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.
Delighted to join Doug and the UUP. Time for a union of people, embracing inclusivity, diversity and building relationships across an island and between two islands. Thanks to @SuzyJourno & @BelTel for the article; https://t.co/0umgDnvlw6
— Ian Marshall (@IanMarshall_) July 27, 2021
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.
“The UUP is changing, and for the better. Julie-Anne joining the Party shows that we are building a team who want to build a union of people and who share a vision for a modern, accepting Northern Ireland." – UUP Leader Doug Beattie MC MLA
— Ulster Unionist (@uuponline) June 2, 2021
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.
I help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.