UUP can’t see centre ground from sectarian swamp: Ford

Alliance leader David Ford has responded to the suggestion by Roy Beggs

that Alliance voters should back the UUP against the DUP by denying that

the UUP belongs to ‘the centre ground’.

David Ford said:

“Mr Beggs has clearly listened to part of what I said on BBC TV, but he

didn’t get the message.

“It is entirely realistic for Alliance campaigners across much of Northern

Ireland to concentrate on winning Council seats. In two thirds of the

region, we are targeting seats to win.

“But I never said we were only interested in Council votes and we will be

seeking to maximise the Alliance vote for Westminster too. Only an

Alliance vote is an unambiguous vote for centre-ground partnership.

“In 2001, there were signs that the UUP and SDLP were starting to work

together for the good of the whole region. Alliance encouraged that, both

in the Assembly and outside it.

“Unfortunately, that is not the case now. The SDLP is chasing after a

celtic rainbow, with its greenprint for a united Ireland, and the UUP is

trying to outflank the DUP with shoddy leaflets like ‘It’s Not Fair’.

“A party that manages to insult Protestant children who do not go to

Grammar Schools, as well as Catholics and Nationalists in general, has no

claim to the centre ground and absolutely no claim to borrow Alliance


“Whatever the merits of some individual candidates, the UUP has shown

itself to be unreformable and incapable of carrying through its initial

gestures towards reform.

“If the UUP wants to be part of the centre ground, why did it ask UUP

voters to transfer to the DUP last time? Why did it seek a deal with the

DUP this time?

“I am sorry, Mr Beggs. You are either unaware of what your party is up

to, or unable to distinguish the firm centre ground from the sectarian



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