NI Tories: “You have to wonder on which planet the new UUP leader is living”

It’s odd for a political leader to get caught out wanting to do the right thing… But Mike Nesbitt’s line on the BBCyesterday that he wanted to see how the poor live, is one massive hostage to fortune. Even the Tories are having a field day at his expense:

“You have to wonder on which planet the new UUP leader is living, if he thinks he can understand the stress and misery experienced by one of our most deprived families, by ‘slumming it’ for a day,” Steve remarked. “Does he honestly believe that, in 24 hours, he can gain insight into the anxiety a family experiences as it chooses which bills it can and cannot pay, or as it seeks help from a health service which is broken, or as it attempts to bring up children who are tolerant of their neighbours, in a society where segregation is the norm.”

“If, after at least 4 years in public life, Mr Nesbitt is not yet familiar with these problems, then his ivory tower must be very high indeed. The irony is that while the new UUP leader proposes gimmicks, to give the impression that he’s engaging with communities in deprived areas, he has ruled out forming an opposition at the Assembly. Yet properly holding the Executive to account for its failure to create jobs or tackle poverty in Northern Ireland would make a greater contribution to combating deprivation than any number of cheap publicity stunts.”

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