Bob McCartney, the new Carson?

Lindy McDowell exams the case for taking in party outsider Bob McCartney as the new party leader of the UUP. That he’s a controversialist, she argues, could well work in his favour. He would certainly re-awaken interest in the party’s fortunes:

Part of the UUP’s problem as a party has been that, within the electorate, it no longer inpires vivid emotions like love and hate. Or even all that much interest anymore. The party hasn’t just lost its way. It’s lost its heart. It doesn’t just need direction. It needs resusitation. Electric shock treatment. And Bob McCartney could well be the man with the defibrillator.

And, she notes:

McCartney isn’t afraid of taking flak – or of taking an unpopular stance. But he’s light years away from the unthinking intransigience of the backwoods unionist.

As she points out, all it requires is for the UUC to say no to the other contenders, for Bob to get his chance to run.

  • J Kelly

    Frank Carson “its the way he tells them”

  • CharlieBucket

    Alot of people in the UUC would die before allowing Bob McCartney to take over as leader. Let not forget how he left the UUP all those years ago – storming out in a huff because he wasn’t selected as a candidate at a meeting in Bangor.

  • Chris

    How can you compare Carson and McCartney? You cannot. One is a great figure while the other is simply a hate figure… He is impossible to get along with and to suggest he is the man for the UUP job beggars belief.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    See my post on the earlier thread for a more compehnsive reponse but to be a pedant.

    “But he’s light years away from the unthinking intransigience of the backwoods unionist.”

    Is he really? How does he demonstrate this? Can someone highlight a time at which Bob has demonstarted flexible or creative political thinking. Seriously! I am not just being flippant but i cant think of one time.

  • Niall

    in reply to …..”How can you compare Carson and McCartney? You cannot. One is a great figure while the other is simply a hate figure… He is impossible to get along with and to suggest he is the man for the UUP job beggars belief.

    Posted by: Chris at June 16, 2005 01:32 PM”

    isn’t Carson the man who brought the gun into Irish politics ? Therefore shouldn’t he be reviled for the subsequent bloodshed that he instigated and the polarised ‘Sick Counties’ that developed?

  • martin

    It always surprises me how deaf some people are when your trying to help them.

    Unionists you need a man who can compete against paisley.

    you need a man that is so Unionist that if he turned up at D.U.P HQ and wanted to be their leader -Paisley would stand down as leader in favour of he who is the better biggoted Unionist

    YOU NEED MICHAEL MC DOWELL.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Duncan,

    The Belfast Telegraph have a long history of publishing articles of Bob which are so flattering you’d wonder if they are talking about the same guy we all know and love.

    I can’t think of a time when Bob has gotten beyond intransigence. Indeed he’s probably at least as intransigent as the DUP, if not more.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Comrade,

    It can seem a bit like that at times. Mind you I got some good PR myself thanks to friendly journo’s so icant be too critical, and it’s amazing how much difference it makes.

    Bob has a number of qualities but a flexibility of approach and a willingness to revise his views; or even debate them for that matter (yes he is great advocate but powerfully advocating your views is not the same as debating in the Socratic sense) was never a hallmark.

    Actually I take the view that the DUP (at least Robinson/Dodds & co) is a lot more flexible and creative and will become more so as circumstances change. The brilliance of the DUP is to put a hard line rhetoric on top of a layer of more accommodating actions. They have moved their entire policy center while maintaining the rhetoric at a higher level. Their problem of course will be that the internal organizational tension will build as those who don’t understand that the stated position is not the actual position will become concerned as they notice that the view from their metaphorical window has changed. Although of course it could be a strategy of appearing to adjust while never intending to move at all. We shall see I suppose.

  • Bored

    Frankly Duncan, Bob is(was) a just-about-better-than-average orator by the comparable standards of his peers at the Bar. What he possessed (possesses) however, is a dreadfully intemperate lower-Shankill-style violent and abusive bent to his character (the man broke at least two noses in the Bar Libray and once tried to strangle an insurance representative in a consultation room in the High Court). He’s also a pretty odious self-publicist – listen to any of his interviews and see how long it takes him to start waffling-on about how skilled he was at the Bar, how much experience he has of high pressure negotiation etc. etc. et fucking cetera….

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Bored, I am no cheerleader for Bob I just wanted to try to be fair to his talents but as with so many human beings his many faults are also evident.

    The idea of Bob as leader of the UUP is farcical and is cooked up those in the UUP who still can’t face the fact that the right wingers have mostly left to join the DUP. A call to Bob is a part of a desperate hope that the ranks of the Hermonites won’t consolidate and take over the UUP fully on Friday evening. The old guard has all the same fears as well which goes a long way to explain the peculiar and ultimately unsuitable coalition of supporters that has emerged around Reg Empey. The UUP has decent leadership choice offered to it on Friday night and it doesn’t need absurd calls to Bob to rescue it. The only question is whether the UUC can make the decision it needs to or if it will be fooled once again by the party old guard into embracing a few years of do nothing failure.

  • Bored

    DSD – I take it that you’ll be rooting for McFarland?

  • Roger

    The UUP has decent leadership choice offered to it on Friday night and it doesn’t need absurd calls to Bob to rescue it.

    Empey, Mcfarland and McNarry?

    Three men deeply associated with the failed policies of the past, all in their advancing years.

    Empey should win as he is the most traditional although he will not help the ailing party.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Actually I am loathe to endorse anyone as I don’t wish to jinx them but that is to assume I have any influence anyway, so for what it’s worth yes.

    The UUP needs several years of internal reform and reorganisation before it needs to start navel gazing about policy position arguments. The DUP have effectively staked out the unionist middle ground now so there is no point getting over absorbed in endless policy discussions. The territory is pretty clear. It is now all about internal reform and creating a more effective, streamlined, efficient party structure. The next UUP leader has the relatively hard and thankless task of party reform which won’t bring any great kudos for them but is essential to any future recovery.

    In my view Reg will be incapable of delivering that because he will be hostage to the old guard and entrenched interests that have created many of the problems in the first instance. McNarry doesn’t even understand the problem. That leaves Alan as far and away the best choice. He has stepped up a time of challenge and he deserves respect for that. He is a good man who understands the challenges ahead for the UUP and I believe can deliver the needed reform, so I sincerely hope that he wins. Sometimes a leader is less about the largest ego in the room being rewarded with recognition but more about the person who steps forward when needed and can deliver. For that reason I actually think Alan is exactly what the UUP needs at exactly the right time.

  • Bored

    As a republican (in the French rather than the Ardoyne sense)I would consider McFarland to be a pretty decent, reasonable and progressive individual – then again , on past form that’s precisely the sort of endorsement to leave him dead in the water…….