Peter Robinson has demonstrated how bare faced cynicism characterises his party’s attitude toward the Union, boasting that the government has ‘bent over backwards’ to help the DUP after it traded its votes on 42 day pre charge detention. Despite the bill’s subsequent defeat in the House of Lords, despite the fact that its necessity has been repeatedly discredited by top authorities in counter terrorism, despite the manner in which it attacked freedoms basic to the UK’s constitution, the Democratic Unionist leader also insists that his party ‘did the right thing’ and acted as a ‘responsible party’.
Robinson might frame his comments carefully and contend that Labour has been rewarding his party for ‘responsibility’, but let’s call a spade a spade. The DUP blackmailed Gordon Brown and extracted a batch of concessions which it is understandably reluctant to disown. It showed blatant disinterest in a crucial issue effecting the whole United Kingdom which pertained to its very constitutional fabric. It determined how it would vote by haggling from the perspective of the parish pump. And in so doing it helped to prop up a government which has systematically damaged the Union which Peter Robinson purports to wish to strengthen.
Now the DUP leader wishes to claim credit for bribes which the government gave his party, but he does not wish to further alienate opposition MPs by admitting that they were explicitly linked to 42 days. Therefore he has formulated this mealy mouthed nonsense about responsibility. He is not fooling anyone.