back to article Northern Ireland bags £150m for broadband pipes in £1bn Tory bribe

The Democratic Unionist Party is to receive an extra £1bn in funding from Brit taxpayers, including £150m to spend on broadband infrastructure, after it agreed to prop up Theresa May's minority government. The recent UK election resulted in a hung Parliament, meaning the May's Tory Party needed to do a deal to beef up its …

  1. Caustic Soda

    The DUP isn't getting a penny. It is the Northern Ireland government which is getting the money, a government which has been a power-sharing arrangement for many years. In fact the whole promise of money for NI is conditional on a power-sharing arrangement being confirmed within a short timescale.

    If you're going to dabble in politics, please get the details right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You are entirely correct however the DUP is getting voter currency in that by securing a deal like this they will be nearly guaranteed to get re-elected to feed from the political trough.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        they will be nearly guaranteed to get re-elected

        The DUP took almost all the pro-union seats last time because they were seen as the best bulwark against Sinn Fein, and the nationalist seats still wouldn't vote DUP if they were promised a leprechaun with pot of gold in every garden. This will not make any difference to re-election in NI, politics there is not normal and doesn't work like that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >You are entirely correct however the DUP is getting voter currency in that by securing a deal like this they will be nearly guaranteed to get re-elected to feed from the political trough.

        Welcome to politics, it's a dirty business. If you thought it was all pretty flowers and chivalry then look away now as you won't like what you see.

      3. Christopher Rogers

        LOL@ voter currency

        You are suggesting policy and performance dictate how people vote in NI

        The DUP will be reelected. Even after the numerous scandals, stances towards parts of our community, courting of terrorists (of all types) etc etc etc.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      They'll just set up the rules on how money is distributed and distribute it to themselves. See the renewable heat incentive scandal.

      1. Wandering Reader

        "They'll just set up the rules on how money is distributed and distribute it to themselves. See the renewable heat incentive scandal."<br>

        The RHI money went all over the place - the rules weren't discriminatory, just stupid:

        http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/new-sinn-fin-leader-linked-to-cash-for-ash-35404781.html

    3. Smooth Newt
      Meh

      How Ruth Davidson...

      ...must be regretting that the Scottish Conservative Party is just a wing of the UK's Conservative and Unionist Party. She isn't even getting a bent farthing for Scotland in return for her party's support, whilst Arlene Foster walks off with a billion quid for Northern Ireland with, presumably, more to follow each time the Government has another sticky vote outside of the deal to win.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How Ruth Davidson...

        "She isn't even getting a bent farthing for Scotland in return for her party's support"

        Whilst your logic is good, I would add a footnote that the Scots have no reason to whine (well, other than their congenital miserable bastardry) since they do very well out of the Barnett formula, with public spending per head almost 20% higher than England.

    4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      True, the bribe is for the NI government, currently inactive due to A Foster not feeling that it is necessary or normal for her to temporarily step down as First Minister while her role in pissing half a billion NI quids down the drain on her dodgy heating incentive scheme is investigated.

      If the Tories were even vaguely honourable (stop sniggering at the back there) they'd pay the bribe out of Party funds, not our pockets.

      1. enormous c word

        Buying votes...

        The Tory's have bought DUP votes in the commons, Corbyn bought votes from the electorate. It's all just a bunch of false promises and bribes dressed up as politics...

    5. Dwarf Silver badge

      If you're going to dabble in politics, please get the details right.

      That's the first time I've seen the words "getting the details right" and "politics" in the same sentence

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      didnt think there was a NI Gov at present

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The magic money tree does exist.

    Step 2. Make an unpalatable alliance giving away 1 billion. (Scotland and Wales will rightly be miffed at this)

    Step 3. Have a leadership contest and an election.

    Step 4. Lose the election.

    Step 5. Referendum on Brexit by labour so everyone votes the right way this time (see Ireland as a point)

    I've seen some self exploding political moves in my time but this current government is excelling any expectations.

    I do ask one question and that is what could 1 billion get you if spent in other areas of government? More police, firemen, nurses but no lets spend it in northern Ireland on infrastructure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Step 0 (or was it -1?). Get half a million from some (possibly Saudi) donor to campaign in London (where you have no seats) to Brexit, even though you have no MPs sitting in London. Oh, and we don't have to declare donor because of local rules (against paramilitary reprisals for political donations)

      PS the ads in the Metro only cost around half of what they got in donations. Plenty still in the war chest, with more to come :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        http://private-eye.co.uk/hp-sauce

  3. Martin
    FAIL

    Of course, if I were bribed for my vote, it would be considered to be illegal.

