The permanently affronted Left has a new target. Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is supporting a Conservative Government in Britain, has become, overnight, more detestable than the Islamic State.
You can see why right-on radicals don't like the party. It is socially conservative, opposing abortion and same-sex marriage; it is fiercely patriotic, campaigning to keep Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom; it is Euroskeptic, being the only big party in Northern Ireland to back Brexit; and — worst of all — it is propping up the Tories.
Funnily enough, Labour sought a similar deal from the DUP following the inconclusive 2010 election — something we learned from the leaked Clinton emails (thanks for that, Ivan). No one called it unacceptable back then.
Now, though, lots of people have suddenly Googled the party and, pulled by whatever mysterious force moves the Leftist hive-mind, decided that it is racist, anti-gay and quasi-terrorist. There have been anti-DUP demonstrations in English cities. Labour — conveniently forgetting their recent dalliance — has denounced the DUP as extreme.
Pundits around the world working themselves into a self-righteous rage about the DUP. "Sectarian far-Right gargoyles", says The Australian. "Narrow, socially conservative, reactionary," says Canada's National Post. "[B]igoted, xenophobic, homophobic, isolationist and corrupt," says the New York Times.
It's true that the DUP, whose roots were in radical Presbyterianism, opposes gay marriage. It's only fair to add, though, that it recently pushed through a law that retrospectively pardons gay men who were convicted when homosexuality was illegal in before 1967. Compare this to the regimes supported by the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. He warmly admired Fidel Castro, under whom gay people were tortured. He backs Hamas and Hezbollah. He took money from a TV station backed by the Iranian government, which hangs homosexuals from cranes. But, of course, that's different.
Likewise, the DUP is pro-life. So are all the main parties in Northern Ireland, reflecting what is, by UK standards, a much more church-going electorate. Labour's sister-party in the Province, the moderate nationalist SDLP, is if anything more hardline on abortion than the DUP.
The most outrageous slur of all, though, is that the DUP is somehow equivalent to Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA. For the past week, half-clever Leftists have been sneering that, after denouncing Jeremy Corbyn for supporting the Irish paramilitaries in the 1980s, the Conservative Party is now cozying up to paramilitaries on the other side. Here, to pluck an example more of less at random, is the rather likeable Leftist pundit Mehdi Hassan: "Tories said Corbyn has ties to terrorists/extremists but will now govern with DUP which has ... ties to terrorists/extremists".
It's true that there were Loyalist paramilitaries, who fought to keep Northern Ireland in the UK as the IRA fought to unite it with the Republic. On both sides, the gunmen had political parties in tow. Those parties, Loyalist and Republican, saw force of arms as a substitute for force of argument. They were as revolting as each other.
But the DUP was not one of them. It never backed paramilitarism. Although it admitted some former gunmen after they had renounced violence, it was resolutely for law and order throughout the unrest. Its leader, Arlene Foster, saw her father nearly murdered by the IRA, and was herself the victim of a bomb planted on her school bus when she was a girl. Do you really think she needs to be lectured about not tolerating terrorism?
A more credible criticism of the DUP would be that, while it opposed Loyalist violence, it tolerated some ugly sectarianism. Its founder, the late Ian Paisley, was an anti-Catholic rabble-rouser in the 1970s. But that was then. The party's current leader spent most of her career in the more moderate Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). Her defection, and subsequent election as leader, put a seal on the DUP's respectability. She seeks support from Catholic and Protestant voters, and leads what has become easily Northern Ireland's largest party.
In truth, though, none of the criticism is about the DUP. It's about the Left's frustration with the election result. Labour's second-in-command, a self-declared "unapologetic Marxist" called John McDonnell, is calling for a million-strong demonstration to "force Theresa May from office." They've never really accepted parliamentary democracy, these Trotskyists. They still see it as a bourgeois construct.
The truly shocking thing about the election result is not that the DUP and the Conservatives should form a majority. It's that two in five Britons — God forgive us — voted for a party whose leaders don't fully accept the legitimacy of Parliament.
Dan Hannan is a British Conservative MEP.