Here’s an odd thing. In Northern Ireland Conservative and Alliance supporters are one and the same (pretty much). UUP supporters and Conservative supporters aren’t. Ditto voters.
Fact is the Alliance Party and the Conservative Party are much more aligned in terms of support than many people realise.
Meanwhile Alasdair McDonnell, in a rare blaze of clear thinking, has actually hit the nail on the head with the suggestion to Mark Devenport that the UUP and DUP are actually more at one than many people realise. Both Parties are populated with puny-minded NornIroners.
Meanwhile, the Alliance Party still hasn’t formally jumped into bed with the Libs (never will, I suspect). They have little in common with the largely looney-lefty Libs. Fact is, most Alliance voters are pro-Union, non-sectarian and free marketeers. AKA Conservatives. Just look at Ian Parsley – now a potential Conservative PPC.
So I throw down my gauntlet to old Fordy – stop all this nonsense. If you’re serious about non-sectarian politics – do what your members want. Form a real Alliance with the Conservatives, help annoy the UUP/DUP even more, and help secure a right-of-centre, liberal Conservative victory at the next general election (you know you want to).