    But bribing the DUP for their vote - well, that's just politics.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @ Martin

      "Of course, if I were bribed for my vote, it would be considered to be illegal."

      No it isnt. Governments bribe you every election with promises of how they will spend other peoples money on you. Every election is based on 'whats in it for me' mentality with bribes for the young, old, working class, middle class, pensioners, etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ Martin

        "Governments bribe you every election with promises of how they will spend other peoples money on you. "

        The difference is that General Election promises are rarely kept - and they have 5 years of freedom to do whatever they actually want. The DUP deal would stop immediately if the Tories didn't pay up promptly or reneged on anything. The DUP have the Government over a barrel*** - at least a pork barrel.

        ***"It is a nautical term, which derives from the practice of hanging a drowned, usually unconscious person over a barrel to clear their lungs of water. The fate of the "patient" was determined solely by the actions of those administering the treatment. In other words, he was at their mercy.

        However in his novel "Bare Nell" Leslie Thomas made it an unstable position for a drunken sailor's intended sexual victim.

        1. Nifty

          Re: @ Martin

          Pork barrel politics - a nautical term?

          Are you sure?

          Wikipedia indicates it's an American expression:

          "...phrase originated in a pre-Civil War practice of giving slaves a barrel of salt pork as a reward and requiring them to compete among themselves to get their share of the handout"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ Martin

            "Pork barrel politics - a nautical term?"

            I was juxtaposing two metaphors - the nautical "over the barrel" for the Government's vulnerable position - and the non-nautical "pork barrel" for the DUP tactic of extracting financial gain in return for support of a bill.

          2. hplasm Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: @ Martin

            Over a barrel, pork barrel politics- two sentences...

        2. Nolveys Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: @ Martin

          @AC

          (over a barrel) is a nautical term, which derives from the practice of hanging a drowned, usually unconscious person over a barrel to clear their lungs of water. The fate of the "patient" was determined solely by the actions of those administering the treatment. In other words, he was at their mercy.

          Thanks, that was informative. As most of the people here are taxpayers you should also explain the term "in the barrel".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ Martin

            "As most of the people here are taxpayers you should also explain the term "in the barrel"."

            I only know one use of that expression - in a joke where the punchline goes:

            Q. Wonderful! ...and what about Friday night?

            A. That's your turn in the barrel

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ Martin

        Every election is based on 'whats in it for me' mentality with bribes for the young, old, working class, middle class, pensioners, etc.

        And in this last election, I'd hazard a guess that May's idiotic pronouncements of a dementia tax (1) lost her a good chunk of the older and even middle age vote. Which shows how it IS about bribes. Pensioners want their "triple lock" in a system they never actually paid enough for, they want their bus passes, their free TV licences, their winter fuel bribes, and the wealthier ones want everybody else to pay for their social care so that they can leave their assets to their kids. I know some very wealthy pensioners, enjoying an extremely generous public sector pension (more than I earn), and they still talk about "taking what they're entitled to".

        Note 1: The "dementia tax" proposals were actually very reasonable in a system that doesn't have the resources to pay for social care for all. Why should the rest of us pay for the asset-rich to get social care just so they can leave those assets to their sprogs? But those likely to be affected were traditional core Tory voters. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas, so this was an own goal of epic proportions.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ Martin

          "Turkeys don't vote for Christmas, [...]"

          Apparently the same demographic voted for BREXIT.

        2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: @ Martin

          @AC

          Note 1: The "dementia tax" proposals were actually very reasonable

          Depends what side you're coming from. As a society we have accepted for the last seventy years that health care is available to all, free at the point of delivery. It's frayed a bit at the edges with prescription charges etc, but the principle is still there. Rich buggers (the asset rich) have as much right to a free visit to the GP, or to open heart surgery, as the homeless, penniless SAS soldier sitting in the gutter with a bottle of cheap sherry. They may chose to pay to go private, but they have the same rights. Is dementia an illness? If people need residential care because of dementia or any other infirmity, isn't that a form of health treatment, albeit without scalpels and machines that go ping? Shouldn't the costs of paying for that therefore be shared equally, as we do for treating cancer?

          Granted, the present system doesn't have enough income to pay for all this. So the issue is how to raise the money so everyone can be fairly treated. Perhaps an increase in death duties for everyone (and including the value of a family home) would be the way to go.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: @ Martin

            so everyone can be fairly treated.

