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UUP aftermath

6.28.2005

Well I suppose since the election of Reg Empey there has been a spark of interest re the UUP and what is required of them in order to get re-elected. I really couldn't get my head around why no one was bothering to profile leadership candidates at all because I felt it was important to have an idea of what the key debates were and their attitudes to them.
So I read since the election contest of a purely chatterati consensus about what it is the UUP need to do. Empey needs to reclaim center voters, needs to motivate the electorate. Most of the solutions however sound like things all politicians need to do in these days of apathy. There has been little call for a clear and unambiguous interaction with the peace process. For a clear commitment to power sharing and to equality and justice.
Voters in the center don't concern themselves much with extremist views. They want to know that their cars and house are safe at night and the guy next door is looked after in times of need. Security is where its at. The UUP must appear to become the party that can provide the unionists community with the social security which has seemed so lacking this summer.
rebranding exercises are all lovely but a reengagement means meeting people at street level, talking to them and acting on their will. The DUP know that and use it to stoke their passionate brand of sectarian politics. The UUP were more aloof but now they have no excuse.
Its my simplistic reading but I think the papers are all being quite lazy in approaching this problem. The UUP are and will be again the party of Unionism. They need to be onside. If we don't understand them we will never make peace with them. The media attitude to them as past it and over the hill is hubristic. History will always bring back the center ground.
So we should be prepared and ready. More examination of a UUP rehabilitaion may help to promote calm in unionist areas.
The violence engulfing the marching season (4 stories on NI Violence on rte.ie this morning alone) must be put at rest by parties committed to peace and cooperation. I think the UUP need a strategic review re dealing with the Shinners and could steal a march on the DUP by being successful.
Anyone interested should watch the quite heated debate on slugger. Interesting analysis by watchman but the comments reveal the mindset up north right now.
RR

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