Nevertheless that "one of their own", in this case Peter McCann, would be just the kind of well-qualified and intelligent candidate I guess Cameron and the Conservatives would be looking to attract to the project; the reaction of the UUP in South Belfast, however, will be interesting, to say the least.Lo and behold...
The Ulster Unionists and DUP should discuss running a single unionist candidate in South Belfast, local UUP constituency members have said.Especially for the South Belfast Slow on the Uptake, Cameron has reiterated yesterday:
In a letter to UUP leader Sir Reg Empey, the Ulster Unionist Association suggested the move was needed to retake the Westminster seat from the SDLP.
The move could potentially bring the Ulster Unionists into conflict with their Conservative electoral partners.
Speaking of his party's link with the Ulster Unionists, Mr Cameron repeated his pledge to put up joint Conservatives and Unionists candidates in every one of Northern Ireland's 18 Westminster constituencies.That, as Chekov points out here, has been a core principle from the beginning behind the concept of the Conservatives and the UUP fighting as a joint force. If Sth Belfast are now suggesting joint candidate with the Dupes then they are directly opposing what has been agreed previously and are suggesting an ending of the arrangement with the Conservatives. Or...they were/are collectively too thick to realise what they really agreed to before, which is also a distinct possibility and not only in South Belfast unfortunately.
Either way using this as a justification is laughable:
It is understood a recent meeting of the South Belfast Ulster Unionist Association concluded that unless a single unionist candidate runs for Westminster, it is likely the seat will be retained by the sitting MP, SDLP Deputy Leader Alasdair McDonnell.Is this a new assessment of the situation, one that’s changed since the agreement last year between the two parties?
They can either at least attempt to move pro-Union politics here forward with the Conservatives or they should start redigging and hopping in the trenches alongside the DUP and TUV; it’s not possible to take both options.
Owen Patterson has an optimistic and actually quite inspiring piece in Conservative Home this morning:
It is important, too, that we bring into politics people who might have been put off by the sectarian squabbling of the past. Make no mistake – the Conservatives and Unionists are a modern, compassionate and inclusive centre-right force that wants to build a shared future for everybody in Northern Ireland. We aim to attract into our ranks people from all parts the community, whatever their ethnic background, religion or gender. Only last week, local Conservatives short-listed Catholic businesswoman, Sheila Davidson, in Lagan Valley, in South Belfast, Peter McCann, a Catholic former BBC producer of Top Gear from West Belfast and in East Belfast, Cllr Deirdre Nelson, who defected from the DUP on Ballymena Council.