Patrick Harvie MSP
The disastrous decision to take the UK out of the European Union is bad enough but what a mess Theresa May is making of it.
The UK Government took a wafer thin UK-wide majority to leave, and ignored the fact that two of the four nations had voted remain.
They gave top jobs requiring nuance and skill to arch-Brexiteers with the judgement and diplomatic talents of Boris Johnson and Liam Fox.
And they gave no priority to the needs of the economy and public services, more intent on placating UKIP voters and the frenzied cheerleaders of the far right press.
Then, as if looking for new ways to make the situation even more chaotic, they called a snap election, threw away their majority, and now find themselves cutting a deal with the extremists of the DUP.
This not only hands influence to a party yet to be dragged into the 70s when it comes to social policy; it risks further de-stabilising the devolution settlement and ending the ability of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to act as an honest broker between the parties.
Do not get me wrong, it’s hilarious that Theresa May no longer has a majority at Westminster. Even with Arlene Foster’s help she will only just get over the line.
The Tory party and the austerity agenda are weakened, and that can only be a good thing. But regardless, this is an absurd way to go about the Brexit process – the most complex international negotiation the UK has been involved in for a generation or more, and the biggest job of legislative heavy lifting in modern history.
The cost of that deal with the DUP, with its bizarre collection of climate deniers, creationists and sectarian marchers, is £1 billion, with promises on ‘flexibility’ when it comes to corporation tax, and much needed pledges for spending on infrastructure and mental health.
I am certainly not denying that Northern Ireland needs this funding to help it recover from the legacy of the Troubles, the scars of which have only been deepened by cuts and inaction, but across Scotland, Wales and the north of England, investment in health, education and infrastructure are urgently needed too.
That must mean an end to Tory cuts everywhere, not just in exchange for the votes Theresa May needs to cling on to power.
This deal is an insult to everyone who believed the UK Government’s promises of fairness and respect to all parts of the UK, and the Tory MPs elected in Scotland will not have a shred of integrity left if they support this.
The DUP’s influence will no doubt be malign. But it must not stop us from pushing for a modern and inclusive society.