SDLP open talks with Greens & People Before Profit

In today’s Irish News, John Manley reports that the SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood has opened talked with the Green Party and People Before Profit which could see the creation of a “progressive alliance” on the benches at Stormont.

Manley reports;

Mr Eastwood noted that the Greens and PBP did not qualify for a place in the programme for government negotiations but he said it was important “progressive parties have a strong voice in these talks”.

The SDLP leader said his party was committed to securing a “progressive and ambitious” policy plan for the forthcoming mandate.

“Today we discussed the critical need to address the north’s spiralling housing crisis with an increase in social housing provision,” Mr Eastwood said after the meeting.

“We also talked about increasing support for early years projects and pre-school childcare and I was pleased to discuss our common interest in reversing the disinvestment in renewable energies in communities like the Antrim and south Down coasts where we can be global leaders in new technologies.”

Not a bad initial move by Eastwood, giving PBP/Greens a voice in Programme for Government could see benefits for the SDLP in a potential opposition arrangement if formal cooperation can be achieved between the parties.

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  • Croiteir

    Lurch into the left – put a fool on horseback and he will ride to Hell. The story of the election was the rise of left wing micro parties and the non voting of the centre. What does Eastwood do – charges into the me too group.

  • Ultonian

    “Progressive”. Shure Easty, if you say so.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Housing and Renewable energy, what Christian could agree with that?

  • Croiteir

    Is that what they have to offer? Little wonder the SDLP are increasingly marginalised and seek succour with other micro parties. perhaps they are asking Agnew how to cope sitting with nothing to do all day?

  • Kevin Breslin

    I love the fact you are just dismissing energy production as a non-issue, and habitation as another non-issue.

  • Croiteir

    Were did I say that Kevin?

  • Cavehill

    A very clever move by Colum to include these smaller parties in discussions. It’s a great shame that smaller parties coming together means nothing in the grand scheme of things as there are no technical groups in the Assembly. I believe SF and the DUP killed these off in the consideration stage of the Opposition Bill.

    The cynic in me also says that this is a tactic to neutralise the PBP and Green threat by including them and thereby removing a source of grievance.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think where common ground can be found it should be found, certainly having a lot of parties resisting the DUP/TUV consensus on boastful anti-environmentalism is something this small region with few resources we can ill afford to exhaust is important matter. The homelessness crisis in this region cannot be allowed to fester equally as much.

  • Lionel Hutz

    It’s a clever move alright. And it shows that the SDLP are trying to make the most of the talks. That’s important whether they choose opposition or remaining in the executive.

    Colum Eastwood is certainly a better leader for the SDLP. Despite this election being poor, I’m pretty sure it would have been a lot worse without him. The damage was done in the first 4.5 years of the last mandate. Id say he recovered quite a bit and probably saved 2 or 3 seats in the process.

  • chrisjones2

    So will the Stoops now support gay marriage and abortion reform?

    Progressive is as Progressive does

  • Msiegnaro

    Progressive as in their views match your own. I always knew the Greens and PBP were essentially Nationalist parties despite the “other” tag.

  • Msiegnaro

    Is it progressive to call people with different views as unprogressive?

  • the rich get richer

    And Why not ?

  • Croiteir

    Okay – I get the manifesto – but were did I say that Kevin?

  • murdockp

    No, we all know progressive is giving people freedom to choose how to live thier lives rather than impose the will of others upon them. there are of course policies which affect all of society which can be defined accordingly.

    In answer to your question, the point of being progressive is everyone is entitled to a different view but as an individual, you should not be forced to act in a way dictated by others.

  • Gaygael

    I think its harsh of you saying that Agnew has nothing to do.

    In the last mandate as a sole MLA; the 1st ever lgbt motion (marriage in 2011), steering through the Children’s Act, only the 5th piece of non-executive legislation, which he built cross-party support for, exposing sand dredging at Lough Neagh and the illegal dump at Moubuoy. Putting more amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill than the entire SDLP team.

    That’s just a starter. Wait to you see what 2 Green MLAs will do.

  • Declan Doyle

    The SDLP have been marginalised for a number of reasons, none of which are pin-pointed with any degree of empirical accuracy. However, while cynics might see this as simply a ‘move’ or a ‘stunt’, in reality it most likely is a genuine attempt to bring smaller and like minded parties into the process.

