Sinn Féin know they won’t get in the British general election anything like the kicking the Irish Republic’s electorate handed out to them in theirs. But their leadership is understandably anxious about the fact that yet another element in what passed for their partition-accepting, post-republican strategy is unfurling. Losing seats was never part of the inevitability narrative, and worse still, neither was the SDLP holding them. Hence the paranoid ravings from Sinn Féin this week that the SDLP would live in infamy for a thousand more oppressed generations, if they didn’t roll over and let Gildernew try and scoop the communal pool on her own. Very wisely, the adroit new leader of the SDLP, Margaret Ritchie, has fallen for neither the confidence trick aspect of this, nor the ham-fisted element of intimidation.
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