Ian Marshall joins the UUP…

At the time of the last UUP leadership election, I said the best person for the job was Ian Marshall. There were just two minor issues, he was not a politician or even a member of the UUP. That situation has since been rectified, at least the UUP member part.

Ian is a former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union and an ex Irish Senator. He spoke at our Slugger Big Day Out Event a few years ago and he impressed the crowd with his pragmatism and insightful analysis of the political landscape. Unlike the recent crop of career politicians, Ian has actual real-world experience and abilities.

He is expected to run in next May’s Assembly election and it would be very surprising if he did not get elected.

Former PUP councillor Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston also joined the UUP recently. Julie-Anne is openly gay, signalling a further shift to the centre for the UUP. As a Loyalist, she should also help the UUP reach more working-class voters.

Doug Beattie has managed to bring the UUP back from the dead. Whether this momentum results in more success at the ballot box is yet to be seen but with the DUP in meltdown, there has never been a better time for a UUP resurgence.

For his next trick, could Doug entice Simon Hamilton back into politics?

Main photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.