Thursday, June 23, 2005

No room for two Unionist parties

John Coulter:

By the end of this week, there’ll be a new Ulster Unionist leader and his first task should be to lay the groundwork for a formal merger with the DUP. The hard reality which the unionist family must face is that when the Paisleyites pull off a deal with Sinn Fein – or even if Direct Rule is made more accountable – there is only room on the unionist spectrum for one political party.

Ulster Unionism must swallow the bitter medicine that the 100-year party is over. It must fully merge or melt totally. If the DUP succeeds in implementing what is effectively Trimbleite policy by restoring a legislative Stormont Parliament, the UUP will be politically exterminated in the subsequent Assembly elections to ratify the deal.

If there is no room for two Unionist parties then there is definitely no room for two Nationalist ones. If the UUP and the DUP do merge then the SDLP must face the fact that its continued existence will only hurt the indigenous Irish population by dividing the Nationalist vote.


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