Why the DUP is genuinely open for political business with an incoming Labour administration

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.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty