Tom Elliott announces leadership bid

Tom Elliott has announced his intention to stand for the leadership of the UUP. He is the first to declare since Reg Empey said he would stand down. Elliott announced his candidacy in the Great hall in Stormont:

“While I am proud of the Ulster Unionist Party’s long history and recognise that it was our determination that has brought Northern Ireland to this stage, I am also crucially aware that unionism has changed dramatically over the last two decades – the UUP needs to reflect that change.

“It is important that we set out a vision, not only for the coming weeks and months but also for years ahead. As Unionists we must ensure that the Union of the United Kingdom is central to that future.”

“The reality is, unionists are not coming out to vote – through disillusionment, because of tribal politics or because they simply feel that politics is not relevant to them. I want to create an Ulster Unionist Party that can address these issues.”

Elliott would represent a formidable challenger for the leadership. He is from Fermanagh and as such may be better able than some to try to appeal outside the greater Belfast Pale into which the UUP has largely been driven. He is not seen as on the particularly pro Conservative link wing of the party, yet equally is not known for being especially opposed to the link. He is relatively young and is popular within the party. He would, however, like any other leader inherit many of the UUP’s current difficulties including its current weak base, having fewer big hitters than the DUP and also the significant internal divisions which have at times characterised the UUP. In spite of that a new leader for the UUP might galvanise them and point up the fact that the DUP have at least thus far stuck with Peter Robinson. Furthermore he might well also be prepared to consider joint candidates with the DUP seeing as he was supportive of the unity candidate in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

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  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It might have been better to sort out the Tory link thing first – unless it is definitely going to continue – before looking at the issue of a new leader.

    re. ‘”because of tribal politics or because they simply feel that politics is not relevant to them. I want to create an Ulster Unionist Party that can address these issues”

    Unless he actively discourages OO membership then he will not be addressing the tribal issue.

    Is he in the OO?

  • Alias

    I wouldn’t risk more than 50 euro on a bet that the UUP actually have a political future. I suspect that Peter Robinson fatally wounded all unionist competition to the DUP’s emergent hegemony when he tinkered with the GFA at St Andrews to make it possible for the largest party rather than the largest demonination to become First Minister and have first choice of ministerial portfolios. For all Tom Elliot’s well-intentioned mentioning of making the UUP a cross-community party, Peter Robinson’s gambit is closer to reality, i.e. that folks will vote to get their own side in and keep the other side out. Whatever about a Shinner as First Minister, does anyone with any sense actually want to see a Shinner as Finance Minister? No, and you don’t need to be a unionist to be shocked at that prospect. So if there is going to be ‘cross-community’ voting then it will be for the DUP and aimed at keeping the national accounts out of the hands of a bunch of quasi-socialist hacks whose knowledge of economics is limited to the vagaries of diesel importation. On both scores, the DUP win.

  • Munsterview

    Oh…….. My…….. Goodness; now we know what Enda was really doing in the North………. they have cloned him !

    Those glasses will not fool anybody.

  • alan56

    He will be seen by many as from the ‘orange order wing’ of the party together with McNarry. Will be interesting to see how he handles that. Of course it may well be seen as an advantage .(bound to make some from the liberal wing nervous.)

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Oh dear, just checked him out on Wiki he will be adressing tribal issues by getting his tribal gear on and taking part in tribal marches as he is an OO stalwart – and as a former UDR man he can look forward to swapping old war tales with Marty.

    Alias,

    re.”knowledge of economics ” thats a bit of an oxymoron.

    Although hardly much to shout about SF’s dieselomics probably edges that of FF and FG who seemed to believe that what goes up continues to do so indefintiely.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    People who have met Elliott say hes a decent sort. He certainly comes accross as such. But not exactly dynamic.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Vision, wit, intellect, charisma, – just some of the things the UUP will continue to lack should Elliott land the leadership ‘prize’. What’s the purpose of the UUP these days anyway could you tell me ?

  • fitzjameshorse1745,
    I would agree apart from the fact that on the one occasion I have met him he immediately did something about the issue I raised. I would suggest he is not showy but the undynamic tag may be unfair. We will wait and see. However, no matter what his qualities he is trying to become leader of a badly damaged party. If he can stop or reverse the decline he will be doing well.

