Analysis: £1 billion 'cash-for-votes' deal helps explain May's call to Trump over Bombardier

Does the DUP cash-for-votes love-in with the Tories come with its own "medical insurance" for businesses?
Gary McDonald Business Editor

IT seems the DUP-Tories £1 billion deal may come with added benefits - akin to a private business health insurance of sorts.

How else can you explain the immediate and unexpected involvement of British Prime Minister Theresa May - who in turn is also involving an American president and a Canadian premier - over what at this stage is merely a threat to jobs at Bombardier in Belfast?

Let's be clear, no-one wants mass job losses at the north's aerospace industry behemoth, or at any of our big manufacturers and wealth-creators.

Just, of course, like nobody wanted to see the shutdown of the Gallaher's tobacco factory. Or Michelin. Which between them robbed Ballymena of 2,000 jobs.

The difference between then and now, though, is that the DUP have friends in very high places and, boy, are they about to cash in their chips.

If you're a large-scale business in Northern Ireland and potentially in trouble, today you've got a political ally on speed dial.

It's the business equivalent of private medical insurance, which is designed to ensure that if you need treatment, you don't need to worry about long waiting lists or paying for the cost of your treatment. You go straight to the head of the queue. Perhaps some or all of your bills will even be met.

The instance intervention by Mrs May over the threat to Bombardier's Belfast jobs arising from a US trade dispute is to be warmly welcomed, as was her phone call to Donald Trump and the planned meeting with her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau in Ottawa next week.

Far too often in the past, local politicians' appeals to the UK government to intervene to save jobs have either fallen on deaf ears or been haven't been fully or properly expedited.

Sometimes, though, this type of 'private business health insurance' only buys you time. You'll skip the queues, speak quickly to the right people and have your symptoms investigated.

But if you're sick, you're sick. And though thankfully it's not the case at Bombardier, there is never a cure for a terminal diagnosis.

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