Does anyone understand Tom Elliott’s latest?
“Sammy [Wilson]’s grasp of our relationship with the Conservatives is sadly as loose as his grasp of the economy, judging by the draft Budget. On this occasion, I will not add to the woes being heaped on his head from respected business leaders over the draft Budget – we will return to that – but regarding the Conservatives, let me repeat that on my watch, the UUP will stand alone, contest elections as Ulster Unionists, use our own logos and badges, our own brand and branding, and our own policies and messages.
So they’re independent then…
“Beyond that, we seek a working relationship with the major party of government. What is wrong with that? I make no apology for seeking a close political understanding with the first overtly pro-Union Prime Minister in a generation. That’s a reality. I leave the fantasy to Sammy.”
… except they’re not.
The decision by the Conservatives to “seek an understanding” with a party which has no MPs, one of whose Ministers is in the trades unions’ pockets, and which spends half its time denying all linkage with him is already looking stupid, and that is before we consider that two of the 17 candidates who stood alongside him at the last General Election are now members of the Alliance Party and that it is the Alliance Party alone which shares the Secretary of State’s determination to deliver on issues such as integrated education and the costs of segregation.
The Prime Minister could do worse than also deny such a linkage. Otherwise the underlying questions about his judgement will resurface – including within his own party.
As a final note, I am going to try desperately to avoid such posts in future because they are getting so predictable – so, readers, have your last rant on the subject now!