            You're confusing "fair" with "equal", they are not the same.

        3. Smooth Newt
          Happy

          Re: @ Martin

          Why should the rest of us pay for the asset-rich to get social care just so they can leave those assets to their sprogs?

          Especially when the whole Austerity thing is just a mechanism whereby the rest of us get penalised to pay for bailing the banks' bad debts out, i.e. ensuring that the asset-rich, whose money the banks were lending, didn't lose anything.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ Martin

            @Smooth Newt

            Our Austerity measures don't amount to as much as you imagine. What they do do is induce economic confidence and hence reduce our cost of borrowing. By keeping interest payments down this saves vastly more money than the austerity measures themselves. If we dropped austerity and spent more the effective cost would be exponential. Exponential spending is not sustainable for very long.

            As for bailing out the banks that was largely a short term thing most of which have turned out to make money eventually.

            http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN05748#fullreport

            As you can see from the report the bad bit is RBS that is still some £23bn down from what it cost to buy and doubtful if it will ever regain enough to make it a profitable investment. However RBS was not where the asset rich chose to invest: personally I use RBS as my mortgage provider.

            1. Smooth Newt
              Meh

              Re: @ Martin

              Our Austerity measures don't amount to as much as you imagine. What they do do is induce economic confidence and hence reduce our cost of borrowing. By keeping interest payments down this saves vastly more money than the austerity measures themselves.

              What they do is screw the economy and prevent growth. You can't cut your way to prosperity by being economically stagnant, as the results of this have sadly shown over the last decade. The idea that real-world consumers who are terrified of losing their jobs in the midst of a policy-induced recession will somehow become "economically confident" and so spend money and lift the economy out of recession is nonsense. See e.g. Mark Blyth, Professor of Political Economics at Brown University, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go2bVGi0ReE

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: @ Martin

                A lot of the "Austerity" model seems to come not from economics, but a mixture of pure politics and folksy pseudo-economics. The former is to appeal to the section of the Tory Party and their friends the press owners, who don't like the government providing stuff, like libraries, schooling, the NHS, that can be commoditised and sold. The latter is to appeal to Tory voters is a the view that a national economy is just like running a household budget, repairing roofs when the sun is shining, not having too much on the credit card etc.

        4. enormous c word

          Re: @ Martin

          If you have elderly relatives (with dementia) in social care - you should read this....

          The so-called Dementia Tax is a complete fallacy. Previously under many years of Labour, then under Cameron, they could take everything except the last £23,250 for residential care or about half of your last £14,250 - £23,250.

          Then under May's Tory govt that was increased from £23,250 to £100,000 - whichever way you spin it, that is a good thing. Average cost for elderly residential care is about £100,000 which would take the average family about 125 years to save for. May's govt has effectively set realistic limits on the costs that can be taken, costs that are reasonable, but also affordable.

          What most people don't realise is that it is incumbent upon the government (ie taxpayer) to foot the bill for care for someone who is effectively mentally disabled through dementia. Many, many 1000's of families paid for residential care through savings or the sale of the sufferers family home - and it was completely illegal - hundreds of millions have been repaid to families (but it isn't widely reported - surprise, surprise).

          Reclaiming the money is a form-filling formality (really not difficult), the NHS will appoint a professionally qualified Needs Assessor (usually a qualified psychiatric nurse) to reviw the case and present to an assessment panel. You can go to one of the specalist legal firms that offer this form filling service - they'll charge you £1000's for doing absolutely nothing of value (because they only lodge the appeal - the Needs Assessor writes the report. Typical claims have been for £60,000 but successful six-figure claims have been common too.

          There was a deadline for lodging the appeal in about 2014 (during Camerons govt) after which no more appeals would be recognised - but the precendent has been set. May's govt has re-set a limit from £23,250 to £100,000 which is much more sensible; fairer sustainable and manageable. Why are people complaining about it?

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "with bribes for the young, old, working class, middle class, pensioners, etc."

        Excluding the young.

        They stopped voting in the UK so f**k em.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "with bribes for the young, old, working class, middle class, pensioners, etc."

          The young didn't stop voting. They came out and voted for PM (next week) Corbyn. He was amongst lots of young supprters/fans/cannon fodder at Glastonbury. Apparently drew more fans than Coldplay

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "They came out and voted for PM (next week) Corbyn. "

            For the first time in a long while in large numbers.

            I'd suggest that had a big effect on turning the Conservative expectation of an 80-100 seat majority (and the destruction of Labour as an a viable opposition for a generation) and helping to turn a 17 seat absolute majority into her getting into bed with Arlene Foster and the other DUPes.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Excluding the young. They stopped voting in the UK so f**k em.