  • Greenflag

    “The reality is, unionists are not coming out to vote’

    And one reason why is- because they are no longer there to vote . Mr Elliot himself made reference to some reasons why as the much respected late Horseman of ‘Ulster is Doomed ‘ set out and I quote

    ‘On top of all of the other references to the (Protestant) ‘brain drain’ that are blogged below, the concerned unionist Tom Elliott MLA was reported in the Newsletter on 20 June 2007 as being “shocked to discover just how many more Roman Catholics are staying in the Province to study – suggesting a Protestant brain drain”.

    Poor Mr Elliott has inadvertently let the cat out of the bag. It is not the ‘brain drain’ per se that unionists are concerned about, but only the protestant brain drain. As the media-unsavvy Mr Elliott went on to say, “This is an important issue as many of these students who travel to mainland universities do not return to work in the Province”. Of course, as previously pointed out, what really vexes him is that they do not return to vote in Northern Ireland.

    If Mr Elliott was commenting on a report by an employers’ organisation complaining of skills shortages in a booming economy, then his concern for the ‘non-returners’ might be reasonable. But he isn’t, he is making a petty, sectarian point that illustrates the level of worry that is starting to permeate the unionist establishment.

    Just another ‘sectarian ‘ leader for the UUP then ? . What a surprise . But he at least appears to be facing up to the ‘unionist ‘ quandary particularly in the west of the province .

    Has he made any other outspoken ‘demographic ‘ bloomers since 2007 I wonder ?

    Thank you Horseman 🙁

  • joeCanuck

    Turgon,
    Are you creeping slowly to the UUP camp? I assume the TUV is about to become defunct.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Greenflag,

    I had read that and forgotten about it – the boy Horsey will be sadly missed.

  • Alias

    “Although hardly much to shout about SF’s dieselomics probably edges that of FF and FG who seemed to believe that what goes up continues to do so indefintiely.”

    Good one – almost! But boom and bust is a product of macroeconomic policy, and the Irish government doesn’t have any sovereignty over that.

  • Greenflag

    I haven’t .

  • Greenflag

    Which government on the planet has ?
    USA ? UK? Japan ? Brazil ? Canada ?

    Come on Alias there must be at least 1 ? surely

  • Greenflag

    Well if he has it’s an advance . In the long line of evolutionary advance mutations have sometimes seen success as adaptations to changing environmental political conditions.
    The TUV was never going anywhere anyway except into political extinction . The one man band trick worked for Ian Paisley but that was in different times and JA for all his abilities is no IP.

  • Alias

    Of the world’s 194 governments, the only governments that don’t have sovereignty over their macroeconomic and monetary policies are the 16 members of the eurozone. That majority of that 16 are now on the verge of economic bankruptcy and the euro looks like it will shortly be confined to the dustbin of history…

  • Drumlin Rock

    Nun, I would say Tom has a strong vision, probably not a radical one but he carries through on things to completion, as for his wit, it is more of the dry country type, dont underestimate the intellect he is usually quite a few steps further ahead than you think, as for charisma… well thats as much a problem as an asset quite often.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Alias,

    lets be ‘aving you then – translate ‘shortly’ into weeks and months so we can use it as a suitable stick to beat you with should your Euro-doom-mongering fail to materialise.

  • Munsterview

    I wuz right!

  • Seymour Major

    “….having fewer big hitters than the DUP”

    I’m intrigued to hear that somebody thinks the UUP have some big hitters.

  • hoboroad
  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    hoboraod,

    He may really struggle to better this beauty below.

    “I still consider the construction of these two bridges to be ill considered … and instead of building bridges could hamper good community relations and cross border co-operation in the area.”

  • Nunoftheabove

    Drumlin

    Vision of/for what ? A few steps ahead of who/what ? In a sentence, what is the purpose of the UUP in 2010 ?

  • Nunoftheabove

    But why should we care whether he ‘succeeds’ in reversing this decline or not ? Indeed, given the unlovely history of the Official Unionist/UUP/Unionist Party can’t it be said that their discontinuation would be something of a deliverance for us all ?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Yeah me too; if they do, they’ve been expertly hidden from public view for many years.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Sammy, this was a local issue, residents on a small country road didnt want it to become a shortcut for lorries going for the cheap diesel across the border, but that dosnt get headlines so you have to dress it up a bit to get attention.

