Eastwood: “We wanted to put together a PfG with things that we could all be held accountable for…”

When all else is said and done, this is the most significant of the SDLP’s given reasons for withdrawing from the Executive:

“We wanted to put together a Programme for Government with actions, implementations and things that we could all be held accountable for. The DUP and Sinn Fein did not want to do that, so we were not prepared to sign up.” [Emphasis added]

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • MainlandUlsterman

    even Republicans acknowledge Northern Ireland was nothing like South Africa, or the southern USA. There was prejudice and discrimination – which went both ways by the way, though Catholics came off worse from it overall – but it meant Catholics did marginally worse, it wasn’t a massive difference. Both groups were doing badly. Clearly if you were a Catholic you felt the apparatus of the state was not on your side and it’s right that had to change – the effects of that were bad, even if they have been wildly exaggerated for other reasons over the years. It wasn’t the kind of relationship between the two groups you would want (though again I don’t think that unionists alone are to blame there). But let’s get it in perspective – South Africa was something else entirely.

    Were the ANC criminals? Many of them were not – there were very many who saw the ANC as a democratic and political group and disapproved of the violence of a few of its members. But I must admit, even in the South Africa case, I don’t think bombs in shopping centres can be justified and yes I think that is a criminal act. I can see the argument for violence being justified because of the undemocratic nature of the state and the lack of basic rights there for most people – but I still don’t think it was justified. Peaceful methods every time. I don’t think violence helped there any more than it did in NI – if anything it was a barrier to a lot of people in white South Africa and further afield listening to the ANC. So I’m still waiting to hear someone explain why the bombs in shopping centres had to be done and in what way it helped the ANC cause.

  • Skibo

    MU Arlene said previously there would be no rewriting of history. ” Catholics did marginally worse, it wasn’t a massive difference.” Please do not try and pull that one. It is attitudes like that, that make the Catholic people realise nothing has changed.
    Why did it take the civil rights movement to get everything out in the open?
    They were striving for rights for all and again BIG Unionism had to turn it into a Catholic protestant thing and pull up the drawbridge.
    If things were so good here, why were the Unionists so much against equality? Come to think about it, why are they STILL against equality?
    The right for a people to take up arms to defend their country is enshrined in all countries civil rights. The Irish are no different. Had Britain been invaded during WW2, how long would the Germans have to be in control until they could be looked at as the legal owners? For how long could British people legitimately oppose the occupation of their country?
    Have the British Army ever blown up innocent civilians during a military operation?
    Are the IRA any different than the UVF of 1912 or does the side they are on give them their legitimacy in your eyes.