John McCallister: future leader of the Opposition?

John McCallister has put his foot down and sent out a clear message, pledging to go into opposition if elected as leader of the UUP in a move which he states would bring about the the normalisation of Northern Irish politics.

That said (or in this instance; that illustrated): Are we now looking at the future leader of the Opposition or will Nesbitt’s promise to engage through the executive win him the vote?

Your cartoon captions please.

  • dwatch

    If McCallister wins and goes into opposition after making McNarry to walk the plank. I wonder how many of the old Trimble & Empey brigade UUP MLA’s will then turn up at the assembly and join McNarry on the independants bench? They then and begin to play the children’s game of musical (political) chairs.

    With McCallister as new UUP leader any guesses which UUP MLA is going to be the first to jump ship and either join the DUP, Conservatives or become an independent.

    Or can Nesbitt save the day at the UUP AGM. Out of 2000 members of the UUC a 1000 (approx) turned up to vote at the last leadership election. Wonder will more or less turn up on March 31st.

  • dwatch

    “David McClarty may return to UUP if Mike Nesbitt elected leader ” Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-mcclarty-may-return-to-uup-if-mike-nesbitt-elected-leader-16134568.html#ixzz1q1YGuQP1

    What if M Nesbitt is not elected, will David McClarty refuse to stand for the UUP at the next election if McCallister is leader. Remembering the UUP East Londonderry association snubbed McClarty last assembly elections in favour of Lesley McCauley who has since jumped ship and joined the Conservatives.

  • Drumlins Rock

    dwatch, it will prob be down on the 1000, the buses will have to leave very early in the morning for a 10:00 am meeting. FST still has a large proportion of the membership but without the local incentive and travel problems obviously less will attend.

    As for David McClarity, East Londonderry will not exist next time so would it be Glenshane or North Antrim? both will have sitting UUP MLAs within their boundaries, a good second candidate in NA for the coleraine vote?

    As for musical chairs, I think the “old boys” are survivors and unlikely to jump anywhere unless they are really threatened, ie. like McClarity was.

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    Mr McCallister has pledged to withdraw the UPP from the Executive and go into opposition immediately. At what stage and on what basis would Mr McCallister be willing to return the UUP to the Executive?

    a. After the next Assembly election irrespective of the number of seats which the UUP wins;
    b. Only following a future Assembly election where the UUP wins more seats than the DUP;
    c. Only after a change to the GFA to provide for voluntary coalition;
    d. Never;

  • dwatch

    More mystery unfolds.

    Nesbitt ‘open’ to DUP deal talks
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/nesbitt-open-to-dup-deal-talks-1-3662824

  • GoldenFleece

    Jesus, Nesbitt is all over the place trying to be all things to all people in the party. I can’t think of anything more off putting.

  • orly

    “But, when pressed on whether he would rule out talks with the DUP about an electoral pact, the former UTV news anchor said that he was “for gaining us more power”

    More power eh…Not interested in actually doing something then…just having power.

    An obvious route for Nesbitt though. All show and no business. Hasn’t even been an MLA for a year and thinks he’s the man to run the show?

    Clown.

  • lover not a fighter

    Somebody needs to provide an opposition.

    Its a brave choice by John McCallister and as we pretty much always critisize our politicians for doing nothing then perhaps McCallister deserves victory for his challenge to the status quo.

  • lamhdearg2

    lover, i agree. Not Now, good ?s.Golden and orly, he makes me sick.

  • carnmoney.guy

    A bit of a puzzle this, how can either of the candidates possibly hope to increase the unionist turnout, if they cant manage to get a 50% turnout from their own members??

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    Mr Nesbitt responded: “I am for gaining us more power.”

    Power to do what exactly Mr Nesbitt? Or power purely for the perks that it brings those who get hold of it?

  • Drumlins Rock

    carnmoney, most elections don’t require a third of the electorate to leave home at 7 am.

  • dwatch

    “A bit of a puzzle this, how can either of the candidates possibly hope to increase the unionist turnout, if they cant manage to get a 50% turnout from their own members??”

    Attendance could be less than 50% this time round. The meeting is at 10am next saturday in Belfast. Members left with any enthusiasm after listening to what Nesbitt & McCallister had to say to the media, living in FST, North Antrim & Londonderry will need an early start to be at the vote.

  • lamhdearg2

    postal votes, to modern?.

  • Progressive Unionist

    The meeting is at 10am next saturday in Belfast.

    It’s just bonkers – they should really shift it to midday at the earliest.

    A 10am start practically disenfranchises a very large chunk of the electorate.

  • dwatch

    Progressive Unionist,
    surely those who organize the AGM (including the chairman) wouldn’t be up to any chicanery would they?

  • Drumlins Rock

    dwatch, it has always been that time, but that is a carryover from the days of delegates not one member one vote, can’t see chicanery in it, in fact that charge could be easier made if the time was changed.

    I always love the conspiracy theories about the UUP, if only we could get organised enough to conspire we could rule the world!

    Lamhdearg, postal votes were discussed the last time, but too many problems, for example many make up their minds on the day of the vote, cost, verification, too open to challenges, and finally I personally think it might give disproprtionate weight to older members, bit undemcrsatic the alst one I know, but its reaity.

