A political party barely known outside Northern Ireland now holds the balance of power in Parliament. Nobody saw it coming, but then that’s the new catchphrase in politics. So who are the DUP? And do they deserve the pillorying that has been coming their way since the general election catapulted them into the spotlight?
I have been watching the party up close for decades. Yet while the DUP isn't always a pretty sight to behold, the party is much more complicated than the hysterical stereotyping makes out. It's true that the DUP has its roots in uncompromising unionism and religion. And for many years it was little more than a one-man’s fan club: the political extension of Ian Paisley’s hardline Free Presbyterian Church.