Tom Elliott has made at best ill-judged at worst hysterical response to Peter Robinson's speech at the DUP conference. His response to 45 minutes setting out a vision for Northern Ireland's second century was essentially conspiracy theory. It was all about the UUP apparently, even though the UUP wasn't mentioned in the speech:
“Let us be clear, Peter Robinson wants to destroy the Ulster Unionist Party, that is what he has always been out to achieve.”
Here was me thinking it was voters who decided whether or not a party lived or died. This was not the only griping from the UUP about the DUP work at the week-end. Tom's Deputy, John McCallister, complained about the DUP's:
"Expensive leaflets and slick broadcasts..."
It is terrible when another party knows what it is doing isn't it. However, both are symbolic of how much the UUP has let the DUP get into their heads. This impairs their thinking and thus actions. They have become wrapped up in denial, knee-jerks and counter-strategy.
In Tom's defence perhaps the source of his paranoia is a bout of pre-conference nerves. He has kept a relatively low media profile since he became UUP leader but that will have to change this week. He will face his first Hearts and Minds interview and Conference speech as Leader. Will he be able to match the vision in his 20 minute address?