We've had a very interesting week news-wise, but I'm more interested in the results of the British election than the Comey the Clown show on the Hill.
The ruling Conservatives called an early election, thinking that the disarray that both the anti-EU UK Independence Party and the Labour Party were under would allow them to gain seats. The Tories gained votes, but Labour gained even more, as the disintegration of UKIP saw a lot of their blue-collar voters go to Labour. In addition, the hard-left Labour leader Corbyn seems to have drained votes from left-wing third parties as well as UKIP; rather than scarring off center-left folks who warned to Tony Blair and his successors, it seems to have helped Labour somewhat.
When the dust settled Friday morning, the Tories had lost their majority, landing then 317 seats, nine short of a majority. That doesn't mean that PM May is out of a job; the main conservative/Protestant party in Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party, has 10 seats (the Northern Irish polity runs on sectarian lines independent of the rest of the UK) just enough to put the Tories over the top.
There is a rough draft of a plan to have the DUP support the Conservatives but not be formally part of a government; "confidence and supply" is the parliamentary lingo for that set-up, where they'll sign off on budgets and votes of confidence to keep the current government in place. Canada limped through the better part of a decade with that kind of setup, with both the Conservatives and Liberals taking a turn in having the most seats, but needing the consent of one of the opposition parties to keep going.
The interesting kicker with the DUP is that they would be right at home with the Gospel Coalition crowd stateside. They were founded by a rather conservative Presbyterian minister, Ian Paisley, who served as a unionist counterweight to the ethnically Catholic IRA during the Troubles. With the Republic of Ireland being run by a gay half-Indian prime minister, the fears of being ruled by a bunch of papists is a bit antiquated, but the DUP definitely would prefer being part of the UK.
The modern DUP hasn't strayed too far from those roots, having views on abortion, same-sex marriage and creation/evolution that would make them seem as much northern Alabama as Northern Ireland. Of course, that rubs secular folks the wrong way, including the lesbian Tory leader in Scotland, who chafes at the idea that NI is exempt from the recent allowing of same-sex marriage in Britain. NI also bans most abortions except in emergencies due to that old-school streak in the province.
Thus, the secular left and center are aghast at them having a veto on government. It also throws a bit of a monkey-wrench into internal NI politics, as the British government tries to play a honest-broker role between the DUP and Sinn Fein, the IRA party. With the DUP backing the government, it makes that neutral facade harder to maintain; however, Sinn Fein will rarely have anything nice to say about London in the best of times.
One commentator I read this weekend questioned having the DUP in government at all, as their presence would throw off that neutrality of the Good Friday accord that ended the Troubles. If they can't be a part of supporting a government, then why let them have seats? That reduces their present to something akin to DC or Puerto Rico, who get a single delegate that can only vote in House committees. The Puertorriqueños are voting on statehood today, by the way; a pro-statehood vote might remedy that status if Congress concurs.
It's been interesting to see the gnashing of secular teeth over the DUP kingmaker role.
P.S.- My title was based on the name of David Trimble, a former premier of NI, but he was from the more-centrist Protestant UUP rather than the DUP. That blows a hole in the analogy, but I can't resist a good pun.