Trevor Ringland to resign from UUP

The BBC are reporting that Trevor Ringland is to resign from the UUP. He apparently told Talkback that he “had taken the decision reluctantly to resign from the party”. Ringland had apparently had discussions with the party leader and said (of Tom Elliott): “I think that we both want the same things for the people of Northern Ireland, it is just how to bring that about is the challenge.”

Previously Ringland had said that Elliott was “…taking the party in a direction I’m not comfortable with”. Danny Kennedy seemed to try to leave the door open by saying that Ringland had made “a tactical error” and that it would be “a small step back” to making a return.

This seems about as good a job as the UUP could have made over this issue. Ringland was not really that major a figure in the party: his importance was more related to his previous rugby career. It is worth noting that he squandered the best chance the party had of taking a Westminster seat apart maybe from South Antrim and was beaten much more heavily than Reg Empey. His liberal unionism singularly failed to attract the people who wanted to give Peter Robinson a bloody nose and instead they went for Naomi Long. Whilst Long had a reputation for hard constituency work which Ringland could not hope to emulate (not being an elected representative) a more hard line UUP candidate might have made a more attractive home for the anti Robinson protest vote. Whatever the reasons for the defeat Trevor Ringland was the figure head of the largest loss of share of vote the UUP suffered (apart from North Down with Lady Hermon taking her vote with her).

In light of Ringland’s abject failure to gain any traction with the voters of East Belfast (only outshone in failure by the TUV), his demands on Tom Elliott to do as he (Ringland) wanted on attending GAA matches seemed pretty arrogant. Elliott had, rightly or wrongly, said he was not taking part in what he said he regarded as tokenism but highlighted his work in support of the GAA in his own constituency. Whatever way one cuts it any immediate change of mind by Elliott would have looked like a U turn forced by Ringland: Elliott would have looked weak and it would have looked like the tail wagging the dog.

Following Elliott’s meeting with Ringland, of course Ringland did not shut up but continued to make demands that Elliott attend GAA matches: he may have modulated the language a bit but the reality was that Ringland was still demanding Elliott make a U turn.

This episode will no doubt blow over and it may be in the fullness of time that Tom Elliott will attend a GAA match. However, for him to commit so public a U turn would have set a bad precedent at the start of his leadership and would have further inflated what looks in Ringland like a strong trait of self importance and petulance. The UUP may be holding the door ajar for Ringland to return but they might be well advised to be convinced that Trevor Ringland can be as effective a political team player as he was a rugby team player before they allow him back into any senior role within the party. Ringland himself once said of playing rugby: “We were a team, we worked together…. Those that don’t, fail.” Unfortunately for Mr. Ringland, he seems to have forgotten that the team is more important than the individual and hence, it is his self importance which seems to have ended his political career. Alternatively Ringland may go to the likes of Alliance where he would no doubt be welcomed but if he continues with his current style he will very probably be quietly sidelined.

  • Framer

    What nonsense about Tories leading gay pride parades. Has Cameron?

    As the conservative party their MPs have inevitably (except for brave or gay individuals*) in the most part voted against whatever gay reform is going through parliament (like the SDLP’s MPs).

    Tories would run a mile from any GAA match or related event quicker probably than Ulster Unionists.

    *Humphry Berkeley MP (Con. York) and Montgomery Hyde (UUP MP North Belfast) both paid for their courage in progressing gay law reform with the loss of their seats.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Framer,

    “Tories would run a mile from any GAA match or related event quicker probably than Ulster Unionists.”

    fyi Owen Patterson is a Tory.

  • Granni Trixie

    I must say that it is a mystery to me the amount of interest here in the Ringland debacle. Why?

  • Granni Trixie

    On the GAA. I grew up and worked in WB most of my life. As I was not interested in sport the GAA was a mystery to me. However my neighbours were heavily into it and I can categorily state that they never supported the IRA or SF.
    I am talkiing about the height of the troubles in a locality near Casement PK.

    This all says to me that without being a member of the GAA one cannot understand its diversity. But I certainly know that it is wrong to assume that the GAA= IRA or even SF.

  • Granni Trixie

    Progressive Unionist: well done. I believe you.

  • John East Belfast

    Granni

    “But I certainly know that it is wrong to assume that the GAA= IRA or even SF”

    Nobody is arguing that

  • Alias

    “Unionism needs to focus on what we have in common in the UK, not what divides us – that’s why Tom Elliott’s ideas of “Unionism”, with their exclusive (anti-gaa, anti-gay) connotations are so troubling. It’s just not British.”

