We should be in no doubt that the deal that Theresa May has struck with the DUP to cling on to government is an insult to those of us who voted for Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale’s progressive agenda. Instead of a government committed to ending austerity across the UK, we now have one that will end it only in Northern Ireland.
This absurd outcome is what happens when minority governments undertake grubby deals behind closed doors. We saw the same in Holyrood in 2007 (SNP/Tory), in Westminster in 2010 (Tory/Lib-Dem) and more recently in Scotland when the SNP needed Green support to cut local authority budgets.
In the City of Edinburgh Council the situation is little different. The SNP led minority administration will need support from the Tories, Lib-Dems or Greens in order to make the simplest of decisions.
Whilst many will welcome such deals as a step towards consensus politics, they offer parties which have only limited support an opportunity to exert undue influence whilst simultaneously ensuring larger “losing” parties remain locked out of government.
The DUP won just 292,316 votes, but it now holds more power than Scottish Labour (717,007 votes) and the UK Labour Party (12,878,460 votes). Theresa May needs to explain why doing a deal to end austerity in Northern Ireland with a party that won 0.9% of the vote in the UK was just as easy as ignoring those millions of voters that backed Labour’s transformative vision.
After all, we should be creating good quality jobs and building sustainable homes right across the UK, not just in Northern Ireland.