UUP’s unforced errors could undermine its own campaign…

Stephen Nolan is having a ball with the gift that keeps on giving, aka the Ulster Unionist party. David McNarry (whose base in Strangford probably wants a few dog-whistle issues like the OFMdFM non issue) has accused two party colleagues (John McCallister, South Down and Basil McCrea, Lagan Valley) of disloyalty.

All three told Nolan they thought the issue of Martin McGuinness becoming First Minister was a non issue (because it ain’t going to happen), and yet here they are ripping each other apart within days of the start of the election campaign pulling each other’s political wings off.

Like Fianna Fail’s campaign in March, this is about constituency first politics. In the UUP, it is every man for himself. And that may just provide us with some of the election campaign’s most entertaining colour.

  • Sean Og

    How it all went wrong

    (by Michael Kerr, The Belfast Telegraph)

    The 2005 General Election left the Ulster Unionist Party politically decimated in its centenary year with only one UUP MP returned to Westminster. In a new book, Transforming Unionism, Michael Kerr who has worked for the party since 1999 and was part of its campaign team in this year’s crucial election, examines what went wrong – and what must be done to put it right.

    Has anyone at UUP HQ ever read this?

    The campaign hasn’t even officially started and they have starting shooting each other in the foot.

    Sean Og

  • Sean Og

    Now the UUP special advisor at Stormont Dr Brian Crowe has been sacked by Danny Kennedy.

    Some details on BBC.

  • Mr Fealty is right.
    David McNarry is more worried about Mike Nesbitt being First (and only) UUP MLA for Strangford than he is about Martin McGuinness being First Minister.
    But surely the person to get a quote from is the same Mike Nesbitt. So Nolan was interviewing the wrong people.
    Does he agree with his party colleagues John McCallister ad Basil McCrea that it is a non issue or agree with party colleague/running mate David McNarry that it is.
    Nesbitt has heard enough politicians stonewalling over the years to compose a non-answer. Nesbitt is probably now happy to be the leading UUP man in Strangford.

  • Cynic2

    He had to go _ the Fermanagh Orange Weemin’s Guild would expect nothing less.

  • Cynic2

    “David McNarry is more worried about Mike Nesbitt being First (and only) UUP MLA for Strangford than he is about Martin McGuinness being First Minister.”


  • The longer the unionists of whatever hue carry on with this speculating about the what to do about the FM if SF get it, is showing their electorate that they are not serious public figures, and in the process whipping up apathy among unionist voters. They risk bringing about the outcome they fear by turning off their target electors. They are fast rendering satire redundant here..

  • Cynic2


    Come on now. You go too far.

    The UUP don’t do colour except perhaps for a bilious orange that looks like Suki that has gone off

  • Nordie Northsider

    If the Ulster Unionists keep marching towards their own destruction we’ll have Unionist unity by default.

  • 2 frys 2 teas

    For the UUP it seems like at each election another phase of the ‘self destruct policy’ is implemented…. this surely must be a policy – it has to be…. as it appears to be followed quite closely and in terms of marks out of 10 for meeting targets they are at least at an 8.

    48 hour progress report:
    Resignation of senior party member
    Dismissal of top advisor to Danny Kennedy
    On air in-fighting between MLA’s

    The contrast between the UUP and the DUP could not be greater.

  • Eglise en bois

    I often wondered why the DUP have no policies and need to principles to get elected.

    The UUP are such a shambles thier policies and principles – which on some occasions they have – are lost in the fog of incompetance, arrogance and plain stupidity.

    All the DUP have to do is stick together and say nothing – even thouigh they are cr*p

  • Eglise en bois

    sorry, crap typing by me

    I often wondered why the DUP have no policies and need no principles to get elected.

    The UUP are such a shambles their policies and principles – which on some occasions they have – are lost in the fog of incompetence, arrogance and plain stupidity.

