The UUP is like an established local firm with a proud history that is being absorbed by a large conglomerate.
Take FG Wilson's relationship to Caterpillar.
At first people are assured that nothing is changing.
The company is being given a new reach by a partnership with many synergies that will help it compete more effectively.
The old brand is maintained to maximise appeal but at the end of the day Caterpillar is in charge and sets the pace in its own boardroom.
The UUP is not yet a wholly owned subsidiary of the DUP, but it is moving in that direction, and it fears the pain of disentangling itself from its powerful partner.
The two parties are united in a Unionist Forum, their ministers meet in one group (the DUP group) before the Executive, and now they are fielding joint candidates.
Peter Robinson says unionist unity is his ideal and, failing that, maximum co-operation.
This is his plan and his vision.
Mike Nesbitt aims to consider these issues one at a time and decide each step on its merits.
It is clear that Mr Robinson is the one with the plan and that things are going his way.
If he (Nesbitt) agreed to field a joint candidate, and one who had worked for three years as a DUP researcher in Mid Ulster, where there is little prospect of winning the seat, how can he credibly say no the next time? The argument for fielding joint candidates in South Belfast, to try and take the seat from Dr Alasdair McDonnell, or East Belfast, to take it from Naomi Long of Alliance, will be hard to resist.
In the forthcoming European elections the DUP could wipe out the UUP's single seat if it fielded two candidates, so why shouldn't the UUP cut a deal with it? The DUP could pull back in some Stormont elections to help UUP candidates struggling for the last seat.
Of course, they'd have to stand under a single manifesto to stop Sinn Féin becoming the largest party and winning the First Minister's position. Otherwise, why shouldn't the DUP recruit the candidate and be done with the UUP? Mr Robinson knows where he is going, but does Mr Nesbitt?