  • Granni Trixie

    “can stop or reverse the decline he will be doing well”

    Goodbye to the UU if this is the best to which they aspire.

    (o sorry, its not them, its FJH’s aspiration).

  • Nunoftheabove

    Yes and as been said elsewhere recently, if someone doesnt vote for a unionist party…on what basis can they in fact be ‘claimed’ as unionists (or anything else) at all ?

  • Drumlin Rock

    England & France have loads of “big hitter” footballers, dosnt seem to be doing them much good.

  • Nunoftheabove

    …they have a liberal wing ?!

  • hoboroad

    Tom Elliott went on to state that: “Bobby Saulters would not be seen as a neutral broker in all this because he is seen as very close to the DUP.”Even when I was a County Grand Master, he came out in support of Arlene (Foster) against me which was pretty difficult to take.”He consistently signs both Dr Paisley’s – and now his son’s – nomination papers and always takes the DUP side on things.”

  • Seymour Major

    I remember that post hoboroad.

    I never understood Elliot’s attitude towards new bridges. Was that just a piece of ill-thought-out nonsense or an example of a perverse brand of insular unionism?

  • Nunoftheabove

    It has control over the extent to which it controls its own borrowing and expenditure and – at least partially – how it regulates financial services within its borders. Culpability for the free state’s utter failure to deal with the challenges presented by multi-national market meltdown and protect the best interests of its citizens in all weathers rests very frmly with Ahern’s failed and corrupt political entity, FF, and their allies/supporters/business partners in the banks and among the spiv property developer fraternity.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Loads is probably stretching it and France have their very own Tom Elliott (or perhaps Reg ?) managing them, no doubt about it. Jury still out on England.

  • hoboroad

    Seymour Major

    Mr Elliott seems not to have moved on from the past.
    He expected the support of Mr Saulters because they are both Orangemen. In the past he would have got it no questions asked. As for the bridge question my opinion is insular thinking on Tom Elliotts part.

  • Cynic

    ‘Tom Elliott’ and ‘leadership’ in the same sentence?

  • midulsterunionist

    It is still part of ornageism to “support your fellow orangeman” and it says a lot for Bobby’s brotherhood when even the grand master can’t give his backing to Fermanagh’s deputy County Grand Master in the elections, Bobby S is DUP to the core, he got the UUP link cut supposedly to keep out of politics but all he has done since is involve himself in unionist parties politics as though he is some sort of guru…. Elliott is in my view allot better than Basil McCrea but I do like Mike Nesbitt though I don’t know if it’s right having someone so new to the party becoming leader

  • vanhelsing

    Tom has been an excellent MLA and anyone who knows him says he is an excellent constituency worker. He served his country in the UDR and is also a member of the Loyal Orders – clearly some members of this site will have a problem with this – but then they probably aren’t floating voters which Tom might win 🙂

  • Jean Meslier

    “..He served his country in the UDR ..”

    Which country would that be Van?

  • vanhelsing

    I would imagine he would say the UK?

  • Greenflag

    Alias

    ‘of the world’s 194 governments, the only governments that don’t have sovereignty over their macroeconomic and monetary policies are the 16 members of the eurozone.’

    Absolute and utter theoretical gobbledegook or shite speaking plainly and in the vernacular . In practice all nations are NOT sovereign .

    The USA can no more raise it’s interest rate from 1% to 6% today nor devalue it’s currency by 25% tomorrow than Alias can fly to the sun by flapping his wax wings up and down like a demented neo con ;(

    For if they did (USA ) unemployment would rise to probably 50 million from it’s present 20 million -there would be a treble dip recession and those 50 million weapons in private hands would be used to hunt down anybody left with anything in the USA . For the USA to devalue it’s currency by 25% would cause a massive withdrawal of foreign held T bills thus causing the USA to lose whatever ‘credit ‘ rating it has left .

    And that’s just the USA reputedly the most powerful stand alone economy in the world . And we’re about to see how Mr Osborne’s ‘experiment’ will work at turning the UK from being a massively benefit dependent or so it’s said economy into a hive of efficiency , productivity , competitiveness and a hub of 21st century innovation while having 5 million people on the dole queues .

    We all know that the UK has absolute control of it’s economic sovereignty don’t we ? Which is why it’s not in the same economic bind as the rest of the EU as per Aliasspeak anyway .

    The Euro will be around when your head reflects the sunlight 😉

  • Two statements from Tom Elliott:

    “I think it is obvious and something that I have picked up when canvassing during recent years from an increasing number of people from the Roman Catholic community would vote to remain within the United Kingdom in any border poll. However, this vote does not -yet – translate into voting for a unionist political party. With the exception of a small number, traditionally these people have voted for nationalist parties in Northern Ireland.”

    He added: “This is a pattern we (UCUNF) want to break by offering people a new choice. Things will not drastically change in a short time period, but given time and progress within Northern Ireland, we will be working to convince voters from a Roman Catholic background that their interests are best served within the United Kingdom rather than an all-Ireland set up. I also believe that the values and policies of the Conservatives and Unionists when it comes to “bread and butter” issues in Northern Ireland have the potential to attract a significant number of votgers from a Roman Catholic background.”

    He was then one of the leading forces behind the “Unity” candidate in FST, did that offer people a new choice?

    “I am accepted as pretty right wing within the Ulster Unionist Party but if I was in the DUP I’d look like some sort of liberal. We are relatively comfortable with many issues that the DUP have difficulty with,” said Elliot’

    Those “many issues” being what exactly?
    On, for example, “social-cultural” issues how would Tom’s views differ from those of the mainsteam DUP?

    That’s the problem with Tom and quite a large proportion of the UUP. They could pack up their tent and join the DUPe camp tomorrow without having to sacrifice any of their political beliefs and principles. And if the majority think that way, what then is the point in having two different parties who now appear to only differ on personality rather than policy? Mr Elliott and the other leadership “hopefuls” needs to start expanding soon on the reasons why “Unity” isn’t the logical road forward for the party.

  • Cushy Glenn

    now now- they’ve just left out the words “patently unqualified for” and “of anything”…..

  • Seymour Major

    Well said, O’Neill,

    “I want to create an Ulster Unionist Party that can address these issues”

    Reading Elliot talking about trying to attact Catholic “unionist” voters to the UUP is like reading a proposal by Dracula to become a vegetarian. It is pure lip service.

    OK, maybe that remark is not quite balanced. Elliot has said that the Orange Order should stay away from politics but he needs to go a very long distance before he turns Catholic heads.

    He could try to push a new rule through within the UUP that all elected MLAs who are members of the Orange Order must resign from it if they do not want to be de-selected for the next Assembly election. I am not saying that would work but at least it would be a genuinely positive move.

    However, he also has to face up to another fact which is that the Ulster form of Unionism, if it is genuinely cross-community inclusive, is a redundant ideology in policymaking. With the Good Friday agreement, the raison d’entre of the Ulster Unionist ideolgy has gone.

    The UUP has no longer term future on its own, unless it re-invents itself into something that it is not. O’Neill has observed nothing to indicate that.

    Unless Elliot has some “earthquake” up his sleave, I totally agree that he might as well advocate that the party throws in its lot with the DUP.

  • Munsterview

    Vision, wit, intellect, charisma, …… etc.

    Only so much of that to go around and the SDLP leadership had already raided the piggy bank for their contest?

  • Munsterview

    Those who conceived the Six-County State knew that to implement it they would have to subvert all democratic principles.

    In a free open and democratic election in 1918, 88% of the voters, Twenty-Eight counties voted to break with England and to form a republic on this Island of Ireland.

    Four counties, 12% opted to continue the Union with England. By any standards this was a clear and overwhelming mandate for a new State, new politics and a new future on this Island.

    Democratic principles were subverted and discarded, the Four dissenting counties were supported by conservative establishment forces to set up a breakaway region.

    Since in terms of population and territory the concept of a Four County Statelet was so impractical as to be simply ludicrous, the Orange Unionist Majorities of these Four Counties demanded that a further Two Counties be annexed to their Statelet irrespective of the wishes of the democratic majorities of these Two Counties as just expressed in the ballot box.

    This act of undemocratic land grab was 50% of the Four-County Statelet and it also meant that over 40% of the population of this New Statelet were alienated from it and opposed to it from it’s inception.

    The Statelet immediately set about maintaining by force what it had taken by force by arming and equipping the artificially created majority to terrorize the minority into submission.

    There after all politics and governance in the North were distorted and based on the perversion of normal democratic principles rather than democratic norms prevailing elsewhere in Europe and the civilized world.

    To make any semblance of normal representative democracy work artificial political structures would have to be imposed to make the artificial state work. The feet had to be continually cut to fit the shoes!

    Politics in most of Europe break down into Left, Center and Right wing.

    In The Six County Statelet politics are and will always be tribal and sectarian, the odd Alliance cuckoo merely mocks the prospect of a Prague Spring !

    Tribal politics internally, if healthy and truly representative will need to reflect Right, Centre and Left

    Since the population is simply too small on either side of the sectarian divide to cater for these three groupings, the next best thing is a broad Left /Right division on each side.

    Given this scenario I would argue that under the present and immediate future political dispensation that a functioning UUP is necessary and vital to full representative politics and the sooner they get over their shell shock at having to play second fiddle, the better for the normalization of politics in the Six Counties and on this Island.

    The same applies to the SDLP One big party on either side can only be effected by disenfranchising a significant part of the electorate on either side; we should aim for political inclusion, not exclusion, we have had more than enough of that in this Island !

  • Drumlin Rock

    Grow up Seymour, members of the Orange Order are entitled to be MLAs just like anyone else, we have religious freedom in this country.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Munster, you history is a bit selective, firstly 1918 was not a referendum on Independence, it was a general election, and as is often stated on here voting for a nationalist dosn’t always mean you want an Independent/United Ireland, secondly, Sinn Fein got 47% of the vote, Unionist 30%, and the IPP (who whilst being nationalist were certainly more moderate) got 21% despite not standing in a quarter of the seats, considering this was during a war with a very strong threat of conscription being enforced, its not the cut and dried verdict for independence you paint.

  • Greenflag

    munsterview ,

    ‘Since in terms of population and territory the concept of a Four County Statelet was so impractical as to be simply ludicrous, the Orange Unionist Majorities of these Four Counties demanded that a further Two Counties be annexed to their Statelet irrespective of the wishes of the democratic majorities of these Two Counties as just expressed in the ballot box.’

    Not quite the whole truth re Fermanagh . Fermanagh was included in the new State so that Lord Brookeborough did not find himself in the Free State . The wishes of the majority of people in Fermanagh were secondary -remember at that time as per Brokkeborough the eh ‘atmosphere’ of the county if not the actual population was overwhelmingly unionist 🙁 One atmospheric vote = 3 SF votes or more .
    Also it would have put a dent in his later cattle smuggling activities .

    Excluding Tyrone would have meant Lough Neagh becoming a part of the new border and would have cut off the maiden city from South Antrim , North Armagh and Down or made travelling between both cities either longer than necessary or having to cross Free State borders twice or four times .

    Anyway by the time the next partition arrives ‘atmospheres’ won’t have votes and Fermanagh , Tyrone and Derry and South Armagh and South Down and Most of Belfast will all become part of a larger Republic .

    What will become of the rest of the present NI will be up to the leaders of the UUP and DUP and their voters to decide . I see from the confidence displayed in the leadership of both the UUP and DUP by NI voters that there is nothing to worry about 😉 ?.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Sorry was just after the war ended, but the sentiments remained.
    As for Tyrone and Fermanagh, 2 of the 5 seats there were won by Unionists.

  • Progressive Unionist

    “In a free open and democratic election in 1918…”

    It wasn’t in any way free. Lots of Irish Nationalist Party/Home Rule candidates, who had flown the flag for Irish Nationalism for 50 years, were intimidated out of standing against the Sinn Feiners.

    (Look at the number of ‘uncontested’ seats in 1918 and compare to the performance of more moderate non-SF candidates in the local elections in 1921 and you can see that a significant segment of the moderate nationalist electorate were forced out in 1918)

  • Progressive Unionist

    Tom Elliott is a nice guy, but not leader material. He especially couldn’t appeal to moderates east of the Bann where the UUP is under massive threat from Alliance.

    The UUP needs a leader who’s a moderate and non-sectarian and who can bring back all the UUP voters who were put off by the right-wing Tory link.

    So far only Basil McCrea has stepped forward to fit the bill, but perhaps others may do so as well.

    If only Sylvia Hermon was still in the party…

  • Seymour Major

    Drumlin Rock,

    You have not addressed the point I made, which had absolutely nothing to do with religious freedom.

    Tom Elliot says he wants the Ulster Unionist Party to attract votes from Catholics. Now, if you dont think the Orange Order is irrelevant to that issue, then say so.

    If you have nothing relevant to say, say nothing.

  • hoboroad

    In 1948 the number of Orangemen was 76,447; this rose to its highest number in 1968 – 93,447 members, but this fell to 64,160 within a year and has declined ever since. In 1990 it was claimed that there were 100,000 members in Ireland, but there were actually only 47,084.

    By 2006, the latest year for which figures are available, the number of members was 35,758.

  • Progressive Unionist

    Also, it’s clear that Elliott is the candidate of the shadowy “Powers-that-be” cabal who have been running the UUP into the ground for a decade now

    The fact that Elliott doesn’t feel able to express his view – one way or the other – on the future of the Tory link is an indication that he’s already a prisoner of this powers-that-be cabal (who are still desperately trying to bring about an unrealistic megalomaniacal merger of DUPs-UUP-Tories.)

    UUP needs a leader to break free, ditch the cabal, and get back to the kind of grassroots progressive unionism which non-DUP Unionist voters want.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Your that far from reality Seymour there is no point talking to you.

  • Drumlin Rock

    hobo, think the 100,000 claim was meant worldwide.
    Its political influence is much much less, and as an Orangeman I’m actually quite glad, I would rather see it concentrate on the Religious, Cultural & Social elements.

  • hoboroad

    It is worldwide here is the newspaper article where Horseman found the figures.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article6591680.ece

    And Horsemans post on Ulster’s Doomed!

    http://ulstersdoomed.blogspot.com/2009/06/orange-order-withering-away.html

  • Drumlin Rock

    I think Tom wont play along with any cabal, he is definately his own man, and is very much a grassroots worker, I cant see him chasing after any big mega party ideas. As for the Tory link, that’s for the party as a whole to look at in the ongoing review, its shouldnt be allowed to dominate the leadership debate.

  • Munsterview

    Pro Unionist

    I agree with you in part : the 1918 election was not a normal election; many factors fed into the Sinn Fein vote and these need a detailed analysis; something I have done and that is lying around in a bottom drawer.

    However in general it was one of where to borrow a phase from Seamus Heney, ‘hope and history rhymed’ and most of Nationalist Ireland marched in step.

    You were right about the intimidation but not the party you identified : a read of the Irish Times and the Irish Independent newspapers of the period will show that even Southern Unionists were sickened with the behavior of the British Army; the mass killings of the Western Front etc had come home to roost and the lies and duplicity of the British Government had been laid bare.

    The general mood of the country was in fact very similar to the present; while people were not sure of what they wanted, the were so sick of the then corruption and ineptitude that anything had to be better than the failed politics that they had to contend with !

  • Munsterview

    Drumlin
    Sinn Fein did not fudge the issue : both the party and the individual candidates made it unabbigiously clear that a) they would not take their seats, b) that they would set up a separate assembly at home and c) that if a majority they would use their mandate to establish a Republic.

    The Irish Party by these elections was but a ghost of what it formerly had been, it was all chiefs but the Indians had long headed for the hills!

    It had failed in its political objectives, it had become discredited in it’s dealings with England and it was seen as part of the past and not the future.

  • Munsterview

    The esoteric sub rosa aspects the Orange Order parallel aspects of the Masonic Order from which it was influenced and on which it was structured since its inception.

    A recent insider book on the Masonic Movement in the States disclose the same problems as the Masonic Movement in the UK : it has an aging profile and a falling membership with very little interest to the under forty age group.

    It is not unreasonable to hold the view The Orange Order are effected by the same factors. In addition since the UUP was in the main their political party and is now well out of power and hence is not a patronage source, the political attraction must have lessened too to a considerable extent.

    All of this points unfortunately points to more mundane reasons for decline of membership rather than a change of political heart!