    All the DUP have to do, is stick together and say nothing – even though they are cr*p

  • andnowwhat

    Do the UUP not have some old, senior member(s) who can stop this mess? The worst thing is that they have VERY good politicians but they being ignored.

    The whole debacle is a real watch from behind the sofa job.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Story’s over, Tom has had a word with the three of them, and they have promised to be good boys from now on, rumours that they each have to write ” I will no talk to Nolan” 1000 times are probably exagerated.

  • andnowwhat

    DR, the chances of keeping Mc Narry and Mc Crea off the airwaves are somewhere between nil and sod all.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    The reason the UUP want the OFMdFM issue/non issue to be an issue is that they can (reasonably) lay the blame at the door of the DUP.

    To be fair if you havent got anything else then it is better than nothing and we have the same story from the the TUV http://www.tuv.org.uk/press-releases/view/1059/tuv-meets-secretary-of-state.

    So the DUP are being ambushed by two electorally diminutuve foes brandishing the same weapon who appear – so far at least – to be in more danger of injuring themselves.

    … the UUP may be keeping thier powder dry over the parading issue which the DUP heralded as their secret plan and clever trick and which rather blew up in their face – I presume Jimbo at least will be preparing that issue for another airiing.

    Hopefully, though, we can have a good honsest, no holes barred, three way Unionist dog fight – as we have become accustomed to in recent times.

  • john

    Every day some new implosion in the UUP but today we have had 3. Can the party take any more of a beating? Will there be anyone left in the party for the election? Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode of UUP (Utterly Useless Party)

  • Henry94

    Sammy Mc Nally

    The reason the UUP want the OFMdFM issue/non issue to be an issue is that they can (reasonably) lay the blame at the door of the DUP.

    But surely the only people the issue works for are the DUP. If you worry about MMcG being FM then you have to vote DUP. And now thanks to the UUP the DUP don’t even have to be the ones to say it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Exactly Henry (though it also works for SF).

    UTV led this evening with three different UUP stories. Robinson’s view of Martin’s generous offer was that he was ‘considering’ it. He then followed up with a sharp, “he’s been considering some things I put to him four years ago, and I’m still waiting”.

  • Mick Fealty


    Powder, what (dry) powder would that be?

  • Drumlins Rock

    look on the bright side of things, 3 in one day is better than 3 over 3 weeks! honest!

    Mick/Sammy the parading issue is more a case of dampening the DUP’s power on the subject, I doubt it is going to be a doorstep talking point tbh.

  • alan56

    Big challenge here for Tom, but also an opportunity. Stamp his authority and he could gain. Let it all drift and he and his party will sink further. He chose John McCallister as his deputy, will he now standby him?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    re. dry powder.

    The UUP claimed that they were writing to the Orange Lodge (that is Tommo the Orangemen writing to himself – a la Gerry having a word with the AC) to check if the DUP’s claim of consullting with the OO on the parades issue could be verified. The UU suggestion being that DUP (and SF) had given birth to a parading plan which suited SF more than the OO.

    … but Tommo never got back to us on that suggesting that the DUPs secret plan and clever trick did in fact work by pushing the parading issue into the ditch.

    But has Tommo got an ace up his sleeve? Disappointingly probalby not – but he could publish the reply from the OO – though perhaps I missed it.


    “But surely the only people the issue works for are the DUP”

    That is only reason we can conclude that the DUP gifted this issue to SF – the poterntial advantage to the UUP is to point out that the DUP actually made a pig’s Mickey out of the negotiations or did a Lundy to save thier own electoral hide.

    Obviously Jimbo (TUV) will be playing big on this DUP feck-up – he will probably also run with the parading issue and the dysfunctional-anti-democratic-terrorists-in-Stormo angle.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s not really a dog fight. It’s a fight between a pitbull (the DUP), a three-legged chihuahua (the UUP) and an irritating yappy yorkshire terrier (TUV). I doubt that the DUP will get drawn into this debate at all – much easier to let the UUP continue along the path to self destruction.

