For once the UUP seem to have trained their two biggest guns in the same direction, the DUP. Both David Burnside and David Trimble have attacked their rivals for sending mixed messages to the electorate and the two governments about the likelihood of a deal that could include Sinn Fein a bit further down the line!
Bob McCartney, announcing that he would not be running in North Down, said that Peter Robinson mentioned the term ‘a generation’ in a conversation with him. Now, it appears that Mr Robinson is running away from any talk of no business with Sinn Fein ‘for a generation’ as fast as he can.
Is it because such talk has received a negative reaction from within the republican movement? Or is Bob McCartney misrepresenting Mr Robinson? The fact is that Peter Robinson is trying to have his cake and eat it: he is sending messages to the unionist community that the DUP will not form any kind of administration with Sinn Fein.
At the same time, he appears to be sending subtle messages to the governments that he is open for business with Sinn Fein as soon as the election is over. The electorate is not susceptible to such doublespeak.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty