Nesbitt: “change happens and if you don’t roll with it then you’ll be left behind”

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Interviewed in this morning’s Belfast Telegraph, Lynda Bryans was asked about the best advice she had received. It wasn’t about shrinking and growing.

Lynda Bryans Q&A in Belfast Telegraph Monday 18 February 2013

That’s an easy one. It was something Mike said to me years ago. I had to choose between a staff contract and a risky one-year contract that might not be renewed. Mike told me that change happens and if you don’t roll with it then you’ll be left behind. That’s been great advice ever since and I did take the one-year contract which was renewed over and over again.

Mike Nesbitt’s advice to his wife certainly seems consistent with his own approach to managing upheaval within the UUP: fearlessly changing tack to stop any form of differentiation with the DUP, and instead taking the less certain option of growing closer links with his larger unionist rival.

Unfortunately, this change might be at the risk of being left even further behind. Or the risk of simply being assimilated …

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  • Cric

    A reversion to a Unionist vs Nationalist head count in mid-Ulster is not really embracing change.

  • http://www.ardrighbooks.com SeaanUiNeill

    It this not to translated as “toe the line or be towed away,” a strange case of yesterday’s men assimulating to the more sucessful neo-yesterdays men party.

    Have the UUP really lost all their links with the developers now that they are less able to offer them anything, but why else clone themselves anew from their rival?

  • Antain Mac Lochlainn

    My hope is that Will Farrell will reprise his Newsreader role to play Mike in the biop. I wonder who will play Lynda?

  • Obelisk

    “Mike told me that change happens and if you don’t roll with it then you’ll be left behind.”

    He’s not so much rolling with the change as being rolled over by it.

    Look I know the man was dealt a bad hand. And, being who I am, I am enjoying the spectacle of the UUP lurching from crisis to crisis as it disintegrates under the dawning realization of it’s own irrevelance.

    But from a purely objective point of view, Mike Nesbitt has achieved the impossible in actually making Tom Elliot look competent. Remember Nolan’s barbed comment to Tom, about how Tom at least managed to keep his party together whereas Mike has lost three MLAs.

    Mike’s big idea was that hard work on the ground would then reward the party with electoral gains.

    Why couldn’t anyone at the time point out how trite an expression that was. “We don’t have to have ideas, if we just work really hard at what voters expect us to do anyway they’ll vote us back in!”.

    Why couldn’t anyone tell Mike that the other parties likely work pretty hard too AND they have other big ideas to promote to their electorates beyond wishing for success?

    Not entirely Mike’s fault of course. It’s not as if the UUP didn’t have people with new ideas, like Basil and John. The UUP just couldn’t get over that the DUP had stolen their clothes and did a better job wearing them.

    The UUP didn’t want a new direction, they wanted to plough the same furrow as before until the masses came back from the DUP.

    But they didn’t comeback. And they’re not going to.

    In other words, the self-authored fate of the UUP, a fate they built with their own hands from undermining Trimble onwards and spurning any competitive vision, is a fate they justly deserve.

  • streetlegal

    Within the ranks of the DUP, Mike Nesbitt is viewed with a hostile suspicion – much like those UUP turncoats of an earlier time Jeffrey Donaldson and Arlene Foster are still viewed with a hostile suspicion. Nesbitt now sees himself in the running for the post-Robinson leadership of a unionist unity movement. While Nigel Dodds may be happy to make use of Nesbitt in the short term he is standing in readiness to knock Nesbitt back when the time is right.

  • sherdy

    If Mike took his own advice and opted for an annual contract as UUP leader, I wonder how many years he would survive.

  • Dec

    ‘If Mike took his own advice and opted for an annual contract as UUP leader, I wonder how many years he would survive.’

    For as long as the party exists, if its’ surviving membership are in favour of a DUP ‘merger’. That said, I’m curious as to what role Mike envisions for himself in this new United Unionism party (ie the DUP). Deputy Leader? No sniggering at the back.

