Just because something would be good for the terminally godawful Ulster Unionist Party doesn’t mean it would be good for either the Conservative Party or the cause of secular, mainstream centre right politics. If the sticking point in the current discussions is the dreadful MP for North Down, and if that threatens to tarnish the rising star of the Conservatives with the failure of the (correctly) struggling Sir Reg and his dysfunctional political family, then the right thing for Owen Paterson and David Cameron to do is stand against them.

Put them to the sword; perform the coup de grace and consign them to the sorry history of Northern Ireland’s dark days.

We shouldn’t be sentimental about the dithering UUP; they have consistently played with the future of Northern Ireland, and the people have turned their backs on the irrational, debased elitism they represent. Elites have to be based on something solid for them to make sense; Tories today believe in the meritocracy, while the UUP believe their family trees should suffice.