Tom Elliott can he lead?

Tom Elliot became a surprising story of the election with his outburst in Omagh and he is destined to be at the centre of things throughout the coming days.

With his party achieving 16 seats and Alliance 8 as things stand the UUP will lose a ministry. That is unless he can tempt party reject David McClarty back into the fold.

Though as Mark Devenport notes the Alliance party could then try to cook up a counter deal with Steven Agnew.

Interesting days ahead and an immediate opportunity for Elliott to counter statements he isn’t leadership material.

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  • There’s no difference at all between the bigoted nature of Tom Elliot’s remarks and those made by many SF members etc on Facebook and elsewhere regarding the impending visit by Queen Elizabeth of Britain and the recent royal wedding. It could even be said that the UUP makes no pretence at ‘republican outreach’ akin to SF’s ‘unionist outreach’…. I hold no brief for Tom Elliot or QEII but fair’s fair.

  • JR

    You and others on this site love to use the term Ethnic Cleansing. You need to take a trip to Srebrenica or Rewanda or possibly some of the Nazi Concentration camps. No human rights group or any international body has ever suggested that there was an ethnic cleansing event here.

  • Hopping The Border

    “the original UVF was not founded on the principles of the “Brits Out” ethnic cleansing and “armalite and ballot box” that PSF/PIRA was.”

    Frankly a ridiculous comment.

    Obviously it wasn’t founded on a “Brits Out” basis.

    Neither were formed for ethnic cleansing purposes.

    The UVF was formed for more – “if not our ballot box, then by God the armalite*”

    *insert appropriate turn of the century arms.

    or what do you believe the UVF was formed for. And perhaps before you answer you would consider that unfortunate Larne Incident.

  • ayeYerMa

    JR, tell that to the farmers living in the border regions.

  • Concubhar, there’s a massive difference, unless those you refer to on facebook etc are Leaders of a Political party there can be no comparison. Catch a grip on reality !

  • ayeYerMa

    Hopping the Border, the founders of Northern Ireland and Irish Republic used the same principles of “self determination”.

    PSF racists believed that the right of Irish separatist self determination was valid but bugger that of anyone else.

  • ayeYerMa

    Blissett, so are you a member of the 6 county or 26 county PSF movement that you like to over exaggerate the appeal of?

  • No difference at all. As for SF leaders, they’re disguising their bigotry but when you see what some of the SFers down the food chain are saying, one of them a councillor, it’s quite clear that bigotry is alive and well in SF.

  • Of course there is a difference ! How can you equate anonymous individuals on facebook with the leader of a Political party ? Wise up ! themuns are worse than us!

  • They’re not anonymous – one is an elected councillor and a former member nominated by SF to the board of Foras na Gaeilge. Let’s not kid ourselves that SF are somehow holier than the UUP….

  • No one is kidding anyone here Concubhar unfortunately our wee country is full of punters with baggage, some however have moved on, dear Tom and his ilk are in a quagmire, harking for bygone days.The good news is they are in a minority.

  • If Tom and his ilk are in a quagmire, they’re not alone. Some of ‘usuns’ are in there with him. As far as I can see SF’s attitude to sectarian bigotry is based on hypocrisy.

  • Concubhar, given your well versed on both counts I’ll not argue as I’m neither bigoted nor hypocritical you win on both counts.

  • Blissett


    I am a member of SF if thats what you are asking. Im not sure thats relevent though, the facts speak for themselves. I live in a county with 20000 SF votes, and 2 TDs, and a city with 5cllrs and almost certain to gain on that in 3 years time, having had none little over 10 years ago.

    My mam is from fine gael stock, and the old fella Fianna Fáil stock. I joined Sf when I went to a college, and joined a group of young people from similar non sf backgrounds, and studied with people who didnt see anything much different from voting sf to voting labour.

    Im not given much to exaggeration, and I wont pretend that SF is on the verge of taking power in the south (though it could soon be at the point where it will be difficult to ignore in terms of coalitions), and am entirely aware that many many people in the state are very averse to SF, and this is particularly acute among some sections of the population. But it isn’t as unpopular as FF right now. What was once a trickle of transfers is now rather more substantial (if not quite the river we might like).
    As unpopular as it may be in South Dublin, or in the ‘roight’ parts of limerick, the idea that ‘in fact Sinn Fein are rightfully ostracised by the mainstream population in the south.’ is frankly laughable, when you consider the support it enjoys in so many working class communities.
    I dont think labouring under false illusions will assist you greatly. Know your enemy and all that.