  • alan56

    I agree DR but he just reminds me a bit of a younger John Major! Decent bloke…. but leader material? How would he fare in a head to head with PR or Arlene or even Jeffrey? Of course he may want to be leader of a united unionist party. I think he needs to make his pitch soon and explain his vision.

  • Drumlin Rock

    I think Tom can hold his own ok, he is as far from a soft touch like
    Major appeared to be.

  • Granni Trixie

    Surely anyone would want to know of a prospective UUP Leader where they stood on the OO and Tory issues?.

  • Munsterview

    Granni

    The impression down here is that the OO is essential for any Unionist Candidate expecting election, prospective leaders more so. How necessary is it?

  • midulsterunionist

    That’s awful as an orangeman i find it disgusting that anyone especially a unionist should tell me that I am not allowed to hold political office in our national assembly! We have rights too!

  • drumlins rock

    Trixie, I think Tom makes no apology for being a proud and active member of the OO in Fermanagh, but probably thinks party politics should be kept out of the Orange, and the OO kept out of party politics. As for the Tories, he prob is happy enough with most of the principles, but knows that it dosnt transfer very well outside of the Belfast suburbia yet, I think he will wait for the review and go with its views.
    Munster, OO membership is far from essential these days, and its main advantage for a candidate is the local profile and leadership experience it gives them, similar to the way trade unions and the Labour Party work. Remember Ken Maginniss Unionist MP was not an member, nor was Paisley. Things have come a long way from the UUP & OO being virtually one and the same. However for a Unionist to openly oppose the Orange would finish their career in pretty short time, which makes Seymour ideas look as if he is away with the fairies.

  • Munsterview

    I stand corrected if wrong, but in the early days did not Ian also form a breakaway Orange Order that operated parallel to the regular one ?

    What is the attitude of the OO to Roman Catholics these days; do they give it the same respect and esteem as the Reformed Churches ?

    “…….. Tom makes no apology for being a proud and active member of the OO in Fermanagh, but probably thinks party politics should be kept out of the Orange ……..”

    Surely the question posed for Nationalists and Republicans is the reverse, can the OO be kept out of party politics?

    The second question arising how can Tom outreach Unionism to Catholics while a prominent part of an organization that is vehemently anti-catholic beliefs to the point of where it is seen by outside observers as sectarian in its constitution and mentality ?

    Even if they wanted to, could a Roman Catholic join a branch of the Orange Order?

  • not slugger

    In deference to the fashion of interrogating party leaders here with a military history in our troubles, I would like to ask how many fenians, taigs, republicans did tom manage to shoot when he was a “soldier”?

  • Munsterview

    At least his millitary training should have skilled him in handling a gun, at least to the extent that unlike Enda Kenny he will not shoot himself in the foot every monday morning …. and a couple times during the week for good measure.!

  • dwatch

    Munsterview 25 June 2010 at 5:06 pm stated:
    ‘I stand corrected if wrong, but in the early days did not Ian also form a breakaway Orange Order that operated parallel to the regular one ?’

    No, that story that Ian Paisley formed a breakaway OO group is myth. Ian Paisley left the main Orange Order (formed in 1795) back in the early 1960’s. He became a member of the Apprentice boys but has never been a member of the Independant Orange Order.

    ‘The Independant Orange Order was formed in Ireland in 1903 by Tom Sloan and others associated with the Belfast Protestant Association, who had been expelled from the Orange Order when they voiced opposition to it being used for party political ends by Ulster Unionists’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Orange_Order

  • Munsterview

    Thanks for the info. !

    My terms may not be quite correct when I referred to the Independent Orange Order. Can I follow this through with you as it is important to appreciating some of Dr Paisley’s mindset and that of the DUP.

    When he left the Orange Order did he at any stage set up any kind or organization that carried on some of the ‘behind closed doors’ activities of the Orange Order ?

    Do you know if Dr Paisley was or is a Mason or what his attitude to the masonic movement generally is. Is there much of an interface with the Masonic Movement with the DUP.

    It is probable that some of the SDLP movers and shapers ( well…. let me rephrase that……of the SDLP that throw shapes….) are members of the Knights of St Columbanus.

    I do not know if any in SF actually are or if they have any specific policy on the matter. I suspect that if they are, that it is like gays in the US military……. a do not ask, do not tell policy operates !