Thursday, 1 April 2010
AT last it’s down to the proverbial brass tacks as election mode kicks into high gear with manoeuvring and Machiavellian political machinations…and that’s just in Westminster!
Here in Northern Ireland it’s all a little bit more vicious; and subtle at the same time.
Readers of the runes will see the DUP’s decision to step aside in the North Down as a direct challenge to the UUP Tory link-up.
With Lady Sylvia Hermon cutting ties with her former party and standing as an independent it now comes down to a straight fight with the Conservatives and Unionists candidate Ian Parsley.
The DUP message is clear: if you can’t win the affluent citizens of Cultra, Crawfordsburn, Ballyholme and Bangor West to your flag then what hope do you have elsewhere.
Of course, that ignores the less wealthy denizens of North Down, where Lady Sylvia would have cut down on the DUP votes.
North Down has always been a weird constituency – and not just because they once voted in Bob McCartney, leader of the now defunct UK Unionists. There is an independence of mind there. That may be because for many of the wealthy, the ‘Troubles’ were something that only impinged on their lives once they crossed the Sydenham by-pass. Or it could be that they had to put up with so many little ‘oiks’ turning up in the summer to sully the seafront?
Whatever the reason the voters are now faced with the choice of a sitting MP who supports the Prime Minister and Labour leader, Gordon Brown and the placeman of the UUP/Tory link-up, whose policies are sure to appeal to those residing in six-figure plus valued properties.