Friday, 30 March 2012
WELL the lengths the Ulster Unionist Party go to get more media coverage know no bounds after their poor showing at the last elections!
First off, hold a leadership election. That way you get all the political correspondents' knickers in a knot with speculation apparently “rife” as to who will win out between John McCallister and Mike Nesbitt.
So desperate are the party to gain media coverage that Mr McCallister decided to deliver his own baby…mother and child are both safe and well after the leadership candidate was talked through the procedure by paramedics on their way to his South Down home. One can only imagine the conversation:
Paramedic: “Now Mr McCallister, please make sure your wife is safe and comfortable and that you have warm water, towels and a press release to hand.”
Mr McCallister: “Hurry up, the contractions are close together…”
Paramedic: “When you tell her to push, you’ll see the baby…as soon as its born I’ll let the BBC know.”
Of course, that’s not right, Mr McCallister’s baby was due next week and no parent wishes to be in that situation.
Mr Nesbitt’s plan to deliver a speech didn’t quite come up to his rival’s performance, but whether it will influence the result remains a moot point. Polling suggests that the votes will be close, but one man who will not be casting a vote is Strangord MLA David McNarry.
Mr McNarry, who got into a wee bit of a spat with outgoing leader Tom Elliott has been kicked out of the UUP for nine months…we have to wonder who he would have been voting for.
Then to compound matters an ex-UU member and former deputy leader crawled out of the woodwork to talk up how bad the party is. Lord Kilclooney delivered his devastating verdict on the party in an interview to the BBC on the eve of the leadership election.
We, being natural cynics, reckon this was a very clever wee plan. You see if the new leader doesn’t manage to halt the decline, then he can point to Lord Kilclooney’s verdict and say “no-one could have stopped it!”
On the other hand, should the party stage a Lazarus-like resurrection, then he can claim to have listened.
How likely that is, well, having cast the stones and read the runes, we aren’t about to become hostages to fortune other than to say that stabilising the UU ship is their best hope for the moment.