Elliott off – what next for the UUP?

Tom Elliott has obviously had enough. (from UTV)

Mr Elliott has said he will not seek re-election to the position at the annual general meeting, in just over three weeks time.
In a statement outlining his decision and the reasons behind it, he said some “obstruction and hostility” began immediately following his election as leader and has been “relentless” since then.
The party’s AGM is scheduled to take place on Saturday 31 March.
“It has been a great privilege for me to lead the Ulster Unionist Party. I have been given great support by the vast majority of party members, both elected and non-elected,” Mr Elliott said.

And:

“I am also well aware that some people have not given me a fair opportunity at developing and progressing many initiatives,” he said.
“Some of this obstruction and hostility began immediately following my election as leader and has been relentless since then. However I accept that is part and parcel of politics.

,

  • Obelisk

    Did the investigation into the McNarry affair turn up something that made Elliot’s position untenable or is he just fed up?

    Also is there anyone from the west of the bann wing of the party who can stand for the leadership or will the party now fall to Basil McCrea by sheer default? The only name I can even think of is Danny Kennedy.

  • lover not a fighter

    Who will the runners and riders be ?

    Basil McRea ?

    David McNarry ?

    Does the titanic need a captain as it slips below the waves.

  • London_Irish

    “Also is there anyone from the west of the bann wing of the party who can stand for the leadership or will the party now fall to Basil McCrea by sheer default? The only name I can even think of is Danny Kennedy.”

    I anticipate an ABB (Anyone But Basil) campaign if Danny Kennedy stands, not sure if he will be bussing in the Fermanagh branch of the UUP though…

    Has McNarry any chance of standing, if he rejoins the parliamentary party? Although I’m sure Mr Elliott will do whatever he can to stop that from happening in time.

  • It wont be Basil McCrea….too liberal.
    Possibly Mike Nesbitt…….but.
    Danny Kennedy……..at this point…….seems the safest pair of hands.

  • Obelisk

    “I anticipate an ABB (Anyone But Basil) campaign if Danny Kennedy stands, not sure if he will be bussing in the Fermanagh branch of the UUP though…

    Has McNarry any chance of standing, if he rejoins the parliamentary party? Although I’m sure Mr Elliott will do whatever he can to stop that from happening in time.”

    I think Danny Kennedy would be in with a shout in those circumstances, but would he not simply be retreading the same ground as Elliot with the same inevitable fate?

  • London_Irish

    I think Danny Kennedy would be in with a shout in those circumstances, but would he not simply be retreading the same ground as Elliot with the same inevitable fate?

    Probably, but (small ‘c’) conservatives have a tendancy to choose a ‘safe pair of hands’ when a real shakeup is what they need!

  • Obelisk

    “Danny Kennedy……..at this point…….seems the safest pair of hands.”

    So was Tom Elliot in September 2010, and here a year and a half later and he is gone. Safest pair of hands is just more decline. McCrea would split the party it seems. And I just can’t Nesbitt as UUP leader after a scant few years.

    How much more road does the UUP have?

  • DC

    Ian Parsley?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Danny Kennedy is by far the party’s strongest card but he may not want the job – he didn’t want it last time. Do I recall him saying something about family commitments in the recent past ?

    Neither Basil McCrea nor Mike Nesbitt could ever be trusted with anything important.

  • pauluk

    Time to pack up and divide the spoils between the DUP and Alliance.

  • London_Irish

    David Cameron should stand for the leadership, might speed up the next tory link up plan!

  • andnowwhat

    The direction Elliot took is a crowded one. Take off the soundbites that Robinson comes off with and the DUP are already there and as for the screaming rants echoing from pre 1969, well, Jim Allister/TUV has that covered too.

    The only space is that to which they were heading some years ago but that will mean letting the blue rinse mob head off to other parties, a price worth paying IMHO

  • Greenflag

    Canis mortuus est

    Requiescat in pace ( yet again )

  • IJP

    Go raibh maith agat, DC.

    Ach is fearr me Alliance!

  • Limerick

    David McNarry ?

    He who wields the knife never wears the crown.

  • BluesJazz

    Craig Whyte ticks all the boxes. Or Francesco Schettino.

  • cynic2

    “Does the titanic need a captain as it slips below the waves.”

    Not Titanic more

  • sherdy

    Will anyone miss him or notice the difference?

  • Politico68

    What is UUP?

