Apparently that is all that women in the UUP do. A cursory glance at the UUP's website reveals a sea of middle-aged men:
Dig deeper and you find that their MLA profiles are entirely male … well, of course, the UUP have no women amongst of their 18 MLAs – they must have all been making the tea and sandwiches when the nominations for candidates were decided.
Ah, but let's not forget that they have a female MP … or do they?
What do the UUP's new friends in the Conservative Party think of their female-unfriendly approach? The Tory 'shadow cabinet' is noticeable more female than the UUP, and people in Britain tend to see patriarchal parties like the UUP in a less than positive light. So when the inevitable 'joint selection committees' start their work, expect to see some new female faces – the question will be, though, who they will be. The UUP is rather short on photogenic and electable women – possibly as a direct result of its patriarchal past. Some of the existing male candidates will have to stand aside in order to allow a more modern image to be presented – and how will they take that?
This blog identified Deirdre Nelson – who defected from the DUP to the Conservatives in June – as a possible future candidate. But as a defector she will get little support from DUP voters, as a Tory she has a very slim support base, and within the UUP there will be several men in North Antrim who will be quite unhappy to be pushed off the list to make way for an ex-DUP woman.
What other women will appear on a ballot paper for the UCUNF vehicle-of-convenience? The non-merger has three sets of elections coming up in which it must prove that it is not just the old UUP – the Westminster election next year, and the Assembly and district council elections in 2011. It has already flunked the 'Time for Change' challenge this year by standing the same old UUP candidate for the European elections. Within two years it must prove that UCUNF actually means something by finding a raft of new candidates – women, minorities and (whisper it) ... Catholics. Otherwise UCUNF will be shown to be a fraud – just the old UUP with its hand in the Tory pockets.