Everyone seems to be talking about the headline of Lord Feldman’s press release today, and no one is talking about what he actually said.
Let’s be clear, there is to be no “new party” in Northern Ireland. They are not farming off their existing branch, they are attempting to tart it up a bit. And what are these momentous changes? They MIGHT get a seat on the Conservative Party board (hardly a sign of a new party is it?), they MIGHT be allowed to elect a leader, and they will be allowed to have a Chairman (so what has Irwin Armstrong been doing all this time?)
It all begs the question, what is the point? It sounds a bit like they will attract a few failed UUP candidates, but is that together with some semantic dressing up really going to turn an electorally insignificant and utterly failed group into the vanguard for liberal Unionism?
The Conservative Party has no hope in Northern Ireland without an existing local base, the best fit being the UUP. The UUP is visionless and increasingly rudderless without the Conservative Party (the real one that is, not what passes for it in Northern Ireland). Seems obvious what to do really.
I used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t.
Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday