When dust settles, DUP will have chance to set record straight

Morning View
Morning View

The barrage of abuse and allegations that have been levelled against the DUP have betrayed a deep ignorance of that party, of unionism in general and indeed of Northern Ireland.

It is of course reasonable for people to criticise the informal coalition between the Tories and the DUP and to question how long it can last.

Even supporters of the arrangement, which has not been finalised, have concerns about its durability in such a turbulent political atmosphere.

But nonsense has been talked about the party’s history and its views and its leading members.

Most of the 10 DUP MPs would be on the conservative wing of the Tory party in England on social issues, but would fit comfortably within the political broad church that is the Conservative Party.

Some of the DUP MPs would in fact be closer to Labour on a number of key economic issues.

All of them are strong on law and order, as indeed every Conservative MP would be if they had faced the decades of terrorism that Northern Ireland faced.

Around half of the Tory parliamentary party opposed gay marriage, despite the fact that their leader, the then prime minister David Cameron, described it as one of his flagship achievements.

It is also deliberately misleading to equate loyalist paramilitary endorsements of the DUP, which it never sought, with modern Sinn Fein’s emergence out of the IRA.

The respected and popular leading Orangeman, the Rev Mervyn Gibson, grand secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, yesterday spoke out against this vilification, which he accurately described as “a complete disgrace”.

Once a deal in London has been secured and the dust settles, and DUP MPs feel more able to speak freely to the mainland media, there will be a golden opportunity to set the record straight about who they are and what they stand for.