  • JR


    Speak for yourself please.

  • ayeYerMa

    So Blissett, the mask has slipped in revealing that you are a member of the PSF movement known to be directly responsible for the murder of hundreds of Irish people. SHAME ON YOU.

    OK, JR, I’ll let some of the border-area farmers speak for themselves:

  • Blissett

    Ah. Ad hominem attacks. How very useful.

    In any case, that doesnt really deal with my point that SF is well supported in many areas in the south, and your assertions otherwise are daft.

  • RedTurtle


    There’s no difference at all between the bigoted nature of Tom Elliot’s remarks and those made by many SF members etc on Facebook and elsewhere regarding the impending visit by Queen Elizabeth of Britain and the recent royal wedding. It could even be said that the UUP makes no pretence at ‘republican outreach’ akin to SF’s ‘unionist outreach’…. I hold no brief for Tom Elliot or QEII but fair’s fair.

    Quite frankly leaving aside the “scum” bit Republicans incorporate rhetoric in their speech that is only slightly more low key than calling the tricolour foreign on an almost 24/7 basis. For example not being able to say the phrase “Northern Ireland” rather than “the north of Ireland” or “the six counties”, using phrases such as “the Queen of England” or “the British Prime Minister” in contexts where it would sound odd coming out of the mouth of a visiting American tourist, Obama or even an article in the Irish Times.

    I hardly think it would be difficult to quote mine for leading figures in Sinn Fein fairly recently saying the equivalent of that the Union Flag is “foreign” or even stronger stuff than that frankly.

  • Hopping The Border

    “Hopping the Border, the founders of Northern Ireland and Irish Republic used the same principles of “self determination”.”

    AyeYerMa –

    Perhaps you would explain to me then where the founders of the Free State, as it was then, claimed territory in which a clear majority of the residents disagreed with their political viewpoint, just to make it a “viable” entity.

    To save you rushing to Wikipedia, I’m refer to Fermanagh and Tyrone.

    Also I note you still have not answered the question posed as to what the UVF was formed for?

  • Munsterview

    Just a general comment at this point of what could be another two hundred plus postings.

    I have always had a cultural life and prominence apart from my Republican activities. Decades ago while in mixed cultural circles in the North, there was no acceptance from Unionists, just tolerance and polite civility, if that, in the exchanges, once my politics were known.

    Two decades ago there was a change in these circles, it was no longer just observing the polite norms of civilized society, there was an effort to engage in conversation and a genuine interest in aspects of Southern society and Northern Nationalism and how ‘somebody like you’ could have Republican associations. Parallel with this when in Cultural circles in the UK, I noticed that quite a few of the young crowd in the folk music circles from a Northern Protestant background were also eager to stay behind for the political/historical discussions that often followed.

    ( I should also point that all during the Troubles in folk and trad music circles, friendships held in Folk, Trad, Jazz and other circles as well. I can remember many a good night with the likes of James Simmons and Davie Fox in their circles also.)

    In the last decade when in Northern cross cultural events, I Have found a new awareness and interest among Unionists generally regarding their place on this Island. In these cultural circles I avoid politics and history, those who also know of my other activities outside of the the cultural and academic spheres are the ones that want to engage on what were formerly ‘taboo’ matters.

    Most from this background are also generally UUP, actual or inclined and to draw a parallel, are like the decent element of Fianna Fail were in the Haughy Era, bemused and wondering how the hell the party ended up under the leadership that it has !

    I would not go so far as to to say that there has been a sea-change in attitudes. Like all in this island things are complex, I have seen the bonhomie first hand between Southern Irish Government Ministers and some of the Northern Unionist establishment at the height of the troubles in events like the RDS.

    This element of Unionism have always seen Ireland in Thirty-Two County terms, they attend Trinity events, Horse eventing meets, Wexford Opera etc. ‘The Troubles’ did not effect the Southern visits of this element other than the fact they came South more frequently to ‘get away from it all’!

