All bets off for Northern nationalism?

Most worrying for Sinn Fein is the talk by both Premiers of a new state of all bets are off. Even Tony Blair is now talking of moving on without the party. He also suggested that it’s not SF, but the SDLP which faces some tough decisions about the way ahead.

  • Sharp Voter

    No one will be surprised at the British government seeking to exclude Sinn Féin from having a role in the Executive. Electoral mandates mean very little to Britain when it comes to their desire to enforce their will on others. Blair by putting it up to the SDLP to carry out his will does not care that it will ultimatley lead to the destruction of the SDLP. His attitude that he can get them to do whatever he wants smacks of not just his disregard of the Sinn Féin mandate but also of the SDLP. He simply sees the SDLP as an adjunct of British government policy. Mark Durkan already has those of the British persuasion within his party, (McGrady & McDonnell) seeking to pust the British line but I do not believe that he is so stupid to go down that line.
    Of course in the near future we will also see the same approach coming from the Irish government. They will seek to use the SDLP to try and stop the growth of Sinn Féin in the 26 counties. Watch out for merger talks after the May 5th elections.

  • maca

    People are pissed off and tired of Sinn Féin. I hope for their sakes they had no knowledge of or involvement in the bank heist. It really is about time they took the next step and embraced democracy fully, without the shadow of the IRA.
    Until that time they are the ones doing a dis-service to nationalists. While I don’t think any party should be left out, and certainly not the largest nationalist party I think it is understandable that people would consider moving on without them.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The SDLP are inept but not particularly stupid, well except for Alec ‘Stalingrad’ Attwood, or is that prattwood.

    Imagine the scenario on the doorsteps, the SDLP going hell for leather on the Northern job quoting Orde; Ahern and Blair. The obvious response being what about Burke and Lawlor and virtually every elected FFer in Dublin with their nose in the trough. That takes care of Bertie.

    Or indeed being lectured on democracy by Blair, a man who lied at the despatch box over WMD and is currently involving his army in the slaughter and torture of Iraqis. Bye Bye Blair.

    The Orde, the hapless Londoner among a sea of ex Branch men and their history of lies, collusion and murder. Back to blighty Hugh.

    Yeah that is certainly going to go down well in nationalist areas.

  • willowfield

    Sharp Voter

    Do you think the BNP’s mandate should be respected in places like Burnley? Should there be power-sharing there to make sure that BNP voters are not “disenfranchised”?

  • maca

    Willow, isn’t that what democracy is all about?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Pat

    Can I have my ball back?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Gonzo,

    given the vacuousness of the Alliance Party I never knew they had any.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Sorry Gonzo that was man not balls.

  • aquifer

    Its for the governments to make the GFA work. Particular parties must be overruled at different points in this process. That can include both SF and the SDLP at once so long as the principles of the GFA are respected.

    i.e. The SDLP need not be required to take responsibility for political arrangements that will in fact benefit them substantially.

    PS A quirk of the local version of PRSTV is that SDLP voters who would never have voted for SFIRA and voted only for the SDLP, would nevertheless have their votes transferred to SF alongside those of less scrupulous nationalists who did vote SF 2, e etc.

    These stolen pacifist votes should be repaid with interest. The SDLP is still owed, even when Hume chose to throw so much away by rescuing the prodigal SF.

  • objectivist

    ”The obvious response being what about Burke and Lawlor and virtually every elected FFer in Dublin with their nose in the trough. That takes care of Bertie.”

    These men may have sleaze on their hands.They do not have blood on their hands.

  • TroubledTimes

    The main question is:
    Who is to blame for holding back the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement?

    The problem is there are several answers.

    The DUP are anti Agreement so they play a role in holding back implementation.
    Sinn Fein are holding back the Agreement by refusing to accept the new Policing arrangements and failing to provide a reasonable solution to the IRA problem.

    It is unfortunate that the Northern electorate cannot see the wood for the trees. People are voting for aspirational reasons. Hence a big vote for each extreme.
    As long as SF and DUP are the main parties there will “NEVER,EVER” be a solution to the Northern conflict.
    Its the electorate who are destroying the chance of peace. Those who vote for SF and the DUP are voting for a future of no peace and np prosperity. Well done to all those idiots!

  • ShayPaul

    TroubledTimes

    The man said :

    “You make peace with your enemies, not with your friends

    that’s what makes it hard “

  • Jimmy Sands

    Pat is right. The pictures of Bertie visiting Ray Burke in prison to demand his release as a political prisoner will clearly damage him.

  • aquifer

    Poor Ray, as a member of a revolutionary republican elite he was only liberating the assets of the oppressor, having failed to notice that the opposing forces had retreated considerably.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘These men may have sleaze on their hands.They do not have blood on their hands.’

    quite right.