  • iluvni

    God almighty, the thought of listening to Danny uhh,uhh,uuhh Kennedy making a leader’s speech…..he’d make Alastair McDonnell’s cringeworthy effort look good

  • London_Irish

    Discussion on UTV tonight about potential successor between Ken Reid and Alex Kane saw the names of John McCallister and Danny Kinahan crop up. Both of them very pleasant fellas but you have to wonder what on earth would happen to the party if either of them were to succed…

  • New Blue

    It doesn’t matter who the next leader is, the UUP have to decide who they are and where they want to go. Not sure anybody has answers that will unite the party.

  • BluesJazz

    The future is written..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unionist_Party_of_Northern_Ireland

    It doesn’t matter. Just that the next local election(s) will have an even lesser turnout. Hopefully below 30%.

  • London_Irish

    New Blue,

    The UUP have never been united, and that certainly isn’t going to change whilst it remains in an electoral nosedive. As others have said, the UUP are in such a crowded area of the political spectrum it is too easy for members to jump ship in either direction.

    Reg pushed them towards the tories, Tom pushed them towards the DUP. Given the recent membership overlap between the UUP and the Alliance, perhaps that could be their next cosy up…

  • @Broc_Boyd

    As a Unionist voter my opinion is that there is only one unfortunate yet unselfish option left for the UUP. Even though all the names mentioned in threads would not do any worse than previous leaders in the post-Trimble era there now must be serious consideration given to a DUP/UUP “super-party.”

    I understand it would take a great deal of sacrifice from both parties and it would most certainly have to be the UUP making all the running for the DUP to consider it. It may be in the weak form of a voting alliance but I feel there needs to be more affirmative action. Perhaps this could come in the form of another Unionist Council with someone like Arlene Foster heading it.

    For the good of the Unionist electorate since the party manifestos have become so similar I see no reason other than political selfishness for the UUP to continue playing pass the parcel with its leadership. Perhaps we will see a new DUUP party political broadcast next election!!

  • BluesJazz

    We have a 4 way split, for what it’s worth.
    15% DUP
    15% SF
    15% UUP/SDLP/Alliance, and declining
    55% It doesn’t matter to fuck, and increasing

    The bigots are still a minority, but the rest don’t care, because they know they don’t have any real power, and even the real power at Westminster is of little relevance.

    It’s just money for old rope..

  • Mark

    There is the Branch Davidian option …..

  • London Irish; 12.36

    Before the UUP went out of power in ’72 they didn’t really need a leader since the control position they were in before that made them hang together, abd by dint of this rule, they’ve been more or less hanging apart since. They had Harry Westand the triple UUUUUUC in the 70s and Molyneaux sent them to sleepo for the next 16 years before Trimble used Drumcree to stage a coup d’etat. Elliot mess whinged last night about troublemakers hounding him , then cancelled that out out by claiming he understood and accepted that was part and parcel of politics, so admitting his lack of leadership apparently without realising it. This party is now beached up without a paddle and heading for oblivion so there some justice in the world albeit 90 years too late.

  • chewnicked

    Anyone is better than backwoodsman, buffoon, Elliott-Nesbitt is the best of a bad bunch if he can stop McNarry returning to the fold.
    Ally McCoist may be looking for a job as well…….

  • dwatch

    I wonder will McNarry, if he is still a member that is, throw his hat in the ring along with the three stooges, McCrea, Kennedy and McCallister. Even if to prove what percentage of voting UUP members support him at the UUP NGM in three weeks tiime.

  • andnowwhat

    I think the lack of interest, here and in the media, in reaction to Elliot’s announcement says it all. Nolan had a very brief interview with Ken Maguiness and that was the lot.

  • JR

    IJP

    Is fearr liom Alliance!

  • London_Irish

    Madraj55,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, but even before ’72 the UUP was a broadchurch, albeit in those days without any serious opposition (not least because they abolished PR in 1929). The party had the Unionist Labour Association to keep the working class in their place, and they turned every election into a border poll.

    Perhaps its time to ask – should the UUP decline prove to be terminal – how long can the DUP keep up their broadchurch appeal of evangelical north antrim, working class easy belfast and middle class lagan valley? In the world of new media where your previous manifesto and campaign posters can be summoned with the click of a mouse, how much longer can you get away with claiming ‘the union is secure’ one minute, and ‘you must vote for us to keep sinn féin out’ the next…

    …that probably has more to do with the IQ of the electorate though.

