UUP: Confused boxer without a decent right or left?

There isn’t really an upside to the UUP’s problems at the moment. Although they were never what you might even remotely call political friends, Mr McNarry’s exit bears a lot of resemblance to the early departure of Trevor Ringland. Already the consequences are closing in.

So early in his career as leader to have lost allies or potential allies from both the right and the left, is a little more than careless. His problem is – not dissimilar to the SDLP – is whilst that his party is more open, gregarious and sociable, they are not really fit for the new political game.

Elliot is leader partly because he is all those things. His constituency association almost along can cheerfully outgun almost any other in the party. HIs instinct, as an innately small ‘c’ conservative is to swing to the right. But there is no political space for his party in particular to exploit out there.

And any credentials he might have won on the left (by going to a GAA match for instance) have now been collected in magisterial style by the First Minister. The best analogy I’ve heard (pre Tom) is that the UUP is like a boxer who genuinely doesn’t know which fist to lead with.

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  • FuturePhysicist

    Danny Kennedy has been a good minister and has been at the business end of politics in this new game, in a similar manner to Alex Attwood. This cannot be overlooked.

    We live in an era where all ideological politics is torn up and shredded. The right can’t cut taxes, the left can’t spend, the centre doesn’t know what to do, the influence that the state has to either reduce its liabilities or preserve its provision is limited.

    The media sadly has no answers either, and perhaps aren’t asking the right questions:

    The primary solution that the media has proposed is that of partisan opposition, that I found myself agreeing with Ian James Parsley that opposition was not the issue. In the search of getting an opposition there is a distinct possibility we may really “Belguim” ourselves here, and not only have no opposition but no government too. It really is at the moment in no parties interest to have an opposition.
    Switzerland has “no” opposition, and that works very well with 5 linguistic/nationalist groups and having a national coalition of the left and of the right within its government. It does have a civic democracy which is sadly missing from the society as the Civic Forum highlighted in the GFA is seen by some in government to be nothing more than a quango.

    Secondly, the major analysis given by the media is that the SDLP and UUP no longer understand the game … sorry but that seems rather degrading and insensitive, the politicians aren’t here to play games. The election is over, politics is now back to business and away from contest, rather than bring up issues about the business, many within the media have gotten so bored and complacent that they want to spark a new game.

    Politicians need to be focusing on earning votes by good practice and effective outreach, not petty partisan jibes. The emancipation of the people is at the heart of republican, loyalist, social democratic, liberal democratic and social conservative values and showing the heart that they can up for their principles is the only thing that will matter to people.

    Leave game theory to the game theorists.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Incidentally on another point, it was Edward Carson who defended the Marquess of Queensberry (the inventor of boxing if you didn’t already know) against the libel action of Oscar Wilde. All three were in terms of British constitutional politics, political liberals, perhaps Wilde a little socialist, they kept good company, Wilde and Carson befriended each other at university and Wilde know Queensbury through befriending his son, but a nasty dispute involving Queensberry’s son had prompted the events of the legal action to which Wilde predicted the extent of Carson’s resolve:

    “No doubt he will pursue his case with all the added bitterness of an old friend.”

  • Nordie Northsider

    Mark Devenport also uses a sporting metaphor on his blog:

    After returning from a week trying to ski I thought I was the world’s expert at falling flat on my face, going backwards when I should be going forwards and colliding into my nearest and dearest. Then I clocked back in to work at Stormont and realised the Ulster Unionists were providing me with stiff competition.

  • OneNI

    ‘Danny Kennedy has been a good minister’
    What big decisions has he made? He was bequethed a budget that had been largely pledged to build a motorway in the West of NI. The A5 scheme was always madness, reality has bitten and the scheme has been abandoned in all but name.
    Has Kennedy announced how this money is going to be re-allocated? – not yet. Why? – his DUP/SF masters havent decided yet

  • Greenflag

    ‘The best analogy I’ve heard (pre Tom) is that the UUP is like a boxer who genuinely doesn’t know which fist to lead with.’

    And the best analogy you will hear post Tom is that the UUP was like a boxer who insisted on hitting his opponents in the fist with his chin 😉

    Northern Ireland is NOT Belgium .Belgium is 95% post Catholic and the population is divided by two languages _French and Flemish.

    Northern Ireland is NOT Switzerland .Switzerland is rich and has plenty of cake and cucckoo clocks and gold to share between it’s German , French , Italian and Romanche speaking people .

    The ‘political game ‘ has moved on but it’s not just NI or the SDLP or the UUP or the British Labour Party or Fianna Fail or Irish Labour or Scottish Tories etc who are not in the game . The traditional left v right divide is seen to be of little relevance in a world where no matter which party is in power the ‘banksters ‘ rule -if not directly through representation then through the power of financial contributions to whichever party ‘wins’ the election . In the recent contest between Romney & Gingrich and the American people a toss of a coin was enough to tell who the winner would be .

    Heads up Goldman Sachs , Tails up Citibank .Only if the coin landed on it’s edge would the American people win .The banksters surrogates either Gingrich or Romney whichever wins in the end will end up dancing to the tune desired by the puppetmasters of Wall St . It would be nice to think that a second term Obama would actually implement genuine reform in the morass of corruption that is the USA’s financial services sector but alas past performance while not a guarantee of future results as the glossy financial brochures always indicate at the bottom of page 15 in small type past performance is the most reliable guide to future performance
    in every field of human endeavour barring the occasional black swan or ‘miracle’event.

