Kate Hoey under pressure

Things have come to a pretty pass when that doughty daughter of Ulster, Labour MP Kate Hoey is defended by the Conservative king of the blog Iain Dale and attacked in a Labour-looking website. Her announcement as sports adviser to the then Tory candidate for London mayor Boris Johnson can hardly have endeared her to the Labour campaign. But then she has often clashed with Labour’s sports policies from Wembley to the Maze. She behaves as if her own sporting prowess won on the fields of Ulster gives her more clout than her critics. In some Labour eyes Kate, easily Northern Ireland’s most famous political export, has become so wayward that not for the first time, she’s in some danger of facing a de-selection threat in her Vauxhall south London constituency. .Kate is behaving more and more like an independent than loyal Labour. Tony Blair fired her and earned her undying wrath ever since, though more in principle as with her opposition to the Iraq war and support for CND, and anti-Trident rather than out of revenge. What Kate sees as humbug around her is endlessly her target. She can carry her assaults to the point of perversity, thriving on topics that get right up the noses of the mighty. Did she really have to chide a beleaguered Gordon Brown for meeting the Dalai Lama in Lambeth Palace rather than Downing St?

In NI she take a detailed sometimes sporty, often non-party interest but politically she’s as near to the DUP as makes no difference, even to the extent as a Labour MP of endorsing Arlene Foster, an old friend.

But Kate is no right wing cliché. She’s a fierce anti-racist and at considerable personal risk made an undercover film in Zimbabwe to expose the brutalities of the Mugabe regime.
Kate Hoey shares the belief in an Ulster Unionist political nation under assault from a terrorist Republican enemy and undermined by pusilanimous Britain.

Her personality is so powerful that it’s often assumed over here that we’re all like her.

Yet she still has her supporters in the Labour tradition. From Andy Macsmith, once an aide to the late Labour leader John Smith you can almost hear the sigh coming down the wire: “What’s to be done with Kate?” Political survival I hope, but she needs to watch it. She probably won’t.

I wonder what impact the same mix of the bravely progressive and the blinkered would have had on NI politics, had she stayed at home.

  • fair_deal

    Brian

    Labourhome is NOT an official Labour website.

    If she needs a seat I’m sure we could find her one over here.

  • slug

    According to David Boothroyd, a reliable poster on Iain Dale’s threads, Kate Hoey has already been reselected for the next election.

  • Garibaldy

    Surely she is not more famous than the philanderer and cheeky guy Lembit Opik, who has graced hello. I suspect more people in Britain know him than Kate Hoey.

    “Kate Hoey shares the belief in an Ulster Unionist political nation under assault from a terrorist Republican enemy and undermined by pusilanimous Britain.”

    Is this a quote from you Brian, or is it from someone else? because it seems out of date to me.

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    [edited by moderator – play the ball] Yellow card

  • wild turkey

    ‘attended the Belfast Royal Academy and the Ulster College of Physical Education before going on to take an economics degree in London. ‘

    Ulster College of PE? Was that a forerunner of Stanmillis College or the Club Bar? Serious question, I’ve never heard of UC of PE.

    Economics degree. LSE?

    although I would hardly agree with any of her views on Ireland and local politics, I do have a (grudging?) respect for her independence and eclecticism, again not agreeing with many of her views and the manner in which they are articulated.

    If she’s as near to the DUP as makes no difference, with respect to Westminster selection, perhaps Strangford presents the Labour/DUP with an imaginative solution to a couple of current,uh, issues.

    (Aside to Brian, just what are Ms Hoeys views on gays and other matters sexual;including abortion? A libertarian? I genuinely don’t know so, I ask)

    The 1970 Strawman/Kate pic is priceless. At first glance I thought it was Cagney and Lacey. Times change.

    Finally, from the recent picture, is it on the maternal or paternal side that Kate is related to Camilla Parker Bowles?

    PS (sorry)’In some Labour eyes Kate, easily Northern Ireland’s most famous political export,’ Uh, Ruth Kelly?

  • Brian Walker

    Ok Fair deal, it looks official but I’ll check and change if necessary, thanks. Slug, I should have said deselection, thanks. Garibaldy, it’s not a quote but a characterisation and therefore stylised of what her approach is, also having talked to her several time down the years. Frozen in time but still potent! 4. God knows what that means. I should be given a warning, sent off next time? Really that bad?

  • Peat Blog

    Independence of mind and measured tones. If only all Norn Iron politicians were like her (regardless of party or policy position)…

    I’m sure she isn’t kicking herself that she got out.

  • lorraine

    she sounds nice, right up to the dup analogy, then she lost it; our blessing she’s an export.

