There may be a silver lining for small-c conservative voters following the shock results of the UK General Election. The Democrat Unionist Party (DUP) — who the Conservatives will seek a coalition government with — is far closer to conservative philosophy than Britain’s Tories have been for decades.
WHO ARE THE DUP?
Formed in 1971 by Dr. Rev. Ian Paisley, now deceased, the party grew out of the Protestant Unionist Party.
Built upon the resistance to Irish Republican terrorism and a pro-UK, unionist mindset, the DUP also represents staunchly social conservative values.
Well, on the plus side for small-c conservatives, the @duponline may remind the Tories what they are SUPPOSED to believe, philosophically.
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) June 9, 2017
The DUP forms the largest bloc in the Northern Ireland Assembly and has a far stronger socially conservative records on matters such as same sex marriage and access to abortion.
Now led by mother of three Arlene Foster, the DUP were staunchly pro-Brexit at the UK referendum on membership of the European Union, with some of their activists and leaders joining UKIP leader Nigel Farage on his Brexit tour ahead of the vote.
Foster is also on record stating: “no-one wants to see a hard Brexit”, but her colleagues such as Sammy Wilson MP and Ian Paisley Jr, are known to be closely aligned with Mr. Farage.
During the referendum, the DUP allied with the Leave.EU and Grassroots Out campaigns, and their manifesto states:
The DUP sees no value in the attempts by some to keep re-running the referendum. Instead, we want to get on with the work to make it a success; to write our own laws; to deliver on the vision of a Global UK with new free trade deals; to control immigration; to deliver policies for farming and fishing shaped to our needs; to lift the burden of unnecessary regulation.
NORTHERN IRELAND AND SINN FEIN
The party is constantly at loggerheads with its opposition — and curiously, recently, government partner Sinn Fein.
While the DUP and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) were staunchly allied with Britain during the ‘Troubles’ between the 1960s and 1990s, Sinn Fein are closely linked with the Irish Republican terrorists who waged a campaign of murder in the interests of Irish unification, nationalism, and republicanism.
Despite Dr. Ian Paisley’s insistence that his party would “never never never” has a say in Northern Ireland, the DUP and Sinn Fein have been negotiating a new power-sharing agreement since Sinn Fein reneged on the previous deal in Northern Ireland’s executive. The two parties hold the most number of seats, in first and second place in recent elections, respectively.
The party’s MPs hold an array of views on climate change, though many believe the DUP to be “climate change sceptics”.
The former finance minister Sammy Wilson has said: “…we are already paying through the nose for electricity because we go down the route of the dearest electricity possible through renewable energy” and are “putting our agricultural industry in jeopardy because there is no greater producer of greenhouse gases than cows”.
He has referred to climate change legislation as a “con”.
CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND FAKE NEWS
Hard leftist groups like OpenDemocracy have already begun sharing articles packed with fake news about the DUP.
The Soros-funded group, which claims to represent “independent” media, claims the DUP had some sort of definitive links to a post-“fascist turn” Enoch Powell, the former Conservative Member of Parliament who warned over mass migration into the United Kingdom.
Such a “fascist turn” is a myth in itself, and Powell’s only links to the DUP was via his campaign manager who was in a different party at the time.
The website claims: “The DUP also fights hard against women’s right to choose to have an abortion, making them the biggest pro-forced pregnancy party in the UK”. The idea of “forced pregnancy” (effectively rape), is a nonsense in and of itself, and the DUP have actually liberalised its position on abortion in recent years, though they have said they do not want to be as liberal on the issue as England — hardly shocking given the highly liberal attitudes towards abortion in England.
The Soros site refers to the DUP as “Irish terrorists”, though the campaign of terrorism was waged by the DUP’s opponents, with the Ulster Resistance usually being referred to as a paramilitary group. The IRA, which targeted civilians, infrastructure, the British Army, and British unionists, are commonly regarded as the most influential terrorist outfit, and believed to be linked to DUP opponents Sinn Fein. The IRA killed around 1,700 people during the Troubles.
The Resistance was never implicated in a major incident that took place, with most civilian deaths attributable to the IRA — perhaps the only group alongside its political partners who would refer to the Ulster Resistance as “terrorists”.
While an ombudsman’s report into the Resistance found “a conspiracy between the Ulster Resistance, UVF and UDA to raise considerable finance for the purchase of firearms in South Africa”, the DUP’s senior figures broke ties with the group upon the discovery in 1987.
The DUP has said: “The party’s stance is consistent, that anyone involved in illegal activity should be investigated and face the full weight of the law.”
WHAT WILL THE DUP DEMAND IN GOVERNMENT?
Sources close to the DUP have suggested to Breitbart London that “all they’ll want is cash”, but between Arlene Foster’s need to form a new executive in Northern Ireland, and the socially conservative views of its members, the DUP will likely be thinking carefully about what they can get the Conservative Party to compromise upon from the centre-left manifesto issued by Theresa May.