Tom Elliott has won with a comfortable majority. His supporters will be travelling back home to Fermanagh with a feeling of contentment that it was a job well done. Basil and his supporters can take some comfort from his 31.4% share of the vote, which was in his zone of acceptability.
The campaign highlighted the need for the UUP to take their brake off and shift out of reverse. Basil’s supporters will be desperately hoping that the party machine doesn’t forget that victory for Tom – particularly by such a decent margin – doesn’t mean that the issues around the party’s strategy and standing in the wider community have gone away. To survive and remain credible and influential in local politics, the UUP will need to stop the modernisers from giving up on the party and politics … or worse still, taking their energy and talents elsewhere.
The DUP will be happy tonight. Alliance will be happy that the UUP won’t be steering too far into their centre ground. And the SDLP will be upset that they’ll still not have a credible ally in the centre ground – the UUP and SDLP tend to succeed together and fail together.
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about, reports from, live-tweets and live-streams civic, academic and political events and conferences. He delivers social media training/coaching; produces podcasts and radio programmes; is a FactCheckNI director; a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland; and a member of the Corrymeela Community.