MUCH as we’ve all been overtaken by events in the Republic of Ireland, it must come as a relief to Tom Elliott as he watches more departures from his party.
The latest departures are on Larne Council, and news that David McClarty is to run as an Independent, all would seem to add to the woes of Mr Elliott. At the Alliance Party conference two Westminster UUP candidates – Paul Bradshaw and Harry Hamilton – were visible and obviously afforded a warm welcome.
With such a background there has been much talk about electoral meltdown for the UUP. We, however, suspect that they will surprise a few doubters (no, we are not insane!).
Hear us out here: after they do a headcount of who is left in the UUP there is one obvious tactic guaranteed to have recalcitrant Ulster Unionist voters rushing to vote. It is the sympathy vote. Mr Elliott needs to go on air at every possible opportunities and gurns his wee lamps out (to coin a Belfast colloquialism). Claim that the political playground bullies are picking on him and every bleeding heart liberal will be backing him. That is, if they put aside his earlier gaffes on gays and the GAA…