David Cameron's grand plan to stand candidates in Northern Ireland has come a cropper. As the Conservative and Unionist Party, the Tories have come under pressure to live up to their name and stand in Northern Ireland.
They did this under their own banner in the past only to be humiliated at the polls. So Cameron launched a grand plan to merge with the Ulster Unionist Party. Except that it wasn't a full merger, just an agreement to stand candidates under a joint banner.
Well the plan has now come back to slap Cameron.
The UUP is holding out against the devolution of policing and justice powers to Stormont and will vote no today when the matter is put before the NI Assembly. They are the only party who will vote this way and the measure will still pass but their opposition takes on a much greater magnitude as they are the electoral ally of the man presumed to be the next UK Prime Minister.
So step forward George W Bush to rub salt into the wounds. In what I think is his first act I have ever laughed at, he has publicised his telephone call to Cameron to ask him to reverse the position of the UUP. Cameron has failed to do so and is therefore coming across as weak on Northern Ireland - exactly the sort of image that a wannabe Prime Mioniter cannot afford to have.