Frank McCoubrey comes in from the cold…

And in other council news, Frank McCoubrey – formerly of the UDA aligned UDP – comes into the DUP on Belfast City Council. The UDP disbanded some years ago of course, when someone forgot to re-register the party with the Electoral Commission.

His defection, as Squinter calls it is from the UUP whip, which he rather surreptitiously took up at some point before 2009.

It’s an interesting ‘acquisition’ for the DUP, which has struggled in the past to garner enough votes in what was/is the heart of Unionist West Belfast (until re-organisation kicks in that is). to take one of the six Assembly seats on offer there.

McCoubrey’s attractiveness is his influence and grind with a community that’s become [what do you mean become? Always was, surely? – ed] rather disaffected from party politics. But in a constituency like West Belfast, or even more so in a redrawn North Belfast, it’s a risky move.

In the past Alderman McCoubrey’s been inclined to plotting his own adventurous course, and his past connections to the UDP are almost certain to be exploited by the party’s political opponents.

A bit of a risk then, but in the case of the DUP it seems to be something of a calculated one to shore up its weak spots and build for a new seat. Time will tell if it was a wise one.

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