Slugger O'Toole

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  1. Comment on Mark Durkan finds the real political weakness in the DUP’s (and SF’s) position on OTRs
    on 1 March 2014 at 1:35 am

    I suppose most people on here will take serial SF fanboys like ‘Sean Tracy’ but in the wider public, Mr and Mrs Joe Nationalist should see discussions like this when making up their mind who to vote for. But it’s circumstances that dictate voting patterns. For the part of the SF manifesto that hasn’t been canibalised from the SDLP they still really can’t defend: OTRS is quite like SPADS except that SDLP only eventaully stumbled onto their own political ground on the issue. SF on both counts have a duty of care to their own and are compromised. Next time the Ballymurphy families or the Finucane family are making a statement, their supporters would do well to remember which party is now wholly comprised in expecting soldiers or colluding local security forces to ever be brought to book.

    One of the other issues which SF can longer stand over come election time is the abstentionism and Ferghal McKinney was well ahead of both Gildernew and the unionist unity candidate below: Unfortunately, the FPTP election went that people were probably nodding along going “Yeah good point Ferghal, but I can’t vote for you or Connor will get in”

    I’d say between now and the 2015 election the SDLP could do worse than focus on the areas with clear blue water. I’d probably change their stance on education.

    All that said SF’s vote has not risen all that much in 15 years, its just more people have stopped voting SDLP. So they need to start finding out why people aren’t and concentrate on those areas.

    I’d lastly probably take the kid gloves off and state “Why on SFs watch are we suddenly total from polls that there is an army of nationalists just itching to vote for the union when 10/15 years ago a United Ireland seemed almost inevitable.” Has Sinn Fein just made the word republican such a dirty one that moderate nationalists couldn’t be seen associating with it?

    Time for the party to take the kid gloves off, otherwise they’ll continue to decline.

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  2. Comment on Mark Durkan finds the real political weakness in the DUP’s (and SF’s) position on OTRs
    on 28 February 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Good marshalling of the facts here from Durkan. This in many ways highlights the problem of the SDLP, they don’t have enough like him anymore. If it came down to an honest fact based debate, the SDLP would be on the high ground almost every time. But as SoS states that is all somehow forgotten when SF and the DUP come knocking for your vote. Sinn Fein and the DUP are actually all at sea these days and yet no one can articulate a push back and the media, with honourable exception, seem completely disinterested in good ol’ fact based journalism preferring rather to post Willie Frazer’s latest Twitter and Facebook musing like it is newsworthy.

    That said, I take comfort from knowing that we get the politicans we deserve.

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  3. Comment on SDLP leader’s register of interest lapse ‘due to an administrative error…’
    on 1 February 2014 at 6:27 am

    There’s a lot of Sinners on slugger who no matter what outrage the DUP are causing this week, seem to wait until what can be safely regarded as mildly embarrassing and a touch hyprocritical from Alasdair McDonnell to unleash their worst diatribe. Is it simply because the SDLP is the only party Sinn Fein can squeeze any votes out of ? Is attacking the DUP just not worth it anymore? Particularly as SF are in bed with them?

    If it’s just a few excitable SF supporters seeing a few votes being dangled in front of them then I have news for you: There’s really nothing left for you to gain. Those who don’t support SF by now never will given that out of the four main parties SDLP has nothing to answer for in terms of incitement (DUP), armed campaigns(SF) or tacid support for the state to go to do it’s worst in terms of discrimination, UDR, RUC collusion, Paratroop regiment atrocities etc… (UUP).

    I’m not a fan of Alasdair McDonnell, (I think the bull in a China shop reference revealed though Wikileaks wasn’t far off) but to think that this man should step down when Gerry Adams has been leader for years. Apart from the frickin’ obvious, I can think of 26 million reasons why SF are staying quiet let their slugger and twitter worshippers do the dirty work…

    Also to not attend Westminster and still claim the expenses is such a sell out of the mere notion of abstentionism as to take everyone for fools. Just like no one buys the ‘average industrial wage’ nonsense anymore. I love how people keep touting how it goes into a SF account… ok…. then where? I think it was Senator Norris during the presidential debate that told Martin McGuinness that “I’m not sure that huge Sinn Fein battle bus you’ve been touring the country in could be bought on the average industrial wage” touche

    I notice how all the links to the SDLP MPs making their oath as MPs to the queen are suddenly not as fashionable anymore since McGuinness shook the queens hand. All these petty distractions seem to be drying up for SF supporters. Of course the slow move to constitutional continues and it seems that Michelle Gildernew knew that it’s a hard sell to a hard pushed electorate that abstentionism makes sense as seen in the video below at 6min 25 sec. Will make 2015 interesting.

