UUP’s very public contest for leadership…

There are two striking differences between the UUP’s leadership campaign and that of the SDLP’s is its the current campaign’s brevity and the very public nature of this one versus the party only meetings of the minor nationalist party. Both main contenders have already racked up to public interviews, one each for the BBC’s Sunday Politics and then UTV on Monday

Here’s John McCallister speaking to Paul Clarke:

And Mike Nesbitt:

It has already had an interesting effect, not least because it has unearth what had previously been internal narrative, the whole issue of opposition… It has at least got people talking about it…

Though Eamonn is far from sanguine about what the results likely to be… Alex Kane tells UTV that the party has no choice but to put up and get behind which ever one wins… otherwise it will continue to lose seat…

What’s interesting is that we are now into the third leadership contest since David Trimble stepped down nearly seven years ago… The SDLP their third since John Hume stepped more than ten years… and the two incumbents have leaders who have been at or near the top for getting on for 30 years…

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  • London_Irish

    Despite the decline in the fortune of both parties, there is a reason why only the UUP is being talked about in critical terms…

  • There’s no real difference in substance here, but there is one of emphasis. Nesbitt stresses the “united party” line, whereas McCallister is pushing decisive action. Short-term vs long-term strategy.

  • Actually, on second thoughts maybe there is more substance to McCallister. I didn’t hear anything from Nesbitt about tribal voting blocks.

  • CookedBreakfast

    There is potentially a relationship between the contrasting publicity surrounding the SDLP and UUP and their rules on leadership selection. One member One Vote (UUP) does not guarantee a large turnout in and of itself; a delegate conference held as part of a larger annual meeting does. Considering roughly half of the membership bothered showing up to elect Elliott -despite being granted the franchise for the first time in the party’s history- the UUP might have learnt that more media noise equals more bums on seats?

  • Mick Fealty

    It also gets them more public exposure. From what I hear about the SDLP road trips it built up some camaraderie amongst the candidates, and help connect them to the base. But then Alisdair’s ‘coming out’ to the media was very much a talking to the party when in fact it is the wider public the party needed to connect with rather than the party (if you know what I mean)…

  • sherdy

    Two bald men fighting over a comb!