Maurice Hayes: UUP on life support as party goes down traditional route
Spurning the offer of aggressive radical surgery from Basil McCrea, the Ulster Unionist Party has settled for a life-support machine under the supervision of the more conservative Tom Elliott.
Surgery is not without risk --it can kill as well as cure -- but it does at least hold out the prospect of a return to health and vigour. On life support the patient is going nowhere, surrounded by grieving relatives, hoping for the best, fearing the worst, and waiting for someone to take the decision to turn off the power.
As a party that has lost the visible signs of political life, members of parliament, policies, strong leadership and a sense of direction, Ulster Unionists are already perilously near a vegetative state.