  • Framer

    If it is a sectarian headcount in Mid Ulster than big Al’s SDLP is being described here as sectarian.

    Actually it is not sectarian. It is about nationalism and unionism. True few cross over but many Catholics do in practice and are not averse to being in the UK. They just don’t like being ruled by Prods, H.M.excepted,

  • David Crookes

    Thanks for that useful posting (4.52 pm), Obelisk.

    Wasn’t me wot sniggered, Dec (6.44 pm). Is it possible that both PR and MN might view a future defeat for the DUP in the North Belfast seat with equanimity?

  • Drumlins Rock

    The leadership is appointed annually, Mike was appointed last year with 81% support, in the unlikey event of a challenge this year I would think that it would if anything increase.

    A merger with the DUP is not on the cards, under Mike or any other leader, too much history and too vast a difference in many areas. However, as has always been the case the common ground enables some co-operation at different levels, as it does with other parties.

    In most elections that involves 2nd and 3rd preference tranfers, in First Past the Post there is only one go, It is right to maximumise it even if only a slim chance of success.

    Mike has my full support in backing Nigel Lutton, stronger than ever support as party leader, and my full trust that he knows where to draw the line between Unionist Unity & Unionist Co-operation.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    David,

    The sniggering is coming from the FM office. Actully, it’s more like gleeful cackling.

  • Red Lion

    I’m well pleased that the liberal end has dropped out of the UUP and hopefully will make its own way.

    To be fair to Mike, he doesn’t appear to be a liberal and its natural for him to take the party toward a blurring of the DUP-UUP boundary. There is rationale in this as many of the core values are the same and there may as well be one DUP-UUP party for there is little point in having 2 parties who say and do almost always the same thing. I don’t agree with their worldview but I can see the coming together of DUP and the greater part of UUP as logical.

    And it has also provided the spark for the liberal viewpoint to be properly represented.

    It may have been better if McCrea had been made UUP leader at the time and those in the UUP who couldn’t have stomached his liberalism had left and joined DUP.

    Either way, its a realignment, and we now have a more recognisable and coherent pro-union voice likely to organise, and thats a good thing for NI.

  • Otto

    “too vast a difference in many areas”

    Is there anyone you can point who’s still in the UUP that illustrates these vast differences?

  • David Crookes

    You’re not wrong, Joe.

    Otto, good question. I can think of no one.

    The #flegs business offered the UUP a chance to profile itself as the law-abiding and therefore truly British party. That offer was refused.

  • Otto

    I’m not sure “liberal” the right word here RL.

    I was listening to the BBC program about GAA players in the PSNI on the way home.

    The last two police officers lost or grievously injured through terrorism serving all of us have been from the nationalist community. They were targeted specifically because they’re from the nationalist community.

    It would be an irony if Peadar Heffron or another real live police officer serving us in 2013 was to run against this DUP/UUP deceit that Police = Unionist = RUC = Prod – if only to point out that maintaining that sectarian assumption undermines the widening acceptance of the PSNI.

    You don’t need to be a liberal to oppose the DUP/UUP refusal to support the police service we have today or to be disgusted when they make yet another attempt to claim association with the service provided by the RUC.

  • Obelisk

    The leadership is appointed annually, Mike was appointed last year with 81% support, in the unlikey event of a challenge this year I would think that it would if anything increase.”

    That’s because the UUP has run out of viable candidates. What up and coming talent do they have besides Danny Kennedy and he’s a man tacking closely to his leader.
    And future leader given that he attends the DUP ministerial meetings.

    “A merger with the DUP is not on the cards, under Mike or any other leader, too much history and too vast a difference in many areas…

    Mike has my full support in backing Nigel Lutton, stronger than ever support as party leader, and my full trust that he knows where to draw the line between Unionist Unity & Unionist Co-operation.”

