Editorial: Be careful who you vote for! And remember if you are entitled to vote, you must vote. Don’t waste the opportunity and allow politicians to get an easy ride over LGBT matters!
Reprinted from the Mirror – 16:54, 23 April 2015 By Federica Cocco
The DUP might end up in government with the Tory party – 10 reasons we should be afraid
The Tories have been jumping up and down about the possibility of the SNP ending up in a coalition with Labour, but they have been strangely silent on Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) potentially holding the balance of power.
But if the Tories win a sufficient number of seats, DUP MPs may be pivotal in forming government, as their leader Peter Robinson said yesterday.
A 12% chance the DUP will end up in government
That’s according to an analysis by the Financial Times.
They currently hold eight seats and are expected to win between eight and ten seats. Not a lot; but it’s more than UKIP are predicted to get (four or five). And given that the race is so close, the DUP could easily play kingmaker.
Conservative MP Mel Stride blew a straw in the wind when he wrote on Conservativehome.com: “an alliance of sorts [with the DUP] could offer those vital additional seats that might make all the difference to our prospects for continuing to govern.”
Last year David Cameron hosted “a lavish reception” in Downing Street in their honour.
So what will the DUP be bringing to the negotiating table?
1. They want to legalise discrimination against LGBT people
Paul Givan – DUP member of the Northern Ireland Assembly – has drafted a private member’s bill which would allow business to deny services to any LGBT people on the grounds of religion.
It’s been put for consultation but the party hasn’t “laid” it yet, which means they are yet to submit it to be scheduled for discussion in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
If this becomes law, gay people in Northern Ireland could be refused simple, basic services like booking a table in a restaurant, renting a room for a night or even buying food.
The Rainbow Project said that what is known as the conscience clause would “create a licence to discriminate” against gay people.
And just in case you think this is just one man’s crusade, bear in mind the DUP leader Peter Robinson backs the bill.
We asked the DUP about the bill and they confirmed that “the party supports the broad proposal”.
A DUP spokesperson told us Givan’s consultation document was intended to “start a discussion” but no firm proposals are on the table yet.
2. Homophobia is deep-rooted within the party
In 1977 Rev. Ian Paisley – founder of the DUP – launched campaign “Save Ulster from Sodomy” to lobby against the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
His son Ian Paisley Jr has inherited his father’s values. In 2007 he said he was “repulsed” by homosexuals. On Question Time last year he defended the comments, adding “Christians are scared off about expressing this sort of view.”
In 2008 Unionist politician Iris Robinson was investigated for hate crime after saying homosexuality was disgusting, loathsome, nauseating, wicked and vile. No charges were brought.
She also stated in Parliament that homosexuality is “viler” than child sex abuse. That was when she served as the party’s spokeswoman for health.
She believes gay people “can be turned around” through counselling and therapy.
3. They don’t exactly champion women’s rights
In fact they actively thwart them.
Abortion is notoriously still illegal in Northern Ireland and unlike other parts of the UK it’s governed by criminal law, i.e. the Offences against the Person Act and the 1945 Criminal Justice Act.
It’s not allowed after rape or incest or in case of fatal foetus abnormality; and doctors can only terminate pregnancies to save a woman’s life or to avoid permanent and serious damage to her health.
When in 2012 a Marie Stopes abortion clinic opened in Belfast, the DUP voted in favour of closing it.
They sunk and still “oppose a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights” which would have extended access to the procedure to Northern Ireland but the DUP resolutely opposes it.
In 2013 a total of 802 women came from Northern Ireland to terminate their pregnancies.
4. They think schools should teach creationism
Paul Givan, once again.
The politician – who believes in creationism – put forward a motion in the Assembly calling for schools in Lisburn to teach alternatives to the theory of evolution.
5. They oppose gay marriage
In the last legislation, the DUP blocked the gay marriage bill from passing in Northern Ireland THREE TIMES. Civil partnerships are legal in Northern Ireland, but that law was passed before the DUP came into power.
6. They want to ban begging
Their 2011 manifesto pledged to “rigorously enforce legislation against begging.”
7. They hate the BBC
Their manifesto calls for a freeze in the BBC licence fee to be followed by either its significant reduction or abolition.
8. They support the death penalty
In 2011 a group of DUP MPs tabled a motion to discuss the death penalty at the House of Commons.
Who’s to say that giving them a place in government wouldn’t lend legitimacy to their policy ideas?
If UKIP also ends up being part of a Tory-lead coalition, the death penalty will most likely be brought up again in Parliament.
9. They could become besties with UKIP
They have some policies in common with Nigel Farage’s party, most notably the fact that holding a referendum on European Union membership is a red line condition for any coalition agreement.
But they’re also dead set on increasing defence spending to 2% of GDP, and some senior members – such as the former Environment Minister – have called man-made climate change “a con”. He won’t have any trouble bonding with the likes of Roger Helmer or Paul Nuttall.
10. In fact they will probably win more MPs than UKIP
While UKIP is only expected to get between one and five seats, the DUP will definitely secure at least seven or eight.
Without the shadow of a doubt, in the event of a Tory-led Coalition or minority government David Cameron’s party will need the DUP’s votes to hold the government together.
The Tories have made no secret of this and have already begun wooing senior DUP politicians.
Any Government with the DUP will need to acquiesce to at least some of its deeply-held convictions.
Michael Fallon called the SNP’s manifesto “the most expensive ransom note in history”, but the DUP’s wishlist is no joke either.
Voters should be aware of what they’re in for.
[Sources: Pink News, Open Democracy, Conservative Home, FT]
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