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Reprinted from the Mirror – 16:54, 23 April 2015 By Federica Cocco
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Reprinted from the Mirror website:
20:30, 18 April 2015 By Boudicca Fox-Leonard
Delegates paid £20 to attend a conference on ‘anti-gay’ therapy in London, where they heard a series of homophobic talks by professionally-accredited therapists
I am amazed to read in the News Letter (February 21) that the DUP cannot see how their attitude can help create an atmosphere leading to the homophobic attacks on Paul Finlay-Dickson and his late partner.
When they say that it’s a “right” for people with strongly held personal beliefs to “object” to people of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual sexual orientation they cannot control how everyone outworks that objection?
DUP politicians have said that they find Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual , Transgendered (LGBT) people repugnant, can’t even say when challenged that they don’t object to the decriminalisation of homosexuality and some wish that civil partnerships hadn’t happened, all merely piles coals on the fire of homophobia.
Liberal Democrats believe nobody should be enslaved by ignorance, but the way the DUP talks about homosexuality as a threat to Christianity is instilling a dangerous, venomous and intolerant ignorance into some.
Paul Givan by currently going around saying that LGBT rights are greater than those of Christians is not just incorrect but so widely off the mark, thanks mainly to the DUP blocking any steps allowing LGBT rights to advance towards equality.
The DUP talk about competing rights, but sadly they have historically fought to maintain that the rights of LGBT people are not to be anywhere near equal to those the majority of Northern Ireland, and also well behind LGBT people elsewhere in the UK.
Their historical talking down and belittling of LGBT people is exactly what can lead to some going about these homophobic attacks.
The DUP only pay lip service to the equality provisions of the Northern Ireland Act for those of differing sexual orientation and constantly fail in taking action or speaking in a way that reflects that LGBT people are of value. Now they look to dismantle accommodations that have been made to deal with those competing rights, focusing only on the rights as laid out in Human Rights legislation but ignoring the responsibilities to respect the rights of others in the same articles.
Changing Attitudes Ireland are right to point out the way the words and actions of the DUP fuel the environment of homophobia across the province, especially as the DUP fail completely to converse on such issues.
LGBT Plus, Liberal Democrats Executive