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LQD - Channelling Fintan O'Toole

by Frank Schnittger Sat Jun 17th, 2017 at 09:26:07 AM EST

Fintan O'Toole has long been one of Ireland's best writers and recently won the George Orwell prize for journalism and a European press award for his commentaries on Brexit. His latest piece parodies the DUP's love affair with the Conservative party and all things British...

DUP's crush on Britain will end badly

It is one thing to be infatuated with someone who just ignores you. The unfulfilled love retains its bittersweet purity, its dreamy half-life of pure possibility. But the true tragedy occurs when your love is apparently consummated at last and you find that the loved one really despises you. The DUP has long dreamed of being wrapped fully in the warm embrace of the Tory world with which it strives so hard to identify. And now, miraculously, its moment has come. But the loved one is thinking of England, sneaking glances at her watch and praying "Oh god! When will this be over?"

The aphrodisiac that got the DUP all hot on Britishness was, of course, Brexit. David Cameron's referendum gave the DUP a chance to indulge in a fantasy of ultra-Britishness. It had been forced, in its slow and reluctant acceptance of the Belfast Agreement, to come to terms with the complicated reality of its world, which is the island of Ireland in all its ambiguities of belonging. For the DUP, Brexit was a kind of holiday from this messy, compromised reality, a mental sojourn in a sunny Playa del Ingles where all the cafes fly the Union flag and serve fish and chips.

The problem, of course, is that the holiday turned out to be a semi-permanent relocation. The DUP was surely as perplexed as Boris Johnson was when the jolly jaunt to imperial nostalgia turned into a moment of destiny. The day trippers to Little Britain found out that there was no return train and that they were stranded on a beach far from reality with the tide of bad news slowly but relentlessly coming in. That's not Land of Hope and Glory playing on the Tannoy - it's Hotel California.


The tragic truth behind the DUP's mooning infatuation is that for the British establishment, Northern Ireland is not a place but two places: out of sight and out of mind. And the DUP, to them, is Northern Ireland writ large, a thing from the swamp of bad history. They don't like it and they dread having to pretend to love it. It is a frog that must be kissed but it is never going to turn into a prince. The Tories will endure the DUP while they must and betray it when they can.

I suspect that the DUP are just as aware as the Conservatives that each are using the other to promote their own agendas - even if such an alliance has the potential to harm both parties. However their joint endeavour will now for ever be indelibly linked to the success of Brexit or otherwise.  If Brexit turns out to be the disaster I expect, it will tear down both the Conservatives and the DUP with it. The DUP had no need to play such a high stakes game, but couldn't help themselves from getting involved in a dispute way above their pay grade. They have now made their bed and will have to lie in it forever; and all for a relatively short-term political advantage.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 17th, 2017 at 07:07:57 PM EST
I suspect that brexit will not be a moment of disaster, but rather a gradual and soft collase that can be accomodated and distracted from.

the Tories will never be forced to pay for brexit because 52% of the lectorate chose it. It's their burden, however much they were lied to.

Nor will the DUP suffer because their base are their co- religionists. When you vote your church, the party can never be wrong because that would be too great a test of faith.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jun 17th, 2017 at 09:32:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The relative economic performance of N. Ireland and the Republic is becoming ever more glaring to the point where even economic illiterates can see it. Add in some austerity cutbacks occasioned by loss of corporate tax revenue from City Euro business and a political crisis will be engendered. Brexit will be the obvious cause and the DUP (acting against the wishes of a majority in N. Ireland) will be the obvious culprits.

But I agree w.r.t. the Tories.  If the post Brexit decline is sufficiently slow and gradual, it can be sold as being due to a lack of competitiveness which requires further wage cuts to remedy.  That can be achieved v. easily by allowing inflation to rise above the rate of wage increase. That will hit fixed income pensioners (and Tory voters) hard, but the Murdoch press can be relied on to blame the immigrants, or something...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 17th, 2017 at 10:09:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Loss of (roughly) £350 million per year of CAP funds will be a major hit to the land owners of NI.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 18th, 2017 at 04:00:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of whom voted for Brexit because they believed vague assurances that the UK Government would make good those losses...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 18th, 2017 at 04:05:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Sun Jun 18th, 2017 at 06:04:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The question has always been whether loyalists are loyal to the Crown or the half-Crown. Brexit induced austerity may produce an answer to that question.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 17th, 2017 at 10:28:09 PM EST
The Union is an identity marker, it's how they advertise to each other they are not catholic. The "what they are not" is far more important to them than anything positive in their actual identity

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 18th, 2017 at 09:27:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But if their overtures are rejected by the English, as Fintan O'Toole suggests, once they are no longer of use to the Conservatives, who or what will they turn to? An atavistic desire to identify with a Crown that is no longer of any tangible benefit to them?

Their fear of takeover by a militant Catholic Nationalist state is real, even if that fear is no longer based on reality. The sense of loss of power and status relative to their nationalist neighbours will also be real, even if in some senses richly deserved, and in others more in their imaginations than in reality.

Some will emigrate to Britain rather than endure the humiliation of losing "their" N. Ireland.  

I recall many South African whites who left South Africa when Mandela took power - imagining they could walk into senior jobs here and live in big houses with pools and servants.  Many ended up scratching a living in lowly service occupations and living in dingy apartments. Some tried to return to S. Africa only to discover the property market had recovered and they could no longer afford their former homes.

Some will no doubt integrate into the emerging realities of a new Ireland and be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the welcome and the life that is on offer.  But there s a long process that will have to be worked through, and it won't be easy for many. We can ridicule them all we want, as Fintan to an extent does, but change is often difficult, especially for those most set in their ways.

The middle classes will do fine, as there is little between them North and south.  It is the working classes in sink estates who will be desperate.  Some ways will have to be found to address their difficulties.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 18th, 2017 at 11:34:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cue "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", especially part three "Praying for the End of Time" with the Tories channeling Meatloaf.
by rifek on Tue Jun 27th, 2017 at 12:28:01 AM EST

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