    And what are others that are “just not British” such as the Irish? That doesn’t sound very inclusive, does it?

  • john

    Nice little article in the belfast telegraph website tonight with comments from the OO head. Does Tom Elliot really wanted to be associated with Robert Saulters?

  • Paul

    Has Cameron led a gay pride parade?
    No, he’s hosted a pre-Gay Pride garden party, will that do?

  • Framer

    So?

    He is SOSNI. He goes because he has to.

  • Framer

    Casement Park is named after a man hanged for treason.

  • GoldenFleece

    Paula Bradshaws blog on leaving the UUP

    http://paulabradshaw.wordpress.com/

  • Progressive Unionist

    Thanks Granni.

    I’ll probably end up voting for you at the rate Tom Elliott is going…

  • Progressive Unionist

    I am Pro-Union (100%) and I am Irish (100%) and I am British (100%).

    Forgive me if this hurts your preconceptions.

  • Progressive Unionist

    (for me the real divide now is not unionist/nationalist (settled by 1998 and St Andrews) but rather between divided society and shared society.

    I want a shared future. So do very many unionists. (And so do very many nationalists.)

  • Comrade Stalin

    Yes, he did. Why are people on Slugger having so much trouble understanding what Elliott is doing ?

  • sammymehaffey

    and do you ever feel that SF/IRA have tried to steal your Irishness? I do but they cant have it!

  • Progressive Unionist

    by Paula Bradshaw

    It would be safe to say that seven days ago if anyone had told me that I wouldn’t be through to the next round of the South Belfast selection process, and worse, that I would no longer have been a member of the Ulster Unionist Party I would have questioned their sanity. Yet that is what has happened because, during that week, it has become evident that the party and I are heading in opposing directions.

    The vast majority of comments I’ve seen about me have been positive, yet there have been some that claimed that I’ve walked off in a huff, asking what all the fuss is about. On that latter point I agree … the media really did blow the whole episode out of proportion.

    I didn’t leave the Party because it’s a ‘cold house’ for women; I didn’t leave because I wanted special dispensation in the selection process; and I didn’t leave because I was feeling marginalised because of my support for Basil in the leadership contest … I left because of my rejection by the selectorate of the party in South Belfast told me clearly that there is a mis-match between what I have to offer and what they were looking for.

    I put forward my offering as a progressive, pro-Union, community-based, moderate, and it was rejected … so I decided to leave the Party to seek out other activities and avenues where my skill-set could be put to better use.

  • Progressive Unionist

    it has become evident that the party and I are heading in opposing directions.

    Give me Paula Bradshaw over Tom Elliott any day of the week.

  • John East Belfast

    “I left because of my rejection by the selectorate of the party in South Belfast told me clearly that there is a mis-match between what I have to offer and what they were looking for..”

    not necessarily – it could be just the other candidates offered the same thing better ?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    What’s your point?

  • Framer

    All the other candidates were “progressive, pro-Union, community-based, moderates” so we are no further on.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Theoretically, yes.

    But I don’t think that’s what Paula believes has happened, do you?

  • GoldenFleece

    If she was told she is not what the UUP needed as a candidate, then what else could she do?

  • John East Belfast

    I wasnt there so I wouldnt know

  • Seymour Major

    “Tories would run a mile from any GAA match or related event quicker probably than Ulster Unionists”

    Framer will you stop framing. I’m a Conservative. I go to GAA matches. As a minimum, I go to Gaelic matches to support Fermanagh twice a year.

    I DONT HAVE TO GO

  • dwatch

    ‘It would be safe to say that seven days ago if anyone had told me that I wouldn’t be through to the next round of the South Belfast selection process, and worse, that I would no longer have been a member of the Ulster Unionist Party I would have questioned their sanity’. by Paula Bradshaw

    What complacency & naivety. Michael McGimpsey is the sitting MLA and minister for health, he was always going to be 1st choice. Mark Finlay took 2nd place with his professional presentation and excellent colour brochure. Michael Henderson took 3rd place because he already has political experience at local council level. All three produced lobbying brochures and sent letters out to members. Ms Bradshaw just took them for granted and didn’t even send a letter out to the association members prior to the selection meeting. Finally her presentation on the night was poor compared to the other three candidates.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Yes, but you’re not stupid.

  • Progressive Unionist

    “his… excellent colour brochure” -v- years of community work in working-class areas.

    “his… professional presentation”

    how nice it must be to have the nod of the Cabal.

