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. 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 & …

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An open letter to Jeffrey and Doug

Now the dust has settled on the turmoil at the top of the two main unionist parties for the foreseeable future, we’ve had a wide range of commentators telling us what challenges they face and what is likely to define their tenure of office.  Many of them were from various hues of non or anti-unionist opinion advising unionists on the way forward. But the two leaders (initially at least) would do better to focus on the thoughts and feelings of …

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SOAPBOX: As things go from bad to worse, the DUP can’t avoid the ripples of the ‘Beattie Bounce’

Dr. Clare Rice is a postdoctoral researcher at Newcastle University: a specialist in power-sharing and Northern Ireland’s politics. She tweets as @Clare_Rice_. All views expressed are the author’s own. The word ‘honeymoon’ evokes sentiments of a relaxing, happy and easy-going time. The big event is over, and in the bubble of positivity that follows, the focus shifts to the future. For Edwin Poots, this phase has been as good as non-existent since he became the new DUP Leader. The unceremonious …

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Fragmented Unionism and Broad Churches…

It has long been the formula within political Unionism that if a Unionist party is both united and able to accommodate a broad church of Unionist opinion then it will be the dominant Unionist party. In many ways this formula has never been attained within political Unionism, however, in recent times it’s becoming more difficult to find a party that can solve this formula, and never has this been more apparent than now. However, is the formula relevant in 2021 …

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Doug Beattie welcomes any disillusioned members of the DUP who want to come over to the UUP…

With the DUP taking a lurch to the religious right, some of the more moderate DUP politicians are wondering is it time to jump ship. Doug Beattie is happy to welcome them one and all, with one proviso. Doug said: ‘ any new members would have to endorse the UUP’s vision and values.’ This could be a bit of a sticking point because even UUP politicians would have trouble explaining their parties vision and values. UUP leader Doug Beattie has …

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When the new leader of the UUP talks of getting smaller, that’s the easy bit…

“We may have to get smaller before we get bigger” The words of the new UUP Leader, Doug Beattie MLA, echo those of a previous UUP leader Mike Nesbitt MLA, when speaking at a leadership hustings debate in Londonderry in 2012. His ultimately unsuccessful opponent was John McCallister at the time an MLA, a strong advocate for formal opposition at Stormont and closely associated with Basil McCrea, also an UUP MLA. Both left to form NI21. Both parties ended up …

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Well, well, well-#AE2022 and that Lucid Talk poll

It’s early days, minds could change later, but the Belfast Telegraph’s latest poll will send shivers down the DUP’s spine. According to Lucid Talk, support for the DUP has dropped to 16%, the same as Alliance. Sinn Fein sits at 25%. Doug Beattie will take comfort from the figure for the UUP, up two points to 14%. A Sinn Fein First Minister has been a possibility since the 2017 Assembly election. Based on these figures,  Sinn Fein will clinch the …

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Where can the Unionist parties gain seats at the next election?

The DUP has started messaging ahead of next years assembly election that the combined Unionist parties need just five seats to remove the protocol. Now this claim has been fact checked that they can only remove certain parts, rather than all of it. But I thought it would be interesting to look at where Unionism could potentially find those gains. To start with, this is a very tall order for the combined Unionist parties. If the results of elections from …

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Robbie Butler rules himself out of UUP leadership ‘at this stage’

Robbie Butler has ruled himself out of the race to be UUP leader in a statement issued this evening. Having listened to Doug speak on the media this week and spent some time with him personally, I believe we have a candidate who possesses the skills and attributes that are currently needed and it will be my pleasure to play any supporting role in the UUP Assembly team to make Northern Ireland a place we “ALL” want to live, work …

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Doug Beattie declares his bid for UUP Leader

The Upper Bann MLA, Doug Beattie has announced his bid to become the next leader of the UUP. UUP MLA @BeattieDoug has confirmed he will run as as a candidate to succeed outgoing party leader Steve Aiken pic.twitter.com/HzbCYQfl0M — Rebecca Black (@RBlackPA) May 10, 2021   “Doug Beattie MC MLA, UUP” by niassembly is licensed under CC BY-ND David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs Poots “Ultimately …

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Battle for the Soul of Unionism

At Féile an Phobail’s Leader’s debate back in August 2019, I was fascinated to witness a microcosmic battle – perhaps skirmish – for the soul of Unionism take place (starting at 1h05): Doug Beattie got quite animated after listening to Gregory Campbell’s defence of his own Britishness, one which came across as unnecessarily binary and reductive. Campbell’s comments earned several objections, but it is Beattie’s that is worth quoting in full: Let me be clear here. I’m an Irishman and …

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Has the UUP Past the Point of Rescue?

