Nesbitt’s candidacy looks a lot like normal politics…

19 02 2010

Well. It finally arrived.

Vote Mike Nesbitt for Ulster Unionist Strangford general election candidate

Yip. Nesbitt for Westminster. This is the facebook group that was even more inevitable than:

Can this egg get more fans than Katie Price?

(Incidentally, at time of writing the Egg had 593,002 fans compared to Katie’s 476,814.)

Your super-soaraway Bobballs isn’t so amazed. I felt there was a sense of destiny in Nesbitt’s facebook activity. 17 days ago I said:

Actually, I’ve noticed that Mike Nesbitt has been receiving a few new pals on facebook – who happen to be Ulster Unionists!! I wonder do they have a reason to be liking him more than usual?

Then 10 days ago, I said:

Mike has invited me and lots more people I know to be his bezzie mate. He’s clearly making his way through individual networks… in order to create the ‘Nesbitt for Westminster’ facebook group?? I will goddamn eat my crystal ball if I’m not on the money this time.

And here we are.

Last month, I suggested that a Nesbitt candidacy would:

  1. Piss off the local members who thought the decision was theirs – and who have made their decision.
  2. Piss of one influential UU member in particular – Philip Smith is a Party Officer and must have fancied his shot at the grand prize.

I’d say there’s a pretty strong chance that this is still true.

Nevertheless Nesbitt, for me, is a v good candidate. Eg. check out his list of issues. He will not sound like any other UUP candidate over the coming 12-odd weeks. This is no apparatchik; nor ideologue; nor party hack. Nesbitt is good at selling himself (his own values & personal story eg. the health issues section references his wife’s experiences), and almost uniquely for a politico he will directly answer every question he’s asked (again check out Nolan from today on iplayer).

In fact, I wonder whether his authenticity will suffer if forced to produce generic party lines. I’d be amazed if you see much of the UUP brand anywhere near the guy.

We’re starting to get away from the rosette on a donkey stuff. I think we’re seeing the sort of normal politics (and the normal politician) that Reg has been talking about (and which, ironically, Reg isn’t).

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4 responses

19 02 2010
Alan in Belfast

It will be interesting to see how a “unionist-minded independent” copes with being under a party banner and subject to defending the inevitable spills and thrills that randomly pepper a campaign. But have UCUNF jointly met yet to confirm his candidature for the constituency?

19 02 2010
thedissenter

‘I’d be amazed if you see much of the UUP brand…’ with someone selling ‘his own values’. It does beg the question whether mr Nesbitt is prepared to play with the ‘team’. Suppose he passes as a local ‘celeb’, but it does start the question (along with McCann) whether Party Membership is any longer worthwhile, and all the slog and inane meetings are actually as pointless as they usually feel.

21 02 2010
Meascra na mblaganna « Splintered Sunrise

[…] leaflets instructing the monoglot Ulster-Scots speaker in how to wash his hands. Bobballs has some thoughts on TV’s Mike Nesbitt going up as the Official Unionist candidate in Strangford – has […]

22 02 2010
Carson's Cat

I’d say your assumption that his candidacy will only p*ss off one party member is pitching it somewhat low.

Drafting in someone to be a Parliamentary candidate who couldn’t even be arsed joining the Party he supposedly wants to run for is a surefire way to annoy the rank and file.

He’s great for a few softball interviews, but just how quickly will be start to contradict his party “colleagues” and become more of an embarassment to Reg than Sylvia is?

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