  • USA

    Comrade Stalin,
    What about Sylvia Hermon?

  • USA

    Thanks Comrade,
    In the months ahead I will keep an eye on the “people who are friends with Sylvia” space as your contributions are usually insightful.

  • joeCanuck

    That’s a good point, Sammy. They have tried to hijack the idea of Irishness, the preoccupation with the Irish language, for example, actually hurting the interests of many who wish to speak it and get some State assistance to do so. Rather than that question being one of culture, it has become a political football with which to beat their “enemies”.
    And those “enemies” have fallen into the trap!

  • bob wilson

    oh bollocks we all know McG wanted her blocked and used henderson and Fiinlay to that end

  • bob wilson

    Owen doesnt have to go to GAA matches.
    He went because he wanted to the show LEADERSHIP

  • dwatch

    progressive Unionist 6 October 2010 at 12:27 am
    “his… excellent colour brochure” -v- years of community work in working-class areas.“his… professional presentation”…

    ‘how nice it must be to have the nod of the Cabal.’

    The cabal don’t operate within a grassroots association. They are above the grass roots. It was the cabal who gave Paula Bradshaw the nod when she stood during the UCUNF pact for Westminster election back in May. The association voted for Michael Henderson first (17 votes) and Paula was second (7 votes). The cabal controlled committee overuled the association and chose Bradshaw against Henderson to stand for election.

  • Dewi

    Explain please Tovarich – I’m bemused for one…

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    You have to laugh at the sheer silliness of the phrase “seek out other activities and avenues where my skill-set (sic) could be put to better use”.

    Hopefully this will NOT include a position on a new Quango appointed by a Conservative Secretary of State.
    Ms Bradshaw might well be advised to put her CV in the capable hands of Ms Felicity Houston, the Appointments person.
    Its now several months since I myself lodged my impressive skill set (I love that term) with Miss Houston. As of today I am still Quango-less. As we are told that there will be fewer quangos around, Id be mightily disappointed if Ms Bradshaw was appointed to one before me.

  • sammymehaffey

    Thank you dwatch for the facts. It is interestingto hear the unvarnished truth. If she indeed didnt make a proper effort but took selection for granted then she didnt deserve to win. If however she knew that McG had it in for her and that she had no chance that too could explain why she didnt make an effort. If you know you are playing against a stacked deck the sensible thing is to walk away.

  • Comrade Stalin

    As has been pointed out before, Paula is talking as if this is the first time she has failed to be selected and as if the discovery that South Belfast association didn’t want to support her is something new.

    The same “selectorate” rejected her candidacy for the Westminster election. Why didn’t she resign back then ?

  • Framer

    Getting a UUP constituency association to do what it is told is like herding cats.

    Your only chance of getting certain support is to bring your family along and most people don’t have enough to swing the vote.

  • dwatch

    Framer ‘Getting a UUP constituency association to do what it is told is like herding cats.’

    ‘Your only chance of getting certain support is to bring your family along and most people don’t have enough to swing the vote’.

    Reply: To true framer, nepotism & cronyism happens in many organisations & associations the UUP is no different. If members of a candidate’s family are fully paid up members of the SB association they are intitled to vote like all other members. Were the line is drawn is when a special committee is formed to select candidates then family members are not allowed on that committee.

    A good example to go by is a jury in a court of law.

  • GoldenFleece

    “Tories would run a mile from any GAA match or related event quicker probably than Ulster Unionists.”

    Emm Framer, didn’t the Tory NI secretary go to a GAA match recently to support Down?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    GoldenFleece,

    “Emm Framer, didn’t the Tory NI secretary go to a GAA match recently to support Down?”

    He’s been told that about twice already – but hasnt yet said – oh shit I got that wrong.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Billy,

    “It’d be more accurate to say that Casement Park was invaded by Sinn Féin and the GAA was absolutely incensed about it.”

    No, that would be inaccurate. Permission was sought from the Antrim board and permission was granted. After the event was picked up by the media the top brass then tried to distance themselves from the decision. But, the decision was made. Therefore, I’d say your defence of shirtgate has slightly frayed.

    My point on allegiance is that it is clear where that lies and it is most definitely not pro union. So, why the surprise over Elliot not attending.

    “cultural nationalism and political nationalism” are the same thing with the GAA. Read the official guide.

