McGrady suggests shift in SDLP policy…

SOUTH Down MP Eddie McGrady has said the SDLP should consider entering an Executive without Sinn Fein. While this may be unlikely to happen, it does indicate that some in the SDLP are losing confidence in Sinn Fein. Listen here. McGrady’s main opponent in the upcoming Westminster election, SF’s Caitriona Ruane, strongly criticised the statement.

The BBC reported:

Mr McGrady said that nationalist voters had been betrayed by the IRA.

“If they want to exclude themselves by their extremism, there is very little you can do about it” he said.

He told BBC Radio Ulster’s Inside Politics programme on Saturday: “Inclusivity is now the buzz word, but it doesn’t mean that you have to stretch every parameter in every direction to include everybody.

“It means that you have a reasonable core set of behavioural conditions, and the people who want to subscribe to that in agreement do so and become members of the club.”

Ms Ruane said:

“Mr McGrady very clearly indicates that the SDLP are considering running with the DUP proposal for some sort of voluntary coalition excluding the majority of nationalist opinion,” she said.

“The very least Mark Durkan can do now is to clarify publicly whether or not this is now the SDLP position.”

  • Davros

    It’s funny how Sinn Féin thought “sort of voluntary coalition excluding the majority ” of Unionist opinion was a perfectly reasonable suggestion LOL

  • Gay

    It’d be funnier if the SDLP thought it anything less than the electoral suicide the UUP called it as.

  • ulsterman

    So the agreement can be changed to suit the SDLP. I thought it was writ in stone. Under the current voting for an Executive SF could not be excluded.

    The SDLP are a strange bunch these days. They were the architects of there own demise. Thet brought the IRA into politics. It has to be back to the drawing board for an agreement.

    God Save The Queen.

  • IJP

    To repeat what I said elsewhere (‘Perpetual process…’), it is false to suggest the SDLP would be finished if it entered such a ‘voluntary coalition’. Quite the reverse is true – it’s finished if it doesn’t.

    The SDLP has (almost unforgivably) consistently failed to distinguish itself from SF since the 1998. It has completely forgotten the commitment to inclusiveness and stability that are (or at least were) central to its foundation, instead retreating to its green trench with its SF ‘allies’ when the going got tough. Frankly, therefore, why vote SDLP when you can vote for the real thing?

    Now is the chance for the SDLP to avoid oblivion by emphasizing the distinction, namely its heritage of commitment to exclusively democratic politics and debate. Entering a voluntary coalition would give its own supporters something to argue for, earn the respect and gratitude of many others who seek genuine stability and democracy in NI, and offer a real challenge to the SF diet of hypocrisy and instability.

    As I said, the SDLP’s choice is clear: coalition or oblivion.

  • Bean Nighe

    Ah, yet another fat little worm crawls out of the woodwork, reading from the same script as their brethern, were on the one road……
    And the premidetated plan becomes clear, the SDLP conversion to Unionist thinking, finally they have had enough of Sinn Fein stealing their votes, the Northern was the the final straw, or rather the final excuse they’ve been waiting for. They’ve been been sharing the same bed as Hugh Orde and now they want to make it a treesome with Big Ian.
    Lads, I know ye think the Irish are stupid, but your little conspiracy will backfire on you big time, yer going nowhere without Sinn Fein, and if ye think you can apply the psychology and force Sinn Fein or the PIRA to kiss yer rings, well now, I would safely say yer sadly mistaken. Keep messing about and Big Gerry’s knee will crash into the shrivelled little nuts that pass for your balls at extremely high speed. The brainy english boffins who dreamed up the heist and the transparent sequence of events thereafter, demonstrate that after all this time they still don’t understand the Irish psyche. Yer walking on thin ice people, and the only thing standing between you and reverse gear, is Big Gerry, but even Gerry may decide to take early retirement for health reasons!

  • Robert Keogh

    Bold move from O’Grady. I think the SDLP would require the RUC/PSNI publish the evidence. They would really have to bring home the bacon or face electoral annihilation. Can’t see the DUP/UUP being likely to go along with that.

