Mike Nesbitt takes 81% of UUP vote

Pretty impressive… So what will a Nesbitt leadership look like?

Mike Nesbitt 536 votes
John McCallister 129 votes
Spoilt 3 votes

  • cynic2

    The beginning of the end.The problem is that the same Fermanagh cabal will be writing the script. He will;l just be better than Tom at presenting it.

  • andnowwhat

    Yay, Norn Iron has it’s own Kilroy Silk and one less party (in the very near future)

  • OneNI

    So there were three McNarryites!

  • TwilightoftheProds

    The scale of Nesbitt’s victory has utterly blind sided me.

    If the vast bulk of the party think that’s the way to go….jesus. They are cowering ineffectually under the executive table, not sitting as equals at it.

    So fair play to Nesbitt for being canny enough to read the mood of the party so well…..but this is shoal of jellyfish stuff. And in the centenary of the Covenant. Tsk.

    The UUP needs space to manouvre and create a distinct profile for themselves. And time is not on the UUP’s side here.

  • dwatch

    Mike Nesbitt 536 votes
    John McCallister 129 votes
    Spoilt 3 votes

    Nesbitt received over 80% of the vote. lets McCallister know 4 out of every 5 members at the AGM do not want to go into opposition.

  • alex gray

    Belfast Telegraph reports about 850 at meeting, 665 voted. So185 did not vote. Presumably there were people who could not vote for either Nesbit or McCallister. So that’s about 22% of the UUP delegates present who did NOT vote.
    What would be interesting woule nbe to know where the non-voters came from? Presumably the Fermanagh mafia voted for Nesbitt. So do the unhappy non voters might come from areas where there are UUP MLA’s What about the former Kennedy supporters among the MLA’s ?

  • GavBelfast

    I’m tempted to think that the conservative nature of the membership of the ‘FUP’ felt that a freshly new dad should be helping to look after his new baby, rather than leading a political grouping.

    On the other hand, perhaps there’s some progression evident here when someone with a somewhat controversial private life going way back – something that emerged before the 2010 General Election and made things a bit difficult for him, though he did not hide it – has managed to win the leadership, and with such a massive margin.

    Anyway, I wish him and the party well. Unlikely as it may seem that they will recover, politics here needs an alternative to the DUP (and Sinn Fein).

  • Mick Fealty

    Kennedy was not looking happy, Im told.

  • HarryH

    A total of 668 votes is only 33.4% of the reported 2000 plus membership of the UUP.
    So the question is, if you cannot motivate almost 70% of the membership to vote for the party leader, how can you motivate the thousands of disinterested voters to vote for the party?
    I think Mike is going to need some oxygen to climb this mountain.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Kennedy was not looking happy, Im told.

    Why’s that ? I thought he had endorsed Nesbitt.

  • Seems every time the UUP opts for a safe pair of hands they invite the fingers to wrap around it’s throat ever tighter.

  • lamhdearg2

    will the party see out 2012, without basil and co leaving.

  • cynic2

    850 attended. How are the mighty fallen!

  • CookedBreakfast

    Very clear signal from the party on the issue of Opposition; they’ve put it to bed. McAllister was offering the only magic bullet available to them and they turned their nose up at it.
    Now what? Do they continue to bemoan the DUP-SF ‘carve-up’ from within coming across as sour and regressive in the process? Or do they throw their weight behind a shared future strategy, which given Robinsons recent rhetoric is not going to be a distinctive, unique trait. Things look bleak for the UUP – they may not die but they will continue to wither to the point of irrelevance.

    As for the party’s much-vaunted organisation or root-and-branch structure. Granted it is only a 2-3 second clip, but the footage from UTV of inside the Ramada was not exactly brimming with the sort of youthful membership that can cope with the ‘heavy lifting’ that Nesbitt is bleating on about. Does the party have the appetite and stamina for the fight?

  • Cooked breakfast That name could well apply to the newly withered UUP. They were at in a fighting state when the candidates margins were close, but they appear to now be in the dying phase at 80% they are now the weakest link, goodbye.

  • dwatch

    “What would be interesting woule nbe to know where the non-voters came from? ”

    Alex, a large percentage of this number ( 185) could be official non UUP members IE: former members who ceased paying their annual dues (so have no vote) partners, wives of members & other Unionist sympathisers who were invited as guests. Other registered members just decided to abstain.