    It’s not that easy drawing a line and saying this far, no further. The closer he pulls to the DUP, the more ensnared he will become like (Pete Baker this is for you) a photon ensnared in the event horizon of a black hole.

    At what point does Mike lose the ability to resist the DUP and unity is de facto? Is it when they plan elections together, gaming the scene to ensure Unionist representation is maximised?

    Is it when the DUP ‘graciously’ withdraw their candidate from Strangford to allow Mike a clear run at the seat? He might even get a pat on the head if he’s good.

    And what is this ‘bad history’ you’re on about? The animosity the UUP grandees feel over how the DUP shafted them? So the grumblings of a few old men whose incompetence dumped the party into it’s present state is going to stand in the way of the inevitable?

    Maybe until they retire.And even if this all proves true like you said, and the UUP manages to resist the DUP what’s the alternative?

    What’s the future? The UUP, the party Peter Robinson rolls out so he has someone to talk to when demonstrating inter Unionist co-operation to the masses? Do you feel existing as some sort of zombie puppet for the DUP to simulate electoral contests is some sort of viable existence?

    Let me be very clear. I despise the UUP as the party of the very upper class people who tore my country apart and then governed their segment of it in the most hypocritical manner possible. I am enjoying, really enjoying, the situation this party has found itself in. I think it couldn’t have happened to a better organisation. It would be schadenfreude if I didn’t believe this party, given it’s history, thoroughly deserves this.

    But Drumlin’s Rock, you seem to have a vested interest in the UUP. You tell me, an average spectator, why I shouldn’t be enjoying the slow and agonosing and very amusingly public death of the UUP? Tell me, no, PROVE to me that I am reading the obituary too soon, that I’m readying dancing shoes but I’ll have no grave to dance on, that Phoenix Like the UUP is set to return to the forefront as a new and invigorated party.

    Convince me.

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    “However, as has always been the case the common ground enables some co-operation at different levels, as it does with other parties.”

    DR- What is the common ground (to which you refer) in the case of the co-operation on Nigel Lutton and what benefits does co-operation on this particular issue offer:

    a) the Ulster Unionst Party:
    b) the people of Northern Ireland generally; and
    c) the unionist community in Northern Ireland

  • OneNI

    What does Nigel Lutton actually do for living? All I know is e worked for the DUP for a number of years. His father was a caretaker for the National Trust?
    Beyond the Victims Industry does he have any real life experience? Like working in the private sector running a business or anything?
    What age is he? Is he married?
    We know very little about him

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    One NI,
    Those are the questions that should be asked. They should also be the points being pushed by his supporters along with the reasons as to why he should be supported or voted for. But they’re not. I wonder why?

  • Submariner

    One NI.
    It matters little what he does Unionists will still vote for him en mass given the sectarian nature of politics.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    You don’t have to simply roll with the change, you can cause and lead the change. Unfortunately, Nesbitt seems to be trying to lead the UUP back to the future

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    Joe,
    That struck me about the interview. It was about response rather than leadership…..oh, hold on a minute ;-)

  • Drumlins Rock

    The benefits are for the people of Mid-Ulster first and foremost, giving them a chance, be it a slim one, of electing an MP who will actually do the job. It is not an opinion poll on Stormont as the media would much prefer it to be.

    The local UUP will gain from being seen to put the greater good of the Unionist voters first, (as a side issue I think Ian McCrea would have gained much more from a campaign than Sandra Overend, likely to come even a more distant second it would have improved his profile considerably). On a broader level some would say it was worth it to finally get rid of Basil.

    As for Northern Ireland it gains from hi-lighting the perposterous Sinn Fien position of refusing to represent the people of Mid-Ulster,
    it gains from having a victims representaive come up against a terrorists representative and hilighting the un resolved issues and one sided process,
    it gains from two parties temporarily setting aside real difference to work together for the common good,
    it gains from at least two less sets of posters and leaflets being plastered over Mid Ulsters!

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    Drumlins,
    If I may reply as a nationalist.
    I agree wholeheartedly with your point regarding the posters!
    I admire your stout defence of the Nesbitt strategy. That takes some doing but at least you’re willing to take it on. I’m still waiting to see a credible defence from the Man himself.
    You have, perhaps unwittingly, revealed the real strategy.
    “it gains from having a victims representaive come up against a terrorists representative and hilighting the un resolved issues and one sided process”

    That is why it is nothing to do with Westminster representation, nothing to do with guff about working together and nothing to do with what actually matters to the real lives of Mid Ulster constituents such as actual policies. By the way are there any actual policies?

  • Obelisk

    “The benefits are for the people of Mid-Ulster first and foremost, giving them a chance, be it a slim one, of electing an MP who will actually do the job.”

    So by removing choice you are paradoxically improving choice?

    “The local UUP will gain from being seen to put the greater good of the Unionist voters first”

    So it IS a sectarian headcount we are having then. Always knew it would be, I despise fig leafs of saying it’s not really a sectarian headcount when we offer a single candidate.

    “On a broader level some would say it was worth it to finally get rid of Basil.”

    Yes now the UUP can have their AGM’s untroubled by any of those pesky fresh ideas. Tea and crumpets for the blue rinse brigade while they listen to Mike assure them that the good old days are returning under his leadership and that the voters WILL come back due to his sterling work in doing everything Peter Robinson tells him.

    “As for Northern Ireland it gains from hi-lighting the perposterous Sinn Fien position of refusing to represent the people of Mid-Ulster,”

    You mean all these years I’ve been voting in Westminster elections for a party that doesn’t take their seats? Why wasn’t I told about this previously!
    In all seriousness I understand and support why Sinn Fein has this policy, turns my stomach seeing SDLP representatives take that oath but I don’t hold it against them, I understand why they do it and I bet they aren’t too happy about it either. Sinn Fein has a different stand, I respect it too. I don’t get how a Unionist unity candidate is going to highlight one of Sinn Fein’s best known policies any further though. If you’d run separate candidates, Ian and Sandra could have taken turns talking about it in different parts of the constituency at different times, doubling the amount of effort into pointing out the obvious.

    “it gains from having a victims representaive come up against a terrorists representative and hilighting the un resolved issues and one sided process,”

    One sided process? Oh you mean the natural consequences of the Good Friday Agreement where a growing Catholic population would use their democratic rights to reshape the character of the North that had previously been shaped to reflect only one side of the community? I agree, it’s completely one sided.

    Of course it’s one sided, one side of the community monopolised everything. By definition, achieving equilibrium means your side has to give more. Giving up 5% or 10% and complaining about never-ending concessions while still sitting on 90% reduces me to incredulity at times.

    “it gains from at least two less sets of posters and leaflets being plastered over Mid Ulsters!” I guess we can agree on this. Yet another reason to extend the logic and extend it province wide! The UUP going out of business is also ecologically friendly and helps save the planet.

  • Otto

    “it gains from having a victims representative come up against a terrorists representative and highlighting the un resolved issues and one sided process”

    For real?

    Who’s representing Ronan Kerr?

    Who’s representing the police officers facing the firebombers Mike and Nigel are so desperate to understand and so unwilling to condemn?

    Who’s representing democratic representatives and their families attacked in their homes and their workplaces?

    It isn’t the DUP or the UUP. They’re in the business of making more victims.

  • http://www.ardrighbooks.com SeaanUiNeill

    The UUP are hamstrung because of their need to appeal to a DUP or PUP supporting working class electorate that will never vote for them this side of hell freezing over ensures that anyone with talent and ideas who has not yet abandoned the party will never get a look in for the leadership. So Mike will be tossing his two headed penny in the party think tank well into the forseeable future to ensure that the party remains the squint eyed one in the corner nursing a pint of blackcurrant and lager.

