Ulster Unionist Trevor Ringland has said he will leave the party if new leader Tom Elliott does not show a new attitude towards the GAA.Tom Elliott was one of the architects of the "joint" Unionist candidature in FST, the final nail in the coffin of the original Conservative/UUP project that Ringland, amongst other high-profile figures, bought into. That was Elliott succumbing to the "community" under pressure. His comments on the GAA and Gay Pride issues were made at a private function and so were clearly made without that "community" pressure. But, and this is the crunch, with those views he has pulled in almost 70% of those in the UUP who voted last night.
Mr Elliott was elected leader of the party on Wednesday night.
In previous radio interviews he said he had no interest in attending gaelic games.
However, Mr Ringland, who contested East Belfast in May's general election, said Mr Elliott needed to reach out to the nationalist community.
"I would guarantee him that if there is an Ulster team in the all-Ireland final next year I will get him two tickets for that final," the former Irish rugby international said.
Mr Ringland said if Mr Elliott does not make such a commitment "he's taking the party in a direction I'm not comfortable with".
If Ringland hasn't worked by now what "direction the party is going in" (and to be fair to Elliott, it has been going in that direction even without his leadership), well...perhaps "naive" is the kindest description that can be used.
What is important now is not to whinge about the short-term, inevitable outcome of last night but to see how the cause of civic, secular unionism can be pushed forward in the long term. The first question that Ringland and other civic and liberal-minded Unionists need to ask themselves honestly now is whether their ideas and beliefs still have a home in the UUP.
If they genuinely believe they do and that the party can still help them in the promotion of the beliefs... then all I can do is wish them the very best of luck in their endeavours because I really think they're going to need it.
If not, then we can move onto the second stage of working on alternatives.
But in either case, whinging about the ideas and beliefs of the leadership and the majority of the party is a waste of both energy and time