    ,The pictures of Bertie visiting Ray Burke in prison to demand his release as a political prisoner will clearly damage him.,

    Rays on his own i’m afraid.

  • Unmasked

    Lets be real.

    The SDLP are not going to move on without Sinn Fein, for a number of reasons the main one being it is against everything the SDLP (and the GFA) stand for.

    My respect for the SDLP is growing constantly, it dosnt matter how many blows they recieve they keep coming back. They seem to care more about the people of northern ireland than they do about there own gains.

    When the day comes of real politics in N.Ireland and not this secterian drive, the SDLP will raise head and shoulders above everyone.

    And Durkan for all his faults, is doing great in what i would call probably the hardest and least desireable job in N.Ireland politics.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    My respect for the SDLP is growing constantly, it dosnt matter how many blows they recieve they keep coming back. They seem to care more about the people of northern ireland than they do about there own gains.

    I keep reading this unadulterated sort of tripe here lately and I’m wondering if a group of people in the SDLP have decided to start some sort of PR exercise by vacantly talking up the party on internet discussion forums. The SDLP are going down, big time. They are were they are because they helped create an exclusive process believing that the four-way axis including themselves would never weaken.

  • IJP

    Well said, Roger.

    The fact is the SDLP has been offered yet again the chance to choose democracy over tribalism. Yet again it has chosen wrongly. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Nationalist, what’s the point of voting SDLP when you can vote for the real movers? If your prime interest is stability and democracy, what’s the point of voting SDLP when it stands steadfastly opposed to it every time it has the chance to ensure it?

    A party without a point is a party without a future.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Thanks IJP. It does lead me to a further question for our pal here. What exactly is the SDLP’s plan here, and in what respect is Mark D “doing great” ?

  • Jimmy Sands

    “Rays on his own i’m afraid.”

    Precisely. That is the difference.

  • IJP

    Roger

    I have to say Mark D ‘does great’ when it comes to curing my insomnia! I haven’t got through a sentence of his without falling asleep for ages!

    It is indeed a straight question: what is the SDLP’s plan? (I mean a serious one, not unelected, undemocratic ‘Commissioners’.)

  • ShayPaul

    IJP

    They haven’t got one, because they never planned on the dupes and have no way to deal with them.

    Anyone can lead on a straight road with road lamps.

  • Unmasked

    “The fact is the SDLP has been offered yet again the chance to choose democracy over tribalism. Yet again it has chosen wrongly”

    How is movinf forward without the largest nationalist party democracy. Like everyone else they have a mandate.

    “in what respect is Mark D “doing great” “

    Mark Durkan is the only politician who has actually stuck to his guns. Sinn Fein (over agreeing to join the policing board to get an agreement with the DUP), DUP (there so called new agreement which was the GFA with a new cover) and UUP (with there agreement with sinn fein last year) all have sold out there electorate. Mark Durkan and the SDLP are the only people who are actually interested in Democracy, everyone else are out to get get there own, and to hell with anyone else.

    Thanks IJP. It does lead me to a further question for our pal here. What exactly is the SDLP’s plan here, and in what respect is Mark D “doing great” ?

    I agree that Mark can be very long winded, and if you want to know the SDLP’s plan you would need to ask them.

    And just so you know Roger im not an SDLP member!

  • IJP

    How is movinf forward without the largest nationalist party democracy.

    No, how is submitting the future of our people to the will of the IRA Army Council ‘democracy’?

    If SF chooses to abuse its mandate by submitting itself to the will of an armed gang rather than those who voted for it in good faith, that’s its funeral.

    Mark Durkan is the only politician who has actually stuck to his guns.

    Unfortunate phraseology! His very problem is he refuses to deal adequately with those who, quite literally, stick to theirs.

    Mark Durkan and the SDLP are the only people who are actually interested in Democracy

    Like I say, if they had even the remotest interest in democracy they would not submit the entire democratic process to the will of an armed gang.

    Those of us who have a real interest in democracy prefer to move on with the democrats and leave the door open for those currently wedded to mafia groups to join us when they feel able.

    The SDLP’s only real interest is representing Catholics (hence it leading on ‘more Catholics in the police’ for the Assembly campaign and hence its unwillingness to contemplate real democracy based on people not labels) – it proves it time after time, but it isn’t even very good at that.

    There are of course many within the SDLP whose prime interest is democracy. They are more than welcome to leave the green trench the SDLP has stuck itself in and join the rest of us in a pro-democratic coalition by submitting ourselves to the will of the people collectively, not specific groups and certainly not armed thugs.

  • alex s

    There is a lot of hot air being talked about Sinn Fein’s mandate, 25% is less than the Lib-Dems but they don’t have seats around the cabinet table at No 10, so why should those linked to a bunch of criminals expect to sit as of right in an Executive at Stormont.