    Mike’s flip this time to avoid being left behind in the scramble to ensure invites to the developers weekend beanos was between the Alliance or the DUP. Wrong again, yesterdays men!

    When, oh when, will someone start thinking for themselves instead of being simply reactive…..or “rolling with the change” I think it’s called it now.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Drumlins Rock (profile) 18 February 2013 at 11:39 pm

    “The benefits are for the people of Mid-Ulster first and foremost, giving them a chance, be it a slim one, of electing an MP who will actually do the job. ”

    If you backed the sdlp then your wish would come true!

  • keano10

    The UUP is all over the place with members soloing in whatever direction they wish. The excellent satirical ‘Loyalists Against Democracy’ page on Facebook have this evening discovered that East Belfast UUP MLA Michael Copeland is now a member of The Ulster People’s Forum Closed Facebook Group. He was invited to join a month ago by UPF Member James Craig and he accepted.

    This despite Mike Nesbitt’s constant calls for the UPF to call off its protests. It just shows the complete lack of direction within the UUP when people like Copeland are going off on ‘solo’s’ with the UPF presumably to pick up a few extra votes next time around…

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    “The local UUP will gain from being seen to put the greater good of the Unionist voters first”

    DR – What is the ‘greater good of the Unionist voters’ that you refer to?

  • Drumlins Rock

    McSlaggart, if the SDLP made the approach it could well be considered, already in South Down & Foyle there appears to “vote lending” to quite a large extent, however there is never anything in return.

    Keano, I trust Micheal is a moderating voice online, just the same as he has been on the ground. No-one has worked harder to defuse the tensions round the protest than he has and I am sure he has Mike full support in his efforts.

  • Mc Slaggart

    “Drumlins Rock (profile) 19 February 2013 at 7:10 pm

    McSlaggart, if the SDLP made the approach ”

    To whom would they make this approach?

  • Granni Trixie

    It’s pretty disgusting that someone who had been a Victims Commissioner , presumably “for everyone” , is now using victims of the troubles as pawns in a political game.
    Now don’t get me wrong, I have no objection to victims/survivors getting involved in politics, like anyone can. It’s just that he is appropriating unionist victims for negative reasons. For example I would go to mark the anniversary of anyone killed in the troubles (like this Saturday ) but not now that Nesbitt has sectarianised the dead.

  • Red Lion

    hope Basil McCrea and John McCallister don’t join the Tories, apparently they are being courted if you go by the supposed headline in tomorrows Belfast Telegraph

  • Otto

    “hope Basil McCrea and John McCallister don’t join the Tories, apparently they are being courted if you go by the supposed headline in tomorrows Belfast Telegraph”

    It was interesting hearing John talking at the Platform for Change meeting about his friends in the south. I don’t think the eastward only orientation of the wholly owned NI Tories would suit him.

    The right party for the man or woman in the Friday Ravenhill crowd might be a mixture of both. A party for farmers, rugger buggers and family business owners that unites the NI Tories with John, Basil and David under new branding with an FG alignment and a bit of quiet Tory backing might be a lot more compelling that the two mini-camps we have at the moment.

    In fact I’d take decent odds that we might end up there – especially if there’s a reduction in constituency size on the way.

  • GoldenFleece

    “hope Basil McCrea and John McCallister don’t join the Tories, apparently they are being courted if you go by the supposed headline in tomorrows Belfast Telegraph”

    Its not and easy thing to set up a party Red Lion, you need manpower, time and money – 3 things that a new unionist party would not have. Additionally creation of new parties from the top down generally do not work or have very limited sucess – think Robert McCartney of UKUP or Respect in Britain. Its the worker drones that are important in a party.

    Basil & John say nothing different from what NI Conservatives say, NI Cons are pro-union, non-sectarian, already have a diverse membership, they have money and they have party infrastructure in place. Seems logical to me.

  • Otto

    “manpower, time and money”

    What’s the Tory active (door-stepping) membership in NI?

