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[This column first published in the News Letter on Friday May 28.]

There’s been plenty of niggle on the blogs this week. Over at Mike Nesbitt’s blog, I’ve been ribbing the UCUNF candidate on his ‘will-I-won’t-I’ positioning in the UUP leadership race.

Blogs Mike: “[Bobballs] suggests the fact that I say I have no camp, campaign or team, may, in fact, be my strategy for securing the Leadership – a sort of Masterful Inaction. Has he really sussed me again?”

Yes I have. Best of luck Mike!

At Ultonia, Lee is doing all he can to terrify the next leader of the UUP (whomever that proves to be). The nightmare scenario he presents is one where the Garden Centre Prod doesn’t actually exist.

According to the blog: “[Garden Centre Prod] was a term created by a group of people close to the NIO and Ulster Unionists around the time of the referendum of a perceived social group. So unlike Mondeo Man, it had no statistical basis and owed more to a small group imagining their own predispositions were very widespread.”

Careful Lee – every time you say the Garden Centre Prod doesn’t exist, a pixie dies.

Elsewhere, UCUNF candidate Rodney McCune – who has kept the McCune Vote for Change blog running – is considering similar questions. In addition to understanding your customers, it’s important to get your pitch across to them effectively says Rodney:

“Communication is central to any election, and explaining your ideas clearly over a proper period of time is central to selling your message.”

The result for UCUNF, he notes, was “no sales” (zero MPs).

Self-discipline also contributes to a successful team. And discipline is one area which has traditionally been a problem for UCUNF. Bearing that in mind, Chekov at Three Thousand Versts offers high praise to the SDLP for the way in which they dealt with Declan O’Loan’s solo run on nationalist unity.

“It is surprising… that such a senior member of the SDLP’s team has had the party whip withdrawn after he called for ‘nationalist unity’. If only the same approach were taken by the UUP to David McNarry.

“Well done Margaret Ritchie.”

Elsewhere, the flare up over creationism in museums’ has attracted the attention of bloggers from outside the country (and the continent). Hat tip to Jeff Peel for spotting the blog of PZ Myers – an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Minnesota. (If you’re Nelson McCausland, or related to him, please look away now.)

They don’t mince their words in Minnesota.

A more diplomatic @EamonnMallie tweets: “Even if one disagrees with Creationism v Science what would be wrong with juxtaposing the two illustratively in Museum? End absolutism.”

On his blog, Nelson’s View, McCausland notes that he will “comment on each of these issues in more detail over the coming days”. Things are getting a bit tasty – I’m all ears Nelson!

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