    The simple truth is that if the Province’s nationalists want to have a say in their future they will have to support politicians worthy of their vote, politicians who can condemn the killing of a Garda as a crime, politicians prepared to describe the murder of a mother of 10 and subsequent mental torture of her children as the crime it was, the alternative is a generation of Direct Rule for all of us!

  • IJP

    Alex

    It’s worth emphasizing that mandates in GB and NI cannot be compared directly, given the directly divided nature of NI politics and NI’s (comparatively) recent political past. Democracy is about representation of the people by the people, not about majoritarianism, and given the nature of NI, for now, that means power-sharing here.

    However, you are quite correct that if people choose to vote for a party opposed to democracy, they remove their right to be represented democratically. If one or other ‘side’ refuses to operate democratically (and Unionists have been clearly guilty of this in the past), then colonial rule, and therefore non-democracy, is the only option.

    Basically if we want democracy, it is up to us collectively to vote for it!

  • Robert Keogh

    IJP,

    … if people choose to vote for a party opposed to democracy, they remove their right to be represented democratically.

    The right to self-determination is an inalienable human right that cannot be relinquished or revoked. No one has the right to dictate to others whom they should select to represent them.

    People in the North spent 40 years voting for the SDLP over SF and Unionism couldn’t/wouldn’t share power with them. Unionisms failure to deal with moderate Nationalism lead inevitably to the rise of SF. For a group that constantly preaches to others about reaping what they sow, they might want to look in the mirror.

  • vespasian

    I seem to remember the Pan Nationalist front that brought SF/IRA in from the cold, whither that warm front now it seems to have become a very cold front for SF/IRA.

    John Hume and Albert Reynolds let the evil genie out of the bottle and now there is no idea how to put it back again before it destroys democracy. There is no place for gangsterism and terrorism regardless of from where it emanates Loyalist, Republican, Muslim etc. it is all the same and must be eradicated as it must never ever have a place in democratic government.

  • Davros

    The right to self-determination is an inalienable human right that cannot be relinquished or revoked.

    Says who ? Seriously, who decided ? If you say that self-determination is an inalienable right, then presumably you would have no problem with the notion of an Independent NI ?

  • cg

    “The right to self-determination is an inalienable human right that cannot be relinquished or revoked.

    Says who ? Seriously, who decided ?”

    I agree Davros and this right to life stuff and freedom from torture and all the other rights should be quashed, sure who needs them ;).

  • Robert Keogh

    Says who ?

    Davros, really, can’t you read the attribution at the end of each comment? You might want to read a little philosophy, you’ll find one or two people in history who have extolled this position. Not to mention the various constitutions out there that start from that very position. Really Davros, you should know better.

    Seriously, who decided ?

    Seriously Davros, you should know better.

    If you say that self-determination is an inalienable right, then presumably you would have no problem with the notion of an Independent NI ?

    Another faulty deduction there Davros, equating individuals and states. Not on your game today? But as Henry94 pointed out earlier, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. In this instance your position and reality do actually coincide. I don’t have any problems with the notion of an Independent NI. Do you?

  • Davros

    LOL … be serious, who decided what is and what isn’t a “right” and what happens when something I consider to be an “inalienable right” of mine goes against everything someone else believes ?
    (and I know , one of the obvious answers is that lawyers make more money! )

  • Davros

    Reason I ask is that I was reading that de Valera “qualified” the inalienable rights of Irish Citizens …

  • Robert Keogh

    Davros,

    this is pretty basic civil knowledge. Instead of asking me to educate you snag a copy of “Philosophy for beginners” it’s in comic book format and it should give you a good place to start. After you’ve mastered that I suggest Bertrand Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy”. Those will provide you the jumping off point for finding the answers you seek. I’d rather teach a man to fish, than hand him a taco.

  • cg

    “and I know , one of the obvious answers is that lawyers make more money!”

    Great, I knew I picked the right career path 😉

  • Davros

    snag a copy of “Philosophy for beginners” it’s in comic book format

    Another one by your mentor Leon Uris ? LOL

  • Robert Keogh

    Well well Davros. Can you get any more petty?

    It’s such a pity you feel incapable to engage in dialogue. At least try to play the ball once in awhile.

  • Davros

    RK – now you sound like Billy Bremner complaining that he was fouled LOL.

  • Robert Keogh

    Davros,

    Are snide comments and faulty induction all you are capable of after midnight?

  • Davros

    Robert, Bullies are easily humiliated ….

    People in the North spent 40 years voting for the SDLP over SF

    That have would been a bit difficult as the SDLP haven’t been in existence for 40 years.

  • Robert Keogh

    Davros, really. Yet another false induction. That you believe your snide comments equates with the humiliation of anyone.