  • The Raven

    Getting back to the topic, I will be happy to cast a vote for a party of “either side”, willing to move to oppose the existing Junta. And I think there are significant elements of the other 46% who didn’t turn out to vote last time who would consider it to.

    From my own “side of the house”, the DUP just can’t get any more votes. Time for the alternative to re-emerge.

  • dwatch

    “dwatch, it has always been that time”

    Drumlins Rock, the last leadership election in 2010 held in the Waterfront Hall was in the afternoon if I remember correctly.
    Can anyone clarify this, or is my memory playing me tricks?

  • Comrade Stalin

    10:30 hardly sounds conspiratorial, I’ve driven to Enniskillen in the past in well under two hours. Getting out of the house by 8:30AM surely isn’t a novelty for rural Ulster Unionists ?

  • carnmoney.guy

    Why belong to a political party if you cant be bothered attending an important vote? 50% turnout, are they having a laugh?

  • dwatch

    “Why belong to a political party if you cant be bothered attending an important vote? 50% turnout, are they having a laugh?”

    A large proportion of UUP members are pensioners who do not attend meetings because of age, recent poor election results internal squabbling,& basic lack of interest. The last leadership election was unusual when some 350 (plus) elderly members from FST came up in special buses to vote for Tom Elliott.

  • NeedNoAlibi

    Back to the thread topic. If John McCallister were to win and lead the UUP into the next Assembly Election as an opposition to the current government would he be encouraging voters to transfer their votes to other Unionist candidates who are in that government?

  • carnmoney.guy

    Another part of the party which needs a clearout..

    So given the potential influence of FST, no wonder John McCallister wants to throw McNarry out of the party, gettin revenge on behalf of Tom Elliotts supporters

  • Langdale

    Nesbitt’s pitch from his website.

    Hardly inspiring!

    6 Days to go
    March 25, 2012

    With six days to go to the Ulster Unionist Leadership Election, I hope everyone who has a vote will use it. Over the last two weeks, I have sensed a real excitement about this moment in the Party’s history and a definite mood for change. It would be good to see that reflected on Saturday morning at the Ramada.

    In recent years, the Party has searched for the “Big Idea” to turn around our fortunes.

    If there is a big idea, it is not Unionist Unity; it is not a Conservative Link, be it UCUNF or NICUP; nor is it Opposition on Monday morning (remembering, of course, there will be no one there to see it happen, the Assembly going into Recess on Friday).

    No, if there is a big idea, it is ourselves; that we are the masters of our own destiny. When we offer better policies, better communicated, and a better organisation, better resourced, we can hit the ground and work hard to reconnect with the tens of thousands of pro-union voters who feel they currently do not have a party to support or to represent them. If we can hold our core vote and attract the disaffected, we are back in business.

    Saturday is about Leadership for the next five to ten years, not about policies for the next five to ten weeks. I have made my position clear: there is little point wanting to serve, or offering the best vision for the future, if you do not have the power to deliver.

    John McCallister and I agree that we do not have enough power and influence at present. Where we disagree is how to fix it. I want to increase our power base in councils, the House of Commons, Europe and the NI Assembly. I do not see that being achieved by walking away.

    The future is in our own hands. It does not come from associating with others. It is a big stretch to turn ‘never say never’ about possible talks into being open to doing deals. The only deal worth doing for my Party, is a commitment among ourselves to work collectively to bring cohesion and coherence to the public.

  • Comrade Stalin

    A large proportion of UUP members are pensioners who do not attend meetings because of age, recent poor election results internal squabbling,& basic lack of interest. The last leadership election was unusual when some 350 (plus) elderly members from FST came up in special buses to vote for Tom Elliott.

    I’d like to think that both of the candidates have the wit to be able to look up a bus company in the Yellow Pages, or perhaps even that new-fangled interweb thingy, and bus supporters up to Belfast in time for 10:30AM.

  • Fascinating how it is that none of these unionists [from TUV to UUP] who declare they want to make Stormont more democratic, are willing to say wether they think there ever was democracy in NI in the past.They must know the record of unionists 1922-1972.

  • RyanAdams

    “Fascinating how it is that none of these unionists [from TUV to UUP] who declare they want to make Stormont more democratic, are willing to say wether they think there ever was democracy in NI in the past.They must know the record of unionists 1922-1972.”

    **Whataboutery Alert**

  • Reader

    ardmajel55: Fascinating how it is that none of these unionists [from TUV to UUP] who declare they want to make Stormont more democratic, are willing to say wether they think there ever was democracy in NI in the past.They must know the record of unionists 1922-1972.
    Stormont itself was democratic. It just contained a small, divided, inept and alienated opposition.
    So I’m not 100% sure that it would improve matters for the UUP to go into opposition.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Personally I think Mike Nesbitt should perhaps put UUP going into opposition to the party, rather than unilaterally declaring he would. It would show a combination of leadership and pragmatism that an opposition party needs to balance to set itself going forward.

    Look at Cameron, he’s managing to carry his closet UKIP members along fine, while maintaining a more open policy on Europe than the never brigade of skeptics like Willets and Paterson.

