Patrick Harvie MSP

Rutherglen Reformer - - News from the Pews -

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.

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