Friday, 16 February 2018

Directly Back To War

The DUP wants Ministers to be appointed at Westminster, to take on the responsibilities that are not being exercised at Stormont. Of course, they mean themselves, which would create a formal Coalition. But DUP Ministers exercising direct rule from Westminster, and that at a time when the Border might be going back up, would start the war all over again. I do not say that lightly.

Despite having an overall majority, Gordon Brown wanted to make Paddy Ashdown Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and Tony Blair did put Ashdown on a Cabinet Committee. Remember that, when certain people squeal and squeal and squeal that I intend to have Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Independents on my constituency staff, and that people from across the political spectrum (in practice, mostly the Left and the Old Right) will participate in the use of my Westminster office as a national and international centre for the formulation, articulation and implementation of the alternative to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy.

I am moving away from my uncharacteristic agnosticism about Proportional Representation, even if I am still not convinced as to any specific alternative to First Past the Post, and even though I can still see the problems with all of them. If this country does not like coalitions, then it has a very funny way of manifesting that dislike. Two of the last three General Elections have resulted in hung Parliaments.

First Past the Post is giving us coalitions, anyway, and it is going to continue to do so. But what of Ministers from a party that would lose its deposit in any constituency in England, Scotland or Wales? People who did not like the last Coalition could punish the Liberal Democrats for it, and they did. (For some reason, they did not also punish the Conservatives for it. I cannot understand why not.) But the huge majority of the electorate has no means of punishing the DUP.

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