Today the News Letter has a piece which charts increasing Conservative frustration with the DUP and details exasperated retorts made by both parties after this puerile attack. The Tories quite predictably point out that the comments express a personal opinion, rather than party policy. “The Conservative Party has no issue with the Orange Order. It is perfectly legal organisation and many of its members are engaged in charity and church work”. Indeed there are those whose membership spans both organisations, David Trimble for instance. The UUP press office is more accustomed to scattergun vitriol aimed in its direction from Dundela Avenue. Its response runs as follows.
“Judging by its most recent ill-tempered statement, the DUP Press Office appears to be having a bad few days. The accusation that the UUP is engaged in a ‘diatribe’ against other unionists is quite frankly laughable – it was, after all, the DUP’s Edwin Poots who first attacked the UUP and members of the Orange Order in an inflammatory manner. It is highly regrettable that the DUP have – yet again – chosen to bring the Order into partisan politics.”
Or to quote Tom Elliott “it is disturbing that the DUP is spending its time trawling through old website stories rather than focusing on governing Northern Ireland”. DUP attacks may in the past have stung and even damaged the Ulster Unionist Party, but Cunningham House must be enjoying driving full tossed deliveries such as this across the boundary ropes (and Edwin Poots is nothing if not a tosser).