IN one of the defining Shakespearian scenes, Caesar turns to the man landing his fatal stab wound. He gazes upon his killer and asks of the man he assumed was his friend, ‘Et tu Brute’. For those of you who missed studying Latin in state school, or for whom Shakespeare is written in a foreign language the appropriate Belfast translation is ‘Brutus? I thought ye were me mate?’
Alan McFarland, whilst no doubt wrestling with his conscience, must have thought long and hard about delivering the blow of his resignation from the Ulster Unionist Party. Will it be a fatal blow?
With the election date set to be announced in a few days, Mr McFarland’s resignation is timely for the opponents of the Conservatives and Unionists, but also comes far enough from the suspected polling date that it cannot be seen as being vindictive.
Mr McFarland’s decision is as a result of him being uncomfortable with the UUP/Tory marriage of convenience.
Fair play to a man of conscience, but it also places some doubt over Mr McFarland’s future as an MLA after 2011. Last time out he got in as the last candidate elected, just 731 votes ahead of the next placed candidate, from the DUP.
While a week is a long time in politics, a year is not nearly long enough to decide where exactly he is to sit in the Assembly chamber come plenary sessions. DUP benches? Not likely. But then again there is also that other North Down independently minded MLA in the shape of the Green Party’s Brian Wilson to sit alongside.