  • Declan Doyle

    This is great news and shows the SDLP are now thinking outside the box, they have much in common with The Greens and PBP on the left side of things so it is an excellent idea to form some sort of loose alliance in the house, well done Eastwood; maybe he has been underestimated? He has three years to reverse the fortunes of SDLP before the next election. If this action marks the start of a plan to recovery, it is a very very good start.

  • Declan Doyle

    The SDLP are far more progressive than any of the unionist parties by an Irsh mile !

  • Katyusha

    PBP I understand, but the Greens as a nationalist party?
    Do you mind if I ask what leads you to think this? I’m genuinely interested.

  • murdockp

    True, but the point still remains that compared to other countries and political parties such as the nordic states, SDLP are conservative religious extremists.

    Don’t take my for it, look at the stats, the electorate did not like what it saw and their vote fell.

    how can SDLP ever become progressive when their policy is only voted in by its members? Until it expands its membership base it will always struggle with religion, abortion and nationalism.

    Personally, I would like to see the SDLP become successful again and progressive, but it never will.

    I think this election marked the beginning of the end for SDLP in its current form though because if it does not change track, it will become an irrelevance.

  • Declan Doyle

    Not true, the party have a hoard of youngsters in their ranks with pretty progressive views on equal marraige and social equality. The fact they are nationalists in the modern sense of the word in no way effects their ability to remain progressive. A party who oposses Abortion is not unprogressive.

  • murdockp

    Declan, how can you say that a party who opposes abortion is not unprogressive.

    The courts have clearly said that the current act is incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Calll me old fashioned, but the fact remains that political parties who disregard key parts of the European Convention on Human Rights cannot be defined as progressive.

    You cannot argue this point any further.

  • Croiteir

    just as the courts said that Bernie Smith was in the wrong – oops – sorry – off message

  • Croiteir

    aligned with the Green party in the south, a faction tried to change that a years or two ago and failed. Any update on that?

  • murdockp

    The SDLP put forward a candidate who got elected last week who referred to homosexuality as a “god defying act” in a letter published in a regional newspaper in 2014, How is this progressive to have such a view and secondly how is it progressive to promote someone for election when it is known they have such views.

    Also the number of seats passed down to relatives of the SDLP puppet masters is disturbing to, very Tory like.

    My view is don’t listen to me, let the electorate continue to take it out on you, chunk by chunk.

  • Croiteir

    Moved the goalposts over to homosexuality have we? .
    Just pointing out the obvious to you regarding relying on a case under appeal as a support for your argument.
    By the way – I wouldn’t vote for the SDLP in a fit.

  • scepticacademic

    Serious question: Does this indicate that Eastwood’s SDLP are: (a) committed to taking their seat in the Exec and genuinely interest in building a coalition on common issues and trying to influence the PfG; or (b) using GP & PBP to help build some excuses for not committing to the PfG and Exec – and therefore planning for opposition. Either way, it’s a strange and/or ‘interesting’ move.

  • scepticacademic

    Aren’t all Green parties across Europe loosely aligned? The Green group in the European parliament has about 50 MEPs

  • murdockp

    No, we are still discussing the word progressive and I am still of the opinion that SDLP are not a progressive political party. They are staunchly conservative religious organisation.

    The problem as I see it is many of you think you are liberal when in fact you have no idea what a liberal is.

    It seems to methe Dunning Kruger effect has afflicted many of the SDLP hardcore.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    That depends on what those ‘different’ views are. If they’re largely about asserting the status quo, restoring a former power imbalance, and being resistant to, and even fearful of, inevitable change, then maybe.

  • Croiteir

    Perhaps you were discussing what you term “progressive” I wasn’t.
    But anyway. re SDLP. The problem is they are neither fish nor fowl. And so they confuse and alienate everyone. Perhaps Eastwood thinks that by drifting leftwards he is defining the way for the party to go, joining other left wing micro groups. I think that is a mistake.

  • Lionel Hutz

    I’m relatively sure they put forward a candidate who is openly homosexual. Now that shouldn’t be something to congratulate but you can hardly claim that they are anti homosexual when they support equal marriage and have an open gay candidate

  • Mirrorballman

    Good move from Eastwood however I think a better one would be him asking for talks with FF. Long term it’s their only hope. Maybe Nationalisms too.

  • Msiegnaro

    What is wrong with the status quo in many regards?

  • Granni Trixie

    Pretty good definition.

  • Granni Trixie

    I think that’s it’s an important distinction to make – opposition to abortion is a perfectly valid position.