    I really doubt that the egos involved here will pipe down if they have been instructed to do so by Tom. Slasher McNarry and Basil “calculator” McCrea love the sound of their own voices on Nolan.

  • Hopping The Border

    2 frys 2 teas – very good!

  • andnowwhat

    Somewhere, possibly in a hall of some sort, Tommo sits with the caustic scent of perming lotion in the air, surrounded the good people of a forgotten “Ulster” who will praise his Napoleonic tactical genius.

    He will go to bed and sleep well in the belief that the biddys represent all true unionists, unaware that the rest of “Ulster” is laughing at him, his “leadership and the bulk of his party.

    Night, night Tommo, milking in the morning

  • iluvni

    Personally I am more interested in whether Peter Robinson now considers Martin McGuinness his ‘friend’, than to worry about the in-fighting between those 3 UUP dickheads.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    There clealry is a discipline problem in the UUP – herding of cats and all that – but I dont believe Tommo is as dull as he seems.

    He probably knew well that his job as UUP leader was one of the management of decline and he is no doubt proud to be the leader of a once great party – rather like leasing a stately home and relaxing and enjoying the trappings.

    There is always a chance that the roof wont actuallly fall in whilst he’s there and I guess he reckons that it is better to have stayed there even if the glory days are long gone.

    But fair play to Tommo, he looks happy in his work and somebody had to do it after the unfortunate Wee Reggie looked across the Irish sea in vain for salvation whilst the locals slipped out the back door.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The interview is on iplayer here. The Slasher McNarry car crash starts about 52 minutes in :


    This sequence really has to be heard to be believed. This isn’t just a disagreement – McNarry launches into what can only be described as an uncontrolled and furious outburst. It’s almost sad to hear someone completely lose the plot on air like that. Nolan laps it up, repeating his words back to him and replaying clips of the comments of McCrea and McAlister that made McNarry so infuriated in the first place.

    I knew the UUP were imploding but it’s happening faster than I expected. They’re on track to lose at least half of their seats.

  • andnowwhat


    That is one way to look at it. Another is that people who have perspective and know what is going on in NI are trying to save the party (and themselves of course).

    Yes, Nc Crea is a lose cannon but Mc Narry is something else (when he told Gerry Kelly on the Politics Show that he wanted to punch him I laughed harder than I have for years). It wasa hardly a lifetime ago that the UUP said they wanted to be a non sectarian party and reach out to catholic unionists then BANG, P&J, Tom Elliot and now the stupid, self defeating row over FM!!!

  • The UUP has more than its fair share of stupid politicians. Its recent political posture of making a song and dance over the first minister issue was always going to play into the DUP’s hands.

    The UUP were stupid for having a policy that they would persuade the Government to alter St. Andrews. There was never a ‘cats chance in hell’ of that happening. Owen Paterson made the position clear many times – long before Tom Elliot was elected leader.

    Once the Conservatives gave their proposals to change the constitution “two fingers”, the party had nowhere to go on the issue.

    Only now, pragmatisim has entered a few UUP brain cells. So the pragmatists are saying that the First Minister issue does not matter?

    Its a bit late to say that.

  • Mick Fealty

    It IS too late. McNarry had a point when he said the two were undisciplined and off message (on what he himself agreed was a stupid party policy).

  • ‘Only now pragmatism has entered a few UUP brain cells’
    Just sad isn’t it, though, SM that all of them reside in the same head.

  • dennis the menace

    Im confused, the Belfast Telgraph today said that McCrea and McCallister didnt apologise and still hold the same views as they did yesterday
    “Afterwards, Mr Elliott said that three of his MLAs apologised for their comments, or at least accepted they were wrong at a specially convened meeting — but two of them deny doing so.

    Mr Elliott said: “We have agreed their position” — but again two say that they hold a different one.

    Last night Mr McNarry said he had now apologised for his behaviour in not contacting the party Press office before phoning in to the radio programme.

