The Curse of a Slugger?

I’m sure its not our fault, having never happened before that I know off, but it seems one of our winners has, subsequent to receiving the nomination, been unceremoniously dumped from political office.

Although not actually named it is widely acknowledged that Cllr. Philip Weir from Craigavon was the main organiser of last years DUP conference, introducing the innovations that secured the event success in the  “Creative Engagement” category on Thursday evening.

As one of the judges I was impressed, and to be honest envious, when I heard from those who had attended the conference, the idea of allowing outsiders to express their views at a DUP conference still seems unbelievable to many of us, whereas the simple task of encouraging proper engagement with the “stall holders” sounded like good manners and common sense  often neglected in politics.

A Slugger award in itself does not I imagine carry much weight in the DUP, but the achievements it recognised would normally further the career of the winner, instead of rewarding Cllr. Weir, his local association has dumped him! with an additional blow being given by the adjoining members in Banbridge who also rejected his nomination.

We have all heard of “a prophet being without honour in his own home” and maybe someone of influence locally dosn’t much care for the new “touchy feely DUP”, but it must be a massive blow for the guy, who up to a year or so ago many believed was on his way to the assembly, instead to be dumped from office and relegated to the sidelines.

Politics is a rough game, but the lowest blows almost always come from those closest to home, from the days of Caesar and just as much with today’s political parties the old guard return to restore the old ways over time.  In the next few weeks we may see how further selections, in both our top parties, indicate a start to that swing back to the core support.  In the meantime I just wonder will the DUP conference have the same format next year?

  • cynic49

    I thought that the DUP usually washed their dirty linen in private? Seems they have the same internal and petty differences that all the parties enjoy. Yes even the APN!

    The bottom line is they are human after all. Will Mr Weir jump to the home of waifs and strays?

  • pippakin

    He was a worthy winner. This gives the impression that the old guard are attempting to shove their future under the bus of progress rather than on it.

  • Cynic2

    Cant have any innovation here or anyone capable showing up the local party ‘leadership’

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I thought that Philip Weir was a certainty to replace David Simpson as MLA and was surprised when DUP chose Anderson, who is not exactly charismatic….although charisma is very over-rated. Ive managed without it.
    But Weir always seemed very visible …in the background at any DUP cluster on TV News. A bit like that young student lad from South Belfast was a few years back.

    It would be nice to know which way Moutray, Simpson and Anderson voted at the selection meeting. Maybe they saw him as having a lean and hungry look.
    The lesson of Assembly 2010 Election is likely to be a few cases of parties going with two candidates or three to win one or two seats respectively and the “better known” candidate getting squeezed out…for example a few years ago Dara O’Hagan in Upper Bann lost out to John O’Dowd. Chris Lyttle in East Belfast might well lose out to Ms Cochrane.

    So professional politicians with several years experience in Assembly and councils have a vested interest in keeping young Turks under control.
    But long term it may not do Mr Weir a lot of harm. Having a Craigavon AND Banbridge base might be to his advantage in four years.
    Its generational in another sense.
    All the local parties…..with the arguable exception of the UUP have become more professional. And theres a growing number of people who are making careers in and around political parties as staffers and campaigners without actually ever doing the heavy lifting of council work. So there is a fault line between long term councillors/MLAs and young guns checking on the blood pressure of the oldies.
    Weir ……who Drumlins Rock (a judge!!! ….Im outraged at not being invited to judge ;)) believes is a Slugger favourite fits the bill of “staffer”. The curse of “Slugger”?
    Was Gerry Lynch (an AP staffer and one time prospective candidate for a safe seat) a Slugger favourite? Was he also ousted by a coup from the AP old guard? Or was it… Drumlins Rock might say……the curse of Slugger O’Toole?

  • Drumlins Rock

    At least one of our other decisions has got further recognition, Darragh Mcintyres report on Mrs Robinson winning in Dublin,

  • CliffNI

    Philip`s problem was that he thought he could trust his DUP colleagues. Davy Simpson and Moutray rule the roost in Upper Bann and Philip forgot that at his peril. Maybe this a shot across Robinson`s bows from the Paisleyite wing of the party.

    Having lost out in Banbridge and Craigavon, would Lisburn DUP be any keener to take Philip on board?

  • Turgon

    I know Dr. Weir (unlike some others he assuredly deserves the title of Doctor) and regard him very highly. Unlike a number of politicians or wannabe politicians in NI Philip has made significant sacrifices to be a politician. Had he remained a hospital doctor or had he become a GP he would be paid significantly more and have vastly more job security than he could ever have as a special adviser or even as an elected politician.

    It is also noteworthy that despite his obvious irritation over this that he has not flounced out of his party like several members of the UUP. A number of the significantly less talented though much more self important UUP people who left after failing to be selected have made nothing like the sacrifices Philip has to become a political representative. They have either had much less good careers or have kept their career and used a (in the event failed) political career as a vanity project to maintain their pseudo celebrity status and assuage their mid life crisis.