    That have would been a bit difficult as the SDLP haven’t been in existence for 40 years.

    Wow, I knew if I was patient enough you’d actually respond to a fact or position. Well done. And such an important point too – the precise number of years the SDLP has been in existance. Next time you might even engage in a substantive point.

    I admire your effort – please keep it up.

  • Davros

    such an important point too

    It is rather important – shows you don’t know an awful lot about Northern Ireland. Which brand of Plastic Paddy are you ? The quip about a Crack Pipe would make me suspect the USA, as would your behaviour here.

  • Robert Keogh

    Really Davros, more insults?

    34 years or 40 years, the substance of the point still stands. Which you failed to respond to, at least you are being consistant tonight. You’d rather get caught up in nitty gritty details, instead of engaging in the substance.

  • Davros

    Typical bully – you expect to be able to hand out insults but cry foul when the serve is returned.

  • IJP

    … and back to the actual issue…

    RK

    The right to self-determination is an inalienable human right that cannot be relinquished or revoked. No one has the right to dictate to others whom they should select to represent them.

    Absolutely right and well put.

    If you vote for representatives opposed to democracy, you don’t get democracy. Likewise, if you vote for parties which represent only specific groups, power-sharing is an absolute necessity (and if they’re against power-sharing they’re therefore against democracy).

    People in the North spent 40 years voting for the SDLP over SF and Unionism couldn’t/wouldn’t share power with them. Unionisms failure to deal with moderate Nationalism lead inevitably to the rise of SF. For a group that constantly preaches to others about reaping what they sow, they might want to look in the mirror.

    Also entirely right. A good assessment of the main reason that even as a British Protestant I don’t vote Unionist.

    Overrated though it is, I prefer democracy.

    Vespasian

    John Hume and Albert Reynolds let the evil genie out of the bottle and now there is no idea how to put it back again before it destroys democracy.

    It’s true they don’t know what to do with the genie, but my key point above is that we never had democracy here to start with (so it can’t be destroyed).

  • cg

    “People in the North spent 40 years voting for the SDLP over SF”

    Now, Now Davros, people are allowed to make mistakes but the main thing is that they learn from them 😉

  • Davros

    LOL cg – if it’s any comfort to you I’ll not be voting SDLP again.

  • cg

    I know

  • Robert Keogh

    IJP,

    I’m pretty much in agreement with your statements. Although we don’t really have democracy, we have that horrid malformation of representative democracy. Certainly better than the systems that preceeded it but far inferior to true democracy.

    Upwards and onwards!

  • cg

    Robert Keogh

    Can I ask what your political beliefs are?

  • Robert Keogh

    cg,

    sure you can but it’d probably take longer than either of us have to fully go into ’em tonight 🙂 For the sake of brevity I’ll go with the term Anarchist-Syndicalist

    The problem I see is that the State requires hierarchies. Hierarchies represent power differentials. Power differentials ineluctably result in the abuse of power. Abuse of power results in crime/violation of rights.

    Fundamentally, I believe that people are “good” and that it is the environment in which they are raised that causes them to turn out “bad”. Not counting the infintesimally small number of people that have genetic lesions.

  • cg

    I’m not criticizing your beliefs Robert but those beliefs may work on paper but we are dealing with people and I can’t see them working in the long term.

    I defiantly agree that the whole notion of “state” needs to be radically altered

  • Davros

    a modern-day Liam O’Flaherty then ?

  • cg

    Can’t see the similarities myself

  • Davros

    Liam O’Flaherty was involved with the Wobblies.
    Fascinating man.

  • cg

    I know that but I fail to see the comparrison 😉

    I don’t really like his writing

  • Davros

    Have you read his “The Informer ” ?

  • cg

    just “insurrection” and “famine”

  • Davros

    The Informer is superb 🙂

  • vespasian

    IJP

    I suggest that you have got to look on a wider scale regarding democracy. I am referring to 3 parliaments in London, Dublin and Belfast. I would contend that since 1998 we have had the opportunity for democracy in Belfast and I would hope that the others have been democratic for a little longer.

    I do not believe that the actions of SF/IRA over the last 7 years could be called democractic on any full definition of democracy and are usurping that ideal in 3 areas.

  • Henry94

    Democracy is almost invariably criticized by revolutionaries for the blemishes found in any real example, as compared with the grand abstraction of the mere word. Real politics is full of what it would be charitable to call imperfections. And there are those who, often without knowing it, become apologists and finally accomplices of the closing of society.

    All the major troubles of the last half century have been caused by people who have let politics become a mania.

  • IJP

    That is clearly correct, vespasian.

    I was merely making the point that democracy is not the natural state of being in NI, and it’s always worth bearing that in mind.

  • Davros

    Great link Henry.