McCallister promises to clear out the old guard…

Well, if nothing else, John McCallister knows how to grab a headline in a leadership contest… This time he is promising to axe the UUP’s long term chairman, David Campbell who was an integral and widely perceived to be a powerful part of David Trimble’s kitchen cabinet…

“I think some people are actually very unfair about David Campbell. He has served the party for a long time and I think even our party rules would suggest that we would be looking at a change. When you would be changing leader, yes you would have changes across the board.”

Mike Nesbitt was rather more equivocal:

A lot of people come to me and ask me: What are your views about this policy, that person, the other structure? This is an election campaign for the leader and until it is over — and it will be over very shortly — I’m not thinking about that.

What I would say to you is that if you look at my history, I’m a team player. Most people know me from my days at UTV where you’ve got a lovely privileged front-of-camera position where you’re the guy.

But if the assistant sound engineer doesn’t clip the microphone onto your tie, if the senior sound engineer doesn’t fade up the right channel, if the camera man doesn’t focus, if the vision mixer presses the wrong button, if the director calls the wrong shot or the producer has the wrong stories a lot of people can make you look very foolish.

If you don’t respect them for their jobs, you can’t expect them to mind your back. I’ve learnt that even though you might think, ‘Oh, he’s the superstar of the outfit’, if you’re not a team player it won’t work. I will lead that team and will ultimately make the calls if I am elected leader.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty