Friday, June 09, 2017

England's Difficulty is Ireland's Opportunity

There is understandable unease about a DUP tail wagging the Tory dog in the formation of a minority Tory government. But there is a lot more good news than bad news in last night's results:

First and foremost, the Tory right/ DUP dream of a Hard Brexit is dead. The Conservative MPs now have an influential group of Scottish MPs sitting among them that will push for soft Brexit, and the Tories barely had the votes even before to dodge the controversial issues like Single Market and migration.

Second, there's a limit to what the DUP can extract from the Tories as a price for support. They are tied to a power sharing agreement with Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, and the UK is a party to that agreement. If the Conservatives make too many concessions to the DUP for Westminster support, they will be destabilizing the intricate arrangements for running Northern Ireland.

And finally: is it really SF's position that on a Brexit deal vote within the next 20 months that would involve a hard border in Ireland, they would not take their seats and vote against it? Given the dramatic changes in electoral politics in the last couple of years, are they sure that a policy designed for 1918 is still the right one? 

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