DUP give a politics masterclass - May pays £1bn price for power

If politics is the art of the possible then the Democratic Unionist Party have delivered a masterclass — one even their Sinn Féin rivals must applaud if its naked opportunism does not offend their high-minded sense of propriety.

The DUP has maximised its value as kingmaker to secure an additional £1bn — €1.14bn — for Northern Ireland from the British exchequer.

Northern Ireland, even before this cling-to-power brown envelope passed hands, got something north of £17bn — almost €20bn — from the London exchequer last year making it one of the most heavily subsidised regions of the United Kingdom.

It also has one of the lowest GDP ratings, just 80% of England’s or the Republic’s.

Despite the limited options open to Theresa May, those in England, Scotland or Wales struggling to sustain a staggering National Health Service or, God forbid, fireproof tinderbox social housing, will be amazed at how easily £1bn can be found if it’s needed to keep the Tories in power.

The deal will allow Ms May to pass legislation by relying on DUP votes and cling to power as Brexit negotiations intensify.

These are the headlines but the reality is buried in the detail.

These funds are to be delivered over two years which suggests both parties understand they must make hay while the sun shines — and before the DUP returns to their usual position on the margins of power.

Is it any wonder that politics and politicians can be held in such low regard?


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