Sylvia who?

7 04 2010

Sylvia Hermon has said that she is just not a Tory. She has made it known that she would support Gordon Brown as the next Prime Minister. And the local Labour guys have been chasing her recently.

So that’s clear then… she’s a New Labourite. Ian Parsley reckons thinks so – he reckons it’s a straight choice between a Conservative candidate (himself) and a Labour candidate (Sylvia).

But I don’t think it’s that simple. How Labour-ish is Sylvia? How ideological is she? If she is ‘just not a Tory’, how does this exhibit itself?

The simplest thing to do is to check her voting record, and the Public Whip has some useful indicators. For example, what other MP did Sylvia most agree with in her voting? Alastair Darling? Shaun Woodward?

Nope. It was in fact Jeffrey Donaldson.

The Public Whip says Sylvia agreed with Jeffrey in 71.1% of Westminster votes they participated in. In fact of the 10 MPs she agreed with most in the 2005 parliament, four were DUP and six were Tories. (Of the top 20, four were DUP and 16 were Tory, and so on.)

Of course, these types of comparison are reasonably loose but it really does surprise me that statistically Sylvia had more in common with Peter Bottomley (65.2%) and Iris Robinson (66.1%) than she did with Gordon Brown (52.2%) and Tony Blair (52.2%).

And when it comes to policy comparisons, Sylvia also voted strongly in favour of Tory Party policies and strongly with Lib Dem policies.

I often hear people say ‘you know where you stand with Sylvia’. I don’t see that coming through in her voting record. I do wonder, if you back Sylvia, what voting behaviour are you rewarding, and what voting behaviour do you want see more of? I certainly feel like I know her less for having gone near The Public Whip.

PS. North Down is funny for other reasons too. The DUP’s bizarre decision not to run there will shave off a sizeable number of votes from their overall tally. Voluntarily removing thousands of votes from your tally makes it more likely that Sinn Fein will top the poll, right? The whole premise of their Euro campaign was that SF must be prevented from topping the poll, so we know this is important to the DUP. So surely withdrawing from North Down – done under the auspices of Unionist Unity – in fact has the unintended consequence of benefitting republicanism?

I wonder if the DUP’s Unionist Unity campaign isn’t destined to be the least successful campaign waged since Mussolini put on his biggest hat and asked for a map of Eritrea?

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8 responses

7 04 2010
thedissenter

Sylvia is not ideological. She is an Ulster Unionist. The Labour analogy diverts attention from the way in which she has been treated (ignored). It is easy to paint her as a Labour supporter as the UUPCON suggests this is bad, and therefore she is bad, and that a Labour label matters so much to the electorate that that will weaken her support. Let the people decide.

11 04 2010
bobballs

Hi Dissenter – but hasn’t she invited the Labour analogy by backing brown to be next PM?

It could be argued that the Tory link up was designed to delvier the UUP’s mission statement of securing a more secure Union. So people in the UUP who aren’t natural Tories can support the alliance on this basis.

But Sylvia says that she ideologically is not a Tory. So she objects to whole thing.

But if she does not object to the pact on ideological grounds then on what possible basis could she justifiably resign in the teeth of an election? If you pull the rug of ideological principle away from her, it cheapens her position doesn;t it? why is she doing this?

But having said that, Sylvia had not been treated well by the UUP for some considerable time. It would be easy to understand her frustrations, if not her decision to bolt in an election.

8 04 2010
Anon

The fact that Sylvia Hermon voted alongside DUP and Tory colleagues shows just how fatuous the UCUNF attacks on her as some sort of champagne socialist are. She is an ULSTER UNIONIST and attempts to characature her as otherwise reflect more poorly on those who attempt it than her. Let’s be honest about it, the sole major issue that the Unionist MPs split from the Tories over in this parliament was the 42-day thing. The Tory annoyance at this was not based on principle (civil liberties my foot – they supported 28 days, so there was no principle at stake) but on the fact that it deprived them their chance to inflict a parliamentary defeat on the Prime Minister.

11 04 2010
bobballs

Anon – what struck me about this data is that Sylvia has maintained that she is not a Tory, when her voting record would suggest she’s closer to the Tories than she cares to admit.

But sylvia has resigned saying she is not a tory, and she has backed brown as PM. she has established the dividing lines by walking and speaking in this way, hasn;t she? Is it so surprising for a tory aligned party to criticise a (self-declared) labour-friendly opponent?

I posted the above because i expected Sylvia’s voting record to be a firm foundation for the principled stand she made. But that seems to be at odds with her public statements.

So if she regularly votes Tory, what can that resignation be about? UCUNF weren’t really asking her to do very much more than what she way doing anyway. I’m perplexed by her to be honest.

9 04 2010
Anon

“I wonder if the DUP’s Unionist Unity campaign isn’t destined to be the least successful campaign waged since Mussolini put on his biggest hat and asked for a map of Eritrea?”

Seems not.

Conner for Feremanagh and South Tyrone!!

Call Me Dave told to bugger off by ordinary decent Unionists in FST who care more about getting an MP than they do about his vanity project of running in every seat.

P45 for Gildernew. Execllent news.

11 04 2010
bobballs

Yes, i did ask the question. And you’re right Anon – it wasn’t. In fact it seems to have been a very successful campaign. Credit where credit it is due.

10 04 2010
Belfast Gonzo

I’m not convinced that the DUP care if SF top the poll at a time of low expectations for them. Come the Assembly election, it might be a handy scare tactic to galvanise their vote – remember, it was the DUP that agreed to the largest party getting the First Minister’s job for the very purpose of scaring unionists into voting for them rather than the UUP.

11 04 2010
Anon

“So if she regularly votes Tory, what can that resignation be about? UCUNF weren’t really asking her to do very much more than what she way doing anyway. I’m perplexed by her to be honest.”

She votes with the Tories most of the time, but the UCUNF thing means she would have to vote with them ALL of the time and be whipped in to doing so. That I presume is the difference.

So Parsley’s nonsense about her being a Labour candidate is just that: nonsense. What really scares (or should that be perplexes?) the UCUNFers is that they can’t pigeon-hole Sylvia and ask people to vote against her on the basis of their false charicature.

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