Steve Aiken is almost a year in the job as Ulster Unionist Party leader and, given recent history, it is to his credit that he has managed to still any disquiet in the ranks. But essentially it has been a holding operation, with only minimal gains in the last Assembly election, although a recent poll suggested support had dropped by 1% since then.
With the next Stormont election just 18 months away he needs to show the faithful that he can make the party more relevant. His challenge today to the Alliance Party to state whether it is for the union or for Irish unity shows he has chosen to fight in the middle ground where both unionist parties have been losing votes.
Taking on a resurgent Alliance is obviously easier than challenging the DUP, although that party has its weak points especially its backing for Brexit which ended up with a border down the Irish Sea.
His predecessor as UUP leader Robin Swann is well regarded for his work as Health Minister and his reflected glory could be a boost for Mr Aiken.
In his position every little helps.