Boxes ticked, job started.

David Cameron’s published script, as released, says “It’s in my own selfish interest”. However as I recorded at the time, he actually said, “its in my selfish, strategic interest”. There was therefore clearly a lot of thought put into this particular section, and someone, somewhere, decided in the end that the full phrase needed to be used. They made the right choice.Cameron had two bases to cover yesterday. That had become very clear in consultations with party members over the past six months. Neutrality, and Brooke’s doctrine were both huge impediments to progress, and for the deal to be sealed, Cameron had to remove them. Of course, he will also have to prove his commitment to these core unionist principles once he is in No 10, but for now, he has done all that he can, and all that can be expected of him in opposition.

The DUP’s desperation in the face of what is a very real threat to them, is becoming ever more shrill. The press office have had to grapple around in the dark in attacking the speech, and in my opinion have come very close to the boundary of the unacceptable. Andrew’s apparent confusion just doesn’t stack up, as a communications professional has more than ably outlined.. The DUP know that they have a problem here, and their efforts to neuter it are increasingly counter productive.

Kathleen, quite reasonably, has come under scrutiny for claiming that she would now consider switching from SF or the SDLP to UUP/Conservative. Of course I would say it, but I hope and somewhat suspect she isn’t alone in West Belfast, or Londonderry, or Newry. There is a real sense of optimism in the UUP that we are within touching distance of our goals; a Northern Ireland at ease with it’s self within the Union, a brand of Unionism that all of Northern Ireland can embrace.

So we’ve had worse weekends, all considered.

I used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t.

Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday