Candidate's comments were out of character
One of the most disturbing characteristics of both the DUP and Sinn Fein is that, while they purport to act as ordinary political parties, in reality their internal democracy has much in common with parties more often associated with dictatorships.
That is very different to the procedures of the Ulster Unionists, as well as the SDLP. In these parties, the members - from MPs to OAPs - all have a fundamental say in internal party decisions. The two Ulster Unionist leadership candidates who have come forward must both be congratulated in wishing to lead this great party. With such responsibility comes great public focus.
In order for the candidates to meet as many of the members as possible, the UUP has made provisions for a number of debates across Northern Ireland.
However, inevitably the debate often spreads into the media and it is here that the candidates have an obligation to act maturely.
In light of this, I was greatly disappointed to open the Belfast Telegraph (August 4) and read Basil McCrea accusing Tom Elliott of insulting Peadar Heffron and his family when in reality he did no such thing.
Basil knows that the province and particularly Tom Elliott, who himself spent 18 years in the security forces, wish the policeman all the very best with his recovery.
I hope that Belfast Telegraph readers appreciate that McCrea's completely inappropriate comments were very much out of the character of what has been, and hopefully will remain, a pleasant process that is ongoing within the UUP.
Ulster Unionist Party