    These are not the UUP elements I have referred to where there is a new interest and awareness developing, that element always had it and always seemed indifferent to me regarding their professed ‘Unionism’

    Some of the UUP element that I am referring to have not made the ‘big leap’ yet in actually joining the DUP, just voting that way be it a boycott or protest vote. To again parallel the South it is like the Fianna Fail votes currently ‘parked’ in Sinn Fein.

    I can see the outworkings of this new tolerance and awarness here in slugger, but some also are, despite everything that has gone down, still as set in their attidutes apparently as they or their parents were in the early seventies.

  • alan56

    Getting back to the premise of this thread. TE is not a natural leader. He is more of a Prescott character that parties send out to comfort loyal supporters. UUP need to have a serious look at who they think can be a leader for the new ‘political atmosphere’. Is it Tom? The answer to this may decide their future viability as a ‘moderate’ unionist organisation.

  • Mark McGregor

    Stick to the topic guys. You’ll find yourselves carded in short order if this nonsense continues (not by me mind)

  • ayeYerMa

    HTB, the UVF was formed as part of the right of self determination for Ulster, as a reaction to those who wished a separatist Irish wish to self determination.

    The exact place where the border was to be is irrelevant, as it was to be finalised by the border commission (which De Valera canned). There was not a “clear majority” in Fermanagh and Tyrone; considering the substantial Protestant population in those 2 counties, the catholic majority was/is minimal at best.

    Look, I don’t like the fact that there is a border as much as anyone else, but the fact is that the only pragmatic way that there could ever be ANY form of “self determination” in Ireland at all was for a border to be created. It’s time many here got with the 90 year old reality of partition and recognised that even with that border there is nothing preventing us from feeling Irish and enjoying Irish culture, north or south. No side of the border should have a monopoly over “Irishness”, though throughout history people in the south such as De Valera seemed to want to do just that.

    PS1: forgot to say earlier in the week: Happy 90th birthday Northern Ireland!

    PS2: Don’t need Wikipedia – quite a lot of Irish history on there is riddled with propaganda!

  • joeCanuck

    ..future viability as a ‘moderate’ unionist..

    But they haven’t been moderate for quite a while. Surprisingly, they have been to the right of the DUP on many, if not most, issues.

  • Munsterview

    ayeYer….. : “….as it was to be finalised by the border commission (which De Valera canned)…..”

    If you have a few more little history nuggets such as that one I would love to read them!

  • ayeYerMa

    ok mr pedantic Munsterview – rereading that it prob was before de valera – whatever original Sinn Fein / Fine Gael / Fianna fail – none of us give a shit up north about these irrelevant southern splits. To us Northern Unionists Collins and De Valera are as bad as each other.

  • Munsterview

    ayaYer…: “….To us Northern Unionists….”

    So now you also speak for all shades of Northern Unionists collectivly ? Im….press….ive !

  • Hopping The Border

    Given what Mark has said and the fact I’m a relative newbie, I’ll end my participation on this strand of the discussion here.

    Suffice to say you are certainly incorrect on one point and historically inaccurate on at least one other.

    Hopefully I can put them to you another time.

  • Mark McGregor

    Hopping The Border,

    Correcting inaccuracies is positively encouraged. So keep at it.

    I’m reminding people that know well enough of Slugger civility rules.

  • AGlassOfHine

    Oh dear,I fear all Tom has done is provide more mopery grist to the whinge mill !!

  • Munsterview

    AGlass : “….Oh dear,I fear all Tom has done is provide more mopery grist to the whinge mill !!….”

    What Tom has done is merely say publicly what a significant section of Unionism and the OO think and probably say privately in Orange Halls and in party branch meetings. Indeed if Mick did not have those red and other cards in hand and rigorously enforce a non-abusive policy, we would propably see much more of that Unionist attitude even here in Slugger.

    Sectarianism in the Unionism has not gone away you know!

    Tom as leader of the UUP and leading Orange Order official said what the general crowd felt when they watched those lovely young teenage girls walk around at last years OO parade with sectarian, anti-Irish hate slogans painted on their faces.

    Will we see any apology for his outburst from the Orange Order ?