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  4. Comment on SDLP yet to choose its candidate, but the clock is ticking…
    on 9 October 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Big Boss,

    Impressive insight, it appears you were right about Alex Attwood being the european candidate.

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  5. Comment on SDLP yet to choose its candidate, but the clock is ticking…
    on 5 October 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Red Lion,

    Your right, this hasn’t been stated, although she did acknowledge their de facto support in the end and mentioned state forces too as victim makers.


    We know Alex has good and bad points. Probably on balance a sound candidate if not thrilling candidate.

    It may be a good chance for the SDLP to bring a new face into the team for the future by casting the net beyond already elected reps. Now that SF has nailed its colours to the mast the SDLP should be looking for a broad appeal candidate. That may require forward planning and organisation: Two things the SDLP aren’t famous for. Nevertheless, they should view this election as an opportunity to either sneak through in 3rd place (Attwood could possibly pull it off) or accept 4th place promote some new faces.

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  6. Comment on SDLP yet to choose its candidate, but the clock is ticking…
    on 5 October 2013 at 4:32 pm

    How do you know this? Have you a link?

    Ann Travers would also be an interesting choice if she felt so inclined.

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  7. Comment on UPDATE-Conall McDevitt leaves a huge void for the SDLP to fill…
    on 6 September 2013 at 4:29 pm


    I think you need to get off the steroids. There are a few facts which the SDLP dooms-dayers need to take on board.

    Conal was an able guy, but like it or not he had a remarkable gift for annoying as many people as he impressed. Also the SDLP vote actually took a dip with him on the ticket. The constituency has been the SDLP success story over recent years and yet he managed to get less than 10% of the vote and had to rely on many transfers to get him over the line.

    His predecessor Carmel Hanna had actually outpolled McDonnell one year and they continued to grow the SDLP share between them.

    The flaky vote already broke off for Alliance in 2011, so the idea that there is more to come is a non-starter in a constituency were the nationalist vote is on a permanent upward trajectory.

    Also SDLP benefitted from a whopping 40% of alliance transfers in 2011, so even the flaky vote is gene poll SDLP. i.e. something (cough…McDevitt..cough) must have turned them off.

    The idea that the SDLP rely on a guy with one election and less than 10% of the vote just doesn’t add up in a constituency where the MP can get 41% of the people (including SF stay-at-homes) to vote for him.

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  8. Comment on Housing Equality Shouldn’t Have To Wait
    on 24 August 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Chris is right about the SDLP,

    It speaks volumes that a former SF candidate is pointing out how easily the SDLP could push the issue such is the woeful job SF have done to stop the DUP abusing this issue.

    The SDLP, if they could be arsed, could easily organise petitions around new lodge or pickets outside SF HQ just to be awkward. if there’s one thing SF are scared of, its being outflanked on issues within the nationalist community.

    Robinson already remarked that the moment the SDLP highlight an issue that might win them votes, or at least make SF look bad, they start running scared.

    Will this is an issue over which they should be running scared because they have categorically failed.

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  9. Comment on Housing Equality Shouldn’t Have To Wait
    on 23 August 2013 at 11:06 pm


    I’m beginning to think you’re right. Why are the SDLP not making more of issue of this? They could skewer just about every other party on this if they wanted but choose not too. I remember they backed Girdwood and then backed down and Attwood went on Nolan and get the flak for a deal they had virtually no say on and were no longer supporting.

    SDLP should make this their number one issue. It worked for them once, it should work again. If this is getting condemnation from as high up as the UN then the SDLP should be running with this between now and the european election and perhaps stand Alban again to show they’re serious.

    If they can’t make this work for them, they might as well pack up now.

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  10. Comment on Derry is different. The lessons for Belfast are limited
    on 21 August 2013 at 10:35 pm


    I’ll not doubt their recount. There are pricks on both sides. But maybe the Foyle does do its bit to minimise acts of sectarianism.

    I live in close proximity to the caw estate in the most mixed part of the city (Limavady Road) and can recall vividly when me and my friend were about 11 coming back from St. Columb’s Park and got jumped half way along the Limavady Road and a couple of thugs put a small knife of some sort to our throats. When we got free we ran in different directions. As it happened I spotted my mates da and flagged him down for a lift and told him what happened. As we came near the entrance to Nelson Drive (Caw) we saw them and he started demanding their names and they ran up there as fast as they can.

    Leafy Limavady Road is hardly an interface, I think I had too much of a Donegal twang at that age to possibly be the right sort and was unlucky. But I’m glad there are few interfaces for this kind of thing to happen regularly. Sad as that is.

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