Northern Ireland

Chips are down as papers report on DUP-Tory 'political earthquake'

Daily Mirror Image copyright Mirror
News Letter Image copyright News Letter

The distant peal of wedding bells all the way from Downing Street makes the deal between the Tory Party and the DUP the only story in town.

The Belfast Telegraph opts for sincerity in its front-page headline. It quotes DUP leader Arlene Foster's words: "I want to get best deal for all of us."

She is pictured clutching her party's manifesto. In block capital letters on the cover are the words: "Standing strong".

The Irish News cocks a quizzical eye and whips up a few kitchen clichés.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Arlene Foster says she wants to get the best deal for all

Its front-page features photos of Theresa May and Arlene Foster. The paper chooses that canvassing shot of Mrs May just out of the local chippie - a bag of hot chips in one hand and a polystyrene foam cup in the other.

Arlene Foster is pictured in profile, arguing her point. The headline reads: "Chips are down as Foster and May try to cook up a deal."

The News Letter's headline reports that there is: "A deal for every vote".

The paper says that the arrangement between the two parties would allow the DUP to negotiate a fresh deal every time the government needs its support - each time, there would be a separate negotiation.

In the Daily Mirror, the two leaders are pictured sitting at a table together. They look like equals, hands neatly crossed and the photo caption reads simply: "Allies".

The paper's headline reads: "There will be no deal unless there is no border."

The Mirror reports that Foster will be giving Theresa May that ultimatum at Monday's "crunch talks".

The paper also quotes Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan saying that the Tory/DUP deal will "not necessarily" undermine the peace process.

Image copyright Theresa May and Arlene Foster
Image caption What will Arlene Foster ask for at Monday's talks?

'Welcome to the 1870s'

Inside, columnist Joe Lindsay sighs: "Oh no, they know about us... it's not pretty".

He says he spent the weekend answering bewildering questions about the DUP and their stance on issues like gay marriage, creationism and climate change.

"For any of you who bought the Conservatives' ridiculous belief Corbyn would bring the UK back to the 1970s, be prepared. You're about to be brought back to the 1870s," he warns.

The Belfast Telegraph says that there has been "a political earthquake" but that the DUP wants to bring stability. It also reports anger about misleading stories.

But the sense inside the paper is of that "hand of history" resting on Arlene Foster's shoulder.

Commentator Ed Curran writes: "Now is the moment for unionism and for Northern Ireland. An opportunity not to be missed. A chance in a political lifetime not to be fluffed."

David Gordon remarks that there is much more to the DUP than meets the eye: "How would I sum up the party? Thran, confrontational, quirky, socially conservative - all words that would be used in any DUP for Dummies introductory guide."

But, he points out, it has come some way from firebrand pulpit politics. It is worth noting the dates on those anti-gay comments, he says.

"Efforts would seem to have been made to get people to shut up."

'Back to work'

In its editorial, the Belfast Telegraph is brusque and business-like.

It is "time for politicians to get back to work", it says. The DUP is hard headed and pragmatic and ordinary people "desperately want the assembly to start its work again".

The News Letter's political editor Sam McBride says that Theresa May ought to be alarmed as the DUP is "flexing its muscles".

"The DUP are experienced negotiators and ruthless exponents of Aneurin Bevan's dictum that politics is a blood sport," he writes.

He predicts that the party will extract a high price for their support "and not just a financial one".

The News Letter also reports that concerns about the DUP stance on same-sex marriage and abortion have been overplayed.

Its editorial writer remarks that these are "momentous and uncertain times".

In its front page story, Irish News political correspondent John Manley reports on fears that the DUP-Tory pact could scupper progress in the peace process and reports on nationalist calls for a new, independent chair for talks.

Inside, Manley says that it looks like Gerry Adams is contented to stand back and watch British politics turn in on itself.

"Perhaps the Sinn Féin president ultimately believes unification is more likely to result from upheaval than stability," he writes.

The Irish News editorial headline reads: "New-found friendship cannot last".

Its writer states that when May announced she was forming a new administration with her "friends and allies in the DUP", the "widespread snorts of derision must have been audible on both sides of the Irish Sea".

'Easy with that boiler'

On a lighter note, the Irish News reports that the internet has been awash with satirical posts poking fun at the Tory government propped up by the DUP.

Mocked-up images portray Theresa May as an Orangeman complete with sash and marching in a flute band.

One picture shows Downing Street resplendent with red, white and blue kerbstones.

There are Northern Ireland flags draped outside No 10 and, look, can you see those workmen... yes, they're installing an RHI boiler.