          That's what the politicians thought.

          And UK politicians have been able to get away with it for quite some time.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: "with bribes for the young, old, working class, middle class, pensioners, etc."

          "They stopped voting in the UK so f**k em."

          I'm surprised at the downvotes. This pretty much sums up the mentality of most established politicians in Westminster.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "This pretty much sums up the mentality of most established politicians in Westminster."

            That was my point. It's the politicians view, not my view.

            Once a group stops voting in significant numbers politicians can safely stamp "Ignore" on that whole section of the population. Put bluntly "You don't get us elected, so why should be helpful to you?"

            Whatever country I'm in I come election time I always encourage everyone to vote.

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      But this is being paid for by the conservative party, not our taxes. That would be illegal.

      Wouldn't it ?

  4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Details

    There is a breakdown at:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/dup-tory-deal-new-1bn-allocation-breakdown-where-will-the-money-go-in-northern-ireland-35866269.html

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £1bn might seem a lot, but over 2+ years for 1.8m people it's only £250/head per year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Potatoes are £1.50 for 2.5kg so that's 166 bags, more than enough to win over the electorate for years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Potatoes are £1.50 for 2.5kg so that's 166 bags, more than enough to win over the electorate for years."

        Pork is more expensive.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Racial slurp

          The "Irish people only eat potatos" slur only applies to Southern Irish catholics, so is not really applicable to the NI extreme protestant (DUP). Admittedly racial hatred is not normally associated with high sophistication or intellect but you could at least try to have a clue.

          I always thought it was ironic that in the UK that you are allowed Irish jokes and only stopped putting "no Irish" on boarding houses in the '70 and yet doing the same to black, asians, jews etc is a hate crime.

          This payout is a bribe to the DUP to keep the tories in power, ironic that "tory" is an irish word meaning thief/bandit/bogtrotter.

          That the money is coming from the tax payer shows that the name is justified

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Racial slurp

            potatoes ... not really applicable to the NI extreme protestant (DUP).

            Nope. The traditional demand of Unionists is Cheddar Cheese and Pineapple on a Stick. Allegedly.

          2. phuzz Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Racial slurp

            "The "Irish people only eat potatos" slur only applies to Southern Irish catholics"

            Which is why the other ones get so annoyed when they're all tarred with the same brush, making it an even more effective insult. As is reminding them that "it's all basically the same country anyway".

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Racial slurp

              >The "Irish people only eat potatos" slur only applies to Southern Irish catholics"

              Is gravy-chip still the height of N Ireland cuisine ?

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >for 1.8m people it's only £250/head per year.

      Although I suspect it might be targeted at roughly half off the heads.

      I'm guessing that not a lot of this infrastructure spend is going to the Falls Rd

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm guessing that not a lot of this infrastructure spend is going to the Falls Rd

        Nor to the Shankill, since they are small roads, right next to each other, and don't require infrastructure improvements. "Infrastructure" refers to large projects, like the York Road interchange (not far from the Falls) which will improve the traffic situation for everyone.

    3. Cederic

      Sure, but given that NI already receives public spending at a rate 25% higher than the region of England in which I live you'll understand why I wrote to my MP last night.

      I used harsh words. Harsh enough that I may get a knock on the door from some unpleasant people. I don't care; he deserved it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EU rules

    For most of the next two years we well be members of the EU and have to abide by it's rules. Those rules include stipulations on what areas can receive financial assistance and to what extent. How does the infrastructure bit of this £1bn get around that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EU rules

      Abide by its' rules - just like the Italians and their banks - https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/26/italy-bank-eu-rescue-veneto-banca-banca-popolare-di-vicenza

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a Muck Up...

      This situation seems to becoming more farcical by the week.

      Yes, you're right. But its not that much different on what (I suspect) is your side of the Atlantic?

      In the UK situation, the entire problem is that the simpleton Theresa May called a snap election that EVEN SHE HAD NOT PREPARED FOR. As a result the manifestos were just lightweight, ill thought through rubbish - even by the low standards of such things. She then compounded that by her weird reclusiveness and her rather cold and out of touch persona. Nobody knew what they were voting for, and the public pronouncements of both sides were idiotic. Even on questions like "What's the naughtiest thing you've ever done?" she fluffed it, with some flannel about running through a cornfield. If she'd said "Actually, me and Philip are into the BDSM swinging scene. Every Saturday night I strap on the leather, and whip the bollocks of a complete stranger to a bloody mess" then I'd have thought that was somebody with something about them. More so than the opportunist, rocking chair Marxist leading the Labour party. But apparently he goes down well with the sad-sack milennials at Glasto.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a Muck Up...

