Mr Ulster has responded to my Belfast Telegraph piece on the NI Conservatives. He argues that the group cannot ignore identity politics. The thrust of the piece seems to be that it is not possible to be 'pro-Union' without engaging, to some degree, in communal politics. He might find much to agree with over at Seymour Major's new blog.
Meanwhile O'Neill argues that the viewpoint of local Tories may be relatively academic. Probably rightly, he contends that, should CCHQ demand that the UUP link be maintained and should Ulster Unionists remain amenable 'the views of the NI Conservatives on the matter will be of little consequence'.
The looming 2011 Assembly elections will play a role in this drama. Clearly the Tories in North Down feel that Ian Parsley could claim a seat. Retaining some connection with the UUP would leave them best placed to achieve this.
On the other hand, the ambitious young candidates who make up the Ulster Unionists' most pro-UCUNF wing, will also see Assembly seats as the next priority for their careers. Short of a UUP / DUP deal, which could cause some of them to jump, they will see their best chance within the Ulster Unionist party in some form.