Tories and the UUP go their separate ways…

Acrrmoniously, according to Ken Reid. The Tories, at last, are to properly organise in Northern Ireland and run against the UUP… The BelTel points out the obvious problem for them:

…there is an obvious difficulty for the Tories before they have even organised strongly here. By promoting themselves, first and foremost, as a pro-union party – which should be an unsaid given – they will undoubtedly divorce themselves for a sizeable minority of the population.

That begs the question of where the new party hopes to draw its support from. The obvious answer is the diminishing UUP electorate. The DUP is currently riding on the crest of a wave and its supporters are very unlikely to defect. Even those hardline unionists who still rankle at being in government with Sinn Fein see little common ground with the Conservatives. Instead the Tories will be competing for the traditional UUP vote.

For all the difficulty besetting the Ulster Unionists, at least they have a sufficiency of voters who actually still see them as a viable choice (if only to express decent from the new DUP ascendancy)…

The Tories will have to apply themselves to the good old v=fashioned democratic problem of winning seats in a territory little understood by London… We can only wish them the very best, but point out it that it will take a great deal more than noble talk to walk the electoral walk…

Northern Ireland’s STV system privileges hard work on the parish ground fair above grand ideas about building a post sectarian society… The trick is to accomplish both at the same time; which is not as easy as it looks or sounds…

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