“politically, strategically and electorally reckless”

David Ervine’s attempt to answer his critics over the UUP’s Faustian pact is still online for now [but if you want to read it for free be quick – Ed] It’s more ill-tempered fingerpointing than answers though, which is why I didn’t note it previously, but it has prompted a response from Alex Kane in today’s paper in which he raises some other questions of not just David Ervine but the UUP leader Reg Empey too

Why, Mr Ervine (Sir Reg, too, for that matter), do you think that the UUP’s grassroots would welcome an institutional link between their party and any, let alone the most vicious, of these paramilitary groups?

And with a UUP executive meeting scheduled for Friday criticises directly the chosen strategy of Reg Empey:

I would have had far fewer problems with a process which might have culminated in closer ties with the PUP and the wider loyalist community; but a process which begins by establishing a formal connection between the UUP and a still active terrorist group, strikes me as politically, strategically and electorally reckless.

Even if the UVF mounted some sort of decommissioning PR stunt on July 1, it doesn’t make the UUP’s position any stronger, for we would still have to wait for years before there was enough hard evidence to suggest that the UVF was a relic from the past.

And the longer the wait (involving the usual hiccoughs and “unsanctioned” activities), the more ongoing and knock-on damage there will be to the UUP.

So no, Mr Ervine, you haven’t answered this particular critic. I can see no benefits to your membership of the Ulster Unionist Assembly Group and – apart from the increasingly nebulous prospect of a hypothetical seat in a hypothetical Executive – you haven’t actually outlined any other benefits yourself.

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