I was lying on the sofa the other night when a link popped up on my screen to the “Real Unionism” blog. I did enjoy a good chuckle at its expense. Mr “Real Unionism” conveys that ‘back to the 50s’ Tom Elliott made John McCallister his deputy to make the UUP a vote winning party. Most naive of all that it was a gesture of good will to the ‘liberals’ within the party. Indeed, I believe that Tom Elliott made John McCallister deputy leader of the MLAs as a cynical ploy to keep quiet certain parts of the party, ie the ‘liberal wing’. I see this move as a facade towards isolating the Basilites by trying to entice John closer to the leadership. You know the saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
I quote Real Unionism;
“This sudden acceptance of party leadership by John will only speed up the demise of the rebellious progressive element.”
How wrong are you, indeed I’m not going anywhere. I don’t see myself being part of any rebellion anytime soon, Tom deserves a good year at least before any judgement can be cast, I am sure that John will be putting forward the views of this “progressive element” to Tom.
Basil McCrea lost the leadership contest. Tom Elliott is the leader of my party now. I fail to understand were these ‘waistcoat wearing’ Queen’s students are, and surely we should be thankful to have any youth interested in the UUP. The Basilites, those at Queens and all across our province, are waiting like myself to see where (or when) our new leader leads us. It has been 6 weeks now since Tom Elliott was elected yet not a peep from him has been heard, a very worrying fact. You would think that the party would use the election of a new leader to appeal to the electorate, to send out a positive message about our the UUPs future and simply just be in the media for the public to see. Oh wait, I forgot, this is the UUP. We make the same mistakes in the same ways we always do, wouldn’t you think we’d learn?
Indeed, when I was at Stormont on Monday the rumours in the corridors were rife about the UUP. The media was interested to suggest that David McClarty might be re-selected by head quarters after he was de-selected by his constituency. However the more dangerous rumour suggested through the walls was that all is not well at the top and is in fact unravelling. The deals struck to put Tom Elliot where he is are beginning to crumble and the puppet masters are now all arguing among themselves as the puppet sits hapless to lead or control the MLAs. Word on the street is that it’s all falling down, and that’s without any so called ‘Basilite’ involvement.
At the minute in the world of politics I have more to worry about than trying to bring down the leadership (they’re doing that by themselves!). As an Ulster Unionist I’m more interested in convincing people to firstly come out and vote and secondly come out and vote for the UUP. As a member of this party I worry about the lack of urgency among those at the top, the lack of action and indeed reform that is needed. With not just one but two elections just 6 months away we should be forming strategies, getting a timescale set out and organising election material, but oh wait, we still have to select our candidates. However arguing at the top takes much more priority. No URGENCY people! It’s not like the candidates would ever want to know either if they can start campaigning and raising their profile...again. UUP headquarters seem hell-bent on slowing down any attempt at trying to win votes.
This Basilite has a busy few months ahead. Like every other member, I will be knocking on doors for Tom Elliot. I will have no problem campaigning for Tom, because that’s party loyalty! Now is not a time for internal arguments or any rebellion. I feel that now is the time we started to come across as comprehensive and positive, because I feel that the party doesn't realize the extent of the ground lost in the East of the province. As a member of the UUP and with Tom Elliott as my leader, I will be busy over the next few months, not taking Tom down, but trying to prop him up!
Mark my words…if things aren’t soon turned around up at the top, no matter how much campaigning the members do, the UUP are in for a battering.