Back in March I had a post about a new party being formed by two defectors from the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), Basil McCrea and John MacCallister, who had left the UUP over its decision to support an agreed unionist candidate in the mid-Ulster by-election. In May the party had its formal launch, but it still has yet to come up with a name for itself. Its main niche marketing distinction is that it advertises itself to be "pro-Union" rather than unionist, thus hoping to position itself somewhere between Alliance, which is agnostic or neutral on the border question, and the UUP.
The Northern Ireland/British Isles blog Slugger O'Toole did a post on the launch of the party. The consensus on the thread was that in the next election McCrea would be reelected but MacCallister would lose to a UUP or DUP candidate. This in because McCrea seems to have a strong personal following in his constituency, whereas MacCallister was elected on the strength of the UUP as a party and will now lose to the party's replacement nominee. This will make the new party a one-man affair like Jim Allister's Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP). The TUV represents the old DUP under Paisley before he did a 180 and entered into the Executive with Sinn Fein. The PUP represents a socialist unionism aimed at the loyalist working class. It is also vaguely connected with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) paramilitary organization out of which many of its representatives and leadership emerged, such as the late David Ervine and present leader Billy Hutchinson. Can the new party under McCrea find enough of a niche to survive?