    “Take a look at the rugby crowd and see how they do it”

    I have. The Irish team has become the Republic of Ireland team. It always causes arguments on here so it’s obviously divisive. A better sport to pick would be hockey to see how they treat the flag/anthem issues. When was the last time you heard an argument about that? It’s not an issue and that’s the way it should be.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Congal,

    “It always causes arguments on here so it’s obviously divisive. A better sport to pick would be hockey to see how they treat the flag/anthem issues. When was the last time you heard an argument about that? It’s not an issue and that’s the way it should be.”

    I did a post a while back on the Rugby team and would be interested in hearing your views on how Hockey works as opposed to Rugby.

    Any chance you can add them to the post below for reference?

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2010/06/04/building-on-the-rugby-success-of-the-ireland-teams/

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Sammy,

    North and South merged in 2000. At the time the flag and anthem was a big issue because of the problems in rugby. So, they play under a four provinces emblem. Ireland’s Call is used as the anthem. I also believe NI players can either declare for the Republic or GB in the olympics but still play for Ireland in other competitions.

  • UUP Supporter

    The problem is that South Belfast has barely forty members, very easy to corner the market if your family / best buds make up more than half the membership.

    If Constuiency Associations cannot be bothered to promote membership then selction rights should be centralised.

    Is it possible that part of the UUP’s woes are due to individuals refusing new members to protect their guaranteed selection?

    Why does F&ST have 500 members and South Belfast have 40?

    Maybe the party need to sort out the fiefdoms and change how selections are made

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Thanks Congal didnt know that – seems like a sensible way option for Rubgy to take.

    I will add your comments on the post below.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2010/06/04/building-on-the-rugby-success-of-the-ireland-teams/

  • dwatch

    UUP supporter, that has already happened. Look at East Londonderry, although being selected first by the association David McClarty was de-selected by the committee in favour of Lesley Macaulay. South Belfast may go the same way. Who knows its all to come.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zqvW3cXu3WoJ:www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Veteran-UUP-MLA-fails-in.6518113.jp+east+londonderry+MLA+selection&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk

  • good post and you make some excellent points if you cast your mind back to the gen election paula bradshaw was way down the selection behind quite a few others who polled far better micheal henderson being one of them yet paula beadshaw got selected.micheal henderson didnt sulk and go off in a huff and leave and throw his toys out of the pram like paula bradshaw has micheal waited until the next selection and got stuck in.paula bradshaws time would of come her reasons for leaving are very very weak and perhaps shes not cut out for poltics after all.

  • just to add i just wished this had never happened paula bradshaw leaving i am gutted she should of being a uup candidate south belfast got it wrong.theres talk now what paula should do if shes goes anywhere i hope she goes to the alliance party

  • Granni Trixie

    Paul
    Sorry for your troubles.

    I wonder would PB be happy being an ‘ordinary’ member of any party, after all didnt she leave the UUP because she wasnt selected?

  • Comrade Stalin

    If Constuiency Associations cannot be bothered to promote membership then selction rights should be centralised.

    I completely agree, this is the way we did things in the old CPSU. The regional bodies couldn’t be trusted to return the correct results.

    Is it possible that part of the UUP’s woes are due to individuals refusing new members to protect their guaranteed selection?

    Yeah. Because we all know that in reality people are breaking the door down to join the UUP.

    Maybe the party need to sort out the fiefdoms and change how selections are made

    It’s great to see the October spirit live and well within the Ulster Unionist Party, with its newfound desire to embrace Leninist norms and cast aside the false bourgeous shackles of “democracy” and “choice”. You’ll recognize the truth, as I have, that to get things done you need a small committee with all the decisions taken by one man, with as little discussion or debate as possible. All power to the Soviets!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Paula Bradshaw could of course bring her “skill set” to the Alliance Party in South Belfast……but as Granni Trixie has observed Ms Bradshaw is hardly the sort to pay her dues delivering newsletters and writing envelopes.
    Of course she would actually be an asset to the AP if she was a proven vote winner…but on the contrary she is a proven vote loser.
    On Westminster 2010 form theres only 6,000 UUP votes in South Belfast. Some might be conservative but I doubt any represent personal votes for Bradshaw.
    Getting on the AP ticket with Lo (a proven vote winner and proven representative) would be a waste of time.
    East Belfast……she could sweet talk Naomi as presumably Long wont be standing and theres an excellent chance of a second seat there.
    Otherwise Ms Bradshaw looks like a beaten docket.
    Its almost a shame.

  • Granni Trixie

    Fine FJH1745 except for:

    1. according to APNI rules a prospective candidate has to live or work in the area,which may present a probelm

    2. She would have to do square bashing first. The 2 areas you mention already have several good people champing at the bit to be selected in local braches/constituences.