    Although, if the SDLP merged with FF that would make some power sharing executive excluding SF viable. Being in power in ROI would even the ante in negotiations with Unionism and the British. It would introduce a new dynamic in northern voting patterns and could have interesting repercussions in the south.

    IJP,

    you are right that the SDLP face oblivion but joining a coalition is fraught with the Uncle Tom problem and subsequent electoral annihilation. How do you think the old guard of a 60s radical students movement solves this conundrum?

  • Davros

    “a coalition is fraught with the Uncle Tom problem”

    It didn’t do the SDLP any harm in the 1970’s. Who is going to credibly label them Uncle Tom ? Sinn Féin who were themselves trying to enter a coalition ?

  • PS

    This would be a despicable attempt by the SDLP to exclude the votes of the majority of nationalists.

    That said, if they were to do it, the election campaign in May would see them wiped out to an even greater extent than previously imagined.

  • Davros

    Paddy – how is this any different from SF’s proposal
    to exclude the votes of the majority of unionists last year ?

  • PS

    I don’t think exclusion was ever a firm position within SF, more an expression of frustration with the rejectionists within Paisleyism.

    As we all know, this process will go nowhere if the majority of both communities and their political representatives are not on board.

  • Davros

    Exclusion isn’t a firm position within the SDLP either Paddy. That doesn’t address the point. If SF say it is wrong for McGrady to suggest this then they are surely admitting that they were wrong to suggest exclusion of the DUP ?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    What you would have if the SDLP joined up with unionists to exclude Sinn Féin is a South American style junta -not a democratic government – supported by a police service only too willing to act as a political pawn in a partisan fashion.

    The unionists have always been fans of fascist South American style dictatorships – that was the nature of their [mis] governance of NI from 1922 to 1974 and it would be a return to the good old days to get the SDLP on board. After all if the SDLP is prepared to join up without any iota of evidence to back the claims being made against the IRA and Sinn Féin, they can hardly be counted upon to stand up to further unionist inspired schemes to further marginalise nationalists. And whent hey get defeated at the polls cum May – sure won’t they all get knighthoods from Her Maj so they can continue – albeit they may have to change their name to SULK – Social Undemocratic and Labour Kabal – ranting against republicans at every possible opportunity.

  • Davros

    1970’s Noraid Man is alive and well 😉

  • ShayPaul

    Davros

    It doesn’t stand up to say that it is the same proposition as SF.

    The opposite is true :

    SF proposed that the governments move on with the process, in the face of DUPe blocking tactics – i.e positive impetus to the agreement.

    SDLP proposes that a declared pro agreement party, be excluded despite its declared intentions to sustain and implement the agreement – i.e negative impetus to the agreement.

    The SDLP statement is an horrendous mistake, McGrady has just thrown SF the lifeline they needed.

    IJP

    If the SDLP do not rapidly distance themselves from this stance, they will implode the agreement and their party.

    They already made the mistake of fighting an election on a negative “against the DUPes” campaign hoping to draw cross community votes and it never happened.

    If the start a negative “against the shinners” campaign hoping to enlighten people about the error of their ways in voting SF they will go down the tubes.

    People want to vote for a project they believe in, you can appeal to the negatives, but you cannot base your “raison d’etre” on them.

  • IJP

    BN

    Lads, I know ye think the Irish are stupid

    Define ‘Irish’.

    RK

    joining a coalition is fraught with the Uncle Tom problem and subsequent electoral annihilation.

    It may lead to electoral annihilation. Not joining such a coalition would lead to electoral annihilation.

    Agreed that the only other option is merging with a Southern party, but that would still mean the SDLP’s oblivion as a party in its own right.

    PS

    This would be a despicable attempt by the SDLP to exclude the votes of the majority of nationalists.

    Funny how SF is all keen on majoritarianism when it suits it…

    Look up ‘democracy’ – the word ‘majority’ appears nowhere. That is the lesson from the undemocratic government of 1921-72, and it’s the lesson now.