    Of course Jim Allister is another who has made significant personal and financial sacrifices to be involved in front line politics.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    “Of course Jim Allister is another who has made significant personal and financial sacrifices to be involved in front line politics”.

    Is he still involved in front line politics? Hardly.
    In that sense Philip Weir DOES have a lot in common with Jim Allister.

    And a mid life crisis is a wonderful thing. Mine started forty years ago and Im still enjoying it.

  • Another disgruntled rejected Dupe this morning and looks like he will be taking the “flounce” option:

  • vanhelsing

    Ah to flounce or not to flounce, whether tis nobler in the mind…sorry.

    Yip selection meetings can be contenious – especially when they deselect!

  • Another problem for the party is developing in Lagan Valley. Jetting in a candidate for the assembly who has only been in the party a matter of months hasn’t gone down too well with the ‘jeffrey faithful’

    Wouldn’t surprise me if there are two councillors leaving the party pre-election to run as independents or head in the TUV direction (funny though, if this was the UUP it would be common knowledge by now at least duppers keep it in house)

  • Drumlins Rock

    Dupper, the UUP have virtually all of their selections done and a few unhappy bunnys have hopped away, the DUP seem to be only selecting now would I be right in saying? The perception of a resurgence of the traditional wing is also being suggested.

  • CliffNI

    With Philip Weir and now DUP Councillor Rodway being placed in their respective ejector seats and launched into the political ether, it may bring a few uncomfortable days ahead for the Robinson machine. Rodway has claimed that he was stitched up by a group within the DUP “with a narrow view of politics and religion” because he is agnostic. Robinson`s attempts to portray his party as a new Alliance may have raised the hackles of others within his party. These ejections may be the result.

  • Indeed the uup seem to be on the ball this time round re: selections only being outdone in the speed race by the alliance party. media has had its fun with the uup, I am sure some journos will be working overtime on the dup stories now as well – many of which are more substantial than your flash harrys/dunlops or bradshaws of this world.

  • CliffNI


    Not so sure that the DUP selection stories will generate any stories. It will depend on whether any of the local journos have the nerve for it. Based on the BBC`s Robinson love-in, that`s debatable. The DUP have learnt a lot from Sinn Fein and have tended to send some of the hacks to Siberia if they don`t play ball.

    The Alliance and Harry Hamilton story still has a few miles to go yet. According to a newspaper story, Banbridge Councillor Sheila McQuoid has been nominated to stand at the Assembly elections in Upper Bann by the local Alliance association. What the Alliance Leadership has to say about this is another matter.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Actually CliffNI.thats a little bit unfair to the AP in Upper Bann.
    Since Westminster and the fall out from so called “liberal unionists” I have been pointing out that the defectors, a mixed bag of talents, might be fast tracked. To their credit the AP have (so far at least) not fast tracked anyone. (at least not in the short term).
    There is no doubt a good principle at work here. Alliance DO have a brand and its right and proper that the newbies prove their worth.
    I think its also understandable that there would be certain internal tensions (which AP would of course understandably deny) about new high profile members.
    So far AP have handled the situation very well.
    If Ms Bradshaw had any Assembly ambition or council ambition THIS time round it seems to have been cut off. I think thats the right thing for the specifics of South Belfast……although I wonder if West Belfast has been selected yet……where Ms Bradshaw would only have a short journey from the Village.
    Im tempted to think that Ms Bradshaws future lies in service on a public board rather than in electoral politics. It is her misfortune that those places to which she has a connexion or possible connexion (South Belfast, East Antrim & North Down) are already well served by AP and leading politicians there will be looking to their own records (rightly) and indeed their protegés four four or eight years time.
    Upper Bann is a different story. Sheila McQuaid in Banbridge is as far as I know the only AP councillor in Banbridge or Cragavon and polled less than 2% last time out.
    In Westminste 2010 they had an excellent candidate from outside the constituency in Brendan Heading who added one per cent and polled around 1,200 votes. By any standards a respectable showing.
    It would seem a retrograde step therefore to nominate Ms McQuaid this time around as Harry Hamilton is presumably available. Of course only nine months ago the local AP and Hamilton were canvassing against each other and I fully understand that it might be too “soon” but logic dictates that Hamilton should be fast tracked and it would actually add to AP standing…..pssibly even a seat.
    The challenge for AP is to extend its voter base. Despite the hype East Derry & North Belfast are long shots.Upper Bann is a gift horse which cant be overlooked, even for local sensibilities.

    Clearly Im not a big fan of fast tracking… would be detrimental to AP young Turks such as Heading, Muir, Curran, McGrellis & Bower…..but it makes a certain sense in Upper Bann.
    Of course maybe Harry Hamilton does not want to be a MLA.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Your probably right FJH, Harry definately looks as if he has give up on being an MLA, after all he joined the Alliance party.