I'm about to head down to the Merchant Hotel to hear what Basil McCrea has to say as he launches his leadership bid. The News Letter reports that the Lagan Valley MLA will embrace a number of pledges, which he would hold to as leader.
The most eye-catching is a refusal to take a ministry until the UUP is Northern Ireland's biggest party. Not effectively a pledge to enter opposition, as I initially read it (see below).
That is followed by a pledge to make the education ministry the UUP's first choice. This would enable the party to run on a platform to get 'rid of Ruane'.
Each position has its merits, taken separately. I'll be interested to hear Basil explain how they fit together. Realistically, it's highly unlikely that the UUP will be Northern Ireland's largest party next year. Can it credibly go to voters promising to oust Ruane as a matter of priority?
Mea culpa. Don't rush a blogpost out first thing on a Monday morning, when you're in a hurry. Closer inspection of Basil's pledges reveals that his promise not to take up a ministry only holds good for himself. The party leader would not take a ministry, but would, instead, concentrate on improving the UUP's electoral fortunes.