A while back I mentioned how neither of the two likely leadership candidates seemed to have 'got it' about the situation the UUP finds itself in. However, any organisation is more than those at the top so there is a an opportunity for others in the organisation to act realistically and credibly.
Chekov has pointed out the rather odd process the UUP has adopted with regards to its review, leadership and assembly selection:
"So Ulster Unionists intend, first to ink in candidates to stand for Stormont and then decide on a change of direction. In that order. Now, clearly the UUP has taken the Westminster selection debacle to heart, but might the party’s future direction and new leader not determine who it wants to put up for election?"
However, the assembly selections will be an indication of whether or not the grassroots appreciate what is going on. In the past UUP Assembly selections have made internal sense (management of factions) rather than electoral sense with the net result being lost seats. For example the decision to run three in Strangford, South Belfast and Upper Bann contributed to losing two seats and almost cost a third.
So will the grassroots show realism with the number of people they select in constituencies? Will they act sensibly and balance the ticket geographically? Will they be willing to make the changes to present a different face to the electorate?
There is also the issue that a degree of co-operation with the DUP on numbers being run and on transfers would be of assistance to both. Will the grassroots approach this with a sense of practicalism or remain trapped in conspiracy theories?