Nesbitt launches latest attack on McCallister

Let me take two issues where I think we [the Ulster Unionists] could show better cohesion and coherence. The first is Opposition. Recently, there has been talk of bringing this forward through a Private Member’s Bill. I see no way that a space for an Opposition can be made other than through legislation at Westminster to amend the 1998 NI Act.”

So runs the latest slap-down by Mike Nesbitt on John McCallister. There were no half measures – he went on to mention, yet again, the leadership election, quoting it as evidence for him and against Mr McCallister. (It has to be said that the full text, available here courtesy of the Londonderry Sentinel, is anything but “coherent”. He in fact attacks Peter Robinson on the grounds that running two DUP candidates at the European Election would be bad for Unionism – in other words, he wants one DUP candidate for the sake of Unionist Unity! And, after all, try telling non-Unionist Councillors in from Castlereagh to Carrickfergus to Craigavon that “Unionist Unity is a “myth…”!)

This blog came out in support of Mr McCallister’s effort and it wouldn’t have taken much for Mr Nesbitt to have done so too. Even a minor re-phrase, to “We will look at Mr McCallister’s proposals with interest, alongside our work to influence Westminster legislation in the same direction“, would have done it. But openly to disagree with Mr McCallister – adding into the equation yet another pointless swipe about the outcome of the Leadership election – was, well, just unnecessary. It was also anything but “coherent”!

It was not only unnecessary, it makes Mr McCallister unwelcome yet again to pursue perfectly legitimate and popular objectives from within his own party. I don’t see who in Ulster Unionism gains from that.

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17 thoughts on “Nesbitt launches latest attack on McCallister

  1. I thought the whole McAllister/Nesbitt thing was sorted out a few weeks ago, oh dear.

    Seriously though, whilst I disagreed with you about the SDLP conference and the opening up of an opposition debate (I would say that to have a discussion and teasing out a position after ‘good humoured’ debate is beneficial whilst the UU’s open hostility and Nesbitt’s macho man stuff is cringe-worthy to say the least), I would imagine you are someone who from the UCUNF days still has some contact with UU guys or people half in, half out of the tent, what do they feel is happening here?

    Some might think there is some kind of internal battle going on, Kremlinology etc etc. TBH, I think there is not remotely that kind of sophistication within the UU and especially with Nesbitt, he’s just an idiot tbf.

    • Well actually this helps the SDLP, because the UUP’s internal divisions are so much easier to report!

      There is a McDonnell-Kelly breakdown (Kelly was first to slam him on air re MLA pay, she was also first out of the blocks on Opposition), but he was at least sensible enough to deal with them without openly mocking her (in fact his response re opposition was similar to the one I advocated for Nesbitt above).

      But for all that, you identify precisely the real point here – Nesbitt is just unpleasant! Why raise leadership yet again? Why attack a hard-working MLA in his absence? It’s all just ungentlemanly.

      • He is just unpleasant IJP, agreed. Now, people may say that someone, especially a pol, can be unpleasant but so long as they work hard for the constituents, party and have ideals sure that’s all that matters, and that is true to a certain extent, yes. However, there is the flip side where someone is seen as unpleasant and lacking in empathy.

        People know the score in the North when it comes to politics, it is consensual and requires a lot of compromise. We can bitch and moan about it but that’s not going away anytime soon. Soooo, I ask you, does Nesbitt come across as a man able to make a compromise with anyone or someone who would fight with his own shadow in the most childish, tetchy of manners? I say this as someone who has voted for Trimble on a PR ticket before (I’m a Nat and it was way down the list but he got a number) and I can never imagine an instance I would give Nesbitt a vote ever (if he were in my constituency or vice versa of course).

      • Harry says:

        The only idiot here would seem to be yourself, footballcliches! – Why so vindictive? Do you actually “know” Nesbitt? – I very much doubt it! From what you say, you are the perfect example of who nobody wants in the UUP. Sorry!!

      • Thanks for the feedback Harry, very worth while. I think I shall take a moment to look in the mirror and reflect on what you have said and change my ways…

        That, or as a voter who has given a vote for the UU on a previous occasion they can take my opinion and the many thousands of others on board and reflect on it too. You want my vote, come get it, BUT you have to work for it.

        Also, how am I vindictive Harry. I don’t like Mike as a pol, he doesn’t cut it. He comes across as very tetchy and childish, a bit like yourself tbf mate, though I did laugh at your last line:

        ‘From what you say, you are the perfect example of who nobody wants in the UUP. Sorry!!’

        No need to apologise, I would imagine the UUP wouldn’t want my like about the place, I’m a well-educated Nat and Kafflik who isn’t afraid of pointing out intellectual dishonesty and inconsistencies among those I disagree with.

      • Having had sight of tomorrow’s poll, I suspect Harry is the UUP’s equivalent of Comical Ali. Or Karl Rove…

      • Harry says:

        You say: “I’m a well-educated Nat and Kafflik who isn’t afraid of pointing out intellectual dishonesty and inconsistencies among those I disagree with.” Well, bully for you. It was very self evident in the manner you displayed your point of view. Such a pity, really, that some manners didn’t come into the equation. Spitefull comment and attempted character assassination are the ploys of the truly ignorant. But there, you wouldn’t realise that.

      • Harry,

        ‘Well, bully for you. It was very self evident in the manner you displayed your point of view.’ – What was? Some specificity chap.

        ‘Such a pity, really, that some manners didn’t come into the equation.’
        - Manners? Are you high? Sorry, I don’t like Nesbitt, he comes across as insanely tetchy and rather unpleasant, much like yourself and I am not the only person to think this. Now, if you have something decent you would like to add or point out rather than me hurting your precious feelings please do tell. Or would you like to ‘put’ manners on me?

        ‘Spitefull comment and attempted character assassination are the ploys of the truly ignorant. But there, you wouldn’t realise that.’
        - Very good. Again, I refer you to the above. I have no need to assassinate Nesbitt’s character; he goes on air, opens his mouth and does a great job all on his own some.

        Now, I’m going to take a wild guess and suggest you may be a UUP supporter and probably close to the party. Otherwise, you have it good for Nesbitt. That aside, this may come across as something of a surprise to you but for a lot of people who thought him rather affable as a journalist (he genuinely was) and thought it interesting him becoming a pol, we are not impressed with him and find him rather unpleasant as a pol. I am sure he is not losing any sleep about this yet you seem compelled to throw rather large dispersions about people commentating here. Money well spent by the boys over on Glengall St, I must say.

        TBF, I and many others thought he might be the type of unionist pol the UUP and the North needed, shame that didn’t work out though…

      • There is a common view that, because “all politicians are sleazeball careerists”, what we need is people from “outside politics”.

        But politics is a skill. You actually have to be good at it.

        Mike Nesbitt isn’t.

  2. Harry says:

    You are being your usual mischievous self again Ian. Propaganda for Alliance posted in a cozy chat form. Well, I suppose one can do no better. However, I quote Nesbitt’s remarks in Londonderry, QUOTE: “Let me take two issues where I think we could show better cohesion and coherence.

    The first is Opposition. In 1998, Opposition was the last thing on anyone’s mind. The objective was to draw everyone into an inclusive political process. That process has been so successful that we are ready for the next stage. The institutions are solid. Devolution is here to stay. The next step on the road to the normalisation of politics in NI is to offer the electorate choice: if you do not like the current government, you can vote for change. Let me stress once again, normal in NI means we will still have a cross-community government. Based on the 2011 Assembly results, that would mean the DUP and SF sharing power, with ourselves, the SDLP and Alliance deciding to what extent, if any, we wished to work together in offering an alternative vision.

    Recently, there has been talk of bringing this forward through a Private Member’s Bill. I see no way that a space for an Opposition can be made other than through legislation at Westminster to amend the 1998 NI Act.

    And that is all we can hope for from the Bill the NIO are scheduled to bring forward next year – that they create the space. An official opposition can only follow, should the NI Assembly vote for it. So, that is a two-phase process. Westminster makes it possible; the Assembly makes it happen.

    Beyond that is the question of whether the Ulster Unionist Party should voluntarily walk away from the current Executive. That’s the plan John McCallister ran on in the Leadership Election in March. The Leadership result answered that question decisively.

    I do not rule out that at some point, we might withdraw, but what we need to focus on first are three things: showing the electorate we are cohesive and coherent; two, that we have better policies than the remaining parties of government; and three, that the public understands any withdrawal is to be welcomed as a positive move, and not that of naysayers.” – UNQUOTE.

    I see nothing in that that can be called anything but exemplary, both in Nesbitt’s realistic appraoch to Unionist Unity being a myth, which so far as the DUP and UUP is concerned everyone knows is true, and also his comments regarding Opposition, which are common sense and NO disrespect to McAllister as you would like to promote. I would also comment that Unionist Unity is sadly lacking in Alliance also, who definately give the impression that should a good opportunity for power arise they would sell us, all Unionists, down the river tomorrow!

  3. Aaron Aababab says:

    And to think that you and he both once shared a manifesto…

  4. DUP wouldn’t field two unity candidates, it would probably mean Anderson tops the poll and it would possibly mean an SDLP candidate like McDevitt squeezes past a field with a multitude of unionist candidates, remember even a significant minority of TUV voters were transferring to Alban last time, and left leaning unionists might even back someone like McDevitt given that the PES represents Labour whether British, Irish, Polish or Czech. Voting in right wing and Eurosceptic parties for the last decade or so hasn’t made Europe more liberal or free, it has caused crisis one of which effects is to centralise power. UKIP and the BNP are accusing one another of being on the EU gravy train, but do they really offer any solid policy beyond rhetoric?

  5. Indeed fielding two candidates could cause the DUP to lose their seat rather than gain one, TUV voters transferred UUP or rather UCUNF before them, as would Alliance voters I would bet, and indeed Green or Nationalist voters too.

  6. Clare says:

    I thought at the time of selection that Nesbitt was a dreadful choice. Events have vindicated that. I met him once and found him thoroughly smarmy, arrogant and unlikeable

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