    However it is a Unionist problem, the offensive remark came from the second largest Unionist Party and the in the time honored way of Political Parties the elected party leader speaks on public political occasions for the party membership as a whole.

    Unless and until each elected assembly person, councillor and ordinary branch party member and supporter publicly disassociate themselves from Tom Eliot’s remarks, then in Republican, Nationalist and Catholic eyes he is speaking for those elected representatives, party members and supporters.

    Their silence and failure dis-associate is the equivalent of a continuing standing ovation for their party leader and what he said !

  • separatesix

    Is this Sinn Fein’s idea of “unionist outreach”? waving offensive symbols they find offensive down their throats.

  • Nunoftheabove


    …as opposed to, say, in their face ?

    Incidentally does it follow that they don’t mind having symbols they don’t find offensive being waved down their throats or do they find that offensive too ? How about the ones – offensive or then again non-offensive – that are rammed down their throat or is it just the waving of them down the readily offended throat that they find, er, offensive, whether or not the symbols themslves are, as it were, offensive or non-offensive, intentionally or otherwise and heeding well the context and for that taking into full account the circumstances ?

  • joeCanuck

    He obviously has no idea about stopping digging. He now says that he realizes that a lot of people who voted SF were never PIRA supporters and that he doesn’t consider them to be scum.
    That begs the question of how he knows that the ones in the hall reacting to his provocation were PIRA supporters. Does dear Tom have information that should properly be given to the PSNI?

  • Nunoftheabove

    It’s not impossible he saw people there who he ‘knew’ (the way so many RUC/UDR people seemed to themselves just to ‘know’) from his UDR days were, as they say, players.

    It’s not implausible that he’d never been able to land anything on them and/or while in uniform other than some commonr garden UDR harassment and the verbals, conceivably never having faced the music for their involvement or his perception of the extent of their involvement (culchies are like that anyway, they always just ‘know’…) since. The thought did strike me that he may deep down still be grappling with a sense that he regrets never having been presented with – or having taken – an opportunity to send a few of them down the hole while he had his uniform on and that there may still be a part of him which can’t quite forgive himself for not doing so.

    I don’t believe a single word he says about only meaning some SF people are scum though – not a syllable. What we heard was the truth. Like I say, I’m glad he said it; best to know rather than to have to guess.

  • nunoftheabove. It’s called ‘damage limitation’ I believe. The real attitude of Elliot, as seen on Saturday, is not confined to republicans but nationalist voters generally, but since it’s not politic to admit this openly, he settles for insulting SF voters, but the mask has inevitably slipped, and is of no use anymore. For unionists like Elliot, it’s a bit like Macmillan’s fall. ‘Never glad confident morning again’.

  • Nunoftheabove


    Yes indeed, otherwise known to some of us as lying through one’s teeth when up to one’s stetson in several gallons of shite entirely of one’s own personal production. He’ll find that swallowing is as futile as spitting in these circumstances and that further defecation proves relatively counter-productive. I’d have expected a welly-wearing salt-of-the-earth hayseed to have had some understanding of that but there you go. It’s simply one more thing to get all unsurprised about.

    The assumption that the grown ups among us would buy his pitiable attempt at damage limitation is again unshocking however it is if anything more insulting than what he actually said in the first place.

  • Well, quite, NOTA. I think igot the gist of that, lol. the fact that Elliot talked over Thompson’s question shows he knew his case was blown out.

  • carl marks

    this is my first post on any site and cant help but be amazed at some of the comments, seperatesix complains about people shoving flags down peoples thoats but i have a feeling that he/she would not have the same opinion about loyal order marchs through areas were people feel offended, red turtles attempt to claim that phrases the north of ireland, the british queen etc are at least as bad as calling people scum is really quite silly .
    hope i havt earned a card

  • ‘…would not have the same opinion about loyal orders march through areas where people feel offended,….’
    Carl marks. You’re forgetting that those cases that show up the double standards, are counted as ‘traditional’ so that ok then. By that logic, the IRA campaigns that have gone this last 100 years are also ok because they are ‘traditional’ as well.

  • Kadfoomsa

    What annoys me about Tom Elliot is not really his remarks, about a quarter of the nationalist community and half of Catholics think the same.

    But he really does make farmers look like idiots, I think that is a bit unfair.