    A coalition with SDLP would ensure fair and even-handed representation of all religio-political groups here. It would, therefore, be entirely democratic.

    SP

    SDLP proposes that a declared pro agreement party

    ‘Declared’ has nothing to do with it.

    SF’s line has consistently been ‘agree with us or endanger the peace’ – an anti-Agreement position, as the Agreement requires genuine mutual respect and compromise.

    They already made the mistake of fighting an election on a negative “against the DUPes” campaign hoping to draw cross community votes and it never happened.

    That was completely different because it misunderstood that the NI electorate generally does not vote cross-community. That’s what you get for ‘outside experts’…

    People want to vote for a project they believe in, you can appeal to the negatives, but you cannot base your “raison d’etre” on them.

    On the contrary, I’m suggesting that the SDLP return to its original raison-d’etre, i.e. promotion of stability and democracy leading to a stable all-Ireland State. That is the only way an all-Ireland State can come about, after all, but stability and democracy are not on the SF menu.

    If the SDLP do not rapidly distance themselves from this stance, they will implode the agreement and their party.

    I have made clear above, I think, why precisely the opposite is true. Of course, it may implode anyway, but any other course of action would.

    You can’t get votes if you’re seen as irrelevant. After all, I should know… 🙂

  • ShayPaul

    IJP

    Your answers indicate that you know what I mean, and our analysis is very close.

    On the key issue I disagree completely. SDLP action to exclude SF will not endear the party to the voters it hopes to woo, but will destroy them, they are not in the position of FF.

    A merger with FF is more logical for me, but maybe not for the potential cross community votes in the north (please give me feedback here).

    I agree that the SDLP has to sell its “raison d’etre” (I evoked it first) and this they do not and have not done for sometime. The course you call for does not reinforce this message only confuse it.

    As the majority party this would be a logical step, that however is not the case.

  • CavanMan

    The only way the SDLP could survive by excluding Sinn Fein would be if they were to merge with Fianna Fail which would give republicans another genuine party to vote for.If the SDLP attempt to exclude Sinn fein and side with the unionists,that would be political suicide on their part.

  • Keith M

    Well done to McGrady and the other brave souls in the SDLP who seem to have finally realised that making themselves a doormat for SF/IRA to enter politics has led to the inevitable and they can no longer be walked on by the republicans.

    A voluntary colation, can work for several reasons; there will be a stop to the issue of decommissioning blocking political progress, it will show that power sharing can work, and it will show the nonsense of the idea that the DUP don’t want “a Catholic about the place”.

    The hysterical reactions by SF/IRA supporters on this thread just shows how worried they are about the democratic parties moving on without the terrorists. Let’s just hope that the SDLP can deliver.

  • ShayPaul

    Keith M

    As spokesman for the DUP :

    “it will show the nonsense of the idea that the DUP don’t want “a Catholic about the place”.

    Do you really want some concrete examples to show that you live in cloud cuckoo land ?

  • cg

    A small part of me wants the stoops to engage with this “voluntary coalition” nonsense.

    It would mean that in May these invertebrates will be wiped out for good.

    Does Mark actually expect Big Ian and David to act fair and throw the sdlp a life line in this voluntary coalition?

    I have always been of the belief that Unionism wants the stoops destroyed so they can try and justify their exclusionist code.

    They are then free to exclude the leaders of Nationalism by claiming Nationalists have “terrorists” representing them and therefore don’t have to embrace power sharing.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Whatever your view of his remarks, at least he’s grasped the fact that some sort of response is demanded of his party. It’s an interesting idea, but the obvious objection is the absence of a mandate. The time to do this was before SF overtook them. It seems to me the there is only one way it could work, and that is in the context of a pact with the UUP. It goes without saying that it could backfire spectacularly, but as they’re facing oblivion anyway, they may as well stake it all on a last throw of the dice.

  • Henry94

    I don’t think unionists will give up on the exclusion fantasy until we bury it, McGrady and the SDLP at the May elections. That will put it off the agenda for once and for all.

