“his Fermanagh location”

Over on his threethousandversts blogspot Chekov has started the discussions on the UUP leadership race, although mainly speculating on a third “mystery Candidate” he also takes his first swipe at the two probable candidates, mentioning perception of McCrea as wishy-washy and Elliott’s Orange and unionist unity baggage, these points will be argued, debated and clarified in great detail in the next few weeks I am sure, so we will avoid them here for now.

However the third issues that Chekov raised concerning Elliott caught my eye “his Fermanagh location”, really? is the fact a politician lives more than an hour from Belfast an issue in this day an age?  we can just about tolerate the “anti-cultchie” abuse from Nolan, directed at anyone outside the commuter belt (abuse if directed at any other group would quickly get him booted of the air) but should it be a factor in choosing the leader of a political party?

Maybe I’m reading too much into those three words, but over the years I have witnessed far too often an urban mentality that has little perception of life outside of the city, sometimes when I mention I’m from Tyrone I ask have you ever been there?   unfortunately only about half of  “city folk”  say they have, once or twice, and occasionally add that it was on their way to Ballymena or Newry.

We all know there are cultural differences between Fermanagh and Belfast which go much further than an accent or tone of speech, but overtime just as we have got used to the Belfast & Derry urban whines, I think the townies can learn to cope with a country drole, much easier on the ear if nothing else!  So I hope that whatever his location is the new leader will be someone who is familiar with whole of Northern Ireland and who can be just as home in a mart or a art gallery.

  • cj

    Maybe the problem with ‘his Fermanagh location’ is not the fact he is more than an hour from Belfast but rather that he won’t be able to get any post, apply for a mortgage, take out a mobile phone contract, get a credit check or just on a day-to-day basis be able to provide evidence that he exists, given Fermanagh District Council still refuses to bring the county in line with the rest of the NI/ UK and provide residents with a postcode. Although, being party leader probably could help with some of the problems listed above…

  • DR – you are, I think, reading too much into those three words. Firstly, they are not intended as comment, so much as reportage. I have heard concerns about Elliott’s location, and the possible emphasis it might bring to the UUP, expressed. Personally I don’t think that distance from Belfast, which in my experience can be closer to two hours than one, is not an issue. Accent is all but irrelevant (it’s not too extreme). The more traditional hue of unionism in border areas, which actually links in to the points about unity and Orangeism, I do think relevant. I also believe that there are areas that the Ulster Unionists should be targeting in terms of their comeback and few are in the west of the province.

  • *I don’t think that distance is an issue.

  • alan56

    I do not think that geography is the issue at all. Fermanagh has been very successful in terms of providing senior unionist leaders. (Brookeborough and West come to mind). What Elliot has to do is prove that he is able to get UU votes in Bangor, Ballymena and Belfast to name a few. He also has to define his relationship with OO, Conservatives and ‘unionist unity’.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Chekov, sorry for singling your post out and using it as the example, just seemed to sum up an impression I get sometimes. The cultural differences are real particularly on an issue like the OO, so long as it isn’t automatically presumed that the city view is “progressive” and the country view out of date.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Basil (if he stands) has also to answer the same questions 🙂

  • No way Jose

    shows how far the UUP have fallen when all they have to chose from is Elliott or McCrea

  • alan56

    Absolutely DR. He has also to reassure ref the ‘style over substance’ issue. Do you think there will be another contender?

  • spige

    The third ‘mystery’ candidate has been revealed as sluggerotoole’s liberal nice guy, Alan Maskey.

  • andnowwhat

    I hope Basil gets it (though I doubt he will). He’ll be a leap forward in unionism if he can take his party with him.

    Mainstream republicanism has made the leap, Alliance are back in the game to an extent, loyalism tried to move forward.

    There’ll be a new generation of SF through soon enough and unionism will no longer be able to throw the historical brickbats at them, unionism needs to start now for that day.

  • joeCanuck

    No it’s not. It’s SOT’s Greenflag! (see chutzpah thread).

  • Border Prod

    The real issue is not Mr Elliott’s distance from Belfast but Mr McCrea’s distance from Fermanagh.

  • Framer

    The UUP is dominated by Fermanagh in terms of money and members and barely exists in those terms in Belfast. That is the reality.

    It is important at least to hang on to rural support rather than appear pc and fail to pick up the city liberals.

  • Drumlin Rock

    with regards the town country thing, obviously a leader will spend much if not most of his working hours in greater belfast, and will pick up much of the views of people there, with the advantage of a fresh perspective even, but it dosnt work vice versa.

  • Skintown Lad

    That’s an interesting view Drumlins. Are you saying Fermanagh people find it easier to understand and empathise with a city perspective than say a Belfast person would find trying to empathise with Fermanagh folk? Or are you just saying that a Belfast person would spend less time in Fermanagh than a Fermanagh person would in Belfast?

  • Drumlin Rock

    mainly the latter, but do think country adapts to town quicker than town to country.

  • To revert to the valid point in Drumlins Rock</b's original post:

    I, for one, would feel there is a growing disconnect that occurs somewhere near where the M1 enters green fields. Alan56 nails it: either the UUP regain traction in Belfast, Bangor and even Ballymena (there is a hierarchy of improbability there) or they slip further into irrelevance.

    Equally, for the first time in decades, there is no significant challenge from the Right (with no apology to the ghost of TUV). Could it be that be are seeing that realignment? No more Peter Punts, more pragmatic Petes?

  • Sorry!

    Again: bring back our edit facility!

  • Greenflag

    I hereby appoint Malcom Redfellow as the designated leader of CREEF or the Campaign for the Restoration of the Efficient Editing Facility on slugger 😉

    Seems not unreasonable imo ?

  • Drumlin Rock

    dont go appointing anyone yet Greenflag, you have been elected leader!

  • joeCanuck

    Is there any truth to the rumour that a certain personage has been reading many biographies of W.Churchill in an attempt to determine if there is a key insight on how to successfully re-rat?