        "[...] with some flannel about running through a cornfield."

        Thank you - I had been puzzled about the recent satirical cartoon references to a wheat field.

        Martin Rowson in the Grauniad includes as many little throwaway details in his news cartoons as did Giles. The Rowson cartoons also allow comments for people to guess/explain all the erudite nuances.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "and whip the bollocks of a complete stranger to a bloody mess"

        Well that would certainly go down with the traditional Tory core voter. Although possibly not quite as well as the idea of a "Killed a tramp with a hammer" that Franky Boyle suggested. :-)

        "but apparently he goes down well with the sad-sack milennials at Glasto."

        I think UK voting patterns have changed, to the point where it is impossible for any party to be elected without reaching out from it's traditional core supporters.

        It was noted some time ago that "The young don't vote," hence there needs and wants could be ignored and the re-directed toward sectors of the vote likely to turn out, like codgers.

        By putting them back in play Corbyn has reminded there is a big section of the UK electorate who has been acting like Sein Feinn in the HoC.

        But unlike them their passivity can change.

        1. strum Silver badge

          Re: "and whip the bollocks of a complete stranger to a bloody mess"

          > the sad-sack milennials at Glasto."

          I think UK voting patterns have changed

          So have the the demographics of Glasto. The audiences I saw contained many ravers as old as me.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: What a Muck Up...

        "As a result the manifestos were just lightweight, ill thought through rubbish - even by the low standards of such things."

        The problem for the tories is that they usually spend the 6 months ramping up an election handing out bribes to make people forget how rotten they've been behaving and promise more sweeties if reelected.

        It's amazing how short voter memories are. Unless you're Nick Clegg.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a Muck Up...

      It is interesting that the UK "House of Cards" and "The New Statesman" TV series would probably no longer be viable as UK political satire.

      Fact has become stranger than fiction.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a Muck Up...

      Try two months ago, here's my post in full

      I wouldn't worry about brexit anymore because the great plan has begun,

      Call an election.

      Set out to fail.

      I'm sure many will disagree but here's the logic behind it. Don't promise not to raise taxes or protect pensioners. Don't appear in debates. Labour can't win because the press hate them.

      Where will this leave us? I reckon a split government with a coalition allowing a second vote on the terms of brexit to include an option to stay in.

      Not being funny but she said no general election and here we are. She also said brexit means brexit. Lets see if that's true.

      If I could relocate anywhere it would be new zealand, nice country, probably not got any nukes pointed at it and I do like a bit of lamb.

      Today I am ceefax, oracles dodgy uncle.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: option to stay in the EU?

        What option? I did not see one in article 50. The options are:

        1) Negotiate an exit treaty and a new trade treaty.

        2) Beg every other EU state to extend the deadline (requires a unanimous vote).

        3) Fart about for 2 years, do not agree a new trade treaty, suddenly discover eligibility for the WTO treaty depends on human rights May promised to revoke as soon as leaving the EU allows. The next fallback trade treaty is GATT. GATT allows bigger tariffs on imports into the UK, but also allow everyone else to tax UK exports. If a tariff war starts, locally manufactured goods increase in price to match taxed imports, but economies of scale die from lack of exports: higher prices without higher profits. The higher prices increase the cost of manufacture and the lack of foreign competition creates local monopoly prices.

        May triggered article 50 so the Libdems could not put "remain" in their manifesto. The only options are whether the UK leaves a little bit or a lot. So far, May has spent lots of time and resources on the farting about option. I have confidence in her ability to vastly increase the amount of money spent on farting about until the deadline passes.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a Muck Up...

        If I could relocate anywhere it would be new zealand

        You've never been, have you? It's a lovely country, but the middle-aged & older folks have attitudes like middle-class brits in the 1950s. Sneering at blacks because "well, they aren't like us", complaining that the government should "do something" about the youth, immigrants, prices, etc. It's really surprising the Daily Fail doesn't have a NZ edition, it would go down a storm.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a Muck Up...

          "[...] but the middle-aged & older folks have attitudes like middle-class brits in the 1950s. "

          People in the UK often forget that visitors from another country are not necessarily representative of their compatriots back home. This is especially true if they have decided they like the UK (usually London) enough to settle down for a long while. They are generally a self selecting group who have chosen to escape from a more claustrophobic environment.

