So Tom has finally thrown in the towel and we are to have another UUP leader.
Alex Kane does a good job over at the News Letter in outlining the likely contenders and just how poisoned a chalice the UUP leadership is. Although I’d question whether the UUP is even up to a chalice these days. More a nice cuppa tea with a ham sandwich (made with pan-loaf and margarine). Served in a nice, fusty Orange Hall.
The UUP has been dying for years. And, according to the various whispers I’m receiving via the bongo drums of the the political anorak class (the metaphors are all over the place in that sentence, sorry) defections will continue in the coming weeks. Some big-hitter UUP members, I’m told. Although I wasn’t aware there were any of those left.
As Alex points out in his article, the new-fangled NI Conservative thingy is due to be launched in a few weeks. I gather that the plan is that this will be pitched as very much a cross-community entity. Some Alliance types have been sniffing around it and the grandees of the Conservative Party in London will publicly bless the thing. However, as I’ve written before, without a better leadership roster in front of it the new Party will fizzle little brighter than than a new-leadered UUP.
The problem is that the new political order of DUP/Shinner coalition is bedding down. The two Parties are made for each other because they both want the same things i.e. more power wrested from Westminster. Collectively the Dupshinners are the manifestation of Ulster-Irish nationalism – the NI equivalent of the Scots Nats.
The DUP and Shinners are politically melded like the two tubes in an epoxy-resin kit. And tit-for-tat niceness is growing. Soon we’ll have an announcement that Marty will meet some Royal on the next visit and there will be cries of “Wow” from the establishment and then Peter Robbo will arrange to wear a big green hat on St Paddy’s Day. And then Marty will join Garvaghy Road LOL or something. The whole consensus thing gets more and more ridiculous by the minute.
The only means of breaking this merry-go-round green and orange trading-off is to do something to undermine it. The UUP is just too stupid and lacking in talent to know where to start and the NI Conservatives haven’t got sufficient media attention or leadership savviness.