  • London_Irish

    *east belfast

  • alex gray

    There really is no-one but Danny Kennedy. It is not true that he is the same as Elliott. He has already clearly indicated his policy line in that he attends pre-Executive meetings with DUP Ministers already. There is a clear policy choisce. McCrea and McCallister have this idiotic idea that they will “go into opposition” – what does that mean ? Where is their partner party ? The SDLP have already said that they will NOT go into opposition. Do the lightweights McCrea and McCallister think they could form an alternative government without a partner ? Or do they want to go back to one-party rule ? They must know that no-one would tolerate anything other than a cross-community government here. So how do you go into opposition without a partner ? The truth is that closer links between the UUP and DUP are now inevitable and anyone saying different just isn’t in the real world. So Kennedy who clearly supports this line should make that his clear line and make peace with David McNarry who has the honesty to grasp this important point.

  • Alex Gray. Alternative government? They should ask the SDLP about that. They tried this after leaving Stormont in ’71 over internment and set an AG to be governing from the Castle in Dungiven,[I kid u not]. No the UUP is near enough a former political party which has gone to meet it’s nemesis.

  • IJP

    JR

    Ceart go leor – gath mo leithscéal! 🙂

  • London Irish.
    ‘….get away with claiming the union is secure one minute and you must vote for us to keep SF out’
    I see Poots was at the ‘union is secure’ line on the Spotlight debate the last time. This is the DUP’s dig at nationalists just for the sake of it, but it’s doubtful they really believe it.The DUP base voter is not that hard to patronise and insult, so the top brass know they can get way with it.

  • alan56

    Its the Party Chair that should be considering his position. Kennedy is DUP lite, McCrea too liberal (and perhaps soon to be too blue) so its between Nesbitt and McCallister

  • OneNI

    It’s Jim Nicholson I feel sorry about – never thought I’d say that! Apparently as part of this ‘coup’ new Leader Danny Kennedy is planning to give Jim’s MEP job to Tom Elliott and the Ministry to Nesbitt

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Tommo didn’t have much fight in him, did he?

  • Greenflag

    @ madraj55 ,

    ‘Molyneaux sent them to sleep for the next 16 years’

    Molyneaux sent everybody to sleep .

    Perhaps Jim was a closet dyslexic republican and mistook Hibernation for Hibernicisation or vice versa and Maggie never really quite understood ‘unionism ‘ or indeed leading unionists of the time . Enoch Powell tried of course to integrate NI with Finchley but it did’nt go down well with the Tories and even less so with the Finchleyites .

    At this stage and to save further embarassment at a never seeming to end litany of woes and failures perhaps the UUP should resort to a policy akin to Julius Caesar’s description of Gaul or our schoolboy version of said description .

    All Gaul is divided into three halves

    Let the UUP be divided into three parts -the one half to be adjoined to the tribe of the Dupiae and the other half to be adjoined of the Alliantiae and the third half to forever dwell amongst the tribe of Garden Centriae who have long since found solace in greenery and healthy home grown vegetables and fruits 😉

  • dwatch

    MLA’s McCrea and McCallister and some others want the UUP to go into opposition at Stormont like the Labour party is at Westminister.

    Can someone please explain how could this be possible under D’hondt? Surely its totally impossible under the present political system which dictates how the Assembly is run at Stormont.

  • cynic2

    idiotic idea that they will “go into opposition”

    They could start by relentlessly questioning, challenging and exposing the shambles across the board vat Stormont. Ministers who cannot manage. Civil Servants who hide from accountability. Billions wasted by buffoons.

    Any party that would step outside the troughing consensus might reap electoral advantage. The SDLP wont because its nose is too deep in the trough

  • JR

    IJP,

    Go n-déana mhaith duit 🙂

  • andnowwhat

    I know there are/were some UUP members on here. Please tell Elliot to stay off the airwaves for his own sake. His interview of radio ulster, just now, was ghastly. I’ve rarely heard such self pity and delusion from an individual.

  • RyanAdams

    It has to be Basil, yes he is a relatively fresh face within unionism but this is exactly what unionism needs, to re-invent itself fit for the 21st century.