  • IJP

    SP

    See my answer on the other thread we’re discussing this.

  • cg

    Henry

    Agree totally.

  • Keith M

    Henry 94 “I don’t think unionists will give up on the exclusion fantasy until we bury it, McGrady and the SDLP at the May elections. That will put it off the agenda for once and for all.”

    Correspondingly should McGrady hold on it would be clear that he and the SDLP have a mandate for working with other democratic parties. Make no mistake, given the attitude to SF/IRA in the Irish government at the moment, if the SDLP decided to acquire a backbone, there is no doubt they would have support from Dublin.

    The question remains what do the SDLP have to lose by working with unionists, if they are already on the skids?

  • Davros

    The question remains what do the SDLP have to lose by working with unionists, if they are already on the skids?

    Keith , there are those who would quote Daniel O’Connell at you –

    I’m one of them 🙂

    Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.

  • cg

    Sorry to burst your bubble people but just heard Durkan on the Politics show and it seems I underestimated our Derry friend

    He has all but ruled out Voluntary Coalition.

    I’d say he isn’t too pleased with McGrady for suggesting it especially as the Nationalist community aren’t buying these unsubstantiated claims.

  • Davros

    Does this mean you’ll be encouraging your Derry chums to vote Durkan ? 😉

  • cg

    No I originally thought he was a totally incompentant, uncharismatic non-entity…Now I think he is less incompetent 😉

    Our Derry comrades should still, and I believe will, vote for Mitchel.

  • Davros

    God, you politicos give me an awful dilemma 🙂

  • cg

    There is no dilemma, Vote Sinn Féin 😉

  • Davros

    Change your stance on Europe and it would be a huge barrier removed.

  • cg

    Sinn Féin isn’t Anti-Europe

    It wishes to see Europe do more for the socially disadvantaged. A Europe based on equals and respect

    What’s wrong with that?

  • Davros

    Sinn Féin isn’t Anti-Europe

    Cough, cough 😉

    BTW – B&H ? Shouldn’t you be smoking those feckin’ awful Free state fags, green packet, are they called Major ?

  • cg

    “Cough, cough ;)”

    You want to get that cough seen to; I hear it can be fatal 😉

    “BTW – B&H ? Shouldn’t you be smoking those feckin’ awful Free state fags, green packet, are they called Major ?”

    Are you nuts!

    B&H are the best smokes
    You can’t smoke northern Benson the Free State ones are far better 😉

  • Davros

    Will SF drop the Duty levels on fegs and Booze to sensible levels ? 😉 Weeping

  • cg

    I wish!

  • Davros

    Anyhow, Oiche mhaith.

  • cg

    Oíche Mhaith

  • TroubledTimes

    How many fools there are to call the SDLP a party going into oblivion!

    If the SDLP disappear so does the idea of a negotiated and workable peace.

    No matter what any Nationalist/Republican thinks the Unionists will not be involved in an Agreement solely with Sinn Fein.

    The SDLP cannot enter a deal without Sinn Fein. Why? Because you cannot solve a problem involving conflict unless those that were part of it are included in its resolution.

    The best thing that any true democrat can hope for is that those who are honest and genuine receive the reward of votes at the next election.

    The only thing the SDLP require is a clear message with sound leadership to back it up. Its time for Mr Durkan to be put to the test.

  • George

    Cg,
    “Sinn Féin isn’t Anti-Europe”

    Anti the implementation of the euro currency, Anti Nice Treaty and I assume SF will be campaigning for a no in the European Constitution campaign?

    What does or has SF said yes to in Europe from all the things put forward by the democratically elected representatives of the European people? You know, the ones with the mandate.

    Would you prefer we continued to depend on Britain for currency stabilitiy and track sterling as we did until 1979 rather than take our chances and go with mainland Eurupe?

    Would you prefer the EU wasn’t expanded eastwards?

    Would you prefer we didn’t have a European constitution? Has SF offered up an alternative one?