  • andnowwhat

    This might mean a couple going along the traditional route in to the APNI.

    I’d love a thread about how many such moves the APNI can absorb before it is an issue for the party’s neutral position.

  • keano10

    Quite amazing to see Nesbitt interviewed after the result and state that he had no particular plan to reverse the UUP’s decline. He simply hoped that the UUP’s 2000 members would work hard for the party.

    It all seemed very anti-climatic and surprisingly lacking in PR adeptness from a guy who was once the UTV News Anchor…

  • andnowwhat

    Just listened to Mc Callister’s (what’s with people constantly spelling his name wrong?) speech and there’s no need to ask what happened, just listen to the claps or lack thereof, at the start.

    BTW, couldn’t bring myself to listen to Nesbitt’s speech

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’d love a thread about how many such moves the APNI can absorb before it is an issue for the party’s neutral position.

    Out of all the people who have joined Alliance, only a tiny fraction have done so after leaving another party.

  • andnowwhat

    Yeah CS, but it’s rather high profile. Do the incomers become also neutral or are they still pronounced unionists?

    Anyway, this is all off topic.

  • Dewi

    Not a lot of people voting. 668 people voting for UUP leader – times have really changed.

  • andnowwhat

    Och Dewi. Tilting at windmills is so passé. One wee guy knew this and the party treated him like the first kid in school who sussed there was no Santa

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mick, Danny looked happy enough any time I saw him. Although Mike has indicated change already, the grey suits don’t call the shots anymore.

    I have supported Mike from the day after Tom announced his decision, I think if it had of been a 3 horse race he might even have won on the first vote, or a wee fraction under, I called it 70-30 last night, and it probably was about that going in this morning, but Mike knew exactly who his audience was, ticked all the right boxes in his speech with perfect delivery and created just enough doubt in the case for immediate opposition to undermine John’s central issue. He played his hand perfectly in the hall.

    John delivered his speech with conviction, but it did not suit his easy going manner, he was not a convincing a a “leader” but it also didn’t allow his personality to show through, he also did not turn the follow up questions to his advantage like Mike did. So my gut feeling is there was a 10% swing even during those speeches.

    I was impressed and believe Mike is the right leader, if he applies the same process of winning over the electorate as he has winning over the party then I think things will turn around.

  • Progressive Unionist

    Well, that was a very impressive win for Mike. Although I was hoping (and expecting) for John to come a lot closer, I’m certainly not with the wailing and gnashing of teeth crowd.

    Both candidates were a great improvement on the recent past, and I wish Mike well – it’s heartening that the UUP is, at long last, in moderate hands.

    My fear though is that the temptation – especially with such a whopping margin of victory – will be to just stick with more of the same old message with a new face, which is definitely not what the UUP needs!

    Let’s give Mike a real chance though, his leadership could surprise us and he’s definitely got the potential to win back a lot of the urban and east-of-the-Bann voters who’ve deserted the UUP in droves.

  • andnowwhat

    I’m in no position to know but could the fact that neither candidates were in the Orange be a factor in the lack of interest?

  • Nesbitt interviewed after the result

    keano10, IIRC I heard Mike say he was a team player and he based that comment on his media experience. With all those Presbyterians in its midst the UUP is a difficult team to lead. It will be interesting to see whether or not he can develop a greater sense of team loyalty and collegiality than some of his predecessors.

    He said in that interview with his former UTV colleague that there was ‘no quick fix and no big idea beyond our 2000 members committing together to a long haul of hard work’. Surely it’s better to take time to discuss with colleagues what plans the party needs to make and the changes it needs to make to the top team – rather than to behave dictatorially. I doubt if dissenters have the same freedom of speech in some of the other parties but dissenters probably also need to give some thought to the consequences of their actions for the party.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Dewi, this is only the second election with one member one vote, the other one was in the evening after a long, and at times heated,run-up, so I don’t think times have changes that much in 18 months (the Fermanagh factor boosted the turn-out the last time, although FST still had 4 buses today)

  • DR, do you have a breakdown of attenders or membership by constituency? There seemed to be a great dearth of young and youngish representatives.

  • dodrade

    I realise the UUP are putting a lot of faith in Nesbitt’s presentational skills but the last TV broadcaster to become party leader after only a few years in politics was Michael Ignatieff heading the Liberals in Canada, which didn’t exactly go well.