          When one "goes native" - you do not have a full grasp of the nuances of your adopted culture. So you push the limits to their apparently logical extreme - which can amuse or appal the locals. George Mikes was a Hungarian writer who wrote humorously about being more English than the English.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: What a Muck Up...

          "but the middle-aged & older folks have attitudes like middle-class brits in the 1950s. "

          Actually it's even worse than that. there's a lot of institutional corruption and cronyism that wouldn't be tolerated here.

          e2nz.org makes for interesting reading. There's a good reason why a lot of kiwis leave and never go back.

    4. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: What a Muck Up...

      > This situation seems to becoming more farcical by the week.

      Not at all. These negotiations between the Government and the DUP have provided useful practice and now a hard, determined, steely woman will be going to Brussels to fight the UK's cause. Congratulations, Arlene, on your forthcoming appointment as Chief UK Brexit Negotiator.

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: What a Muck Up...

        Angela: "Arlene, you know where the naughty corner is".

  8. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    It's unusual

    Traditionally person A says to person B 'Here is some money, drop your trousers and bend over'. This time it's 'Here is a shitload of money, hang on while I bend over'

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: It's unusual

      Isn't that the difference between Sadism and Masochism?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's unusual

        >Isn't that the difference between Sadism and Masochism?

        "Hit me" said the masochist

        "No" said the sadist.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be very afraid

    Those of us old enough to remember the height of the 'troubles' in Northern Ireland would rather we didn't go back to the bad old days.

    Giving both finance and direct voting power to 10 MP's with fundamental beliefs which are, to put it bluntly, batshit mental and who have direct links with paramilitary organisations should make everyone worried.

    And thats before you look at the DUP's role in the recent and very expensive dodgy renewables scandal.

    This won't end well

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Be very afraid

      >And thats before you look at the DUP's role in the recent and very expensive dodgy renewables scandal.

      That's the good part - it shows that they are modern politicians that we can do business with

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: batshit mental

      Is putting it mildly. I'd go for criminally insane.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only...

    that 1bn was spent on better fire safety testing of cladding before fitting it...

    Just sayin'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If only...

      On poor peoples buildings?

      Don't be silly, this was an American company who surely must have known that the cladding was dangerous and will get away with Murder.

      This my friend is how capitalism works. (see China milk scandal)

      1. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: If only...

        "Don't be silly, this was an American company who surely must have known that the cladding was dangerous and will get away with Murder."

        No - as far as I'm aware the company said "Do not use this product for buildings over 10 m tall".

        Anyway, with any building project it's up to the designers/specifiers to assess the requirements, then select appropriate materials, then check the materials are installed correctly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If only...

      Well, that is a part of those Brussels billions (well) spent. Think you got anything left for the NHS?

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Remember it's not a "Coalition" it's a "No-alition."

    This means the UKG can continue in it's role of "fair arbitrator" in the Good Friday agreement.

    And I'm sure they've arranged things so the Barnet formula won't be disturbed and May has to throw a bundle of cash to the Scots, the Welsh and the UK regions.

    And only £100m per seat in support.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Remember it's not a "Coalition" it's a "No-alition."

      >And only £100m per seat in support.

      Suddenly those expenses don't look too bad do they?

      Couldn't they have just bought each DUP MP a duck island ?

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Couldn't they have just bought each DUP MP a duck island ?"

        Well, if you mean by "duck island" a several acre land mass in the Caribbean the answer is yes.

        Sadly they'd soon complaining about the hue of their neighbours.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Re: Remember it's not a "Coalition" it's a "No-alition."

      Now we are doomed to look back fondly at the Coalition of Stability as we shake our heads at the worse-than-chaotic alternative that followed it.

  12. Terry 6 Silver badge

    It doesn't sound very austere...

    Money can't be found for supporting the NHS' shortfall - that's Austerity.

    Or to pay for more police. That's Austerity too.

    And keeping school budgets at the same (real) level -Austerity.

    Repairing our roads - Austerity.

    Social care - Austerity

    Public libraries - Austerity

    Student finance - Austerity

    Keeping a Navy - Austerity

    Social Housing - Austerity

    Buying parliamentary support from the DUP? Aus.... Oh wait!

  13. Bloodbeastterror

    Not again...

    In 2010 I broke a lifetime's voting pattern in despair of no longer having a Labour party to vote for after that failed human being Blair gutted it. I voted for the Lib Dems. That two-faced weasel Clegg sold my vote to the Tories, who were apparently all too pleased to bend over to get it.