  • picador

    Brian,

    We know you have an eye for the ladies but this is ridiculous. Sober up. Fast!!

  • Brian, lighten up on the little Ulsterman syndrome – there’s a whole world out there, five continents, depending on how you look at it, maybe even other planets!!!!!
    Your description of Kate Hoey – “doughty daughter of Ulster”, “She behaves as if her own sporting prowess won on the fields of Ulster”, and “Kate, easily Northern Ireland’s most famous political export” – is a bit too much little Northern Irelander.
    Personally, I doubt very much if she’s our “most famous political export”.
    The Duke of Wellington, even Gerry Adams, Ian Paisley, hell, even Trimble, might have something to say about that.

  • Would the “sporting prowess won on the fields of Ulster” include blood sports?

    I can assure all and sundry that Hoey’s tenure in Vauxhall has been shaky for some time, and was nearly ended in the last Parliament. Her distaste for maintaining a web-site and e-communication didn’t help. The affiliation to the Countryside Alliance was another downer. Not to mention the sizable Irish diaspora’s attitude to a wee Northern girl spouting Unionism at them. Above all, though, she damned herself with her curious flexibility of ideological commitment — all the way from the IMG (or whatever Trot cell she ran with) to her recent games of footsie with the Johnson campaign.

  • Brian walker

    10. “Brian, lighten up on the little Ulsterman syndrome”. Paul Panther raises an interesting matter of style. I was characterising a position suitable for the subject, not endorsing it but not repudiating it either. You can do this in writing, rather than trading orthodoxies. “Doughty daughter of Ulster” deliberately echoes Frank McGuinness’s “Observe the sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme” with an added touch of alliteration, d’ye see? And Frank’s sympathies are surely wide enough for anybody. I think we should be able to switch styles without having to play a round of the tired old zero sum game. On our most famous political export, I wouldn’t want to be dogmatic, but I would exclude all those who represent and mainly made their political careers in Ireland. They’re not really exports, they just do a bit of trading across the water from time to time. And I surely meant contemporary figures. Ruth Kelly, exported at three we might leave out, and Wellington, born in Trim in 1769 is a bit far back. And you might want to recall his apocryphal quote on being born in Ireland: ” If a gentleman happens to be born in a stable, it does not follow that he should be called a horse.”

    Now that’s the sort of game I enjoy playing.

  • willowfield

    pusillanimous = two l’s

  • Buile Suibhne

    What about the delightful Brian Mawhinney!

  • Kate for East Antrim

    “politically she’s as near to the DUP as makes no difference”

    I would question the accuracy of that statement. The only example you have to back it up is KH’s personal backing for Arlene Foster in 2005. I think that was more a question of sisterly solidarity (which would most definitely not extend to a certain Mrs Robinson)

    I would strongly suggest she is much closer politically to the Ulster Unionist Party (dating back to even before campaining with Trimble for a yes Vote in 98) and would be a great catch for that party as a parliamentary candidate in 2009/10.

  • fair_deal

    Kate

    “I would strongly suggest she is much closer politically to the Ulster Unionist Party”

    You overlook she also campaigned for Bob McCartney of the UKUP when he was facing UUP opposition.

  • Kate for East Antrim

    Still say that she would be far more UU than DUP.

    Remember Bob at that time (mid nineties?) was still seen as a voice for non sectarian liberal unionism, and had also- even more importantly in terms of KH’s endorsement- hinted that he would take the Labour Whip at Westminster. They fell out over the Belfast Agreement.

  • Rory

    I think, Willowfield, that you may mean two “i”‘s

    Yes, Malcolm, Kate’s allegience was to the International Marxist Group (IMG), whose policy on Ireland at the time was summarised in a headline banner of Red Flag (successor to Black Dwarf and precursor of Red Weekly) as “Victory to the IRA!”, later modified to “Solidarity with the IRA!”

    Surely Kate’s present cosying-up to the DUP cannot mean that she has now abandoned this “principled revolutionary demand”?

    Never mind, her deselection may be Vauxhall’s gain but it may not yet prove to be NornIron’s misfortune as I think it unlikely that she would eagerly abandon the the splendid hospitality of the squires from the shires in favour of “tay and taties” in the shadow of “the dreary steeples”.

    As to the comments on Kate’s photographic images – shame on you gentlemen! – that is simply not on. I do however have to admit to feeling more than a little sheepish once in a local pub when, after yet another Arsenal defeat of Spurs, I, a diehard Gooner, was taunted with the chant “Kate Hoey’s yer pinup girl!”, but I still found that it was required of me to defend the honour of a fellow (or rather ‘sister’) Gooner. However I cannot claim that I laid my life on the line for the charming Kate as instead of attacking me the Spurs fans simply laughed at me. Much worse, I assure you.

  • willowfield

    I think, Willowfield, that you may mean two “i“‘s

    No, it’s two l’s rather than one.

    I’d agree with Kate from East Antrim re KH’s NI political leanings. She was certainly pro-Agreement. (Then, again, so are the DUP now, so maybe BW is correct?)

  • fair_deal

    KFSA

    In all this I think it is her independence of mind that is on display. UKUP support then pro-agreement then endorsing Arlene.

    Part of the shift in the DUP was moving towards part of the UKUP message. Also there are a number of DUP MPs she has good working relationship’s with in parliament. Plus the DUP should be in a position to offer more of a sure thing.

    To a degree this is all fantasy politics anyway. She has a safe seat at present even with a downturn in support and a deselection battle would do Labour no favours. Even if she didn’t it doesn’t follow that an offer to return home is what she has in mind at this stage of her career.

    Personally think she’d be better suited for South Belfast rather than South Antrim.

  • runciter

    I was characterising a position suitable for the subject, not endorsing it but not repudiating it either.

    That’s right, because being a professional journalist by trade you are immune to any of the prejudices that affect ordinary people. And any imbalance that appears in your comments (for example, about Irish-speaking peasantry or daughters of Ulster) is merely a joke, or a passing affectation.

    You could at least be honest, Mr Walker.

  • Oh please let her be gone, one less annoying English wannabee on the TV. With that northern accent mixed with the english home counties which sounds really awful. Like oil and water they don’t mix. The BBC love people with that accent though, they seem to be allover it.
    Anyway her politics has always been Uber Unionist, so good riddance, let’s hope!

  • Oh please let her be gone, one less annoying English wannabee on the TV. With that northern accent mixed with the english home counties which sounds really awful. Like oil and water they don’t mix. The BBC love people with that accent though, they seem to be allover that TV Station, hoi noi broin coi.
    Anyway her politics has always been Uber Unionist, so good riddance, let’s hope!

  • Rory

    Runciter,

    You really are being unfair (not to say mistaken) in your reading of Brian Walker’s style which you are confusing with content, while being entirely oblivious of context.

    I am not a journalist, nor indeed are most contributors to this site, but the literary devices employed by the author in this thread are ones which many, including myself, adopt from time-to-time. Now you may argue that they are ugly, inelegant, inappropriate, crude or just confusing or you may simply not like them. That is up to you, but while it might be valid to object to an author’s resort to a common literary device for effect it is not valid to dismiss the meat of his observation merely because you don’t like (or don’t understand) the technique.

    And what objection do you have to imbalance ( bloody awful usage of a perfectly good word!)? How much effect would a balanced Zola’s J’accuse have had do you think?

  • Rory

    Dave, I don’t think you can blame the BBC for Kate’s Hilda Bucket tendencies. Such strangulated attempts at “proper posh speech” are secretly sniggered at, but politely ignored. Think Teddy Taylor MP (decd) and Lloyd Grossman, the TV personality without a seemingly defined function other than to be …er, Lloyd Grossman!

    But John Cushney is a great favourite on BBC Radio4’s popular Gardeners’ Question Time and he has a wonderfully robust Ulster accent in which audiences seem to delight and then there’s always the thinking ladies’ bit of crumpet on the BBC2 arts programme, Late Night Line-Up, Wotsisname (it’s on the tip o’ me tongue), not to mention the late Ned Sherrin’s protogé and replacement on Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Peter Curran – much superior to the bumbling Clive Anderson and with an unreconstructed NornIron accent to boot.

  • runciter

    Rory,

    It is not Mr Walker’s imbalance that I object to (in this case), but the weaselling claims of neutrality that go along with it.

  • republicanstones

    Kate Hoey is a protestant ornage bigot who cares nothing for the discrimated nationalists in the wee six. Why should we care about her impending deselection.

  • GavBelfast

    What about the delightful Brian Mawhinney!

    Posted by Buile Suibhne on Jul 23, 2008 @ 09:36 AM

    I know of a Brian Mawhinney, but a DELIGHTFUL Brian Mawhinney?

    That one’s passed me by.

  • slug

    Speaking of lovely Northern Ireland accents, Kathy Clugston’s Co. Antrim tones on the Radio 4 news are a delight!

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Yep Dub and Rory, I have a pet hate for Anglo-Scots and the way they adopt English mannerisms and speech while trying and failing to hide their natural accent. The strangulation part is spot on, an assault on the ears by Lady Hoey and all those still living in the past where to adopt such daft accents was almost a pre-requisite to get on.