  • NeedNoAlibi

    Robert Kilroy Silk didn’t exactly make the shift from TV presenter to politician a success.

  • lamhdearg2

    aye but kilroy came across a smarmy git!.

  • NeedNoAlibi

    Did the UUP membership vote for the man or his policies? It seems likely that if Nesbitt had advocated going into opposition he would also have been supported.
    I have been listening and watching to most of his media appearances recently and I have no idea what his political ideas are apart from ‘let’s all get along better’ as a party.

    If I had a vote today I’d have been asking 1) who’s politics is more likely to keep the media attentive and 2) who would be more of a political threat to the DUP’s agenda? My answer would not have been Nesbitt.

    Apart from having no discernible policies there seems something about him that seeks to promote himself through other people’s downfall. Didn’t he enter electoral politics during the Iris Robinson fiasco and doesn’t it appear that he was waiting in the wings when Tom Eliott’s predictable exit would occur?

  • Framer

    Whatever else you want to say about the UUP, a party that can bring out over six hundred members will not be going away for a very long time.
    It may not be the dominant party in unionism unless and until the DUP experiences indiscipline but it will always matter.
    The DUP is not a membership party in anything like the same way and its conference attenders are increasingly those whose living depends on it.

  • dwatch

    Does anyone know if David Campbell the party chairman has
    likewise stood down at this AGM, and if has anyone been chosen as his replacement?

  • Carsons Cat

    Lamhdearg
    Smarmy – just cant think exactly who that reminds me of. Oh yes, it was the word Mrs CC (who has little or no interest in politics) used to describe Nesbitt after hearing he had decided to run for leadership.

    Framer
    Indeed, a party that can bring out 600 members has some force – mind you given the pictures I seen on the news that number could well drop heavily if there happens to be a particularly harsh winter. It should have been sponsored by Saga.

    Mind you, I am amazed that about 100 people turned up with the apparent intention of just making it clear that neither of the two candidates were worth voting for. That’s really the kind of endorsement you need……

  • Comrade Stalin

    Whatever else you want to say about the UUP, a party that can bring out over six hundred members will not be going away for a very long time.

    I’d be very hesitant to gauge the turnout here as being representative of anything, especially given the age profile of the audience.

    It may not be the dominant party in unionism unless and until the DUP experiences indiscipline but it will always matter.

    The UUP barely matters right now. Under Sir Reg a few years ago it stomped off from Hillsborough Castle while the details over policing and justice, and other matters, were being sorted out.

    The DUP is not a membership party in anything like the same way and its conference attenders are increasingly those whose living depends on it.

    That’s a rather silly assertion. The reason why the DUP are able to get their vote out is because they are able to put volunteers on the ground at election time. The UUP has no base of electoral activists, much less a base of activists who are actually competent.

  • cynic2

    81% of almost nothing is …………………………..

    And the reason Nesbitt got it is the Pro Tom faction voted for him because they wanted to do down the anti-Tom faction. A great start

  • cynic2

    “The UUP has no base of electoral activists”

    …. but so many of the elections are in the Winter when its harder for old folks to get out

  • Comrade Stalin

    On the contrary, elections are very rarely in the winter.

  • alex gray

    dwatch thanks for the idea. I rang around and apparently only members with an offical slip from the bottom of a letter of invitation were admitted and issued with the voting papers. So the 850 would appear to be fully paid up voting members. if you put together McCallister’s vote with the non voters you come up with 317 which is about 37% of the turn out. So it is probably safe to assume that this 37% realise that the party needs a policy – any policy – though most disagree with opposition. The other thing I thought about was that Mike Newsbitt was elected with 536 out of 2000 members – about 27% of the membership. I wonder how many of the paid-up 2000 members will ever come back ? Will the non attending 1150 just slip off into the night ? And how many of the 850 actually do any work at elections or do they just turn up for increasingly frequent leadership votes ?

  • lamhdearg2

    euro14, odds on Mike running?.

  • Dewi

    Less than 700 people voting for UUP leader. Not good.

