were voted in by their CLP’s then voted for (or not) by a wider electorate. What Kendall failed to mention is that during Blair and Brown’s tenure as Labour Leaders, the candidates the CLP’s were voting for were “approved” from “on high” by the Leaders office and not, in some cases, the preferred candidates of those same CLP’s. So is this the reason lots of these MP’s seem so ready to follow along when it comes to attacking Jeremy Corbyn? and why they are appearing to be so anti-democracy. These MP’s haven’t really had to try, they were handed their positions, I wonder how many CLP’s in the past voted for the “best of a bad approved bunch” after they “won” their chance to stand in a local election all they…

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Beautiful. Sums up how it felt for so many.


September 18th September

It’s finally here. I joined the SNP in 1995 when we had 4 MPs and were less than 20% in the opinion polls. Now today we are asking the people of Scotland whether they want our nation to be an independent country. It has been an incredible journey and I feel quite emotional as I go and cast my vote in Craigie Church, just round the corner from where I live. I started out believing that we had absolutely no chance of winning this but have been genuinely surprised at just how close we have run them. Even today I think there might just be a chance we could pull this off. It has been all down to this incredible new constituency for Yes that has been created in the last few weeks of the campaign. The old industrial working class vote has now almost entirely embraced…

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Defending the Human Rights Act

Media Diversified

by Tanzil Chowdhury

The new Justice Secretary Liz Truss, and the third non-lawyer in a row to be appointed for the position, recently gave evidence to the House of Common’s Justice Committee pledging her government’s commitment to scrap the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) and replace it with a ‘British Bill of Rights’ (BBoR). However, many of the claims that critics of the HRA make fundamentally misunderstand how it works and why it is essential in a democratic society, and evade any serious discussion about what a British Bill of Rights would look like.

hra_heartfield1The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was put together in response to the European Holocaust and the Third Reich’s expansionist wars and was intended to prevent government excesses. It provided a basic set of rights for citizens, not based on their nationality, race, gender or religion, but simply by virtue of the fact that they…

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We need more ordinary people in Parliament and less career politicians

Walker's Rambles

I’ve just read today’s Guardian editorial “Byers for sale” taking former cabinet minister Stephen Byers to task for allegedly offering, on camera, to use his access and influence to lobby for private clients for up to £5,000 a day.

While condemning Byers for his greed and stupidity, interestingly, the Guardian also feels let down by the sight of a leading “centrist” being so eager to enrich himself. The paper also sees a potential conspiracy in Byers being exposed by The Sunday Times and Channel Four’s Dispatches, all the more so given that other MPs similarly identified as ready to make a fast buck included Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon, ‘architects’ of the botched coup to remove Gordon Brown earlier this year.

The Guardian suggests that the last thing one should expect from “progressive centrists” is a willingness to dip their noses in the parliamentary trough like all the rest…

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The real Spanish veto threat

Wee Ginger Dug

I wasn’t going to blog today because I’ve got a bad case of manflu, which is like a regular cold only with additional histrionics, drama, and attention seeking. So very much like the Labour leadership contest then. But there’s news from Spain which I thought worth sharing, mostly because it’s deeply discomfiting to those Unionists who keep claiming that Spain would veto the membership of an independent Scotland in the EU. And when you’ve got a severe dose of manflu, the one thing that cheers you up more than anything else is making people who annoy you really miserable.

Regular readers of this blog will know that the myth that Spain would veto an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU is just that, a myth without foundation. At no point has the Spanish government ever made a statement to that effect, and on those occasions when he has been asked…

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