  • dwatch

    “Personally I think Mike Nesbitt should perhaps put UUP going into opposition to the party”

    FuturePhysicist, good idea but he has to win the leadership election first. McCallister should also put his ‘Opposition’ idea to the members and see were he stands if he wins.

  • Langdale

    Both Nesbitt and McCallister are putting their positions to the membership.

    The Ulster Unionist Council is still (I think) the governing body of the UUP; so whoever wins on Saturday will have the imprimatur of the Council for their policy

  • alan56

    Apparently the buses from Fermanagh have been booked.Will they be full and who will they vote for. It will certainly not be as clear cut as last time. Nesbitt is ahead but McCallister is attractive to many. Though not saying much in public Elliot’s preference in private could swing this. He remains popular in Fermanagh ST and his views will be transmitted on the grapevine.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Alan,
    understandably not just as many buses, the joke from the last time, Tom needed a police escort to get his convoy of supporters from Fermangh to Belfast, Basil needed a Ford Escort.
    John might need a mini bus from my guess, but whos knows for sure. Tom is strongly staying tight lipped, but perhaps the support of Sam Foster (Fermangh Chairman) and Cllr Alex Baird are good indicators of the direction many Fermanagh members are thinking, that was even before Danny dropped out, maybe even contibuting to that discision?

  • Reader. But Stormont, up to ’72, was nothing more than a talking shop. There for the sake of outward appearances, while the real abuses took place in the councils, the real source of orange/Unionist control. It wasn’t for nothing that Heath stripped them of office 40 years ago.

  • Reader

    ardmajel55: It wasn’t for nothing that Heath stripped them of office 40 years ago.
    It was because Stormont was badly mismanaging the descent into the troubles. The key reforms to the council franchise and public housing policy were put in place – by Stormont – in 1968

  • dwatch

    Even the seating arrangement at the assembly is a nonsense to begin with. Any stranger visiting stormont would be mystified be the way the assembly seats its members.

    Both leader & deputy leader plus elected ministers & juniors (by D’ Hondt) should at least be formed into a front bench with DUP & SF members and sitting behind them on one side of the assembly (house).

    The other three parties UUP, SDLP, Alliance & independents could sit on the opposite side and at least give the appearance of an opposition.

    “New UUP leader must face up to cosy club at Stormont”

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/ed-curran/new-uup-leader-must-face-up-to-cosy-club-at-stormont-16136077.html#ixzz1qIk7NLdv

  • dwatch

    I wonder will David McClarty MLA ‘INDEPENDENT’ be present at this meeting in support of Mike Nesbitt.

    “UUP leadership debate in secret”
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/uup-leadership-debate-in-secret-1-3668585

  • Drumlins Rock

    I think that would be unlikely dwatch unless he renewed membership recently.

    I wish journalists would learn the difference in “secret” and “private” , the leadership is primarily an issue for the membership, its unfortunate more joint meetings couldn’t be held but things have developed so fast it didn’t work out. I don’t think a public TV debate would do the parties image any good so why do it?

  • dwatch

    “I think that would be unlikely dwatch unless he renewed membership recently.”

    DR,
    surely who would stop him if he was invited along by a member or members of the local UUP association as a guest to listen to both speakers. Even at the AGM “UUC ” some members bring friends and non UUP relatives along, as only “fully paid up members allowed to vote” are given voting slips upon registering at the entrance desk.

  • Drumlins Rock

    dwatch, I didn’t say anyone would stop him, its more I don’t see David as being the type to be a distraction at such an event.

  • dwatch

    DR, you are probably right, although I don’t know him I was annoyed (as were others) by the dirty tricks played out by some in his old association. Anyway this election could go all the way to the wire, if the media are to be believed.

    ”McCallister’s plans for Opposition JOHN McCallister tells SAM McBRIDE that he is gaining momentum in his bid to become the next leader of the UUP.”
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/mccallister-s-plans-for-opposition-1-3668580

  • Drumlins Rock

    dwatch, is this the same media that had Ken Maginnis booking buses for Danny?

    Saying that John is getting members thinking, my guess is he unlikely to convert enough of that into votes by Saturday, unless he performs a knockout tonight and at the podium on Saturday. The race is far from as polarised as the last time, with either candidate being acceptable to most, a longer campaign who knows…

    One thing though, if it is anyway tight even if Mike wins the opposition issue will need considered in some way, if it is a similar result to the last time then he can put it on the long finger for now.

  • JR

    Well, given the SDLP got 3.7% more votes than the UUP in the last assembly election, I don’t see how they could effectivly lead an opposition

  • andnowwhat

    Just heard Mc Callister on Nolan. He seriously ballsed up.

  • dwatch
  • andnowwhat

    Mc Callister on Nolan;

    http://audioboo.fm/boos/731416

    (WARNING: May cause on to slap one’s face!)

  • FuturePhysicist

    Well, given the SDLP got 3.7% more votes than the UUP in the last assembly election, I don’t see how they could effectivly lead an opposition

    Constituency politics favoured the wider spread vote of the UUP, constituencies need to represented as much as individuals.