Good piece from Graham Walker which if anything works a little too hard to match the DUP with a future incoming Labour government, it is nevertheless is a useful corrective to the prevailing assumption (in Britain if not NI) that their natural fit is with the Tories.
In particular he notes:
…social class does matter politically in Northern Ireland, contrary to what many outsiders are led to believe. The DUP draws much of its support from less well-off protestants and is careful not to distance itself from the unemployed, the low paid and those on benefits.
Opposition to the bedroom tax and a variety of left-of-centre measures are in the party’s manifesto for this election.
The DUP could invite considerable political trouble if it backed a Conservative government hell-bent on yet more austerity, especially as it seeks to protect welfare spending in Northern Ireland as much as possible and to secure help to re-vitalise the province’s economy.
Meanwhile, the deputy leader Nigel Dodds wrote in the New Statesman in February of his party’s possible willingness to work with Labour – and has also made some trenchant criticisms of free-market fundamentalism.
That pretty much captures the DUP approach to social policy. It’s the same tight rope UK Labour are trying to walk, so it is a meet match by Dr Walker.
And, despite the presence of more than one or two ‘Tory boys’ it is also in line with the own party’s tradition which co-founder the late Dessie Boal vowed the DUP would be strong on the Constitution, but to the left on social policies.