With the DUP being in a highly distressed state, this should be an opportune time for the UUP to step up and assume the leadership of Unionism. However, the UUP at present is not fit for purpose and few are considering them as a viable option at the forthcoming election. Rather than being contenders to the throne, the UUP is in reality simply fighting for its political survival. Some UUP members have contacted me to query why I never discuss …

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The DUP class coalition is ending…

Despite the best efforts of hard-line unionists to bring the narrative of Arlene Foster’s downfall at the hands of the much-maligned NI Protocol, the discussion is almost organically drifting towards values. The party of Paisley faces the perfect storm as working and middle-class supporters leave them poll after poll straight to the Alliance Party or to the Traditional Unionist Voice. The former departure lounge of the UUP has been exposed as the fractured loose coalition of two opposing world views …

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Unionism in a tailspin is bad for Unionism but it’s bad for everyone in Northern Ireland too…

For some time now I have been voicing grave concerns about the direction in which Unionism is travelling in and indeed the underlying problems that have hamstrung it, however, over the last week we have seen Unionism and Loyalism in a tailspin, and as both groupings begin to lose control, pockets of violence have broken out across Northern Ireland. The core issues that have stymied Unionism at present are as follows: – Leadership vacuum – Lacking a vision – Incompetence …

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AE22: Targets for the main parties next year

It is 15 months away, but lockdown boredom and messing around with numbers, he is the lay of the land going into the next Assembly Election. Alliance The happiest people looking at this are the Alliance Party, gains to be seen across Northern Ireland and on numbers, none of their 8 seats are under threat. Around 10 target seats are there for them, with varying degrees of effort required. The low hanging fruit are places like North Belfast and South …

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The UUP have no idea what their message is…

It’s almost bizarre to think that at one point the Ulster Unionist Party ruled the roost in Northern Ireland, indeed up until relatively recently they were the largest Unionist party on the island. But the days of an Ulster Unionist First Minister, with MPs in Westminster and domination over local Government are long gone. With a succession of party leaders, splits, defections and bloody noses at the polls I have often wondered what the future is for the UUP in …

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Steve Aiken reverses “Vote Mike, get Colum”

The UUP Leader, Steve Aiken sat down with Brendan Hughes from Belfast Live recently to discuss a range of political issues. If you are interested in the full exchange, you can watch it here. One thing that caught my eye was this part of the interview where Aiken signals a shift away from the approach of his predecessor, Mike Nesbitt, whom readers will remember said he would give his second preference to the SDLP. However, the current leader, Steve Aiken …

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When are the DUP going to ditch the Tories?

“What did we do to members on those benches over there, to be screwed over by this protocol,” Ian Paisley asked in Parliament yesterday, “ask your hearts, what did we do?” Oh Ian. It’s a cliché at this point to quote Edward Carson’s “What a fool I was…” speech. It’s boring. We all know it by now. I prefer the bit after that famous line: “And of all the men in my experience that I think are the most loathsome it …

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Unionism’s Year-End Review…

During a year in which a global pandemic has eclipsed all other matters in Northern Ireland, Unionism still managed to have an extremely troubled 365 days which has left it in a damaged and weakened position. As it is the time of year for year-end reviews, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how Unionism has performed in 2020. The major talking point is the Northern Ireland Protocol which has come about as a result of …

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Does Queen’s need an academic specialist in unionism?

Dr Marie Coleman provides a response to a recent call to create a Queen’s professorship to study unionism and its contribution to Northern Ireland. Speaking in the Northern Ireland Assembly yesterday (9 November 2020), the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Mr Stephen Aiken, encouraged Queen’s University to establish a new academic post ‘to study unionism and its contribution to Northern Ireland’, in the context of the approaching centenary of partition and the creation of Northern Ireland. This suggestion appears not …

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