    The continued demise of the SDLP and UUP should be seen not so much as a reflection of their politicians failings .They are as good and decent if not more so than others in the more successful parties .It’s just that the public CANNOT see what they have to offer that would be any different from what they already have under the DUP/SF carve up .

    It will take another political cataclysm to break up the present ‘fix’ and if i’m reading the voters of NI correctly these past few years they have had more than a bellyful of ‘cataclysms’ this past half century not to want another half century of same .

  • Michael Shilliday

    A NI Tory with no idea how Government works. How odd.

    Danny Kennedy has no power to announce how that money is to be reallocated. If there is any money to be allocated, he can bid for it in a monitoring round, but the Minister for Finance has the power to distribute it.

  • Framer

    The UUP is fine as it is – a party of reasonable yet distinctly unionist MLAs from outside Belfast.

    The big problem was when they got ideas beyond their station (the second party of unionism) and went off after Tory, celebrity and women candidates, each and everyone of whom abandoned the party when realpolitik or failure met them.

    McNarry was just the last remnant of pre-1972 Stormont-era MPs and entirely his own master.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Greenflag showing more of the petty partisan politics that keep society from moving forward. You fail to understand the point I was making about Swiss democracy’s mandatory coalition and the Belgian crisis caused from an unwillingness to govern, yet so often we have heard Sinn Féin people juxtaposing remarks about Finland’s educational system onto Northern Ireland’s.

    We then see a needless rant against the SDLP, UUP, banksters and whatever other boogeyman that has very little coherence with the point being made. The political game has moved on simply because the elections are over, for any party including the DUP or Sinn Féin to be playing it now would be foolish. In the plenary sessions of the Dáil do you see Fine Gael boasting about their electoral success, or the Tories doing so in Westminster, or even the DUP in Stormont … no because they’re grown ups.

    The fact is there is a dwindling electoral interest in Northern Ireland because people are constantly being told it’s just a game, that they have no choice who to vote for and that nothing changes now. The reality is people are only playing games on themselves.

  • FuturePhysicist

    At the end of the day Greenflag, Mick … politicians are a minority even in this overrepresented society, political party members are a minority, as are journalists and punters … put together they are only a small interest group … democracy is in the hands of the voters, they’ve rejected Sinn Féin and the DUP before and they are capable of doing it again if they want to.

    It’s foolish to believe you can play a game where you cannot control the pieces.

  • dwatch

    UUP had private opposition talks


    UUP’s chance to rise like a phoenix from the ashes
    Forget ‘McNarrygate’, Ulster Unionists have the opportunity for restoration and revival, says Mike Nesbitt

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/news-analysis/uups-chance-to-rise-like-a-phoenix-from-the-ashes-16112940.html#ixzz1lP3Fg49O

  • “any credentials .. have now been collected in magisterial style”

    Unionist and Nationalist parties here are broad churches so dissent is to be expected. It’s not the first time that Peter and Martin have been labelled domineering and dictatorial but these are hardly qualities to be encouraged. It’s a shame that Tom and Alasdair, so far, seem unable to generate sufficient team spirit to counter the negative actions of the other two.

  • alex gray

    On Friday Danny Kennedy pitched for leadership with genocide comments – attractive to Tom Elliott’s former supporters in Fermanagh. On Sat Mike Nesbitt pitches for leadership in Belfast Telegraph piece on not washing dirty party washing in public, Why pitch for leadership if Elliott is not alread doomed ? Party Chairman David Campbells announcement looks like more of an investigation inot the events of Mcnarrygate than a disciplinary process – an investigation that will make Elliott’s continuance as leader untenable. By the way, who are the others apart from David McNarry to be investigated by the party as implied in the wording of Campbell’s statement ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’d say Danny Kennedy is a good minister in that he is competent and on top of his brief.

    In absolute terms, though, none of the ministers are anything to get that excited about – they’re all running their departments, not reforming them. Aside from the justice minister’s review of prisons, what radical changes are any of them pushing forward ?

  • FuturePhysicist

    “any credentials .. have now been collected in magisterial style”

    Unionist and Nationalist parties here are broad churches so dissent is to be expected. It’s not the first time that Peter and Martin have been labelled domineering and dictatorial but these are hardly qualities to be encouraged. It’s a shame that Tom and Alasdair, so far, seem unable to generate sufficient team spirit to counter the negative actions of the other two.
    Why are you ignoring David Ford here?

  • “Why are you ignoring David Ford here?”

    FP, APNI is neither Unionist nor Nationalist. I’ve had very few dealings with the party and have no idea how it accommodates dissent; one dealing that I did have a few years ago was a complete waste of my time.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’ve had very few dealings with the party and have no idea how it accommodates dissent

    A knock on the door in the dead of night from a member of the Cultra-based Phelim O’Neill Cumann usually does the trick.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The point is Nevin, Alliance is a broader church than most, at least it preaches to be so.

    Why Justice Spokesperson, Farry was overlooked for the Justice Ministry is one matter I think needs to be asked.