  • GoldenFleece

    “What’s the Tory active (door-stepping) membership in NI?”

    Couldn’t tell you Otto.

    Interestingly your idea that NI Cons should have a friendly link with FG is not a bad one.

  • BluesJazz

    The trouble with the Conservative brand in NI (and Northern England, Wales, Scotland) is that we are de facto a ‘public sector economy’. Even North Down is chocca with legal aid solicitor parasites, prison officers, PSNI, doctors etc. All well paid for by the Home Counties taxpayer.

    They’re scared of the Tories kicking them out of their cushy comfort zones. Likewise with welfare claimants and civil servants (who are just unemployed people in nice offices getting well paid).

    Turkeys and Christmas.

  • Otto

    That’s true BJ but even if you’re pro-private enterprise is the Tory national policy the best for NI?

    The Singapore economy was built on the back of semi-state agencies – not raw HK style capitalism. Would a more thoughtful social market model be able to build a multiplier effect into the Barnett formula handout? Do the NI Tories even have an NI policy agenda?

    At the moment the NI Tory party has one councillor. Is it a serious political party or a a libertarian discussion group and a tour club for a couple of dozen enthusiasts who like to hob-nob with the big boys at party conference?

  • Red Lion

    Lots have been saying how difficult and expensive it is to form a new party – absolutely fair enough.

    i just want NI to have its alternative pro-union voice. Can you be liberal and be in the Tories?? They are not my idea of taking things forward in NI, though i suppose an increased vote for them might be a step in the right direction for ‘normal’ politics.

    But its not enough for me. The lib union movement would pigeonhole itself far too much by going to the Tories. I would much rather have the 3 boyos as a loose collective of independents in the first instance see who else comes with them. Not the Tories.

  • GoldenFleece

    Red Lion, it sounds like you just want another big tent unionist party full of socialists, liberals and conservatives that are just not as nasty as UUP/DUP. How will this achieve normal politics?

    Do we really need a big tent party that no-one is quite sure what it stands for… other than the union?

    Love them or hate them, everyone knows what the Conservatives stands for at least.

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    Unless the three Mac’s are gone stark mad they will not be joining the tories. As I said above they will develop some policies before they go their own way.

  • Red Lion

    GF,

    well i wouldn’t call it big tent but a party where slightly left of centre and slightly right of centre can happily be in the same party – emphasis on word ‘slightly’. Its a centrist liberal pro-union party, as with most parties and movements it will have its flanks in terms of left-right.

    ‘not as nasty as dup/uup’ is not accurate, Its about having a strategic vision for the future on moulding the union into something much better and different – to this end moulded by people from a Cath Comm background as much as anyone, non-tribal and non sectarian. I think its possible to attract small but significant Catholic Comm background support into such a project given a bit of time.

    Normal politics will be got closer to in NI when the people throw out polarised tribal carve-ups and move to non-tribal middle ground. A lib union party moves people to the middle ground, or at the very least along the spectrum toward it.

    It reflects proper choice for NI, and its voice needs to be heard.

    I don’t think it will be easy at all as this ideal now eyeballs reality, but 3 independent moderare voices represent progress. I will be so disappointed if they go to the Tories.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The only thing the Tory brand does in Northern Ireland is cause people not to get elected. Basil and John would be mad to touch it with a bargepole and I’m pretty sure they won’t.

    I’d bet the NI Tories themselves “leaked” this “revelation” to the Belfast Telegraph. They desperately need validation.

  • Red Lion

    what do you think the 3 boyos are most likely to do Comrade??

    And do you know of anyone else interested in joining their little movement?

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    Comrade

    Spot on.

    Leaving quite aside that the battle Basil picked to leave the UUP was that he would have backed Alliance on designated days in Council. He was very specific about that.

    The NI Tories admitted subsequently that they wouldn’t. Which just goes to show their political nous.

