Ulster Unionist Party leader looked confident on stage but was defensive on TV
A letter by Dan Wray:
Saturday’s leadership speech at the Ulster Unionist Party conference saw Doug Beattie give a masterclass in how to send his party in to electoral battle, complete with military allusions and metaphors.
It was confident, upbeat and realistic in balanced doses.
The following morning in a television, he’s reduced to a painful, uncomfortable defence mode, as he repeatedly tried to side-step whether or not he would take the deputy first minister position, should plans go accordingly at the next Stormont assembly.
Yes, he doesn’t want either the DUP or TUV to hold this against him. He probably doesn’t even want his own party holding it against him.
However, with the fact being both first minister and deputy first minister roles being a virtual dual role, wouldn’t it make more sense to say “If it came to that, we’ll fight for Northern Ireland ... we’ll continue to plug the Union in such a position”, and paint their unionist rivals in a way that they couldn’t do so?
I fear this could be the first of a few open goals for Mr Beattie between now and polling day.
Dan Wray, Glasgow, Scotland (originally from Belfast)
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