    3. Naomi has already been replaced as an MLA and as a Councillor after local selection process.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    1…..I always assumed Belfast was regarded as an exception as the area was small. Hasnt Ms Hendron stood in various parts of Belfast? Certainly “live or work” (and I assumed it was “live” anyway is a bit flexible)
    But presumably Ms Bradshaw has entrée into Belfast suburbia.

    2……presumably there will only be one AP person the ticket in South Belfast and already selected? Who else is chomping on the bit there?
    East Belfast……the new MLA is Mr Lyttle (sorry I forget his first name at the moment) so presumably hes on the ticket for next year. Is there a second already selected?

    But as Ive indicated on previous threads…..all these “would be defectors” are all individuals and need to be treated individually. Some bring something. Some bring nothing except an inflated view of their skills.
    Getting the individuals is of much less importance than mopping up the “liberal unionist” disenchanted voters.
    Of the 6,000 UUP votes in South Belfast….Id reckon 25% are up for grabs ……which makes Anna Los position much better than in 2007. She has of course worked hard to make her own position much better.

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH: You are right,there are ways around some rules. I suppose the rationale behind the living and working rule is that a prospective candidate has a connection to the area and therefore familiar with relevant issues.

    A current process of selection In apni includes strategic decisions such as how many candidates will contest particular areas.That is why I indicate that there are candidates lining up in several areas though ofcourse
    ‘sitting tenants’ presumably have the advantage.
    Candidates in the areas you refer to have not yet been selected.

    Someone who joins APNI as a dissisident from UUP say could therefore not assume that they are a shoo in for much sought after positions. As you say however it is voters who are the real prize from any party going through a bad patch or in terminal decline.

    BTW, Chris Gibson is the person who has replaced Naomi as MLA (following selection process) as did Lorna as a Councillor in BCC (not sure of her second name …is it McEvoy?). Very pleasing however that although relatively young (23) she got interested in politics whilst attending an integrated school. A dream narrative, from my perspective.

  • Progressive Unionist

    “Someone who joins APNI as a dissisident from UUP say could therefore not assume that they are a shoo in for much sought after positions.”

    Absolutely, completely understandable. You may wish to strike a balance though between that and possibly giving an impression that any defector would need to be square bashing for 15 years or more to stand a chance of selection (and I’m honestly not flying a flag for anyone in saying that – i’m just sayin’…) 🙂

    Nor, to be honest, are there that many medium/high profile UUP figures worth the parachuting… the UUP hasn’t exactly done a great job of cultivating it’s younger (i.e. under 55!) members, let alone it’s moderate members… and to be young and moderate in the Cabal’s UUP is to be doubly-cursed….

    As you say however it is voters who are the real prize from any party going through a bad patch or in terminal decline.

    Again, very true. And unless Alliance make an uncharacteristic stuff-up, or Tom Elliott undergoes a road-to-Damascus transformation, I think next May’s results will tell a tale.

    although relatively young (23) she got interested in politics whilst attending an integrated school. A dream narrative, from my perspective.

    Ah, wonderful stuff. My kingdom for a unionist party that believed in integrated education, or that could inspire young people in such a way.

    *sigh*

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I thought the East Belfast guy was called Lyttle or Little.
    No matter.
    Yes the “living and working” thing is a bit flexible. As I recall one or two of the AP candidates west of the Bann in May were not actually on the register in that area. I used to have the “runners and riders” as well as the 10 backers saved in documents….always makes for interesting reading as to who is backing or pointedly not backing a candidate.
    As I recall these west of bann people quite properly played up any the local connexion.
    The thankless task west of bann isnt actually thankless at all as it gets brownie points when these folk try for a winnable seat.

    The “liberal unionist” of course wont die out even if UUP is not a fitting home for them any more. Yes we can agree the voters are the main prize for AP here…even if it takes an electoral cycle to claim it.
    It is I suggest…..allowing for individual cases of course……to do WITHOUT the angst ridden prima donnas like Ringland, Parsley, Bradshaw and others.

  • USA

    That’s right Paul, you and others were giving me dogs abuse, claiming that I didn’t know what I was talking about. Well, the Yank knows more than most. Sometimes Unionists over there can’t see the woods for the trees. Your posts are a case in point. I honestly think Unionism has it’s head in the sand half the time. Tommo is a result of this affliction.

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH: I stand corrected, ofcourse Chris Lyttle replaced Naomi at Stormont – and it was Laura McNamee who replaced her at BCC. Sorry.