Diarmaid Ferriter: Poots’s delusions are extremely troubling
Past talk of agile unionism has only further fractured the fractious in the North
Edwin Poots joined the Democratic Unionist Party in 1981 after the murder by the IRA of Robert Bradford, a Methodist minister and Ulster Unionist MP. Anyone who thinks unionists are one-dimensional should think about the extraordinary trajectory of Bradford’s career; he left school at 15 to become a professional footballer and was on the books of Sheffield Wednesday, but he returned to Belfast, played soccer for Glenavon, trained as a Methodist minister and studied at Queens University Belfast.
He was a member of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) before leaving to join the Vanguard party; he also resigned from the Methodist church and defeated a power-sharing unionist in the February 1974 British general election. He consolidated that victory in 1979, the same year he unsuccessfully contested the leadership of the UUP.