    And now here I am, a Northern Irishman, seeing those same Tories blatantly buying votes to prop up their incompetent and failed government - from the most unpleasant bunch of people you could ever wish to avoid. Shame. Don't give me any nonsense about Labour's inability to run the country; these self-serving imbeciles have dragged us out of Europe, incurring god knows what sort of financial as well as social consequences, and now appear to me to be (legally?) bribing their way into another failure of a "government". Actually, "incompetent" is too good a word for this gang of shambling morons.

    And how long will it be until the next general election? I'm guessing months rather than years.

    What a disgraceful mess... I despair... And I'm angry...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not again...

      Don't give me any nonsense about Labour's inability to run the country;

      What nonsense? Some of us N. Irishmen remember the last batshit-left Labour governments, and the shambles of Blair's champagne socialism. It may be a fiasco today, but at least we have some chance to fix it once Toxic Theresa is ousted. Put Corbyn in and the lights would go out so fast we wouldn't even have time to complain about the candle shortage.

    2. H in The Hague Silver badge

      Re: Not again...

      "That two-faced weasel Clegg sold my vote to the Tories, who were apparently all too pleased to bend over to get it."

      It strikes me that without the LibDems as a moderating factor (e.g. if the coalition had been with the DUP) you might have been even more unhappy with the government led by the Conservatives. I appreciate that I'm in the minority here, but in my view Clegg's decision to enter negotiations with the party with the largest share of the popular vote was perfectly reasonable and democratic.

      But I fully appreciate your comments about mess, despair and anger. Mrs H and I are currently both living across the North Sea so we can take a slightly more dispassionate view, but the situation certainly ain't pretty.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not again...

        "[...] but in my view Clegg's decision to enter negotiations with the party with the largest share of the popular vote was perfectly reasonable and democratic."

        His failure was in not remembering how Labour shafted the Liberals in the support agreement in the 1970s. He failed to nail Cameron down to a proper commitment to a system of Proportional Representation.

        The electorate then chose to punish the Lib-Dems for not stopping ALL the Tories' policies - and thus gave the subsequent Tory government a free rein with a majority.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Not again...

          The electorate then chose to punish the Lib-Dems for not stopping ALL the Tories' policies - and thus gave the subsequent Tory government a free rein with a majority.

          And thus ensured that minor parties will *never* now accept a coalition on the basis that the majority party always gets credit for the joint successes and the minority partner always gets the blame for the joint failures.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "And how long will it be until the next general election?"

      There are several mile posts (not kilometres, as Britain is "Taking Back Control" of weights and measures) in the Brexit process that look like obvious break points.

      Before the German Elections in September.

      They are key players. An improved mandate before then would be very helpful. But what if it wasn't and May's minority got smaller still? It would be another 60 days of chaos. Then again May said she would not be holding an election in the first place.

      2 years time. It's all done and the Conservatives can start playing "Blame the old leader" for any unfulfilled delusions aspirations the party country has. Once they've hosed the (metaphorical) blood off the walls of a leadership contest they can start the next election.

      5 years. End of parliament. The full distance. More chance of winning the Health, National and Euromillions lotteries all at once than May lasting till then.

      In between times if the UKG fails a major vote Corbyn can trot down to the Palace and offer his services in forming a new government. Being 60 seats below a majority that would probably have to be a real coalition, or call an election to clarify the situation.

      And of course that assumes the noalition with the DUPes doesn't develop any fault lines (VAT increases on Bowler hats and marching regalia for example).

    4. I J Ellis

      Re: Not again...

      "What a disgraceful mess... I despair... And I'm angry..."

      Nicely put & you're not alone. Disillusionment, disbelief, frustration and anger are all reasonable reactions from any decent, sensible person to the current state of affairs.

  14. JJKing Bronze badge
    Flame

    Up against the wall for the lot of them.

    It really gives me the shits that it doesn't matter how much of the taxpayer's money a politician wastes on things to keep them in power and they still get to keep their obscenely generous taxpayer funded pensions. Their slogan seems to be No care, No Responsibility. It's bugger you Jack, I have to take care of myself, my party and.........err...... nothing else really.

    Pollie in Oz was heard saying, "I don't give a stuff about the country, I just want to get re-elected."

    UK taxpayer take a 1 Billion lb suppository just so the "wheat runner" can stay in power.

    USA has an idiot who wants to waste beeeellions of $$$ on a bloody wall that even the Border Patrol say isn't necessary but wants to fuck over the people on health care.

