“Private talks between the Ulster Unionists and the DUP in Fermanagh are understood to be continuing, despite the UUP-Conservative alliance moving to finalise 17 of its 18 candidates within days.On Thursday this blog reported on the approaches made to Norman Baxter, and speculated that there was something afoot in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Yesterday’s New Letter proves that speculation to have been correct.
It is understood that local engagement between the two parties has continued regardless of Tory insistence that the Conservatives and Unionists will run in every constituency across the Province.”
Fermanagh and South Tyrone risks becoming UCUNF’s Alamo – either they stand their ground, or they fall. If the Tories break their pledge – that UCUNF would stand in all 18 constituencies – then they will show themselves to be untrustworthy – and worse, if they allow themselves to be part of an old-fashioned tribal battle, they will show that they are not, as they claim, bringing anything new to Northern Irish politics.
A unionist pact or a ‘unionist unity’ candidate, if endorsed by the Tories simply puts them full-square in the unionist tribal camp. In which case they may as well just pack up and go home again, because Northern Ireland already has enough tribal unionist parties.