Tom Griffin with a valuable insight into the manifesto outlooks from each of the three main parties in Britain.He quotes the Tory document as the most palitable to Unionist tastes:
“We will not accept any party into the government of Northern Ireland linked to a paramilitary organisation that holds on to illegal weapons and is engaged in any criminal activity. In the absence of devolved government, we will make direct rule more accountable.”
This might well prove very attractive to unionist politicians. They would get to keep their Assembly jobs, and could claim to have achieved a measure of devolution, even though the real power would remain with the British Government. More importantly, they would not have to go into government with nationalists, and the Sinn Fein agenda to exercise power on both sides of the border would be stymied at the first hurdle.
This is especially significant because it looks increasingly likely that the DUP will campaign in the election on the basis that it will not to go into any form of compulsory power-sharing with nationalists.
That said, it looks like the Tories have an uphill battle even to dent the massive Labour majority in Westminster, never mind be in a position to implement their policies.
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