John McCallister sacked as deputy UUP leader

This afternoon on the BBC’s website news came through of John McCallister having been sacked as deputy leader for his speech on Saturday criticising unionist unity.

According to sources, Mike Nesbitt is thought to have viewed sections of the speech as an attack on his leadership. Perhaps some of it is, I could not honestly say, however, having read the speech I would chance that it is more the desire of a man who wants to strike out a separate identity for his party and feels that with increased cooperation with their main electoral challengers they are in danger of being subsumed by them to the detriment of not only their party but also to the detriment of trying to create ‘normal politics’ here in the North.

‘Ulster Unionism’s ambitions and aspirations for Northern Ireland are much greater and more enduring than the false promise of ‘unionist unity’.

We want a pluralist politics for a pluralist Northern Ireland;

Political institutions that offer real choice to citizens;

An administration held to account by an opposition;

A future not defined by past divisions;

A region at ease with its place in the contemporary United Kingdom.

‘Unionist unity’ is a case of backward not forward …

Of condemning our future to the past.’

I am not for the union in any way, shape or form, however, I do have quite a bit of time for John McCallister and believe that he is somewhat genuine and not just giving up a few sound bites above which is why I find this all somewhat perplexing.

With David McNarry and Ken Magennis their disciplinary action took weeks to come to a conclusion yet John McCallister is scythed down almost over night. Granted, for the first two they had to go through internal party procedures to determine whether or not they had breached rules etc., however, I find this all rather perverse that whilst I am sure Mike Nesbitt would have loved to have gotten rid of both in a flash the matter was drawn out for a considerable time, while for someone who is clearly saying something in the best interests of his party he doesn’t give it much of a second thought and goes ahead and demotes him.

This all points towards a narrative of incompetent leadership from Mike and the continued decline of his party IMHO.

Let me know your thoughts sure.


9 responses to “John McCallister sacked as deputy UUP leader

    • He may well do. He seems too nice to join the NI Conservatives, however, FJH has noted that in his constituency it would be very difficult for him to clobber together an Alliance vote so for him to get elected it may mean him having to do so more on a personal vote than on an Alliance ticket

  1. John is doing an excellent job. I would be confident he can be elected as an independent/Alliance/SDLP. He is genuine and says what he believes. He can attract votes from the Catholic community while Mike Nesbitt says he wants Catholic votes yet his actions state he doesnt. Johns personal will beat any other UUP MLA apart from Basil McCrae.

    • G,
      I think John in all of his actions in front of a camera or in the media has rarely put a foot wrong. He is in South Down which is a fairly laid back constituency, not too much obvious sectarian conflict there, so yes, I could see him picking up a large personal vote. I don’t really know what his constituency work is like but if it is good then he should be good.

      Also, incumbency coupled with competence is a sure fire way to political success.

  2. The UUP is a situation comedy and Comedy is all about “Timing” and a lot depends on the “time” that McCallister does whatever he is going to do.
    John McCallister is the SDLPs favourite unionist. He was a popular speaker at the SDLP Youth Conference in March this year….and I guess my view on SDLP listening to unionist and lets get alongerist voices is well enough known.
    Part of his speech was a half joking appeal for SDLP transfers in South Down. He joked that he needed them and it is my recollection that he said that he himself only gave his #8 preference to the Alliance Party. I might well be wrong. Or possibly he was joking.
    The figures in South Down are interesting. There are probably five seats (two SDLP, two SF and one DUP) that can be called but theres an element of doubt about McCallisters.
    The quota was around 6,000 in 2011 and the combined unionist vote was around DUP 5,200…UUP 4,500….UKIP 2,300……Green 1,100…..Alliance…900.
    Theres three options for him….Independent or Alliance or UUP.
    If he was to stand as Independent its likely that the UUP vote would fall to about 1,500.
    And he might get around 2,000 of those and another 1,000 go to DUP. He might get some AP votes.
    But I cant see him getting a seat as an Independent even on nationalist transfers.
    If he stays in UUP, he will certainly lose traditional votes to DUP and I can see no seat for him.
    So……Alliance…….well if my recollection is correct and that he only gave AP his #8 preference, then that would be a big jump.
    Certainly he would be the most credible AP candidate they could field….shades of Harry Hamilton taking some of his UUP votes (2010) to AP (2011) in Upper Bann.
    But to be honest, I think his career is over.

  3. FJH, what’s the chances of him perhaps taking some votes of the DUP incumbent in South Down, Jim Wells? Are those votes in Kilkeel and thereabouts completely gone?

    Also, any word or rumour on what his constituency work is like? Maybe he could just about squeeze in and if that were to happen he would probably make it stick for a lot longer.

    Basil off to NI Tories soon enough?

    • FJH,
      Don’t write John of so quick. He will attract votes from everywhere. Not only is he honest, sincere and hardworking for his electorate in South Down. People will be attracted to the fact he stands up for what he believes in. He wants to make a difference and I have no doubt he is in a constitutency that will respect him for that.

      Believe me I would never vote for the current UUP party or leadership but I would vote personally for Mr McCallister.

      It is just sad that in our country great representatives like him are few and far between.

  4. I really think Nesbitt is starting to flounder. His aim of trying to impose discipline is starting to resemble a man trying to keep a bag of ferrets quiet.
    He seems to be alienating large chunks of what is left of the UUP. The only question left is what direction they will splinter in.

    • Nesbitt will be one of the most bizarre foot-notes in Norn Iron History. Essentially less than three years ago I looked on him as the most obvious Tory in that curious UUP-Tory experiment. Yet all the other obvious Tories have long since left………Mainwaring, Parsley, Bradshaw, Ringland, Hamilton………..and curiously Nesbitt becomes Leader and systematically alienates the few remaining liberals …….McCrea and McCallister……..and the traditionalists Magennis and McNarry.
      Danny Kennedy and Danny Kinahan are watching their Party fall apart.
      If Nesbitt stays it will certainly be decimated after the next election and its bones feasted on by DUP, Alliance and Conservatives (probably in regional and generational terms).
      If the men in grey suits persuade Kennedy or Kinahan to boot him out, then they might stop the rot. But Id still think it unlikely. They have no real depth in talent.

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