Another week, another defection

Readers will probably be aware that  the DUP have gained another defection from the UUP. Deputy Mayor, Harry Dunlop, has defected saying that the party no longer represented the Unionist values he believed in. Last month Castlereagh Deputy Mayor, David Drysdale, also left the party arguing he has difficulty with UUP policy.

Since being elected as the Leader of the UUP back in September Tom Elliott has presided over the resignation of three of their Conservative and Unionist Westminster candidates; Harry Hamilton, Paula Bradshaw and Trevor Ringland. Local Councillors are viewed to represent the ‘grassroots’ of your party, so what next for Mr Elliott? Are we witnessing a grassroots rebellion four months into his Leadership?

I think the question that Tom Elliott has to find the answer to is: what is the UUP about now? The party have lost their way, joined forces with the Tories but have still been unable to define what they are post-2003. They have failed to convince the electorate that they are still relevant. Four months in, the second Leader since David Trimble and he has failed to define the UUP. Is the end near for the UUP?

  • Cynic2

    “Tom Elliott has to find the answer ……… ”

    Ha ha ….. its the way you tell ’em

  • David Drysdale, the Swish Family Robinson, Sharon Skillen and the Hanwood Trust. What an eclectic mix. Does Drysdale have a pedigree to match the other three?

  • Andrew, your name is linked by Google to John Finlay (flickr), DUP councillor for Ballymoney Borough Council. His former DUP colleague, Bill Kennedy, has moved via Independent to become a UUP councillor and MLA candidate.

  • andnowwhat

    So, whatever happened to the UUP’s non sectarian agenda?

    Oh, that’s right….Tom Elliot.

    Are there really enough Elliot minded voters out there to support the party?

    In fairness, it’s none of my business as a nationalist but I do worry about moderate unionists. Are they meant to convert to voting for the yound earth party?

  • Cynic2

    “Are there really enough Elliot minded voters out there to support the party?”

    …. he says it’s fine and dandy in Fermanagh

  • andnowwhat

    That’s great then Cynic.

    Think I’ll just ask me missus and the wee girl if they’ll vote for me and judge that as a political mandate if they say yes then.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    That he rose to the top is damning of the party, I’m afraid.

    Moderate unionists have to vote Alliance these days really.

  • Should Peter Robinson invite Jackie McDonald and his UDA colleagues for a round of golf at Knock Golf Club? It’s claimed some loyalist votes in Belfast are going to SF rather than to the DUP and other Unionist parties. Perhaps Nationalist wining and dining is reaping dividends.

  • Sean Og

    According to BBC Harry Hamilton has joined Alliance.

  • cynic49

    Amazing how all these defections take place with a few elections on the horizon. They couldn’t be driven by personal ambition rather than personal conviction? Could they?

    I think that a Unionist of any degree would continue to consider a vote for the Alliance Party a wasted vote. Watch out for the lowest turnout ever in a NI election next May. Indifference will be the winner. Wish we had a “none of them” box on the ballot paper. Now that would be worth nipping out of the bookies to cast a vote.

  • andnowwhat

    Yeah, Harry is on the radio now talking about it.

    Asked if the Alliance were unionist enough he said that as a party that supports the GF/SA agreement, the union is assured under the agreemnets and he/they wish to concentrate on “real” politics.

    In fairness, he should have gone there in the first place.

  • cushyglenn

    there is noone more amused at the shennanigans of the UUP post GFA than I, but it really does bemuse me – and if I’m honest, it actually offends me too- that all these recent converts to the party are defecting in droves when their personal ambitions are thwarted. Politics is about service, and there’s no divine right to office. And inevitably there will be a lot of the old guard who won’t go quietly or quickly. But the party is so anaemic now that 40 members could easily take over any constituency association- how hard can it be for an ambitious politico to organise that?

    I understand that it must be soul destroying to see the children who when in the UUP dragged down Trimble now reappearing as ( fairly unimpressive) MLAs on the DUP benches. But as the roles of the 2 Unionist parties have reversed, so the lessons of the DUP’s spell as second fiddlers oght to be learned. They overtook the UUP through years of better service to their constituents, and not worrying about the message.