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Mine is a party for true unionists; ELECTION '07: 11 DAYS TO GO.

Byline: By UK UNIONIST PARTY LEADER ROBERT McCARTNEY

IN an election platform newspaper piece on May 4, 2005, Ian Paisley declared: "Let me make it unequivocally clear that the DUP will NEVER enter into any government with IRA/Sinn Fein.

"To enter into government with the terrorists of IRA/Sinn Fein would be TREASON."

By his own definition the current policies of the DUP are indeed treasonable.

The DUP is now willing to enter into government with Sinn Fein in breach of its May 2005 Manifesto which ruled coalition government with Sinn Fein under D'Hondt as being "out of the question".

The United Kingdom Unionist Party believes that the thousands of unionists who gave their support on the basis of the DUP's pledge may well stay at home and refuse to vote.

This could result in the overall unionist vote being exceeded by the nationalist/republican vote for the first time.

In offering candidates in 13 constituencies the UKUP is providing unionists who object to Sinn Fein governing them with an opportunity to vote for an anti-agreement party the UKUP.

In this way it is hoped to maximise the overall unionist vote rather than diminish it.

The DUP permitted legislation to be passed which would have enabled Sinn Fein to appoint the First Minister if Sinn Fein was the largest single party even if the majority of MLAs were unionist.

This was cynical politics by the DUP since the new formula would enable it to blackmail the unionist electorate with the cry "vote for the DUP or you will have Martin McGuinness as First Minister".

In fact the First Minister has exactly the same powers as the Deputy First Minister and in any event since Ian Paisley has said he never would serve under McGuinness the whole issue is academic.

The UKUP has actively opposed the new rating system and water charges since they were first mooted in May 2002 as a means of raising revenue.

In a series of major newspaper articles I exposed the consequences of these schemes but received no support from the four major parties who had themselves originated the measures which the Direct Rule Ministers later implemented.

THE DUP in the years prior to St Andrews failed to secure additional money to alleviate rates and water charges.

Their current efforts over a couple of weeks are unlikely to succeed. Since Sinn Fein can veto any DUP proposals on rates an Assembly is unlikely to make much change.

I have been in the forefront of the campaign to retain the principle of academic selection. I have written a series of leading newspaper articles in support of Northern Ireland's excellent grammar schools.

With all the major parties being partners in government without an effective opposition only the UKUP can render them accountable by analysing and exposing publicly the defects in their policies.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 24, 2007
Words:475
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