    Kennedy offers more of the same albeit a more moderate version of Elliots ideology. If he becomes leader I believe it will be unionist unity we’re looking at much more closely. That’s not healthy, unionists need a clear diversified choice between the two, not a UUP as a junior partner to the DUP. One party’s all well and good until the shit hits the fan, then who do the unionist electorate turn to? Alliance would have a field day.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Although I disagree with Michael Shilliday on a lot of things, a while back he did point out the clear fact of the matter on this idea of a unionist merger, which is that a lot of unionists – about one third of them give or take – still vote for the UUP and are still loyal despite the various fiascos we’ve seen. Acting to merge the two parties therefore looks too much like an effort to disenfranchise that demographic. The result would almost certainly be something which is less than the sum of its parts.

    Ryan, Basil would finish off the UUP if he became leader. He is the polar opposite of Tom Elliott in all the wrong ways – far from being dour and intransigent, he is all over the place, no coherence, coming up with crackpot ideas (read his input in Hansard), opines at length on things he knows nothing about, never off Nolan, etc. Nesbitt is little better. Kennedy is the only one of them who ever makes sense.

  • IJP

    JR

    Ta me ag dul go Liofa2015! 🙂

    Comrade

    Agreed.

    The laughable truth is that Elliott was actually the best they’d got.

    Although whether the “honest man” claim will survive the scrutiny of McNarry-gate is another matter.

  • Have to agree with Comrade Stalin.
    Unionism needs two parties to maximise the unionist vote.
    Nationalism needs two parties to maximise the nationalist vote.

  • James.E.Drummond

    Wasn’t sure who would be an acceptable leader until someone mentioned John McCallister ! UUP needs a niché and stability. They jumped for Tom ‘safe pair of hands’ Elliot who couldn’t hack the rough and tumble of politics. Basil McCrea is savvy and intelligent but too liberal and too big a change and would be trying to take votes from Alliance rather than the DUP although he would overtake Robinson’s manoeuvrings on that flank. John would take the rural/agricultural vote, a farmers champion who may attract cross community votes. Really push the bread and butter, rise above emblems and flags, be a pragmatic opposition. The UUP stand on the edge of oblivion but also on the cusp of a new beginning; it doesn’t have to be doom and gloom.

  • RyanAdams

    Comrade,

    He would finish off the UUP as we know it, which IMHO wouldn’t be a bad thing. He may well have been beaten in the last leadership election by 69-31, but minus the buses from fermanagh it really would have been closer. Possibly he may lack coherence, but that’s never hindered any leader of a Northern Ireland political party before. He also has an electoral performance which he can stand over (although so does Kennedy) having increased his personal vote and the parties in the assembly election. I think he is the best placed candidate to put a halt to the parties decline in the greater Belfast area to the benefit of Alliance and is also probably the most attractive to those ‘unicorns’, if they ever show up that is.

    Kennedy will only take the party in the direction of the DUP, Which would be a godsend to Robinson and the DUP (and Alliance) who are pushing the UUP to extinction in the East of the province already, and will possibly have them exiled from Belfast by 2015 if the boundaries are changed, which I have a strong feeling they will be.

  • It’s difficult to have much sympathy with this party in it parlous state eight years from tyhe centenary of the stillborn entity they created. They hadn’t a care for anyone else in the good old days and it will be fitting if the final curtain is drawn early.

  • Greenflag

    @ fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) 9 March 2012 at 8:56 pm

    ‘Unionism needs two parties to maximise the unionist vote.
    Nationalism needs two parties to maximise the nationalist vote’

    To pursue the logic then

    ‘Unionism needs 10 parties to maximise the unionist vote.
    Nationalism needs 10 parties to maximise the nationalist vote’

    Does it matter anyway when there is no ‘opposition ‘ and when in any event the purse and puppet strings are held elsewhere ?

    As good as it gets methinks for now . But truly somebody needs to pull the life support on the UUP such as it is and divvy up the spoils .

    These dinosaurs have had their day and it’s now past time to behave like real fossils and just fold and lie in the ground and make some space nearby for their future fellow fossil party Failure Fail or Fossil Fail or whatever they used to call themselves.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Possibly he may lack coherence, but that’s never hindered any leader of a Northern Ireland political party before.

    I think it is becoming important now; voters clearly expect more from their elected politicians than a nondescript bloke in a suit waving a flag.

  • Drumcovitt

    God almighty, the thought of listening to Danny uhh,uhh,uuhh Kennedy making a leader’s speech…..he’d make Alastair McDonnell’s cringeworthy effort look good

    This is an offensive comment. Anyone who overcomes a stammer should not be subject to jibes about it.