A new dawn?

Published Monday, 02 April 2012
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By any standard it was an impressive result. Over 80 per cent of the UUP delegates who attended Saturday morning's AGM gave their support to the relatively new kid on the block, Mike Nesbitt.

There he was standing with Tom Elliott greeting the Fermanagh delegates as they left their buses and headed for the hall.

He looked the winner and he was.

''The membership wanted change and someone who would be a good media operator. He was the obvious choice along with his wife they look like the golden couple,'' said one peer.

Outside the hall the hacks could hear the applause for the Nesbitt and John McCallister speeches.

By the time we entered the hall for the formal result, it was a formality.

Mr McCallister, sitting with his wife Jane and his two day old son Harry, acknowledged he had lost.

''Mike has won it ,'' he said, although the extent of the victory might have been something of a surprise.

But after the celebrations, it was clear Mike Nesbitt has an enormous task.

He ran a policy-free campaign but his appeal to delegates was obvious.

It also puts him in a strong position as he re-shuffles his party.

The DUP will watch with interest.

Unionist unity and opposition are off the table for the time being.

But new policies will be needed if the UUP are to reverse fortunes.

And it will take more than staying 24 hours with one of our poorer families.

Mike Nesbitt is currently in a strong position within his party.

However, things can change quickly.....

Just ask Tom Elliott!

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Ken Reid
Ken Reid

Ken Reid is Political Editor at UTV. His career as a journalist began at The News Letter in 1977, where he remained for seven years. This was followed by stints as the sports editor, and later editor, of the Sunday News, and reporting for the Cork Examiner.

Ken joined UTV in 1994. He says one of his most memorable moments was breaking the Ian Paisley retirement story in 2008.

He's a big fan of rugby (Ballymena to be precise), cricket and football (Everton FC) and loves music, especially blues.

His favourite motto is Everton FC's: "Nil satis nisi optimum"... Only the best is good enough.

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