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Unionists must fly flag and show united front

Once again, from beneath the winter prickly gorse, emerges the flag of unionist unity flown on this occasion by the leaders of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

Unfortunately, the leadership of this organisation only wishes to unify two parties - DUP and UCUNF. As for the TUV (with 13.7% of the EU election vote; only 3.4% behind the UCUNF at 17.1%) and the lone MLA voice of the PUP, they can remain in the cold.

Like similar moves in the past, it is doomed to failure as personalities will undoubtedly vie for domination and rivalry will collapse their efforts.

Unfortunately none will measure up to that Irishman with a broad Dublin accent whose statute stands in the grounds at Stormont as the symbol of his pre-eminence in defence of the Union.

The prospect of four unionist candidates 'fighting' for the North Down Westminster seat epitomises the sad story of fragmented unionism - no doubt to be replicated in many other constituencies throughout Northern Ireland.

If there is, to be a genuine effort towards unifying representation for the broad unionist electorate, the lead can be taken from Lady Sylvia Hermon MP, who recently stated she is only interested in 'one job'. Let that job be single-mindedness in the defence of the Union by unity of all parties.

If Sinn Fein becomes the largest party in the next Assembly election, then looming on the horizon will be the unrelenting demand for a border poll; the final act of the Belfast Agreement to be secured by the republicans to a lament from a lone orange flute as the union flag is furled.

M. W. WOODS

Bangor, Co Down

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