  • dwatch

    alex, if what you say is correct I must be the only former member who as a guest was present at the UUP AGM yesterday.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Were you there dwatch? should have said hello!
    I know you needed to have you name on central membership list for the last 6 months in order to be issued with voting papers, but there was no vetting for admittance I could see, and I walked in and out several times. So l would say there were 800 people in the room, the 140 who didn’t vote, could simply be non member guests, spouses, and staff. accidentally lapsed members or new members, a small number who couldn’t make up their mind, wished to stay neutral, or lost their ballot paper! and finally some probably hardcore traditionalists who supported neither candidate, however the fact that there were only 3 spoilt ballot papers seems to indicate an extremely low level of resentment.

    Alex, I rang round quite a few members, those who didn’t go generally had other committments or health reasons, none of them intended to “slip of into the night”, the 1000 who missed the last time certainly didn’t.

    Dewi, in 2001 “David Ford won the (Alliance Party) leadership election on 6 October by 86 votes to 45”

  • Comrade Stalin

    DR, the Alliance leader is elected by party council delegates, not by the membership.

  • dwatch

    Thanks DR, I would certainly have said hello had I known you visually. Likewise I agree you are spot on about the 140 or so who were present and did not vote.

    I only attended this AGM this because I have many friends who are still members, as I used to be on the UUC for a number of years previously. Plus the unexpected resigination of Tom Elliott which caused this unusual leadership election.

  • OneNI

    Only a couple of years ago the membership was alleged to be 3,500 plus. Then about 6 months they said 2,500. Now the talk is of 2,000. In reality excluding Fermanagh – were anyone who gives the party a tenner on the doorstep to go away is made a member – the membership is about 1,000. I believe Fermanagh has 600 members.
    To be fair the SDLP has less than 1500 members, the Conservatives only 400 – which I believe is more than Alliance!
    Also what is their in NI politics to inspire people to join a political party at the moment?

  • IJP

    You believe wrong. Alliance has well over twice that.

  • IJP

    Btw, Alliance doesn’t have a “neutral” position. It supports a Shared Future, tackling costs of division, etc.

    When asked about the constitutional position as the party’s European candidate, I said: “We were the first party to advocate power-sharing devolution within the UK with cross-border institutions, and we have seen no reason to change that position

    No one in the party had an issue with that. It is not a “neutral” position, it is actually far clearer than any other party’s.

  • emanonon

    So Alliance are a Unionist party then? If not what are they?

  • Comrade Stalin

    So Alliance are a Unionist party then? If not what are they?

    Not unionists. It really isn’t hard to grasp.

  • andnowwhat

    IJP

    I think you’ll find ULSTER UNIONIST Party and Democratic UNIONIST Party is pretty clear.

    Nearly forgot, Traditional UNIONIST Voice is also pretty clear. Mind you, the APNI played silly buggers over their connection to the LDs (are they aware that people have memories?) after the setting up of the coalition but they voted along coalition lines re. the ConDem’s social; security reforms.

    I can deal with the unionist position of the DUP and the UUP, have a laugh at the one time republicans administering British government and kissing the royal family’s arses and greatly enjoy Mc Allister’s taking the micky out of the lot of them, it’s the Alliance’s gameplay that leaves me with, as they say in Glasgow, the dry boke.

  • andnowwhat

    Eammn, my cousin, San Neeson, was their former leader, so I have a little insight to them.. Alliance are unionists. Ok, back in the day they were against what the unionist party(s) did but a pro union party they are

  • andnowwhat

    Oops, Sean Neeson.

    Slugger seriously needs an edit function, just as I need to pay more attention when I’m typing

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sean Neeson would reject the idea that he or his colleagues are unionists.

    We go around this “Alliance are really unionists in drag” thing about once every three months and it bores everyone to death. Alliance are not unionist. If they were, it would say “unionist” somewhere in big letters on their website.

    If you think Alliance are unionist, then you don’t understand what the word “unionist” means. Unless by “unionist” you mean “Prods”, although Alliance is probably a mix in roughly the same proportion that NI is.

  • dwatch

    An alliance party member once told me the that only if there was an official referundum over the border issue would alliance party members have to declare their allegiance either for Northern Ireland staying in the UK or joining the other 26 counties in becoming a 32 county United Ireland. At present it seems to be more of an issue for Unionists & Nationalists as it is not a big issue for the Alliance Party or their members.

  • andnowwhat

    Jays’s CS, my brother (I have only recently started to give a toss about NI politics) asked Sean outright when he was coming off with the usual crap.

    I’d say that would have been 12 years ago due to it being at a family funeral.