    Red Lion

    It seems to me Basil is determined to lead a party, even if it’s a party of one.

    We know what happened to UPNI, we know what happened to UKUP, and we know what the definition of lunacy is…

  • BluesJazz

    Like I said..the Tory brand is toxic to public sector/welfare benefit addicts. Civil Servants, DLA recipients, PSNI and Local government employees may have to find a real job.
    And none of them are capable of such.
    The only choice is the British Labour Party.

    Kate Hoey step up….

  • BluesJazz

    Comrade Stalin and IJP throw themselves in with Patricia McKeown of UNISON and Bumper Graham of NIPSA.
    That will get us to the socialist utopia they crave.

    Good Luck on that one. Why not just join SF, or now that they’ve dropped ‘socialist’ from their 32 county tag, go with Eirigi?

    NI is totally and utterley dependent on English largesse.
    Why not just go with this fact.? We’re de facto English.

  • ayeYerMa

    wahahahahaha, IJP of the Alliance Party talking about “political nous” when discussing the issue that will have cost them dearly. You couldn’t make it up!

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    BluesJazz

    Socialist utopia?

    You don’t read my blog, do you?! I would suggest there is no one with the slightest political involvement here who has been so public and frequent in the destruction of the outrageous myths of Bumper Graham and his America-holidaying, golf-playing chums.

    ayeyerma

    Yet another constructive intervention – my own experience rather demonstrates the point.

  • GoldenFleece

    Red Lion,

    the party you describe would have an awful hard time differing itself from Alliance, and they would have the edge over a liberal unionist party.

    You may say that Alliance is not unionist – fair enough. But if the only difference is that a LUP is unionist and Alliance is not you automatically push the constituional question to the top when having to explain why you are different to Alliance. The opposite of what is needed.

    A political party has to be different, and if not it has to do stuff better than the other similar parties. That is why the UUP is failing.

  • Red Lion

    GF

    I dunno, we could debate this to the cows come home and the only way we’ll find out is if it happens.

    I think a lib union party in the modern era would be significant in NI and i think they can carve out space for themselves.

    A big part of it is who else can they get on board.?

    The most important thing is the return of a more reasoned pro-union voice to be compared and contrasted with the DUP. Even if it is 3 blokes, but i hope its bigger.

  • Comrade Stalin

    GF/RL – I think you are touching on a big problem for Basil and co – how do you build a party which is emphatically not the Ulster Unionist party, and also emphatically not Alliance ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The most important thing is the return of a more reasoned pro-union voice to be compared and contrasted with the DUP.

    I meant to add – I think this point is a damn hard thing to get right.

    The DUP play hard and dirty, and they’re extremely good at doing so in such a way that they present themselves as hardnosed, uncompromising workaholics who get things done. A nice guy routine is not going to work against them. Anyone challenging them has to play hard in response, and needs to be sharp as a tack as Robinson and the crew he keeps around to run elections miss very little.

    That does not mean simply rejecting unionist unity; it means calling them out as the enemy, as people who are trying to manipulate working class Prods and destabilize the country for their own purposes.

  • BluesJazz

    “they present themselves as hardnosed, uncompromising workaholics who get things done.”

    Like what?

    Sunday opening of cinemas, playgrounds, pubs, leisure centres etc took direct rule ministers to override their fundamentalist lunacy.

    And the reason loads of middle class ‘prods’ took themselves to the mainland to get away from the suffocating parochialism they installed.

  • streetlegal

    Nesbitt is making all of the running on the ‘unionist unity’ agenda and Belfast sectarian street agitation. This suits the DUP leadership – who know of old just how deep these waters are. Nesbitt is the political face behind the flag protests – much as David Trimble was the political face behind the original Drumcree stand-off – and his political future now depends on whether or not the union flag is raised again at City Hall. So the stakes are very high for Nesbitt and the question is – just how far is he prepared to go – and how low is he prepared to stoop – to secure populist unionist support.