Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Unionists must take a good look at themselves

The election results are in and things do not look good for unionism's three leaders - the DUP's Peter Robinson, Ulster Unionist Sir Reg Empey, and Jim Allister of the TUV.

All three should now 'leave the building'. They are yesterday's men. Their remaining presence will only further damage the cause of unionism.

TUV didn't appear to care that other parties were likely to do well out of unionist division. Jim Allister's paramount concern was to pursue a personal vendetta against the DUP.

The UUP should ask themselves whether they are more concerned with party survival than unionist unity? They were too smug and self-satisfied with their Conservative alliance to notice any personal weakness or danger.

Overall the DUP have done reasonably well in spite of struggling to stand against the never-ending tide of the bad publicity and widespread public suspicion surrounding the Robinson saga, double-jobbing, and expenses.

A lot of DUP support obviously stayed at home, or voted elsewhere. Perhaps it's time for a new DUP leader, a fresh start from someone with no baggage? Would Arlene Foster be a popular choice?

It is surely time for unionists to take stock and have a bit of sense. Time to stop the in-fighting and squabbling and work as a family. 'A house divided against itself cannot stand'.

Naomi Long, the Alliance deputy leader, made some gains out of the disillusionment with Peter Robinson, but she has been a good Belfast Mayor. The SDLP vote has held firm.

T J McCLEAN

Belfast

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