  • Gopher

    I don’t think PBP and the Greens will want a blatant absorption attempt put on them. The SDLP have nothing to lose whilst the credibility of the Greens and PBP would instantly be called into question by people who voted for them.

  • Granni Trixie

    I do not agree with using views on homosexuality and anti abortion interchangeably as examples of unprogressive policies. In the modern world where we know much more about people’s sexuality I do think it is logical to say that anti homosexuality is not progressive or even right. Policy on abortion however is a much more complex one for parties to tackle and whilst some can reach a clear cut policy for or against others take a more nuanced position and leave it to individual conscience.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Take that to its logical conclusion and you see the flaw in your definition.

    Often times people want to do things that society disapproves of. I want to drive 100mph down the motorway. Should I be able to.

  • Skibo

    Is it just me or does this sound so like the Unionist parties coming out of talks to discuss progress with the Jamie and Willie. They want to steal their support base but not their policies.

  • Dominic Hendron

    Who decided these are progressive issues

  • fralycis

    Well the SDLP-PBP talks must have gone swimmingly then… Glad Colum is stepping forward though.

    Gerry Carroll’s update today: “It was reported in today’s Irish News that SDLP’s Colum Eastwood is seeking to meet PBP and the Greens to form a ‘progressive alliance’. PBP are certainly happy to sit down with anyone to discuss issues of common concern. Our door is always open. But we certainly won’t be forming any ‘alliances’ with the SDLP. The party has been in decline for some time precisely because of its failure to advance progressive causes. Action is more important to us than words, or any kind of backroom deals.”

  • Teddybear

    Oh dear. The Greens would be in danger of being seen as Green (pun intended)

    PBP should stay well clear of any pact of a unionist or nationalist party otherwise they will be identified as one side of the other despite their protestations otherwise

  • Brendan Heading

    On the whole, agreed that Eastwood is better. But I’m not sure there’s any evidence either that McDonnell as an individual was putting people off, or that Eastwood pulled back anyone who had jumped ship. All a matter of opinion, of course.

    But on this matter it looks like a stunt. Not the only stunt in the Assembly today, but a stunt nonetheless; and one upstaged somewhat by Mike’s unsurprising announcement that he intended to stay out of the Executive – and the fact that Gerry Carroll immediately came out not only to reveal that he was unaware of any plans to hold talks before he had read it in the paper, but also to dismiss any prospect of some kind of alliance with the SDLP.

  • aquifer

    “Gerry Carroll immediately came out not only to reveal that he was unaware of any plans to hold talks before he had read it in the paper”

    Oops Stoops, not the way to treat Junior “partners”.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Msiegnaro, what exactly IS a non-aligned party to your mind?

  • Msiegnaro

    Where did I mention parties being aligned?

  • Reader

    It works like this. ‘Progressive’ is a positive word, expressing positive attitudes. Since I am one of the good guys, my preferred changes to the world are progressive (i.e. Good), and anyone who disagrees with them is not progressive, but conservative instead (i.e. bad).
    The issues that I would like to keep as they are; those aren’t progressive issues, so I’m not a conservative. (thank goodness)
    People who want changes that I don’t want aren’t progressive; their changes are ‘regressive’. (i.e. bad)

  • kensei

    The PBP are high on election success, but the diminished SDLP is still a very much larger party than them, and they may find they depend on SDLP transfers in WB or Foyle next time round. Plus if they reflexively oppose and reject the chances to do something constructive, they might have a harder time next time around.

    Or not. But the SDLP look a bit more deft to me here.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    You said that “I always knew the Greens and PBP were essentially Nationalist parties despite the “other” tag.”

    If two non-aligned parties to your mind are nationalist then how does a party actually come to be a non-aligned party?

  • Dominic Hendron

    But who decides?

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    Ugh… people before Profit are failed Marxist idealists..Let them visit Venezuela, to see the fruit of their economics. The Greens are pro abortion. Appalling that the Profit people got 2 mla’s ( 13,000)and the Greens ( 18,000) 2 mla’s and TUV only 1, on 24,000. In Wales non would have had a seat. Taking the SDLP further to the left will further reduce their vote.

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    And the people before profit are in fact Marxists. The Greens are abortionists and want to reduce population.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    This is the old “if they’re not with us they are aganist us” mindset at play again, AG. For both of the “winner takes all” camps that plague our political landscape the concept of a non alligned party actually attempting to engage with actual political issues is simply incomprehensible, it seems.

  • SeaanUiNeill