    The NZ PM cost the country $26+ Million because HE wanted to change the flag to something HE wanted and when it was voted down, he picked up his bucket and spade and quit taking his taxpayer funded pension with him.

    I am continually amazed that there aren't more acts of rage with extreme prejudice against politicians.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: Up against the wall for the lot of them.

      I'm similarly amazed that any Veterans Administration facility, medical or otherwise, is still intact. Mistreatment of a population highly skilled in high levels of mayhem shouldn't be conducive to one's survival. The only rationale I can come up with is that one gets inured to it, much like a frog, during one's term(s) of service.

      Most likely the same with politics. Perhaps time to stop being frogs.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "amazed that any Veterans Administration facility, medical or otherwise, is still intact."

        I'd guess if you've spent a career in the armed forces the bit about "Defending the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic" is quite important to you.

        The question would be at what point do your feelings over your treatment as a citizen exceed your loyalty to the Constitution, and of the people who are implementing that Constitution.

        I'd like to think that anyone so aggrieved would be more selective in choosing where they would express their grievance than by wrecking places that are offering even minimal care to them.

    2. CentralCoasty
      Happy

      Re: Up against the wall for the lot of them.

      I like Pratchett's idea.... stick them in prison the moment they are elected... saves time and money later.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Up against the wall for the lot of them.

        "The desire to be a politician should be enough to ban you from ever becoming one..." - Sir Billy Connolly.

  15. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    Not a bribe?

    But it will all end in tears.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Joke

      Re: Not a bribe?

      <ulster ascent>

      The DUP finds any suggestion that the additional funds released to Northern Ireland are in any way, shape or form some sort of "bribe" for their continued support of the Conservative & Unionist Party of the UK.

      The amount requested was arrived at by careful calculation, to address long standing under funding of the Ulster region going back to the last century.

      Any suggestion that our Leader said to Mrs May during the talks "We'll support you for One Beeeeeelion Pounds. Mwwwwwhhhhha" is likewise a complete fabrication.

      Furthermore our Leader, Mrs Arlene Foster, takes great exception to any suggestion that she resembles, in any way, the so-called "comedian" Paul Merton, and will be pursuing claims for damages through the relevant legal channels on this point, schedule permitting.

      Signed

      The DUP

      </ulster ascent>

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Not a bribe?

        @John Smith 19

        If <ulster ascent> was a typo, it was quite an aposite one

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Happy

          "If <ulster ascent> was a typo, it was quite an aposite one"

          No typo.

          The mock HTML is part of setting up the joke so you hear the words in the right way when you read them.

          Many readers are not from the UK and will be mentally thinking of the mellow tones of "Pierce Brosnan", when they should be thinking Sean Bean (in "Patriot Games") or Sam Neil in "Peaky Blinders." Liam Neeson in "Taken" is a very mild version (ironic given he's actually from Belfast, but then you'd need subtitles for most of the movie if he used it).

          The other thing about NI politicians is there remarkable loquacity.

          They will never use a word when half a dozen will do just as well, or an adjective when three will do in its place. By the time they've finished the proverbial donkey is just a body lying in a field.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: "If <ulster ascent> was a typo, it was quite an aposite one"

            Spelling

            Accent/ascent there/their

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              Re: "If <ulster ascent> was a typo, it was quite an aposite one"

              Ooops.

              Yes you are quite correct.

              But you could say it is a deeper truth. The DUP has indeed ascended in power.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Not a bribe?

      But it will all end in tears.

      Of laughter in Dundela Ave (DUP HQ)?

      The really daft thing is that it's probably unnecessary. No unionist MP, of any stripe, is going to vote in a way that would let hard-left Corbynistas into power. That wing of the Labour party has long been enthusiastic about a united Ireland, and what better way for Corbyn to pay for his economic delusions than by cutting NI free and leaving the RoI and (post-Brexit) EU to pick up the tab (and the pieces). With or without that 1bn, the DUP wouldn't let May lose a confidence vote while there's the slightest chance of Labour forming a government.

  16. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Happy

    May tough ?

    There I was, thinking May was tough ... it appears she is less so than Major ...

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone seriously think the DUP were ever going to vote against the Tories ? I don't - which begs the question why has May shown such abysmal negotiating skills to give away £1.5 billion to part of the Uk that already gets more per head than any other ! Not only is she risking peace in Northern Ireland for short term political gain - but she's wasting our money to do it. Not impressed.

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