But if the TUV are not fighting Upper Bann, then they must consider it marginal. Because, of course, last September Jim Allister himself said:
"I look forward to the Westminster election and the verdict on the betrayers of Traditional Unionism. In politics you expect most from those who know the truth and brag of their steadfastness. That is why one of the men who disappointed me the most is the outgoing MP for Upper Bann. He won his seat by opposing the betrayal of Trimble. Now, he deserves to lose it for operating the very Belfast Agreement system which Trimble bequeathed us. I have to say, with a heavy heart, there was as much honesty and maybe less deceit in the politics of those who spawned the Belfast Agreement than in those who having blasted Trimble then gave us Martin McGuinness as our Joint First Minister."So last year Allister was determined to bring David Simpson down, but this year he is not even going to stand a candidate against him – for fear of Upper Bann being won by Sinn Féin if the unionist vote splits.
It seems that his disappointment with Simpson was not really so great. He ended his climb-down from opposing Simpson with a rather weak and pathetic near-endorsement of the UUP:
“It is not for me to prescribe how TUV supporters should vote in each constituency where TUV is not standing, but I’m sure they will weigh the circumstances and opportunities of each. Likewise, while there is little to choose between the two pro-Belfast Agreement parties, each of which support terrorists in government, I expect many will have regard to the recent gifting to Sinn Fein, by the DUP, of its strategic goal on policing and justice. At least the UUP did the right thing in voting against transferring such powers to the terrorist-inclusive Executive at Stormont.”Imagine the headlines: “TUV endorses UUP”. Poor Allister is turning in figures-of-eight – he hates the DUP (and especially Simpson … well, last year anyway), but can’t stand against him in case the real baddies get ahead, so he half-endorses the party of David Trimble. Is he confused, or just losing the plot?