As I've said frequently enough, I never saw any virtues in the integrationist project - the proposition that Northern Ireland should simply be treated the same way as Yorkshire by the UK's central government - let alone its 'equal citizenship' mutation - the proposition that the solution to Northern Ireland's problems would come if only the English political parties would organise and fight elections there. However, it is entirely right and fair that the latter proposition should be put to the test. I expected that it would fail that test, and I am not at all surprised that those who were most closely engaged with it have now reached the conclusion that it has indeed failed. They are of course blaming the fiendish UUP for stitching them up, and the spineless London Tories for rolling over to UUP demands, but the simple fact is that the voters never supported the project in sufficient numbers to make it viable, and so it was doomed.
Oddly enough I bumped into Tom Elliott, the new UUP leader, at a reception in Brussels on Thursday night, and congratulated him on doing in a few weeks what others had been trying to do for years, i.e. killing off the Northern Ireland Conservatives. He grinned modestly but appreciatively. His leadership has had a rocky start, with numerous high-profile defections, but this is a concrete achievement in clearing the undergrowth.