Face it – Anna Lo and the Alliance Party are the only show in town

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Anna Lo’s  remarks  show how Alliance can still impale themselves on the old cleft stick.  Anna tilted in the right direction but overbalanced, provoking a bit of electoral frothing at the mouth by the usual suspects. Never mind.  She must be doing something right to attract 240 Slugger comments  even if many of them are private chats as usual.  Personally I welcome a bit of overbalancing in a progressive direction  for a change.  Who doesn’t like Anna for heavens’ sake!

The party’s best bet is  not only to opt out of the zero sum of “either or” but go far  more strongly  for value added “both and” with a lot more substance and vigour. I may have missed it but I never hear them talk about it.   However I can’t see any other party who deserves my vote if I had one. It’s a no brainer frankly and I actually regret that.  What other party tries to work  power sharing evenly and honestly? It’s the old Lib Dem problem before the coalition , people  would  vote for them if only they thought they would win. (And before you jump in I wager the Lib Dems will be back in government after May 2015, so don’t  knock them).

Yes  ok, and in spite of Naomi’s appeal Alliance are still too Cherryvalley and  down in the cheaper  haunts of cathedral quarter . But try as I might I can’t see any alternative to voting for them as a party although I have a soft spot for a few individuals elsewhere.

Alliance should argue that  C21 is an era for making links not breaking them. Sovereignty is still important but can be shared or pooled. It is already – haven’t you noticed? – through British – Irish and north – south and the EU. More than all of that, there is the apolitical thing just going up or down the road and the myriad relationships that are starting to build up again –( but too slowly for the taste of the likes of Andy Pollak) . That’s what really counts. And we could do with more and regular information about them.

It isn’t all or even mainly up to the North ; the South has to meet us half way. And although there are plenty of good intentions and warm words, I can’t see much that would persuade not just strong unionists but those who want a quiet life to make the national leap. I hand it to Micheal Martin. Of the Dublin leaders  he makes the most thoughtful speeches and Fianna Fail’s limited entry onto northern politics will be worth watching. Targeting Sinn Fein but hitting the SDLP more ?

In all important respects we have political equality now even if we don’t know what to do with it.   Closer association doesn’t   necessarily lead to unity – indeed it might be a substitute for it. That’s the big idea for our day isn’t it? And the one Alliance and all people of good will and good sense should  work for.

If over time unity would seem a natural and unforced step and was the settled view of a substantial majority (well over 50%), it could be put to referenda north and south. But it’s a racing certainty no government will make that move until or unless that point is reached.

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  • Floreat Ultonia

    “She must be doing something right to attract 240 Slugger comments”

    Let’s see how many extra votes she gets in the Euros…

    “I wager the Lib Dems will be back in government after May 2015, so don’t knock them”

    Aye, they’ll target saving their existing MPs and run nominal campaigns everywhere else, so losing at least half of their national support. But even that isn’t their biggest problem while there isn’t a single policy issue that they all agree on.

    “If over time unity would seem a natural and unforced step and was the settled view of a substantial majority (well over 50%)”

    Indeed. 50% + 1 is obviously too unstable to work,even 52-53% could be the effect of freakish weather or similar. Needs to be 55% (as when Montenegro split with Serbia).

  • SDLP supporter

    “What other party tries to operate power-sharing evenly and honestly?”

    Come on, Brian, you’re long enough in the tooth to know-unless your memory is slipping-that since 1973 in Councils where SDLP were in a majority or biggest party position (Derry, Down, Newry & Mourne, etc) the SDLP were sedulous in rotating council posts with those of the unionist position where they didn’t have to.

    I do accept that in places where Alliance have the balance of power, like Belfast, they have ensured that posts are fairly rotated.

  • Brian Walker

    FU, Percentages are bound to be a guess but I reckon it would take a near unionist majority to have a referendum with a 70% threshold after many polls – and all that after years of preparation. No Crimea here!

    SDLP supporter, I mourn the SDLP of old and of course there are some excellent people in it, none of them in leadership roles sadly. And I meant a little more than council rotation.

  • SDLP supporter

    Brian, not good enough. When, where it has had the requisite muscle outwith council rotation, has the SDLP failed to honour its commitment to power-sharing?

  • Brian Walker

    SDLP supporter.. You’re chewing on the bone too much. By power sharing I mean acting as an effective party in government.

  • SDLP supporter

    Brian, going to have another grind on the bone, the words you used were “evenly and honestly”. The electorate has determined that SDLP has one seat on the Executive, aided and abetted by the SDLP’s organisational ineptitude and the Blair and sheen governments’ villainy. However, taken in the round, SDLP ministers have been at least as effective of those of any other party. Being effective in government isn’t the issue: it’s throwing away seats gratuitously plus Blair and Ahern playing with a stacked deck.

  • sherdy

    SDLPsup – Methinks thee doth protest too much.

    You are trying to convince us that your party is the best thing since tatie bread. But election results over the years since the halcyon Hume era have all been downhill so you haven’t been able to convince the electorate.

    And if you can’t do that, you’re toast!

  • SDLP supporter

    Sherdy, no one is aware of the organisational and policy deficiencies of the SDLP in recent years than myself. I am the last person to aver that the SDLP is the best thing since tatie bread, though I am pretty content with its consistent and principled rejection of the legitimacy of violence for political purposes.

    You’re surely not suggesting that the graph of election results is any sort of indicator as to the integrity of any political party’s position or even the collective wisdom of the electorate? I’ve never believed in ‘vox populi, vox Dei’. If that was true how could God ever justify, say, Bertie Ahern or George W. Bush, just to take non-home ground examples?

  • Comrade Stalin

    No problem agreeing that the SDLP have shown leadership on voluntary powersharing, especially in Derry (where they are strongest).