    The other two, however, denied making any apology. Both Mr McCrea and Mr McCallister said they were glad the meeting had ended amicably.”


    so where does that leave McNarry and who is (in the terms of UUP policy) right?

    and what of the deal to join forces with the DUP after the elction
    Anyone heard from Fred Cobain on this ??

  • Greenflag

    ‘The single most important thing for the people of Northern Ireland is jobs and prosperity ,education , housing ‘


    McNarry has issues with ‘democracy’ in terms of a future result in which SF become the largest party ? Nothing new there . Will Elliot expel McCrea and McAlister and smack McNarry on the knuckles ?

    The UUP are back in party suicidal form just in time for the Assembly election-brilliant (for SF & DUP)

  • dennis the menace. More relevant than where it leacves McNarry who is dyed in the wool, is where it leaves Elliot. Fred Cobain would be very much of the same school of delusion as McNarry. that is, they can turn back the clock to Stormont ’72 and pretend they still have a 2-1 majority.

  • Neil

    McNarry has issues with ‘democracy’ in terms of a future result in which SF become the largest party ?

    It’s the same issue they had with democracy when they figure on having influence way beyond their numbers because their chums had taken over number 10. Many gloated on this site at the time that regardless of whether they returned one seat or ten, they’d be the ones with a hotline to the center of government.

    In essence saying that the electorate didn’t really matter either way, the UCUNF would have more influence than the DUP or SF even if the DUP and SF had more seats. Circumvention of democracy was the idea – influence achieved regardless of actualy votes recieved. Thankfully they got nothing, and hence the hotline wasn’t much use.

    No the UUP hanker for the good ole days when Stormont was properly controlled by good Prods, and they don’t care how they go about achieving it – whether by a backroom deal which gauranteed them power beyond their mandate, or by waiting til after the election to decide whether or not to join up with another party to, again, circumvent the actual results of the votes of the people here.

    Curious to see where the UUP will be after the election. All things said and done, it’s not looking good for them at all.

    As a PS can I add Tommo coming out yesterday to say he wanted to draw a line under things (lol – ‘things’) I did laugh. Time to forget about it folks, it happened yesterday. Nothing to see here. Good luck with that approach Tommo.

  • andnowwhat

    They’re talking about this on the radio so it reminded me of another mess up by an UUP member, the Altnagelvin cancer unit.

    They’ve just said on the radio that the minister concerned down south had sent a letter to Mc Gimpsey confirming the ROI’s continued commitment to the unit. Apparently Mc Gimpsey denied getting the letter. It was received on the day he made the announcement.

  • andnowwhat

    Is there a thread on the Altnagelvin decision?

  • iluvni

    How can any apparent financial committment from the Republic be relied upon these days?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    “How can any apparent financial committment from the Republic be relied upon these days?”

    Relax – we have the money from our good friends the Europeans.

    I suspect that UUP just wanted to scupper someting that was a positive example of North-Southery and decided to ignore the communication from the South.

    p.s. I wonder will SF go for health this time round.

  • granni trixie

    The UUP car crash has spoilt the news for me….setting the bar too high. LIke New York,New York (so good they called it ‘twiced’ as we say in norn ireland) the Bel Tel repeated the same story tonight with no new angles (as far as I can see). But well done Anne Madden on reporting of this story. Would love to know more about the story behind the story including how the journo got to know the whilstleblower etc).

  • emanonon

    Having surveyed the UUP wreckage and considered the fact that UKIP is running several candidates the Tory leadership must be wondering just how sensible their decision not to run candidates was.

    Probably another case of Englishmen being duped by the perfidious UUP and the changeling in their midst, you’ve got to feel sorry for the local Tories nobody loves them and they have lost their chance until at least 2015.

  • Kevin Barry


    Excellent re your last post. Also, just listening to Tommo on the 10 o’clock news during it sounds pretty pathetic regarding the resignation of the Deputy Chair over Altnagelvin.

    Any predictions on seats they may lose?