Veteran unionist political commentator Alex Kane, who is affiliated with the Ulster Unionists and writes a regular column for The Newsletter, seems to be tentatively predisposed towards the new Basil McCrea/John McCallister pro-Union party. In his latest column he raises some of the same issues that I raised in a previous post a week ago, but in a friendly manner. This was very different from the way he attacked Alliance in a previous column mocking its new motto of Alliance for Everyone. So he seems to be trying to run interference for the new party by making it plain that its main competitor, Alliance, is a party of the past that has failed. From the way he starts out the attack it is clear that he is attacking Alliance for not being clearly a unionist party. Maybe he thinks it should call itself the Alliance Unionist Party?
The main question is for whom Kane was serving as an attack dog--for the new party or for his Ulster Unionists? That will only become clear over time as the party makes a formal launch and either operates in accordance with what Kane demands or goes on to disappoint him. But if he is going to mock Alliance's new campaign, maybe he should take another look at the name of his own party. The Ulster Unionists don't even have branches in three counties of Ulster--Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan--and are steadily losing members and support in the six counties that they do have branches in. Alliance for the first time in thirty-two years now has a member of parliament at Westminster while the UUP lacks one. And Alliance's leader is not the object of ridicule by the province's press.