Take for instance the fashion in which the party have been using the 42 day detention bill, a piece of legislation which encapsulates a vital debate about the nature of liberties in the United Kingdom and the defence of its citizens against the threat of terror, to gain leverage with the government and indeed the Conservative opposition.
The DUP are not renowned for their attendance at Westminster, but they claim they will vote in the best interests of the country on this issue. It is odd then that they are taking so long to decide in which direction the country’s best interests lie. Indeed, although the debate is currently ongoing, the DUP’s final group meeting has had to be postponed until 5pm in order that all 9 MPs can attend.
If a deal has not been done between the DUP and the government, then the party has certainly been attempting to extract as much benefit from playing hard to get as it possibly can. Nick Robinson suggests that Peter Robinson’s party are not alone in seeking to advance their agenda by playing politics on an issue of national importance, but certainly their parochial attitude makes them a particularly conspicuous case.
The truth is that no convincing case has been advanced to suggest that 42 day detention will have a beneficial effect on national security. Civil liberties and the foundations of British justice are being compromised for no discernible benefit other than showing that Gordon Brown can force a contentious piece of legislation through Parliament.
Update: It is fairly incredible about how bare-faced the DUP are being on this issue. On one hand they persist with the contention that they voted on the balance of issues at hand, on the other they are shamelessly gloating and boasting about the leverage they can now exercise. Gregory Campbell,
"The DUP now holds the balance of power at Westminster and we will use it to force the pace for the benefit of Northern Ireland until the next general election, which could be two years away."
Iain Dale sums up the Tory mood referring to the DUPes as 'duplicitous bastards'. Ain't that the truth?