Tina McKenzie resigns…

Confirmed by the Vixens..

Tonight we see another casualty of the cut and thrust of political life, with the news that NI21 chair, Tina Mc Kenzie has resigned. I’m saddened by that. There was so much hope for NI21, and its hard to see how it can recover. I wish Tina all the best with whatever direction she takes in the future.

  • GoldenFleece
  • Charles_Gould

    On a serious note: I was very interested in the people who joined NI21 – the ordinary rank and file. They seemed to be people who really wanted to do something positive, socially minded progressive people.

    Some who lead NI21 Youth. The QUB NI21. Others who stood for council in various places. They were very good people. Really, I liked them a lot – young and older. They had a lot in common. There was a coherence there.

    I don’t know anything about the rumours that have been circling or their truth – I don’t want to talk about that.

    But I what I do want to say is that these good rank-and-file people who stood for NI21 and who got involved were inspiring and positive, and I wish all of them well in the count, and in the future, I hope they stay involved in politics whatever happens.

  • Morpheus

    “So sad that fresh politics has been let down by old politicians. I have resigned from the Executive but still fully support NI21” Tina McKensie

    Resigned from the party or just the executive?

  • Charles_Gould

    I think that blog by Ann Allan is very eloquent- worth reading.

  • keano10

    She has only resigned from the party executive.

  • First, if McKenzie wanted nothing to do with ‘old politicians’ then why share an Exec with them. Second, leaving this announcement to after the polls she certainly seems to have learned from the ‘old politicians’. Third, she was at that vote yesterday, so she can’t blame others alone for the NI21 mess.

  • Charles_Gould

    David Honeyford is one of those I am thinking of in my first comment. A really inspiring and genuinely “fresh” candidate.

    He feels let down by John as you can see

  • I read somewhere a number of years ago a theory that a principal reason that humans stopped wandering and settled in fixed communities was to facilitate gossiping. There might be a smidgen of truth in that.
    I believe the favoured theory was that they needed to stick around to allow time for the beer to ferment.

  • Charles_Gould

    Would the Alliance party accept Basil? That might be the solution.

  • carnmoney.guy

    if Alliance had any sense they would borrow Baron Kilclooney’s barge pole

  • Comrade Stalin

    Maybe Tina has finally realized that she has been used, most recently a couple of days ago when Basil used her and the other NI21 Executive members to force through his designation change.

    I thought Basil’s interview on The View was a complete sham, pretending he doesn’t understand why all this has suddenly come out of the blue before an election when it was Basil who railroaded the designation through.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Who would want basil in their party after what he did to NI21 ?

  • DC

    New party, weak internal governance structures, lack of check and balances, youthful party, young women, opportunity to interact with young women, would-be charismatic leader, come into my office, leader’s office, getting carried away, ego, vanity, misplaced self-belief, forgetting young people are around for the politics not his personal attributes or lack of. I could go on.

    Tend to agree with you Comrade, Basil can’t be that stupid to re-designate so soon before an election, I don’t believe one word.

  • DC

    Seeing as we can’t talk about the allegations in detail, one of the most contemptible things about Basil and for that matter indirectly Tina and supporters of designating ‘Other’ is that both Basil and John were elected Ulster *Unionists*. Their support base was and is structured on that yet Basil thinks he can do what he wants, wise up and catch yourself on.

    He should resign his MLA seat.

  • Comrade Stalin

    DC, well .. if you *are* going to redesignate then you call a big meeting, get the different shades of opinion to present white papers on it, and formulate a policy.

    John reconfirmed my own suspicions. This was never about designations. It was about Basil trying to cut him out before he could do any harm.

  • mark7694

    McCrea’s re-designation move was a bizarre one. It undermined the liberal unionist brand they were marketing NI21 as.

    Changing the party’s official position on the constitutional question on the brink of an election in somewhere like Northern Ireland was a woeful strategic move.

    I actually find it dictatorial that NI21’s party rules enabled the party’s 6 member executive to make such a significant change without consultation of the party members.

    McCallister, however, has to take his share of the responsibility in this debacle, as bringing in-house disputes into the public sphere was unprofessional.

    My only explanations for McCallister’s actions are that he either reacted irrationally to the change, or he simply lost his interest in NI21.

    A Deputy Leader calling their own party ”crazy” and ”dysfunctional” is ridiculous. I don’t know what good McCallister thought would come of this, or how this would be beneficial in any way.

  • DC

    I think at times we all seem to forget amid the hype and now hysteria that Basil is an Ulster Unionist and I would be raging if I voted for him to see him taking such liberty as if it’s OK to redesignate just because he sees fit, taking liberties, politically and perhaps personally.

  • DC

    McCallister, however, has to take his share of the responsibility in this debacle, as bringing in-house disputes into the public sphere was unprofessional.

    It’s far too early to make that judgement on him as his motives appear to be linked to claims of inappropriate behaviour by the leader.

    What if it turns out something inappropriate was happening and was ignored and the leader abused his power, then in relation to timing that’s just tough shit.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Basil is finished and NI21 never began.

