Tom Elliott must now be forced by the Ulster Unionist Party to resign. With the settling of dust like so many dissident republican town centre bomb attacks, it is vital that the UUP considers who its voters actually are, and whether the views of the party leader is likely to win them more votes than to lose them.
It was commented that Mr Elliott’s remarks, referring to the Irish tricolour as the flag of a foreign nation were accurate and that his description of ‘the scum of Sinn Féin’ was debatable and common currency among his supporters; fair enough and not the point.
It was also commented that Elliott’s comments make TUV leader Jim Allister appear like the Dalai Lama in comparison. This is much more glib, but absolutely the core of the matter. Ulster Unionists want to be seen as better than the others -the party of the ascendancy will see nothing transcendent in the comments of a bigoted, intemperate outburst on election to the Assembly.
The party which negotiated the peace and created the conditions for conciliation and the uncontroversial maintenance of multiple valid political identities in Northern Ireland will today agree that Tom Elliott is significantly less clubbable than before.
The UUP, as discussed before on this website, stares oblivion and irrelevance squarely in the face. It has a chance to become the niche up-market party for people opposed to Sinn Féin and DUP misgovernment, but only once this curmudgeon is dispatched back to his farm.