As Northern Ireland’s economy faces ‘deep recession’, a former DUP MP becomes a life peer

House of Lords & Nigel Dodds
Support us and go ad-free

Prior to the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19), the people in the north of Ireland were already facing an uncertain future. This was because of a possible ‘no-deal’ Brexit. A no-deal Brexit could see a hard border reinstated between the north and south of Ireland and would likely result in huge job losses for the people of the north.

When coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown began in March this year, even greater uncertainty arrived. Because in April, the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) said the north was facing a “deep recession”. Then in July, one bank said it expected the north’s economy to shrink by 11%.

The political parties in the north joined the international campaign against the virus when they said ‘we’re all in this together’. So as the former DUP MP Nigel Dodds makes his way to the House of Lords, seen by some as an institute of cronyism, it’s debatable if he’s really “in this” for his working-class loyalist support base.

Dodds loses his seat

Nigel Dodds was MP for North Belfast from June 2001 until the December 2019 general election. Sinn Féin’s John Finucane took the seat from Dodds despite a campaign of sectarian hatred. Loyalists launched a targeted campaign against Finucane as sectarian banners, organised by the UDA, appeared across the constituency.

And the intimidation didn’t stop at Finucane or with republicans. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) initially announced it would stand against Dodds. However, as reported by The Canary, the UUP soon changed its mind following alleged intimidation from the loyalist terror group the UDA.

North Belfast sectarianism

Sectarianism is not a stranger to the constituency. In fact just three months after Dodds was first elected to represent it, loyalist protesters harassed and threw a ‘blast bomb’ at Catholic children on their way to school.

In more recent times, Catholic families have also been prevented from moving into their north Belfast homes as a result of sectarian attacks. And it seems as if sectarianism is not coming to an end any time soon.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
DUP support base

Prominent loyalists claim their community feels disenfranchised. An elected official from a loyalist area claims working class loyalists suffer from low self-confidence and poor role models. During the violent flag protests between 2012 and 2013, many working class loyalists felt abandoned by their leaders. And the DUP’s muddled position on the final Brexit deal bred resentment among its working class support base.

Lording it

Unless a member of the Lords holds office or is a minister, they don’t receive a salary. But those who don’t get a salary can claim an allowance of up to £305 a day. In May 2019, a Guardian investigation revealed one Labour peer claimed £50,000 in expenses in 2018. And this was despite the fact he didn’t participate in any House debates.

Dodds takes up the position in mid-October with the title of ‘Lord Dodds of Duncairn’. He claims this title honours his political beginnings. So it remains to be seen if that title will mean anything for working class loyalists – or whether it’s just more lip service.

Featured image via Twitter – Parliament & YouTube – UK Parliament

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us