The Grab for Power

Democratic coalitions in British government have been a political presence since the beginnings of democracy, with the first occurring in 1852, 20 years after vaguely democratic reforms began to appear in Parliament. It is difficult to gain a measure of whether democratic coalitions are indeed effective – less or more so than individual party majorities in power, due to the nature of the political parties involved. However, a coalition forces two otherwise perhaps polarising parties (in terms of their ethos) to cooperate, and layout their terms at the initial negotiations. Perhaps this illustrates what the political party system lacks, in how the split between the right and left of a singular party prevents cooperation. To elucidate this further, the right and left of a party may be more agreeing with those sides of the spectrum from another party. In the party system there is a presumption that all members of the political party will be on the same part of the political spectrum. The unification of an excessively large groups on the basis of how the ethos is interpreted, is ultimately inefficient and does not work to their advantage.
However, in the event of a last minute coalition with a minor political party the same efficiency cannot be promised. Such is the case with the last minute grab for a majority on the part of the Conservatives under Theresa May, bribing the 10 MPs of the fundamentalist DUP party into supporting the Conservative government. The seemingly ”endless” resources (£1.2 billion) can be applied to politics, yet Theresa May continues to make incessant cuts with the NHS. Despite the increase in budget for Northern Ireland, this does not promise a fair deal for that country in that the DUP has promised to commit Northern Ireland fully to leaving the EU – this is ultimately undemocratic should Northern Ireland be considered as a separate entity to England in the possible future. The results of the referendum in Northern Ireland provide a contrast to that of England, with a majority of 56% voting remain. Furthermore, the viewpoints of the DUP are clearly not shown to be shared in Northern Ireland – for instance their take on abortion. It has now been a year and a half since the collapse of shared power in Northern Ireland, and the DUP are now held responsible in the UK government for representation despite the lack of British intervention. As the largest nationalist party, this withdraws focus from the previous religious struggles and need for mandatory representation in Northern Ireland. Theresa May has been effectively hiding behind the DUP in refusing to intervene on the matter of gay marriage. The DUP had essentially abused the notion of a Petition of Concern to prevent such a bill passing – a key point of disagreement with Sinn Fein.
Ultimately, the conflict between Protestantism and Catholicism has been present for centuries, echoing the religious oppression of both groups in England at the time. However Northern Ireland officially split off from Southern into a separate entity in 1920 under the Government of Ireland Act. Theresa May’s actions and refusal to intervene in Northern Ireland due to her desperation for a majority is proving crucial in the political climate, certainly in Northern Ireland. The Conservative’s bribery of Arlene Forster and her 10 MPs is purely out of desperation and the lack of support for Brexit.

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