Despite the recriminations from all three main unionist parties (temporarily including the TUV here, until reality intervenes), it seems that the efforts are still continuing to find a ‘unionist unity’ candidate in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
The latest name being mooted is Rodney Connor, who retired yesterday after 10 years as chief executive of Fermanagh District Council.
As a public servant Mr Connor could play no public political role, but it seems that his unionist leanings were not exactly unknown – the BBC reports that ‘the DUP and the UUP locally see Mr Connor as an ideal compromise candidate for Fermanagh and South Tyrone’. Since he only retired yesterday they must have known this long before his retirement, so he clearly had not hidden his political light under any bushels.
However, despite being a name well known in Fermanagh, Mr Connor is hardly someone who is going to set the unionist world ablaze with enthusiasm. His attraction is probably less due to who he is than to what he might be – a ‘unionist unity’ candidate.
It seems that local unionists are so desperate for any candidate that could give them a chance of winning the seat that they will settle for political unknowns – first Norman Baxter, now Rodney Connor – without any platform beyond flag-waving. This seems to be increasingly what passes for ‘politics’ in the unionist camp – simple sectarian head-counting of the type that they complain about when nationalists do it. It is a far cry from the ‘normal politics’ (sic) that UCUNF claimed to be aiming for – to normal (dreary steeple) politics of the 'yabba daba doo (any Prod will do)' variety.