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'United unionists' have not learned from the past

The recent 'revelation' that a senior UUP figure had been in 'unionist unity' talks with the DUP came as no surprise to some of us. Indeed, there should be no doubt about David McNarry's version of events.

Let us look at the recent decision to divide up the Department of Employment and Learning - in spite of its importance in the current economic situation and in spite of the fact that its minister, Stephen Farry, is recognised as one of the most able on the Executive.

People who were perplexed by the UUP's decision to back a DUP/Sinn Fein carve-up designed for party gain, rather than public interest, will now understand exactly what was going on.

For all their anti-DUP bluster, UUP members recently elected the architect of 'unionist unity' in Fermanagh/South Tyrone as their leader; consistently re-elected a man who has always overtly supported 'unionist unity' as their chairman; and backed council candidates who have formed pacts with the DUP.

Ultimately, people who are serious about a shared future and about a type of political representation which truly represents and delivers for the people of Northern Ireland have had to ask themselves how they can continue to be connected to such a party.

The electorate will not be fooled either - one man's 'co-operation' is another man's 'effective merger'. Most incredible of all, of course, is the notion that talks have included means of 'voting co-operation against nationalists and the Alliance Party'.

At a Westminster election, that can only mean one thing.

'United unionists' seem to have forgotten already how that turned out the last time.

PAULA BRADSHAW

Belfast

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