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Alliance with Conservatives is now finished

Your writer Henry McDonald (February 1) is right to note that, with the public withdrawal of three prominent local Tories after meetings between the UUP, DUP and Orange Order, "it seems that a new generation of idealists have been fatally disillusioned by the tribalism of Ulster politics".

The notion that the Ulster Unionist Party, with some Tory rebranding, spin and some minor cosmetic surgery could provide a new 'post-sectarian' party was always a political pipe-dream.

Tribal concerns have always been at the top of any UUP agenda. Whether or not these talks aimed at a pan-unionist electoral pact succeed will depend on events at Hillsborough: the objective has always been to seek unionist tribal advantage - regardless of accusations of that 'Orange Card' that has been played.

For those seeking a pluralist society - and this may include some local Tories who must now realise that the dream of a workable, non-sectarian alliance between unionists the and Conservatives has ended - Alliance is the only party offering such an agenda.

COUNCILLOR TOM CAMPBELL

Newtownabbey Borough Council

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