  • clarks

    Not over yet for NI21 if Tina McKenzie decides to make a go of it as party leader.

  • mark7694

    DC: I guess only time will tell if that turns out to the case of McCrea.

    I would still argue though that McCallister is partly responsible. Opening NI21’s party problems up to public scrutiny has brought the party into disrepute, and that is clearly a bad thing before an election and especially for a new party trying to convince people to their cause.

  • Progressive Unionist

    Well, this news at least explains why McCallister – one of the most decent and principled men in politics – acted the way he did.

    Despite the chaos of the past while, NI21 should move forward as an independent party.

    When you look at the number of new people it has attracted into politics, the energy and enthusiasm around the campaign, there’s clearly a significant market for the kind of forward-looking, pro-NI/pro-Union politics expressed by NI21.

    It must be very disappointing for the grassroots who put in so much effort to be let down so terribly with just days to go until the election.

    The grassroots members should act to exert control over the party, replace the leadership if necessary, and have the confidence to move forward. The party was never about a single personality – if anything it’s better for new faces to step forward and show leadership.

  • GEF

    If these allegations turn out to be true then Basil McCrea is toast regards NI21. But there is no mention of the PSNI being involved I find unusual.

    “NI21 implodes amid allegations against Basil McCrea”

  • Ní Dhuibhir

    What I don’t understand is how Basil forcing John out would shut John up, if that was the idea. Wouldn’t he be able to give similar interviews if he was no longer deputy leader, and even if the current inquiry was called off, couldn’t he still call for one from outside the party? Does resignation involve a gagging order or something? Anyone know how it would work?

  • iluvni

    Sympathy for NI21 candidates?
    Not a chance.
    They were gullible fools listening to those two in the first place.

  • Morpheus

    It’s all very bizarre really.

    I can see where basil is coming from – if there have been no formal or informal complaints then why bring in an outside company to investigate?

    I can see where John is coming from – be preemptive and bring in an independent company to investigate so if it comes out in the media they can point to the report.

    But the bit that is confusing me is how a vote in the party executive was supposed to guarantee that John would leave the party? Even if Basil knew that a change in designation would mean John would resign everyone else in the executive had a vote and could easily have voted against the motion. Are the rest of executive so weak that they cannot think independently for themselves?

    There’s a piece of the puzzle missing here

  • I think Alliance would welcome any member of NI21 – after all, we’ve even allowed members of the NI Conservatives to jump ship to us.

    NI21 wasn’t mentioned at all from the platform at our conference, and I think that is for one key reason.

    NI21 are Alliance’s rivals for a very similar demographic, and to that extent they are/were a massive threat, but they are not enemies. They are allies seeking very similar things to each other.

    Well, potential allies anyway.

    I’m extremely sorry to see this meltdown, particularly in and around the actual election. It could increase disillusionment amongst voters generally, not just those who saw so much potential in NI21, and leave us worse off than we were to begin with.

  • Morpheus

    “An emotional Tina McKenzie tells me she is not willing to accept either Basil McCrea or John McCallister as leader of NI21”
    Tracey Magee


  • Remember this is the woman who at the party’s formal launch said that she thought that she had already done more for NI politics than Alliance had done in its four decades of existence. I guess having done so much, she can now afford to retire from politics.

  • WhatWasThat13

    *Disclaimer* This is not intended a statement of fact or an accusation and is 100% speculation but I fail to see how, as party Chairperson, Tina McKenzie wasn’t entirely aware of the allegations brought against Basil McCrea all along; especially when other party members, such as Annette Holden, clearly did know and chose morals over power for self/party. Seems Tina is jumping ship for all the wrong reasons.

    Even if the allegations do prove false, surely they are sufficiently severe to warrant her support for an investigation even if only from the perspective of ‘clearing Basil’s name’?

    How is the media not asking this question?

    How is it she is being depicted as an innocent victim here when she was in the innermost inner-circle of NI21 and a) did vote to re-designate (coerced or not) & b) may have known about the allegations and still carried on promoting Basil and the party? She even said, “Because the only thing we have got on our side is that we are right.”

    So many questions unasked…

  • Comrade Stalin

    Tina was one of those who voted for the designation change.

    I’d be open to the possibility that she was manipulated by Basil. Anyone who voted for that decision to change designation policy on the eve of an election was either in on the scheme, or is too stupid to be taken seriously in politics.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I agree with AndyB, I’d be more than happy to see NI21 supporters in Alliance. I’d hope the party would make overtures. There could be no question of sweetners, but it would certainly be useful to everyone to see if they feel they could have a home in Alliance if not, find out why not.

  • OneNI

    ‘I think Alliance would welcome any member of NI21 – after all, we’ve even allowed members of the NI Conservatives to jump ship to us.’
    Who joined Alliance from NI Conservatives?

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Wasn’t the point of NI21 to present a pro Union perspective in the 21st century, Alliance is not a natural bedfellow.

  • OneNI – pretty sure it was a former Alliance member…

  • Comrade Stalin


    Wasn’t the point of NI21 to present a pro Union perspective in the 21st century

    It was, up until last Wednesday night.