Anyone with Icarian tendencies has always ended up burned by the Democratic Unionist Party. Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt should learn the lessons of history.
It is the DUP’s way or the highway.
The Ulster Unionist Party leader has been cosying up to Peter Robinson, breaking bread with him, possibly entering a pact for the Mid Ulster by-election.
He has already purged Ken Maginnis, David McNarry and has now directed his ire at the popular and affable John McCallister (pictured below) for daring to question the wisdom of having an affair with the DUP.
Logically Mike Nesbitt ought to withdraw the whip from Basil McCrea given that he told BBC’s Mark Devenport that the Ulster Unionist Party should stand in Mid Ulster.
Is this not insubordination too?
On the one hand, this might be seen as firm and decisive leadership, but on the other hand, this might be interpreted as a weakness and an inability to tolerate free thinking.
Discipline has always been a problem in the Ulster Unionist Party. That said, how many more of the cornerstones of the UUP will Nesbitt dislodge before the house of cards comes tumbling down around him?
Sometimes it is a manifestation of strength for a party leader to carry mavericks in his ranks.
‘Yes’ men and women are what it says on the tin, and rarely make any meaningful contribution.
Strong party leaders should be capable of absorbing the punches thrown by contrarians in their midst, provided they are playing the ball and not the man.
Mike Nesbitt parachuted into the Ulster Unionist Party. I predicted he would grab power and seize the leadership. That is exactly what he did.
He baulked in the Assembly last week at the SDLP motion, which challenged the utterances of Minister Nelson McCausland, when he refused to acknowledge a Parades Commission ruling.
Isn’t Mike Nesbitt beginning to come across as DUP lite?
There is no logic to either Basil McCrea or John McCallister remaining in the Ulster Unionist Party. They are forward looking, new wave unionists wedged in a party which is in retreat with a leader who appears more at home in the company of the DUP than with fellow unionists like McCrea and McCallister.
One would admire Mike Nesbitt if he would come out and spell out where exactly he is leading the Ulster Unionist Party. On the back of the Covenant Centenary experience, the scene might be set for Unionist unity.