Friday, 9 March 2012
ADIEU Monsieur Elliott as the Ulster Unionists bid a sort of fond-ish goodbye, farewell to you after your not-so-long reign as their divine leader.
It’s been fun and all that. Well for the rest of the parties it has been, even if it has been less than a barrel of laughs for you and your colleagues.
Being briefed against, caught with off-the-cuff faux pas, heading off rival factions, seeing MLAs defect and publicly slate you – it has been a politically bruising period for you.
As you shuffle to the backbenches we wonder who will take your place as the UUP supremo. More to the point, who would want what you must have felt, was a poison chalice with a bitter after-taste of bile and invective.
Will it be that whipper-snapper McCrea up for a second go in the ring, or will we see someone perceived as a ‘safe pair of hands’ such as Minister Kennedy.
And, more importantly will it be someone who will take the decision as to whether to go into opposition? And will they have the confidence in themselves to recover from the bitter electoral reverses of 2011.
Are they, like you Tom, truly a believer?
Have they a vision? Will they survive the winds of misfortune that battered you? And, vitally, will anyone care?