    I understand unionist to be someone who believes that NI belongs within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as opposed to a nationalist, who believes it belongs in a unified 32 county state.

  • emanonon

    Clear as mud then, some think they are some think they are not.
    It is time people knew exactly what they stand for or if they just sit on the fence with an arse full of splinters.

  • Comrade Stalin

    An alliance party member once told me the that only if there was an official referundum over the border issue would alliance party members have to declare their allegiance either for Northern Ireland staying in the UK or joining the other 26 counties in becoming a 32 county United Ireland.

    I fear whoever that member was, was gravely misinformed or speaking about the 1970s. The idea that party members would “have to declare their allegiance” on this or any other matter which is not enumerated in the party’s policy handbook is quite preposterous. How is that supposed to work exactly, does someone show up at the door of a party member and demand their allegience or else ?

    I’m going to have to do a FAQ about this stuff at some point, but people who are curious to understand how this works need to simply understand that Alliance members and elected reps spend pretty much zero time talking about the pros and cons of the various alternative constitutional arrangements for NI that exist. It just doesn’t animate people. There are more important things to sort out first.

    At present it seems to be more of an issue for Unionists & Nationalists as it is not a big issue for the Alliance Party or their members.

    More accurately, it is the issue for unionists and nationalists, and it is not an issue for most Alliancers.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I understand unionist to be someone who believes that NI belongs within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    I agree. Where do you see that position articulated on the Alliance website ? When have you ever heard an Alliance elected representative articulate this opinion ?

  • lamhdearg2

    I think what people mean, when they say Alliance are unionist is that if it where put to a vote, say in a border poll, the Vast(70/80%) majority of Alliance voters/members/elected members, would vote for the union with Britain to be maintained (based on todays U.K. and Eire), if any Alliance type disagrees with “Vast(70/80%)”, would they be as kind as to put a %/word of their own.

  • lamhdearg2

    sorry my above comment was written before reading the last 6 above, however the Q? still stands, ps in staying out of the issue on a day to day basis, i respect them, just dont tell me most of them dont/would not have a view, in a crunch.

  • OneNI

    Guess it depends what you mean by ‘unionist’ is you mean believe in an inclusive, tolerate, pluralist society as exists in GB you could argue Alliance are more ‘unionist’ than the so called Unionist parties.
    The truth is that the six county unionist parties the DUP and UUP are not unionist.
    They are in fact regionalist parties who seek to screw as much as they can out of the UK Govt. They care little for the overall health of the UK – note recently their reaction to the budget that was completely parochial.
    The DUP after the last election tried to jump into a Lab-Lib coalition when that came to nothing they started trying to sound pro Tory LOL
    Cameron’s not that easily fooled guys.
    Robinson might talk the talk of inclusiveness but his vision is narrow minded parochialsim not unionism

  • andnowwhat

    Could it be construed as Mike’s election being such a non event that we are going of in the yellow card risking direction of being off topic?

    Certainly is as far as I’m concerned

  • lamhdearg2

    its been done to death.

  • IJP

    andnowwhat

    Quite the contrary, the Unionist parties’ position is utterly unclear.

    First, it is plain that they would rather not have power-sharing if they could get away with it, but it is something that has been foisted upon them; Alliance actively supports power-sharing.

    Second, it says nothing about what would happen in the event of a majority for a “United Ireland”; Alliance would continue to support respect for Unionists’ constitutional desires (logically in the form of cross-channel bodies etc) and ongoing power-sharing.

    Third, it says nothing about a break up of the UK; Alliance again offers fundamental principles of power-sharing and sensible institutional arrangements with neighbours.

    I would accept that the Unionist position is still clearer than the Nationalist position, which is to seek a “United Ireland” but leave it to others to work out the details, with a clear implication that they too would get rid of power-sharing and go for “majority rule” as soon as they could get away with it.

    All of that leaves aside the reality that when we say “Unionist” or “Nationalist” we are really talking about cultural identities (and political identities based on them) rather than a practical constitutional position.

    So, the Alliance Party adopts a sensible and practical position. Others adopt a position based on whichever side of the sectarian fence they happened to be raised on, with no real thought given to reality or practicality. It is no coincidence that relative peace broke out based fundamentally on the Alliance Party’s advocated position, albeit hindered by the culture of “separate but equal” rather than genuinely “shared” (which was basically John Hume’s dubious contribution to it all, in fact).