It was only a matter of time, but the DUP has decided to attack Sir Reg Empey because an obscure Conservative member of Croydon Council has a shadowy past, including a connection with the IRA. No matter that none of her colleagues had any inkling Maria Gatland had anything to hide, never mind that she immediately resigned her post and has since been suspended from the council’s Conservative group. Who better to infer, on the most tenuous of connections, that this story has repercussions for Sir Reg and the Ulster Unionists, than inveterate imbecile and Maze terrordome enthusiast, Edwin Poots?
Apparently Empey, who I’d imagine, in common with Pootsie, had no inkling of Mrs Gatland’s existence yesterday morning, has ‘extremely serious questions to answer’. “it would be perverse for Reg Empey to belong to the same party as someone who was closely associated with that wicked terrorist campaign”. Even if Sir Reg were a member of the same party as Gatland, which he clearly isn’t, it would be perverse to hold him to account for the past of each member of a 290,000 strong political party!
The DUP’s preoccupation with the Conservative / Ulster Unionist alliance is becoming an embarrassment. Mark Devenport reports an internal e-mail advising all party representatives to refer to Conservatives as Tories, because it believes this term carries pejorative connotations. Until the Dupes can find a way to launch a serious, substantive argument, based on policy, against the Conservative / UUP deal, they would be better to retain a little dignity with silence.