10 DECEMBER 1988, Page 30

Sir: Peter Morrison's letter (26 November) regarding Central Office's rejection

of North Down Conservative Association's application made me hopping mad — to put it mildly.

I have been a Northern Ireland voter for


almost 40 years, and the only real issue ever put to me has been 'the border'.

Yes, indeed, our politics do reflect our history, a history of being kept in a semi-detached and insecure political limbo — were we, or were we not, in the UK? — where every election has been nothing more than a mini-referendum on 'the border'. This was Westminster's arrange- ment, not ours. We are 'Prods' and `Micks' in perpetuity, it seems, and all the more easily stigmatised as sectarian bigots to be manipulated as and when required. The 'central issue' of Ulster politics must re- main 'the border'. This will keep pro- Union fears and Republican hopes alive.

The Tories, and other national parties, are morally bound to seek a mandate from those they aspire to govern. They know this perfectly well, and if their electoral prospects in any region are in doubt they must examine the reasons why and seek to make their policies more attractive. No number of red herrings from Central Office can disguise this fact.

An anecdote, to finish. My son, a guest at a wedding in Cornwall, was asked by another guest, with a smirk, 'And are you a Catholic or a Protestant?' His reply was, 'I'm a Conservative.' End of conversation.

Ruth Dodds

Lagan Valley Conservative Association, 2 Beechill Grove, Lisburn, Co Antrim